I started DJing in 1983, playing Jazz Funk & Soul at a local wine bar to a largely unsympathetic crowd who preferred 80’s Chart – They didn’t get Jazz Funk and Soul, and wouldn’t be persuaded, and my abiding memory of that first venture behind the decks was ducking beer mats and the occasional beer bottle !. I wasn’t put off by this early failure to make an impression on the masses, and with a growing collection of Quality Soul and Jazz, I was generally the vinyl spinner at many parties that seemed to be on all the time back then, along with occasional special parties like the legendary Wycombe Doo’s hosted by Andy Coles each year. We would find our musical fix at the All-Dayers / Nighters , Caister and Bournemouth Weekenders, and the many clubs, amongst them The Goldmine (Canvey), Flicks (Dartford), Sunday at the Belvedere (Ascot), Frenchies and The Hero (Camberley), Jacksons (Staines), Bensons and The Rio (Oxon) and Windsor Safari Park .Record shops Bluebird Records, City Sounds, Honest Jons ,Rays Jazz Shop and Waxy’s kept the music collection growing , and Saturdays were spent listening to Robbie Vincent on Radio London, checking out the latest copy of Blues and Soul and waiting for the mail to arrive with those square brown envelopes with another consignment of tunes.
In 1984, Legendary Soul Mafia Jock and friend Sean French invited me to work for him as driver and assistant, so for the next few years I was thrown into the cut and thrust of the thriving Soul and Jazz club scene as an operative– I was also part of the Caister “B” team backstage staff during this spell with Sean.
In 1986 , Martin Lewin started his Floorshaker Promotion night at Hurley, and it proved an extremely successful monthly event for the next few years – With Chris Bangs and Martin as residents I was invited onboard for warm up duties – Guest DJ’s along the way included Simon Dunmore, Kev Beadle and Johnny Walker – An Alldayer in 1987 added Gilles Peterson, Dr Bob Jones, Chris Brown ,Phil Perry and Alan Barnes to the rosters ,and the overall success of the event also spurned a weekender in LeTouqet in France.
Later, there were regular visits to Dingwalls in Camden for the Sunday afternoon session and the Belvedere in Richmond on Sunday nights, along with sessions such as the Cock Happy and Doo at the Zoo events.
During one Sunday session at Dingwalls, a conversation with Snowboy got me hooked up with percussion lessons . After spending 2 years studying with Robin Jones. I had pretty much stopped going to a lot of the clubs around the area. Instead, I was playing live percussion regularly for various Latin Jazz and Funk bands, and that’s how it stayed for the next 13 years, until the Jazz Cafe in Reading, via Andy Gill, came knocking and offered me a DJ spot for a couple of weeks – I ended up resident DJ there for 5 years until around 2009, which culminated in a Reunion gig for the original Hurley Doo, bringing Martin Lewin and Bangsy back to the decks.
Since then, i’ve been involved in various Soul events including Soul in One (Chris Bangs), Rio Reunion , Golddust (Deano Jones) Fleet Soul (Paul Dymond / Kenni Foreman) and the brilliant Soulstice Events . A special thanks to Stevie O’Mahoney for recommending me to an Internet station in 2008, for my first Soul Radio broadcast . After working on a few more Internet Radio Stations since then, the decision was taken to create Soulstice Radio 24.
After nearly 30 years involvement with the Soul and Jazz music scene variously as punter, musician, operative , promotor, DJ and Radio presenter, it’s still a real pleasure to be playing this music of ours – SOUL and JAZZ – A big thanks also goes to all the DJ’s / presenters for the great work they do here . Keep an eye out for info on events, useful links to soulful stuff and guest shows on the site .
Chris presents Elevate, Thursdays8:30 – 10pm.