9 September 2009

Biog 01

Oz was a late starter. At the ripe old age of 18 he began playing reggae records in at punk parties put on by his mates in Newcastle. This was 1978. An early teenage maths lesson with his reggae loving teacher got him switching over from the, now boring, rock music his peers listened to and he never really liked anyway. Reggae was something new, to him anyway. It was exotic, different, dubby and loud and the punks used to love dancing to it pumping out between the Clash and The Damned played by the other DJ’s. Early encounters with the John Peel Show turned his ear eclectic. Hip hop came on the scene (Sugar Hill! Thanks John) as well as late 70’s electronica, Cabaret Voltaire, The Glaxo Babies turning his ear. Saturdays was back rooms eclectic and after parties but he also ran a regular reggae night on Sundays at Balmbara’s in Newcastle for 4 years with his friend Manus; turning all the door money back into reggae tunes freshly ordered from Black Echoes magazine and sent up from London the next day ready for the next gig.

He went to his first all nighter (northern soul was big at the time) and, wow, stayed up all night listening, dancing and talking. A revelation. He was, by now, box in hand, playing regularly for a pittance in a myriad of Newcastle’s late night dives run by an assortment of egomaniacal, and violent, money grabbing drug dealers. Oz would sling anything into the mix that would get the dance floor moving; reggae, hip hop, punk, new wave, disco. Playing in pubs, club, hotels, house parties, you name it, Oz played at it. Experience and the gaining of it was the key here. By now, 5 years experience under his belt and at the tender age of 23 it was time to head down south…

At University in Kent he started a regular reggae night where he met John Ayres who then introduced him to other party people and DJ’s in the region. House squatting and the new age traveller scene was taking off in Kent.