Everton Blender Interview
Interview and Photography by Diane Adam (2000)
Diane Adam: I'm sitting here with Everton Blender in San Francisco. (With more excitement) EVERTON BLENDER!!! So beautiful to be able to talk with you.
EB: Yeah, yeah!! (Smiling) Beautiful dem people have such a nice warm welcome, I like dem vibes, you know?
DA: Everton, let's reminisce a bit. Do you recall when you performed in Berkeley's Martin Luther King Park in 1997?
EB: Yes! I remember.
DA: Nuff people came out for your performance. Though I had heard your music before, it was my first time to see your live show! I must admit that I am very moved by your recordings and your live performances. Rastafarian roots music like yours has had a profound effect on my life...my writing...my photography...everything I do come with Rastafari!
EB: That's great, just hold on and naw let go O.K?
DA: Everton, can you tell me a little bit about your background Everton? I heard that before you got involved in the music you started out as a carpenter, was it?
EB: Like a painter, a spray painter, yeah. Like from the time I was a youth, six years of age going to private school. I sing still, but its like, through none of dem days your parents never really reach or think 'bout sing, not even thinking of tomorrow, you know? Like dey say, "Bouy, you know the teacher say da youth dere can really sing, go send him to music school." Instead, dem just look at it. So going on now and graduate school...and in those days you graduate at 15... so me graduate school at a young age and no one have the money to go on to a big college. But dem teach us common sense, right? So me always see my schoolmates and schoolmates always tell me to sing dem lyrics and me always say, "Me can't sing again man!" And dey say, "What you mean, you can't sing again when in school you use to sing?" So me start sing for dem! And dey say, "Youth, you can sing you know! Keep it up! No let nobody dash it away" and me hold me turn and you have one on one and dey say, "Youth, you can sing. Now, inna those days you have Sugar Minott, John Holt, Ken Booth, Michael Prophet, Johnny Clarke and most of those singers me grow up with, you nah see it?
DA: Yes Ras!
EB: Tony Tuff, Philip Frazer...a lot of these bredren, you know! In my days, when nothing bother to go on for me in dat times, there were these kind of youth we use to know and flex so, and even use to man like Big Youth and use to listen to Pinchers, 'caa all of we grow up in Kingston 13. Then one on one dey say, "Buoy dis little youth can sing" and I was doing decorating work, wall work like this kind of work here (gazing up at the ceiling stucco design) and also I put some shine stuff there so when you turn the lights off you can see some stars twinkle. So we use to do some good and interesting work. But Jah did give me the voice to sing! And me never did really take it that seriously...you know, just a tune to make me feel like...there was more things in it...Jah guide me as a Prophet for me to do his work out there. But me never really use to see so far in those times, you know?
DA: I feel you.
EB: So 'bout 1979, I did a song called "Where Is Love" and then in 1980, I went into the country and then in 1985, I did a song entitled, "Ba Ba Black Sheep" then in late 1991-92, I come with "Create A Sound."
DA: Can you sing a little of the lyrics from "Where Is Love"
EB: Ahhh...I don't know if I can (laughing). Well, a little part went so:
Where is Love, ohh Love
Where is Love, ohh Love
No Love we cannot find
It seems we have left it behind
You walking with your knife to take your brothers life
Walking with your gun to shoot your brother down
You don't know when the right time come
Only Jah know it a go dread and some
Where is Love, ohh Love
Where is Love, ohh
DA: That's beautiful!
EB: Yes, "Where is Love" was the first song I did on the street and the second one was...
DA: "Ba, Ba Black Sheep"
EB: Yes! And it a go:
Ba, ba black sheep have you any wool
Yes sir, yes sir three bags are full
One for the master
One for the master's friend
One for Babylon
None for the poor man who needs it most
The poor man have to fight it the hard way
If you are not strong, you shall go astray
And that is why
the poor have to cry
And that is why
the poor people have to cry
If I was a dove and I could fly
I would fly to the sky....
EB: (Laughing) That's it!
DA: I was really getting into it. You have a lovely voice Everton.
EB: Thank you very much.
DA: Everton, I'm so thankful that you follow Jah spirit inside you and continue to sing.
DA: I've been listening to your music since the recording, "Piece of The Blender". Everton, how did you get the name Blender?
