On and on indeed! Jesse Saunders takes issue with Spin magazine claim that Farley Jackmaster Funk was the first to play early house records – so what does Farley himself say?

What happened in the early days of house music? Well, we know that much of what has been chronicled about Detroit techno, for example, was rubbish. The Belleville Three story, which lazy journalists continue to recite regularly, has long been disproven as a marketing myth.

So it’s only reasonable to ask questions of what happened in Chicago too. And one person who’s particularly keen to make sure his role is remembered is Jesse Saunders. He has claimed in an endless number of interviews over the years that “On And On”, the song he released back in January 1984, was the first ever house record put on vinyl.

Is he right? Despite this claim being around for years, no one’s been able to verify it’s true – but nor has anyone been able to credibly dispute his words either. Whatever the truth, Saunders gets very annoyed when he reads what he perceives as information about house music history that’s wrong.

Which is why Saunders wasn’t happy when he read an article which first appeared in print all the way back in November 1986. And he appears especially irked with claims in the piece that Farley Jackmaster Funk – real name Farley Williams – was the first to play “obscure oldies, imports, drum machines, and early rhythm-only tracks like ‘On And On’.”

He points out that “How could he be the first to do all this if Ron Hardy, Wayne Williams, Frankie Knuckles, myself and many others before him were already doing it? Farley didn’t start DJing until 1980.”.

So what does Williams have to say for himself? He gives a rather rambling reply, which I’ve tried to clean up as best as I could. He says “Jesse Saunders never claimed, even in his TV interviews in Chicago that he made house music. He wanted to [work with] Prince and Motown. My truth is my label was the first record label to tell you it was house – House Records. As Chip E often states, Jesse never claimed he was making house music until much later – but I still have him credit, even though it was Vince Lawrence who was really the first with ‘Fantasy’.”

“I wasn’t the first – that was my ego talking. But I know if I didn’t play this on the radio, we wouldn’t be talking about this today. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 is Jesse Saunders, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Steve ‘Silk Hurley, Jamie Principle and Chip-E. Now mix that however you like!”

Well, that cleared things up, didn’t it? When even those who were there can’t agree on what happened, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of us…

Understanding vaccine passport rules is enough to drive you to drink – and now government documents reveal not only could they do precisely that, but they could INCREASE Covid transmission rates too…

Every evening from around 10pm, the front pages of the following day’s newspapers start to come in. I occasionally have a look at them, and whilst taking a peep last night, I caught the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph. It featured the eye-catching headline of “Vaccine passports could push people to pubs”.

And it’s quite a good story, as it happens. Their journalist has seen a confidential document going around within government talking about the “economic and social impact of Covid certification”. The report in question has a revealing section in it, discussing one of the risks with the vaccine passport policy. This document relates to England – Scotland already has such a policy in place, and Wales has a policy of requesting a negative test or vaccine status.

The document reads “A core concern is that certification could displace activity and business away from music venues to, say, pubs with music and late alcohol licences… if certification displaces some fans from structured and well-ventilated sports stadia, this could lead to the, attending unstructured and poorly ventilated pubs instead where they will have access to more alcohol than if they were in the stadia.”.

In other words, people who are being turned away from nightclubs because they can’t prove their vaccine status or haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 are likely to go to pubs instead – because no proof will be requested there. And they’re going to get drunk, start putting their arms around everyone – and then start showing symptoms of Covid a week later. Or so the message appears to be here.

It’s also a problem for the pub trade. If contact tracers start reporting more and more cases are originating from pubs, the Government will eventually take notice. No one quite knows how they’d respond – and with enough uncertainty at the moment, more won’t help.

If vaccines stopped you from catching Covid and transmiting it, vaccine passports might be something I’d be prepared to tolerate. But as it stands, this has got to be one of the worst ideas that any modern government has ever pushed through…

Here’s One They Made Earlier: finding a deep underground gem on an MTV Ibiza compilation? It used to happen, you know…

For this week’s edition of the series, I’m going all the way back to the year 2001. For me, this was the year I was doing my GCSEs, so music’s importance to me started to really increase around this time. It gave me a nice bit of escapism at a time when exams and starting A-Levels at college were all the focus.

