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Peter Tosh: The Stepping Razor

Peter Murphy (British), International Musician & Recording World, July 1981

PETER TOSH has a self-made reputation as a hardman. His songs proclaim, "I'm the toughest", "I'm a Stepping Razor...I'm dangerous". He also has a habit of obscuring himself behind welder's goggles, an impenetrable patois and a ganja smoke-screen to frustrate journalists. Maybe the jet-lag has mellowed him, because I find a friendly and courteous man draped across a London hotel bed. He sometimes uses apocalyptic Rastafarian terminology describing issues he feels passionately about but is open and at pains to make sure I understand him clearly. We speak only weeks after Bob Marley's death. Tosh has made it known he doesn't like to talk about it but he touches upon this as well as his relationship with the Rolling Stones. He instantly puts me in mind of Nigeria's Fela Anikulapo-Kuti — a brotherhood Tosh is happy to acknowledge, he loves Fela's music, as do many Jamaican musicians. They certainly share physical courage; Tosh, too, has frequently been brutalised at the hands of the authorities and continues to speak out undaunted. They both have a similar charm behind their equally intimidating reputations.

Total word count of piece: 2801


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