When award-winning directors such as Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme pass a project that is eventually offered to you, you have got to wonder about what you may be singing up for. Yet Kevin McDonald, the director of documentary “Marley” feels that he was simply destined to be the man to tell the unforgettable story of the life and times of Jamaican born international star, Bob Marley.
Destiny or not, in order to take on and complete a documentary on the fascinating life of the reggae star considered by many as the first superstar from a third-world country, McDonald had to secure not only the support and cooperation of the Marley family, but also some key collaborators and friends.
One of the collaborators featured in the movie is Virginia resident, Jamaican-born and London raised musician and composer Junior Marvin (aka Donald Hanson Marvin Jr.), who was the Wailers lead guitarist from 1977 until Marley’s death in 1981. Marvin is in the unique position to answer what many have wondered: how fair is the movie to the man? “There were a lot of things left out…a great part of the story was not told but after watching the movie there was enough there to let you know what Bob was pretty much like as a human being, as a musician, as a father.” In this case, enough seems more than plenty.
Confident and comfortable in his knowledge and fond memories of Marley – or Bob, as he fondly calls him -a very fit Marvin, who is still recording, performing and going on tour with his own band, is generous about sharing his memories of being the lead Wailer guitarist.
A musician by birth and training, Marvin began his music studies under the care of his Aunt Nenem, who was a professor of music and a Marcus Garvey follower (a figure that Junior still admires to this day). He learned to play the piano before he could talk but did not pick up his first guitar until he saw Elvis Presley playing Jail House Rock. “That’s all I wanted to do…if you play guitar you get the girl.”