A sizzling hot magazine for the music aficionado!
Presented by Disco Patrick & Pat Vogt
“If you fake the funk, your nose will grow” Bootsy Collins
Foreword Welcome to the tenth edition of Hot Stuff magazine! To celebrate the 10th edition of Hot Stuff magazine we made a special limited and numbered issue (200 copies). For this special edition I worked together with Pat Vogt on concept and design. Previously we also issued two books “Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco Records” and “The Bootleg Guide to Disco Acetates, Funk, Rap, and Disco Medleys”. Hot Stuff issue 10 is presented in a record sleeve, including a cool double sided poster!
When I started Hot Stuff issue 1 I didn’t know how many issues I wanted to do, but it is so much fun sharing stories from mostly the 70’s and 80’s. It’s great to keep the history alive of Graffiti, Breakdancing, Disco, Rap, Funk, Jazz etc. with these stories written by collectors and DJ’s from all over the world. This magazine includes a wide range of interesting articles on disco, jazz, rap, hip-hop, funk, house, rollerdisco and graffiti & breakdancing culture, vintage advertisements and magazine articles mainly from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, brought to you by Skeme Richards (The Nostalgia King), Jason Armitage (Dr.J), Pat Vogt (Pat Vogt Collection / The Wild Style Vault), Saucy Lady, Spankie Hazard and Swifft Edits (Sedgwick Records), Wildstyle Guy, Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Books), Richard van Tiggelen (Dutch Graffiti Library) and myself.
Enjoy! Groetjes, Discopatrick and Pat Vogt
Special thanx go out to Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records), Noe Carmichael aka Saucy Lady,
Richard and Marcel van Tiggelen (Dutch Graffiti Library), Bobby Smith (Albina Music Trust), Spankie Hazard (Sedgwick Records),
Skeme Richard (The Nostalgia King), Dr.J aka Jason Armitage, Guillaume aka Wildstyle Guy, Tanja Pol and Susan Lejeune.
Crate digging in Cuba and the Caribbean By Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records)
Skeme Richards Digs The Deep Funk Nu Funk Era By Skeme Richards (The Nostalgia King)
10 favorites of Saucy Lady By Saucy Lady
Radical Outlet for the Xenomaniac in You
Peter Lewis raps with Grandmaster Flash
The New York influences
Albina Music Trust (Gallery)
Rhythm in Reserve
By Pat Vogt (Pat Vogt Collection / The Wild Style Vault)
Interview from Groove Weekly magazine Issue 98, September 1982
By Dutch Graffiti Library
Bobby Smith and Calvin Walker
Dr.J Presents: Tommy Musto Interview
The Miami Sound Explosion!
NY State of Mind
Hot Stuff Jazz Funk Crosswords
Double Dee & Steinski: The first lessons.
By Dr. J
This story prefaces the 1976 TK songbook: The Miami Sound Explosion! By Disco Patrick
By Guillaume aka Wildstyle Guy
It’s time to test your knowledge on Jazz Funk tracks!
Article from Big Daddy Magazine Issue 12 by Neil McMilan
Magazine and sleeve photography: Irina Gromovataya (girls) and Underworld (rollerskates) Magazine editor: Disco Patrick Graphic design: Pat Vogt
By Spankie Hazard and Swifft Edits (Sedgwick Records)
Crate digging in Cuba and the Caribbean By Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records)
Cuban records are a little complicated to navigate. From the mid-1950s on, Cuba was making some great recordings with Havana a hot spot for excellent Jazz and Latin music. The US-Italian mafia ran many of the hotels, nightclubs and casinos in the city, in conjunction with the corrupt Cuban leader Fulgencio Battista. This meant a constant influx of hedonistic North Americans into the city. Jazz and Latin bands were everywhere, seven nights a week made up of superb heavyweight musicians. By the mid-50s a host of small independent labels began to record some of these bands. The most successful independent label was Panart. Their infamous Cuban Jam Session series (5 heavily improvised albums led by the Cuban bandleaders Cachao, Nino Rivera, Fajardo and Julio Guitterez) became the template for much of Latin music in New York in the 1960s.
The Cuban revolution
to the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería. Nu
The Cuban revolution of 1959 made changed Cuban society for ever. And although there were many upsides, it (unconsciously no doubt) made documenting this era in music difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, the radical new government nationalised all of the small record labels. Record labels are run by entrepreneurs who do not a socialist state make – and they pretty much all left the country at this point with a number of them starting up again, usually in the USA. So Panart (for instance) releases can be released in Cuba pre the revolution (in the 1950s), then were subsequently reissued by the Cuban government (on the state Egrem label) from around 1964 onwards, or they can be Panart releases made in the USA (after the founder Ramón Sabat moved there). Actually, some albums were also released both in the US and Cuba before the arrival of Sabat, but that’s just too complicated to think about. This is of course great fun to work out if you’re a bit of an anorak like me and you.
up I wanted to do something a bit different.
explore this further.
“We were given special permission to work and record there through ICAIC, the Cuban national film department, and we recorded in their massive studio in Havana. ”
So, aside from visiting and recording in
Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records)
Yorica was pretty successful and to follow it In my head John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders were all looking (usually to the eastern religions such as Buddhism) for, or reaching for, a spirituality in their music that Latin Santería artists (and other religious music) already had and I wanted to
Tibet, Georgia (the country not the US state), Haiti, Nepal, Isreal and elsewhere, we went to Cuba. The country was not in great shape with the ongoing US trade embargo (as now) practically destroying the economy. In 1997 Cuba had begun to encourage tourism. Paladars (essentially a ‘restaurant’ in someone’s living room) had just begun to open. There were different prices for tourists for petrol, food, goods (which were brought in tourist-only shops) etc. We were given special permission to work and record there through ICAIC, the Cuban national film department, and we recorded in their massive studio in Havana.
Recording in Havanna
Resources were in short supply. We had to bring our own very heavy 24-track tape, contracts and documents were kept
The first time I visited Cuba was in 1997
with pencil and paper. Recording was
(24 years ago). The reason for the visit is
very easy as the musicians were A-grade
a little convoluted – we went to record a
professionals. Initially we were to record
Santería song for an album which we (Soul
just one track, but when it became clear
Jazz Records) were making called ‘Faith -
that a) the musicians were very good and b)
A Message from The Spirits’, made up of
it’s an awful long way to go to record one
sacred or religious music from different
track, we decided to record some more and,
countries. Why, you may ask, were we
in the end, made 3 albums over a 2-week
The previous year we released Nu Yorica,
In the times inbetween we travelled around.
an album of Latin music in New York in the
On this trip I saw very few records – one or
1970s. Part of the research for this led me
two being sold in the streets, one in a book
Grupo Folklorico De Alberto Zayas & El Vive Bien – Guaguanco Afro-Cubano El Vive Bien Con El Grupo Folklorico De Alberto Zayas, 1956
shop – a Santería recording that Celia Cruz
salsa, anthropological recordings. The
was a bit expensive! The only thing he was
The heinous crime of the US trade embargo
had made in the 1950s – which although
records were about US$5 each and I spent
not happy to do was give me his cardboard
has left Cuban music a hidden world that
interesting was priced at US$50 which
about two days in the arcade.
boxes which, it turns out, are harder to
few people outside of Cuba have had access
come by than the records themselves.
to. The exception to this is the ex-Soviet
seemed an awful lot of money. Eventually
Union, which had a long-standing trading
towards the end I found a galleria-type
Someone mentioned a square in the
shop (a large shop with a number of shops/
city where they sold old records every
After collecting about 1,000 LPs on the trip
relationship with the island from the 1960s
stalls inside) in Havana that had a lot of
Wednesday and I went to investigate. It
it then took about 3 or 4 days to sort out
until the stat of the 1990s.
records – but as it was so late in the trip
seemed a bit unbelievable but in fact it was
the logistics. Cardboard boxes could only be
for me to spend much time there and I left
true! Scattered around this old Havana
found at supermarkets – you had to ask and
So if you want to start digging, check out
square were maybe 30 record dealers with
might get one or two at a time, so we visited
Areito and Egrem (the Cuban state record
their records on the floor, on park benches
many of them. I think it took about two
labels) releases for sale on Discogs and you
or in boxes. Here the records were a bit
days to get enough for the records. Next
will see that in fact many Cuban records
cheaper, maybe US$3, and I probably
was to work out how you ship something
are for sale from these countries – Russia,
bought a 100 or so. One of the stall holders
out of Cuba. Not easy – there was just
Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania – often in
Over the years I’ve returned a few times
was showing me photos on his phone of
one shipping company (DHL) based in
better condition than in Cuba. This is partly
to record music but a few years ago made
some more records he had at his house so
Havana. We had to go to the office, with the
because Cuba is much hotter and poorer
a trip to Havana just to buy records. The
the next day I went along there with my
boxed-up records in the car, join the queue
but also because I’m not sure they actually
galleria stall was still there 20 years later,
friend Pedro who helped translate. There
where Cubans were sending and receiving
listened to them that much in the Soviet
and despite everything, seemed to have
were 1000s of used records all in old Areito
paintings, furniture, bicycles etc and then
thrived. The stall had some kind of special
cardboard boxes. He was happy to sell as
bring the records in to be weighed etc. Lots
dispensation from the Cuban government
many as I could take, including rare stuff
of paperwork, rules etc but eventually we
and you could see why – this was Cuban
like Pello El Afrokan 60s recordings and
made it out and the records were in England
history. 1960s latin jazz, 1970s fusion,
Chucho Valdes’ first ever release – this one
before I was.
Grupo Folklorico De Alberto Zayas & El Vive Bien – Guaguanco Afro-Cubano El Vive Bien Con El Grupo Folklorico De Alberto Zayas, 1956
Quinteto Instrumental De Musica Moderna, Algo Bueno, 7” Vinyl, 1960
Mirtha Y Raul – Rosas De Algodon 7” Vinyl
La Musica Del Pueblo Del Cuba Vol. 1-2
Chucho Valdés Y Su Combo* – Mambo Influenciado 7” Vinyl
10 favorites of Saucy Lady Saucy Lady shares her favorite records from Japanese Blues to Rap to City Pop reflecting on her time growing up in Japan.
With the mission to empower all humankind with her space-age groove, the goddess of space funk Saucy Lady has been sharing her musical works with earth dwellers since 2011, starting with her debut album “Diversify”. The album was the first collaboration between her musical partner Yuki “U-KEY” Kanesaka based out of the Boston area. Multi-instrumentalist producer Yuki has since been the main collaborator on many of her works including her sophomore album “Supanova” which offers listeners a full sensoryexperience with layers of highly intricate vocal stacks over jazz funk, b-boy breaks, and cosmic synths. Following “Supanova”, Saucy Lady released an EP “Delirious” through the Chicago-based label Star Creature Universal Vibrations, with the release making Bandcamp’s best selling records of 2021. The pair currently perform and DJ together, and have a monthly radio show on Universal Rhythms called “The Green Room” recorded from their decked-out basement disco, reflecting on their musical range and diverse taste. New vinyl releases featuring Saucy Lady are expected in the coming months off of Star Creature, Austin Boogie Records, Razor-n-Tape, and her own label Audio Chemists Recordings.
Carlos Toshiki and Omega Tribe feat. Joey McCoy → Reiko
Teruo Nakamura → Manhattan Special
Casiopea → Photographs
Maki Asakawa → Asakawa Maki No Sekai
I first discovered the tune on YouTube, this Japanese city pop band had a black male lead singer, dancing like Michael Jackson and singing in Japanese on a music TV show so I was mesmerized. Not just because of the visuals but the song had Earth Wind & Fire vibes, heavy on the synth pop tip which is right up my alley. I ended up buying the 12 inch single which has an English version as well with a whole different arrangement. Overall, the production is very intricate and arrangement is varied throughout so it keeps your attention. “Reiko” is still one of my favorite jams to dance to.
Wiggle worm is my favorite tune out of this album, it really hits the spot for me. When I first heard this, I thought it sounded like the Headhunters. Then I learned the album features Herbie Hancock so it all made sense. Herbie in 1977 is prime time!
Out of the many albums that they’ve released, this album has a couple of my favorite tunes by the band - Dazzling and Misty Lady. Still sounds fresh, and the band’s groove is tight. Casiopea during this period of the early 80s is like heaven in my ears as I get to hear perfectly executed orchestration of the flyest analog synthesizers from that time.
This self-titled album by Maki Asakawa is Japanese blues at its finest! Maki Asakawa is a mysterious persona, she is known to be dressed in all black all the time covered by her long black hair and blunt-cut bangs. I feel that she is super underrated and I think she’s a true genius at her craft. Her poetry is dark and wistful, and her vocal delivery can tear your soul. This album is heavily influenced by negro spirituals. “Yo ga Aketara” is the most known piece of all her works and it gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it.
Scha Dara Parr → Wild Fancy Alliance
Epo → Downtown
Saucy Lady Makka na Taiyo → Amaku Kiken Na Kaori
Sadistics → We are Just Taking Off
One of the first hip-hop groups I ever listened to from Japan, was Scha Dara Parr (SDP). People started to take more notice overseas when they were featured on De La Soul’s Buhloone Mindstate album but even a few years before then they had been making their mark in Japan as the pioneers of Japanese rap. This was one of their albums I listened to the most. You’ll hear some classic audio samples often used during the early 90s in hip hop. Wild Fancy Alliance is produced by their DJ Shinco delivering the right atmosphere for MCs Bose and Ani. Their lyrics tend to have comedic elements, and they share philosophical, simple day-to-day reflections with genuine lightheartedness. I find it a refreshing change to the cocky ultra masculine world of hip hop.
The song is on the B-side of the 7” release of a Japanese comedic variety show theme song called “Takechan Man”. Released in 1982, Downtown was produced by none other than Tatsuro Yamashita, and sure enough it’s got that city pop sound that we all love from that time. You can hear his vocals in the background, at least I think he’s singing as part of the back vocals. Highly recommended uplifting tune for all you Tatsuro lovers.
Produced by my husband / music partner Yuki “U-KEY” Kanesaka, I wanted to make a boogie version of the classic hit song most Japanese are familiar with by Hibari Misora called “Makka Na Taiyo”. The direct translation meaning “bright red sun”, the song is about a fleeting summer love. The original version is a boogaloo feel, an unexpected drift from Misora’s usual Enka style. The composer was Nobuo Hara of the Sharps and Flats, who also played with Count Basie and recorded on a couple albums with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in 1961. One of my own original band members from the Honey Sauce Band, Yuma Hara, is the grandson of Nobuo Hara. Yuma is a guitarist so I asked him to play the guitar on this recording. I felt the recording turned out fantastic. I learned that Mr. Nobuo Hara himself had listed to it as well and had been impressed with how it sounded. I’m quite proud we worked on this idea. Mr Hara had recently passed in June so I wanted to share the background on this record to commemorate his legacy. The flip side of my 7” is a cover of Tatsuro Yamashita’s song which was the theme song on a Japanese TV drama series in 1982. Yuma Hara played guitar on this track as well.
A spin off group of the legendary Sadistic Mika Band, this album exemplifies classic city pop sound with sophistication. “Close Your Eyes” is my favorite tune on the album simply because the harmonies supported by their exquisite string arrangement are just so luscious and lovely you can almost feel the sensation of the warm ocean breeze sweep through you under the most perfect blue skies.
