Last night BUSHMAN celebrated the release of his new album Bushman Sings The Bush Doctor on V.P. Records. Here the dancehall roots singer responsible for Certified Boomshots like “Call The Hearse” and “Fire Pon a Weakheart” talks about how Steelie & Clevie first christened his Bushman—and why never used to love the name, until he checked the levels…
GREETINGS BUSHMAN. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO PETER TOSH?
Well Peter Tosh has been a great influence in my life roundabout. Ever since a child, being around my dad—which is a Rastaman—you know, these are some of the prominent songs which he played, from Peter. So it’s a thing that grow on me.
WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN, WHEN PEOPLE CALL SOMEONE BUSH MAN OR BUSH DOCTOR?
Well, the Bushman in Africa is known as the medicine man. In Jamaica he’s known as the Bushman same way. Our foreparents prominently known to use herbs of the field, different bushes for different sickness. We never used to run to the doctor for certain things. In Jamaica we have a lot of different bushes for different purposes. That’s why you have the root man who boil the good roots now weh give you a sexual stimulation and also give you a vibrant, vital body because of the different roots weh you drink. So Bushman really stems from the medicine man. You know? And then ganja is one of the great medicine also, so Peter Tosh was called the Bush Doctor. A man that really influenced my life.
YOU WEREN’T ALWAYS CALLED BUSHMAN WERE YOU?
I used to be called Junior Melody, and also Junior Buckley. Because Michale Buckley is an influence also. He’s a dancehall artist who sing some nice dubplates and thing.
SO WHO GIVE YOU THE NAME BUSHMAN?
The name Bushman was given to me by my first producers, Steely & Clevie. And I never really liked the name you know. At first I thought it was ridiculous, because I was a man coming from the country, and most of the time when you come from country come to town they call you “country bwoy.” So the nickname Bushman to me, I thought it was ridiculous.
YOU KINDA FELT ‘A WAY’ ABOUT IT…
Yeah, but based on research I found out that the aboriginals in Australia were called the Bushman tribe. And in the north of Africa you have a Bushman tribe also. And then the Bush Doctor too.
I WONDER IF STEELY & CLEVIE KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WHEN THEY CALLED YOU THAT?
Yeah, well to me it was ordained.
HOW CAN YOU BRING PETER TOSH INTO THE YEAR 2011?
Yeah. Well, one aspect is watering the root of the tree. Keeping the contemporary music alive. Peter Tosh is one of the pioneer who also gave I a chance to be someone in the music and to get a platform to express myself. I think Peter Tosh is one of the man which is less spoken of. Most people can link Bob Marley to the music. But Peter done a great job also. So I feel it’s in my best interest to remind people of Peter Tosh. It’s introducing me to a different market, and maybe some Bushman fans who don’t know or who forgot about Peter, their mind will be refreshed.
WHAT CAN TODAY’S ARTISTS LEARN FROM PETER TOSH?
Freedom of speech. He’s a man who exercise the rights for freedom of speech. He comment on the life of the people, social commentary, the daily problems which affects us every day. And I think we have some things in common, cause that’s how I see it. I remember in an interview when he said “My music doesn’t teach people to ‘get down.’ My music teaches people to get up, stand up, and fight for your rights.”
THAT SENTIMENT IS RIGHT ON TIME AT THIS TIME.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TOSH SONG THAT’S NOT ON THE ALBUM?
Two tracks I wanted to do which I didn’t get a chance to do, are “Nuclear War” and “The Day The Dollar Die” which is another significant track for the recession.
WHAT ELSE IS GOOD?
We’ve got Tarrus Riley on the album, and we also feature Buju Banton—a next outspoken artist. “Maaga Dog” is more like a mento so it really brings a nice essence to the album. And “Brand New Second Hand” is rock steady, so the project really shows the changes of the music too, where the music really derives from. Takes you through the stages. A powers man, is a powers. Nuff energy. I hope the people support it.