EB: 'Ere how it 'appened now! When I was living in Kingston, we use to sing a lot of sounds. We use to sing on sounds like Papa Leo, Aqua, Sound Test, Stereo Miles. So a lot of dem days, we use to go up on (Lindo's Road) at night time so ('caa when we go up, we have to take a sound called Papa Leo) so we use to sing a lot and mash up the place! So dem say, this little bredren can sing, so dey say dem want a name for me, because in those days they use to call me Bue-Bah-Ru.
DA: (Smiling) Bue-Bah-Ru?
EB: Yeah (Laughing). Others name me, naw want to sing with Bue-Bah-Rue you know, but in dem times they had names like Madu, Sadu and you 'ave Badu, so me never really wan' bring myself as Bue-Bah-Ru.
DA: What does Bue-Bah-Ru mean?
EB: I don't really remember what it means (smiling) but it means something "good" in an African language.
EB: So, this bredren now want to give me a new name, so we deh-deh (there) and we puzzle and we puzzle about what kind of new name they gon' give me. So, same time one of dem say, "TOASTER" man! So me a say, no sir! Toaster now sound like a DJ you know, it better we say Blender. So, the name just stuck.
DA: So you made a song after that called, "Piece of The Blender". And you often refer to yourself by name in your songs, where you sing, "Blend dem, this is Everton Blender" (Laughing at attempt to sing).
EB: (Joining in the laughter) Yeah! Caa' sometime we 'ave to tell dem about the tribulations in life you 'ave to go through, even of yourself. Because sometimes when you sing all these songs it goes out to peoples hearts and even some of these things happen to some of these people and they walk so many miles before they reach home and because they not an artist or a book writer where they could put it on paper or put it on vinyl or something like that. But they 'ave tings inside where dem don't like to speak out or because no one really check dem and say, "Buoy, speak out what you have in mind!" You know? 'Cause in dis time its red you know, and no one come knock at your door and say, "Who hungry today?" You know? So you say, you try to live a life for yourself and try to do 'tings for yourself. It must be a good friend when you need something and they come and heed you. In this time most of the people are for dem selves. When you down, you down and they don't try to help you.
DA: So very true.
EB: Like the other day, I was hearing about this singer. It's like dem say they get broke and never have no money or something like that and Stevie Wonder put on one NICE show! And just BIG HIM UP back! So these are the things we should be doing. Working together.
DA: Everton, I know that you have been singing for some time now, but you really came to my attention through the Star Trail Family with Richard Bell.
EB: Yes. We give thanks that you know that we meet Startrail. But one and one 'ave to move on 'caa that how it a go. One and one 'ave to move on 'caa there is a higher level...and for me...I am working to that higher level. Can't stay 'pon a lower level. Although, we do know that we have a low and a high still, but at the same time, you coming from the low reaching to the high and you really don't want to go back 'pon the low. But same time, you can go back 'pon the low and stay 'pon the high because if an individual needed to talk with you, and you might say him not in your category, YOU CAN SPEND A TIME AND TALK TO HIM! You can sit 'pon the sidewalk and say, "What you a say?" Sitting down to the lowest level with him but you still is not of the lowest, you of the highest. But really true you high of the highs, you don't have no disrespect. THE ALMIGHTY IS THE HIGHEST OF THE HIGH and him never disrespect no way. Anytime we call upon him, he always answers we! So we have to be like our Father, which is in Zion, so we can't do certain things. We naw gone say me perfect, still? But certain 'tings...me try to hold off of it, so that we can see a better tomorrow...family could strive.
DA: One of your trademarks Everton is that you are: "The Family Man". How is that important to you? Because a lot of people may feel separated from their families in different ways like divorce or relationships just not working out...how important has family been in your life?
EB: Well, its important! Because at the same time, sometimes if you choose to live by yourself, and you don't have no...I wouldn't say you don't have any problems...but you can solve that, but you're doing something...it's not identifying anything...you just a flex through, you know say, flex and dem little things there you go through, you know? It couldn't work. But, you know you have the kids and it's like certain responsibilities and you are the King-man, and you hold a certain responsibility, so you can't fulfill it like a little stray-a-way youth or a little youth who is giddy-headed. You have to think upon a higher level because you have the kids dem. So, it gives you more interesting things to do then when you just sitting out there idling, you see me a say? When you're out there idle...IS LIKE YOU JUST IDLE! Even get a girl pregnant and never look for her...
