13 November 2009


Murray Cammick provided the obituary of Roger Jarrett he wrote for the Sunday Star-Times for reproduction here:

Roger Jarrett 1950-2000

roger jarrett by CB Roger Jarrett edited and designed the groundbreaking New Zealand music magazine Hot Licks (1974-76), a free music magazine that put new local bands such as Split Enz and Dragon on the map and exposed the finest imported music from Little Feat to Bob Marley.

Mike Chunn, APRA NZ boss and Split Enz bassist in the formative years (1972 to 1977), says of Jarrett’s contribution. “Roger and his Hot Licks magazine believed in contemporary NZ music as a powerful cultural force. He dissected it, he lauded it, he exposed it, and he criticised it - all in good taste. Split Enz's foray onto the national music scene was spearheaded by Roger's editorial support. We relished in it, we appreciated it, we never took it for granted and we'll never forget it.”

A quarter of a century later Jarrett’s description of Split Enz live at His Majesty’s Theatre has not been equalled. He wrote, “How can one describe their concerts? The Oxford University debating team on acid? Peter Rabbit as played by Syd Barrett? Monty Python visits the Queen Mother under the direction of Pasolini, Marcel Marceau and Ray Davies?”

In the spirit of the 70s, Hot Licks exposed illustrative talent such as Dick Frizzell, Peter Adams, Frank Womble and Colin Wilson.
Jarrett who grew up on Auckland’s North Shore had met Frizzell when they both worked at ad agency Muir & Associates. Frizzell recalls,  “Back in the crazy 70s, seeing Roger unshaven and red-eyed after staying up for a week pasting up that ground-breaking music magazine and Roger still raving! Writing a fiercely loyal deadline piece on Split Enz with one hand and the intro to this strange new music ‘reggae’ with the other. This is the guy who taught me the meaning of boundless enthusiasm.”

After leaving Hot Licks in 1976, Jarrett worked at Warner Music NZ in promotions. Founding Warner Music NZ boss Tim Murdoch, who had also employed Jarrett at Allied-Pye Records, says of Jarrett, “He loved music, he was always brimming with enthusiasm and smashing cars. What’s wrong with the record industry today is there are no Roger Jarretts.”

In 1979 Jarrett returned to advertising and graphic design work until he left Auckland in 1988 to live in Mount Maunganui where he could indulge his passion for surfing and pursue numerous ideas, such as writing a screenplay about Micky Dora, the legendary surfer and hustler. After the release of Point Break Jarrett initiated legal action against a Hollywood studio over similarities to his screenplay.
Jarrett continued to work in graphic design and photography and moved into web site design and internet ventures. Weeks before his death, in an email to a friend, Jarrett reflected on his hometown’s hosting of the America’s Cup.

”Fantastic scene, a great vision for Auckland. I think the city almost has its soul back. The destruction of His Majesty’s Theatre has taken a long time to live down in my book.”

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