Don’t Sleep—The Stepping Razor Is Still Dangerous

“If you wanna live,” sang PETER TOSH beneath a full moon at Kingston, Jamaica’s National Stadium, “treat me good.” Standing firm as lightning flashed over the stage, the man called Stepping Razor spat bitter truths and ganja smoke in the faces of Prime Minister Michael Manley, opposition leader Edward Seaga, a gathering of their ghetto henchmen, and a large contingent of well-armed police—while thousands of Kingstonians bore witness. Tribal war between gangs loyal to Manley’s socialist PNP and Seaga’s right-wing JLP had claimed too many lives since the 1976 general elections, so on April 22, 1978, a big reggae show was held with the explicit aim of easing the tension. That same night, Tosh’s former bandmate Bob Marley managed to bring Manley and Seaga onstage for a symbolic joining of hands that did not exactly bring an end to the violence. It did, however, become an iconic tableau within Marley mythology, thanks in part to the documentary, Heartland Reggae. Tosh, on the other hand, refused to allow any American “pirates” to film his hour-long set. Thankfully an audio recording survives, preserving the songs and speeches that nearly cost him his life. Story Continues After The Jump… Read more »