Underground

Busy checking the masters for my next CD compilation being released at the end of August 2012.

It’s called UNDERGROUND and is a double CD set featuring lost songs, obscurities and a handful of popular songs played at various underground alternative nightclubs in and around Johannesburg (and most likely around the world) in the 80s. It’s not a 80s compilation as some of the tracks came out in the 70s (Stretch, Plastic Bertrand, Marianne Faithful) and one in 1969 (Norman Greenbaum).

UNDERGROUND CD masters

The idea for the set came about from a combination of starting REFORM! and completing my first comic script. I’ll explain:

REFORM! is a DJ night that Charles Leonard and myself have been doing for almost 3 years. We play 50s-80s soul, funk, disco, reggae, new wave and other classics with some newer indie and electronic. It’s roots come from a club that existed in Johannesburg in the late 80s called THE JUNCTION where one would hear wildly different music all mixed together on any given night. It was that ‘anything goes’ attitude that appealed. Some of the JUNCTION staples on UNDERGROUND still get played at REFORM like Marianne Faithful’s ‘Why d’ya do it’, Talking Head’s ‘Slippery people’, Pigbag’s ‘Papa’s got a brand new pigbag’, Via Afrika’s ‘Hey boy’ and  Stretch’s ‘Why did you do it’. JHB alternative/goth legends No Friends Of Harry where regulars at the club. I met and saw them play there back in 89. The JUNCTION Facebook page has a picture of me standing behind Dave De Vetta (bassist) at the bar. I was 16 at the time. REFORM! page on WordPress has links to the FB group and Soundcloud mixes.

BOY WITH THE FILTERS is the comic strip I finished earlier this year. It’s set in Hillbrow in the late 80s and has some strong music connections which were influenced by the many clubs I used to go to around the time. My very first alternative club excursion was LE CLUB back in 88, followed by THE JUNCTION and the short-lived TEMPLE (Abel Road Berea and old RES). I also hung around BELLA NAPOLI downstairs on Wednesday and Thursday nights. THE DOORS (Marshall St early 90s) also had a strong influence. All these clubs had DJs that played amazing music and each found weird and wonderful tracks to drop in that made their sets unique. I had just learnt how to mix and had not started DJing back then. Life was occasional school, working as a waiter, and partying four nights a week. UNDERGROUND is an unofficial soundtrack to the story.

It was only when I started DJing fulltime in 92 and getting involved in the music business that I began finding out about all these songs I’d been hearing and dancing to for years. Many of them have found their way onto the compilation. I have personally danced to and played all them at some time or another in the last 25 years.

When compiling there are some rules. The main ones are that the releasing company must have at least 50% of the content and each track has to be cleared from a publishing point of view. There were many tracks that did not make it. I was particularly disappointed that we couldn’t clear Smiley Culture’s ‘Police Officer’ which a was a LE CLUB stomper and is still hard to come by. The Clash, Sex Pistols and PIL didn’t clear. Nor did Joy Division or Sisters of Mercy. I left out all the 4AD and BEGGARS tracks as I’m busy putting together another compilation just on these for JUST MUSIC due out in early 2013.

Darren Van Der Walt at EMI did a great job clearing tracks I thought would never make it like Plastic Bertrand, Pigbag, Nina Hagen, Dillinger and Propaganda.

The sleeve is being designed by my wife – the amazing MADAM F.

I don’t want to give away too much until it’s out.

This is my 4th compilation. The first two CELLARDOOR albums are now deleted.

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