It was a terrible event for all concerned, made worse perhaps by the revelation that the fire turned out to be a case of arson, and the fact that in many cases the gear in storage was not insured. I’m fairly certain that Lemon was one of those not covered.Lemon’s record collection was very special in that it was surely the largest of its kind in the country – being mostly long since deleted rare reggae, roots, rocksteady, and dub vinyl. Priceless and irreplaceable items, among other things. He estimated that only “five percent” of his lost collection would be available for purchase today if he attempted to replace it – a collection that was lovingly compiled over the course of 35 years, gone in an instant, up in smoke. My eyes start to water just thinking about it, and indeed Lemon described it as his “worst nightmare being realised”.
Anyway, I’m going over old ground, but context is important, and the reason for this post is twofold:
The first is to highlight the fundraiser (gig) taking place on Lemon’s behalf on 1 June at San Fran in Wellington. The line-up represents a virtual who’s who of local DJ talent with the most obvious draw being Lemon’s own collective, Roots Foundation Sound System.
But the night will also feature old school luminaries like Auckland’s Dubhead ... who I’m pretty sure I recall spinning vinyl as far back as 1990/1991 when I attended a ‘Unity’ (clothing shop) NYE “warehouse” party at the Auckland Town Hall – possibly the last time I saw him perform. (And quite why I was up in Auckland for that NYE remains a mystery!)
And then of course there’s someone like Koa, a Roots Foundation original, a softly-spoken humble guy who’s been on the Wellington scene forever. I can recall Koa being the resident DJ at a club called ‘Clares’ back in the Eighties, and he’s been everywhere that’s anywhere ever since.Add the likes of DLT, Goosebump, Marty Vital, Riki Gooch ... local legends all, plus a few others, and it should be a cracking night – with a lot of reggae, a helluva lot of bass, and I’ll wager we’ll hear some old fashioned funk as well.
The second reason for this increasingly long-winded post (it was going to be a quick 100 words) is to draw your attention to an exceptional article by Lewis Tennant on the Audioculture site, which looks at the Roots Foundation story and more generally the evolution of Sound System culture here in New Zealand.As you know, everythingsgonegreen is a big fan of grass roots history, and this is a superb example of a story that just had to be told, one that would have just as likely fallen through the cracks in the pre internet era. Have a read ... (click on the link below)