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Burning Spear a Free Man

Reggae legend launches label, independence

June 2, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Thirty-five years in the music business have taught Burning Spear that taking care of his own business is good business. The reggae legend (a.k.a. Winston Rodney) claims that he's never seen any accounting for his record sales, so he recently took matters into his own hands and started his own label, Burning Spear Records.

"A lot of things encouraged me to start my label," he says. "I think it's very important for an artist to know how many records they've sold and where they've sold. I know that I have never been treated the way I'm supposed to be treated -- like an artist. That's why I do things for myself. I feel like I'm a free man."

Having recently secured distribution through MRI/Ryko, Burning Spear has set about re-releasing the bulk of his back catalog, with Resistance (1984), People of the World (1986), Living Dub Volume 2 (1993) and Rasta Business (1995) already in stores, and Living Dub Volume 1 (1979), Live at Montreaux (2001) and Free Man (2003) set for release on August 31st.

In addition to the flurry of re-released material, Burning Spear is at work on a new album, which will likely include a song with the chorus of "come now people try again" that is now serving as his answering-machine message. And the idea of signing other artists is still in play. "You never can tell when you're building something," he says. "Anything can happen."

Burning Spear's summer tour kicks off next week in Cleveland and will continue through a September 19th gig in New York's Central Park.

Burning Spear tour dates:

6/12: Cleveland, Peabody's
6/13: Manchester, TN, Bonnaroo
6/16: Ithaca, NY, The Haunt
6/17: Northampton, MA, Pearl Street
6/19: Angels Camp, CA, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
6/22: New Haven, CT, Toads Place
6/23: Providence, RI, Lupo's
6/24: Brooklyn, NY, Celebrate Brooklyn
6/25: Seaside Park, NJ, The Green Room
6/26: Washington D.C., 9:30 Club
6/27: Farmingdale, NY, The Downtown
6/29: Milwaukee, WI, Summerfest
7/1: Toronto, York Event Theatre
7/3: Amagnsett, NY, Stephen Talkhouse
7/5: Nantucket, MA, The Muse
7/7: Oak Bluffs, MA, Atlantic Connection
7/8: Hyannis, MA, Pufferbellies
7/10: Masontown, WV, All Good Summer Festival
7/12: Albany, NY, Washington Park
7/13: Lewes, DE, AJ's Brewing
7/14: Ocean City, MD, St. Mary's
7/16: Pittsburgh, The World
7/17: Detroit, Concert of Colors
7/22: Norfolk, VA, The Norva
7/24: Union Grove, NC, Smilefest
7/25: Kill Devil, NC, The Pit
7/27: Tallahassee, FL, Beta Bar
7/28: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Culture Room
7/30: Jacksonville, FL, Freebird Cafe
7/31: St. Petersburg, FL, Jannus Landing
8/4: Taos, NM, El Taoseno
8/5: Bond, CO, State Bridge Lodge
8/6: Steamboat Springs, CO, Level Z
8//7: Denver, CO, Gothic Theatre
8/8: Ft. Collins, CO, Aggie Theater
8/9: Boulder, CO Fox Theater
8/11: Teton Village, WY, Mangy Moose Saloon
8/12: Sandpoint, ID, Panida Theatre
8/13: Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay
8/14: Park City, UT, The Forum at the Canyons
8/18: Scottsdale, AZ, The Venue of Scottsdale
8/19: Flagstaff, AZ, The Orpheum Theater
8/20: Anaheim, CA, House of Blues
8/21: Lake Tahoe, CA, Truckee
8/22: Los Angeles, House of Blues
8/24: Santa Barbara, CA, 634
8/25: San Diego, The Belly Up
8/26: Santa Cruz, CA, TBA
8/27: San Francisco, Slim's
8/28: San Francisco, Slim's
9/2: Portland, OR, Roseland Theater
9/3: Seattle, WA, Bumbershoot Festival
9/5: Victoria, BC, Centennial Square
9/6: Tofino, BC, The Legion
9/7: Whistler, BC, Buffalo Bill's
9/8: Nelson, BC, Fluid Lounge
9/19: New York, Central Park Summerstage

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