1988 was quite a year for clubland. It was the year Danny Rampling’s Shoom adopted a Smily face logo for it’s flyers, gangsters and kids in Converse mixed happily together down at Clink where Mr C and Evil Eddie Richards were throwing down a more underground house sound than Danny at the YMCA, up in Manchester the Hacienda’s Hot and Nude nights kick started acid house up north, Paul Oakenfold opened Spectrum at Heaven on a Monday night whilst his good friend Nicky Holloway brings Tottenham Court Road to a standstill every Saturday night at The Astoria, the BBC bans Jolly Roger’s ‘Acid Man’ whilst The Sun and Daily Mail start their front page anti drug campaigns, there are rumours that Eastender’s Ian Beale will be taking LSD and jumping off bridges in an episode, the police get heavy at illegal warehouse parties after the death of Janet Mayes – in one such incident they beat the shit out of 20 year old student Paul Hartnoll who, undeterred goes onto form Orbital, up in Liverpool Cream founder James Barton dips his toe into the nightclub game by opening up Daisy at The State whilst down in Cheltenham James Perkins who later brought us Fantazia quietly opens up a night called Trance, Sunrise is in full flow with Tony Colston-Hayter whilst all around us the tones of Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’ sums up one nation under a groove. Towards the end of the year a new night begins, a little Thursday nighter in a gay venue down by The River Thames. Within weeks it was one of the biggest underground nights the world has ever seen. Welcome to Rage. Welcome to the night who quite happily stuck two fingers up at everybody, knew when to change their music policy by actually listening to their clubbers and literally, had the world’s biggest DJs begging to play there and inspired Goldie to create Metalheadz. And now it’s back. Back at it’s original home for one massive May Bank Holiday party.
Dan Prince speaks to Jumping Jack Frost, one of the original DJs from the era who will be heading up the return of one of clubland’s all time greats…
Yo DJ Underworld! Not many people remember that DJ name eh!? So 1988 – a seminal year for us all. Pick us a tune from that year that still sends tingles up your spine…
“…Ha Ha…shhhhhhhh not many people know about Underworld, I thought it was pretty cool at the time. Well, 1988 was a year of great innovation and integration within society and music. I remember a tune called ‘Land Of Confusion’ by Armando which really for me, was one of the best.”
Sunday May 6th – the legend returns. Why now, who is behind this whole beast once again, surely nobody from The Pure Organisation is still around?
“The Pure Organisation ran Heaven during 80s and 90s and Brian was was promotions manager for Rage, Dance 91, 92 and 93. The reason they have come back now is the cross over of drum & bass have taken the music full circle and Brian feels the time is right to push the sound even further.”
Fabio & Grooverider’s residency up in The Star Bar was at the forefront of this new sound. Fabio once said “We didn’t have a clue what were doing — we were just fuckin’ around and doing what felt right.” Was that the general feeling of the DJs playing this new music?
“Fabio & Grooverider are both masters of pushing new music and at that time the whole underground scene was built on bringing a new wide range of sounds to the party. Simple as that.”
When they moved to the main room, house purists sneered at their aggressive, instinctive experimentation. Surely that was half of the fun?
“When Fab & Groove moved to the main room they already had built a solid fan base within the underground dance circuit so this move to the main room was a natural progression.”
I don’t think I have ever witnessed such intensity inside a club’s main room, it was like a football match, it was if you sort of expected it to kick off at any moment…
“The atmosphere in the main room was electric, it was so intense in there it’s hard to explain. I remember Goldie running around like a mad man in there at times such was the intensity of the place. It used to just go off in the most incredible way. It was scary sometimes, it could get quite moody and there was that sort of unpredictable electricity – Fab & Groove brought that night to another level.”
Has there ever been another night that changed so many people’s life in London?
“I think the only other night that may have had that same effect on the scene is AWOL at The Paradise Club.”
My head is a bit fuzzy, but I seem to recall us all heading off to the 414 Club in Brixton after Rage closed to see you and Bryan Gee?
“Ha Ha…yeah at that time myself and Bryan Gee used to play at the after party at Club 414 which was called Steppers at the time. It was the same time that we was both on a pirate station called Passion which we used to play on there most days some times twice in a day. Great days.”
What were some of the tunes from the dancefloor at Rage you remember…
“Big tunes like ‘Money Wha’ by Radical Rob, ‘Energy Flash’ by Joey Beltram, ‘Mentasm’ by Joey Beltram and the Black Dog.”
Drum & Bass is in a healthy state in 2012 though…
“Drum & Bass is in a very healthy state right now. The standard of music is amazing.“
What are the future plans of the night?
“I know there are two or three nights already booked, but I know that Brian Rage is planning to make it maybe a monthly?”
And finally, the million dollar question. Why was Rage so good and so ahead of it’s time?
“Rage was ahead of it’s time largely because the promoters trusted two young, hungry and talented DJs to take the night to the next level. And Fabio & Grooverider did just that.”
RAGE – THE LEGEND RETURNS
Fabio & Grooverider Jumping Jack frost Bryan G Rennie Pilgrem Jay Cunning Pyramid King Yoof DJ Gold Schema Gella Sanxion Cut La Roc Terry Hooligan James D’ley
Bank Holiday Sunday 6th May 10pm – 6am Heaven Villiers St, London WC2