, an exhibition of photographs of the reggae superstar in Jamaica in the mid-'70s, opened on January 11 at Bob Marley: I and EyeKM Fine Arts
. The show features images by photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker and is presented by reggae archivist Roger Steffens. Steffens first travelled to Jamaica in the mid-1970s, toured with Marley, and has written a half dozen books on him. Tomorrow, the gallery hosts a presentation with Steffens from 2-4pm; Gottlieb-Walker will also be at the gallery from 12-5pm.
Here Steffens, who was also co-host KCRW's program Reggae Beat in the '80s, shares his memories of the legend in his own words.
"There are dozens of misconceptions about Bob. People think he was just a stoned out freak who was smoking dope all the time. On the contrary I think he was one of the most disciplined human beings I've ever met in my life. I spent two weeks on the road with him in '79 on his Survival tour. He was always the first guy on the bus and the last guy to go to bed at night and the first guy to wake up in the morning. He probably only slept three or four hours a night and just wanted everything to be absolutely professional and perfect."
"There's a misconception that he smoked to escape. Bob smoked a lot of herb, but he did it as a tool of communication with Jah, the almighty, I and eye. All those incredible anthemic songs that he gave to the world were all created under the inrpiration of herb. At the millennium, The New York Times
said that Bob Marley was the most influential musician of the second half of the 20th century. The first half, they said, was Louis Armstrong, and they were both daily herb smokers, so go figure."
"The happiest guy on tour was the bus driver, because he got to sweep up all the roaches at the end of each evening. The guy would go home with three or four ounces."