Sometime during the summer of this year, I bought a compilation called MTV Ibiza 2001. These albums certainly had some commercial stuff on them, but they did occasionally turn up with some lovely underground nuggets. Switching on the second disc, it started with “2 People” by Jean-Jacques Smoothie – a massive record that year.

But then this record called “Dive Into You” by Hefner and Cosmos came into the mix. It was this deeper, yet quite soulful record. You didn’t hear it on compilations like this one very often – but to the credit of whoever mixed this, he let a good portion of the track play before bringing in the next record.

Anyway, see what you think above…

As EDM festival Electric Daisy Carnival holds a virtual event on gaming platform Roblox, is there a lesson here for other areas in dance music?

I started secondary school back in 1996. The structure here was very different to primary school – lessons now were delivered at set times each day and different teachers did different subjects. Hence why I met a lot of new teachers very quickly.

One that always sticks in my mind is my Information Technology teacher. A man who waxed lyrical about the potential of video calling and the internet. Remember, this was a very different world to the one we’re in now. No Twitter, no Facebook, and some ISPs still charged you per minute to go online.

But this man had an answer for everything. If you told him video calling equipment was rubbish, he’d simply tell you the technology hadn’t caught up with the idea yet. If you told him the internet was too slow, he’d give you the same answer. As much as I wanted to believe he was right, this voice in my mind doubted him.

And it turns out he was absolutely right. We now make video calls with our phones, and it doesn’t even cost us a penny. I just wonder what he’d make of the news Electric Daisy Carnival held a virtual event on the giant gaming platform that is Roblox – probably the next logical step.

Perhaps there’s a lesson here for other genres. Like the newly reinvigorated garage house movement, for example. The original UK scene came about thanks to those innovative Sunday parties in London around 1997 – before this, no one had thought to hold regular parties on a Sunday.

The Roblox audience is absolutely colossal. By holding a virtual party on Roblox, you could expose a new, potentially massive audience to the genre – and they might well like it. Before you know it, you’ve got people showing an interest in attending the in-person events – which there potentially have to be more of to accommodate the new demand.

And there’s a big difference this time around. In the late 90s, you had to be in London or the south east of England to properly get involved. Not anymore. The audience these days is global. The old barriers are gone – and any genre clever enough to take advantage of new innovations could thrive.

Your audience can’t support you if they don’t even know you exist…

Because you couldn’t get spiked by a woman, could you? The well intentioned but hopeless plan by Nottingham’s Playwright to hold women’s only nights – just don’t expect to get a bite to eat!

I read over the weekend that a pub in Nottingham has decided to start holding women only nights. That’s right – not a single man will be permitted entry onto the premises.

And that even includes the staff. Which is going to result in the ladies who frequent the Playwright on these nights having to go elsewhere for food – because the pub’s chef is a man. Do the people who run this place harbour the impression women don’t eat?

Apparently, they’re doing it because they think it’ll make women safer – if not hungrier. This blog is of the opinion it’s an utterly stupid idea which could actually put women in more danger. You see, because they can’t eat anything, they’re going to end up drunk more quickly. So they’ll have to order less alcohol, which will lose the venue money.

You’ll either have to eat earlier, which gives you less time in this sort of women’s sanctuary they have in mind. Or you’ll have to go and get something from a chip shop or the Chinese takeaway on your way home – by which point, you’re probably inebriated and not in the safe space anymore.

They’ve really not thought this through, have they? They’re going to make less money on these nights due to having no food to sell. They’re giving women a poorer service simply due to the fact they’re women – something which would result in howls of outrage in any other context. And they’re also assuming that it’s only men capable of spiking a drink – or of the current disturbing crime of needle spiking.

But what really worries me about this plan is it feeds the disturbing idea that all men are inherently dangerous and not to be trusted. As the father of two sons who is trying to raise them to have a deep respect for women – something fostered into me by my own mother – these kinds of messages don’t help.

Now, I’m not saying us men are perfect by any means. There are undeniably some creeps in our midst – heck, I spend a fair amount of time writing about one or two of them on this blog. They deserve to be called out and their feet held to the fire, without a doubt.

But preaching the idea that men are not to be trusted is an incredibly dangerous thing to do – and it will backfire. If you push this far enough, you’re going to end up with men who refuse to get involved with women.

