Kavelle Anglin-Christie, Staff Reporter
Tra la la la welcome the outlaw ...
'Unexpected' isn't the term you use when a veteran reggae artiste's ringtone is R. Kelly's rap single, Go-getter. It's more than that, but for now that's what we'll use. During the course of the interview as Vandorne Johnson, aka Terry Ganzie, aka 'The Outlaw', recounts the many struggles he overcame in his career, it becomes obvious why he likes the song.
During the early '90s, Terry Ganzie pitched his voice above his rivals with songs such as Welcome The Outlaw, Raga-Raga and Treat You Woman Right, but this cowboy pulled his lyrical pistolero too late and was outgunned by deejays who were gruffer at the lip.
You are often seen wearing cowboy clothes, but then you're also a Rastafarian. Can we call you a Rasta cowboy?
(Laughing) Is a title 'Outlaw' that mi get from way back. Like how Supercat was the 'Wild Apache', Bounty is the 'Warlord', Brigadier is the 'General', people call you by a certain song you do, so I guess I am a black Rasta cowboy.
You were at one point involved in a lyrical battle with Bounty Killer. How did that play out?
Bounty a di Warlord and him get a reward fi hunt 'The Outlaw'. There is no bad vibe now, but him did come wid a vibe like him waah tek on every artiste. Him run up inna me and a likkle vibe happen, but it wasn't anything wha me endorse. When the lion a sleep and you trouble him him a go wrath. Me and him hold a vibe and we buck up inna Miami, but itdid start a Waltham. So in Miami, him draw one lyric and waah get physical, but some shot did start buss up and him run and ting.
You emerged in the early '90s around the same time as Buju Banton, Terror Fabulous, Mad Cobra and others, yet you faded from the local scene relatively quickly after this. Why?
Mi just exile myself. A lot of tune mi do a Jamaica and all now mi nuh get no chart tunes. Mi buss in the streets, unlike some artiste wha come out. Mi did have 'bout 100 single pon di road before mi come foreign, but the label always a say 'a Buju time, just wait'. The first time mi come a foreign a me come myself. Mi soon come een again, but better than before.
When and why did you make the decision to become a Rastafarian?
Well, mi a Rasta from birth enuh. It was just the stage and time to manifest the hair. A Hanover mi come from and my cousin who influence me to do music was a Rasta and di sound wha mi used to hang round did name 'Roots Vibration' and most a dem a did Rasta.
Are you related to Terry Linen?
No. You have the teacher and me a just the student.
How did you get the name Terry Ganzie?
From long time my pet name was Terry and mi always inna mi ganzie. When mi start deejay pon di sound dem name mi Terry Ganzie.
Were you ever a regular on the stage show circuit in Ja?
One of the time yes, but as mi say, most times when mi current and have things a gwaan mi never get nuff a the shows. A nuff time mi get penalised from management and those places and artiste a say if dem want him pon di show him naaw work wid mi pon it. But mi work Sumfest, Reggae Bash, most a di Bob Marley shows, most conscious shows mi will work.
Did you come up via the sound system route or that of the studio?
Yes, the sound system. Back then it was sound system, not like now, if a man start sing inna him bathroom and can go studio. Back then, you have to prove yourself on the sound before a producer work with you. If di youths don't know the root them won't maintain it and that's why people like Josie Wales, Shabba, even Ninja Man will always find something to hold the people, because them have years of experience.
If you could change anything in your life and career what would it be?
Mi nuh really regret nothing enuh. The problem was when many a the people pass pon a youth. Like look pon Admiral Tibet, the amount of fight dem man deh get and still standing.
Mi nuh like the corruption and artiste a pay disc jockey and a manipulate fi nuh play certain youth. So if yuh nuh go Rome and do what the Romans do you will be victimised, but no regrets.
What has been your greatest achievement in life?
Mi youths, mi offsprings and the fact that I and I nuh stray from the root and nuh sell out. Mi go Germany, Holland, Switzerland, France and see how the people accept the music and mi love that.
What has been your greatest disappointment?
Maybe the injustice in the business but not something me regret, because at the end of the day is what you do that counts. Good willalways follow you.
What have you been working on recently and can the Jamaican fans expect to see you anytime soon?
We always a work. Right now mi just a finish up an album name Changing Lanes. Apart from that, me have a new tune on the 'Poison Gas' riddim name Real Outlaw. Mi nuh stop work, though some naw hear me or see me.