Could the phony Nervous Records boss be recognised by his incredibly foul mouth? New York-based label has a story about a scam artist even Kent Brockman would be interested in…

An episode of The Simpsons, first broadcast in 1998, features a memorable scene where newscaster Kent Brockman says the words “Authorities say that the phony Pope can be recognised by his high-top speakers and incredibly foul mouth”.

In which case, Nervous might want to get in touch with the infamous, if fictional, newsreader as they may have a story which would pique his interest – because it seems Nervous are having trouble at the moment from someone calling themselves “David Massey”.

The scam artist has been emailing a number of people, pretending to represent the label, to tell them “Our A&R reviewed over all your music content and we definitely think you have potential reach the next level of your career… would like to offer you a marketing/distribution publishing deals”. And before anyone asks, that’s exactly what appears in the email.

The email later discloses that “There is a small fee of $300 for this to take place which will state the offer was unsolicited”, and the email finishes with the words “Yours sincerely, David Massey. A&R of Nervous Records Label”. Which might well be news to Andrew Salsano, who is… err, the person in charge of licensing, publishing and A&R at Nervous.

Yes, this blog might well take great pleasure in calling out Nervous for their advertising practices. But I also don’t want to see people falling for this blatant, shameless scam – there are more than enough of these cons in the world of dance music without adding any more to the mix.

It remains unclear exactly why the scammer chose the “David Massey” name. More likely is the fact it’s the name of the current president of Arista Records. Less likely is this one, who made the news for rather less scrupulous reasons

Danny Tenaglia isn’t happy at “scam artist of the year” Mike Vale covering his 1998 track “Music Is The Answer” – but is there something the New York DJ has forgotten?

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.

It’s not like you to have nothing to say, Derrick! Why two of the so-called Belleville Three had no comment to make last week on the death of Kelli Hand at the age of 56 – and one person who should have just kept their mouth shut

I pondered whether to write about this one at all. Then I remembered the purpose of this blog – writing the stuff about dance music that others won’t – and I quickly changed my mind. So here goes.

Last Wednesday, the world found out about the tragic death of Detroit DJ and producer Kelli Hand. Tributes came pouring in over the next hours s and days – but some voices have not been heard. And the reason? Because they curiously have nothing to say.

Out of the so-called Belleville Three, two of them remain silent, even five days later. Only Kevin Saunderson – the only one of the three men who seems to possess any integrity whatsoever – had the decency to say anything. So why do Juan Atkins and Derrick May have nothing to say?

A source who knows both men well said “They didn’t see her as one of them. That’s the truth. Detroit people only see you as family if you do the same as they do. K-Hand’s music was inspired by New York, Chicago and other places – not by Detroit. So they didn’t see her as being like them”.

And according to another source, Hand had few dealings with the two men – and this was entirely intentional. He said “Let’s just say she saw straight through their bull****. She never met them much, but she got the impression the two were in way over their heads”.

Still, at least May and Atkins had the decency to stay silent when they almost certainly know Hand thought so little of them. The same cannot be said of Ash Lauryn, real name Ashleigh Teasley, who publicly fell out with her mentor last year – calling her “one little groupie’s black friend” in one podcast afterwards.

Lauryn never apologised for her disgraceful comments towards Hand. Still, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to one Detroit source, Lauryn – who was in a relationship with Derrick May for a time, by the way – “was always the type of person who’d crawl up your ass and stay there until something better came along. The only person Ash Lauryn gives a f*** about is Ash Lauryn.”.

Ouch…

Problems with two-faced people who say you’re great but are secretly trying to thwart your career? If only there was a blog that could help out…

Now that nightclubs are reopening in various parts of the world again – and closing in others, but I digress – one rather ugly tradition has returned to the dance music scene. And that practice is essentially being two-faced.

You know the sort – telling people to their faces that they’re brilliant and deserve to go far whilst behind their backs, you’re conspiring and actively working to thwart them. They exist in many areas of life, but especially in the music world.