Four Leaf Sound → Mugo. N. Iroppoi
You & The Explosion Band → Original Soundtrack from Lupin III
This is a cover version of a hit song back in 1988 by a Japanese Idol singer Shizuka Kudo. The song has been well covered in Japan but what I like about this version by Four Leaf Sound is that it’s been modernized, it’s DJ friendly, and it doesn’t have the cheesy elements that typically accompany idol music in Japan. Produced by Yuki Kanesaka, featuring vocals by composer-poet Four Leaf Sound, both are graduates of Berklee College of Music in Boston.
This may be an obvious pick but the impact of the Lupin phenomenon deserves mention. I think I had a couple of Lupin soundtrack records growing up but this is one I still have in my possession. The band’s execution is top notch on this record. Jazz funk at its finest, this anime soundtrack features its infamous theme song with the female chorus that I could never get tired of hearing. I hear the song and my adrenaline gets pumping. This version includes some spoken parts of the main anime characters which is entertaining to listen to. The slow tempo tunes sound as seductive as the female sexy siren character Mine Fujiko. I imagine that those who watched the anime growing up in my generation was highly impacted by this soundtrack in profound ways - like the kind of music we gravitated to as listeners, or the kind of music we ended up creating as musicians, because this soundtrack was really embedded into our musical culture.
Instagram & Twitter:@djsaucylady Website: https://saucyladymusic.com
Radical Outlet for the Xenomaniac in You A brief history of the RoXY nightclub, Amsterdam. By Pat Vogt Entrance to the RoXY, Singel 465-467, Amsterdam. © Photo: Martin Alberts, Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam, 1988
Amsterdam’s legendary RoXY nightclub opened (exclusively for guests) on August 1st 1987 at the beginning of rave culture. Situated near to the city’s famous flower market, the RoXY was founded as a collaboration between Peter Giele, DJ Eddy de Clercq and Arjen Schrama. Giele, however, was the driving force behind the project: he was the person who first saw the potential of converting the old Roxy porn cinema into a club and it was Giele who shaped the RoXY into what he called a “total art” experience, giving the club the backronym “Radical Outlet for the Xenomaniac in You”. It closed down on June 21, 1999 in the most devastating way. The founding fathers
new wave and punk.” The Pepclub nights De Clerq put on post-1983 at Paradiso are
The beginning of the RoXY embodied the
also legendary, with an eclectic mix from
essence of the Amsterdam art scene in
funk and soul to afrobeat and the first
the 1980s. Co-founder and autonomous
house tracks which he succesfully did for
artist Peter Giele was a typical exponent
three years. In 1987 Eddy would become
of this. Bringing people together, creating
the creative director, responsible for DJ
atmospheres, setting trends - that was
bookings, producing the flyers and musical
Peter Giele’s great speciality. He was the
direction of the RoXY.
Andy Warhol of Amsterdam: just like Warhol opened his art factory in New York
Arjen Schrama was the magazine editor at
in the 1960s as a permanent party space
Vinyl (a Dutch music magazine) and he was
for the subculture, Giele created free spaces
organizing parties, pop concerts, fashion
in Amsterdam in the 1980s such as Aorta,
shows and performances. He would become
the Cultural Society de Donkere Kamer
the financial man of the RoXY. Schrama
(CGDDK) and of course the RoXY. Giele had
brought the media types into the mix,
absolutely no prejudice or even the slightest
Giele the artistic scene and de Clercq the
hint of cynicism. Because of that open mind,
following from De Koer, the Pepclub and
he was the right person to bring together
the disco era. A perfect mix for something
creative minds of all kinds, who could then
beautiful to happen.
express their creativity in complete freedom.’ Giele was an inspiration above all else. The moment the house craze exploded in Amsterdam was a triumph for Eddy
Converting an old porn cinema into a club
de Clercq. The flamboyant DJ, originally from Belgium, was one of the pioneers and
Together with Eddy de Clercq and Arjen
ambassadors of the new music. He was
Schrama, Peter Giele conceived the plan
the first Amsterdam club DJ to feel and
to start a ‘club de salon’. Because that
understand the power of house, realising
was what was lacking in the city, which
that it was the future. De Clercq was
had been consumed by a persistent
already a nightlife veteran, having put on
economic crisis for years and a permanent
over ten years of parties in the capital. In
‘battle for the streets’ with the radical
the ‘70s he was already behind the decks.
squatters’ movement. There was unanimous
Eddy got his first DJing job when he was 17.
agreement that the nightlife in Amsterdam
In 1976 Eddy came to live in Amsterdam.
had to be revived with DJs, shows, acts and
The city suited him well, although he was
parties, which were somewhere between fun
disappointed in Amsterdam’s nightlife,
and avant-garde. The unexpected discovery
so he started organising parties himself.
of a large empty porn cinema – located
In 1977 he put on his first parties at De
between Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein
Eddy de Clercq (RoXY Co-founder, DJ and house pioneer)
Brakke Grond and in 1980 he started to DJ
led to a deluge of wild plans (The Cinema
(Quote: “Radical outlet for the Xenomaniac in You book” )
at De Koer with a new musical direction:
Palace, which opened in 1912, was renamed
Blueprints of the RoXY building, 1986 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
“Our aim was to create a legendary club, it had to be a club like no one had ever experienced before”
the Roxy after its sale in 1927 to cinema
giant Bohemian crystal chandeliers and at
operator Abraham Tuschinski). In 1986
top there was a glitter ball with a diameter
renovations started in the former porn
of at least three meters. The toilets and the
cinema, which we now know, was set to
corridors were filled with artworks from
become an exceptional new nightclub
the local art scene, there was a spectacular,
in Amsterdam. More than a year before
constantly changing visual display produced
the opening Eddy, Arjen and Peter had
by artist Gerald van der Kaap. Peter’s
weekly meetings in which they discussed
vision really resonated with the traditional
and developped their plans for the club.
modernist idea of “art for the masses”,
Each had their own responsibilities like
providing a space where ordinary people
business structure, music policy, artistic
could encounter experimental art, if they
input and the look and feel of the club.
wanted to, but could just as easily get off
They would talk about the design of the
their heads and dance all night. The stage
posters, flyers and costumes for the staff
boundaries were marked by two purple
to wear. They paid attention to the smallest
velvet curtains. To Peter, more was more,
details. Several months later than planned
and less was a bore resulting in massive
but nevertheless in grand style, the RoXY
budget overruns. Despite his lack of affinity
opened it’s beautifull decorated doors.
for the business side Peter convincingly
The first thing you saw as you entered the
managed to get it all off the ground and
hallway were cracked leather sofas in the
turned it in a great success.
Letter of intent between Schrama and de Clercq, 1987 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
furnisched lobby. The room which was lit by chrystal chandeliers, was filled with Oriental rugs, and the walls were painted in ochre and burned sienna with bronze-coloured
Roxy financial investment overview, 1987 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
The club that really captured the mood
mouldings and doorframes. The box office and concession stand were protected by
The opening year the RoXY didn’t perform
solid gold-painted prison bars. One wall had
that well. The clubbers were still not lining
thousands of of shiny copper nails shaped
up at the door. Financially it was a disaster.
like the RoXY logo. The original cinema had
In the crisis that followed, it was mainly
been designed in a semi-art-nouveau style.
Eddy who got the blame. It wasn’t just the
Peter had restored the monumental arches
clubbers, who at that point were mainly
on top of the side walls, using an exuberant
into funky music and rare groove, and
mix of colours. Above the stage hung three
understood very little of the house music
“Everyone mixed together. Young, old, men, women, straights and gays,” Joost van Bellen (RoXY resident DJ & house pioneer) (Quote : Resident Advisor)
Converting an old porn cinema into a club, 1986 © Photo: Claude Crommelin (First in-house RoXY photographer)
DJ Eddie de Clercq behind the wheels of steel, 1987 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY host and muse Zubrovska © Photo: Claude Crommelin
BAM BAM guestlist and financial proposal, written down by DJ Joost van Bellen, 1987 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
Fingers Inc. live in the RoXY poster, 1988 © Mary Go Wild
1988 was the beginning of the so-called
would take on almost mythical proportions.
“Second Summer of Love”, a 1980s social
The unorthodox programming, the music,
phenomenon which saw the rise of acid
glamorous sets, exuberant dancers,
house music and unlicensed rave parties
breathtakingly dressed transvestites,
in the UK and Ibiza. From that moment
extravagant clientele and array of eccentric
on house music really started to take
acts, such as Grace Jones and Jean Paul
hold in Western Europe, coming here in a
Gaultier drew large crowds and created
process which started in the wake of disco,
an amazing party atmosphere. From drag
emerging from queer, black and Latino
queens to SM performances on stage:
communities in Chicago, Detroit and New
nothing was too crazy. The RoXY not only
York. That introduction of house music
became the nursery of Dutch house music,
put the Roxy on the map. In the course of
but was above all a place where anyone who
only a few weeks, the RoXY grew into a
felt different could be themselves without
veritable house temple: the dazzling centre
any worries. This brought the club fame far
of the capital’s young house scene and a
beyond the national borders.
club whose fame in the years that followed
BAM BAM flyer, 1987 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
HARD flyer, 1995 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
Eddy was offering on a Friday night. Resident DJ Joost van Bellen, who at that point had taken on the Wednesday evening, remembers the arguments between Eddy and the management all too well. “Eddy was under serious pressure, because the RoXY’s expenses were so high, money had to start coming in”. But Eddy was absolutely sure, he believed in himself and house music. Eddy wanted to bring Chicago house pioneers Fingers Inc.—Larry Heard, Robert Owens and Ron Wilson to the RoXY on Friday the 11th of March 1988. He wasn’t given the budget for it, so he personally put up 3500 guilders, three months of his RoXY salary, to make it happen”. According to Eddy it was “a legendary night,” which further convinced him that house was the future, even though only 50 people came to the RoXY. This had to stop, so Eddy was given an ultimatum and got another month. If he didn’t attract more visitors, it was over. It seemed that house would most likely die an early death, but in September 1988 both Eddy and the RoXY were saved by a miracle. Just before the deadline was up, on that first weekend in September, suddenly the coin fell and there was a storm and house took hold of Amsterdam. So began a new chapter. Eddy was suddenly the man and everything was forgiven and forgotten. For the RoXY it was the start of an unprecedented era of prosperity. DJ Eddie de Clercq © Photo: Claude Crommelin, 1987
RoXY flyer, 1987 © Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam
DJ Eddie de Clercq (left) at BAM BAM party, 1987 ↑
Arjen Schrama (left) & RUR TV show host Jan Lenferink, 1987 ↑
RoXY audience ↑
RoXY party, 1988 ↑
RoXY resident DJ & house pioneer Joost van Bellen, 1987 ↑
Zubrovska, 1988 ↑ ↓
RoXY party, 1988 ↑
DJ Eddie de Clercq (right), 1987 ↓
All photo’s © Photo: Claude Crommelin
The RoXY bouncers, Goos en Remco Doorn, 1988 ↑
Jet Brandsteder en Foxy Jane, 1987 ↑
RoXY “Silhouet”, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY DJ Eddy De Clercq, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY BAM BAM party, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY Barbie party, 1987 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY Arjen Schrama, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY staff at Jungle party, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
RoXY, 1988 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
As Dutch DJ 100% Isis (who started
first period house provided precisely more of
her carreer at the RoXY) recalls in a Vice
a feeling of ‘we, with each other. As if you
article: ‘Moreover, it was the only place in
were rushing through life, experiencing and
Amsterdam where you could walk around as
feeling everything intensely. There were no
a woman and not be harrassed. There was a
boundaries. Everything was possible.” The
strict door policy, but inside was a uniquely
Volkskrant newspaper published an article
safe and free environment, in which anyone
about the development of the house scene
could express themselves freely – gays,
in Holland. The opening full-page spread in
fashionistas, alternatives. Even completely
the arts section in the Volkskrant, with the
naked people weren’t frowned upon.
headline “Acid,” described the young house
“The RoXY was a great place. There has never been anything like it since. It’s just incredible how much work was put into creating a unique atmosphere back then. Every week you could hear the best DJs there, accompanied by great performances and artwork. The club was literally multi-disciplinary. It was avant la lettre-also ahead of its time.”
scene, the arrival of ecstasy and the kick In 1990, Eddy left the RoXY and DJ Joost
you got from immersing yourself in such
van Bellen would become the new allround
a “surreal dreamworld” for a whole night:
creative director and driving force.
“The hallucinating atmosphere of the light and sound effects and the merciless beat
The year 1988 can also be seen as a
that reverberates through your diaphragm
historical turning point in youth culture.
make for a relentless attack on the senses.
The new ideology was not a protest
The exuberance of the young Amsterdam
movement, but one that pursued unbridled
house scene was given an extra push when
pleasure and hedonistic pleasure. It was the
a large portion of the party-goers first
DJ 100% Isis (Isis van der Wel)
end of the ‘80s and the ‘me’ era. In that
Grace Jones live performance at the RoXY, 1987 © Photo: Claude Crommelin
In the early 1990s, Acid house was
Zubrowka (RoXY’s muse) recalls; “Even
played in every ‘serious’ nightclub. Acid
if you were the star of the club, you’d
house became a clearly recognizable and
still be helping out with mailings. In the
commercial style in contemporary pop
afternoon, usually still hung over from the
music. Therefore the RoXY launched a new
night before, we’d head for the RoXY office
programming. Every evening in the Roxy
to stuff the flyers in little plastic bags or
got a different theme, and therefore also
a different audience. ‘Hard’ for gays on Wednesday, ‘Hi-Tech Soul Movement’ by DJ Dimitri on Thursday, soulful house and disco
The end of an era
from KC the Funkaholic on Friday and Okay house on Saturday. The new programmatic
June 16, 1999 Peter suddenly died from a
division of different music genres would
brain haemorrhage at the age of 44. His
soon be followed by other clubs.
funeral (June 21, 1999 ) was a neo-pagan ritual, a surreal spectacle that would not
look out of place in a James Bond film,
Jean Paul Commandeur (Chap) & Peter Giele at Grace Jones concert in the RoXY. © Photo: Claude Crommelin, 1987
imposing and ominous at the same time. Surrealistic scenes on the Amstel, where
Using flyers to advertise events and
Giele’s open coffin was sailed around on
performances was still relatively new in
a boat made available by the local Hell’s
Amsterdam back in 1987, certainly for
Angels. It was just as anarchic at cemetery
danceclubs. Eddy wanted to highlight the
Zorgvlied, where the remains of the artist
personal element, and so he worked with
threatened to fall out of the coffin for a
graphic designers, photographers and visual
while because the hole that had already
artists. The RoXY worked with several
been dug turned out to be too small.
graphic designers like Koeweiden/Postma,
A monument designed by famous artist
JP Commandeur, Lava Grafisch Ontwerpers,
Joep van Lieshout was placed on top of his
Gebr. Silvestri, Wall-Russ, Experimental
grave; the Giele Skull; a purple, polyester
Jetset, DEPT and others. During the first
cabin in the shape of a skull. Completely
year very sober designs were used for the
closed with padlocks where friends and
club, which got slapped together at a local
acquaintances, in possession of a key, could
copy shop. Because there was almost no
withdraw for a while.
budget it had to be done quickly. But June 21, 1999 also marked the end Over the years with all the acts and
of the RoXY. During the commemoration
performances hosted, there was a growing
ceremony at the RoXY fireworks were set
need for unique and original flyers. Many
off indoors, but the staff forgot to turn off
of them have become collector items now.
the air conditioning in time. The sparks
The flyer with the saccharine pills for the
were sucked up and the club burned down
first Acide Gala, the flexidisc with Peter
completely. With this, Amsterdam and the
Giele poem and the Old Dutch pottery
rainbow community lost one of their most
“Delfts blauw” tile flyer are most legendary.
colorful nightlife spots. Many of those
Obviously they couldn’t put that fragile tile
present later stated that they saw a higher
flyer through their members letterbox, so
hand in the sea of fire, as if Giele had shown
Peter Giele and JP Commandeur aka Chap
another great master trick over the grave.
