Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Class of 88 - Amazon Best Sellers List

In the last few years I've been monitoring secondhand sales of the original Class of 88 paperback book and I'm shocked, delighted and gutted i didn't get a royalty on £450 that was once paid on There's a huge difference in prices between the two sites as sometimes on prices can start at £10 and max out at £450. I almost fell over when i saw the £450 but over on the standard price for the book is $350.

I should point out that authors don't receive any royalties on secondhand books and i think its great that someone can read my book and actually earn 500 times the cover price. What i find somewhat disturbing is the fact I've sent many of these sellers a private message congratulating them on the fact they get so much money on this title. I'm polite, courteous and gentle with my words but not one of them have ever replied to my message. 

Two American companies in particular are obviously sourcing the copies wherever they can and putting them up for over $300 dollars each time. These companies have been consistent throughout the time I've been paying attention and must have sold easy a dozen copies each. In effect I've made them a few quid and they wont even reply to my message…

When the new Special Edition Class of 88 comes out in shops next year I'll be swapping brand new signed editions for original copies…

I did a little investigating on the book on amazon and found some other facts that Im also quite proud of. Taking into consideration that the book hasn't been in print for eight years I think the stats speak for themselves...

Amazon (July 2012)

Secondhand copies of this title have been on sale for the past seven years and have sold for £25 - £500.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank - Books (overall) Class of 88 144,225
Amazon Best Sellers List - Alcohol & Drug Abuse - Class of 88 N0.72
Amazon Best Sellers List - Drugs - Class of 88 N0.87

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews - Farley Jackmaster Funk (Issue 2)

My LSD Magazine partner and i got to speak to the legends we idolised during the Acid House Revolution...This is an Excerpt from the interview which you can read fully online...

Farley Jackmaster Funk is a living legend, a man who kept pushing the boundaries of the musical experience and the dancefloor. Originator, innovator, ambassador, he is at the core of the house revoloution and a spellbinding influence on other giants of the movement. The man who played such a seminal role in the whole concept of house, the man who broke the UK and opened us up to the whole journey took us on a ride through his memories and insights.

What was the vibe like in the Hot Mix 5 and how did the Hot Mix 5 set the flavor for mid 80’s Chicago?

Incredible. It was actually pretty hard to take in, because you didn’t even realize that you were creating a whole new genre of music and every day was like Christmas. The Hot Mix 5 set the whole tone for everything that happened after us in house music because it was radio, and whatever it was that we did individually in clubs paled next to what we were doing with the radio. I mean we had over 3 million listeners every Friday and every Saturday and as far as the music went, we didn’t really have to break house per se as if there was nothing comparable before, because disco was there and house is an extension of disco, only electronic. For me the beats were the same and it was almost like making electro house in that the house was already there and it was about taking it electronic. But suddenly it had a name and that made it easier to break it as a new style.

And I tell you what, we used to play a lot of Euro stuff and what was coming out of Europe really didn’t get enough credit because some of the music that they were making in the early 80’s was around before we started our style back in Chicago. The same goes for Prelude Records too who were honing their own electronic sound at the beginning of the 80’s, and those guys really didn’t get categorized or credited into the genre until later when people actually started looking back and naming those records house once house had really come into its own.

How big a part did gospel play in the soul of early house? 

Well for one thing, a lot of the singers actually came from church, as they did in disco and almost every other musical style, because people who went to church had grown up learning and honing these amazing vocal skills. The dances too were very reminiscent of being back in church – we used the 2 step and clapped our hands on the dancefloor in the same way that we used to in church. Think about it – house – God’s house – there was a whole lot of stuff that we didn’t really click when we were naming things, because we were just coming up with them out of nowhere, that so many of them were actually parodies of our experiences in church. Think about a pastor who preaches to a congregation – a DJ was basically preaching musically to a club congregation, and even the mirrorball hanging from the ceiling was an almost identical symbol to a cross hanging in the middle of church

How did Aw Shucks go down in the clubs when it first came out? 

Aw Shucks went down beautifully because I had ripped the bassline from a song called Beat the Street by Sharon Reed, so the foundation of the song as already familiar to people and the Aw Shucks of course came from Let No Man Put Asunder. I just took two ideas and put them together, because don’t forget, I wasn’t a musician in the early 80’s so what I would do was to basically remix or reshape other people’s music, set it to the house beat and name it house music! Even the record label I had at that time was called House Records, and everything I was doing was coined or branded house to really identify it and help push the genre.