It’s an ugly practice as old as dance music itself. Yet no one has ever thought to do anything about it. You won’t hear about it in the likes of Mixmag, not least because some of those DJs who do these things might get upset and then refuse to grant them an exclusive interview.

However, this isn’t something that bothers me. I’m not a DJ. I’m not looking to get onto the latest hot label. I’m not looking for gigs. They have nothing to offer me, and nothing they can take off me.

Here’s an example of my own. Just under four years ago, I remixed a song for a now inactive label. They put out some records with a female singer and I was interested in working with her. Now, I like to do my research before I work with someone – a bit like getting references in a job – so I contacted the label boss. The gist of what he told me was  “I discovered her, and you don’t get to work with her”.

Oh, and if the label boss in question is reading this and decides to out himself, I still have the exchange in question. I’m more than comfortable posting it if you try anything.

Anyway, the strapline of Amateur’s House is “writing about stuff in dance music that others won’t”. So just remember – if you’re having trouble with someone like this, feel free to get in touch with me about it. You can email me here – or over at ProtonMail if you fancy that extra little layer of privacy.  If I get enough information on a particular person, guess what? I’ll be more than happy to tell the world just how they conduct themselves.

Those who conduct themselves honestly have nothing to fear. Those who don’t, you just might… 

Is he just another musical fraud, then? Damning testimony from Michael James – who was there when it happened – explains why Juan Atkins suddenly doesn’t want to talk about the past anymore

I have to start this post by making a confession. I’ve gone somewhat easy on Juan Atkins over the past few months, mostly because I understand he is in very poor health. You see, I’m not completely heartless, despite the impression I give. Just mostly so.

However, he’s recently started telling everyone that the past is not important or relevant. This is quite the 360⁰ turn from someone who’s spent most of the past 30 years talking about what has gone before, and his role within it. And now Michael James – who was present when all this stuff was going on – has decided to write it all up for everyone to see.

You can read the whole thing here, but I’m just going to concentrate on a few things. Because the many things that Derrick May has done have been documented and continue to be – trust me, I’m nowhere near finished yet – but Atkins hasn’t received anywhere near the same level of scrutiny.

Juan Atkins, in the words of Michael James, stole “almost the complete identity, philosophy and creativity” of his mentor Rik Davis. It is Davis who should be in the history books. Atkins is barely worthy, in comparison, of being a footnote.

This detailed testimonial of the early days of Detroit techno raises the question of what Juan Atkins can actually do. Can he play? It’s been established now well beyond doubt that Derrick May cannot. Is the same true of Atkins? Is he also a fraud taking credit for things that he didn’t do?

It also leaves Kevin Saunderson facing questions. James does not mention him much in his Facebook post – and on the rare occasions he has, he’s been pretty kind – so what was his role in the middle of this? Was he the Dr Jekyll trying to balance the two Mr Hydes?

We all know now that Derrick May and Juan Atkins did next to nothing worthy of note – so what did the final member of the so-called Belleville Three do all this time? He’s had by far the longest career of the three and also the most stable private life. I can’t help but think I should read something into that…

This one has been running for a while now. I’m not stopping.

Is everything not alright with your book, Duane? Sterling Void still hasn’t released tell-all tome, titled The Void Inside Of Me, that he promised his fans back in 2017

The depressing second wave of Sterling Covid continues, with the first only having been brought down in the year 2019. And unlike the coronavirus that currently blights much of the world, the Sterling Covid virus does not have a vaccine.

Back in 2017, Void promised us that a book was on the way. He told his thousands of followers on Facebook that there was “a lot of hard work” involved in “writing my book, but you will enjoy it”. Earlier this year, he disclosed that the book would “soon be release”.

Well, with grammar like that, let’s hope that the (un)lucky publisher has a proofreader on the payroll, eh? But where is the book? A quick search on Google reveals no answers. No cover, no preorder link, no publisher blurbs – not a peep.