(graphic designer of the RoXY tile flyer an
They referred to Giele’s favorite motto, Ab
many other RoXY flyers) thought they had
igne ignem capere - which means as much
to bring it in personally. In the end only a
as: lighting one fire with another.
Flexidisc flyer with poem ‘De Vuren Laaien Fel’ from Peter Giele and reading of the months programme by Zubrowka. June 1991. Design: JP commandeur / Pat Vogt Collection.
handful of addresses got their tile specially delivered, because by no means all RoXY members turned out to live in or around Amsterdam and they had forgotten to bring a road map.
Sources: Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchief, Vice.com, Rozenbergquarterly.com, Ra.co (Resident Advisor), MisterMotley.nl / DJBroadcast.com, Mary Go Wild, Claude Crommelin RoXY Archive, The Radical Outlet for the Xenomaniac in You book, Pat Vogt Collection.
Re-issue pottery tile flyer in “Delfts Blauw” style. The first tile flyer was made in 1990. This version is from 2009 and came with the Roxy flyer book. Design: JP commandeur. Size: 145x145x5 mm / Pat Vogt Collection.
RoXY entry tickets. Top: design Koeweider-Postma, 1987. Below: design DEPT, 1989. Pat Vogt Collection.
Interview from Groove Weekly magazine Issue 98, September 1982
One of the hottest records on both sides of the Atlantic right now, and indeed over most of the Western World is the first really controversial and serious rapping disc, “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. In fact, so quickly has the message spread, that while I’m sure many other music journalists have been trying hard over the last few weeks to track down the Grandmaster, Sylvia and Joe Robinson over at their own Sugarhill Records in Englewood, New Jersey, have been going quietly frantic trying to get hold of him - as apparently he refuses to have a telephone installed in his house! Anyway, they eventually managed to drag him to their offices where I was able to chat to him over the phone, and he gave me far more standard reasons for his elusivity - “We’re touring so much right now and we’re also busy finishing up our first album!”
As I knew precious little about the first-
helps me with the mixing. So, as you can
time hitmaker, I started by asking him
see, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
about his group and how he got involved
consists of two DJs and five MCs”.
in the rapping scene, to which he replied:“Well, I’m now 25 and I’ve been a DJ for
So in other words, Grandmaster Flash &
the last 10 years. I guess I’ve put the group
The Furious Five, unlike their stablemates
together over the past 7 years. I used to
the Sugarhill Gang, are not a group of
play in a lot of the parks for free as a DJ,
individual rapping DJS put together by
and my style of mixing was such that it was
Sylvia Robinson to go into the studio and
very complicated to rap and mix at the same
record a hit rapping track for Sugarhill
time. So, as I wasn’t too much of a rapper,
Records Flash continues:- “The Sugarhill
more a quick mixer, I knew I had to go and
Gang had the first rap record on wax, but
get some guys to ‘M.C’ over what I was
we go back a bit further than that. I mean,
spinning. Rapping was called ‘M.C.ing’ then.
we’d rent halls or clubs, charge a buck or
So I did something that was brand new to
two and bring our own sound system with
people. I’d always leave a mike at the end of
us. We’d charge, say $2 to get in, then
the table so that everyone was free to come
spend a couple of hours rapping & mixing.
up and do something over my spinning.
Miss Robinson, following her success with
All types used to come up and try, and it
the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”,
was then that I first ran into Cowboy - who
went out spotting other rappers and she
became my first permanent rapper. Cowboy,
used to come to the place where I used to
who’s a member of the Furious Five, had a
play. We’d actually made one recording on
special way of getting the people to throw
a small label prior to Sugarhill - she heard
their hands in the air and clap to the beat,
that and liked the style of it, so I brought
by talking in a particular special way in
my boys over to see her and we eventually
between my spinning when I’d take one
ended up signing with her company”.
Groove magazine , issue 98, 1982 / Disco Patrick Collection
“The Sugarhill Gang had the first rap record on wax, but we go back a bit further than that. I mean, we’d rent halls or clubs, charge a buck or two and bring our own sound system with us. We’d charge, say $2 to get in, then spend a couple of hours rapping & mixing.”
beat and change it to another by putting the other on top of the first.
So, how did that particular potent
The next member of the furious five I
rhythmic, strong hunk of music from the
recruited was Melle Mel, real name Melvin
streets· ‘The Message’ come to be? Flash
Glover, who was the brother of Kid Creole
- not the same guy as August Darnell.
“Miss Robinson suggested we try something
Then came Mr. Ness, and the final member
totally different from the conventional rap
I recruited was Rahiem. I also have an
record - you know, everybody throw up
assistant, Easy Mike, who’s my sidekick and
your hands and clap. Whether or not to cut
the track was a serious rift factor with me, but after a while we cut it. She thought it would be big, and thank God she was certainly right. Mr. Robinson’s been telling me how we’re big in England & France and that we’re just beginning to explode allover the world as well as in the States. We’re making enough noise to put an international tour together - it’s turning into a pretty big thing, and we’re presently getting our passports together to come over to England for TV and general promotion. The song itself is actually a collaboration between Miss Robinson and Ed Fletcherknown as ‘Duke Bootee’ – and also Melvin Glover known as ‘Melle Mel’ - he’s actually rapping on the track, it’s not me, but I was the one who created the group. As I’ve already told you, I was pretty close to the beginning of the whole rapping-on-thebeat, or syncopated rapping thing. Because of the strength of the lyrical content, “The Message” has involved us getting invited onto many talk shows. The TV shows went pretty good. You see, as the record took off quickly, there was a lot of interest in us, and I must say everything to this point has been pretty successful”. That last sentence must surely rank as one of the understatements of the year. However, although “The Message” is certainly different from previous rap records due to the heaviness of its lyrical content, the question remains unanswered as to whether many of the people buying the record are actually listening to the words, or whether they are buying it because they love dancing to the strong rhythm track. Flash says:“On a personal level, I think it’s very much a case of either/or. The rhythm track is a nice dance thing, but I think everyone has there own personal pieces of a record they enjoy in addition to the whole track. Then there are those people who relate to the whole thing plus the track”. And how does he feel about the naughty word beginning with ‘p’ being edited out for radio play over here?:“They’ve done much the same thing here, in that they bleep it out. People say it’s not the correct word to put over the airwaves. As long as they play the record, I can’t really complain - although I would add Vintage flyer feat. GMF & The Furious 5 MC’s, 1982. Design: Sir Buddy Esquire (RIP) / Pat Vogt Collection
that I don’t think ‘that word’ is particularly
mixing and the mixing against the rap.
harsh. I have heard harsher, worse words
The Sugarhill Gang are different in that
over the air, though I don’t really want to
they use a band when performing live. For
name any names”.
our backing tracks we come up with a basic idea. The ‘b’ sides of our records are usually
I then asked Flash what he thinks of the
instrumental versions of our songs. We take
current rapping scene:-
these same tracks on tour with us, though
“The industry is trying to say it’s a fad, but I
sometimes we have to erase the vocals out,
think it’ll be here for a very long time.
and then we do our live vocals over the
You learn to talk before you sing - you can
top – but we never rap over other people’s
learn to talk with it - as long as the lyrics
have some kind of meaning, then everyone can relate to it. When we started, there
The Sugarhill Band are our resident players
must have been about two other rap groups
- they actually put it together on tape, but
we knew. Then the kids in our area could see
from being put on wax it’s entirely ours.
it was a moneymaking thing, so new groups
Actually, all the tracks that come out of
were formed so you had a lot of groups.
Sugarhill records are done by this particular
Then Miss Robinson saw it could be a big
band, and some groups use the band on
thing, so rapping took off. I think rapping
tour. We are the only ones who use the
is in close running to, and can be equal to,
backing tracks while performing live”.
good singing and it’s finally getting a kind of respect”.
“The industry is trying to say it’s a fad, but I think it’ll be here for a very long time.” Grandmaster Flash
So does he then think that rapping has
For a final question I wondered what we
become the main street music of America,
could expect from their first album, to
replacing to an extent the street corner
which the genial Grandmaster replied:-
accapella & Doo-wop harmony singing so
“We’ll be showing our versatility. There’ll be
prevalent in America’s inner cities in the
a little bit of singing, and it’ll include ballads
50s & 60s?:-
as well as uptempo things. For the singing,
“Maybe ... yeah, you could say that.
Rahiem is our lead, while in the background
Rapping comes from the streets. The
Mr. Ness & myself are lead tenors. Cowboy
rappers sit back in the streets and write
is baritone and Melle Mel does the bass bits.
their own paragraphs to go with the music.
All the rappers will be taking turns to rap on
It’s sometimes spontaneous and sometimes
the various tracks - so we hope to be mixing
singing with rapping”.
Getting back to the group themselves, I
And so ended are interesting conversation,
enquired what they did as regards live
and we can expect to see the group over
here shortly for promotion – and should
“We don’t use a band, I engineer all the
they decide to do a full tour here in the
music, all the rhythm tracks. Everything
near future, I’m sure you’ll agree that we
is instrumental. We work just the same as
can expect something totally different from
we did in the streets, in the park with the
anything we’ve ever seen before - an aspect
turntables. We time ourselves against one
of urban black American culture previously
another - you know, the rap against the
unearthed. (Peter Lewis)
Vintage flyers feat. GMF & The Furious 5 MC’s. Design: Sir Buddy Esquire, 1980 / Pat Vogt Collection
The New York influences This article describes a number of topics and notable facts that contributed to the development, perception and emergence of graffiti in Amsterdam in relation to the New York influences. Article by Dutch Graffiti Library.
Quik, Amsterdam, 1985 / Dutch Graffiti Library
Amsterdam is seen in Europe as one of the cities where graffiti first developed. In the mid-70s graffiti influences from New York slowly trickled into the Dutch capital. In the American metropolis at that time the graffiti culture is already very large for years, the subway trains ride around for more than 10 years from top to bottom sprayed. Amsterdam That the youth of Amsterdam, apart from some knowledge of New York graffiti, also engaged in name writing in the second half of the 1970s is a fact. From the late 70s until about 1982 there is a lively and large
punk-oriented scene. Amsterdam has many writers with illustrious names like Ego, Prikkeldraadje, Vendex, De Zoot, The Dumb, Dr. Air and of course Dr. Rat. This group acts mainly in the center of Amsterdam. That environment is seen as a place where ‘the message against the established order’ is at its best. A city that was full of riots and anarchist resistance. Heavy fighting over demolition of the Nieuwmarkt district, was the headline on the front page of Het Parool on March 24, 1975. The reason was several buildings that had to be demolished because of the construction of the underground metro line. This met with a lot of resistance and the police intervened violently on the first day. Unrest, anarchy and resistance to the established order were daily fare from then on. So too on the other side of the Atlantic. New York had a bad reputation in the mid-1970s; the city was plagued by crime and had been declared virtually
the dangers of the city. Under the illustrious nickname: ‘Fear City’. In this urban theater graffiti thrives, the city of New York is overgrown with urban weeds, both on the walls and the subways. In the mid-1970s, Amsterdam partly follows a similar path. Consciously or unconsciously and without everyone realizing it, New York graffiti is an influence and presence in the Amsterdam streetscape and gallery landscape.
New York subway graffiti & the American landscape Bill (Chaim) Meyer (December 10, 1942) was born in Australia, he graduated from Melbourne University in art history and languages and then from the National Gallery Art School and completed his formal art training at the Royal College of Art in London (1972). From 1973 he worked extensively from New York city where he collected documentation on New York subway grafﬁti and the urban American landscape. He incorporates the material he collects and the photographs into his
bankrupt. Those who visited New York in those years received a leaflet at the airport from the New York Police Department, warning of
screen prints. He expresses his vision through collages, sketches and montage of photographs combined with texts. All the grafﬁti material he collected in New York in 1973 and 1974 he incorporated into a series of screen prints under the name “New York subway grafﬁti & the American landscape”. In early 1975, Bill Meyer was invited to exhibit his work on New York grafﬁti at Israel Galerie Linka on Prinsengracht 690 in Amsterdam in May of that year. The exhibition will be, for what is now known, the ﬁrst landing of New York grafﬁti on Dutch soil. The opening of the exhibition at Galerie Linka takes place on May 1, 1975. Those present became acquainted with New York grafﬁti for the first time.
“New York subway grafﬁti & the American landscape” exhibition poster and screenprints, 1975 / Dutch Graffiti Library Photobook Inventory of the Archive of Israel Galerie Linka, Amsterdam City Archives 1975
Watching my name go by The introduction to New York graffiti not only enters Amsterdam through ISRAEL GALERIE LINKA, but also through the book ‘The Faith of Graffiti’ by Mervyn Kurlansky & Jon Naar, published in America in 1974. In England, the high-profile book was released that same year with the culture-defining and all-encompassing title ‘Watching My Name Go By’. The fact that some Amsterdam writers discovered New York grafﬁti at the end of the 1970s from this book is proven by a passage in an article by Diana Ozon, who writes: Together with, among others, Koekrant founder Hugo Kaagman, Dr. Rat was inspired by the photo book by Norman Mailer, which was sold at De Slegte: Watching My Name Go by. It is noteworthy that in 1974 the book is also published in Dutch under the title “New York Graffiti” by the Amsterdam publisher Landshoff. The publisher was in those years run by the father of an Amsterdam boy. Nothing special at that time, but a nice detail is that this city kid will make a name for himself in the early 80s under the graffiti name: Arson. As a prominent member of the graffiti crews God’s Vicious Babies and The Bad Homeboys, he put many pieces in Amsterdam. The fact that Arson’s father still has ties in New York, 10
years after the book was published, creates a new connection. In the mid-80s Arson, who was accompanying him on his trip to New York, made contact with the New York writers T-Kid and Jason aka Terror. It is this connection that causes an Arson Jason piece to appear in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark in the early 1980s.
“My name is everywhere” New York graffiti surfaces in other ways as well. The written press gets to know the phenomenon and what is going on in New York. As early as 1975, a piece appears in the Dutch weekly ‘Nieuwe Revu’ under the title “Mijn naam staat overall” (My name is everywhere). The journalist describes the following anecdote; Some say that Shaft 112 was the first to start it. One dark December evening he had his name, or rather his nickname. Sprayed on a train. With beautiful, almost luminous letters, that betrayed the hand of an artist. To do this, he had climbed over the high sharp fence of the train depot of the New York district of the Bronx that evening, had lain quietly under a train set among cold steel for several hours to make sure that the guards had retreated, into their warm shack, and then had gotten down to painting.
