Interview and photos by Jan Salzman – Island Stage
Jan Salzman had a chance to sit down with Pato Banton for Island Stage Magazine and catch up on life and works with his beautiful wife, Antoinette “Roots Dawtah” Hall and his band “The Now Generation” Here is their conversation:
This Grammy nominee keeps himself busy, but we found a way to catch up with him.
Jan: How’s everything going Pato?
Pato: Everything’s going good at the moment. We just got home from a Florida tour and we’re working on future tours right now. We’ve got a couple releases coming out due in a few days time so yes we’re very busy.
Jan: So what’s the name of your new release?
Pato: The first was released on Bob Marley’s birthday, it’s called “The Words of Rastafari”. It’s available online at cdbaby, itunes and amazon. It’s a 3 CD box set where I’m narrating Highly Selassie I’s words over some awesome roots reggae tracks, some all time Bob Marley riddims which we re-did over. I’m very happy with that product. Also, on April 7th my new album “Love is the Greatest” will be released. It will be available digitally and the CD’s are being pressed right now. My last official release was 2008 “Destination Paradise”. It’s nice to have a new album out now. It’s collaboration with other artists too, it’s Pato Banton and friends.
Jan: That’s great! I’m really looking forward to it!
(click the pic to order yours!)
Pato: You can share it whenever you’re ready.
Jan: I also got “The Words of Rastafari” which I will burn a candle, light some incense and listen to it.
Pato: That’s the way to do it.
Jan: Where are you headed to now?
Pato: Right now we’re working on some dates in Southern California and Northern California. After that we head to the UK, Brazil then Japan, Taiwan and Korea before coming back to the USA to do more touring.
Jan: Whoa you’re such a world traveler!
Pato: We just finished the UK and Ghana, Africa, which was so beautiful. We want to go back to some different parts of Africa and share some love and meet new people and try to help in any way we can. Everything is going well…the people are enjoying the music and the message and the shows are well attended. The band, “The Now Generation”, are on fyah. They’re very tight and gelling together. It’s very hard to have a band that are supporting each other, in a good mood every day and loving each other as a family. I think by setting a standard in this band and letting them know what I need for us to be able to function. When you’re touring a lot they’re the ones you’re with the most. If the vibe is not right it can be a miserable experience. It only takes one sour person in the band to kill the vibe. The band we have right now…most of them have been with me for over five years. This band I have right now the vibe is awesome and they’re playing great.
Jan: Note “If you’ve never seen Pato he puts on the most awesome show in reggae. There’s choreography and everyone comes up front for a feature during the show. It’s a magnificent experience. He puts out a message of ONE LOVE to the whole audience”.
Pato: By the end of the night during a show the audience knows not only me but the individuals in the band from being featured multiple times. I love to give the musicians their props. It’s taken them years to fine tune their art. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without musicians. The players of instruments are very crucial.
Jan: Yes you treat your musicians exceptionally and really appreciate the work that they put in.
Pato: I want them to feel appreciated and loved. I want this to be a family. When you have the right dynamic the people see it and feel it. When they’re happy they play with their heart and soul. They give 100% and that’s what I want to bring to the people.
Jan: That’s true for any working environment. When you’re appreciated you’ll go the hundredth mile to do your work. When you’re not treated well you regret every step you take.
Pato: I’m giving thanks that after all these years I’m still healthy enough to play reggae music. I’m running my own camp. We have our own booking agency, issue our own agreements, we record in our studio, produce our own videos. This way we’re able to dream. When I get up in the morning I don’t have anybody telling me what to do. I just say to myself what would I like to do and go. We just make those dreams come true. Me and Antoinette will say, let’s go to Asia, let’s go to Hawaii, let’s go to Brazil. We just reach out and make it happen and we can work at our own pace.
Jan: Your pace is fast though (we chuckle)
Pato: Antoinette’s hanging in there, she’s doing great though, I’m very proud of her. What we also do outside of the touring and everything we are doing ministry. We are performing weddings, visiting peoples’ homes and uplifting them. We are counseling couples and children. Our lives are devoted to our outreach ministry and that is our real motivation. I’m just now learning to balance my spiritual life with the music life. My spiritual life is what motivates me but there’s no money in that so I need pay my bills. So, if someone in Florida wants me to marry them then I plan a tour around it. If someone in Oregon wants me to baptize them I’ll plan a tour to get there and back home. I’m far from a financially secure situation. I still live month to month like most people in the world, but I’m happy. I’m living my life on the terms I want to live it. I’m blessed to have a partner who supports me too…in everything that I want to do. She doesn’t try to limit me or inhibit me from any of my aspirations. It’s a good thing.
Jan: Thanks Pato for a wonderful interview. Respect!”
Pato: Thanks Jan, respect everytime!”