DA: Yes, I know a song that you sing about how a man gets a girl pregnant and never looks for her after that. Then the girl takes up the youth and brings him up and then the youth grows up and the man say, "Hey, that dere me youth, you know!"
EB: Yes! Yes...all right! And don't know the youth eat! It's just the Empress alone put out. But sometimes it runs both ways. Because sometimes the ladies dem run left the youth with the man too. But it's because they aren't any good. Because no woman running from good and, if you deal her right, she naw gone run from good when she love you. But most of this business now going on it's like dem don't really make up dem mind before dem know each other. And you have to make up your mind and know what you're doing before. It's a vibe...a natural vibe. That's why me let my spirituality over my physical. So if there's anything...me can (smiling) correct it!
DA: Everton, is there something special about family values that you are trying to get across to the bredren & sistren listening to your music?
EB: Yes. Because family values are very important because the girls and the youth of today is the woman and the man of tomorrow. So, we have to make sure that we have them right! Bredren and bredren, we have to grow up together as one family. That mean say, if it's one dumpling, you have to go share. So it's a vibe, you know where you coming from. The ladies dem now, same way, you have to learn to hold tribulation...although enough of dem naw hold tribulation, 'caa if you dere with a man and he naw do nothing and he naw find some things, he gone and you gone, you know? That's why some of these young ladies stay right...and me naw really fight them 'caa hunger is a hot something. When a man hungry and him can't find no food, you see what I say?
DA: Yes, I do.
EB: At the same time, we don't know say how it a go...it's all in life. Behind that dark cloud is a silver lining. And whenever there is a storm, after the storm, there is calm. You know? So we need to just live good and 'ave love inna we heart and when we see a bredren or a sistren and it's like dem striving more than you, and it look like nothing a go on for you. And in that same sense, you try feh bad mind dem...you know? But you just hold the vibe because you know that your time will come. Because everyone in the world couldn't drive...imagine everyone in the world 'ave a car...ahhhh! That would be a time.
DA: So, just wait on your time.
EB: Yes sistren. Just wait on your time to come.
DA: Everton, let's talk about your last album, Rootsman Credentials on Heartbeat Records. Can you tell us about the origins of the title?
EB: Yes, Well in fact, I was going to give it the title of "Ghetto Peoples Song" but then after a while now, I get to find out no say, the man's credentials is within the roots. So, we decide to just give it that name. And hey, it's a nice name, because I'm the Rootsman with the credentials here!
DA: Are you working on a new project?
EB: Yes, I'm working on a next album also and it's supposed to be out in March 2001 on Heartbeat Records.
DA: Everton, you have your own label called Blend Dem Productions, right?
DA: Are you putting out any new albums on your own label?
EB: Yes, there are some songs out doing very well. Because, since I came up here, I have a bredren tell me he hear some of the songs, 'caa I 'ave me little daughter Isha Blender and we have Anthony B and George Nooks singing with me...
DA: It's like a compilation of different artists?
EB: Yeah, it 'ave Everton Blender, Beenie Man and even some combinations with me and Anthony B, so we have some good projects coming out this year. In dis a 2000 it's TROUBLE! When I say trouble, I mean good trouble! Musical trouble!!!
DA: Everton, I know that Rastafari is a very important part of your life and music. Can you tell us how Rasta livity guides your life?
EB: Well, right now you see Rasta is a natural thing! It's an inborn concept in life you know? Because inna dem days when nothing never really go on and me just suffer on and 'nuff people use to say, "Buoy, through me a see Selassie I, that's why nothing naw go on for me and I have to stop praise Selassie I.
