Bogus Investor Derails Tosh Tribute Set
A planned tribute album honoring late reggae star Peter Tosh, and set to include contributions from Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Ben Harper, and former members of Guns 'N Roses, is in danger of being dA planned tribute album honoring late reggae star Peter Tosh, and set to include contributions from Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Ben Harper, and former members of Guns 'N Roses, is in danger of being derailed after an allegedly bogus investor passed the project's organizer a bad check.
After posting advertisements seeking investors on various Web sites, album organizer Mike Malott said he was contacted via email by a man named George Erlingson Johnson, who claimed to be an Australian of Aboriginal descent. With Johnson promising to fund the album's entire $150,000 production budget, Malott has spent the past months securing commitments from ex-Guns 'N Roses members Matt Sorum, Slash, and Duff McKagan, Harper, Garcia, Clapton, Tosh's son, Andrew, Cypress Hill, Bad Brains, and others.
According to Malott, when Johnson's check finally arrived recently, it was for $250,000 -- instead of the agreed upon $150,000 -- and it carried the logo and address for Canadian pharmaceutical company Novex. Immediately suspicious, Malott and his local bank did a little investigating, and learned that Novex knew nothing about the check and had never heard of Johnson, leaving the album in dire straits.
The as-yet-untitled tribute is a benefit aimed at funding the construction of a medical clinic and library carrying Tosh's name in the rural Jamaican village of Belmont. Malott also hopes to raise funds to help complete the construction of a museum honoring Tosh. In the mid '90s, work on the museum began and was abandoned after only the shell of the building was built on Tosh's mother's property in Belmont.
Thus far, Malott says he has secured Garcia's version of "Stop That Train," Clapton's take on "What 'Chu Gonna Do?" (recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1974 and featuring Tosh himself on backing vocals), the Motels' Martha Davis doing "Pick Myself Up" acoustically, Harper's rendition of "I Am That I Am," a version of "Legalize It" from Cypress Hill, Bad Brains' "African," the Kinsey Report's take on "Johnny B Goode," Andrew Tosh's "Get Up, Stand Up," Bob Andy's "The Toughest," Eddie Fitzroy's "Burial," and Jimmie Vaughan's version of "Stepping Razor."
He's still in negotiations with the GNR members, Maxi Priest, and Lucky Dube, and will also have a song from Lasana Bandele.
To help raise awareness of and funding for the project, Malott has acquired a number of autographed items, including photos, CDs, and guitars, from the likes of No Doubt, Keith Richards, and Chrissie Hynde that he plans to auction off with the help of an Atlanta radio station next month.
After gaining fame as a member of Bob Marley's Wailers -- co-writing and singing on the classic "Get Up, Stand Up" -- Tosh (born Winston Hubert McIntosh) launched a solo career that turned him into an international reggae star. Tragically, he was shot dead by a friend in his Kingston home on Sept. 11, 1987.
Shortly thereafter, the studio album he completed just before his death, "No Nuclear War," was released carrying the song "Lesson In My Life," in which he warned "always be careful of my friends, be careful of my friends." Six classic Tosh titles, including "No Nuclear War" and "Mama Africa," were reissued with bonus tracks last summer by EMI.