Spinning Platters Interview: Frederick “Toots” Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals

by Dakin Hardwick on May 13, 2010

Toots Hibbert is a sonic pioneer that helped push the boundaries of ska music, coined the word reggae, and helped bring the music of Jamaica to the mainstream. At 64 years old, he is as vital as ever, releasing a new record, Flip N Twist, on May 18th on CD, Vinyl, Digital, and USB Joint, as well as hitting the road on a North American tour that hits The Regency Ballroom on the record’s street date. Spinning Platters spent a few minutes on the phone with him a few days ago, and here’s what we talked about.

What Inspired The New Record?

When ever I come to America, people kept asking me to put R & B songs on my records. They know I’m not just a reggae singer, I can sing any kind of style. I do gospel, I do R & B, I do all different flavors, hence why I called it Flip N Twist.

I was very surprised by the variety on the new record, and I really enjoyed the disco influence on it. What do you listen to these days?

R & B, Rappers, Lennon/McCartney… I listen to all kinds of good music. I like music that tells good stories. I don’t like listening to negative music. Good music helps inspire me, it helps me be myself.

I’ve noticed that you incorporate a lot of spiritual elements into your music. What are your beliefs?

Well, I believe in everything… I believe in myself, I believe in God, I believe in good music, I believe in justice, I believe in the people, I believe that they will always support me. I believe in positive music, and I believe that people depend on me and I depend on them.

Why do you believe that several generations have been able to find ska and reggae music and find a way to relate to it?

Well, some people don’t know that I created the word reggae. I wrote the song Do The Reggaey. I think that ska, reggae, and rock-steady go together. I think kids relate to it because it’s all positive.

How do you feel about a lot of the music coming from Jamaica these days that seems to have a more negative, violent feel to it?

Well, more like politics, and I stay far from those things. My music is far away from politics.You know drugs aren’t in my songs, I stay far away from those things.

What is the story behind “Monkey Man”?

Well, all of my songs, I create them from actual stories, from natural things. Somebody, and this was a girl from a foreign country. And when she came, she met a guy, and he was very ugly, and they called him Monkey Man. The message is that you don’t have to be cute to have a girl.

Read Also:

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: