Over the past few days, I’ve written a bit about the end of the Belleville Three. The myth, which was created by journalist Neil Rushton in the 1980s, speaks a fabled tale of three black men from the poorest areas of Detroit coming together and changing the world with their new brand of music from the future.
It would be an incredible story of rags to riches if it were true. And unfortunately, a lot of it isn’t. Yes, the three men did attend Belleville High School and yes, this is where the three met. But the rest of the story is questionable, for none of the men come from poor backgrounds, by any means.
Yet the men themselves have been happy to go along with it – quietly at first and then more openly as the clamour and large financial offers came in for the three to perform together. The dance music press also went along with it – mostly because this is a genre where such stories are in depressingly short supply. And even now, no one’s prepared to admit that we’ll almost certainly never see them perform together again.
Indeed, the only possibility of this happening would be within their native Detroit – a city in which the collective response to allegations of sexual abuse and rape by Derrick May appears to consist of sticking their fingers in their ears and pretending they can’t hear anything. This is unlikely to happen, as I’m told the fee for all three to appear would be at least $60,000.
So what do the remaining two members of the group – Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins – think of this? The answer is currently unclear – I have been told of a recent conversation where the two men were present, and this very question arose. My source who was there simply said “I’ve never seen two men so keen to change the subject.”.
But another, who wasn’t present for the conversation above, poses an interesting theory. They said “I don’t think they’ll be too concerned. Each time they performed as the Belleville Three, it always came with no end of issues. I think they’ll be quite relaxed, but they probably won’t talk about the Belleville thing anymore.”.
What the two men definitively think, however, isn’t public knowledge – at least not yet…