XLR8R Disco Boy Official LogoColumns.

The following items appeared in XLR8R magazine in the 1990's:

disco boy vs goa

disco boy vs rave industry

disco boy vs glitter kids

disco boy vs vivid

disco boy vs ghosttribe

Intellectual Property 12/20/1994

The other day I ordered some tapes in the mail, and when they arrived I was a bit put off because the covers were hand written on the cards that come with the blank tape. It seemed obvious that the vendor was duplicating from 2nd or worse generation copies, most likely with out permission from the DJs. A Richie Hawtin tape in particular had very bad sound quality. I easily recognized a Vapour Space track despite the muddy sound. Vapour Space does not want DJs to use their tracks in mixes that are for sale without permission. A brilliant ambient DJ called Lotus found out the hard way when he was asked by Vapour Space to not sell a CD which included a Vapour Space track. It is not just the big labels that want to protect their intellectual property. The irony of a mixed tape for sale by Hawtin, who runs the label +8, which is the Vapour Space label , made me ask myself: did Richie need permission? Or was the tape bootlegged from a party DJ Richie Hawtin spun at? And what does ďUnauthorized Public Performance, Broadcasting, Copying and Rental of this Record ProhibitedĒ actually mean?

College radio has been forced on occasion to keep more strict attention to keeping accurate play lists so that labels can collect money. At the same time Pay for Play is again becoming a standard practice for the big record companies and the commercial stations. Neither trend helps new music get air play.

Different formats from 8-track tapes to CDís garner different responses from critics of the unlicensed mixed tape. While a cassette might cause little reaction, a CD tends to be taken more seriously. A DJ has to make about 10 times the number of CDs compared with cassette mass duplication and the cost for a CD is about 25% greater. It is important to realize that these figures will inevitably shift in favor of the CD in the future.

The copyright laws seem to exist amidst a reality which is not suited for them. Anyone who presses a 12Ē piece of vinyl could not possibly be targeting for private consumption. No one is buying a 12Ē, jumping into bed and then in 7 minutes thinking to themselves ď Boy o boy , I just got to jump outa bed and flip over that rekkid and listen to the dub re-mix on the b-sideĒ. People have their driving mixed tape, coming down hard mixed tape, working, fucking and every other kind of mixed tape. And many people wish that their mangled, sandy warbley favorite was digitized and indefinitely preserved on a CD. The cycle of creative consumption regards vinyl as a tool and not the end of the process. Yet lawyers get hold of some unlicensed intellectual property and once they start you cant stop them (e.g. Negativeland), even if the artists whose property who is being protected doesnít want to pursue the crime.

So there seems to be an unwritten code (or two) about how this cycle of late capitalist culture/art production/recycling operates. If you make too much money doing what your doing you better pay for all those samples. If you include a track from a major label or an artist who does not appreciate hearing their track in the mixed tape which is making more money than the record they slaved to put out, you might be asked to not sell that tape any more.

As usual, I have traced the root of this problem to the great conflict between Modernism and Post-Modernism. The Modernist believes that form follows function and that there is honesty and great truth in following this formula. A new aesthetic was born, as machines were allowed to be machines, cement was allowed to look like cement. The true beauty of a material was revealed not by embellishment, instead a material was true to itself...... WAIT A Minute!? ďtrue to itselfĒ? Post-Modern philosophers have pointed at this as an aesthetic choice and therefore a hypocritical hole into which modernism was stuck. In the digital age, when information wants to be free and one thing can morph into another at the click of a mouse, the concept ďtrue to itselfĒ is just a pose. Another concept Post-Modernism has assaulted is the concept of ĎArtist as Geniusí progenitor of the Ďoriginal idealí. The sample-free technophile who thanks the equipment comes to mind. Always bitter that the idea has been stolen and credit was never given, the technophile lets the records play out in respect to the music. On the other hand, the sample police better get to work and stop these Mega-Mixing, porno-moan sampling, bitch house making po-mo-hoís. Collage and cut up can get old fast.

Its like drug use in this country: they arenít going to legalize drugs but everyone is going to keep saying yes. ďUnauthorized Public Performance, Broadcasting, Copying and Rental of this Record ProhibitedĒ will continue to have an ambiguous meaning.

Dancing at the End of Time 11/30/1994

The Rave Seminar - Dancing at the End of Time: with your host, Terrence McKenna.

Many teachers have arisen since the (re)discovery of psychedelics. Huxly, Crowley, Wasson, Leary, Castenada, Shulgin, Eisner, D.M. Turner and Dan Joy - to name a few. The one person who has extended his work into the realm of psychedelic dance culture and helped re-awaken the possible more than any other, is Terrence McKenna.

Ravers sometimes read (like now), resulting in many books stuffed with rave flyers as bookmarks - authored by McKenna. He has written about the likelihood of cultures which used psychedelics and the influence and purpose of various sources of psychedelic experience. One theme he often pursues is the development of language and the role mushrooms may have had in the development of our communication skills. Often McKenna suggests the far-out: hyper-dimensional elf/aliens can populate his discourse. He can refer to the spin or resonance of sub-atomic particles and Medieval oil paintings in the same rant.

As part of a renewed interest by young people in trading the cocaine, pills and alcohol party for the psychedelic party, teachers of psychedelic lore who had been previously languishing in New Age bath houses and alternative colleges became sought after: first by sample (Leary in British Acid House records) and eventually in person. Terrence McKenna performed at raves in San Francisco several times. The largest was with the Shamen at the Warfield. The Shamen backed him up with techno as he encouraged people to dance on psychedelics while he told of the end of history. He gave several lectures backed with the futuristic Space Time Continuum coordinated with video projections by Rose X producing a fabulous version of the chill room and a video to boot.

