for a pound
DJ and innovator Tony D is bringing the Grand Central Tour to Scotland with his latest electric collaborative effort Pound For Pound. Words: Rory Weller
For a white guy. it is no easy thing to do. Go deep into the projects in New Jersey where you are the only Caucasian for miles. track down a rapper and start battle rhyming with him on the street. This is how Tony D went about finding rappers to work with him in 1987 — it was the only way he could convince them he was true to hip hop.
Tony started DJing in Trenton NJ in the early 80s when Run DMC were breaking through. He bought his ﬁrst drum machine in l987 and got into samplinU. producing. and finding people to work with him.
His commando style method of A&R was how he hooked up with the Poor Righteous Teachers (PRT) — he had scoured the projects for the rappers. who he‘d heard had no intention of working with some ‘white devil'. They were swayed by his crack rapping and Tony went on to produce three albums for the PRT. including the classics ‘Rock The Funky Joint’ and ‘ShakHyaK
Everything was fine. Marley Marl and Red Alert were giving them heavy rotation on their radio shows and the record company was thrilled. But Tony sensed that fewer and fewer people in the States shared his conviction for the underground scene. He reckoned the form had become too glamorised. Dls lacked skill. and the lyricism which had turned him on to the whole thing had vanished.
Which is where two Manchester guys come (literally) into his ‘hood. When Mark Rae and Dave
72 THE LIST lO Oct—23 Oct 1997
Tony D's expertise combined with the Grand Central collective's rare passion has proved a triumphant
Walker of Manchester’s Fat City records were in America on a fact finding mission. they heard a breakbeat track Tony had done. eked him out. licensed the track ‘The Central J Parlay EP' to their
new Grand Central Records in the UK. and invited him to come and work with them in Britain.
The results of their most recent collaboration Pound For Pound can be heard this month when the Grand Central Tour comes to Glasgow’s Sub Club and Edinburgh‘s La Belle Angele.
‘We hit it off pretty good.‘ says Tony. ‘Mark is a great D] and producer and the other DJs have got the skills. scratching and mixing and all that.‘
Tony believes the UK scene is now as fresh as when he first got into hip hop in the early 80s. Dls are not content to use the same samples over and over again — they search for new breaks. new sounds. going forward by experimenting rather than belabouring what has come before.
He is an expert in uncovering lost forgotten breaks. ransacking his 3().()()() strong record collection for the odd and the obscure. He settled with Naughty By Nature out of court after they used his special technique for eliminating Michael Jackson‘s voice (never a bad thing) on ‘OPP'. Puff Daddy and Heavy D have been pulled up for similar antics.
Tony‘s expertise combined with the Grand Central collective‘s rare passion has proved a triumphant partnership — witness their latest project. the Pound For Pound album he made in Manchester when he came over earlier this year.
Manchester isn‘t exactly the ghetto of Trenton. Tony reckons. ‘l’ve seen some projects in Manchester. but it‘s not the same.’ he says. ‘But those Grand Central guys. they’ve got the vibe. they're cool.‘
Tony D and the Grand Central collective are at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Thu 16 Oct and La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Wed 15 Oct. Pound For Pound is out now.
The latest gossip from clubland.
THE SUB CLUB'S Aquaplanet are set to throw two free parties to make up for the cancellation of their night last bank holiday, two hours into the event. Blake Baxter and Claude Young were to play live with Derrick May, making it the highlight of their long-term residency at the Subbie, but when the fire alarm was set off at 1.30am the Glasgow club had to be evacuated. As clubbers gathered in the street hoping to get back in, they were joined by people who hadn’t made it in before curfew and police advised the promoters not to reopen. Claude Young will return on Friday 10 October to DJ and on Sunday 12 to play live. The night is free to all who paid the £12 on 28 September. Promoters say they will know who was there, so if you weren't, dinnae chance it.
FANS OF TECHNICS-wrecking, scratching ’n' cutting should look out for the Northern Mixing Championships at Wilkie House, Edinburgh on Sunday 26 October. Local talent comes in the shape of Well Stirred and 4th Varmit, with internationally acclaimed DJ Q-Bert playing a showcase set and judging the competition. Q-Bert has won four consecutive American DMC Championships and three World DMC Championships so you might say he's rather good. Anyone interested in entering or joining in should contact Simon at Wilkie House on 0131 225 5583 or on 0973 266 808.
AT LAST! EDINBURGH can finally boast a decent pre-club bar. EH1 on the Royal Mile has transformed the area to the rear of the main bar (formerly its restaurant) and made it into 'EH1 more'. The relaxed space will house decks at the weekend. Various local 015 will play a mix of quality music from Friday to Sunday. Funky visuals, free entry, drink promos and, of course, a central location make this an essential choice. (Rory Weller and Jim Byers)