Semi Lemon Kola Profile

aka Propeller
Gareth Shute
11 Sep 2014

Semi Lemon Kola were just teenagers when they first hit the Auckland live scene in 1990, with enough wah-wah guitar and slap bass to embrace both the UK Madchester scene and the funk-metal coming out of the US.

They were more influenced by the fuzzed-out approach of “alternative rock/grunge” and within half-a-decade, they went from the type of indie pop act that could open for Jesus Jones through to a heavy outfit that were able to open for Tool, prompting a name change to Propeller. When they broke up in 1999, they left behind two albums, half-a-dozen other releases, and even a Top 40 hit.

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Tosh Graham, Deryck Hunt, Gareth Price and Rob Young
The flyer for the opening of Stuart Broughton's Dog Club in Newton Road in February 1991
Tosh Graham
Semi Lemon Kola - Henry XXL
The first picture taken of Semi Lemon Kola, practising in February 1990
The Gluepot, Ponsonby, Auckland, June 1991
On the Before Heaven tour, 1994
Semi Lemon Kola, 1991: Gareth Price, Tosh Graham, Rob Young and Deryck Hunt
Gareth Price, Deryck Hunt, Tosh Graham and Rob Young, 1991
The cover of 1997's Propeller album, recorded at York Street with Nick Abbott. Semi Lemon Kola renamed themselves Propeller for this album, although the decision to do so was controversial within the band.
Semi Lemon Kola at K Rd.'s DTM (now The Studio), June 1992
Tosh Graham, Deryck Hunt, Rob Young, Gareth Price, circa 1996
Semi Lemon Kola in 1991 - L to R: Rob Young, Tosh Graham (jumping), Gareth Price and Deryck Hunt
1994 publicity shot: Gareth Price, Deryck Hunt, Tosh Graham (front) and Rob Young
Rob Young, Gareth Price, Tosh Graham and Deryck Hunt in a 1994 publicity shot
The cover of Before Heaven, the 1994 EP recorded at Auckland's Revolver Studios by Malcolm Smith
Semi Lemon Kola - Before Heaven (1994)
The 1994 Before Heaven tour poster
Semi Lemon Kola on What Now playing Before Heaven (1994)
Semi Lemon Kola at the Big Day Out, 1995
Rabid at The Dog Club, March 1991 with Hallelujah Picassos, The Nixons and Semi Lemon Kola
Semi Lemon Kola's first gig, supporting East and The Plymouth Fury's at The Gluepot, Ponsonby, November 1990
Propeller - Henry XXL (live at the Powerstation, October 1997)
Semi Lemon Kola - Scary Cats (1990 live debut at the Gluepot, Auckland)
Real Groovy Records 10th Anniversary party with Semi Lemon Kola, Chainsaw Masochists, Hallelujah Picassos and Chris Knox, July 1991
Gareth Price, Deryck Hunt and Tosh Graham at the Ponsonby Community Centre in 1990
The 1993 7-inch single Twelve Shades of Blue, backed with a reworking of T-Rex's Telegram Sam. A very limited edition, it was lathe-cut by Peter King at his King Worldwide Records lathe in Geraldine.
The cover of the Extended Pleasure Of Reality cassette album, released in 1991. It included a cover of the Hallelujah Picassos' Thirty Seconds Of Pure Pleasure.
Propeller - Play Dumb
The Semi Lemon Kola logo
Sam Hill and Sample Gee's Madchester night in August 1991 at DTM in Karangahape Road with Semi Lemon Kola
Semi Lemon Kola at Bob Bar, De Brett's, Auckland, June 1993
Propeller - Suva Yacht Club
Semi Lemon Kola - Otherwise
Gareth Price and Rob Young at Auckland's Gluepot, 1991
Interview with Tosh Graham & Deryck Hunt from Semi Lemon Kola, 1 December 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham.

Tosh Graham - vocals

Gareth Price - guitar

Robert Young - bass

Deryck Hunt - drums

Matt Brown - guitar, drums





The cover image on the Before Heaven EP was actually an accidental find, as Robert Young explains: “My flatmate had her car stolen and it was found the next day, driven on to the beach with all the doors left open at high tide. She took a photo for insurance purposes.”

Gareth Price created the sculpture that was photographed to become the cover of the Propeller (1996) album. He has since become a successful painter and you can see his latest works at