Conversing with a Legend: Reggae's Toots Hibbert
Aldo Fonticiella
5/7/2006 5:06:25 PM

"I am the inventor of the word ‘reggae’ and I am the teacher so my thing always remain good"

What kind of person loves going to work everyday and will never retire? This kind. After almost half of century of reggae music, “Toots” Hibbert shows no sign of slowing down. Selling out show after show, he is respected as a cornerstone of reggae music, being the inventor the word that titles his genre and all. had the opportunity to cover his show at the Gargoyle in St. Louis, MO. Afterwards, we had the privilege to sit down and chat with Toots from Toots and the Maytals and this is what he had to say:

NT: First, I want to offer you the opportunity give thanks and praises before we get started.

Toots: “Give thanks man, I give thanks to God all the time you know; to bring us here and to lets have a happy show and my audience come out to see me so I give thanks onto the most high.”

NT: Blessed, blessed. Secondly, what message do you have for the youths?

Toots: “The message I gave you tonight. The message was love and happiness; and believe in what you do. Make sure you are doing the right thing and believe in God you know.”

NT: And education as well, right?

Toots: “Yeah beautiful! That’s a blessing and edification and dedication. [That is] true to the music to come over the radio and like we did tonight it is a spiritual dedication and education to everybody.”

NT: Yeah, I noticed that you did not, but a lot of reggae artists now at least stay very conservative about their music, singing songs about Rastafari and teachings?

Toots: That’s different now, I am the inventor of the word ‘reggae’ and I am the teacher, so my thing always remain good. I do what’s good and whether no people goes for [it].”

NT: And why the word reggae?

Toots: “Reggae is the… is the name of our music in Jamaica and I am the inventor of it. So the music is always climbing, Toots and the Maytals always on top. We deliver real reggae music, not no nursery rhymes and blingy bling music. You got to be cultural and spiritual, and that’s why reggae music you know.”

NT: Any funny stories about this tour so far?

Toots: “No, no funny stories all of them are good. They are truth. Truthful stories yeah all my shows them selling out as usual, always. So I got to talk a little bout that and I as I told you before people always turning out, smashing.”

NT: No sign of slowing down soon I hope?

“No I don’t. I don’t think about that. Once I am strong I will always do the work.”

NT: Do you want to promote anything you have out there now?

Toots: “Well I got an number one album in Jamaica right now. Yeah man, it’s not number one on the radio, but the way all people are talking about it; you know that it is a number one. It’s a tribute to Ray Charles, Tribute to Ray Charles, This one it have goes [sings “I Got a Woman”]. So I am promoting it as well as my new album I am about to release.”

NT: Okay, and the name of that one?

Toots: “No I don’t want to give out as of yet. I haven’t really finished it as yet.”

NT: Do you have an idea when it will released?

Toots: “I want to take out for maybe the end of the year.”

NT: Alright we will have to keep our eyes open.

Toots> “So all my people out there, all my reggae fans; this is Toots from Toots and the Maytals [saying] they can look out for my new album it’s gonna be good. Thanking them for all their support they gave me over the years, Toots from Toots and the Maytals say Irie.”


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