One might guess from the hype surrounding McKenna that DMT is the chemical which he values the most. A careful read of his works however reveal that his most profound insights have come in conjunction with mushroom eating. Sometimes his science gets a little wacky and his time models may be hard to swallow but all criticism aside: he has made contributions to the way we think about plant psychedelics and consciousness, and he has raised the level of discourse tremendously. Indeed it is to his credit that while to the general public thinks of ravers as stupid kids on drugs listening to annoying music, we know that our psychedelic dance culture has a purpose and that we are rediscovering something ancient while creating something new.

His association with the rave perhaps has encouraged older people already on a psychedelic path to experience some of the celebrations and experiments we are now doing. Eselan Institute, a place which has offered seminars with McKenna, has also started to allow the occasional DJ to visit. Imagine this course: The Rave Seminar - Dancing at the End of Time.

Ron D. Core Interview 8/22/1995

Ron D Core is the Father of my children! This is what I tell people who whine to me about Ronís music or his product packaging. Some people take his marketing strategies too seriously and probably canít imagine what a sweet person he is. He has never wavered from his love of Hard-core Acid Techno. He has been running Dr. Freecloudís Mixing Lab, a rave store in Costa Mesa with lots of good records, candy, toys, and porn! His most recent mixed tape brought me to my knees. It contains porno orgasms, beat-matched punches, war sounds, elephant trumpeting , Nugent, and lots of tricks. Ron kicks a lot of ass for a nerd.

The kids actually like it better when Iím angry, ďI hope Ronís pissed tonightĒ, and they actually like it better when Iím in a bad mood. The more of a bad mood Iím in, the harder the music will be.

I couldnít listen to the music I play for longer than an hour at a time unless Iím playing it. I gotta take a break. I get most of my aggression and energy out from behind the decks. Seldom do I go out and mosh with the kids. Once I get more situated in the store Iíd like to go out more often as a supporter.

Every year I think ď this is the year it is gonna endĒ, but it keeps reviving itself..

Whoís your favorite DJ?
Thatís a tough one. Frankie Bones 5 or 6 years ago.

You sell a tee shirt you made that says, ďFuck Deep House.Ē
Mostly the stuff from LA Deep House from LA sucks.

How long have you been Dj-ing?
10 years. I started out playing Chicago House and Industrial... both.

Whatís the deal with the naked chicks on your tape covers?
Oh, thatís easy. I love pornography, I love women. I love them naked...Asian women obviously my favorite. Anything Asian oriented is great. There was a fanzine: ď Asian Girls Are Rad.Ē

Favorite beer: Samuel Adams

Breakfast: bagels and strong coffee.

College: 2 1/2 years Graphic Design.

One of my dreams, if I ever make enough money with this store, is to open a porno store.

Besides techno do you listen to anything else?
Anything on the 4AD label.

I have a problem taking ďeĒ at raves and seeing all the little girls Ďcause I want to eat them all up and I feel like a dirty pig...
You have the same problem I have.

Lowest point of life: Records stolen back in Ď93- almost gave it all up. A year in LA everyone wants to forget.

Age: 28

Iíve lived in Orange County my whole life.

What about the idea that Hard-core Techno appeals only to violent angry young men, unlike music which has broad appeal, with a funkier more groovy sound?
Itís actually flip flopped. Here Hard-core has taken over and draws the largest crowds. The funky vibe didnít last to long though it still exists at smaller parties. Now about 50% of the crowd is Hispanic which is the main people in my crowd. Whites and Asians-itís mixed. And people used to complain there were never enough females who were into it, but surprisingly enough, there are lots getting right there with the guys. Getting moshed, slugged, thrown into the speakers: as tough as the guys are. The kids have a better head on their shoulders. Theyíre more aggressive but theyíre not beating the crap out of each other,... itís all in fun.

Rave Mass 11/6/1994

The mass held at Grace cathedral, off-handedly referred to as the ďrave massĒ, was almost like a Richard Sun (A.T.O.I.) party. They called it the Planetary Mass and we inhaled the cosmic Christ. The group of multimedia spirit seekers call themselves Nine Oíclock Services and are a new part of the Anglican church. Matthew Fox, former Catholic, soon to be Episcopalian, announced the event to the press several months ago. Many of us ravers who use the internet as a way to communicate with each other discussed the announcement of a rave in a church with curiosity and skepticism. Some went as far as to meet with Matthew Fox to try to get some understanding as to the purpose of a ďJesus raveĒ. My personal take on Matthew Fox, (from his writing, not from meeting him) is that he is a New Age philosopher. New Age philosophy in all of its forms states that the planet is in or approaching crisis and that the only way to change this is if many people undergo a personal transformation of a spiritual nature before itís too late. Then as a race we will have evolved to a new level, a new age will have dawned and global catastrophe will be averted. The sermon Matthew Fox gave at the Saturday night Planetary Mass reinforced my suspicions.

This New Age thing gets tricky because of the pluralistic attitude towards all traditional religions that is part of the New Age prospective. The New Age spirituality suggests that all traditional religions share the same fundamental truths and that the practice of one faith does not contradict or oppose the belief and practice of another. Global spirituality exists within Jewish, Native American, Buddhist and even Christianity, as repulsive as that might be to some. Fundamentalist, Bible believing, on fire for Jesus Christians are warned against New Age philosophy as a mingling of truth with lies and a work of the Devil. A friend invited her Fundamentalist mother to the Planetary mass and she split immediately in fear for her soul. On the other hand a Jewish friend was not comfortable with the Christ references.

The mass was conducted in the basement of Grace cathedral and resembled a ďchillroomĒ as well put together as any I have ever been to, on par with the fabulous Namlook, Mixmaster Morris, SpaceTime ambient party at King street last year. I have seen Christian rock bands try to deliver the gospel through rock music . There is even an industrial Christian band called Blackhouse. While Christian rock lacks balls and the Christian industrial is mostly good through irony, the 9 Oíclock Services mass and a rave do not seem that far from each other. The vibe and sound was very Future Sound of London/Orb but one question lurked in the minds of many. During the service Shamanic drug use was acknowledged as valid and drug abuse was condemned. I got the impression that most of the people of the group from Sheffield had been involved with raves and club culture. They looked like ravers and club kids. Are they recovering , abstinent, ...whatís really going on? What would they think if we took drugs at their service? Would they consider it appropriate?

