A Message For The Younger Generation And What P.L.U.R. Really Stands For
It is 2010 and I cannot believe that teenagers are still getting picked on by other kids for the lives they choose to live. Nothing radical has really happened in 20 years so I found it shocking to hear about the teen who committed suicide after repeatedly getting beat up because he was openly gay. The gay community is outraged and they should be. A lot of people have turned to blogs to tell similar stories and the truth is so many of today’s youth are still being targeted for a choice that is their God given right and it is tragic that anyone would rather take their own life to escape being picked on day in or day out.
As a kid growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the 70’s & 80’s, I always had problems with other kids in my neighborhood and at school. A white kid wearing Jordache Jeans & Puma Clydes, I wasn’t just targeted for the same reason a gay teen would be, but also because hip hop only existed in the streets of New York City, in places that white people would never go. My parents were cluubbing in the disco era and I lived on a dead end street in a house, last on the left.
In 1980, the block began to go through the first stages of “White Flight”. 62 families in complete transition from White to Black in five years. I loved “Rappers Delight” when it came out in 1979, and if I was walking down the street with a boombox and a couple of “homies”, the troublemakers wouldn’t say a word, in fact some of them would play the two-faced role and say “What’s Up” and wait for the moment I was alone and roll up on me 3-1 and never from the front, always from behind. Calling me a “N**** Lover and blaming me for the new neighbors and sh*t like that.
Most of the black kids I knew felt uncomfortable coming to my house. yet I never cared about who I hung out with if they were cool. This because my parents friends were from the club scene of that era, and most of them were openly gay but they were genuine people, and I learned about accepting people from an early age.
I also was friends with all the girls on my block which was just another reason to wind up getting my ass kicked. I was the first one to have an actual girlfriend and as time went on, the same kids hating on me were actually copying things they were beating me up for. I started writing graffiti and these kids started writing just to slash my tags and toy them out.
At 15, my Mom caught me with a girl in my bedroom with the door shut right as I was about to do the deed. My mom called the girl a slut and threw us both out. As I was walking this girl to the bus stop, I got smashed in the head with a brick and was KO’ed for 20 minutes. I woke up to find my Mom and that girl standing over me wondering WTF just happened? And then I had to tell the police what happened and I didn’t actually know. I had a giant bump on my head though. Nobody would ever fight fair. Always jumped by packs of kids, but I never thought of suicide. If you know younger people, cousins, friends whatever…you should just always ask them if they are all right…most kids seem all right on the surface, but I’m sure a lot of kids have problems like this growing up. Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and this is where the whole idea for P.L.U.R. first came from…The original Brooklyn Underground.
The kids in the rave scene adopted this as their mantra and even when I first started the Peace, Love, Unity Movement, it’s fitting to know my original theory followed the same exact path, only minus the glowsticks and the beads. Right from the very start of New York City’s underground rave scene, the mission was to make sure the people involved would be peaceful, have love for what we were doing and show unity if something were to go down. I reached out into the industrial wastelands of Brooklyn, New York and threw warehouse parties. I looked for locations, broke into warehouses and put people and sound together and somehow made history. That was the plan I had from day one.
The same weekend I played my first rave in England to 25,000 people, a teenage black youth named Yusef Hawkins was murdered by a group of whites simply for coming into their neighborhood. That was on August 23, 1989. Long before the terror of 9-11-01, New York was already a city of ghosts. I’d estimate the number of victims to be over 10,000 people, people that lost their lives because of three things: crack, aids and racism. Hawkins death was not out of the ordinary. New York City had serious racism in the 80’s. There also was an active Italian Mob in Brooklyn and stories of people being taken out were common. My father was murdered driving a taxi in 1985. The guy who killed my father was black and yet I never blamed anyone else but the guy that did it. Hip Hop music may have actually helped me because it opened my eyes to what goes on in the streets. The guy that killed my father served 7 years, was released and then killed two more people. It’s a crazy world out there. You could neverunderstand what losing a parent is like and it was not easy. So I became hell bent with my music. I had a five year plan with do or die stamped on it.
I got a resident club gig the week I turned 18. It lasted five weeks. That is when NY State raised the drinking age to 21 and I was fired. Things were really not working to my advantage. But I started writing and producing records and with almost 3 years until turning 21, I knew well in advance I was going for the top spot in NYC. I wound up doing resident slots in Long Island and NYC, then I went to London. Things just exploded from there.
The first thing I did when I got back from London was tell all my closest friends about my experience. A lot of my closest friends were making techno tracks, so everyone was excited. I also had people in London who knew well in advance about the potential. A couple of friends planned on going to the West Coast to do parties and then early in 1990, I got a call from London. Some really big people wanted to meet my people in New York, and when that meeting happened, it was just a matter of time. So I just kept sharing that experience, of the music and what happened. Once my closest friends experienced the music combined with the effects of Ecstasy, that was it. The message was clearly out, and there was no stopping us. The thing about Ecstasy is it breaks down everything society wants us to be, and the minute you understand that, you look at things differently. I think what it does to you is makes you find a common peace which exists in all people. It broke things down on so many levels, and combined with Electronic Music, it was like nothing else anyone ever experienced. By the end of 1989, there were six of us and we began to map out a plan of action. Rule number one? Be responsible, professional and run a business. None of us were drug dealers before. None of us would be after.
In April of 1990, I opened up Groove Records as a base of operation to sell techno records and tapes. The first actual rave party happened on June 30, 1990. By then, I had regular rotation in many NYC clubs, so the night we threw the rave somehow worked against us. Why? Because we were still in a club. The crowd was no different from any other NYC crowd, but we had visuals that projected our videos from London on the wall, and people became curious. It took exactly two years from that night to get to the point where 3000 people were coming to dance all night until 9 a.m.
