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A chat with original Wailers bassist Aston Barrett




We had a chance to catch up with founding Wailer and long time reggae bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett this Friday, before his band's Sunday performance at Bloomington's Bluebird. And he's not shy about proclaiming his historic role in the band.

"We are from the original school [as opposed to old school]. We are the creators. The others are imitators," he said during the phone interview.

Barrett was the original bassist for Bob Marley & the Wailers, and he survives Marley and founding drummer (and brother) Carlton Barrett.

"There is no end to this music. Bob and I and my brother, we used to discuss that," said Barrett. "So we create the reggae music and the reggae music is the universal language that carries the message of roots, culture and reality for all ages and all times."

"I am the original Wailer. I put the band together. I am the foundation," he continued. "I have been on the road before Bob, with Bob and after Bob. I have been on the road since 1969."

The Wailers have worked with a variety of lead singers since Marley's passing, the current being Koolant, an up-and-coming Jamaican performer who recently accepted Barrett's employment offer.

"Many are called, few are chosen," said Koolant, as Barrett passed the phone along to his nearby bandmate.

The name Wailers came from the idea of "voices crying out from the wilderness," and Koolant now thinks himself one of those voices.


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