Raving can be about using technology, drugs, and dance to experience transcendental awesome group communion. We have conducted healing ceremonies, celebrated the earthís cycles and provided a context for many New Age dreams to become real. The main thing that seems at issue is the old modernist dialectical concept of mainstream/underground or conformity/alienation. Keeping the scene pure and separate from commercial, corporate exploitation is a problematic attitude and not really in touch with a non-black/white post-modern today. At the Planetary mass many things were said in support of this way of viewing reality. Basically they espouse a spiritual pluralism bound by Ecological concern. The hope is that as a race we may come together in an end to the exploitation of the earth and become static rather than pernicious. To do this they seem willing to reject the centuries of dogma and literal interpretation of the bible. They are trying to reinterpret the Anglican tradition in light of what the rest of humanity knows about spirituality. We may never see the day when Jerry Falwell in hologram pants shares a group hug in a chillroom. However, the day has come when a raver can go to a church service and drop a hit of acid instead of a communion wafer and feel as if he is accepted...I did!

Swindle 6/7/1995

Great Rock-N-Roll Swindle

LESSON ONE: HOW TO MANUFACTURE YOUR GROUP
LESSON TWO: ESTABLISH THE NAME SEX PISTOLS
LESSON THREE: HOW TO SELL THE SWINDLE
LESSON FOUR: DONíT PLAY, DONT GIVE THE GAME AWAY
LESSON FIVE: STEAL AS MUCH MONEY FROM THE RECORD COMPANY OF YOUR CHOICE
LESSON SIX: HOW TO BECOME THE WORLDíS NUMBER-ONE TOURIST ATTRACTION
LESSON SEVEN: CULTIVATE HATRED, IT IS YOUR GREATEST ASSET
LESSON EIGHT: HOW TO DIVERSIFY YOUR BUSINESS
LESSON NINE: TAKING CIVILIZATION TO THE BARBARIANS - USA
LESSON TEN: WHO KILLED BAMBI

Great Rave Swindle

LESSON ONE: HOW TO SELECT YOUR DJíS
LESSON TWO: ESTABLISH THE NAME OF THE RAVE
LESSON THREE: HOW TO FLYER
LESSON FOUR: PLAY, GIVE STUFF AWAY
LESSON FIVE: MAKE MIXED DEMO TAPES AND SELL THEM TO BUY MORE RECORDS
LESSON SIX: HOW TO HAVE MAP POINTS
LESSON SEVEN: CULTIVATE LOVE, EVEN IF ITíS CHEMICALLY ENHANCED
LESSON EIGHT: CREATE A LINE OF CLOTHING AS PLAN B TO PARTY PROMOTING
LESSON NINE: GO ON TOUR
LESSON TEN: WHO KILLED BAMBI?

Learning From Las Vegas 3/1/1995

Digitaria, Stargate,...the Luxor, Las Vegas. These concepts haunted me one long evening this February. Digitaria: a rave put on by Funky Techno Tribe with an Egyptian theme. Stargate: a movie with an Egyptian theme. The Luxor: a hotel in Las Vegas with an Egyptian theme. LSD makes all the connections apparent, but can the connections that seemed so obvious and important be recalled a month later? Letís see... Here are some more...

All three are big budget. Digitaria, especially by San Francisco standards, cost a lot ($25) to get in but once you were in, you could see where the money went. Stargate had a cast of slave population paid at scale and special effects galore. They probably are still trying to break even on video rentals. The Luxor is all about big budget. There is nothing in the world Las Vegas wonít make a more fat-ass shiny version of, proving that awe can be bought with money and aliens or gods are small potatoes.

All have pyramids. Of course the Luxor is a glass pyramid and itís in the desert. Digitaria had three or four pyramids used to project images on. Two pyramids rotated with projections of the face of a sphinx on them. The DJ booth was part of an opera-size temple with pillars, cornice, etc ... Stargate like the other two, referenced the Egyptian models (which in the company of increasing numbers of new versions are becoming less real) and had its new and improved spaceship/pyramid.

All three are obsessed with high-technology. The Luxor is an architectural feat of new materials. A laser shoots from the apex towards the night sky and a hologram-esque projection of the sphinx extends to greet your limo. It is quickly becoming favored spot for high-tech conventions. Stargate is about cyber-Egypt. Old symbols and motifs come alive and are given meaning once wedded with alien technology. The half-assed tales of majick in the court of the Pharaohís are made plausible with this re-interpretation. Digitaria ( like most raves) is an example of an optimistic, celebratory experience which dares to use technology to its most up to date potential. Often people in cutting-edge technology research fields find their newest stuff utilized first by video games and other entertainment oriented manifestations, like sci-fi movies, theme parks, Las Vegas, and sometimes, raves.

The creators of Digitaria were inspired by a book I have not read, so my hallucinations were hinged on my own points of reference. I remember when Stargate came out a bunch of people told me they were all going to see it high. I am sure Hunter Thompson isnít the last person to drop acid in Vegas. Digitaria was a well choreographed event. I must say that under such bombastic stimulation the party became less about people and increasingly hallucinatory. Thus unclear about what transpired I give alternate Versions:

Alex started the evening with some high-class techno which was perhaps the most danceable set of the evening. Then DB played a wide range of records including a couple jungle tracks. Then Dan slammed one crazy record onto another and scratched us into the gutter with a set San Francisco is still talking about. Keoki played some trance that was like Hello Kitty in Space. Josh Wink, SFís current favorite out of town DJ, played Bass-heavy groovy acid-trance. Graeme played a percussive trance which was quite compelling and ecstatic. Jeno then reminded us what beat matching is all about with a beautiful set to hang our soggy minds on.

