“Could you be loved? Don’t let them fool ya, or even try to school ya. Oh no! We’ve got a mind of our own. So, go to hell if what your thinking is not right. Love will never leave us alone.” – Bob Marley. Listening to the Wailers perform live at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA was surreal. Listening to them sing all of their Reggae classics and watching the crowd sing along to every single song was an awesome experience. Bob Marley’s music has spread across the world and people love him and his music because of the feeling you get when you listen to it – feelings of love, happiness, confidence, courage, and a cool vibe where all people can relate to. It’s been over 30 years now since the passing of the music legend, but the music keeps going strong and is alive through his band the Wailers. Touring across the world, the Wailers have been able to keep Bob Marley’s music alive with the original bass player Aston Barrett, who was the music director for Bob Marley and was responsible for song arrangements and co-producing Marley’s albums. It was amazing to watch them play and perform Reggae classics such as “Exodus”, “Three Little Birds”, “One Love”, “Get Up Stand Up”, and many other songs. We caught up with lead guitarist Audley Chisholm and he was able to share some insights on how it feels to be a part of the legendary band.
TWID: How long have you been touring and playing lead guitar for the Wailers?
AC: I’ve been playing the guitar forever. I started playing the guitar when I was 10 years old. That’s when I got the interest in playing the guitar. As far as touring goes, I have been touring since 1995.
TWID: Is Chizzy your stage name or a nickname?
AC: My full name is Audley Chisholm, but I have been called “Chizzy” from my childhood.
TWID: Have you been touring solely with the Wailers since 1995?
AC: No. I started touring with Maxi Priest. I did that for a while then I toured with Big Mountain for a while. Then I went back to Maxi Priest for a while and now I’m with the Wailers.
TWID: Were you a guitarist the whole time you’ve toured?
AC: Yes. I play bass sometimes but right now it’s just strictly guitar.
TWID: Do you also sing?
AC: Yes. I have always sung back-up vocals. I sang back-up for Maxi Priest and Big Mountain too as well. As far as singing goes, I just started playing first, then I started singing because one of the vocalists didn’t show up and then I was asked to fill in and so it evolved from there. So, I’ve been singing as a vocalist with the Wailers since the 90’s. So, I sing mainly Reggae and Gospel music because I also play in my church.
TWID: Where are you originally from?
AC: I’m from Montego Bay, Jamaica. So, I’m Jamaican.
TWID: What is the best part of performing live for an audience?
AC: The best part of performing live is making the people feel happy about the music that we play. That makes me feel happy. I love the energy that a crowd exudes. Every venue we play, it varies but definitely you can feel the energy of the audience.
TWID: How has Bob Marley’s music influenced you as an artist?
AC: When I grew up in Jamaica, I would hear his songs on the radio every day. His music becomes a part of you as a young kid. Hearing those songs over and over is a part of my being as a Jamaican. When I got the job with the Wailers, it was an honor. I’m speechless at times touring with the Wailers all over the world. People just can’t get enough of the music, and it makes me feel good to deliver Bob Marley’s music everywhere we go.
TWID: What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?
AC: I started recording some instrumental Reggae songs. Being on tour with the Wailers, I don’t really get a chance to finish my project with the Wailers but time goes by. I try to do as much as I can. I hope to finish up my project next year so that my music can become available.
For aspiring musicians out there, Chisholm (“Chizzy”) advises you to keep listening, keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to explore possibilities. His insightful thoughts of playing with the Wailers was inspiring and it goes to show that you never know where your path will lead you if you just try. Listening and watching the Wailers perform Marley’s classic songs was an amazing experience. Musicians such as Chisholm keep Marley’s music alive and spread the music of peace and love worldwide.
-Article Written by: Elizabeth Lavulo
*YouTube video courtesy of The Wailers