Hello disco bunies and COR scalies! Hope this message find you all peachy!
The count down to the big one has begun and yes we are all VERY excited here at COR towers. It’s just t-minus 6 days and counting until the Civilisation Of the Rough come back with an almighty BANG after a short break over the summer. And back with a bang will will be as :
- We will be returning to the Southsea Social Club, which played host to our er-maze-in Easter Bonnet Boutique back in April (take a look for yourself!)
- We’re turning the place into an A&E Department, complete with special FX artist to make you up to look the part (click here to see how good she is) and
- GREG WILSON is coming along to kick the whole thing off!!
Yes, GREG WILSON is returning to Southsea village to cause spontaneous outbursts of disco joy and revelry on our lil old COR DF. If you were lucky enough to catch Greg when he last played at COR, or anywhere else for that matter, you know this is going to be something special.
We’re so lucky to have Greg play for us on the August Bank Holiday Sunday (no work on Monday!), especial given his hectic DJ schedule for August and Sept…
01.08.09 / Berlin / Watergate
09.08.09 / Big Chill Festival / Finlandia
15.08.09 / Ibiza / Space
29.08.09 / Brighton / Beachdown Festival
30.08.09 / Portsmouth / Civilisation Of The Rough
13.09.09 / Isle Of Wight / Bestival / Rizla
19.09.09 / London / Matter
26.09.09 / Ibiza / Space
28.09.09 / Ibiza / Ushuaia
Read on to get the complete Greg Wilson history and biog and for some links to some brilliant mixes.
Tickets for this COR A&E soirée have almost all gone now, but hurry to Head (53 Albert Road, Southsea) or call us if you’ve yet to get yours and you might still be lucky!
Greg Wilson : Biography
With a DJ pedigree stretching back to the original disco era, Greg Wilson first came to national prominence in the early 1980’s as the first to champion New York’s emerging Electro-Funk sound.
From day one, his support for this radical new electronic dance music caused deep divisions within the jazz-funk fraternity.
To many ears, the new Electro-Funk sound had ‘no soul’… to some it didn’t even qualify as ‘real music’…
Over 20 years on, how is the music viewed today? Greg Wilson is in no doubt:
‘Electro-Funk’s legacy is huge. It announced the computer age and seduced a generation with its drum machines, synthesizers, sequencers, dub mixes, bonus beats and samples… Its influences lay not only with Kraftwerk, and British Futurist acts like the Human League and Gary Numan, but with pioneering black artists, including Miles Davis, Sly Stone, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Norman Whitfield and George Clinton (Greg Wilson)
Electro-Funk is unquestionably the source from which much of today’s house, techno, and breakbeat-oriented club music originated.
Essential labels releasing Electro-Funk tracks included West End, Prelude, Sugarhill, Emergency, Profile, Tommy Boy, Streetwise and many others.
Braving outright hostility from jazz-funk and soul purists, Greg Wilson’s brave new world of electronic funk could be experienced at largely black dance nights, in clubs such as Legend in Manchester, the Wigan Pier, the Stars Bar in Huddersfield, and at numerous all-dayers in places like Preston, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby, Blackpool, Wigan and Sheffield.
‘I had fantastic support, Legend was always packed to the rafters on a Wednesday and it was the norm for about 450 people to head up to Wigan on a Tuesday from all over the North and Midlands… and double that on a special occasion!’ (Greg Wilson)
Electro-Funk heralded the arrival of New York’s ‘Hip Hop’ culture in the UK, and Greg was among its earliest and most enthusiastic ambassadors…He cites Malcolm McLaren’s ‘Buffalo Gals’ video (1982) as a defining moment for the arrival of Hip Hop in the UK:
‘For here, before our very eyes, was scratch mixing, graffiti art, and the most amazing sight anyone could remember – a man spinning on his head! The age of the breakdancer had arrived.’ (Greg Wilson)
He recalls showing it one night at the Stars Bar in Huddersfield. The effect on his dancefloor was immediate and devastating: Dancers ground to a complete halt and actually sat down, transfixed, as the enormity of what they were seeing slowly dawned. The video had to be rewound and shown again and again to satisfy the astonished audience.
As the buzz grew about Hip Hop in the North, Greg was at its epicentre, not only DJ’ing, but managing and recording with Broken Glass, the best-known UK breakdance crew of the era.
Then, in 1983, Greg became the first dance music DJ to become resident at Manchester’s Hacienda, then very much an indie and ‘alternative’ music venue.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the future of UK Club Culture began here…. Nothing would be quite the same again.