It was not an easy task. A former friend of mine, Lord Michael, started doing weekly parties at Peter Gatiens Limelight, and that brought the gangster mentality into the scene. The only problem was that they didn’t understand how we were pulling 3000 people to basically anywhere we felt like. See, in Manhattan, nightlife existed only in Manhattan. The outer boroughs never could draw more people to an event than they did, meanwhile anytime I threw a STORMrave, tumbleweeds would be blowing around The Limelight. They hated me for that.
We always made sure our parties were safe. To insure that, we would put the parties in really bizarre places. We had several little problems, but from 1990-1992 everything was based on The Peace, Love and Unity Movement, and most of the kids loved that because they had never experienced anything like it.
We started doing STORMrave in 1991, which was a series of all night parties that were raw outlaw events. The Brickyard in Brooklyn, for instance, started out with about 200 people. We made people park 1/2 mile away and walk down freight tracks to get to where the party was.
After 15 years goes by, people tend to forget, but I never decided that I was going to start this thing called P.L.U.R. and everyone was going to live happily ever after. I mean, the legend of STORMrave is not some kind of fairy-tale. With any tale or legend comes those people who try and change the actual story, or say it never happened in the first place. Take Laura, from Hypereal, for instance. Her name seems to come up whenever P.L.U.R. is mentioned, and she goes into length about how she spun records at STORMrave in 1993, even though STORMrave ended on December 12, 1992. I never met the woman personally. She explained P.L.U.R. from day one, using me as a catalyst. As for Laura’s take on love? “Love is an unconditional appreciation of something or someone. It combines with peace, to allow you to think things like, ‘Frankie Bones isn’t a bad guy, in spite of his flapping mouth.’ The peace gives you the chill factor so you can get to the unconditional love.”
She then goes on to explain how the great big light bulb came on when her friend Brian from San Francisco explained respect. “And then suddenly it all came clear to me. You can’t have peace, love, and unity without respect.” Here goes that flapping mouth she spoke about without even ever once thinking it would come back to bite her in spite of her “epiphany.”
Thank the American Library Of Congress for the copyright of my 1990 record release called P.L.U.M. (The Peace, Love and Unity MOVEMENT).
So that was the beginning. In 1993, I released a track called “Peace, Love, Unity (The STORMrave Story).” The first word written after the title credits says “Respect” to the German band Genlog. So whoever thought of sticking the eighteenth letter to make it into P.L.U.R. must of been looking at that record.
Now lets talk about raves. The first actual rave in America was on June 30, 1990, called Atmosphere in New York City. On September 7th, 1990, Los Angeles had its first actual rave. Prior to those two events, anyone claiming they were throwing raves would have been lying. There were some half-ass attempts, but those were simply parties at clubs. During all of this, I was fortunate enough to be able to headline both parties, east and west, and I’m willing to admit that without the west coast underground of Los Angeles, I would have never witnessed how it could work in America. There were British people starting to throw parties in L.A. at the same time I first played there. I got booked to play L.A. because of my London connections. I was really lucky in that sense, because I was the only American DJ to play the original Summer Of Love Orbitals in London.
That is where the entire P.L.U.M. concept came about; movement rather than respect. You can’t have peace, love and unity without respect, yet without movement, you can’t have peace, love, unity and respect. What good is it without movement? And that, my friends, is why I have to excuse my so-called flapping mouth, and dismiss anyone else making claim to something I had already taken into consideration.
It started out as violence actually, there is no such thing as a peaceful revolution. “You better start showing some Peace, Love and Unity, or I will break your $%^ing faces,” is how it really started. On a fateful night sometime in 1991, the first tribe wound up in Ferry Point Park, under the Whitestone Bridge, in the South Bronx, where hip hop’s original roots began. Not only that, but we were “raving” to techno music in the South Bronx. That is why P.L.U.M. was so important to what we were doing. Each of the original six had come to realize, that if we were going to create (a) movement, it would be very important to make damn sure that every person we invited knew well in advance what our gatherings were about. We had a great group of people in those days, people who would help a stranger if something was wrong at an event. To witness 300 people dancing to techno in the South Bronx was historical to me, even in 1991. The fight that broke out was a couple, boy and girl having a domestic problem which happened like a tornado, right into the main rig where I was spinning. And my reality clashed with the one thing I was trying to prevent from day one. So I took it personal. Being at ground level, I jumped up onto the office desk which had the turntables and mixer on it, to give me a four foot height advantage, and yelled into the Mic to stop the fight and to end that shit right there and then. Now I had just ruined 300 people from what could had been a ritual because it was four hours in, 2 a.m. in the morning and the music stops, and my mouth “begins Flapping”. This is actually a DJ’s worse nightmare. So the fight got broken up and I did say we were all there for Peace, Love and Unity, not to have two people ruin it for everyone.
This was a touchy time. The Bronx had the Happyland fire happen a year prior, where 97 people died because of a fight between a man and a woman. The guy lit a gallon of gas on fire and torched everyone in the club. Horrible. This is why P.L.U.M. was important at the time. I’m not going to drag 300 people to The Bronx and have people behave like that so I took it personal. I told the crowd, “You all need to respect each other, and if you see something happen, get involved to stop it.” Had we not had the gear on an obsolete office desk from the 60’s, the party would had been over. Then I said, “Anyone who has a problem, say it now, and fight me right here, right now. Whoever it was fighting, I’ll break your $%@ing faces.”
I am not Anti-PLUR whatsoever. I just knew that once the music started back up, that night was going to be legendary because once the negative dissolved, people were going to appreciate why they were there. It was a beautiful thing in the aftermath. That party went until 10 a.m. without any further incidents.
To be continued…