Rory Weller the details.
anthem ‘Paciﬁc State'.
A Guy for all
It’s been a struggle, but A Guy Called Gerald is finally getting the recognition he deserves. He tells .
If the mighty Sony Records hadn‘t pissed Gerald Simpson off quite so much. he would never have been in the happy position he’s in now. After the phenomenal success of ‘Voodoo Ray' in I989. A Guy Called Gerald became one of the ﬁrst dance acts to be signed to a major label. Happy to be in a position to make music free of ﬁnancial pressures. he went along with the suits for a while and wrote from his heart. but pretty soon started to feel the strains of beingjust another product in a million-billion pound organisation. ‘They put me in a backroom studio to make tracks. brought in a producer to learn what i was doing and then they‘d push me out,‘ he explains.
It just wasn‘t what he‘d been used to. Through the 80s. Simpson had enjoyed a scattered creative process which was undeniably right for him. As well as making ‘Voodoo Ray‘. he collaborated with MC Tunes. produced Detroit inﬂuenced techno and is now ofﬁcially credited with writing 808 State's
The way Sony made him work reminded him of his school-day piano lessons. when the teacher would whack the back of his hands if he played a wrong note: ‘I found pain in structure. They [Sony] wanted a certain formula but didn’t quite understand what dance music was all about. It‘s like trying to grow plastic trees - you‘ve got to leave some things
' f3 .‘
him and his manager was convinced Simpson was headed to the company ofﬁces to beat people up so he could get the album tape back. which also contained a years work and material for another LP. ‘Thcre were a lot of people then with lives hanging on the line.‘ he says. ‘They‘re lucky l‘m an even tempered person ‘cos. boy. I was ready to take out heads.‘ Curiously he soon found out he was no longer working for the company. Sony still had his
For the next three years. Simpson camped in the studio working off his aggression. ‘A lot of stuffl was doing then was “Grrrmrrr” — play it really loud and heavy. get the bass line to smash windows.‘
Free from the inﬂuence ofdrudge. he discovered a dance scene that was mutating and accelerating in a
A Guy Called Gerald: looking to the next millennium with dwm 'n’ bass
What he did manage to do at the time was complete the album High Life Low Profile. which contained direct messages to the company in the form of song' titles. like the track ‘Where do I Belong‘?‘. Relations reached breaking point when Simpson went to the studio to put the ﬁnishing touches to the album. only to ﬁnd the master tapes had been sent to Sony
way he could grow with. Booked to play a live techno set at The Eclipse in Coventry. he had his set worked out until he heard the breakbcat l).ls on before him. Instantly adaptable. he speeded up his BPM and played the bass line live. Taking this back to the studio later. he spun at break over it and emerged with the 28 (Ian Bud b’uv brutal drum 'n‘ without his consent. His A&R man was hiding from E bass album on his own new labetluice Box Records. ‘ That was l993. and Gerald's dynamic creative force was visible once more.
His continual variance would seem incompatible with the August re-release of ‘Voodoo Ray'. but it's because of the inexorable link between himself and the track that has called for the ‘curse of “Voodoo Ray" ‘ to be revisited. Hisjunglc remix is deep within the new world he has been inhabiting for the last four years.
‘Drum ‘n‘ bass will go at least halfway through the next millennium.‘ he predicts. ‘It is a summing up of everything in music as long as I‘ve known it. It‘s the music that calmed the beast in me.‘
A Guy Cal/ed Gem/(l [)(‘I_'/tll'lll.\‘ Ill't’ as part (if Strange I’ruil ur l/It’ Mt'lfii'un 's ()/(l Frat/market. Fri 28.]!01. See ('lubs listings.
Fruits of labour
“The trouble with jazz,’ says Strange Fruit collaborator Bobby Paterson, ‘is that the legends keep dying off.’ The artists that jazz festivals can attract are no longer household names and the audiences aren’t getting any younger. Jan needs a serious injection of youthful zest, so even if they won’t admit to it, Paterson (ex- love And Money) and the other two organisers - visual artist Garnien
Fruits of collaboratlon: Damien Smith maps out a plan of action for the Strange Fruit event at
the Old Fruitmarket ln Glasgow
Smith and jungle club runner Paul Gawley (Phar Out) - may be the people to do it at the second annual Strange Fruit.
There are three elements to the evening: live acts, DJs and visuals. The live bill features A Guy Galled Gerald, singer-songwriter Jerry Burns, giant marimba maestro Gr ltapaniki and composer/arranger Graig Armstrong, who has worked with Massive Attack, Pavarotti, Madonna, 02 and Bjiirk and recently signed a solo album deal with Massive’s own label. Dds flick Peacock and Paul Gawley provide the recorded musical input for the night.
The visuals are as important an element as the music, with Glasgow collective I80 (professionals from film, television, graphic design and
typography) showcasing new work, which will be projected onto twelve moving structures above the performance space, as a huge backdrop to the stage.
lane of the individuals working on the project would be considered as key players in the jazz scene, but Paterson believes that the event is a place where musicians, DJs, film and graphic artists can forge a future vision of jazz. ‘lt’s an excuse to experiment in aural and visual fields that have a nod of the head to jazz,’ he says. ‘The artists all have the same kind of creative ethos as the original jazz founders, which manifests itself in a form that isn’t too serious: a club/concert/party.’ (Rory Weller) Strange Fruit is at the McEwan’s Old Fruitmarket on 28 June.
66 The List 28 Jun-ll Jul I996