That’s basically where Love Can’t Turn Around Came from too, taking the deep soul vocals of Issac Hayes and working it into a house groove. Exactly. That was an original composition but in the same way that rappers used to take James Brown’s beats and then rap over them and in fact what the whole essence of dance music was all about – ripping old records, updating them, giving them a new beat and then coining a term for the style like ‘house’. In the early 80’s, a lot of the Brit stuff that came out was generated in the same way, that’s what ‘mash ups’ were. They would take accapellas, because the kind of singers they were looking to use weren’t really around in Britain – it was much more of an American sound, but they would then lay other music under the accapellas and create mash ups. 

Love Cant turn Around was huge in the UK. Was the UK even on your radar before that track had such soaring success? 

All I knew was ‘London Bridge is falling down, falling down, My Fair Lady’ (note from editor – that was the Jackmaster on vocals down the phone!) before Love Can’t Turn Around happened. I was blessed to make that record, blessed to meet people that I would never have thought of meeting and all through the music of the music. That was a total thrill because it was a whole other world for me and everyone else who had the chance to come to England and a really special opportunity for us to get together and learn about each other’s culture. And all through the music. I tell you – still to this day it is awesome. At that time, I was big in England and even more famous in Chicago, and it was an amazing experience to be bi coastal in the States, international, and just travelling all over the place with this new idea, this new style that I was basically representing and promoting. Pretty hard to take it all in actually. So I’m arriving in London and the first thing I want to see for real is the black taxi after watching The Saint and Simon Templar back home. Being a boy, cars were my thing and I was fascinated by the different vehicles, even down to you guys driving on the opposite side of the road. That was the kind of thing that drove us, going back to Chicago and telling these stories and seeing everyone sat there going ‘Get outta here man – you’re full of it’ And then next thing you know, they’re making records too, and they’re getting their own chance to go over there and then come back and spread the word even further. I think house music did wonders for the sightseeing business because you had all these guys heading over from Chicago, just so excited to be sat on a plane off to see a different country and experience another culture...



LSD Magazine Interviews - Tyree Cooper (Issue 2)

My LSD Magazine partner and i got to speak to the legends we idolised during the Acid House Revolution...This is an Excerpt from the interview which you can read fully online...

From his time with the Funk Brothers drumming up the rhythms for some of the all time classics, to his commercial smashes, to his role in bringing hip hop into house music, Tyree Cooper was at the forefront of the house revolution. His contribution to hip house widened the appeal of house music, laid house as a template for a kaleidoscope of musical styles, and brought the urban vibe of hip hip hop firmly into the house. Old School legend Tyree spoke to us...

What was it like for black Americans in Chicago during the mid 1980s? 

Being black and growing up in America, you don't have to think about anything else outside of your surroundings. You’re so oppressed but don't know it, you think you have freedom but you don’t. And you try to do what you do. Anytime you have an oppressed society something creative is gonna come out of it, i don't care what it is but something groundbreaking is gonna come out of it. So for us as far as House music was concerned, we didn't think that anyone outside of Chicago would be listening. 

So when did the spark become a flame?

When Jesse (Saunders) starting doing it, he wanted to become a bigger DJ, so he started making records. When he did it, Farley (Jackmaster Funk) said ‘Screw’ that if he can do it, i can do it to. Farley stripped it down even more. Jesse had the music side and on the other-side you had House but it was more of a beat track. The Jack tracks for the Jacking music, so we had House and we had Jack. Depending on the kind of person you were that’s the kind of music you listened to. So the preppy people went to House Parties because they’d play a little disco. It was cleaner they had polo shirts, blue jeans, preppy loafers. Just straight up college prep, the whole party. 

Some of these people were fashion designers and were designing clothes for rappers back in the day. Outside of Dapper Dan and his jogging suits, I’m talking parachute prints for the ages, man, it looked like a fashion show in a House Party. When you went to the Jacking Party or a Beat Party on the Westside or you went to the hood parties, it was only Beat music, that's when the party started. When I went to London that was the side I grew closer to because nobody was dressing up, they dressing like fuck that, I’m in this party, I’m going on.

