Wicked, man - Page 2

Twenty years of Full Moon madness with the Wicked party crew

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Wicked waves: DJ Markie appropriates an office desk for a Wicked beach rave
PHOTO BY GINA PAOLI

Garth I think a lot of Brits followed us here after they heard what was going on in the Bay Area, the freedom. The U.K. party scene was outlawed by Thatcher's conservative government when it passed the criminal justice bill, which made it illegal for groups of more than 10 people to congregate while listening to repetitive beats. So there was a kind of party exodus: trance heads went to India (specifically Goa), other Brits went to Thailand, Australia, and Spain in search of a more fun life. San Francisco is particularly appealing to Brits because the climate suits us. It's never too hot or too cold, and there's a good dose of fog. It's very liberal, the architecture is Victorian, it's by the ocean with hills and those trams — plus great food and a strong, self-sustaining music scene.

Thomas It's poetic, cosmopolitan, and charming without being European: we like that.

SFBG You definitely did bring a pagan spirit with you — not just with the full moon and witchy Wicked angles, but also in the sense of reinfusing the local music scene with a particularly enchanting Northern California-British psychedelic rock sensibility. Is that spirit still alive? After seeing how the West Coast techno scene has progressed in the past 20 years, do you have any thoughts or gripes? 

Garth Life's too short for gripes. And I don't consider it a "West Coast techno scene," really. It's all just music. We've always played the best in disco, acid house, psych rock, and all points in between. It's the tempo that keeps things moving, and move it always will.

Jenö I wouldn't consider Wicked as even being a part of the techno scene. Our music was a lot broader than that, dominated more by psychedelic house and soulful disco grooves. But we definitely influenced the West Coast music scene, and that influence can still felt today in the style and sounds of the current crop of local DJ crews, from the Sunset parties to the hipster clubs currently delving into obscure house and disco-driven sounds.

Thomas I'll tell you this: I live in New York, and there's too much disco.

SFBG Any good stories from the early days of Burning Man? 

Garth We were the first and only sound system there in 1995, and of the 5,000 or so people out on the playa, we had a few thousand of them all grooving out under the open skies: no marquees, no lightshow, just a kick ass 15K Turbosound system, right out of the box. During the height of my five-hour set on Saturday night, one naked freak (they never seem to be clothed) ran up and flipped the tables on top of me. There was thunder and lightning and a mad electrical hum until we got the gear up and running again. The crowd went apeshit — it's still the highlight of my DJ career!

Jenö I didn't make it the Wicked BM camps back then. But I did attend the last-ever Stonehenge Free Festival in the U.K. during summer solstice in 1984, which was the epiphany that drove me to want to create my own anarchic and free-spirited musical gatherings. Very similar to BM in style and substance — art and music-driven with countercultural ideals, but without the dust and ridiculously expensive admission of Black Rock City.

Thomas I didn't go because I didn't think I'd get served a proper cocktail. A foolish mistake on many levels.

SFBG Top five quintessential Wicked records?

Wicked DJ Garth & Eti, "20 Minutes of Disco Glory" — all the boys did excellent remixes of this seminal West Coast classic.

!!!, "Hello Is This Thing On? (Rub N Tug Remix)" — this incredible remix really sums up the Wicked sound, and they recorded it on a full moon!

Comments

thanks for the interview, marke! here's to many more years of wicked tunes!

Posted by tee cardaci on Apr. 22, 2011 @ 11:10 am

I appreciate everything, but honestly guys... you have to adapt.

Seems like you all forgot that House is a feeling, and haven't worked hard enough to stay on top. Garth was the best dj EVER; he could always made everyone dance.

Hopefully you'll all get that back some day, but as for right now I can name a thousand dj's that have made the effort to stay on top of their game and rock way harder than you guys.

Don't forget you need to make us DANCE!

I'm not giving up on you all, BUT... WHERE'S THE DISCO NOW???

Posted by Darren Story on Apr. 26, 2011 @ 10:05 am

Darren, what dance planet are u on? These lads are STILL(20 years later) killing it! Garth and Thomas STILL spin all over the world, to packed clubs...regularly! Not to mention, having their own record labels, that release nothing but unique, quality music! Jeno is an S.F musical institution with his long running residencies at 222 Hyde and weekly Void broadcasts! Markie isn't as active as he once was, but we STILL love him more than ever, and is a treat when he does play out every now and then. Your WAY OFF THE MARK sir! Your comments reflect someone who is out of touch with relevant house music...you must be one of those dubstep guys! WONK WONK and WHAH WHAH is a passing fad...these guys and their music have stood the test of time...20 years and running! What crew do you know of that's been around that long...in ANY musical genre? Wise up!

Posted by Torin on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 9:54 am

Great times, the beaches at sunrise, the buses back to the city with strangers who became friends, the king street garage.. glad to have been part of something wonderful.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2011 @ 11:04 am

@Darren- you can adapt, we will stay real. Thx!
We can all name a thousand DJ's but 99.9% are not worth mentioning. Lets see the legacy they leave in say, 10 or 20 years. I got your disco right here buddy!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 9:07 am

Dearest Darren,

First of all disco was here before Wicked and will be here long after. My friends, Garth, Jeno,Thomas, and Markie did what no one else was able to do and that was start a unique musical scene here in San Francisco that has stood the test of time. They've made and continue to make their mark by taking us on a journey every time they play whether it be house, soul, disco, or whatever!

You must know where they come from and what their roots are regarding house music right? You also must know how many of these dj's you could mention most likely emulate this crew right? The Wicked boy's make people dance, they always have and always will. I am sorry you feel this way instead of being thankful that if not for them you might not have ever even been turned onto house music.... And as for "house is a feeling" pppft for us/them it's a way of life!

Ride the rhythm young man if you can find it...!

Posted by gina paoli on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

Well put gina! @Darren - sorry, for your obvious lack of taste. I've been grooving to these wicked dj's for quiet some time. Anyone that knows me can confirm this. So, they have been doing their job for many years now and I still can't get enough. Remember the message is LOVE!

addicted to the groove,
santiago

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2011 @ 1:24 am

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