They’ve sold more than 250 million albums. They’ve played for an estimated 25 million people across the globe. And they were the first reggae band to tour Africa and the Far East. But now, the Wailers will bring their legend, their music and their message to the “Far East Coast,” when they take the Freeman Stage at Bayside on Friday, July 10.
“It’s always great to be in Delaware. It’s always a great reception,” said Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin, Wailers lead singer and one of the successors to reggae legend Bob Marley. “It’s an important place for the Wailers.”
Marley, who originally formed the Wailers with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, had somewhat famously lived in Delaware for a brief period — even writing “Night Shift” while working at the Chrysler plant in Wilmington. But Anglin is no stranger to the area either, born just north, in New Jersey before moving to Jamaica, where he grew up and developed his love for reggae.
After learning and growing his appreciation for the music of the country, and the message it relays, Anglin found himself with an opportunity to continue carrying on that message when he joined the Wailers as their lead vocalist five years ago.
“Reggae music is a part of my culture, music is life in Jamaica — it’s in my roots,” he said. “I eventually ended up being a part of one of the most renowned and celebrated reggae groups of all time — I’m just honored and privileged to be a part of it.”
While the band’s current members share that same honor, it perhaps extends even further for Anglin, who fills the role once belonging to one of music’s greatest legends — something that to him is not only a privilege but a responsibility.
“There is no duplicating or replacing Bob Marley. His legacy will live on through his music and his children,” Anglin said. “He is a symbol of peace. His legacy is so important. We’re just happy to spread the love and spread the music — it’s our responsibility.”
Since Marley’s death in 1981, the Wailers have continued to do just that, touring the world and recently celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Legend” — the best-selling reggae album of all time.
“We’ve come so far,” said bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, an original member of the group. “Sharing this music with so many people around the world was my last promise to Bob, and here we are.”
Barrett was recruited by Marley to play bass for the band in 1969, along with his brother Carly as the drummer. However, he was left as the last remaining original member when his brother died in 1987 and has since served as somewhat of a symbol for the group.
“It’s truly a privilege to work with him and learn from him on a daily basis. He means everything to the group,” Anglin said regarding the influential bassist. “He’s the focal point of live performances. They want to see ‘Family Man’ on stage. They want to be part of the experience. He’s the person that people really come out to see.”
But whether they come out to see Barrett, or the most celebrated reggae group of all time, or just to hear some of their reggae favorites, Anglin maintained that he and the Wailers aren’t the only ones with a job to do while they’re on stage.
“This is not just music — this is education,” he explained. “When you’re being educated, you have to listen and you have to practice. When you’re preaching hate and you can’t live with the people that don’t look like you, then you’re not listening to the music.
“Come out knowing that we put humanity over vanity. Greed and envy and jealously are things you have to put aside. Identify and realize humanity is more important than everything else.”
To Anglin and the Wailers, appreciating the music’s message is just as important as appreciating the music itself.
“I’ve come to realize how important this movement is and how Bob Marley’s legacy affects the world. I have to identify with the message in the music for me to convince people that it is real,” he said. “I’m a believer in the music. I know how important it is that I feel the music just like the audience will feel it.
“Reggae music is the instrument that was created to break down all barriers, to establish equality to those who have been done wrong, to bring to the forefront racism and political corruption and bring justice. That is our mission — to be seen as equal, not by request but by demand. We are instruments in trying to make change.”
That will be exactly what the group will aim to do when they take the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville on Friday, July 10, at 7 p.m. As of July 1, tickets for the show were still available and can be purchased at www.freemanstage.org.