The official line is that I've been a professional music journalist for over 25 years, specialising in reggae music and all its various offshoots. During that time I've interviewed many of the genre's best-known and most influential figures, and made frequent trips to Jamaica.
The truth is I was lucky enough to join a cult black music paper based in central London as their reggae writer and somehow make a career out of it. This was back in the days of typewriters, free records and face-to-face interviews, held in rundown offices shrouded in ganja smoke and smelling of damp. The money wasn’t great and still isn’t but there’s hardly been a dull moment. Over the years I’ve got to know virtually everyone in the reggae business, attended live shows galore, sat in on classic recording sessions and gained insights about life and music that’ll stay with me forever. I’ve also got a half decent record collection and a handful of famous friends, plus a huge archive of published articles and interviews covering the entire history of reggae music from ska to the present day.
The majority of my writing has been for magazines in the UK (Echoes), Germany (Riddim) and France (Reggae Vibes.) I’ve also written for Mojo, Music Week, the Guardian, Observer and NME, as well as publications in the Caribbean, US, New Zealand and Japan.
I still love the tangibility of print, although nothing can match being able to reach a global audience via the Internet. Unfortunately specialist magazines are now an endangered species, which is why I spend more of my time these days doing consultancy work, giving book readings and contributing towards various radio shows and documentaries, panel discussions, seminars and symposiums. I was also co-curator of the Sound System Culture: London exhibition held in Notting Hill early in 2016 although writing books is what I live for, despite all those long hours spent staring at a computer screen.
I’ve written several full-length books to date, beginning with an authorised biography of the Wailers. These are listed under “Books” and include the first-ever biography of Peter Tosh, which tells the story of Jamaica’s most outspoken and controversial reggae star.