Is DJ Dan Kurt Russell? Are Keokiís groupies sex slaves for a alien hermaphrodite Grey omni-powerful drag-queen? Is Josh Wink Mark Anthony? And how does all this relate to the Illuminati?

Malcom McLaren Interview 6/7/1995

Disco Boy and Mark Ameba did this interview so they could have their sentences mingled with Malcolm McLarenís. He has been deeply involved in almost every pop cultural evolution you can name: Punk, Rap, House ... and whatever you would call that ďMadame ButterflyĒ thing. McLarenís been trying to get movies made, he did go to school for that and it would be a really good thing if somebody could fund that. We need more movies like ďThe Great Rock-n-Roll SwindleĒ: a sort of Monty Python meets Clockwork Orange punk musical about the Sex Pistols. He has just completed a CD called Paris which is sort of like a parody of the kind of daydreams most people have when they fantasize about Paris. This interview was conducted in the backyard of Ameba and recorded on 8-track tape. It was then mercilessly edited to make it seem as if Malcolm McLaren could give a shit about the rave.

Disco Boy: Did you go on Hot Wired?
Malcolm McLaren: On the internet you mean? The point in the internet is you actually have to be kind of deep, otherwise it just ends up really boring. Itís not a very sexy sitting there looking at a screen, you know what I mean? So unless your really hitting people hard-core, saying something, then itís all a waste of time. So much garbage on that bloody internet, surf around for about six hours and then ďFuck thisĒ.
Disco Boy: What do you think of Genesis P. Orridge?
Malcolm McLaren: I certainly knew a lot of what he was doing back in the day, in the 70ís when he did industrial music, and he had a thing called, what was the name? Throbbing Gristle... yea I remember that very much.
Disco Boy: He did COUM and I think they had some of the sensationalist reactionary stuff like you got, thrown at them, wanting to take away their art grants. They did a show about prostitution, Cosi Fani Tuti was in a lot of sex magazines. He lives here now.
Malcolm McLaren: He lives here now? What does he do?
Disco Boy: He got kicked out of England.
Malcolm McLaren: What does he do here?
Disco Boy: He is raising his kids. Heís like a cultural engineer, thatís what his card says now and you know people would say the same thing about you.
Malcolm McLaren: OK. Iím not really very technical, probably nowhere near as technical as him.
Disco Boy: He isnít really that technical either.
Malcolm McLaren: Iíd like to be though. Thatís quite flattering really.
Disco Boy: So what do you think of raves?
Malcolm McLaren: Well I havenít been to a rave in about 6 years.
Disco Boy: You went when they first started?
Malcolm McLaren: In the very beginning when I actually used to travel from LA to London and to Majorca and Ibiza, that period, I had friends tike that guy from S-express and (who I did songs with) William Orbit... and these guys I would go to raves with. I think they sort of petered out. And I think one of the reasons was that there was a section of the rave scene that got bored when it didnít really go forward into anything. They got bored with it,... it didnít move on,... it didnít go anywhere. I think the people that started coming to raves were just a bit dull. Then of course there was this fucking horrible politics in London. This bill came in called the Criminal Justice Bill which really put the screws on any kind of crazy concert. Any congregation of more than 5 people, had to have police permission. So it really killed, seriously,... itís extraordinary that a bill like that passed in England. Everything that people fought for over the last 150 years is suddenly back to square one. Incredible. Which demonstrates what kind of apathy people have towards government of any kind, and it really did tell you that England doesnít own its own culture, and never really did. You fought for every corner, every patch. Whether you were messing around with the punk rock thing,... you were always digging holes and beating up the scene. But when that Criminal Justice Bill came in, it was like the ultimate killer punch. Reality struck home. And it created an enormous depression culturally, which Iím not sure anyone in England will climb out of.
Mark Ameba: San Francisco is like a refugee camp. So many strong people from there who canít take the adversity, uprooted and came here. Itís the west coast, you can still do beach parties, free outdoor crazy parties, which is what itís all about. San Francisco just passed a thing where its a technicality where they wonít let 18-21 year olds dance after 2 a.m. If you do it and they find you then they shut you down. It has to be night club industry only. We do parties all the time and do map points and be cagey to escape it. There is a rave tonight, all ages, and it is in Santa Cruz.
Malcolm McLaren: Santa Cruz? I know Santa Cruz.
Mark Ameba: Yeah, tripped-out surf town. Itís at the Civic Center, 2000 kids and then a beach party afterwards.
Malcolm McLaren: And are they still taking E?
Mark Ameba: Like mad.
Malcolm McLaren: Oh really?
Mark Ameba: Like guppies.
Malcolm McLaren: Thatís kind of gone in England , not disappeared, but really, I havenít lived that much in England, but I think theyíve gone back to hard core drugs.
Mark Ameba: A lot of the creative people there probably said ďFuck it, time to travel, time to boogie.Ē
Malcolm McLaren: Well there is a big scene that youth created over in Goa.
Mark Ameba: Yeah, we get a lot of Goa travelers.
Disco Boy: We get them about this time of year from their party, the seasons over and they are in a daze they look like theyíve seen God, and theyíre ďreally cosmicĒ and they canít take the Funky/Groovy San Francisco and the touchy- feelly and they are just cosmic, just religious. They listen to harder trance.
Disco Boy: So what do you think of drug use in general? Did you try to keep the perception of the Sex Pistols; that they were sober basically except for the alcohol?
Malcolm McLaren: Sex Pistols? They were all druggies except for Paul maybe, the drummer. They werenít all druggies in the beginning, they became druggies... Sid and Steve.
Disco Boy: Did you try to hide that image or that reality from the press?
