Roger Steffens “Reggae Obsession”
Happy 70th Birthday Ras Rojah
Many know Roger Steffens from his video lectures/tours about Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, or from his “Reggae Beat” radio show and magazine. Steffens co-hosted Reggae Beat on KCRW from 1979 until 1987, and Reggae Beat International from 1983 until 1987, which was syndicated internationally to 130 stations. He has toured to many parts of the globe to give his lectures and multi-media presentation on the Life of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. He has also contributed to countless music anthologies as a writer and photographer. But to many of us, Roger is know for his generosity, kindness, and willingness to share with reggae fans his rare audio and video gems that fill his massive reggae archives. If fate or luck or whatever works your way, it’s a beautiful day if you get to visit his archives. (Big thanks to his wife Mary for putting up with all us fanatic fans)
Please read wikipedia for more information on Roger and visit his site Roger Steffens Reggae Archives, because roger’s life is so full of interesting achievements and people he has met I can’t write about it all here. Two interesting things many reggae fans don’t know about Roger is how he saved George Segals ass at the climax of movie Rollercoaster (he was the radio technician that jammed the bombers signal) or that he was close friends with fellow veteran and one of my favorite comedians/actors John Ritter. His mind seems like a steel trap, ready to open and share his memories. I remember a comment my brother made after I took him to meet Roger at his house. He said “Roger is like a encyclopedia. He knows everything”.
The list of visitors to his house and archives is testament to the importance of his knowledge and massive rare collection. I love that all the members of Bob Marley’s band the Wailers have visited, plus a countless list of other artists and reggae fans. The real topper and probably Roger’s most important visitor to him was Rolling Stone guitarist and reggae lover Kieth Richards. A Rolling Stone in your house….Wazzza!!!
I have not been to Roger’s archive since he moved from his old house by Echo Park. Back in college, I would visit him with my arms full of double tape decks. I am happy to have donated some material to his archive knowing that he will share it with folks around the globe. I treasure the time I got to spend chillin’ and learning about Jamaican music history, and hearing his stories about interviewing people like Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Lee Perry. Give thanks to Roger for all he has done to promote Jamaican Music all these years.
Happy EarthStrong to ya Rojah!!
Here is a special Tribute Video I made.