Sketches by T-Kid and Jason for Arson and piece by Arson & Jason, Amsterdam 1985 / Dutch Graffiti Library ↑ “Mijn naam staat overal”. Vintage Xerox print from one of the first articels about New York graffiti in Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu 1975 / Dutch Graffiti Library ↓
The Faith Of Graffiti (US first edition) Watching My Name Go By (UK first edition) New York Graffiti (NL first edition) / Dutch Graffiti Library
From the street to the gallery At the end of the 70s the graffiti in Amsterdam developed rapidly. The graffiti is mainly a result of the punk scene and consists almost exclusively of names in one line applied with felt pen, spray can or block brush. In September 1982, this changed when a New York graffiti writer exhibited his work in the Amsterdam gallery ‘American Graffiti’. The gallery was founded by Barbara Farber and specialized in international art by young artists, mainly from New York City. The writer is Lee Quiñones, who is also participating in the world art exhibition Documenta 1982 in Kassel. He is showing graffiti on canvas for the first time in the gallery. The American exhibits in Amsterdam together with Jenny Holzer who makes announcements on signs made of different materials. Together they also create work on the walls of the Amsterdam canals and during a trip to Rotterdam. A piece by Lee Quiñones has been spraypainted against the underside of a staircase leading to Rotterdam’s Lijnbaan Centre. The artwork consists of the letters L, E and E, together spelling the name LEE. The mural was commissioned by the Rotterdam Art Foundation.
New York is coming closer and closer Early 1983, New York is coming closer and closer. After the American Graffiti Gallery introduced several New York artists, some of whom have made their name with graffiti, Yaki Kornblit shows a number of attention-grabbing exhibitions of graffiti art from New York in his gallery. At the moment Rammellzee is exhibiting there. Before him, Dondi White and Futura 2000 showed their work there. Kornblit’s programme means that Amsterdam has an additional window on New York. It may not be fully realized, but take note: current New York art is shown here just like that: a scoop for Europe! Graffiti art, which should not be confused with random scribbles of windows and walls, has made its way from the underground (the subway) to the gallery circuit in a short time. Several graffiti artists have already made it to museums and important exhibitions, including Documenta.
Lee at Central Station Amsterdam, 1982 / Dutch Graffiti Library
Zephyr and Seen, (playground) Amsterdam, 1983 / Dutch Graffiti Library
“In the mid-1980s graffiti had nothing to do with punk anymore. Dr Rat remained an icon, but the prevailing style was modelled after New York graffiti and graffiti culture had become one with hip-hop and the American style.” Dutch Graffiti Library
Lee Quinones drawing in Documenta 7 Vol.2 catalogue, 1982 / Pat Vogt Collection
“One of the first New York graffiti writers who exhibited at Kornblit’s was Quik, in 1983. There was a fence in Amsterdam South near the Vondelpark on which we used to write occasionally, and which was covered with scribbles in marker pen. One day I passed the fence and was filled with only one thing, the letters were so large that I could not even read them. I almost fell over”.
Museum Boymans- van Beuningen “Graffiti” exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam, 1983 / Pat Vogt Collection
Niels ‘Shoe” Meulman
The Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam is taking serious action, preparing an exhibition on this new art form. Yaki Kornblit is involved. He is quite familiar with the New York graffiti scene, that has dominated the gallery world in Soho for some time now. It is a very special scene to which you must open yourself completely. People with sensitive eyes who are used to high art are shaken up. Graffiti is not art for aestheticians. You either surrender to it or flee from it.
OOR magazine, 1983 / Pat Vogt Collection Quik, Amsterdam, 1983 / Dutch Graffiti Library
What Rammellzee, a tall, dark young man with eyes like laser beams, creates, contains a message that should at least be taken note of. With sacred earnestness, he takes an advance on the future, that is coming frighteningly near, as everyone knows. His luminescent scenes, which seem to have been created with special thanks to Jack ‘the dripper’ Pollock, are characterized by a science fiction dominated by tanks and jets. For Rammellzee, the future has already begun. He has designed a script that he firmly believes will be used in the future. He calls it ‘future gothic’. Gothic letters and the very calligraphic letters invented by himself enliven the dynamic image of the future, evoked by him with suggestive effects. Of course it is not intended for a cramped gallery space, but even prophets are only human, sensitive to the attractions of the monetary system. After Rammellzee, Quik Zephyr, NOC, Blade, Crash, Lady Pink, Daze and Seen will show their graffiti at Kornblit’s gallery. His fellow gallery owners declare him crazy when he even sells his house to deal in
graffiti art. At the time, this was mainly seen as illegal and vandalistic activities by American teenagers from the ghettos and their Dutch contemporaries. That the writers who had come over from New York did everything in their power to keep this stereotype alive is proven by an anecdote about Quik RTW that appeared in Muziek Tijdschrift OOR: The stranger is irresistibly attracted to the shutters of Gall & Gall. It is in the black of night, who will notice? Ha, this will surprise ‘em in the morning... A braking car disturbs his concentration. He sees two uniforms and out of sheer habit he runs away.
But Quik is not fast enough. On unfamiliar ground, without the protecting darkness of a New York train park, he doesn’t stand a chance. What a flop, to be arrested like that! But the Amsterdam police are not such bad chaps, and after half an hour Quik is out on the street again, a seventy-five Euro fine in his pocket. ‘That fine is still due’, says Yaki Kornblit, not without an overtone of jest.
Early 1983 he brought in six graffiti artists (‘writers’) from New York to Europe. In 1984, too, his schedule was dominated by graffiti artists, among them two photographers who had recorded the past five years of ‘subway art’. In addition to exhibitions in the Kornblit Gallery, a retrospective was held in the Rotterdam Boymans van Beuningen Museum. Graffiti, however, is a street thing and the second nature of active graffiti writers to let their (fictitious) name shine as often as possible did not fail them in Amsterdam either. Quik and Blade discovered a perfect wall in the Vondelpark, where their Amsterdam ‘partners in crime’ had made their mark as well. Zephyr chose a playground as his working space and added a golden Yaki to his name.
Eye of the Tiger William ‘Bill Blast’ Cordero (1964) came to Amsterdam for a solo exhibition by Yaki in November, 1983. The writer is not yet known here, and it is his first visit to the Netherlands. At that time, Bill Blast, aka Wise , has been known for years in New York as an A-status writer. He has sprayed legendary subways and handball courts. In 1982, on West 99th Street and Amsterdam Quik, Amsterdam (Gall & Gall shutters), 1983 / Dutch Graffiti Library ← Quik, Amsterdam (Vondelpark), 1983 / Dutch Graffiti Library ↓ Quik, Amsterdam (Amstelveld), 1985 / Dutch Graffiti Library ↓
Avenue in Manhattan, in what is commonly known as Rock Steady Park, Bill Blast painted two masterpieces on either side of a wall. The first piece was titled “Sky’s the Limit”. On the other side of the wall was a piece called “Eye of the Tiger”. These 2 masterpieces are now seen worldwide as cultural- defining works.
The three of us went out in the evening to find suitable spots for pieces. I don’t remember exactly how we ended up in the Bijlmer, but I can still remember the spot well. The gray concrete under Ganzenhoef metro station was the perfect place. Seen had also put a piece up there two months earlier. Now it was Futura’s and my turn. The atmosphere under the subway station reminded me of the vibe I knew from New York City. This feeling was fully reinforced when we were stopped later on by the Amsterdam police. They wanted to know what we were doing there and we had to explain. I remember it so well because our presence was associated with the investigation into the kidnapping of the beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his driver Ab Doderer on November 9, 1983. The kidnappers’ ransom demand was 35 million guilders, which was transferred in the night from 28 to 29 November). We saw this constantly on television during our stay in Amsterdam. Apart from that, it was a fantastic time in Amsterdam, for which I am still especially grateful to Yaki. He was the visionary who, among other things, ensured that I was seen in the art world and that I could have been active in the graffiti art scene for 45 years now.
We write about 1983, when, under Ganzenhoef station in Amsterdam , protagonists from New York’s graffiti culture literally colored the streets. The writers; Seen, Futura2000 and Bill Blast have left their mark on the gray pillars under the station. It is curious to mention that these writers have ended up in the Bijlmer neighbourhood, not because the environment would not invite them, but because they were in Amsterdam at the request of the gallery owner Yaki Kornblit. All three writers successively exhibited with Kornblit in his gallery in the chic Old South neighbourhood and would hang around there. In 2020 Bill Blast himself says about this: “At Schiphol Airport I was immediately put aside in a room and my papers were doublechecked. Customs did not understand what I was doing with my art. Yaki had to come in to validate me and my work. Futura2000 was also present at Yaki in Amsterdam.
Blade, Amsterdam, 1985 / Dutch Graffiti Library → Seen, Bill Blast and Quik, Amsterdam, 1983 / Dutch Graffiti Library →
Bill Blast “Eye of the Tiger”, Manhattan (Rock Steady Park) New York, 1982 / Photo Disz, Dutch Graffiti Library ↓
Anthony Fokkerweg 3 Amsterdam
Waxwell Records is a specialized record store located in the heart of Historic Amsterdam. We sell used and new vinyl for DJ’s, record collectors and music enthusiasts. Waxwell Records specializes in Amsterdam’s most diverse and unique selection of Soul, Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, Blues, Disco, Classic Rock, Reggae and Pop records. Visit the Store: Gasthuismolensteeg 8A Amsterdam Mon-Sat: 12:00-19:00 pm Sunday: 12:00-18:00 pm
324d Hackney Road London UK E2 7AX www.yoyorecordslondon.com
TANAMUR CITY - INDONESIAN AOR, CITY POP, AND BOOGIE - 1979 TO 1991 Cultures of Soul Records
At Cultures of Soul, they haven’t let the doldrums of 2020 slow down their global exploration across space and time to discover the funkiest pockets of music culture the world has to offer! This time they made a pitstop in Jakarta, in the years between 1979 and 1991—the peak of the New Order. Info: www.culturesofsoul.com
DJ friendly records DISCO, SOUL, FUNK, JAZZ, BOOGIE, GOSPEL, ELECTRO, HIP HOP & OLD SCHOOL DISCO RAP, AFRO, LATIN, BRAZIL, BREAKS & SAMPLES, EIGHTIES HOUSE CLASSICS ALL VINYL 12 INCH, LP’S & 7 INCH MAIL-ORDER RARE RECORDS SINCE 1991, ONLINE SINCE 2001 USED & UNUSED ORIGINAL ISSUES. WE DON’T SELL ANY MODERN REISSUES OR BOOTLEGS.
WWW.DJFRIENDLY.CO.UK CHECK OUT OUR NEW SISTER SITE @ WWW.NATURALHOUSE.UK
Albina Music y r e Trust Gall
Albina Music Trust is preserving North Portland’s music culture with programming that documents the community’s oral history, archival media, and special events. In collaboration with Albina musicians, founders Bobby Smith and Calvin Walker have brought to light a definitive catalog of historic music and the memories of its creators. AMT is an initiative of The World Arts Foundation which has served Portlanders at the intersection of arts and education since 1978. www.albinamusictrust.com
Rhythm in Reserve How a U.S. military recruiting program created an incredible library of soul and funk history. By Spankie Hazard and Swifft Edits (Sedgwick Records)
“Rap n’ Rhythm”
“Sometime in 2005, I was flipping through the crates at Face, a small record shop in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo.
“Rap n’ Rhythm with Al Gee” is a treasure trove for anyone interested in music, musicians’ stories or America’s knotty social history. The show was made between 1973 and 1977, in the years just after the United States pulled its troops out of Vietnam. The war had been long, futile and deeply unpopular, and the Army wanted to repair its image with the nation’s youth. The tool it chose was music. “Rap n’ Rhythm” was hosted by a prominent New York and Philadelphia DJ—that face on the covers is Al Gee’s—and featured some of the greatest names in soul, funk and disco: Al Green, Gwen McCrae, Jimmy Castor, Leroy Hutson, Roy Ayers, The Voices of East Harlem, Minnie Riperton, and many, many more.
The funk, soul and hip-hop offerings were mostly familiar, but as I scanned the jackets—killing time more than digging on this particular day—I was struck by an oddly beautiful piece of cover art. An illustrated face: sharp jaw, psychedelic yellow eyes, over-sized headphones floating an inch or so off the ears, the cable sprouting from a neatly groomed Afro. The title of the record was “Rap n’ Rhythm with Al Gee.” A lost hip-hop treasure? My collector’s spider-sense started tingling. Even more curious was the text on the bottom of the cover: “Presented by The US Army Reserve”. Turning the record over, I saw names I knew from the world of soul: Millie Jackson, Sir Charles Hughes, The Sylvers, Bobby Womack. “Rap n’ Rhythm,” it turned out, was a radio
Collecting “Rap n’ Rhythm” isn’t easy. The shows were pressed on double LPs—four shows per pair—and distributed to radio stations around the United States. But because the records weren’t meant for commercial release, the stations were obligated to destroy them after the shows aired. Some DJs and station managers saved copies, and some of those copies have ended up on the used vinyl market, but no one can say how many. Back in 2005, there was just one “Rap n’ Rhythm” listed on Discogs. Today there are a couple of dozen. Copies of some of the shows seem to have been saved in greater numbers than others, probably because they featured very popular artists such as Melba Moore, George Benson and Thelma Houston. However, there are others, such as the one with Betty Davis on it, that are incredibly difficult to find. The tunes on “Rap n’ Rhythm” aren’t rarities, but they’re top shelf: “Gotta Learn
show—the “rap” used in the older slang sense of “informal chat”. The artists were the guests—on programmes #307 and #308. Just how many of these records were there? Why hadn’t I seen them before? And what did the American military have to do with it all? I bought the record, needless to say. It was the start of a vinyl-collecting adventure that I’m still on more than fifteen years later”. Spankie Hazard
Department Of Defence Cancellation Letter
Rap N’ Rhythm ephemera
How to Dance” by Fatback Band; “Rare So Rare” by The Voices of East Harlem; Eddie Kendricks’ “Goin’ Up in Smoke.” And the interviews hum with life. Al Gee was a music industry veteran who had close relationships with many of the artists, and the conversations have a relaxed and intimate air. (In fact, Al Gee’s son told us it was customary for the artists to go back to the family’s home for dinner after recording the interviews.) Topics range from how the artists broke into music (Freda Payne says she considered herself an “ugly duckling” during her struggle-filled early years) to general advice for living (Fatback’s Bill Curtis recommends golf). Some of the guest artists, like Herbie Hancock, were already big stars when they appeared on the show. Others, like Larry Graham, were still relatively unknown to the public. A few, like Manu Dibango and Inner Circle, were international acts just breaking into the American market. Even the propaganda is fascinating. Three times per 25-minute broadcast, Al Gee briefly cuts away from his guest to talk up the merits of the Army Reserve: skills training, a regular paycheck, and knowing that “part of what you earn is pride”. Today, close to half a century later, the US military sponsors video games; back then, music and radio were the ways to reach the youth.
