|Q1.Are you enjoying your stay in Japan this time?
(P).Yes, very much
Q2.How did you come up with human percussion?
(P).As a kid in Jamaica when we started singing
we didnft have money to buy instruments so we improvised.
We used tin pans and sticks to try and get sounds and a lot
of us used our mouths, so its coming from childhood. In the
school we played with this idea and it was like ############.
This was earlier on when we couldnft buy drums and bass so
we had to use tins pans, knock the pans, knock sticks, knock
bottles, knock anything together and use our mouths. When
we came home from school in the evenings we would go under
the stop light on Drummond street and all of us would do our
own little music thing. Then we grew up and understood more,
but itfs coming from childhood.
Q3.Can you tell us some of the tunes
they used to play often on the sound system?
(P).Tunes like gTwo Barrel a Secondh, gToothacheh,
gJumping With The Dukeh, gHumpty Dumpyh, gShake a Legh, gThey
Got To Come My Wayh, gTime Longer Than Ropeh, gBlackhead ChineyManh.
Those were the favorites; I did not have Carolina yet.
Q4.Why did you pack up your Sound System?
(P).What happened was that I was gkillingh
a sound when I did, I left the champion. It was the decision
of Mr. Emil Sharlet. Mr. Emil Sharlet had owned Bluebeat Records
in London. He came to Jamaica to see me and was interested
in me as a writer and singer. He started coming to the dances
with me at nights and saw me in some gfightsh. His name for
it was gEmpty Gloryh and he thought that I should give up
the sound system and concentrate more on writing and staying
in the studio and he would take care of the records in London,
promoting and selling them.When he said it to me I had to
think because I was the King of Sounds, why stop? However,
I am the type of person who listens to elderly persons because
they have more experience than me. I reluctantly did it because
he insisted and I think that was the best thing I had ever
done because maybe I would have been gkilledh or gkilledh
someone based on how things were going on at the time and
the songs you got from me you wouldnft have. So Mr. Sharlet
was very important in the propagation of Prince Busterfs music
and to this day I gcrownh him one of my most serious teachers
because this was the man who widened my mind from being a
village concept to being an international, universal concept.
He is dead and I thank him very much for it, I thank him for
Q5.What inspired you to write tunes
like gSeven Wonders of The Worldh and gPrince of Peaceh which
apparently have an eastern influence.
(P).It was the situation. What happened at
that period was that I am a thinker and although my body was
in Jamaica my mind was roaming the eastern part of the world.
I wrote songs I heard in my head and I called that journey
a gmental journeyh. I called it gOne Step Beyondh because
one has to get into that mood and once you get into that mood
then everything becomes plain, all the pieces and parts just
come fitting in.So my mind was really thinking of the east,
it may have also been biblical because I grew up as a Christian
before I became a Muslim so maybe the bible helped some part
of that too.
Q6.Did you record your tunes with one
take or very quickly?
(P).It was both ways, I had a lot of one
takes, why? Drumbaigo and my little band played at the Baby
Grand in Crossroads and when they finished playing at nights,
three o clock in the mornings we would rehearse with them
when everyone had left the club. So we did the rehearsals
there and when we arrived at the studio everyone was ready
so we did a lot of one takes.
There were times when we did take after take because I insisted
on getting it right and sometimes the musicians got frustrated
but I still insisted. So they had to go over and over until
it was compatible with what was in my head.
Q7.You often spoke about Drumbaigo,
Arkland Parker, but not many Japanese know about him can you
tell us more about him.
(P).Drumbaigo was a big man, he could have
been my father but like a lot of people in Jamaica Ifm respectful
to older people so they respect me. He used to work on the
ships sometimes playing his music. He played music for dinner
people and he was a very nice man and without him, I donft
think I would have been successful making Ska music so a lot
of credit goes to Arkland Parkes, Drumbaigo. He was a good
man, not a bully, nice and calm. He usually had a flute which
he walked with in his waist.
Q8.What do you think about new Jamaican
artists not making instrumental music anymore?
(P).They mostly stick to vocals but I think
they should start using horns, because, to me the music is
incomplete without a blend of horns. But they werenft around
in those days when the horns were blasting. So I think we
have to play some horns now and attract them to horn music.
You can make a dub without horns but I dint think that you
should make a complete record without horns, itfs incomplete.
Q9.About instrumental music being played
at dances, did people play songs like gSeven Wonders of the
Worldh and what was it like?
(P).When that went on the dancehall shouted
and begged you to play. When I started making records it wasnft
for commercial purposes. I was the King of Sounds and I was
making records to keep the sounds on top. So it was the competition
of the sound system that gave me the drive. I came up with
a lot of ideas which a lot of my friends copied but I believe
that unlike attracts and like repels so I always tried to
find different sound and different approaches to people, like
I did with Carolina. I brought the drums into music, even
though society rejected them. I used them in the studio even
though I was ruling with Ska but in my head the monotony was
the same thing. Ifm just creative.
Q10.Which singer influenced you the most?
