The more I look at Danny Tenaglia’s social media feeds these days, the more I dislike what I see. His output over the past 20 years, after quite a prolific 90s, has been sporadic – frankly, he increasingly comes across as someone perfectly happy to trade on past glories whilst not creating any new ones.
It’s with this in mind that I noticed this clip on his Instagram page earlier this week. He thanked Treehouse in Miami for having him – nothing unusual in that. But then the post gets weird. See for yourselves…
Let’s have a closer look at this one. He writes “Please don’t confuse this extensively worked on studio session of mine with adding a full Acapella with drums, breakdowns and loads of new “arrangements” as a simple and mere EDIT!”.
As I write on this Monday morning, it hasn’t been a good weekend over at Glasgow Underground. Some weeks ago, Danny Tenaglia launched a highly selective attack on the record label after discovering they’d released a cover version of his 1998 release of “Music Is The Answer”.
His comments were made on August 18th and nothing else was mentioned by anyone since – until Saturday, when Glasgow Underground posted a rant on their Facebook page after “getting a bit of stick recently for being a ‘covers label’… this is for anyone who thought about joining Danny Tenaglia in his hate campaign against us – choose love instead!”.
Quite why it took them 52 days to respond is unknown. And yesterday, T. Markakis – who has released music via the label before – posted this…
At the time of publishing, no reply has been received by Markakis or Amateur’s House about the above comments. Either way, I get the feeling this isn’t how label owner Kevin McKay wants to start the new week…
Update – since this article was published, Kevin McKay of Glasgow Underground have sent Amateur’s House the following statement, reproduced here in full.
“I have read all of Tasos Markakis allegations, and none of them is true. We have released two of his tracks. One of them was successful, the other less so. In his demo for the second track, he used an Acappella from Candi Staton. Unlike his label, Little Jack, we do not use other label recordings in our releases. Instead, we recreate any vocals that we use. The recreation cost £500. Tasos share of that cost was £250. Recording costs are a recoupable expense. We deducted those from his royalty statement along with mastering costs (a very reasonable £59 per track).
Tasos did not understand his recording contract and is angry that we took these deductions. He has claimed he has lawyers who back him up. I have asked to speak to them to have a reasonable discussion about this, but he has, so far, not put me in touch. I have just completed his latest statement run, and we owe him over £500 from his releases.
However, we are now taking advice about his libellous comments and the hate and mistrust in Glasgow Underground that they have generated. I will happily share our communication with him so that everyone can see that we have operated correctly. We regularly send statements and pay our artists as hundreds of Glasgow Underground producers can testify.
I hope Tasos will get some help for his anger and some education in the music business. I hope he stops bootlegging other artists on his label. I urge the people who have supported him here to ask him for evidence of his claims or speak with me directly so they can retract their equally libellous statements.”
It was one year ago to the day today that we learnt Erick Morillo had taken the easy way out. Facing a rape charge and with a court appearance due, Morillo was found dead in his plush Miami home on September 1st last year. How would the many DJs, producers, singers and others who knew him handle this particular hot potato?
Well, the answer was just as expected. By and large, they handled it terribly. Sharam, for example, referred to Morillo as “a troubled soul… many geniuses are”. Yousef described him as “troubled, less than perfect” in a tweet he deleted later. Pete Tong claimed he “had his demons”. And Jamie Jones said he “was not perfect”.
Dennis Ferrer made a particularly disgraceful statement – simply saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Of the five men here, Jamie Jones was the only one with the decency to accept just how utterly insensitive his comments were – and with the courage to apologise.
The rest – and that includes other DJs like Danny Tenaglia, Joseph Capriati, Steve Lawler, Carl Cox and Nervous label boss Michael Weiss – have never had the good manners to own their words. Yousef, for example, took the coward’s way out – he deleted the gushing tweet he wrote about his dead friend, and steadfastly refused to explain why the tweet had been removed, let alone say sorry for it.
So, one year on, I ask the question – when will these DJs have the bottle to admit they got this wrong? When will they accept they made a mistake and apologise? And will any of them try and do better in the future?
For some reason, the expression “p***ing in the wind” comes to mind…
Danny Tenaglia appears to have been getting lessons on social media usage from DJ Sneak. Recently, the self-proclaimed house gangster claimed Mixmasters was “a scam”. After they called him out and pointed out he did an interview for them two years ago, did he apologise and withdraw his damaging allegation?
Of course he didn’t. The post remains on his Facebook page now, with no admission that he got it entirely wrong. And Danny Tenaglia appears to be following a similar strategy against Mike Vale and Glasgow Underground – omitting the fact he receives publishing for the cover and refusing to engage with any of the comments.
Mike Vale has not responded to the post in any manner – and although his cover of “Music Is The Answer” is indeed hideous, I don’t blame him for not getting into a public spat. But I received an email from a friend of his yesterday, complaining about my coverage of the story.
As is policy on these matters, unless your complaint is about facts in the article, don’t waste your time writing in. Although he did give me a little insight into what Vale is thinking at the moment – and to quote from the email, “you can put all this on your f***ing blog, I don’t care – just don’t put my name on it”.