“We want you!” In the late 1960s, the Army started a syndicated radio program called “Guard Session”. The program featured popular artists of the day, such as Sergio Mendes, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Nancy Wilson and Burt Bacharach. They talked with host Skitch Henderson about their music,
and Skitch told the audience they should consider joining the Army Reserve. When the radio initiative was expanded in the 70s, new programmes were created to reach every demographic. Alongside “Rap n’ Rhythm,” the Army made a show for the country-music crowd, “Country Cookin’”, and a “middle of the road” successor to “Guard Session” called “Skitch & Company”. In the mid-70s, “Skitch & Company” abruptly became “William B. & Company” after Skitch Henderson was arrested for tax evasion. Other branches of the military made their own shows. “Nightbird and Company: Cosmic Connections” was a jazz, fusion, and progressive rock programme underwritten by the National Guard. Its cover art, by the same artist—Charles Santore—who did the Army’s shows, depicts the host, Alison Steele, as a dark-winged goddess holding a planet, and rivals “Rap n’ Rhythm” in its greatness. Bobbi Humphrey appeared on this show to promote her then-new
album “Tailor Made.” Over in the Navy, meanwhile, there was “Sailing with Soul”, whose art direction was less inspired but which boasted a better-known host: the mahogany-voiced Lou Rawls. Some of his guests included the Tavares, Bobby Womack, Quincy Jones and Melvin Van Peebles.
The target demographic The target demographic for “Rap n’ Rhythm” was minorities. Black and Hispanic Americans, especially, accounted for a disproportionate share of Army recruits. For some young men in cities like New York, employment options could boil down to the military or crime, King Klast, a noted historian of New York street gangs, told us. “Living the hellish life they lived, it might have been way better to join the military. And they learned skills and trades.” The Army knew that its best-stocked recruiting pools were the ones where people
had limited opportunities. It tailored its programming accordingly—and for the most part subtly. The interviews steer clear of anything military-related, and some of the artists’ song choices— “Ghetto on Fire” by Inner Circle, say—make you wonder if there wasn’t some crafty counter-messaging going on.
and Ebay are becoming more expensive, suggesting someone’s sniffing the trail. A few sellers, sadly, seem to be splitting the original double LP packs and selling them as single LPs at jacked-up prices. We’ve managed to score 27 over the years, perhaps about half of what must be out there.
So where are the records? Four “military service programmes” running for four years, once a week, makes for about 1,000 broadcasts, each pressed on vinyl and distributed to many radio stations. But despite the scale of the enterprise, few people seem to know that these records exist. Bring up the topic with even welleducated DJs and collectors and you’ll likely get blank looks. Not always, though. “Oh, yeah! Those records with the dude on the cover with the big headphones,” Chintam, a DJ, collector and walking encyclopedia of music who owns Blow Up Records in Shibuya, told us. “Those are way cool!” The installments that can be found on Discogs
For DJs and producers, these records are filled to the brim with usable spoken content. Unlike many other interview records, the dialogue is not over background music. Al Gee was also good at letting his guests talk and explore their thoughts, creating many magical moments to utilize in productions, mixes and in clubs. So, go out and find them. And when you do, check and see if the installment is on Discogs. If it isn’t, make an entry. Post about it. Talk about it. Connect it to the others out there so that the collector community can catalogue and preserve this treasure that was inadvertently left to us by the groovy folks of the US military!
Selected quotes Betty Davis on her approach to the music industry: “Well, I’ve been sort of takin’ it slow. Nice and slow. If I’m gonna do it, I want to do it the right way. Before I decided to ‘work’ I really thought about it seriously, because people only see the surface part of the music business. They don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and it’s not all glamour. It’s not all ‘star lights.’ There’s a lot of hard work and you meet all kinds of people in the music business. I know a lot of musicians and I know a lot of pain that they’ve gone through, so I really wanted to get into the business the right way. I really had to say (to myself): ‘This is what I want to do, and this is why I want to do it.’” B.B. King on the blues: “To me, the blues is like life itself. I feel that I am singing about the past, the present, and the future. It’s so funny that in the early years, if I was concerned about something it was usually something in my community or as you say, ‘my backyard’. But today, if something should happen anywhere on this planet, usually we know about it in about 30 or 40 minutes. So, now I’m concerned not only with my backyard or the community in which I live, but the whole world and the whole world’s problems. And we sing about them. And that’s what I base my belief on that the blues is like life itself. We’re talking about it.” B. B. King on his aunt’s record collection and influence: “My aunt was one of those people that used to buy records like the kids do today. I was a very small boy, and if I was good she’s let me listen to these records. She was buying records by Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson. Those two people are the ones I dug the most. So, as I was saying when I was good she’s let me play her phonograph, and believe me I was a good boy around my aunt all the time so I could play her phonograph. Then later I learned about jazz when I got to fooling with the guitar, and I liked Charlie Christian. He was a jazz guitarist at that time with Benny Goodman. Then I heard of another guy called Django Reinhardt, we call him “The Gypsy”, a guitarist from France. And so those four people have been like a Bible to me through my whole career and still are. There are many others that I admired and still idolize like T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, Lowell Fulson, Elmore James—you name ‘em like ‘em.” Brass Construction’s Randy Muller on the success of “Brass Construction 1”: “The first album, Brass Construction 1, took a very long time to complete. As a matter of fact, it was almost a year from the time we got started to when you heard it on the radio. The songs that we have on the first album are songs that are about six years old or four years old. It was a long waiting process. And after we’d completed to first album, many of us said, ‘Oh my god, the dances have changed, the rhythms have changed’ and we felt like we might be putting out some old stuff that some people would just disregard. But to our surprise, when Brass Construction 1 came out, it was something fresh to the listeners. So, we were kind of lucky that we did wait and it seems that everything fell into place.” Deniece Williams, on how she was discovered: “I started working in a record shop when I was about 17. And I’d put the records on and quite naturally I’d just sing along with the records. The owner of the shop heard me and brought in some scouts from Chicago and said, ‘Please come listen to this girl sing.’ And they came in and they said, ‘We’re gonna do something with you if you’re willing,’ and I had this obscure notion that I was going to be on a get-rich-quick plan! I wanted money to go away to school. I was on the verge of graduating and I wanted some money so I could go into nursing. That’s where my head was at the time. So, I made the recording, nothing became of it and I didn’t hear anything about it. I went away to school for two years… I came back home and that’s when I heard from Stevie Wonder. They had heard the 45—someone had made it known to him, for which I thank God for that. And he said, “I’m forming a group called Wonderlove and I’d like to have you if you can do that.’ And I just jumped on in it and at that time he was on tour with the Rolling Stones, and I said, ‘Sure!’
Millie Jackson on her dislike of the cover artwork for “Lovingly Yours”: “To me it really doesn’t relate to the album. Because it’s saying ‘Lovingly Yours’ and to me it looks like a very sad picture. To me it looks like someone scribbled on a window and said ‘Goodbye!’ or something, you know? It gives an opposite effect to me.”
Victor Brown from the Midnight Band on education and skills: “Six of the nine members of the group went to Lincoln. And we have either graduated or not. One of the others went to Howard, and two others have been to school in different places. And you will find some members in the group with master’s degrees. I guess as black musicians, we check out our situation from decade to decade and you find that you need to have as many skills about you as you possibly can in order to survive. Because, you don’t know what’s going to happen today or tomorrow and you need as many skills as you possibly can to keep your thing going in the direction that you want it to go.”
Larry Graham on how the group Graham Central Station got started: “Before it was Graham Central Station it was a group called ‘Hot Chocolate’, minus myself and the organist, Robert Sam—we call him ‘Butch’. When I was with Sly, with the time that I had I thought I’d use it to produce other groups like Hot Chocolate and Lenny Williams, that sings with Tower of Power. And, the bass player… quit. And when I left Sly, the group was readymade, waiting, minus a bass player, so I just fell into it. We started rehearsing the tunes that we had for them to record, and it all came together. I called Robert Sam, and he was in Las Vegas at the time playing with either the Master’s Children or Melba Moore, but he was formerly with Billy Preston. So, me knowing his background I knew he was really good. I called him and told him what we planned to do and he flew on down and we started rehearsing and that was the beginning of Graham Central Station as it is now.”
Bill Curtis on the origins of the Fatback Band: “Well, first it started off with a beat. I’m a drummer myself, and by playing music a lot you got guys saying, ‘What kind of beat is that you’re doing? Where’d you get that beat from?’ And I’d say, ‘Hey, man, I got it from New Orleans. It’s a fatback beat.’ And from me playing so much they’d say, ‘Hey, ya’ll, here come’s Fatback!’ And so when I went into business I just named my business ‘Fatback’. And it started as a record company, ‘Fatback Records’. And we cut three artists and people kept saying, ‘Hey, man, why don’t you just cut yourself? Nobody understands what you’re trying to do.’ And so I decided, ‘Hey, I’ve been knocking myself out trying to get the company started, maybe I’ll just try it.’ And that’s how it started.”
Al Green on himself: “I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t understand some of the ins and outs of it myself. I do know that I try to sing myself. I am the way I sing. My music is coordinated by myself and it is written by and about things that happen to myself… It feels like me, it sounds like me, it is me.”
Grady Tate on getting along with people: “To me it’s a simple matter of comm-unication. We’re all interdependent—we depend on one another for everything. So, why should I restrict myself to being able to talk to musicians or people who are in ‘my field’? We depend on the men who collect the garbage to keep our cities as clean as possible, as a result if we have to talk to them it should be our delight because this man is just as much a working part of our existence as the musicians or whomever you choose. So, it’s just a matter of communication.”
Al Wilson on sales of “Show and tell”: “I think ‘Show and Tell’ has to be one of the best I’ve ever done. As of today, we’re over 900,000 and they say by the weekend we’ll be a million. I got a quote on some figures from Bell this morning and we’re doing something like 100,000 a week… It does really happen. Like right now, I believe it but it’s still soaking in—the fact that I finally have a million seller, you know?” Victor Brown from the Midnight Band on being aware: “I don’t think we are aware of anything that anybody else doesn’t have the opportunity to be aware of if they just pay attention to what’s happening. And I think most people are aware of many of the things that we’re dealing with. Because they are human experiences. It’s all about talking about the pressures that are happening to us every day and possibly (finding) some kind of way of dealing with them. And when I say ‘way of dealing with them’, more often than not, in terms of solving a social problem we can do it much better together than any one individual trying to strike out at that problem.”
Grady Tate on his photo album: “I have a fabulous photo album and it has pictures of some of the greatest talents in the world today. And I thought maybe of combining the photo album with some kind of written word to explain exactly how I felt about these people—and how I feel about them—and how I felt when I first met them. I don’t know that it would be a great financial success, but it just might do my head a lot of good. Because, I’d like to tell people just how brilliant and beautiful the entertainers that I’ve met are.”
“The target demographic for “Rap n’ Rhythm” was minorities. Black and Hispanic Americans, especially, accounted for a disproportionate share of Army recruits. ” Spanky Hazard (Sedgwick Records)
Skeme Richards Digs The Deep Funk Nu Funk Era By Skeme Richards (The Nostalgia King)
Deep Funk / Nu-Funk era
The late 90’s may seem like a long time ago, well actually when you think about it, it really is considering that it’s been 20+ years
Some call it the Deep Funk era, others the Nu Funk era but those titles ultimately go hand in hand as the music that would be recorded and released in the next 10+ years were both, deep and “nu” to many ears but would push artists and bands even further which still keep the funk & soul scene of today going in 2021. Obviously inspired by the sounds of funk bands and independent regional labels of the 1970’s, funk was being revitalized in a major and refreshing way with labels like Desco, Soul Fire, Stark Reality, Kay-Dee and Timmion Records to name a few along with club nights hosted by the likes of Keb Darge and Snowboy over in the UK, Dante Carfagne here in the states with a handful of other nights across the globe leading the way. But what is the deep funk sound? Well that’s hard to explain and it’s more something that you need to experience first and hear with your own ears. But let’s say it’s like a steak and the best ways to experience a steak and get the most flavor out of it is rare, medium rare or medium, that holds true for the Funk 45 as well as the best produced and pressed hold those qualities. In the case of this music, “shitty is pretty” so much that Big Daddy magazine once published an article on the “Anatomy of a Funk 45” written by Gabriel Roth on how to get that desired sound for the DJ’s weapon of choice, the 7” / 45 format.
plus the change in millenniums happened. It’s honestly all one big blur with how things seemed to change over night, politically, socially, culturally and technology wise. The internet continued to make the world a smaller place with ease of access to just about anything yet culturally, you can’t bottle an authentic product and sell it as something pure without first immersing yourself into it, studying it and presenting it with pure intentions. One of the things that changed was the landscape of music and it’s sound. Sounds that were once regional suddenly became adapted by artists from other areas as new trends and ways of capitalizing on record sales began to spin out of control. Southern slang and choice of production became less raw and sample based and changed in favor of sparse kicks and snares, racing high hats and slower tempos that weren’t conducive or familiar to the club going era of Hip Hop kids on both the East and West Coasts. But as the sound of Hip Hop was changing to the sound of rap music and with a lesser connection to the roots of the culture, there was another scene that had begun to blossom that captured a long gone era of Funk music of the 70’s which had inspired Hip Hop DJ’s, sampling producers and an entire culture of record diggers which began to take shape.
“The first thing to understand is that if you are trying to make a Heavy Funk 45, you are NOT trying to make a “professional” record by today’s standards. Funk 45’s are rough because they were made rough. They were made in basements or garages or lo-fi studios by bands that played barbecues on Saturday afternoons. Many people come at Funk with this bullshit acid-jazz, smooth R&B method. Everything comes out all clean and happy and nice. They call it professionalism. I call it bullshit. If you’re going to try to record Funk, you got to have enough balls to make it rough. Fuck what the radio station says, Fuck how smart you are and how fancy your ideas are. If you’re gonna come rough, come rough!
“If you’re going to try to record Funk, you got to have enough balls to make it rough. Fuck what the radio station says, Fuck how smart you are and how fancy your ideas are. If you’re gonna come rough, come rough!” Gabriel Roth
- Gabriel Roth
Some of those same rough records have hit the hardest in club nights being spun by DJ’s and live performances have been more memorable than any modern day rapper or singer with a million dollar performance and tour budget. It’s a cultural thing really, those same bands that he mentions playing BBQ’s aren’t classical trained musicians, they’re from ghettos across America, went to public schools, dealt with political and social challenges thrown at them by a country and people that have benefited more than the artists themselves. It’s Black culture first and foremost and that culture is the foundation of everything musical that you hear today. Some of the biggest names in what would be a small pond of the music industry have made some of the best records that most of the world might not never know about. That same scene birthed some of the greats and made them household names including the legendary Sharon Jones as well as Charles Bradley who both came out of the Daptone Records stable. But ultimately the bands are the backbone of the music and damn did they play some of the funkiest shit! The Soul Investigators, Speedometer, The Soul Destroyers, Cookin’ On 3 Burners, The New Mastersounds were just a handful of the names that stayed in heavy rotation at club nights for audiences that embraced the deep funk sound that was new and exciting. The Deep Funk or Nu Funk era isn’t all that new anymore but it’s still being done and traditions carried on with Funk & Soul 45 labels that have been continuously releasing music for the last 15+ years. Labels like Timmion, Funk Night and Colemine have had great success with building up amazing catalogs of music that have filled DJ’s crates and good music lovers playlists with and endless stream of music and listening options. It’s hard to write a complete in-depth article and mention every last label, band, singer that has contributed to the scene but know that no one goes unrecognized and their contributions to the music and the scene that I continue to love so much. Heavy hitters like The Whitefield Brothers, Breakestra, The Poets of Rhythm and The Bamboos are just a few that you should know about in the deep rabbit hole of options that are out there.