In Chicago it was always the High School Parties those were the parties. Every famous DJ that you can think of from Chicago back in the day, trust me, he got known from the High School Parties. It was all focused on the High School kids because that youth movement at the time, hip hop and house, well in Detroit it was Techno and that was closer to Miami Bass meets Kraftwerk, it so was futuristic and if you lived in Detroit you got it. They had House too because of Ken Collier. So this whole black youth movement was bubbling and by 1985 Farley said ‘Im going to London’ I was like what you gonna do, DJ? he says ‘Yeah’. I’m like ‘They listen to House in London?’ 

Our experience of London was the language, Benny Hill and only white people. If you were shrewd enough and watched international TV, you might find Desmond’s (black tv show from 1970s) which came on PBS. Desmond was my shit, Pork Pie, man I loved Desmond’s. Benny Hill and James Bond if you got deep, we didn't even think about The Saint. I’m no college professor but I liked knowledge and more so than my peers. Growing up in the hood you see your friend or someone you know on the corner selling drugs or somebody stealing cars or someone Breaking and Entering or doing all kind of nonsense. I said to myself as a kid, I can’t do this shit, so I played basketball until I found House music, that was my escape. Basketball saved my life, I mean it really saved my life. I wanted to be in the NBA that was my dream. I could play and most of the people I played with played in the NBA but at 19 I started thinking about my height, i thought yeah, I could play in Europe, back then you needed the grades it wasn't as easy as it is now.

My best friend Hugo was a DJ so he was taking me to these House Parties and stuff, saying he wanted me to check Farley (Jackmaster Funk). I was blown away by his DJing, for one there was women from end to end and not like girls in the hood.. I was like OK, what I gotta do to be part of this. First you get into the music and then you get into the scene and vibe. So i said to Farley ‘Yeah I know how to DJ’ he laughed at me saying ‘You don't know how to DJ’ ‘I’m like yeah I do’ Farley says ‘OK, come by the crib’ I went by his house he had two decks and a mixer. I said ‘go ahead do your thing’ he did it and I said ‘Alright, you gotta teach me how to do that shit’. He said ‘Nah, I cant teach you this it took me five years to learn how to do this’. So me being the person I am, if you tell me no and I like it, I'm gonna find a way to do it. Get good and then try to be better than you, not go against you, just better. 

For me it was like basketball, if you score 20 on me today, tomorrow if you score 2 points on me you’re good. After a while another friend of mine named Leonard Remix Roy and another guy Alto Hines and his brother James Hines who had a sound system in the neighborhood, gave birth to me and Mike Dunn. The times they heard me trying to DJ in that basement, day and night. Until one day they say ‘You doing a party on your own, do you know what your doing? You need speakers? ‘ Then they heard me and Mike Dunn play and said ‘Wow’. Mike Dunn is the only DJ partner I’ve ever had. When we got together to DJ it was like me and Mike against the world. We both like the same music but in different ways, Mike liked to tape records and edit, so I was like ‘Mike edits’ They sang like Frankie’s but were cleaner, it was for us. One of the promoters that gave birth to so many DJs was Marvin Terry, he threw some of the biggest parties on the planet.

 The comparison with England is that you had warehouse spaces we didn't have those spaces, we had hotel lobbies or hotel halls. We hire Hotel Congress or Hilton Hotel for two thousand bucks. It didn't matter we were charging ten bucks and 2,500 kids would come to the party. Every-time you threw a party downtown everybody came, matter of fact, if you threw a party anywhere in Chicago and it wasn't crowed, you really did something wrong. Especially if you were one of those DJs like Ferris Thomas, Andre Hachet, Steve Hurley or Mike Dunn and we’re not talking radio DJs because every-time they were on a flyer it packed the party every-time.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews - Jesse Saunders (Issue 2)

Its not often your given a chance to have a personal one to one with some of the heroes we grow up respecting. Some of you may already know I have an online magazine which i produce alongside one of the Spiral Tribe organisers Siruis23. Our magazine is mainly geared for street art graffiti but as well traveled lads our interests are pretty broad and this is reflected in the many other aspects of life also presented in the magazine. We decided to dedicate an entire issue to Acid House because of its importance in the history of Great Britain. Siruis23 and I took great pleasure in interviewing the heroes of the late eighties so without further delay we present the first in a series of excerpts taken from LSD Magazine  BE SURE TO JOIN OUR NEW FACEBOOK  PAGE Classof88....