Malcolm McLaren: No, to tell the truth I wasnít actually a party to it. I didnít really hang out enough to be that close to what was going down in that regard. It was a private thing, drugs, in those days,... because you were very, very conscious of the law basically. It wasnít that open. The interesting thing about the punk scene was that it was very gang-like,... quite loyalist in that regard, and luckily at the time people were so affronted by what it seemingly, in their eyes, represented, something so clearly, from their point of view , anti-establishment; something so clearly existential, quite nihilistic and so clearly an absolute disgust for all culture that had preceded it. So they were a real loner group, isolated, and nobody bothered to penetrate that scene.... They might have joined it and jumped in and jumped out. Iíll never forget Robert Plant coming down to see a bunch of punk groups play at a club called the Roxy in London and he was totally surrounded by , encircled like Stonehenge, by these bouncers and these big bloody kind of roadies; because he was so terrified he would be spat at and deconstructed, in some way. He sort of surrounded himself like some sort of old fashioned medieval baron with a bunch of hired mercenaries, because he was going into foreign, infidel land, . . .! Iíve just come back from Poland. Iím thinking of finding a way to do something in Poland. Iím very intrigued by eastern Europe. No matter how grim it is on one level, there is such a fabulous desire on behalf of the people to do things. Youíd never thing of going there. It isnít Goa. It isnít San Francisco. No, it ainít too cosmic out there. Itís kind of gray, but... there is a supreme energy and a certain intelligence that, Iíd say, is desirable. I think it has potential. Talking about the millenium; it is places like that that may be the places that just turn around.
Disco Boy: Dostoevski, he portrayed that so well... that it could have happened a hundred years ago but then a blanket got put over it.
Malcolm McLaren: They are playing techno music in Warsaw. The idea of a techno club in Warsaw is incredible. Itís like one guy at the entrance to the club has got this giant smoke machine. You go into this huge fog with a couple of lights, a blue and a red one blaring through the fog. And I think, ď Well this place is empty. I donít see anyone through the fog.Ē But actually itís crowded. You just canít see anyone. And they are playing ambient music, perhaps a little Eno-esque, and thatís one vibe. And another vibe. . . I was in a club in where they were playing Sid Barret! I heard ď See Emily playĒ! This is mid 60ís, truly early psychedelic.
Mark Ameba: Psychedelia never died.
Malcolm McLaren: House music never affected them in any real way. They havenít really got off on that in a big way.
Disco Boy: What do you think the music industry is going to do with bands becoming less successful and anonymous machine music becoming more and more. . .
Malcolm McLaren: In where?
Disco Boy: In Europe, and in America. Americaís been slower in. . .
Malcolm McLaren: Well you play. Europe doesnít play, thatís why. We did play back in the 60ís. The idea of getting a Chuck Berry book and getting yourself a guitar sitting with yourself for hours on end till your fingers bled. We had Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton. . . soon on. Dinosauric. All can play the blues; know the cords to every Leadbelly song and everything which your culture was basically born and bred. But the new generation canít do that, now that all these sampling machines have come along. Nobody wants to go down to buy the Chuck Berry book and expect to sit and bleed their fingers. But America somehow, can. And we all look at America and think. ďFuckiní hellĒ how can they play? What makes them able to do that? Why arenít they as lazy as us? Why arenít they saying, ďwe donít want to play anything.Ē We just want to make a record like instant coffee! With technology. Why are they bothering to play all these guitars and stuff? And itís difficult for us to understand, except I guess we do realize: you began it all and I guess your going to fucking end it all. Europe, we were just caught in the middle, as fans. Weíre desperate to imitate in order to escape what we believe was a culture which we had nothing whatsoever to do with. So rock-n-roll for us was a chance to escape, get out . Whether on a cosmic level or purely as a rock-n-roll immigrant, playing in college beer halls across America, just to get out. Now travelís cheap and everybody can get out and itís no longer a big mystery as it was in the 60ís. Rock-n-roll doesnít have the same kind of draw as it does for the Europeans you know. They want it much easier. They want a vibe- they want a groove.... Youíve got a little sampling machine. You got all kinds of breakbeats... Weíve all learned the style of rap in that regard, house and so on. We can do that. But itís not on the top of ones shopping list. But you know we were doing it only to escape, but now travel is cheap so you know you can just throw a ruksack on your back and go to Goa cause you sez itís cool. Then we go to Majorca. Friends are going, climb on board. ďOh well go to LAĒ- no big deal. And suddenly the culture doesnít have the same kind of angst.
Mark Ameba: Iíve always had this theory that culture keeps changing and xlr8ting and that the 70ís were the final culture. The masses with rock-n-roll, took back being in a band. Maybe the rave and house music is the end of the process.
Malcolm McLaren: Well it is in a way because what it has done is, itís turned music into a system. And the system is now an unfinished thing- itís an open story. Maybe people making music in the future are going to make unfinished bodies of work, for everybody to interact and change. Because everybody from Guadalejara to Blackport is going to have a different idea. Fucking 12Ē re-mixes are a terribly 80ís idea, itís completely, ..itís naf! Itís total naf, nonsense, because what the fuck. A re-mix by some guy in Ney York is a re-mix for his friends in his particular spot. But a re-mix in Ibiza , or some other, is a totally different thing. Re-mix in China or Hong Kong or Berlin...So whatís this? So everybody should, in every bedroom... wonderkind kid going to make his own re-mix. I think itís going to have to let everybody do this- formatted in a way so that everybody can reinterpret it.
Disco Boy: Copyright laws?