As its fame spread, in December 1983 the Hacienda headed south for a series of live dates, showcasing the scratch-mixing talents of Greg Wilson and the breakdancing of Broken Glass. For many, this was their first ‘live’ experience of Hip Hop, and it was to prove a defining moment.
Norman Cook caught the ‘Hacienda Review’ tour in Brighton, and, in an interview with Greg twenty years later, vividly recalled the impact of seeing scratching and breakdancing at close quarters for the first time:
‘It was a bit of a cultural mission cos Hip Hop culture hadn’t really got as far as Brighton… The whole B Boy scene in Brighton started that night.’ (Norman Cook)
The future Fatboy Slim travelled along with ‘The Hacienda Review’ to their next date, and the very next night, during the soundcheck in Hickstead, Greg taught Norman Cook the rudiments of scratching.
Important though Greg’s tireless club appearances were, it was his Piccadilly Radio mixes that really cemented his status as a pioneer and dance music legend. Beginning in 1982, these were the first radio mixes of their type in the UK, initially put together via a Revox B77 reel-to-reel on Legend’s three turntables, before Greg set up his own home DJ studio to record what became known and loved on the black music scene as ‘The Greg Wilson Mix’.
The Revox B77
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Piccadilly Radio mixes had a profound and direct influence on the dance artists of the future. It was truly ground breaking stuff… and everyone, it seemed, was listening:
‘Greg Wilson is the best DJ for me and always will be’ (Andy Meecham, Chicken Lips)
‘These were some of the most taped programmes in Manchester
radio history’ (Dave Haslam, Hacienda DJ and author)
What did it all mean?
What made this relatively brief era in dance music history so vital and influential? Greg is clear on this point, too:
‘The diversity of records released during this period was what made it so magical; you never knew what was coming next. The tempo ranged from under 100 bpm to over 130, covering an entire rhythmic spectrum along the way’ (Greg Wilson)
1982–84 was a time of intense musical creativity, an ‘anything goes’ era, before house and techno standardised both the tempo and rhythm of club music.
1984 – 94
Greg retired from DJ’ing in 1984, but his involvement with music continued.
That same year he co-produced the landmark Street Sounds ‘UK Electro’ album. Later in the decade, he returned with the cult Manchester Ruthless Rap Assassins, who he managed and produced.
In 1994, his role as ‘Electro-Funk Pioneer’ was acknowledged when he compiled the best-selling ‘Classic Electro Mastercuts’ album, which reached the Top 20 of the UK album chart.
‘Please welcome the Arch-Deacon of SUPERIOR Electro…Mr Greg Wilson!’ (Ian Dewhirst, Mastercuts originator)
The 1990’s saw numerous books and articles, which raised awareness of Greg’s pivotal role in the history and development of UK club culture.
As the importance of Electro-Funk’s musical legacy has become increasingly apparent, more attention than ever is being focussed on the crucial 1982-84 period, which apparently shaped so much of what followed. Now, through his website (www.electrofunkroots.co.uk), Greg is once again acting as an ambassador for Electro-Funk.
However, despite a handful of one-off appearances in the 1990’s, he has resisted any ideas of a ‘DJ comeback’… until now! Why the change of heart?
The Music Is Better gig in Manchester (December 20th, 2003) was a real turning point for Greg… The feedback from the gig was so overwhelmingly positive, it set the wheels in motion for a renewed assault on clubland:
‘I feel like part of an emerging new underground movement, which is both retrospective and contemporary at the same time, providing the ideal conditions for me to be able to properly approach deejaying once more, without compromising my beliefs.’ (Greg Wilson)
…Taking nothing for granted, Greg Wilson is once again utilising new music and new technology in unique juxtaposition with the old.
In 2004, armed with a laptop, turntables and, of course, his trusty Revox B77 reel-to-reel, Greg’s alchemic mixing and customised re-edits takes the whole club DJ experience two steps beyond.
WORDS BY SOLID STATE
Quotes on Credit To The Edit
‘Any DJ worth the name should own this album. A welcome return from a real legend.’
‘One Of The Best Albums In Years, Crafted By The Original Master Of Re-Edits.”
Norman Jay M.B.E.
‘What an outstanding album. Greg was always an inspiration to me. This
contains possibly all my favourite tracks of all time.’
‘Greg Wilson is a legend! His re-edits & mixes were essential listening for
me in the early 1980’s. Listen to this album to see what all the fuss is
‘Greg Wilson Is The Originator And This Record Is The Bomb!’
‘Listen carefully to Greg Wilson’s album. Each one of these tracks has its own story and individual sound. I hope this inspires people to take more risks, search for their own sounds and break out of the mould that has become dance music.’
A Guy Called Gerald
Via his residencies at Wigan Pier, Manchester’s Legends, and then the Hacienda, Greg Wilson introduced black electronic dance music to the UK.