So trying to give a well rounded perspective of the music, I’ve put together a Favorite 10 of what could
Cookin’ On 3 Burners → Keb’s Bucket (Freestyle Records)
very well be a favorite top 50 list.
03 Charles Bradley and Sugarman & Co → Take It As it Come (Daptone)
The Soul Destroyers → Armadillo (Stark Reality)
The Imaginary Visions → Texas Rumble (Deep Funk Records)
The Soul Investigators → Raw Steaks (Sacho Records)
The Dap-Kings → Nervous Like Me (Kay-Dee Records)
Soultors → Stone Cold (Timmion Records)
The Whitefield Brothers → Chokin’
El Michels Affair → Detroit Twice
Sharon Jones and The DapKings → What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes (Daptone)
Dr.J Presents: Tommy Musto Interview (Tommy Boy Records 3D Mix). By Dr. J
Photo: Tommy Sozzi & Tommy Musto
Dr.J: You have had a long career in the music industry, including extensive radio work, remixing, and production credits spanning multiple genres. Talk briefly about your musical history and how you made a name for yourself in the business. Tommy Musto: As a young kid, I loved music and always wanted to do something more than just listen. I bought an electric guitar with the money from my paper route. That ended quickly when I realized how difficult it was and didn’t have the patience to learn. I need more instant gratification. During that time I was mainly listening to rock, following my older brothers. Then my eldest brother started to listen to R&B: James Brown, Barry White and all the rest. At that time I had already collected some rock records and had given them all to my middle brother cause I found the holy grail! I was finished with it (obviously not really). I loved black music and followed that path to disco eventually, as my older brother experienced that and exposed me to that as well. Simultaneously, I was also working in my father’s TV repair shop helping around. There was a bench tech there who was into disco, sound systems and DJing (Donald DeFranco who was killed on 9/11, who also was the cousin of Double Dee of Double Dee & Steinski). I didn’t know that then but there’s a coincidence coming... It was around 1976 (I was 13). He took me to his house and showed me his records, Technics 1100’s and a Clubman mixer. I was hooked. At the time my father was doing the repairs for Heavy Custom Sound in Brooklyn who was doing most of the installs and that was the beginning for me........From there I became a known neighborhood DJ. My first partner was Robert Imbasciani, who was a childhood friend. His love for baseball eventually forced him to quit. From there I met Tommy Sozzi (RIP) from that same little league Robert was playing in, which I also played, and we were inseparable. Eventually we got our licenses and began doing mobile parties. We dominated the area and it was a good feeling. We both went to Kingsborough Community College for the Broadcasting curriculum and eventually made it to their radio station WKRB. We were doing mixes and speaking (which I was terrible at btw). We were neighborhood stars lol. From there we had heard about record pools and joined Intermetro Record Pool on Lafayette St in NYC. At that time Carlos DeJesus was
visiting the pool and was looking for Dj’s to do mix shows on the original Disco 92 WKTU. We submitted a tape and we were picked! Talk about excited, the radio! Carlos was the one who named us “The Dynamic Duo”. It developed to being on the radio several days a week for quite a few years. Dr.J: Discuss your role in the legendary Tommy Boy Records “Megamix by 3-D” release from 1985 (TBLP 1005). Tommy Musto: This came about because of Ralphie Dee, who Tommy Sozzi and I befriended. He was already working in clubs and we were already on the radio, so we had interests in what each of us was doing. At the time we didn’t hear about the contest Tommy Boy was having to do a mix of their catalog. The winner would get their mix pressed on vinyl and get the chance to do one with the original masters. We did a mix, submitted it and won. It was a great moment. That took us to the next level. That mix with the original masters was done in Tom Silverman’s apartment. He had a studio set up there with a Synclavier. All the masters right there in the closet, it was insane. The engineer turned out to be Doug Defranco (Double Dee & Steinsky), Donald’s cousin, and my life experience tied in very nicely. Major coincidence.
“I went from DJing, to editing, to overdubbing and eventually bought an 808. It was such a part of the sound then and I was exposed to it from the core, especially with the Tommy Boy experience.”
Dr.J: How have you developed over the years in your craft? Tommy Musto: I went from DJing, to editing, to overdubbing and eventually bought an 808. It was such a part of the sound then and I was exposed to it from the core, especially with the Tommy Boy experience. Then I bought a Yamaha DX7. I messed with those for a minute. Did some very ruff demos on cassette. During that time Intermetro Record Pool closed and we moved to Sure Record pool in the Bronx. From there we met Bobby Davis (RIP and was a big help to so many) the Pool Director who had recently mixed the B Beat Girls for Silvio Tancredi. That’s when I met Silvio.
I started going to 25 West Records and befriended Mat Noble, Silvio’s main engineer. He would be the one responsible for me initially learning programming and engineering. That’s how all our first mixes came about, The B Beat Girls “Jungle Swing”, etc. That lasted a while till 1986 when I officially became Silvio’s partner in Northcott Productions. The rest is history....
Dr.J: Do you have a “signature sound” or elements that define your output? Tommy Musto: That didn’t develop for a while because I was doing many different genres, but I would definitely say Philly, Salsoul, Disco is my influence. The basis for House Music Dr.J: Who were some key players that helped shape/influence you when you were starting out? Tommy Musto: Donald DeFranco, Silvio Tancredi, Matt Noble, Bobby Davis from a career standpoint. My main Influencers as a DJ were Ted Currier, Shep Petibone, Tony Humphries and Jellybean. Dr.J: Talk about the gear/tools you used in your early days. How did you shift as technology evolved? Tommy Musto: I was always a tech nut. I loved gear from the start. It helped me progress without needing too much help from others. I was
impatient and couldn’t wait and everyone who could help was always busy doing their own thing. I love production and engineering as much as the music itself. Dr.J: Describe the NYC club scene in the 80’s. What venues did you frequent, and what role did they play in expanding your musical view? Tommy Musto: The club in the 80’s for me was definitely the Funhouse. I was a stereotypical Brooklyn kid and was accepted there. I had gone to Electric Circus, Studio 54 (late 80’s) and eventually The Garage (thanks to Yvonne Turner) . I went to most of the places in Brooklyn as well, obviously. It was tough to get gigs in these places. Forget about NYC, but even Brooklyn. Highly political. Thanks to Ralphie Dee who I followed around a lot, he helped. My older friends were going to Long Island to places like Speaks, Channel 80 in the late 70’s but I was too young. In the end, I was always working on the weekend doing mobile parties and it was tough to go out.
Silvio Tancredi and Ahmed Ertegun
“The club in the 80’s for me was definitely the Funhouse. I was a stereotypical Brooklyn kid and was accepted there.” Tommy Musto
Vintage Fun House flyer, 1984 / Pat Vogt Collection
Dr.J: I often think of how pivotal radio mix shows were in the 80’s in terms of exposing new music/artists. Not only regionally, but globally through the sharing of cassette recordings. Discuss your experiences with radio and it’s impact on you personally. Tommy Musto: It was great because of being in the pool, getting promos and doing our own remixes for the shows. It felt like we had an edge. Record companies would come to us to play their records. They were catering to us instead of the other way around. That opened the door to remixing and editing for them. Things I remember were the promotion people of the time like Jerry Lembo of the Lembo Letter. He was following radio remixers at the time. Dr.J: I miss the heyday of record shopping days. Folks fighting to get an elusive 12”, the hottest new release, or a limited edition
white label. The frenzied energy and excitement still brings back fond memories. Share a record store story. Tommy Musto: Thankfully for me and my relationship with Silvio, we were selling records to these stores and had tight relationships - Vinylmania, Downtown, Rock & Soul, etc. Vinylmania especially. Even prior to that, Charlie Grapppone was a school teacher before he opened VM and it was right across the street from my father’s first store. He also lived around the corner from where my father grew up and coincidentally where Tommy Sozzi lived. He knew Tommy because of that. It was like we had an “in” before anything else. My favorite story would be when Tommy Sozzi and I were in Vinylmania and Shep walked in with his 98.7 Kiss jacket on. We were like giggling fan girls, I’m sure it was embarrassing!
The Miami Sound Explosion! This story prefaces the 1976 TK songbook: The Miami Sound Explosion ! By Disco Patrick
The Music Intelligence Agency (MIA) has revealed that TK Productions is the soul cause of the Dynomite Explosion that has been blasting the funkiest reverberations in recorded history, radiating continuous beams of sunshine into every corner of the globe, hurling dance crazed bodies into a state of perpetual motion ... all earthlings have been soulidified... and happiness abounds... with The Miami Sound!
Here’s the scoop ... This article represents a sound which evolved from TK Productions,a sound so exciting, refreshinq and unique in its origins that it has emerged as one of the most powerful forces in music today with artists whose recording, performing, writing, arranging and production talents have commanded worldwide attention individually and collectively heralding an internationally acclaimed new category of music: The Miami Sound! Artists like Betty Wright, Clarence Reid, KC and the Sunshine Band, Latimore, George McCrae, Timmy Thomas, Gwen McRae, Little Beaver, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne and so many more. TK is located a few miles West of Miami, very far from the mainstream and influences of the recording industry in an industrial area called Hialeah where the great Black and Cuban populations become evident. There’s a block long warehouse on a dead end street with the identifying signs TK Productions and Tone Distributors that looks pretty much like all the other warehouses except ... There’s always music coming through the walls!
want to be right there where it’s happening. Steve Alaimo, a 60’s recording and performing artist, former star of motion pictures and Dick Clark’s TV production “Where The Action Is”, wrote and produced records in TK’s early days. Today Steve is TK’s VP and Creative Director, focusing on the individuality of each artist with a polished ear for talent, material, producing and writing,while himself writing and producing some of TK’s finest records.
when she was only 11. Right now everyone is admiring Betty’s new shoe, she’s got hundreds of shoes and boots, while the vivacious 21 year old lady discusses plans for her next album. Betty Wright put a pair of dancing shoes on Miami with her 1968 recording of “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do”, and shined the world’s soul with “Clean Up Woman”, for which she received a gold record on her 18th birthday a BMI Award, a Grammy Nomination, and claimed her everlasting position at the top of the world’s Lady of Soul polls. She’s had hit after hit from her albums “My First Time
TK’s eccentric genius, Clarence Reid, is the funky old attic 8 track studio in the corner of the warehouse, a studio built originally as a 4 tracker in the days when the Allman Bros. were the house musicians ! Clarence joined Henry as an artist, writer, producer and talent scout and soon teamed with writer/producer Willie Clarke. In 1969 he wrote and recorded “Nobody But You Babe, the first hit to come out of the attic ! Since then, Clarence’s brilliant writing and producing talents have been consistently on the nation’s charts 5, 6 or more at a time!
Around”, Betty Wright: “I Love The way You Love” - the title song is beautiful, “Hard To Stop” - with “Baby Sitter”, a fine example of her traditional advice-to-the-girls and warnings-to-the-guys, and currently “Danger High Voltage” in which she warms your heart with “Tonight Is The Night” and is the Disco Queen Supreme with “Where Is The Love”, “Ooola La”, and “Everybodies Rockin”.
The Miami Sound It all started with the legendary Henry Stone, one of the pioneers of the record industry , whose only wish has been to funk up the world ! After movinq from California to Miami in 1946, he created Florida’s most successful record distribution company, Tone, and dabbled in producing ,primarily Black talent. He was incidentally, the first to record Ray Charles and James Brown! The ever-growing family of talent became TK Productions in 1970. On a typical week day, all the artists and behindthe-scenes people are busy doing their TK thing,joined by friends, relatives, reporters, future artists and hang arounders who just
Betty Wright has just arrived with her manager Willie, who produces and writes her records with Clarence, records that often show off Betty’s own writing talents. The boys have long been TK’s creative backbone: not only in recording but with actually finding the artists, as they discovered Betty singing in a record store
TK’s atmosphere is certainly unique: it feels more like a family than a record company. Everyone works together because they believe in each other and what they’re doing, just doing their own thing, from the heart, by instinct. The TK vocalists, musicians, writers and producers perform on and offer suggestions for each other’s
records. Each record is like a TK superstar event! Betty’s brothers Milton and Phillip record for TK, while sister Jeanette sings with the newly formed group fire that also backs KC and The Sunshine Band.
Little Beaver (Willie G. Hale) is the decade’s most innovative R&B guitarist whose magical licks evolved as one of the most distinctive components of The Miami Sound. His trademark riffs are featured on Betty’s smash “Clean Up Woman”, records by Latimore, Timmy Thomas, Gwen McCrae, Clarence Reid and are spotlighted, along with his intense vocals, writing and arranging talents, on his 3 albums “Joey”, “Black Rhapsody” and “Party Down”, which includes the hit self-penned singles “Party Down” and “I Can Dig It Baby”.
writing, producing, arranging and engineering occasionally with other TK acts but continuously developing their own style. They were introduced to Bahamian Junkahoo music at Clarence Reid’s wedding at Betty Wright’s house and, in 1973 KC And The Sunshine Band released “Blow Your Whistle”, followed by · “Sound Your Funky Horn” and “Queen Of Clubs”, all on the 1974 “Do It Good” lp and all monster hits, especially in England ! KC and Finch kept working on new material.
A beautiful Bentley has just pulled up,and out steps elegantly funky Latimore, decorated in great chunks of turquoise. He’s fresh from an extensive East Coast Tour and ready to answer his huge pile of fan mail. Latimore’s versatility on keyboards, distinctive melodica riffs and emotionally powerful vocals combine with adynamic sensuous charisma in his live performances. His talents, which garner annual awards, were first brought to national attention with his rendition of “Stormy Monday”, followed by “Jolie”, both from his first album “Latimore”. When he wrote “Let’s Straighten It Out” from his second Ip “More More More Latimore” ! In 1974, it climbed up the charts and sold over a million copies - a gold record ! His latest Ip, “Latimore III”, features “Keep The Home Fire Burning”, “There’s a Red Neck in The Soul Band “ and Qualified Man”.There really is a red neck in Latimore’s soul band, but the title is also indicative of the TK experience ,a magic brew, made of assorted soul-based ingredients that just ‘cook’ in any combination. And it’s basic cooking. As Latimore says, “At TK, we don’t worry about the icing. Here, we just bake the cake!”. Timmy Thomas has been known throughout the world as The Rhythm Of The Brotherhood Of Man since the1972 success of his 2 million seller “Why Can’t We Live Together”. That song, from his “Why Can’t We Live Together” lp, was written from Timmy’s heart as a plea for brotherly love and peace, while the Viet Nam war raged on, and he toured the world with is message. He was the one man band, just Timmy and his organ, of which he is a master. It was with this song that the undulating rhythms of The Miami Sound became a universal feeling, and the song a classic. His current album “You’re The Song, I’ve Always Wanted To Sing”, includes the singles “Ebony Affair”, written as the theme
song for a new Black disco tv show, and “What Can I Tell Her”. Timmy now performs with is band “Live Together”.
inscribed “Rock Your Baby in your Rockin Chair” ! With other hits like “He Don’t Ever Lose His Groove” and “It’s Worth The Hurt”, Gwen’s splendid beauty and Soul Queen status are delighting the world !
The tropical sun is strong, but you can almost feel the breeze from the nearby Islands - a breeze that has floated into TK’s soul, and which made a direct hit with the 1971 million seller “Funky Nassau” from The Beginning of the End.
