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45 minute walk leads to lifelong career

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Ian Allen/Photographer Cuban (left) and Peter Metro.

The Sunday Gleaner spent several hours with Peter Metro recently, the deejay physically and verbally retracing the steps that have taken him to a a life in music from 1981 until now. From Kilamanjaro's Whitehall venue studio to his childhood home in Arnett Gardens, his current home, to Meromedia sound system Wodford Park base, it was a day of reminiscing and looking ahead, which The Gleaner will bring to you over some days during July.

Peter Clarke spent the earliest years of his life on Love Lane, Kingston, with his father, then was moved to Jones Town before settling with his mother in Arnett Gardens. It was from there that he walked to Woodford Park to find Metromedia sound system to establish a relationship, which has lasted until now.

He had another performance name when he set out on the journey, but by the end of the night, Peter Ranking had become Peter Metro, the last name taken from the sound system - although the man who recorded Police Ina England and The History of Jamaica, says that quite a few people mistakenly thought he or his family members were the owners.

Peter had met - and impressed - Metromedia's owner, Jimmy Metro, before the night he took the walk. His mother was not impressed, though, by Peter's deejaying efforts and would tell him to be quiet and "guh look wuk". There was no denying the direction of a youngster who was determined to be like deejay Big Youth.

"I get my inspiration from Big Youth. As a youth in Kingston, running up and down with my father, I used to see Big Youth with all him pretty teeth dem and bike and them say, 'is him name Big Youth. That is where my inspiration come from - to be a reggae artiste," Peter Metro said.

Before getting his break on Metromedia, Peter Metro deejayed on STAX sound system from Jones Town and Arnett Gardens. A friend associated with STAX told him about Metromedia playing on Orange Street, and they went there, where the then Peter Ranking met Jimmy Metro.




"The first time me deejay on Metromedia, Jimmy Metro was impressed. Him can't believe the lyrics whe me a put out," Peter said. It did not hurt that Peter had just returned from Cuba and "when him hear me a deejay inna English and Spanish, him surprised".

Jimmy Metro gave him a phone number, but at that time, he would have had to go to Half-Way Tree to the telephone company's office to make the call.

So the phone call did not happen, but Peter eventually saw Jimmy Metro in person again.

"One day, somebody told me that Metromedia a play a Allman Town. So me say me a walk over deh. Me walk from Jungle (Arnett Gardens) to Allman Town," Peter said. It was a leisurely walk as although he went alone he encountered people he knew along, the way and stopped for while.

About 45 minutes after starting out, he arrived, to find other persons deejaying on the sound system.

"I go up to him and say, 'Give me a deejay off the mic, nuh?'." Not recognising him, Jimmy Metro replied that they had enough deejays already.

"So mi say to him, 'you nuh remember me? A me a de guy you give the number over Orange Street;" Peter Metro said. That worked wonders as Jimmy Metro told the other deejays to clear the space for Peter, saying, 'everybody move. give this yout the mic.'"

And that was the beginning of Peter Metro on Metromedia.

"You see from dat day until today, de fourth of July 2017, I get connected to Metromedia," Peter Metro said.

Along with that came the name change from Peter Ranking, the deejay giving up the name, which someone else from Greenwich Town was also using, to take on the name of the sound system with which he was associated.