Fair enough. He said “Miha [his real name is Miha Vale Deticek] thinks it’s degrading that a legend like Danny Tenaglia has started throwing s*** around like this. If he’s got a problem, he should have talked to the label instead of attacking Miha on a public place like Facebook. The messages he’s getting are pretty disgusting. It’s pathetic, really”.
Right now, Danny Tenaglia is not a happy bunny. He’s just discovered – some two years after it happened – that someone called Mike Vale did a version of his song with Celada “Music Is The Answer (Dancin’ & Prancin’)”.
And he’s horrified by how appallingly poor it really is. He even calls Mike Vale the “scam artist of the year”. And to be fair, it really is that bad…
The original song, released in 1998, came with remixes from Fire Island, Futureshock, Cevin Fisher, Brother Brown and Deep Dish – alongside a couple of versions from Tenaglia himself. They were released over the course of 1998 and 1999, and included vocal mixes, dubs and one or two DJ tools too. But why use any of those when you can do your own lazy remake, eh?
A quick look on this Mike Vale’s page on Traxsource soon provides a list of similarly nondescript, sleep inducing records. Yet he’s somehow appeared on labels such as Armada, Roger Sanchez’s own Undr The Radr and Glasgow Underground – which was once a highly credible label in the vinyl days but now releases tat in order to remain relevant.
Tenaglia’s own case is somewhat undermined, however, by a comment Glasgow Underground themselves left on this video. They say “This is not Celeda, this is a cover. No samples from the original, everything recreated, hence it is Mike’s record, not theirs.”.
They also went on to say “Obviously we did this with the greatest respect to Danny & Celeda. We love the original and were sad that Twisted wouldn’t allow us to license the original. At least Danny & Celeda get all the publishing from this one”.
I’m not sure exactly how Tenaglia would explain that one. Mike Vale has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Last Thursday, the Musicians Union ran an online event entitled “Sexual Harassment and Safe Spaces: DJs, Electronic and Live Communities”. Long title, but the premise of the event was simple – how do you challenge the culture of sexism and sexual harassment that is much more pervasive in electronic music than anyone dares admit?
Well, I have quite a simple answer to this question. Stop venerating people. I’ve written in the past about the problem of idolatry within dance music – and it’s getting clearer each day that there are people out there who use this culture of almost being worshipped to their own disturbing advantage. Bad behaviour is ignored by a media that should be holding its own scene to account – but inevitably doesn’t.
Let’s take a look, for example, at Erick Morillo’s death. A few weeks before he died, it emerged he had been charged with sexual battery. He took the easy way out on September 1st last year by overdosing on ketamine – a drug traditionally used for tranquilising horses – depriving a woman of justice in the process. But you wouldn’t know any of this from the tributes that were posted by his fellow DJs and producers.
Yousef claimed that he was “troubled”. Simon Dunmore of Defected downplayed the allegations, although later apologised for doing so. Others, such as Pete Tong and Danny Tenaglia, pictured below, made no reference to the charges at all.
Several of those tributes were taken offline by his peers following heavy criticism after Mixmag published an article detailing further allegations by ten other women, and a campaign led by journalist Annabel Ross.
Yet none of these men – with the honourable exception of Dunmore – felt the need to explain why they’d taken their decisions. Not one defended their tributes, and not one of them even apologised. One cannot help but wonder whether they’d take the same stances if it was one of their own daughters whom had been a victim of Erick Morillo.
And shall we take a look at a more recent example? Mr Derrick May, of course. I have been blogging about him for a few months now. Annabel Ross and Ellie Flynn have done some articles about him, and Michael James – who started detailing allegations over a year ago – is still pursuing May with vigour. Yet the mainstream press remain silent. By rights, they should be informing their readers about him, questioning our information and so on. But they don’t.
The explanation really is quite simple. There are more of them within their midst. Since I started writing about Derrick May, I have been sent accounts about a number of other DJs and producers who behave in much the same way. The reasons are always alarmingly similar – mostly because they think they’ll get away with it, and often do.
So, there’s one idea straight away on how to reduce problems with sexual harassment and sexism within the industry. When women – and yes, men too – come forward with allegations about someone, don’t be so quick to disbelieve them. And exposing more of the scene to the rays of sunlight will do wonders too. If people think their chances of getting caught are higher, they’re less likely to do it. Does that solve the problem? No. But it’s a start…
These days, it appears that DJs must have a range of merchandise to sell. With a pandemic having been on for the past year and a bit, no opportunity to make extra money must be refused.
Even DJ Sneak has a little corner of the internet where he flogs hats, shirts and bundles of his records – where all the samples he uses are cleared and artists are paid an agreed percentage out of each purchase. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
Carl Cox’s particularly flashy shop, selling clothes and even baby accessories, was chronicled here back on May 6th. And now it appears that Danny Tenaglia has jumped on the bandwagon too. Granted, it’s not quite as extravagant as Cox’s place, but it’s got modern and clean design all over.
Tenaglia’s selection of products is not quite as extensive, but he’s much more comfortable on the cash-in front. For example, under the category “Music Is The Answer” – named after his 1998 hit song with Celeda – he has no less than 30 different options for you. The price goes up to $84.95 for a hoodie.
The one section I’m disappointed with? Homeware. I was hoping, at the least, for the option to purchase a lamp with Tenaglia’s face staring back at me…