Working with just two Technics turntables, a Revox reel to reel tape deck and a stanley knife Greg (literally) cut-up a series of stunning one off DJ re-edits, each exclusive to his dance-floors and radio shows.
These edits virtually wrote the rulebook for DJ’s, re-mixers and producers growing up and going out in early eighties Britain.
This career defining anthology, released to coincide with his recent return to the clubs, showcases Greg’s ‘80’s edit style and how this cut up approach influenced everyone from Fatboy Slim & Coldcut to today’s stars such as Optimo (Espacio) & 2 Many DJ’s.
Archive Press Quotes
MANCHESTER DJ GURUS – THE FACE 1990
“Greg Wilson is an honorary Manc born in Liverpool who is generally acknowledged as the godfather of the early eighties Manc electro scene. He is one of the first British DJ’s to have used three turntables. Remembered for his nights at Legend and the Hacienda”.
FROM SLEAZE NATION MAGAZINE (AMANDA CAZA) 1998
“By 1982 he was established at Wigan Pier, thrilling all and sundry with his brew of electronica and soul. He was given a dying Wednesday at Legend, Manchester’s most influential black music venue, and blew enough life into it to spread queues round the block and gain punters countrywide. Forget the Hacienda, where Wilson began the first full-on dance night – Legend was the start of it all. His secret? The dastardly mixing techniques he’d picked up in Europe plus this weird and wonderful new form of music sweeping across from New York”.
FROM THE BOOK ‘THE NINETIES – WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT ALL ABOUT’ (JOHN ROBB) 1999
“Greg Wilson was entranced by the stripped down electronic sounds that were coming out of New York where, in one of the weirdest quirks in rock history, black kids in the ghetto started to get hip to Kraftwerk. Taking the atmospheric synth music of the German outfit, they re-invented it as a dance music of their own. The computer age was dawning and here was a music that matched the nu digital times…Electro is one of the key forebears of nineties pop culture”.
FROM THE BOOK ‘MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – THE POP CULT CITY’ (DAVE HASLAM) 1999
“Wilson’s work on the decks every Wednesday (at Legend) drew the attention of Mike Shaft, who was then fronting a black music show on Piccadilly Radio. Although not a big fan of the new dancefloor sounds, he invited Wilson to do mixes for the radio show. These were probably some of the most taped programmes in Manchester radio history”
FROM REVIEW OF ‘CLASSIC ELECTRO MASTERCUTS’ – BLUES & SOUL (BOB KILLBOURN) 1994
“Compiled by famed deejay Greg Wilson who was one of the chief protagonists in the early development of electro in the UK. Greg helped pioneer the early stages as resident deejay at the legendary Wigan Pier and Manchester Legends venues. Greg was one of the first British deejays to consider seriously the art of deejaying and mixing was beyond the simple act of sticking a platter on a turntable before swilling ale and checking out the available talent (although I’m pretty sure Greg did his fair share of these activities too!). Greg’s mixes on Manchester Piccadilly Radio were significant interludes and he was also the first British deejay to mix live on TV when appearing on the now defunct The Tube show”.
FROM THE BOOK ‘AND GOD CREATED MANCHESTER’ (SARAH CHAMPION) 1990
“’The whole black side of Manchester has been completely ignored’ says Greg Wilson, Manchester’s first electro DJ, on the wheels of steel at Wigan Pier and Legends in ’82. A disco-chemist, he experimented with mixing and NY’s new styles…Legends stepped out a whole 18 months before The Face’s cover feature caught up…By the start of ’83, white hipsters were changing channels, switching from doom-rock to dance beats. ACR, New Order, Swamp Children and the like tuned into Legends…’In all things that have been written about Manchester, the thing that led the way hasn’t even been mentioned! The black-white mix! Even when the students arrived (on the scene) the black side kept its identity and everyone began bouncing ideas around’ argues Greg”.
FROM THE BOOK ‘SHAUN RYDER, HAPPY MONDAYS, BLACK GRAPE & OTHER TRAUMAS’ (MICK MIDDLES) 1997
“Kermit was here there and everywhere. Everyone knew Kermit. Everyone knew Kermit stories. Everyone knew that one day this man would turn into something important. The story begins way back in the early eighties, at Manchester’s Legends nightspot. On Wednesday night Manchester grandmaster of Electro, Greg Wilson, held hardcore funk sessions sussed enough to educate even the hippest of dudes from old Hulme. All the while, down the road, the Hacienda remained a vast, cold, empty shell, full of echoey indie sounds and a few straggly raincoated students. Greg Wilson was where it began and Kermit would soak in his influences”.