I became infected with the Offbeat virus in the very early 1980ies when I was 16. Before that time I mostly was interested in Punk music and the work of ‚Throbbing Gristle‘. I remember a friend asked me to attend Bob Marley in concert. I asked him „Bob Who?“ and didn’t go. One year later Marley died and you can imagine I really regret this decision down to the present day.
At that time I was living in the german town called ‚Essen‘ where I grew up. Me and my friends often traveled to the near Netherlands where we visited the so called ‚Coffeeshops‘. On one of this trips the only music we had in the car was a tape with the two ‚Third World‘ albums ‚Journey to Addis‘ and ’96 Degrees in the Shade‘. I felt in love with that kind of music on the spot. And from that day on I was addicted to whatsoever kind of music coming from Jamaica. David Rodigan would say I get infected with the Reggae Virus and there is no antidote.
Quenching my thirst for fresh informations or getting the latest music on vinyl that time was virtually impossible. You have to imagine there was no internet with tons of informations, online radio stations or something like YouTube, iTunes or whatsoever. And live music was such a rare event, that I hardly can remember going to a concert that time.
The very only fountain in this dessert was the weekly Radio show ‚Rodigans Rockers‘ hosted by David Rodigan which started for german listeners 1984 on BFBS Radio. Musically this two hours were the highlight of my week. You could bet a lot, I was sitting in front of my little Radio-Cassette-Recorder taping every show. I was like a sponge absorbing tune by tune. But even more important than just the music were the informations this enthusiastic man on the radio gave to me with his warm voice. He told so many little stories around the music, he breathed life into this unknown world of fantastic music.
Mr. Rodigan was my teacher, giving me lessons from the foundation to the latest fashion. It was his radio show where I heard Ska and Rocksteady for the first time, where I get addicted to the Dub soundscapes of the 70ies, or where I get electrified by the ‚Sleng Teng‘ riddim. And he helped me a lot finding my own identification as a white boy loving a music genre which is dominated by black man themes.
If we were lucky the so called ‚Gentleman Rude Bwoy‘ came to our town to make a gig in a little club called ‚Cafe Cuba‘. His appearances that days were quite shy in comparison to his energy on stage nowadays. If he is coming to your town you should take the chance to party with Rodigan. This man is pure energy when he enters the stage. He really embodies the love for our music from head to toe.
Up to nowadays David Rodigan speaks out very clearly what he thinks about the development of jamaican music, the influence of HipHop, Payola, the glorification of violence or the homophobic tendencies. And for that I am very thankful to him, cause his voice carries a lot of weight in the world of reggae.
Here is such an example I took from a Radio Show on BBC Radio hosted by Gilles Peterson, 6 July 2011.
All this hours I spent in front of the radio listening to Rodigans shows deepened my love for the offbeat music. Of course I would be a reggae enthusiast without David Rodigan but surely he is responsible for tons of informations about the history of Reggae music in my brain. And he definitely gave me the feeling that there are many people out there with the same passion. Even though somehow it is hard to be a Reggae fan because the communities behavior sometimes is very strange to me, this music gave me so many magic moments.
Reggae music is a very spiritual music but I can’t identify with the religious aspects and the dogmatic lifestyle behavior some people seems to need in this context. But still, anytime I listen to a good tune this spirituality is touching my heart. And what more do I want?
I wrote this article because I want to thank Sir David Rodigan for all he had done for our music. In doing so he really had done a lot of good things to me. Without him my life would not be the same. Pathetic? May be…
For further informations and his DJ Dates visit Rodigans website www.rodigan.com
Please apologize my english as I am no native speaker.