George and Gwen McCrae were discovered performing as a duo in a Palm Beach night club. After some early recordings, George got into the business end of show biz as Gwen’s manager, while Gwen kept recording hits. Like all the TK artists they had lots of patience, persistence and confidence that their records would become #1 smashes !
And it happened! One night in April 1974, KC and Finch were in the old studio listening to a rhythm track they had written, produced and arranged. The music needed a voice. George McCrae was the voice, and “Rock Your Baby” was the irresistable song ! The rest in history. The record exploded, sent George and his falsetto around the world a dozen times and sold over 7 million copies ! And while it seemed like the discotheques had been opened just for “Rock Your Baby”, the song became 1974’s Record of the Year! The music world’s attention was on TK, the records that had been coming out of this little company for all these years were the hot news setting the new beat.
Records like Birdwatcher’s “Girl I Got News For You” and J.P. Robinsons “Please Accept My Call” and “What Can I Tell Her” kept the TK flow going. Sherlyn was formed to publish all the TK tunes and now one of the top publishing companies in the world, while Columbia Pictures Publications has always filled the stores with TK sheet music as fast as the grooves were cut! Henry’s office is the gathering place to relax and listen to the new releases. The wood paneled walls are lined with gold 45’s and albums, an oil painting of Steve Alaimo, and and another of James Brown who calls TK “the last bastion of funk” ! In walk H.W. Casey (KC) and Rick Finch who, until about a year and a half ago, were working in the Tone warehouse and answering phones ! While spending every spare moment in the studio performing,
Then it happened for Gwen. She recorded “Rockin Chair”, the title song of her album, which became a #1 smash. Mr.& Mrs. Soul were presented with a gold rocking chair
Henry and His Family Stone kept growing and making those hits! There were so many records by artists such as King Floyd, John Tropea, Paul Revere and The Riaiders, Swamp Dogg, Foxy, Terry Collins, Ruby Wison, Hokis Pokis, Debbie Castillo, Snoopy Dean, The Family Plann, Miami, Dorothy Moore, The Controllers, Robin Kenyatta, Raw Soul Express, Frederick Knight, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Jackie Moore’s “Make Me Feel Like A Woman”, which Clarence wrote while talking on the telephone to Jackie’s producer Brad Shapiro who had worked with Steve and Henry before TK was TK ! The tiny attic studio was bustling 24 hours a day, and beginning to burst at its hit warmed seams. As Timmy once said, “Once you get 6 people in here, there’s no room to move around. But then again, that’s all part of The Miami Sound!” Soon there was lots of room to move around in the new 16 track studio into which The Miami Sound osmosed and flourished! KC and Rick, TK’s dynamic duo, had been busy writing, producing and arranging the “KC and The Sunshine Band” album, starting it in the old studio and finishing it in the new. In the meantime, George’s 1st album “Rock Your Baby”, was doing great and KC and ‘ Rick had completed work with George on his 2nd Ip entitled “George McCrae”, featuring “I Ain’t Lying”. They were also behind Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne’s super popular single “Gimme Some”, records by Fire, who are also the female trio compelling background vocalists on the “KC and the Sunshine Band” lp and The
Sunshine Band’s instrumental album, “The Sound Of Sunshine” which is highlighted by “Shotgun Shuffle” and a four minute version of “Rock Your Baby”. KC and The Sunshine Band were on their second command tour of England when the first single from their new album was released: “Get Down Tonight”. The music world’s reaction was phenomenal. The record bulleted up the charts in literal leaps and bounds while ripping up the discos nationwide, “Get Down Tonight” was #1: “Get Down Tonight” was a gold record! “Get Down Tonight” was the undisputed Disco Anthem! The group returned from England in August of 1975 to a frenzied US, and performed their first US concert, free to their hometown, Miami, the very next day. The whole country was screaming to see KC and The Sunshine Band, so off they went on a nationwide tour of fan packed concert halls, with audiences everywhere dancing from the first note to the last and honoring the group with standing ovations. Radio stations played “That’s The Way I Like It” right off the album, before the official 45 was even in the mail! They wouldn’t wait! “That’s The Way I Like It” zoomed up the charts, another #1 Million seller. And so did the “KC and The Sunshine Band” album. In November 1975, the “KC and The Sunshine Band” album hit the #1 spot. And it sold over a million copies. Another celebration for the family: This was TK’s first #1 album and TK’s first million units sold platinum album.
“Once you get 6 people in here, there’s no room to move around. But then again, that’s all part of The Miami Sound!” Timmy Thomas
While TK was firmly The Record Company of The Year, the end of 1975 saw countless U.S. and International honors and awards given to every TK artist. Dick Clark’s American Music awards hailed KC’s “Get Down Tonight” as The R&B Single of The Year, Rolling Stone honored KC and The Sunshine Band as The Party Band of The Year and the group won numerous industry awards for best album of The Year, Best New Group of The Year with “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s The Way I Like It” topping every award listing. Gwen McCrae and Betty Wright topped every Best Female Vocalist listing while honor rolls were head. Betty Wright and Gwen McCrae topped every Best Female Vocalist listing while honor rolls were headed by Latimore, Timmy Thomas, The Sunshine Band, George McCrae, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne, Jackie Moore, Frederick Knight, The TK writers and producers.
The Grammy’s The famed Grammy Awards slated TK For 6 nominations: KC and The Sunshine Band as the Best New Artist of The Year; Gwen ‘s “Rockin’ Chair” as Best R&S Vocal Performance, Female; “Get Down Tonight” as the Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Group; with songwriters’ Award nominations going to KC and Rick For “Get Down Tonight”, “That’s The Way I Like It”, and, in conjunction with Betty Wright and Willie Clarke, they won For Betty Wright’s disco smash “Where Is The Love”. The speakers in Henry’s office resound with George and Gwen’s first duo album, the combined passion of the First Family of Soul. Then Clarence’s new record goes on and its spirit picks everyone right out of their seats! What’s happening at TK is what makes this story so special. Music lovers everywhere know that the evolution of contemporary music has been fascinating. Because it’s alive! We’ve all experienced the excitement of a new hit record or a new group hundreds of times, as the world around us changed its mood as many times.You need only the ten fingers of your hands and a few toes, however, to count how many times something new in music has been in itself such a phenomena that it commands the attention of the entire world.
“Henry Stone’s wish to “funk up the world” has become a reality. A new era of music, The Miami Sound, is here!”
← The Music Retailer aricle, TK Records advertorial, 1979, TK Records Disco Chart, TK Records advertorial with TK logo / Disco Patrick collection
WSG IS A COPY CAT
NY State of Mind By Guillaume aka Wildstyle Guy
Notorious BIG (RIP) proudly posing with the Twins. © Chi Modu
I was driving on my way to work early September when a radio show suddenly brought me back to 9/11. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the attacks. So many things have changed in my life, in your life and in the world over two decades. From global warning to global warming. Napster to Spotify. Nas to Lil Nas X. Weddings, funerals. Yesterday is gone and the Big Apple will never be the same again. But New York will always be New York, capital of the world. There’s a part of the city in all of us that’s very much alive. 9/11 NYC I was visiting NYC for the first time in November 2001 when I witnessed the smoking remains of the WTC. Seems so long ago. Like the once futuristic year 2000 that is now so old school. The threatening Millennium Bug is a joke today. Futura 2000 is now Futura (and keeps painting) while Andre 3000 is still Andre 3000 (but quit rapping). We don’t « celebrate » 9/11 but we do remember. Can’t forget the unbelievable images of this bloody Tuesday. Can’t forget the victims, may they rest peacefully. Most journalists comment the event from a factual point of view but that Belgian radio program Les Temps Chantent chose to remember the music. Because music is life (football too, according to Ted Lasso’s Dani Rojas). It chose to focus on Beastie Boys’ sixth studio album To The 5 Boroughs and let New Yorkers Michael « Mike D » Diamond, Adam « Ad-Rock » Horovitz and Adam « MCA » Yauch (RIP) speak their minds.
To The 5 Boroughs To The 5 Boroughs was released in June 2004, almost three years after the attacks and six years after Hello Nasty (1998). It takes time to build (it takes a second to wreck it). In my humble opinion, it’s a great album. Of course Paul’s Boutique (1989) or Ill Communication (1994) will always come first because these are milestones. I mean, even the moustaches of Sabotage are fresh. But a masterpiece can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. A curse because everything you do afterwards will be compared. For some, it just can never be as good. But who cares? Why compare when we don’t have to choose ? Choosing is refusing. To The 5 Boroughs is a part of the whole. One more step in the
constant evolution of BB. Teenage punks turned mature musicians. Can you still fight for your right to party once you’re forty? Beastie Boys, from To The 5 Boroughs interview disc: “License to Ill is just like, was where we were at the time, drinking beer and acting silly. And Paul’s Boutique was then like moving to LA and like, that was a whole different fantasy, like hooking up with the Dust Brothers, and you know exploring all kinds of things on different levels. And then Shake Your Head which is just like, kind of getting back to like, just more like the three of us, and then playing, getting back to some of the things we knew how to do already. (…) This album is really like New York City (…) It’s the last like 2 or 3 years, like all of us living here and what that represents… Having fun in troubled times!”. Don’t judge a book by the cover, unless the cover is dope haha. Yes some records I did buy for the cover, but not this one. I mean not only for its artwork. This iconic cityscape of Manhattan was drawn by Italian architect and illustrator Matteo Pericoli in June 2000. It comes from his 2001 book Manhattan Unfurled, released right after the attacks. The view of the skyline with the Twins belongs to eternity, it’s an image no one can take away from us. Nobody beats the Biz (RIP) and nobody beats the Twins. Still standing like Elton John.
“Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Asian, Middle_Eastern and Latin. Black, White, New York you make it happen.” Open letter to NYC, Beastie Boys.
These two floor fillers sound like twins. Like twin towers perhaps ? Both videos were directed by MCA. Both old school and yet so fresh, with banging beats and crazy scratches by Mix Master Mike. Through their massive sample of Rapper’s Delight, middle-aged B. Boys went back to the early days of hip_hop, back to their teenage years and to a nostalgic pre 9/11 NY.
15 tracks written, produced and recorded by Beastie Boys themselves. Available on CD, cassette and vinyl. A rumor, officially denied, ran that computers get infected by a spyware when reading the CD… so primitive now that our phones are legally spying on us! Besides, US and UK versions of the CD had no copy protection unlike the European one. Moral of this story: buy vinyl records. The lead single was Ch-Check It Out in May 2004, followed by Triple Trouble in July.
An Open Letter To NYC After Right Right Now Now, came the fourth and final single in November: An Open Letter To NYC. In 2001 MCA, Mike D and Ad-Rock were recording in a studio located on Canal Street. From the window they could see the tops of the World Trade Center. All of
sudden, it was chaos. That set the tone. Can’t rap about farts when your world is going up in flames. According to Wikipedia: « The song’s lyrics talk about the group’s affection for their hometown, New York City. It alludes to the 9/11 terrorist attacks but also implies there are deeper flaws in the system people need to acknowledge and come together as a community, or suffer as a whole. The song samples Sonic Reducer by The Dead Boys and also features a brief sample of New York’s My Home by Robert Goulet. » In Beastie Boys Book published in 2018, Ad-Rock is bittersweet about To The 5 Boroughs. Because it’s an all-rap album, because it’s a computer recording, because it’s too serious, because the cover is sad to look at… But he also wrote: « There are
some really funny moments on To The 5 Boroughs. And I’m proud that in a serious time, we got serious. (…) I really do like this record, though, just not as much as our others. » It’s no surprise that The Mix-Up (2007) is an all_instrumental album. It’s interesting to reread critics years or decades after the release: some records age better than their reviews and viceversa. It seems that the NY flavor of To The 5 Boroughs was warmly welcomed, with an aggregated score of 71 on Metacritic that corresponds to « generally favorable reviews ». Five stars in RollingStone though, one for each borough ! It was certified Platinum with over 1.000.000 sales in the US. By the way, many wonder who’s the fifth Beatle. But who’s the fourth Beastie ?!
introduction. Like Powell, he toured with Beastie Boys since the mid-80s. He shot the covers of Check Your Head, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Intergalactic… etc. For The Guardian he remembered : « I had shot Beastie Boys the previous year in LA, when they were opening for Madonna, and there was this one photo where I got Adam Yauch to run up a palm tree and push himself off, and everybody loved it. » If not a photographer, may be a DJ ? Which one ? Rick Rubin aka DJ Double R produced Licensed to Ill in 1986, their only Def Jam album and probably the first LP ever recorded by white rappers. He was their very first DJ on their very first tour. Rick in The Washington Post: « So what happened was when I left the tour because of my ear, DJ Hurricane filled in for me. Now, again, filled in for me. I always assumed when they came back that when we started doing
“Taken as a whole To The 5 Boroughs is just that: an ode to their home town of New York and a celebration of its continued vivacity and diversity post 9/11. ” BBC (Chris Jones) “Beasty Boys” by Cey Adams. Photography: Josh Cheuse
“More than anything, To The 5 Boroughs is The Beasties’ valentine to the city where they, and rap, were born. It is a brash, passionate toast to what we lost on 9/11 and what survives: in memory, on the ground. The raps are packed with local cuisine and nostalgia…” RollingStone (David Fricke)
Ricky Powell Legendary photographer and New Yorker Ricky Powell (RIP) is often pointed as the fourth band member. The Lazy Hustler was close enough to be immortalized in a Beastie song ! He took the iconic snapshot in the swimming pool from Paul’s Boutique. As Ricky told 1XRUN : « Basically we needed a little Ricky Powell-ism out there. So I flew in from New York and we were just hanging out at the pool, and I went into AdRock’s room and his bed was by this window that looked into the middle of the pool. So I kneeled on the bed and shot a roll of them swimming around in front of the window. » But what’s up with renowned photographer Glen E. Friedman ? The man needs no
shows again, I was the DJ. Then the first show happened in the Tri-state area. And then it was like, okay. Hurricane’s the DJ. I didn’t say, wait a minute, I can do this one. I’m back. You know, again, we’re all kids. »
How about turntable extraordinaire Mix Master Mike ? The Triple Word DJ Champion met MCA at a Rock Steady Crew anniversary in 1995. He joined the Beastie Boys just before Hello Nasty in the late 90s and became their new DJ. Mike in Billboard : « When I went to high school, Licensed to Ill was my soundtrack. And it was something where I always felt like “I’m a part of this band and they don’t even know it” so I think I kind of willed it to be. (…) And I used to send Adam these DJ battle videotapes in the mail, and when he wasn’t home I used to leave these crazy scratched answering_machine messages. »
DJ Hurricane Here comes DJ Hurricane. He was part of Raising Hell and Together Forever tours with Run-DMC, playing for the Beasties till the late 90s. Hurricane also received songwriting credit for the solid gold hit Sure Shot. Ad-Rock acknowledged his role in an interview: “We woke him up maybe around 2 AM. And from bed he came up with the chorus and did it over the phone. »
Money Mark Keyboardist Money Mark could also be a Beastie for his frequent collaborations between 1992 and 2011. Mark used to work as a carpenter in LA when he was hired to fix a wooden gate where the trio was recording Paul’s Boutique. He ended up working on every album from Check Your Head to Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. Mark told LA Taco: « I was not part of a Beastie Boys company. I was only a hired gun, and I wanted it that way. I still am; I have been an independent artist this whole time. »
Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence Now let’s pay respect to the originators. The legend says that Beastie Boys was formed in 1981 in NYC out of the 1978 hardcore punk band The Young Aborigenes, with vocalist Michael Diamond, bassist Jeremy Shatan, drummer Kate Schellenbach and guitarist John Berry (RIP). When Shatan left in 1981 he was replaced by Adam Yauch and the name changed to Beastie Boys. The letters B.E.A.S.T.I.E. were supposed to be an acronym for « Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence ». In 1982 John Berry left and Adam Horovitz joined. Reminds me of Mick and Keith taking over Brian Jones (RIP) who founded The Rolling Stones. Eventually Schellenbach parted ways in 1984 and so did the only girl from a group that could have been called Beastie Boys & Girl or Beastie Boys Plus One. Kate for Tom Tom Magazine: « We did Cookie Puss which was sort of this weird proto-rap hip-hop thing that really took off on college radio and underground radio. That started the whole hip-hop focus of the group. (…) We had to figure out some way to recreate this, so this is where we hooked up with Rick Rubin. Someone was like well this guy is a DJ, so he can DJ while you guys rap and it was never anything I was comfortable with and I tried it. We all had matching shirts and it did not come naturally to me. »
“Geography is hip-hop’s proudest fetish. Forget riches, bitches and snitches, it’s districts that get all the love in real hiphop. While a million artists have repped their set in the 31 years since Kool Herc began cutting together breakbeats in the Bronx, few – make that none – have been monomaniacal enough to do it over a whole album. ” NME (Rob Fitzpatrick)
Dust Brothers Producers Dust Brothers from Los Angeles deserve the title too for co-writing, producing and mixing Beastie Boys’ second album Paul’s Boutique, mainly composed of samples (from 105 songs). It is considered one of the 100 best albums of all time by TIME magazine in 2006, and sometimes described as the Sgt. Pepper of hip-hop. But with a pair of beat makers you get a total of five Beastie Boys… then should EZ Mike or King Gismo be the fourth Beastie ?
