Dennis Bovell: ‘I’m still angry about the six months I was jailed, wrongfully’

The reggae musician and producer, 68, talks about Bob Marley, Linton Kwesi Johnson, police intimidation, impressing his dad and writing songs in prison to vent his anger

My very first memory is meeting my dad. I was small and because he worked in America, I only knew him from the photo that sat on the mantelpiece. It’s because of my dad that I made every effort to become a musician. He said to me, “You should find a decent job, because if you make music, you’ll never eat a decent meal in a decent restaurant.” Well, I’ve eaten some nice meals in some nice restaurants!

I know my dad is proud of me. He never told me to my face, but he would brag about me to his friends. To my face he’d say, “Are you still trying to play that guitar?” That was our running joke. I made a point of giving him a copy of every release and production I’d ever made, to the point where if I wanted some of my old stuff, I would have to go to him to get a copy. Even then he’d only let me borrow it.

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