So in the absence of any information at all, I tried reaching out to Mr Void himself – and didn’t have much luck. His email address returned a message saying the “inbox is full” and he seems to have blocked my Facebook account.

Oh well. Perhaps this literary revolution will soon be available after all. My offer of $24 for the right to publish extracts from the book still stands…

The question everyone’s asking as Sterling Void puts out a brand new remix for D Records – who REALLY made it?

Were you starting to think that I’d forgotten to keep an eye on Sterling Void? Not a bit of it. Sterling Covid, as I call him around here, is sadly on his second wave after it took 32 years to bring the first one crashing down.

An anonymous friend sent me this the other day. It’s a song out on Bandcamp, the very fashionable place for putting music out these days. It’s called “We Got Da Bass” by Santonio Echols and Mike Anderson. Decent enough tune too, as it happens.

Well, Sterling Void has apparently done a remix of it. This heavy tomb weighs in at a little over ten minutes long – which given everything I’ve written in the past, is ten minutes more than Void has ever spent making music.

So, the question has to be asked – who actually produced this? It’s a nice enough record, with its fun percussion and nice chord progression on the piano. This renders the possibility that a man who couldn’t tell the difference between a keyboard and a kettle made it.

Unless, of course, he did? I know that Mr Duane Pelt reads this blog. He once threatened to sue me for slander, an action which he dismally failed to follow through with.

So, here’s a direct message for you, Duane. Prove me wrong. Prove that you did make this. Send me a video showing me the project files, showing what VSTs and synths you used in the project and explanations for particular decisions you made with the remix.

I’ll publish it on the blog, entirely unedited and without comment from me. I’m even prepared to forego having a dig at you in the headline. Can’t say fairer than that!

EXCLUSIVE: Just what was the setup for Derrick May’s orchestral shows? Technical rider comes to light – but with no mention of whether the man himself can play

With May’s recent failure to complete a challenge where he had to prove that two instruments playing in a different key on the same song wouldn’t result in a horrific mess, the question has to be asked. Just who has been in on this?

The dance music press are probably aware of it, for starters. But I imagine there was more money in propagating the Belleville Three myth than in telling the truth – and I suspect that’s still the case.

Conductor Dzijan Emin would almost certainly have been made aware of the fact May cannot play. What is in question is when he found out. Was it at the very beginning, or did he only find out late in the day?

A number of emails have gone out to try and get these questions answered. I’ll hopefully be coming back to that one soon.

In the meantime, an anonymous friend (oh, how I love my anonymous friends!) has sent me this document. It makes interesting reading. It tells you what instruments are needed for the orchestral show, where they should be tuned to and so on.

The show is quite complicated to put on. Around 80 microphones are switched on at all times, with an orchestra which can have no less than 40 members, but no more than 67. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of monitoring that goes into doing a show of this size.

But what exactly does Derrick May do? Well, I was disappointed to learn that the rider does not stipulate that he uses a Fisher Price keyboard. No, the rider states he must be provided with a Yamaha Motif XF6 and a Nord Lead 3.

They must be also be wired into channels 48 and 49 – apparently part of a small stage desk. Presumably because May doesn’t actually do anything. He just seems to bash the keys randomly like an overexcited toddler, thinking he’s the next Miles Davis.

And what’s even more of a mystery is that May doesn’t seem to know the basics about how an orchestra works. In an interview with Mixmag in August 2019, he said:

“They [the orchestra] will not play over 90 minutes, most people are not aware of that. That’s the law in the orchestra business. 90 minutes. If they go any longer than that, it’s virtually impossible. They just will not do it.”

A cursory Google search reveals that this is nonsense. The majority of orchestral shows are between 90 minutes and 2 hours long, with an interval around the middle. Not for the first time, Derrick May is talking out of his excretory organ.

These shows were big, complicated juggernauts. A lot of people would have been involved. It’ll be interesting to see whether any of them wants to talk. My details can be found on my Contact Me page