EB: Yeah! But 'dis man prove 'imself to me a lot of times you know! And me a say, me can't afford to leave this man! So me at the workplace, the same place where I do the same painting work and me hear a voice come to me and say, "Everton Blender! Give you a voice to sing you know and yah dey a so upon 'dis work here. (Lowering his voice to a whisper) I no disrespect no work because by the sweat of man's brow a man shall eat his bread. But me give you a voice to sing! WHAT YOU A DO HERE SO, ME GWAN TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU IF YOU NO LEFT!" So, when me hear the voice talk to me now and through me know me love my singing and him say if me no left, him gone take back me voice and give it to one who know how go 'bout the work -- me just leave the work! And me dere 'pon de road about three weeks and nothin' naw go on! You know say before, every week me used to getting a little money. Naw get no food and 'ting now. So me go so now BOOM and run back to the workplace and tell dem, "Buoy, me love back me work" you know? Because, I do something I never really too know what me a do.
DA: Yes, I see you...you didn't plan it out.
EB: Yeah! All right! So, the bredren look 'pon me and tell me a say, buoy him can't help me because him never see me stay so long from work. If me sick, within a week or three, four days, a message reach to dem that I no feel good and me naw come to work. But they naw HEAR NOTHING! So dem think me go a foreign. So me say, so quick? And dem say, "What you mean man, you have a good voice and dem can hear yah man and carry you go to foreign." Anyway, me naw say nothing. Me just know say that me upon the world now and just ask Jah and beg him to help me and give me the lyrics to bust. Long time me no business and no bust out so, I beg him to give me a tune. Trust me now, me under stress! But me do have faith and me get 'pon the road and walk until me just hear a voice come to me and say, "Inna just a come, long time me a de're and a Jah Jah son..." - melody and everything! Me just hold that little area there and me go home and work 'pon it, and show dem, "Many time we flex past the bad boys gun by the power of Jah they never shoot I down." Because ghetto we grow up in now see me a say, Gully Bank and dem 'ting there. So, when we a come through now, use to have some man stand a way and (making a motion to draw gun), but a man say, "Naw, naw! Article brother Blender! So dem man just put down the gun and stay so, and me just go through. So all of dem little 'tings now me put in and show dem now say, "The longer you live, the more you learn. The harder you work, I know you will earn." So, I show dem say, "The heights I reach I shall surely keep (you see me a say), Jah is the shepherd and I am the sheep." So, gon' show dem right away say inna de business where you a work, the more you live, the more you learn and the harder you work towards what you want (your goal) YOU'LL GET IT! Then I go forward now and the last verse say, "Experience teaches wisdom of the Father to make a wise son. Slow to anger, quick to reason, so everything under da sun have a season." And you know that song really helped me, it really put me out there where people recognize me.
DA: Beautiful poetry in that song.
EB: Even same time, when dem song 'dere release, "When a just a come" - trust me, the first time it come on IRIE-FM it three time dem play it and me shout out HIS Majesty's name three time and right after that it's pure lighting and thunder and rain for one week straight! So when a man think say me just come so, it just how me come, but when a man just come stand up for me and say "me" a help Blender, see me a say, NO! IT JAH HIMSELF! See me a say, JAH HIMSELF! That's why it's no mistake me get certain fight. Because me suppose to go to Japan right, and when I was suppose to be in Japan it's like dem carry a next artist, and no bother carry me. 'Caa it a friend 'ting that sometime run de business right?
DA: Yes, lots of time it run like that!
EB: Dem say it might be a long time dem are the roughnecks. So, dem plan to take the next artist but him no go. One bag of money dem give this artist! Because at Japan Splash they pay good money, right? True dem don't want me to hold so much money, they don't let me go! So, they fight against me and carry another singer and this singer no go. Enough of dem quake up when dem see the singer no go. Judgment reach dem and lick up dem head! And the next day when me fe go now, true dem done pay the singer already, the singer say him a go dat year. Show you how the vibe go -- him still ending up couldn't go! See? So him take the people money and never go. And this year when me fe go they say, "Buoy, him a go because him keep my money already. So me never really fight it because everything 'appen is Jah works. Certain things me no really too fight it down. Because sometimes you see you have a disappointment, you no bother worry yourself, 'caa 'nuff time me 'pon the road and drive and its like you give it a punch, so you punch it for a minute and at the same time you set up yourself to take a half hour or an hour for more important things and by the time you reach de yard the man just a come! So if you had gone before he wouldn't deh-deh (be there) you have to go wait 'pon him and probably some man that him a see just drive way and no bother stop at him yard so him might catch an attitude. So Jah just don't make me come!
DA: So he can just cool down by the time you get there...