Malcolm McLaren: Gotta go! Gotta go because rock-n-roll shouldnít be copyrighted anyway - that was a naf idea. To say that is totally anti-corporate now , cause rock-n-roll... they want to keep a bit of a lid on it. You know it was and still is an incredibly lucrative business just because it has built an archive beyond anybodyís dream. Nobody in the Tin Pan Alley world in the 50ís or 60ís ever thought they would own.... these companies, such an amazing reservoir of musical culture and talent. Nobody ever dreamt that young culture was going to produce something quite so intelligent. I think they are quite amazed. And now theyíve got warehouses full of this stuff- over forty years! So itís a secret. They donít want to let you know how important that is. Itís like, can we compare it to the Mayan civilization. Can we compare it to Broadway musicals from the beginning until today. Can we compare it to, oh I donít know,... the era of the waltz, compare it to a certain classical repertoire. Can we compare it to ....Yes! We can compare it to it all. Thereís no ifís or butís about it. Nobodyís going to tell you that if you heard Beethovenís ď9thĒ when it was written, 100-150 times, that you would be sick of it by the following year and it would be out of the charts. It only stayed important because nobody could fucking hear it. You were lucky in a village in those days to have heard it once. You were lucky! Now we know that the communication system as it is, everybody can hear everything instantly. So itís incredible that in a culture such as that, where everything is disposable, that something could survive. If you look at it in the context of that, itís amazing it didnít end up as some dreadful soap-powder, inconsequential rubbish, even with the frightening deluge of pop video... MTV. Turning every element of pop culture into one drippy long piece of eye candy, worthless, inconsequential bullshit,.... even with all that propaganda going against it, it has still retained a kind of worthiness. I think thatís extraordinary. And I think they know. And thatís power and magnificence. And I think it will be continue to be sold for 20,30,40 years in every god-damn format they could possibly invent. It will go on and on and on. Never end.
Disco Boy: I would like to see copyright gone and your ability to make more is what you get paid for.
Malcolm McLaren: What they are going to come up against is people are quite happy to take Jimi Hendrix and transform him in their own neighborhood to what they find appealing at the time. And they are not going to be concerned nessicarily with transporting that to another neighborhood.
Disco Boy: As long as there is not enough money, no one should care.
Malcolm McLaren: I think everything is going to get fragmented like that. Itís going to get very localized. When you think of people today... I mean, thereís never been so many bloody tribes. Thereís never been more conspiracies. Thereís never been more brotherhoods. There have never been more churches. Thereís never been more quasi-philosophies... weíre rampant!... you know, with madness!... in that regard, so, why should music have this sort of mainstream everybodyís got to sing the same ridiculous tune. No, we can sing it out of tune, change the key, we can change the instrumentation, and we can change the language, and we can change the way we look doing it, or dancing to it, or whatever. I think thatís whatís going to happen. And I donít think weíre going to care what the fuck is on MTV and I donít think weíre going to care what is the #1 at Tower Records. When I walk into some of these record stores now, I see desperate men trying to sell a pile of old bones.
Disco Boy: ďAmebaĒ started more dangerous and slutty, like where ďSexĒ left off, but now weíre social and friendly. We started meaner and sexier.
Malcolm McLaren: It isnít as sexy now, I donít understand why that would be, but it is, and I donít know. I keep thinking itís maybe because I have memories. But it canít be that. I think the biggest problem is you canít fucking daydream. Itís like daydreaming today is like a real affront to people. Ever since they invented time management- ever since that bastard invented the channel changer... Itís like everythingís time managed so daydreaming suddenly is like this subversive activity. Itís like such a derogatory thing in todayís world. And you think, what the fuck, how can you do anything if you canít fucking daydream.
Disco Boy: Itís hard to relax enough to be able to daydream.
Malcolm McLaren: Thatís the real issue. Thatís whatís so unsettling is that you canít daydream. Thatís the big drag.
Disco Boy: Ď58 Paris? Bohemianism?
Malcolm McLaren: Thatís what I liked about Paris. Itís a charming wonderful slushy little trip now. Go through all those little holes in the wall: ď Au ParisĒ. Sometimes you go looking for an idea because you think someone had a clue, and itís all lost. Someone had an idea that somehow got lost. And what I found in Paris was interesting because they had this amazing idea at the end of the last war. They took all these so-called spontaneous, trippy, wild, jazz artists gave them an open door. They came drifting in from America, where they couldnít really play; drifted in from England, where they couldnít play either and they just made this marriage, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Art Blakley, Chet Baker, Duke Jordan, made this marriage, with all these French beat poets... created some scene. That was some kind of magical moment, and it drifted through, in a funny way, as I kind of studied it, like, under the microscope, trying to follow; where... what happened. And it sort of drifted through movies, soundtracks, with all these guys slamming Hollywood and creating all this non-narrative exposition. You know, Goddard, Trouffaut- their work I mean. Terrantino- where would he be without these guys? And they sort of drifted into London, the whole air, the whole vibe of this feeling was really a kind of Ďpolitic of boredomí. Something about that aspect that managed to create this wonderful angst which I think people like Mick Jaggar, when they were very young, Beck, Clapton - all those guys discovering the blues on one side... But it was the marriage of that which was drifting in from France. It was enabling them to sort of combine it with something else, so it wasnít an exact copy of American blues. It had this European thing and I think this European thing was definitely coming from Paris, it was a French thing.
Disco Boy: An art thing.