Cey Adams Def Jam “Beasty Boys” promotional photo. © Glen E. Friedman
Or, last but not least, Cey Adams who met the Boys at Danceteria ? He designed their logo for the Cooky Puss cover in 1983 and painted the famous Beastie Boys graffiti mural photographed by Josh Cheuse. As Cey told Rock The Bells: “They were into graffiti and liked Wild Style. I made the piece in silver and black because colored paint would have just soaked into a brick wall. We were doing it run-and-gun style. There was no permit, everything was illegal, it was nighttime, and so I knew that silver and black would work really well.”
Acclaimed director Spike Jonze from NYC could be another pretender. Not only for the 1994 videos of Sure Shot, Sabotage or Ricky’s Theme (where we can catch a glimpse of how MCA could have looked as an old man). But also for the 2020 live documentary Beastie Boys Story that he produced, directed and wrote with Mike D and Ad-Rock. Spike in IndieWire: « One of the things that was so special to me, and I know to Mike and Adam, was getting to hang out with Yauch for that period of time that we made it. And to think about him, and talk about him, and we just always wanted him with us. »
Okay a few quotes from past interviews here and there can’t do justice. Can’t recap three decades of friendship and creativity in a few paragraphs (go read Beastie Boys Book or watch Beastie Boys Story). These archives only document that over the years, the role of the fourth Beastie Boy was played not by one but many characters. As in Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None: everybody’s « guilty » ! The core trio definitely knew how to spot talent and obviously all the above_mentioned artists (and others of course) helped forge the Beastie universe. Not a four-man band but a whole family of Beasties.
NY State of Mind Back to the city that never sleeps, « cause sleep is the cousin of death » said Nas in NY State of Mind. Can’t stop won’t stop to Beastie Boys. Being the birthplace of hip-hop, New York’s always had a strong influence on MCs, DJs, style writers and breakers. Big up to New York City Breakers ! Cold fact: Dilated Peoples shot their video of Worst Comes To Worst in front of the WTC only four days before the attacks…
Some NY verses pre and post 9/11 : ............................................................... Cam’Ron Welcome To New York City (2002) « It’s the home of 9/11, the place of the lost towers. We still banging, we never lost power, tell ‘em »
Of course New York Town is an endless source of inspiration for everyone everywhere. From Sinatra to Jay-Z & Alicia Keys, from Scorsese to Spike Lee… We all grew up with that American soft power.
So here we are 20 years later. Many things have changed but some remain the same, like musicians being silenced in Afghanistan now that America is apparently giving its full attention to China. Oops I’m getting too political… would probably write about sex if this was an essay on 2 Live Crew. The Beasties did change but like their music they aged well. Beastie Men. What a friendship and what a journey ! Not sure Chuck D will ever rap about farts, but it’s a fact that Beastie Boys can rhyme about politics and consciousness without losing their legendary sense of humour. Just like MCA, you can shave your head for Tibet and still wear a wig for fun.
Black Star - Definition (1998) « Brooklyn, New York City where they paint murals of Biggie In cash we trust cause it’s ghetto fabulous, life look pretty » ............................................................... KRS One - New York (2008) « New, York, City, still part of my heart, still part of my start As you can see it’s still, part of my art » ............................................................... Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five New York New York (1983) « New York New York big city of dreams. But everything in New York ain’t always what it seems » ............................................................... Eric B & Rakim - Know The Ledge (1992) « I go to Queens for queens to get the crew from Brooklyn. Make money in Manhattan and never been token. Go Uptown and the Bronx to boogie down. Get strong on the Island, recoup, and lay around »
Can’t wait to be back in New York City and have big fun in the big town. Sooner or later, I don’t know. I mean, even traveling from Brussels to London is a nightmare since Covid and Brexit. Probably for the opening of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in The Bronx in 2024 ? Hmm not certain I can hold on that long. And if we can’t get to NY, NY will get to us. Beastie Boys - An Open Letter To NYC (2004) « Dear New York, this is a love letter To you and how you brought us together »
............................................................... Joell Ortiz - Hip-Hop (2007) « I ain’t tryin’ to bring New York back I’m just a breath of fresh air, that good old New York rap »
Black Sheep standing in front of the Towers. © Al Pereira
In memory of Nathaniel Yauch aka MCA and Nathanial Hörnblowér.
Hot Stuff Jazz Funk Crosswords It’s time to test your knowledge on Jazz Funk tracks! After each description is mentioned how many letters are in the word. If you see a dot in it, it means that there are two words. Have Funky fun!
ACROSS 1) Who’s that guy? (5.7) 5) Grover (10) 8) West … (label) (3) 10) .. -It’s Alright (On Sire label)(2) 11) Gary Criss …. Di Janeiro (3) 12) - Supply said Stanley Clarke (2) 13) Jeffreys Osborne, ex -.-.D (1.1) 14) Ritenour/Garrett (3) 17) -.-. Boppers (1.1) 18) Curtis Mayfield’s super insect (3) 20) Keyboard wizard of ‘Deja Vu’ and ‘Genetic Walk’ fame (5.5) 22) Joe - / Stix - (6.6) 23) Brothers Johnson track also covered by Kazumi Watanabe (1)
ACROSS 1) His new LP literally is Paradise (5.6) 7) Can you handle her hott new album? (6.4) 10) Over Like A Fat Rat-Fonda … (3) 12) ‘ Yum -’ said Fatback Band (3) 13) His album touched both you and me 1979 on WB (5) 15) Brothers Johnson track also covered by Kazumi Watanabe (1) 16) ..Rect Curent on the TEC label (2) 17) Fat Larry’s Band label in 1982 (220.127.116.11) 19) New York night club (5) 20) Paul Humphrey sang Cool …(3) 21) Which time around for Shalamar? (6) 23) Leroy says ‘She’s - -’ (3.2) 25) A French Freak! (2) 26) Howard Johnson 12” (2.4) 27) (couldn’t think of anything for this, so just fill in T.I!) 30) Label for Rah Band/David Christie (1.1) 34) Sliver Shadow- Atlantic… (5) 36) Osbourne/Daniel (7)
DOWN 1) Male-“stay With Me” album capitol 1983 (4.8) 2) Debra, Ronnie & Hubert…. (4) 3) … Margret (sang Love Rush)(3) 4) Keyboards maestro, works closely with George Benson (6.6) 6) Eddie Russ ‘- The Light’ (3) 7) Soccio (4) 9) .. Jeckyl Mr. Hyde(2) 14) Volcanic group ‘Give It Up’ 1981 (4) 15) ‘Knock On Wood’ guy (initials) (1.1) 16 ‘Just The Way I Feel’ Gene… (6) 19) ‘Yum -’ said Fatback Band (3) 21) Eduardo - Barrio of Caldera (3)
DOWN 1) You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (3.5) 2) They’re still in love (4.5) 3) …. Comes The Sun-Fat Larry(4) 4) … Sylverster (4) 5) How far is Marc Sedane away from love? (3.6) 6) He made contact in 1978 (5.5) 8) ..-You Make Me Do It (on Full Time)(3) 9) .. movements (4) 11) The Temptations were going to do this towards your heart (3) 14) He freaked both in & out (initials) (1.1) 15) Brothers Johnson track also covered by Kazumi Watanabe (1) 18) .. Shuffle-Boz Scaggs (4) 20) Keni Burke once sang that love was this (6) 22) Early label for Atmosfear, Level 42, and now Touch (5) 23) What certain DJs and bands are in desperate need of these days! (4) 24) Kool & The Gang said ‘Get Down - -’(2.2) 27) Mr. Mahal (3) 30) Same as 30 across (1.1) 33) A French Freak! (2) 35) Johnson/Hudson (2)
Double Dee & Steinski: The first lessons Article from Big Daddy Magazine Issue 12 by Neil McMilan
Arguably the most creative and influential of all the hip hop cut-ups, Double Dee and Steinski’s ‘Lessons’ series, was made not by aspiring Bronx turntablists but two aging middle-class white men with no real hip hop credentials - other, that is, than the important ones, an absolute love for the music and a blatant disregard for the rules.
Payoff Mix In 1983, Steve Stein and Douglas DiFranco (an advertising copywriter and sound engineer respectively) entered a competition to remix ‘Play That Beat Mr DJ’ by G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid, which Tommy Boy had decided needed an extra push. The resultant ‘Payoff Mix’, which fused the track with everything from The Funky Four and Culture Club to spoken word excerpts from Humphrey Bogart and dance instruction records - and STILL managed to pay respect to the original - was judged a clear winner by a panel including Silverman, Bambaataa and Shep Pettibone. Winning $100, a few t-shirts and the Tommy Boy back catalogue, Stein and DiFranco also got to have their mix pressed up and distributed by Disconet. Stein recalls Tom Silverman ‘s surprise on first meeting them: We went down to Tommy Boy, who was pretty astonished - he was like ‘What are you, two old white guys? We got 70 entries here, and you guys were far and away the best, and look at ya!’ We met him and got the t-shirts and the records, split the hundred bucks, he took a picture of us and shook our hands and said ‘Fine, it’ll be out on Disconet’, and Douglas ran off a bunch of 1/4 inch mixes for the radio stations.
“What are you, two old white guys? We got 70 entries here, and you guys were far and away the best, and look at ya!” Tom Silverman (Tommy Boy Records) Disconet leaflet / Disco Patrick Collection
Lesson One and Two The mix, later known as ‘Lesson One’ to tie in with the rest of the series, became a top ten request item on every station it was sent to. Then, as Steinski continues, we started hearing that cassettes that people had run off from the radio in Philadelphia were getting sold on street corners for 2030 dollars. And it was selling in England for 60 and 70 and 80 dollars. And it was like “Really? No shit! This is so cool!’”
“‘I think Steinski has had more impact on things than a lot of people would give him credit for. He helped keep the whole idea of diggin ‘ for beats alive, and also showed everyone that this music could be fun.’” OJ Bombjack
Inspired by their success, the pair tried it again, this time coming up with a James Brown cut-up. ‘We brought it to Tommy Boy and they said “Oh yeah, we’ll put this out” - they did, and woo-hoo, the same thing happened again! Yahoo, the latest thing from Double Dee and Steinski! ‘ Thus ‘Lesson Two’ came into existence (again, initially, as a Disconet DJ-only release). Perhaps the most irreverent JB mix ever produced - is that Junior’s ‘Mama Used to Say?’ next to The B-Boys’ ‘Rock the House’ in there? - ‘Lesson Two’ begins by rocking a few classic JB breaks before wandering off on its own contrary way. In point of fact, the intro bears a striking resemblance to that of another cut-up, ‘Feelin’ James’, although Steinski recalls that he and Douglas had not heard Krivit’s mix at that point. When the two are heard together, it’s apparent that ‘Feelin ‘ James’ is edited slightly differently to ‘Lesson Two’, and following the ‘Sex Machine’ and ‘Apache’ sections the mixes split off in different directions. Perhaps Krivit was paying tribute to the earlier version.
Steinski remembers that it was Herman Kelly who put a spanner in the works of any kind of official release, to this day, Hager is sore about the way he was cut out of the project. ‘When they released the record there was a huge article in the Village Voice about it. And guess what? Nobody even mentioned the fact it had been my idea in the first place. ‘ Not that it would have made any money - ‘Lesson Three ‘ appeared first on Disconet before joining its predecessors on a rare-as-hen ‘s-teeth Tommy Boy promo. The series was complete, and would forever thereafter be known simply as The Lessons. It’s tempting to wax long and lyrical about the importance of The Lessons - their off-kilter funkiness, their invention, their pinpoint beat placement, their ability to tell a story or create an absurd scene - above all, perhaps, their overriding sense of humour. Coldcut’s Matt Black even credits the records with kickstarting the sampling revolution. OJ Bombjack, himself a contributor to the series with ‘Lesson Seven’, sums it up nicely: I think Steinski has had more impact on things than a lot of people would give him credit for. He helped keep the whole idea of diggin ‘ for beats alive, and also showed everyone that this music could be fun. The beauty about cut’n’paste records is that there’s often quite a lot of tongue-incheek humour in ‘em. It’s a chance for you to let your hair down and just do whatever you want - there ‘s no real restrictions as such. But I think Steinski needs a little more recognition for his part in all this. He should be in the hip hop hall of fame.
Its also important to understand The Lessons within the wider context of the careers and experiences of its creators. While the mixes themselves are now widely known, thanks largely to incessant bootlegging, surprisingly little has been printed about the histories, philosophies, techniques and obsessions of Double Dee and Steinski themselves. It’s time to go some way towards setting that straight.
In any case, as Steinski remembers, it was this mix which gave the name to the series. ‘Lesson Three’, however, seemed very much like a message from two great minds. An immaculate collage of hip hop’s most famous breaks, the mix also displayed the masterful selection and timing of spoken word excerpts for which the duo were becoming renowned. For the record, ‘Lesson Three’ was originally commissioned by Steven Hager to promote his book An Illustrated History of Hip Hop, Breakdancing and Graffiti (the reason behind its selection of breaks and its subtitle ‘The History of Hip Hop’). While
“For the record, ‘Lesson Three’ was originally commissioned by Steven Hager to promote his book ‘An Illustrated History of Hip Hop, Breakdancing and Graffiti’ (the reason behind its selection of breaks and its subtitle ‘The History of Hip Hop’).” Steinski
Disconet leaflet / Disco Patrick Collection
“You gotta fight for your right to party!” Beastie Boys