Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: The Wailers Band

The Wailers Band. (Photo: Charlie Akers)
The Wailers Band. (Photo: Charlie Akers)

Dwayne “Danglin” Anglin, frontman of The Wailers Band, is all about continuing the legacy of Bob Marley, the founder of Bob Marley and the Wailers, from which The Wailers Band formed in 1981 following the death of Marley.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of the The Wailing Wailers, the first album of The Wailers, the forerunner to Bob Marley and the Wailers that Marley started with Neville “Bunny” Livingston and Peter Tosh in 1963. And this year is the 40th anniversary of Rastaman Vibration, an album that contained “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” Bob Marley and the Wailers’ biggest hit in the United States. These facts aren’t lost on Anglin and The Wailers Band.

Perhaps it’s because Aston Barrett, leader of Marley’s backing band in Bob Marley and the Wailers, is leading The Wailers Band, providing the group with a direct link to Marley. Anglin has been playing with the Barrett since 2006, so he’s had plenty of time to learn from Marley’s old bandmate.

“It’s truly an honor and privilege to share the stage with such a legendary musician,” Anglin said. “It’s a great learning experience. Everyday you learn something new. The things I learned from him I couldn’t have learned anywhere else, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with him….It’s a humbling experience.”

Anglin, who is in his mid-30s, grew up on Bob Marley and the Wailers growing up in the countryside in Jamaica and said that he doesn’t have a favorite album or song by the group. That must make it easier for him to learn songs from the group’s catalog to play as The Wailers Band shines a spotlight on a different album periodically.

“From year to year we feature certain albums and sometimes we feature certain concepts, like in 2014 we did the Legend album…in years past we featured the Uprising and Survivor albums,” Anglin said. “So we are commemorating these albums through the tours.”

The Wailers Band is currently on a tour of the East Coast and are playing at The State Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Anglin said that he and The Wailers Band are currently including more of Marley’s songs with “revolutionary themes” in their live shows.

“We are doing more of the revolutionary songs because that is the current theme of the political, social and economical state of affairs in the world right now,” Anglin said. “There are a lot of negative things going on right now, so it’s time to counter that with some inspirational, yet revolutionary songs.”

Anglin said that the purpose of The Wailers Band’s tours is to inspire and counteract the negativity in the world – racism, economic inequality and sexism – by continuing to spread Marley’s revolutionary message. Anglin took race for an example.

“He was trying to get people to stop separating through race,” Anglin said. “But that can only happen when people are being held accountable. Like police brutality obviously affects Africans in America more than any race or any other group, especially poor Africans in America.

“So when you try to bring awareness like with the Black Lives Matter movement people try to degrade or devalue its purpose by saying, ‘All lives matter.’ But it’s not all lives being affected by this, so when we try to bring attention to this – that we’re being murdered – don’t try to degrade our efforts by trying to generalize it by saying it doesn’t affect one ethnic group more than the others.”

He said that trying to be colorblind, as some might propose as a solution to racism, is not that answer. “We don’t need to be colorblind,” Anglin said. “We need to fix the problems.”

• For more information about The Wailers Band, visit wailers.com.