(P).Billy Ekstine, he was everything, one
of his songs I like very much is Bewildered glost in a dream
of you, where is that love I knew, why did we parth, Ekstine.
I like him singing caravan. I like all of Billy Ekstine. I
always have Billy Ekstinefs record and music. I have all his
Another person that influenced me was Jesse Belvin. I listened
to other people but I think the person who influenced me the
most was Billy Ekstine.
Question: Is Billy Ekstine a Jamaican singer Answer: No Billy
Ekstine is an American.
Q11.What did you think about the Determinations
who are about the same age as your children?
(P).They were a pleasant surprise, I enjoyed
them. Some of the old band members that played with me have
gotten older now and to get them to find back the feel again
is difficult and when I come and play with the determinations
it was like I was in the studio making records.When I heard
certain sounds they played I said they are going to be a band
for the world to recon with if they continue on the same path
because Ska music is going to rule the world, letfs face it.
First of all, I sung songs earlier that told you it canft
die, it has proven itself, it canft die. The Japanese people
accepting it and appreciating it at the shows showed me again
that the energy of Ska is contagious. I was taking off the
band memberfs hats on the stage to have a good look at them
when they were playing when I felt a certain vibe from them.
It was unbelievable that these guys were playing so good.
Q12.50 years ago did you imagine the
Ska movement at it is today with bands like the Determinations
and young Japanese people going mad over your music?
(P).When I look at this thing some people
think Ifm a prophet because at the beginning I wrote a song
gHe who has tongue will live to tell, he who has ears will
live to hear, he who has eyes will live to see, the blessing
of faith is now pouring down on meh. Thatfs how I feel right
now, it was as if I knew of these people in my subconscious
mind who would be here to represent Ska, young, energetic,
they love it, they are tenacious to it. I think they are a
Q13.What is your impression of Japan
and the Japanese people?
(P).I love the city. Actions speak louder
than words and to show my appreciation to Japan we are about
to make a new record gJapanese Womanh.
Q14.What was your method and discipline
as a producer?
(P).I rehearsed, got the ideas coming, took
them to the musicians, showed them the paths, got it right
and then we went to the studio and executed it.
Question:As a singer? Answer:I was the writer, the producer
and the singer so I wore all the hats.
Q15.There is a man called Duke Vin who
made all of this happened, some of us know about him can you
tell us more?
(P).He is an older man to me but he is my
friend. I grew up with him on Charles Street. Tom the Great
Sebastian was Jamaicafs first dancehall sound system and Vinny
was its disk jockey. But Vinny was like a model, he was tall
and would wear suits, his shoes were like mirrors, they were
always shine so he was known as Vinny Shiny Shoes.He would
stand at the Jubliee Gardens collecting money then he would
go up a staircase unto a platform where the amps were and
when you came through the gate Vinny would stand like this
and everyone who passed coming in the dance would look at
his shoes, say hello and go in. He is a nice character, his
son died and he came to England after that and started his
sound business and he is still my friend. I look for him all
the time and we are still together. He is also my wifefs friend.
Q16.Can you send a message to all the
Ska fans and the people who play Ska all over the world, something
they should never forget?
(P).To all the fans and all the musicians
who are interested in playing Ska. I would tell them gyoufre
on the right trackh, keep at it, gthe harvest will soon comeh,
keep at it because Ska is going to rule the world with music.
Q17.You have many labels, most people
have one or two, can you tell us about this?
(P).As an artist each of my labels portrays
different chapters of my life at the time. The designs, etc.
were by me, it was like doing a song. A lot of people seem
to love the label Wild Bells. That was a very active time
in my life. There is another one Soulvile Centre, which recorded
the identity of Luke Lane and Charles Street.Thatfs where
Tom the Great Sebastian played his sound system at his hardware
shop and a lot of musicians lived in those lanes. People like,
Joe Bundy, a great trumpeter. So to hold the identity I made
that label and put the signs Luke Lane and Charles Street,
Soulvile Centre. When you do your research it will lead to
what was really happening then. So if you go by that label
you will understand about Luke Lane, Charles Street and Orange
Street. Luke Lane and Charles Street were simply the backdoor
to Orange street They are next to each other so you can move
from one home to the other very easily.
Q18.Talk about fighting spieit and the meaning of ONE STEP BEYOND.
(P).Since Ifm a little older I can tell you,
donft make any disappointments or anything like that stop
you. I think you should just keep marching because man was
really made to toil and struggle. The purpose of man on earth
is to toil and struggle so we should get used to it. To do
nothing is not the purpose, it is to toil and struggle and
when it reaches this point, push, push. Thatfs why I love
Q19.What keeps you going for 50 years
despite the many things that have happened?
(P).The thing is not to let these things
get on top of you. You are the man, you have the energy, and
you have the spirit to move on. To the last day keep on pushing.
NUFF RESPECT TO KING OF SKA PRINCE BUSTER
INTERVIEWFMASAYA HAYASHI/DRUWEED (ROCK-A-SHACKA/DRUM AND BASS)
15/MAR/03 at WEST INN HOTEL