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Stone Love started from a component set

StarSo the first session you played, you always had your own equipment, or you just carried some records and rent some equipment?


WP: No, no. From day one we playing on our own system, in which that was my aim and objective, to have my own system. I grow up in the Molynes Road area, close to Dumbarton Avenue and Waltham Park Road. It was dubbed like a party area. You used to have a few clubs also. There was no given weekend where a party wouldn’t be at somebody house. House party at that time was the thing. And like in the later days when you used to have a House of Leo (on Cargill Avenue) to host all these dancehall functions, you used to have certain yards that people could go and rent. Not a dancehall, but people would rent their place for you to keep these parties. Like Renfield Drive, I remember that quite well, off the Boulevard. You have a Toronto Avenue, off Molynes Road. You have a Lonsdale Avenue, where Bobby T was, a lot of people from the old school will remember Bobby T, he used to play on a sound called Ecology Force. Bobby T used to have a little set for himself, too, name One Stop. My area now, as a little youth, I used to go out and go to all these parties and wanted one day to really have a system and play too. Luckily for me, the home I was living in, you could call it a yard, like a tenement yard, big, hold four different houses in one compound. So at this particular house there was an audio technician living in the yard, so I bought from him a little component set, the little thing you play in the house. I get it on bargain (laughter). Probably somebody leave it there for him to fix and don’t come back, I don’t know (more laughter).


S: Dem way deh.


WP: Anyway, I bought it from him and start playing in the backyard with that, every single night.


S: You used to buy records before (you had the component set)?


WP: Yeah man, nuff record man. The component set is my system and after a little while, we start playing out with it too. Small thing. In those days, too, I used to prefer the soul music, like the R&B style of music. Not that I didn’t like our local music, because at the same time, too, the yard I used to live in, Hopeton Lewis used to live same place. I used to even go around with him and all that. I did prefer the foreign music, which wasn’t easy to get. Like local music you could go to Aquarius or Randy’s and get it, but the soul music now. It is just to show you the direction I took, to not go the easy way. So soul music was very hard to get. It was just few people who were really privileged to go abroad, more like farm workers, might buy and carry in two records, so you used to have few little places that have these records, but man and man would have to know you. If not, you get what lef, after man come and pick out when stock come. (He talks about getting records from Witty (who now runs Uptown Mondaysand Gussie Clarke of Anchor Recording). Is like the component now, start adding on to it. Start find the local technician now, I can remember like Cross Roads, in front of Carib Theatre, that’s where the original KG’s was. Behind KG’s there was the repair shop. So I find this technician by the name of Larry, and George, and build my first two KT amplifier.


S: Them had to build the amplifier for you, from scratc?.


WP: From scratch. (He goes through a description of the process, from building the steel chassis to getting components from electronics distributor Wonards as well as Winston on Matthews Lane). So I remember the first time I get this new amplifier now, pass component stage now, get my first play out. There was a restaurant on Half-Way Tree Road, where Appliance Traders is now and a big, big tree. I remember that night now, my first big play out, that night the amplifier catch a fire (chuckles). Most local built amplifiers really love to burn up y’know.


S: That’s why people used to have the big fan behind them.


WP: Yeah.


S: So at what point it catch a fire, after you play long or just as you start?


WP: Luckily, it was almost closing time. We have some bad experience, in which the first time you turn on the switch you see smoke. From there we keep on adding. Building speaker boxes. Now, the yard I was living in was a hostel for a few Miconians. My cousin was one of them who used to do industrial arts, so he was the one who build me the first big speaker box to hold a 12-inch speaker.


S: 12 for the bass.


WP: It going play everything, man (laughter). All in one. Then we try to pad the box now and we overpad it. We never have the real padding, so you used to have some old mattress called coir mattress, something them take from coconut. It kill the sound. The sound wouldn’t come out.


S: You go through all of that.

WP: All of that. Up to today I develop that love. I really like my system, in which it is a kind of competitiveness, like a race car, where a man would modify his cylinder head and all sort of things; is the same thing with sound system. I still have that feeling up to today.


S: You don’t lose the fire at all.


WP: No.


S: So the first selector was you.


WP: Most definitely.


S: Who came after? When I buck Stone Love it was Wee Pow, Rory and Cancer.


WP: That was long after. When I started out, as I say, it was a hobby thing and there used to be a few other guys. I remember this one in particular named Stemmer. I used to play on Red Hills Road every Friday night. For like all six months I don’t collect a cent, but I still go. I just love it. I remember like Ninja Man, Flourgon, Red Dragon used to come by as some little youth. In those days, Ninja Man used to name Ugly Man. So we used to have a few other man who really come on, one migrated now and live in New York named Rocky Johnson. He was a cousin of a friend of mine who really mould and guide me in the sound system business. They were from Glengoffe, St Catherine. But I was out there like 10 years before Rory came along.


S: Who came first, Cancer or Rory?


WP: Rory.




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