Restricting a pub to just women a few nights a week obviously won’t lead to that. But it’s the start of a very slippery slope – and I’m not sure anyone has really thought about the consequences…

The staggering story of how Universal Music Group tried to crush a startup company over just one 30-second U2 video – demanding 50% of their company or they’d revoke their licence

The major labels are run by a pack of bullies who aren’t terribly bright. And frankly, it’s a miracle they’re still in business at all. This has been my opinion of the majors for many years. From their earliest days, they’ve all been about control and the idea of working with others is generally anathema to them.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the story of Ali Partovi, a businessman with a very long history within the technology world. In the year 2007, he saw an opportunity and created a website called iLike. It allowed music to be downloaded and shared. The music came from majors and independents – and unlike most things around at the time which allowed you to do this, it was legal and above board.

Partovi believed the potential of iLike was enormous – but it never did as well as expected. And no one ever quite knew why. Until now. The site was sold to MySpace for a very low price in 2009 and was closed altogether in 2012.

Things started to go wrong in 2007. Partovi was called into a meeting with Universal Music Group after posting a 30-second video of U2 singer Bono speaking – with one of their songs, which UMG owned, being played in the background. Partovi met Jimmy Iovine and a number of henchmen.

Do make a cup of coffee and read the entire 46 tweet thread. It’s long, but extremely illuminating…

At a time when the majors were in serious trouble due to illegal downloading and physical music sales taking a nosedive, this is how Universal Music Group responded to an innovator who offered help to save them. Instead of shaking the man’s hand, they decided to bite it.

It’s only the sheer size of these companies which keeps them afloat, certainly not the people steering the ship…

And whose side are you meant to be on? Music Business Worldwide publish editorial slamming UK’s “outwardly hostile” attitude towards the major labels – and just end up looking like fools…

Some people aren’t easy to defend, but someone has to do it. That’s why we have solicitors in the world. And it’s apparently in this spirit that Music Business Worldwide decided to publish an editorial late last week accusing the UK of having an “outwardly hostile” attitude to the three major labels.

As evidence for this curious claim, they cite the probe by the DCMS into the record labels. They talk about the threat a Competition and Markets Authority inquiry into their practices, and mention an investigation of Sony Music’s purchase of AWAL.

The gist of this bizarre article appears to be that Britain should be grateful that the majors continue to do business here. Naturally, the fact that abandoning the country where they get 10% of their global sales – with a 6% rise in sales last year – is never going to happen. Such a proposal simply doesn’t make sense.

So why did the normally sensible publication resort to uploading this drivel? Corporate interests seems the most likely. Music Business Worldwide is owned by Penske Media Corporation, who own numerous magazines such as Rolling Stone – who need access to major label artists in order to sell their publications.

And it’s going to look terribly strange if different magazines within the same group are saying entirely different things, isn’t it? Music Business Worldwide dare not bite the hands which feeds it so well…

So you’re just ignoring the elephant in the room? Attack Magazine interview Kevin Saunderson about his E-Dancer project and techno being too white – but have a guess what they DIDN’T ask him…

People occasionally ask me why I give journalists in the dance music world a hard time. The question is even posed directly by some of those journalists. And my answer is always the same – because they’re failing to do their jobs properly. Their duty is to ask questions and scrutinise what happens within the scene.

That job sometimes means asking things which will make some people uncomfortable, but needs must. Yet the writers and journalists in dance music are often reluctant to do the job – mostly because they don’t want to upset the apple cart which pays their wages. And one time they’re especially disinclined is when they’re facing their subjects directly.

Kevin Saunderson – one of the so-called Belleville Three – gave an interview recently to Attack Magazine. They asked him about whitewashing within the world of techno, his new E-Dancer project, racism within agencies and even how he defines Detroit techno. These are all perfectly fair questions to ask, incidentally – but my issue is the one question that the weirdly nameless interviewer didn’t put forward.

Namely, what the hell does Kevin Saunderson think of the situation which surrounds his friend Derrick May? This would have been a brilliant opportunity to ask Saunderson about it, and his reply would have been big news within the scene. But the journalist in question declined to give the question to him.

Talk about ignoring the (balding, 58-year old, mostly out of work) elephant in the room…