Toots & the Maytals will perform at Hull City Hall on July 27 as part of a UK tour.
Toots & the Maytals originally called simply The Maytals, is considered a legend of ska and reggae music. His sound is a unique and original combination of gospel, ska, soul, reggae, and rock.
A five-time Grammy-nominee, Toots & the Maytals won the 2005 Grammy Award with True Love for Best Reggae Album.
The album featured re-recorded classics hits alongside popular and legendary artists including Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy.
The albums Light Your Light and Flip & Twist were released in 2008 and 2009 respectively and the Toots & the Maytals catalogue has been covered by everyone from Amy Winehouse to Sublime.
A prolific artist, Toots is always in the studio when not touring and in 2012 released two special projects including the Grammy-nominated Unplugged on Strawberry Hill|Reggae Got Soul (acoustic cd/documentary DVD set) and a Ska 50 EP to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary.
After being absent from the stage for almost three years after suffering an injury, Toots resumed touring in 2016.
Q&A with Toots Hibbert
1) How did you feel about your forthcoming UK tour dates?
TOOTS: “I really can’t wait to tour the UK. Touring is what I do and I just can’t wait to be back out on the road over there in the UK. I’m filled with energy, lots of energy! We put in more than 100 percent every night. And when we’re tired, we put in even more, so we really appreciate when you guys tell us how much you’ve enjoyed our show.”
2) Are you doing any music festivals this summer?
Toots: “We are playing at Glastonbury and Beat Herder before our own UK tour dates in July and August, plus many other festivals across Europe. I last played at Glastonbury in 2010 and a huge crowd gathered in the sunshine. It was very special, and I’m looking forward to doing it again.”
3) How do you stay in such good shape while you’re on the road?
Toots: “I do the gym, the hully gully and the hoochie coochie!”
4) How do you feel about reggae these days?
Toots: “I feel very positive about what I do. I’m the inventor of the word reggae music. I’m the one who coined the word reggae so, whatever I do, it has to be positive. Whoever is doing reggae, they have to have positive words, no negativity. If it’s negative it’s not reggae. The youth are going to the school and they have to listen to the words. The parents have to listen to the words. God has to listen to the words. So we have to make it positive. If you sing nursery rhymes, it is nothing. But if you give positive words, that song lives forever. You have to be logical and use international words so people can relate to reggae music.”
5) You mentioned that you invented the word reggae. How did that happen?
“There is a word we used to use in Trench Town called ‘streggae’, which is a word guys would use to describe a girl who isn’t dressed well and looked raggedy, as in “Man, she’s streggae”. The girls would also say that about the men. One morning me and my two friends were playing and I said, “OK man, let’s do the reggay”. It was just something that came out of my mouth, so we just start singing “Do the reggay, do the reggay”, which in doing so created a beat. People tell me later that we had given the sound its name. Before that people had called it blue-beat and all kind of other things.”
6) Other than reggae, what music do you enjoy listening to?
Toots: “I listen to dancehall, I listen to hip hop and R&B music from America, England, all over. I listen to every music, but my main music I listen to is dancehall. But when I first started out in music I would listen to Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, James Brown and most of the rock and roll artists of the day. I loved Jimmy Cliff back in the day and still do.”
7) You’ve been working and performing for over 50 years. What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the music industry today?
Toots: “I always tell young people to make sure they write good lyrics with a positive message. And to do that they have to listen and learn, and pay respect to us – the original singers of reggae music! Positive music keeps the mind clean and makes me do things right. Negative music is not good for anyone.”
8) Where do you get your inspiration from?
Toots: “Inspiration comes from the life that you live. The way you treat people, the way you treat yourself. The way you think about people and the way you think about yourself. Whether you’re white or you’re black, you’re still family coming from God.”
9) What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in music:
Toots: “My greatest achievement in music is my voice, the talent that God gave me. I thank the Lord for what he done for me.”
10) Why do you think your music has transcended generations?
Toots: “Good songs and good music; if they come to see my show, they never forget me. They always miss me. People call me great, but I don’t think that I’m great. I think people can always be greater than me. But they say, “You are the inventor for the word reggae, you are great.” And I have to say, “Okay, thank you.”
11) What does the future hold for Toots & The Maytals?
Toots: “I’m planning on releasing new music and playing many more shows. I will keep on going while I have the strength. My music appeals to people who are very young, it’s good for them. It’s always a good thing to come back to the UK and do good things for my young friends!”
This return to the stage by one of the greats from the reggae pantheon was much anticipated, leading to sold-out shows around the world.
Tickets for Toots & the Maytals at Hull City Hall on Thursday, July 27, 2017, are £29.50 in advance or £35 on the door.