EB: All right! Yeah!
DA: Yeah, I feel you because I work on an spiritual clock and I try to follow it even when it's not on everyone else's time and it always works out!
EB: It's just the vibe, you have to have it that way so someone cannot study you!
DA: That's very true. Because they can't figure out how you flex.
EB: Yeah, like you walk that way to come and you walk another way to go. That's why it's good for an Empress to have a good spiritual King-head on a level where they know everything is irie.
DA: Everton, let's talk about the Empresses out there who listen to your music and other cultural Reggae music. When you go to live concerts, it appears that the men out number the ladies wide away. Even on stage you don't see that many female performers in Reggae music. Granted, we see many backup vocalists but not headliners. So, there is no clear image for women to relate and look up to. Now, there are a few article sistren, like Sister Carol. But, Everton, from a male perspective, what do you think about the lack of female performers in Reggae Roots and Culture music?
EB: Well, right now, most of the ladies dem in the music now, some say dem give a lot of trouble 'caa if you do some recording with dem and put dem out some of dem get pregnant and can't go up on the show again.
DA: (Looking surprised) You really believe that's why?
EB: Well, it may not be the base of the thing...I've heard some other producers say by the time they reach certain things, dem go have a youth and that's nine month's out of the business and by the time dem come back again (caa' we naw gone tell you to take birth control and control the youth) but by the time some come back, dem get bust again and you do two little tune and 'ave to go on a tour or what have you and she get pregnant again. So, it's a vibes and most of these promoters now are not dealing with the ladies right. I don't know...it's like dem up to something else rather than just the music. So, most of the times the ladies have to go through a lot of tribulations to go forward. So it's very hard and that's why you don't see most of dem but by de help of Jah 'nuff of dem gon' rise 'caa we can't disrespect Mama Nature, you understand me a say. Because Mama Nature brings forth the fruits on the Earth. Mama Nature she bring the kids and 'tings so we can't disrespect Mama Nature, so we have to just love Mama Nature and work with her and know that when the right time come, Mama Nature is with you, you see me a say. "Caa we naw disrespect the ladies dem. 'Caa dem a get big! And when they get big they will remember you, just like you deal with dem 'caa dem have heart and feelings and blood same way. So when you deal with her properly, set an example and show her what is love, she will accept that.
DA: Everton, is there anything special that you would like to convey to the people about your work or something you would like to reflect to the people about yourself.
EB: Well, right here now the whole thing we have to say is more to show the people IanI. Because dem come to show us peace and dem don't give you no love. Dem tell you about peace. You see now peace, love and justice? The three of dem work together, so dem tell you about peace but where is the love and justice? We don't have that. But they just keep talking about peace, peace, peace, peace...you know? So the people have to just wise up and keep focus and know that the vampire will come your way between the night and between the day so you should really have that spiritual level between yourself and know that when you tested and come them stumble and fell, see me a say? So you just have to hold that vibe so that the wicked dem come, dem stumble and fell and not really hold dem vibes to make the wicked dem come in, come capture you. Caa' enough man a say, "Appears that good people are dead and pure wicked man live." You mad! It never so! If Jah have to make the whole of dem good people dead off and pure wicked people left inna de world you know what is going to happen? JUDGMENT! So Jah never let dat happen! We want to live out the wicked! So all the one and ones out dere... girls and boys, kings and queens, ladies and gents, man and woman - we let dem know say, you have to be strong within yourself...you have to know what you are doing. You can't just be inna de world and not know what you a do. That's why Iman did ask for wis-wise, knowledge and overstanding, just like how Solomon did deal with it. Because me get to find out it naw make sense you don't have the wis-wise, knowledge and overstanding. Because if you get a bag of money today it just done tomorrow because you didn't have any wis-wise, you didn't have any knowledge and you didn't have any overstanding to deal with it. So, it's just lost, just like that! You have to have a vibes and know to go through...
DA: Thank you Everton so much, I'm so glad I got a chance to talk to you.
EB: Blessed Love and stay sweet. Everton Blender say him love you all! May Jah guide and protect you in your going out and your coming in from this time forth even for Iver more. Rastafari!
Interview conducted on December 9, 2000 in San Francisco, California - all rights reserved by Diane Adam (2000