Linking the Caribbean to the World! Thursday - Jan 18, 2018

An Interview with Richie “Bassie” Daley of Third World

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It’s ridiculously easy to take a band like Third World for granted. After all, they’ve been here forever, almost as long as reggae music itself. With 40 years of recording and performing under their belts, their longevity is matched only by bands like the Rolling Stones and the Wailers.

That fact came sharply into focus last month with the passing of the band’s beloved lead singer William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke. When the news broke, it was piercing. The majestic, spirited voice that powered anthems such as “1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade)” and “Now That We’ve Found Love” was gone. When the collective grief among reggae fans eventually subsided, the questioned remained: what was left for the band. What next?

During Rugs’ leave of absence to recover from his illness, leukemia, the band recruited singer AJ Brown to take up the duties of lead vocalist, so it seemed likely that he would continue in the role. Still, one had to wonder: how was the band coping? How could they carry on?

We recently sat down with Richie “Bassie” Daley, bassist and founding member of the legendary band to gain some insight into the path the band takes from here. During our conversation, he reflected on the band’s origin during the formative days of reggae music and of course, on the life of his dear friend, Bunny Rugs.

In the course of our conversation, Daley spoke about some of the band’s first big shows outside of Jamaica, and gave us insight into how it has felt to serve as self-described “reggae ambassadors.”

Success in the world of pop music is an achievement that is denied to many bands, especially those in a genre that has traditionally been as niche as reggae. However, Third World has been able to pull this off repeatedly through several crossover hits such as “Now That We Found Love” and “Forbidden Love”.

Though this has garnered the band criticism on occasion from reggae purists, it has served to introduce audiences around the world to reggae who might not have otherwise taken an interest in the genre. Through it all – the smash hits, world tours and creative evolution – Third World was able to keep going at a pace more steady than most of their peers by becoming more than just a band, explains Daley.

“We started out as a band and we ended up as a family,” said Daley. “The development of other members’ children is just as significant as our own.”

After laying Rugs to rest in February in Jamaica, the band now turns its attention to completing its new album “Under the Midnight Sun” in honor of the singer, touring, and the recording of yet another album with younger reggae stars before the end of the year, even as they still mourn. According to Daley, there’s still more work to be done, as he would love to hear reggae on mainstream radio stations around the world. As it stands however, the music of Third World has changed the world of music, a fact that is not lost on Daley or the rest of the band. In many ways, it’s what keeps them pushing forward.

“We have moved the goal posts during this game… [Reggae] has come a long way,” says Daley. “I can’t say it was a journey in vain.”