Horny, preppy idiots always ruin my weekend.
A bar’s lameness quotient is in direct proportion to the number of men wearing button-up shirts. It’s too bad then that this is the crowd that Kimyon and his Foundation crew cohorts J.C. and Rich Bourque have to deal with for their Saturday gigs. Sure, they import a few of their own kind (sleazebags like you and me, as well as Karina Reeves, Keanu’s sister, that wild and crazy guy DJ David Hollands, and, of course . . . producer Elan Akerman, going for a record number of mentions), but you have to fight the fraternity and sorority rush to get anywhere near the bar or the DJ booth. Said my friend (who does not play for that frat-boy team) upon entry, “If I’d known this was such a meat market, I would’ve worn more clothes!”
This Saturday, I visited their party for the first time, after months of begging from J.C.; coincidentally, Philly supa-star Josh Wink was the guest of honor. I ran into Josh earlier in the day on the Bowery with his three friends from L.A., Austin Brown, Brian Bailey, and Jason Harcharic, who all work for Paul Frank, the funky artist who likes to draw cute monkeys and put them on clothing and bags and such. The big-haired one was also playing Frank’s store opening in Little Italy before the Foundation gig.
Later that evening, I caught the tail end of his set at Groovejet, which was curiously buffered by ’80s tracks and party jams. The techno technician was playing “Jungle Boogie,” James Brown, and Cameo. Yeow.
After his set, I asked Josh about the controversy brewing over his new unreleased track “Super (Freak).” Apparently there is a firestorm between Wink and some members of the Detroit electronic community, including one Dan Bell, an underground Detroit producer and DJ who recently moved to Berlin. In 1992, Bell released a minimal, bleepy techno track called “Phreak.” He claims that Josh has unduly sampled his track and wants credit, and has sent a letter around the techno community that reads in part: “I believe that . . . Josh Wink has knowingly copied arrangements, sounds, and production techniques from my own copyright protected work and has failed to acknowledge the source of his success. It is my belief that Wink has developed a pattern of loosely basing his music structures and arrangements on my own original work. . . . “Freak” is his most daring copy yet of one of my arrangements.”
Wink told me that while he was aware of the Bell track, he didn’t take a lick from it and wasn’t even thinking about it when he made “Super (Freak).” It’s just another minimal, bleepy techno track, and it happens to be called “Super (Freak),” he contended to me in Groovejet’s lounge.
His lawyers, in the meantime, responded officially to Bell, and Wink posted the following message on his Ovum Records Web site: “I was very surprised to learn of Dan Bell’s claim. I did not copy his work and, apart from being of the same genre of music, I don’t believe the tracks are similar . . . I seldom sample, but when I do, I clear the samples and follow procedures to ensure everything is legal.”
Perhaps the best judge: two ears and two MP3 files. Of course, you won’t wanna take my word for it—I’m deaf in one ear.
Todd Roberts, who served as editor of Urb magazine from ’91 through ’97 and was previously an A&R rep at Astralerks, is involved in a new label called Immergent. At the Winter Music Conference, the label held a special party for the Alan Parsons Project, who you old people might recall had a hand in some Pink Floyd and Beatles records. Rumors abound that there is a five-record deal in the works; Roberts said that while he “can’t confirm that, I imagine we’ll get at least five records from them.” The Parsons record will be an “electronic collaboration record,” says Roberts, and they’re hoping to enlist the skills of big guns like Moby and Fatboy Slim.
Blazing: Shelter’s recent accolades from the press and the absence of anything big like Twilo has made it the go-to venue, with Subliminal Sessions and the Lazydog shows moving over there. Apparently Spike Lee has visited the “underground” club three or four times in the past few weeks. And last weekend he sent a cadre of location scouts to scope out the venue for an upcoming shoot.
Win some, lose some: I got a scoop from supa-star DJ Sasha that the gargantuan club Crobar has applied for a license of sorts in New York. Crobar is on par with Twilo—with clubs in both Miami and Chicago, it regularly hosts DJs like Carl Cox in its top-flight space. Does that mean we might get a big bang-up club in the city again? Crobar’s marketing director promised to get “someone that can talk to me” about the rumor, but at press time, we had yet to connect.
Word on the street is that Brownies, the longtime East Village rock fixture, might be axing the live music in favor of becoming just another hole in the wall. This would be a very sad fate for the rock-lovin’ strata of the city, with performers like Mike Watt, the Mooney Suzuki, Superchunk, Elliott Smith, the Promise Ring, and Archers of Loaf gracing its stage since it opened way back in 1989. Said my source: “It’s common knowledge among all the bands that are working out dates with [management] right now, so I assume it’s out in the open. Their plan is to close in August and reopen later as a straight-out bar.”
I called owner Mike Stuto for confirmation. He gave me a very elaborate “no comment.” “I’d appreciate that you not go to print with what may or may not be happening in my club this early,” said Stutto.
Rich and Famous Celebrities Are People Too, Part 46. Tempted as I am to give Ethan Hawke‘s directorial debut, Chelsea Walls, the review it deserves (jumbled, unclear plot construction, bad writing by way of extended poetry segments and even worse guitar singer-songwriter stuff), Ethan was a beaming boy at Wednesday night’s premiere. “No matter what, remember that I am really happy!” said Hawke as a prelude to the screening in (where else?) Chelsea. So throughout especially painful periods of the film, my friend and I would turn to each other and say, “Ethan’s really happy!!” Wife and co-star Uma Thurman and crowd favorite Kris Kristofferson were nowhere to be seen, but Natasha Richardson was on hand.
At the elegant after-party, the super-happy Hawke drank beer and watched Little Jimmy Scott‘s riveting performance, while nearby, co-star Rosario Dawson took pictures of the diminutive jazz singer, who has suddenly acquired a young, hip, and white audience. Elsewhere, a stunning Nicole Ari Parker of Soul Food fame, clad in a skintight white jumpsuit, gave air kisses to Mississippi Masala‘s Sarita Choudhury. At the end of the night, we bid adieu in the cab with, what else? “Ethan’s really happy!”
Fly Life by José Germosén