Malcolm McLaren: Yeah! An art thing. That was what they had called it and its never been written about in rock-n-roll and I think itís up to .... to pick up these lost threads. íCause history would just abandon these things. Itís written by a hack who doesnít know what the fuck heís dealing with. That stone of history has just been turned over and roll down the hill and thrown in the deep blue sea and gone forever. So, for what its worth, that was a little reminder of that moment. I donít think the Rolling Stones would have been the Rolling Stones , I donít think the Beatles would have been the Beatles. I donít think a lot of those groups would have even happened with out that French thing- that art thing: that ability to look bored when they played to American audiences... to look down at their shoes rather than dress up in a day-glow or Lurex or gold lame jacket and look desperately lean and hungry and sexy a la Elvis Presley. No, they looked bored and emaciated, a-sexual, un-caring and believing that the only thing positive about their future was death. Thatís what they sold and that was what rock-n-roll in itís heart... and had a nihilistic approach that sent that blues thing, that Leadbelly thing, into another world a rock-n-roll, young audience could relate to and did. Doesnít matter whether your playing, ďIím a king-bee baby, buzziní around your heartĒ or whether guys where singing ... Itís all these kids in colleges thinking ďfuck, thatís amazingĒ.
Disco Boy: That European poison.
Malcolm McLaren: And thatís what carried it all. Mick Jaggar has Albert Camus and all those boys beyond to thank .... and thatís why I sort of dug Paris. But you know... Paris is in you. Imagination. There is no such thing as Paris now. You gotta get a big drill and drill through the wall and maybe somewhere in the debris you might find a few moments. You have to cast out your nets and Iíve found a few things and I love listening to these old records. Soundtracks were really groovy. Those old records of the 50ís and 60ís movie of what became known as the ďNouvelle VagueĒ scene- I thought that was really groovy. I love listening to Henry Mancini. I love listening to all the early John Barry soundtracks. The fucking arrangements of those early James Bond movies are brilliantly groovy and far out. And I even like listening to Johnny Ray ď A Little White Cloud that CriedĒ. Some one writing a rock story with a lyric like that... and they were doing it like that in the 50ís. Itís kind of psychedelic in itself.
Disco Boy: I think a lot of that stuff anticipated acid so much.
Malcolm McLaren: Yeah!
Disco Boy: They wanted to get it made so bad.
Malcolm McLaren: .... digging things like that. I remember seeing this old movie on TV called ďGirl Canít Help itĒ an American rock-n-roll movie starring Little Richard and those guys. And there was one non rock-n-roll song which was the most grooviest of all by this woman called Julie London. And it was called ďCry Me a RiverĒ. And It was a fabulous song, and I just thought... Ďoh yeahí.... They were gassy, some of these people. Seriously gassy. And ,uh, Iím tripping off that right now. I really am. I like all that stuff. I like the fact theyíre very small, small records, thereís something groovy about that. I donít like big raves so much, I like small raves. Why canít they have really tiny tiny raves for like, 25 people?
Disco Boy: They do here.
Malcolm McLaren: You couldnít do that in London. Impossible...
Disco Boy: Thatís where I played the punk rock records in the ambient room.
Malcolm McLaren: I think thatís groovy, small.
Disco Boy: It got smaller when the punk came on.
Mark Ameba: I have this theory that rock-n-roll is the last phase of the dominator ego thing. You are on stage and you have to project your own ego. Itís your song. You have to sing your thing, right? And these people looking up at you... like a school , government or church, whatever... But then when it gets to playing records and letting other people dance, you are helpless without the help of somebody else who put out the record and they are helpless without you. And youíre two different kinds of people, so itís like trading egos. And Symbolic of the house thing is how the DJ is at eye level. As soon as they are done spinning they are in the room there with all those people. You are not projecting your own ego- itís a partnership. As a DJ you are basically introducing your friends. Friends that made this record , other friends that made that record, friends from way around the world that made that record. Mix it together for this night and itís all for the moment. Psychedelics are a San Francisco Tradition. Itís where Western civilization finally runs into the beach... Forces you to chill out. Contemplate.
Disco Boy: We are meshing with the hippies but the punks lately are more colorful than the hippies. The Punks have been fencing in the street and juggling.
Malcolm McLaren: Fencing? really?
Disco Boy: And a lot more fun than the hippies. The hippies are a disgrace right now.
Mark Ameba: The punks are shining at this point. Punks and ravers.
Disco Boy: I donít know why its happening right now. Of course the 80ís were going to be revived like the 70ís and itís happening but... Iíve been hoping weíre going to discover the deeper more intelligent meaning of punk. Not what we did with the 70ís, we listened to it all, just because we were reviving it.
Malcolm McLaren: (looking at records)...and this!
Mark Ameba: I stole that from a Wool Co. in Grand Junction .
Malcolm McLaren: Just pre-punk... I remember it all. I remember every record on here. But the record you donít have is so fucking rare, itís so fucking brilliant I canít even find it. If you ever see it by a group called the Corteenas, they were from the country side way about Bristol somewhere. And they had this Punk Rock, and it was right at the time Sex Pistols put out ďAnarchy in the UKĒ, called ďFascist DictatorĒ. But it was brilliant, the Corteenas.
Mark Ameba: It rings a bell.
Disco Boy: It was a really good feeling to play punk rock in the ambient room.
Malcolm McLaren: Ah. itís William Orbit.
Mark Ameba: Thatís your record.
Disco Boy: It stays today.
Malcolm McLaren: Does it stay today?
Disco Boy: You can play it, mix it and people will say, whatís that record.
Mark Ameba: A good house record will sound good long after itís made.
Malcolm McLaren: Like MFSB and all that...It is amazing that house is strong here.
Disco Boy: Dance culture in SF ...
Malcolm McLaren: Itís very strong. Itís not too strong in Europe, not in England anyway. Jungle, but jungle is crack music. Yeah, serious crack music and itís too fucking scary, very dangerous, itís kind of slipped, canít spread, itís to fucking heavy- full of crack dealers.
Disco Boy: Life is so easy here, weíre less desirous of the next big thing. So when we find something we like ....all things live forever here, all the genres.
Malcolm McLaren: Trance is again the thing in England, taken up again. Not just digitized, but African and...
Disco Boy: Ethno-trance.
Malcolm McLaren: Thatís probably the strongest most grooviest part of the dance scene there.

