Apparently, Juan Atkins is due to do his first gig in a long time next week. On August 19th, he’s due to appear at The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit. According to the listing on Resident Advisor, he’s due to play for five whole hours.
And joining him there? No, not Derrick May – the strategy these days is to put him on the flyer, then take his name off whilst not announcing he’s not playing anymore, because he still is. No, it’s none other than May’s friend – “the type of person who’d crawl up your ass and stay there until something better came along”, apparently – Ash Lauryn.
Quite how she got the gig remains something of a mystery. I can only assume everyone else in Detroit is busy that night. But perhaps it’s just as well that she has – because if history repeats itself, she could quickly find herself promoted to being the main act of the evening.
You see, Atkins hasn’t performed much in recent years – it’s an open secret in Detroit that he’s had problems with drugs flaring up and down for over a decade now, hence why he comes across as a bit of a recluse.
And one of his most recent gigs as part of the so-called Belleville Three was an unmitigated disaster. On May 14th this year, I detailed what happened when he appeared at Awakening in 2010. He seemed to be having trouble getting his laptop to work properly, and later in the day managed to confuse Adam Beyer for Jeff Mills. My understanding is that around the same time, the issues which Atkins had with drugs were sadly flaring up once more.
And word is the pandemic has not helped matters one little bit. Whilst I don’t know whether Atkins has had the Covid vaccine, one of my sources was telling me that several of Detroit techno’s bigwigs met up a while ago and the topic of the jab came up. Opinions were split. Carl Craig thought it was stupid not to get it, Derrick May thought taking what he called an “experimental vaccine” wasn’t a good idea.
Craig reportedly told May he was a “d***weed” at the same discussion and questioned whether May could even spell the word “experimental”. They can’t agree on anything, this lot…
Then again, Ash Lauryn is well versed in the ways of Detroit. The in-fighting between the scene’s figureheads in the city do make advancing her career easier…