And it all started here....Pure legend, Jesse Saunders made the first ever house record in 1984 and has never looked back, throwing all his energy, love and positivity into the movement he played such a seminal role in creating. DJ, sublime innovator, driving, force, inspirational ambassador and sparkling ball of energy, Jesse spoke to us - 

What were your early influences both musically and personally and how did they lead to house music? 

I took all kinds of instrument lessons from the early age of 5…from trumpet to piano and recorder (flute) to drums. My favorite tunes were anything with a heart and soul-from classic rock to R&B, I loved the melodies and the grooves! That’s what led to the foundation of House Music! My favorite groups and influences were Earth Wind & Fire, Heatwave, Fleetwood Mac, America, The Beatles, Chicago, Human League, The Bangles and Bob Marley! 

What does DJing mean to you? 

DJing is an ART! You don’t just learn how to beat match-Anyone can do that! You have to understand and read your crowd and immediately interpret where you want and need to take them…through the highs and lows and buildups. You can’t just pound them over the head with hard beats, or lull them to sleep with soft beats. It should be a musical journey through all kinds of emotions and sounds. There’s no better high than seeing a crowd react and anticipate to your every move.

What was the creative atmosphere like in early 80’s Chicago?

In the early 80s there wasn’t much of a creative atmosphere except for New Wave. My friend and I used to go to The Exit and Neo’s which were underground clubs for the New Wave bands. I was playing at the Playground and would always play a NEW Wave set mixed in with Disco Classics and Electro tracks coming from Europe. It wasn’t until I decided to make ON & ON that things started heating up creatively. ON & ON was released in January of 1984 to overwhelming response. Then other DJs saw what I was doing and tried to copy it. The 1st DJ I made a record for was Farley. He actually tried to sing on it! LOL.

Where did the beats and the vibe for On and On come from? 

I made the beats on my Roland TR-808 and played all the instruments and effects on a Poly 61. The bass-line came from a Roland TB-303. I recorded it all on a Tascam 4 track cassette recorder in my bedroom. 

Were you aware of what was being created back in 1984 – could you even have dreamt of the possibilities.

Of course not! How could I? I just wanted to make a record. I still to this day cannot believe the magnitude of what I created. 

What was it about house music that made it a medium for so many different styles and grooves? 

It’s that 4 on the floor pounding beat that gets into your soul! You can put anything musically on top and you still have the drive! 

Can you give us an insight into the soul and the power of house music? 

House is a feeling. If you can’t feel it, you don’t understand, but when you do, it stays with you for life!

What did the Immense commercial success of Love Cant Turn Around with Farley mean for the direction of house music? 

The funny thing about that is it wasn’t Farley that made Love Can’t Turn Around! It was Darryl Pandy’s vocals and my production! I remember touring in the UK in 1986 and while DJing at the Virgin Megastore I see the video come up on the TV. I was like WHAT THE FUCK????? I had no idea there was a video. They did all of that behind my back. Our agreement was that the record was released as Farley Jackmaster Funk & Jesse Saunders. So it’s still dumbfounds me that Farley gets all the credit, but I get all the Publishing so no worries! LOL. 

How do you feel about the intense cultural shift house created – what was it that made so many people loving and free? 

It’s like Woodstock in 1969. I have to thank the Brits for that feeling cuz you guys started the Rave culture which was based on love, sex and drugs (we could have left the drugs out, but oh well…)! People want to feel good, dance and love each other. It’s a natural human characteristic. House provides the love and freedom in the music for all! 



Remember Yikes in Slough 1989?

We found ourselves hurtling down the motorway on route to Slough on many occasions in 1989. Yikes and a few other promoters did some great parties over that way. I went down with Tony (Sunrise) one night and he ended up swinging from some cables somewhere and hurting himself (never felt til next day then ouuccchhh)...

History of the House Sound of Chicago (old article)

I cant remember exactly where i downloaded this article but it was published more than fifteen years ago as far as i remember. It gives a great insight into the early foundations of House music in Chicago...