And just as in Gustave Flaubertís ďSentimental EducationĒ when Frederic and Deslaurier, at the end of the book, look back upon the turbulent mid-century of the 1800ís in Paris and their paths and ideological leanings: ď And as they exhumed their youth, they asked each other after every sentence: ĎDo you remember?í

Fuck Thee Bass Crew (1997 - never published)

In 1993 after reading in Art Forum about Jungle (the article called Jungle the full expression of John Cage's theory that future dance music would be made by machines reducing people to atrophied giggling blobs of flesh), I posted to SFRaves asking if anyone had heard of Jungle. Brian B. brought me some tapes that said "Jungle" on them. They had MC's toasting over Hardcore Breakbeat Techno. It sucked. But the Art Forum article made me think that there still might be more to it.

Over the Internet I met a cat named Shaggy from NYC who started sending Ameba Jungle. The records were lots of white labels, the first Ibiza stuff, Skanna, DJ Rap re-mixing Sharon Forester etc. ... BPM was also selling Jungle. I've met many a DJ who bought DJ Pulse there. I gave DJ Dan two records hoping he would play them. There were rumors of Alex from Gaia Mantra wearing a walkman at raves with Jungle in his headphones. A DJ named Paul had arrived from Ireland via London (where in 1993-94 the Jungle vibe was incomparable) and began advocating Jungle, spinning in the store almost daily with a growing host of converts.

There was a weekend in 1994 where Jungle was first played at parties in San Francisco. Jonah Sharp played Jungle at an artsy party at Townsend on Friday. On Saturday Thomas and Markie played Jungle (the big DJ Pulse hit was played) on the main floor at the Trocadero. Upstairs at the same party Charlie (who would co-found the weekly Gardening Club) was spinning Jungle I had sold him. It was supposed to be the chill room and we all know what happened with Jungle and chill rooms ever since... A sweet club kid named Dawn told me after hearing Jungle that night she was traumatized and had to listen to Classical music for days after.

Paul told us of another Irish DJ named Dara (the now famous east coast Junglist and partner of Breakbeat Science) who came and played in Ameba. I saw for the first time the technique Jungle DJ's use of crossfader/toggle flicking rather than the smooth fade House style that everyone in S.F. was using until recently.Dara didn't play all the new sophisticated Jungle that S.F. digged at the time. He came from a Hardcore Breakbeat Techno background and mixed Prodigy and Bukem without a worry. He was the shit. At this time, influenced by these previous events, Dave thee Rave - scandalous Gaia Mantra exile - was playing Jungle at Ameba with little Alex from Cleveland, Kit (yet another kid from the Midwest and the youngest at 15 years old who would cut school and his mom would find him truant at Ameba), and Paul. Thad from San Jose was early on playing Dark Jungle. He too entered Jungle from an appreciation of Hardcore Breakbeat Techno and quickly was on the edge of the movement. He never played at the Jungle because when Ocean heard his tape he never gave it to Shobhan for fear that Thad was more advanced than the rest. Gamall Awad, being a high-brow music critic type was also well aware of Jungle and had his own sources, was networking like mad to try and push this phenomenon. A DJ named Phish (now Ocean) was influenced by this scene and dumped his Prog. House/Trance set and started playing Jungle. Dave thee Rave influenced a lot of people like Ocean by talking a lot of shit (as Junglists seem to need to do). Shobhan must have been influenced by Jonah and dumped her Techno set. Are Junglist's better fucks? Like drummers in Rock bands? Charlie and Darkhorse had lots of Jungle at the Gardening Club but mostly of the Ambient/Intelligent varieties. Charlie would not buy a record that said "lord 'ave mercy" in it. To the contrary, Ocean and Shobhan were playing Ragga and Hard Jungle that at their new weekly at Il Pirata called "The Jungle". Home boys were slapping down bones; it was less trendy than the Gardening Club so only people serious about Jungle (mostly scruffy boys) showed up. Noel, UFO, and Juju started there. Once Pollywog was spinning there and when she played Ozzy "Flying High Again" UFO made her stop. They were serious about Jungle at "The Jungle". The Pacific Collective was started up with an exclusive on US distribution of Looking Good records and as a result Bukem's sound was the most heard in San Francisco.

The Bass Crew was turned out by Ocean, who was turned out by Dave thee Rave, who was turned out by Ameba, who was turned out by Art Forum reporting from London. Many of the Bass crew members who came from out of town brought their own external influences but as individuals they would have remained like the many alienated complainers in San Francisco who pine away wondering why S.F. is the way it is. Three essential out of town arrivals and Bass Crew members are Stareyes, Abstract and Flux. Stareyes from LA played Jump-Up in a Street Fighter costume one Halloween in an Ameba sponsored Jungle room at a RainDance party in Santa Cruz. Abstract who came from the Midwest, played a delicious melodic daytime set at Tribal Future. Flux came from Philly to lay down some serious mackin'. More recently Jason Mouse from Boston has become a player. Rinse came and was partly responsible for the more recent trend towards Tech-Step in S.F. Noel was a House DJ in S.F. long ago and was on some of the old school flyers but had dropped out until Jungle re-sparked him. UFO, who is most strongly identified with the Bass Crew, is a bike messenger and spray can artist and of all of them uses the most turntable stunts. Thad was in but is now out and I'm sure there is some gossip there.

The first Jungle DJ to play a whole set of Jungle on the main floor at a major party was at Funky Techno Tribe at the Santa Cruz Civic. Marcus from Toronto and Terra Diva on the mike played prime-time and the kids sat down! They couldn't dance to it. And the MC saying "Don't be afraid of the new thing Jungle..." didn't help. Compliments to FFT for taking the risk; not until they promoted Goldie/Doc Scott and the Bukem/Urb things did big-time jungle hit S.F. Gradually a Jungle scene has been built. S.F. is slow to accept trends but once accepted, a trend can live forever here. The Bass Crew and their slick backers at Hunab-Ku would have you believe that they are the Jungle scene. Well my little bastard children; you in your face Jump-Up Tech distorted rinsed-out fucks, you have no appreciation for some of the beautiful sophisticated records which are being made. They don't have enough spray-can attitude I suppose. You don't play them out; you probably think they are sell-out. I wanna' hear more Progressive Commercial Sell-out Arty Crossover Jungle!

Jungle is only being repressed by your alternately paranoid/aggressive delusional fantasy about what Jungle in San Francisco means. You are now the stifling force you claim you had to fight so hard against.