From his Chicago hometown and the early days of House Music, he’s got the DIY sense. From his Black ancestors, he would integrate the rhythmic and harmonic influences into one of the most exciting repertoires one may think of.
Ladies & gents, time to jack to the sound of Glenn Underground…
Date and place of birth?
“Age 43. Born in Chicago.”
“My childhood was basic like any other. But I come from a strong family that raised me to be the best. My studies were the basic grade school, High school, a lil’ college. Never studied music at school, but rather in the streets of Chicago. So basically I taught myself to play the keys…”
“Chicago was the greatest place on the planet back in the early days of House Music. The House scene then made men become men and women become women. It is true. It kept crime off the streets. This was a surrealistic way of life!”
Your heroes/those would got you into music/House?
“God of the creation would come first. He inspires all things. But who taught me the ropes of DJing, was my uncle, David Collins. He was a great DJ dating from 1977 all the way into the beginning of House Music in the 80’s. My step dad, who tried to show me in my beginning of producing. Larry Heard is also one of my heroes. And so is Lil’ Louis because he brought new energy to the original scene, meanwhile Larry laid the foundations…”
When was it?
“I can’t remember…”
The very first record you’ve bought?
“I guess it was in 1984, and I’ve been collecting my own records since then. That is when I began DJing.”
Your very first gig? Your very first production?
“My first(real) gig was the ‘Its House Social Club’. That was in 1986 on the South/East side of Chicago where the sound of House started. As a matter of fact, this is where all the great DJ’s in the city come from).
To answer the second Q., my very first production was this track I made in 86 called ‘Sounds Of The Underground’. It was a kind of a good first production. But it’s funny when thinking of it after all this time…”
Chicago at the time?
“Slow motion. I ‘ve tried trying to bring it back since all the greats have left out of the city. But it’s so hard. I’ve even thought about quiting at times…”
Chicago back in the days of early House?
“Damn it, it was the greatest place on the planet. The House scene then made men become men and women become women. It is true. It kept crime off the streets. This was a surrealistic way of life!”
How would you describe Chicago as compared to Detroit, Philadelphia, NYC, San Francisco?
“It’s hard to compare, but these names of cities you mentioned have always had a Dance Music scene. This said, we (Chicago) taught their asses about music called House…”
What is it to be a Chicagoan DJ?
“I think that question should be: what is like to be a black DJ in Chicago? And to answer this, I would say it is hard like any form of Black Music. We (the Blacks) lose sight of things. We procreate. And then other people watching in hiding steal our shit and lose sight of the true meaning and then close us out. So I ain’t even a DJ in Chicago!!! I may be one for you, but that’s pretty all about it!”
The local Chicago scene, club/productionwise?
“The local scene is struggling, and productionwise, I don’t like a lot the music coming out of the city. The only stuff I like is Anthony Nicholson (my favorite), Ron Trent, Vick Lavender (Mr. A.L.I. back then). And some Mark Grant stuff as well. Everything else is just there.”
Lil’Louis said to me at the time that there’s never really been a close community in Chicago. Therefore meaning no real connections between people right there…
“It was at one point. Because like Larry Heard said to me before it was no guide in the beginning beginning. I meant to say ‘beginning’ twice. Because every one was new to it. Lil’louis has always been kind of a loner, but one of the great ones who could have unified the seen. Because he took it over at one point in time, and I mean took it over…”
You’ve have worked at a time with Boo Williams and been among the Urban Heirs posse. Would it mean that you’ve always felt safer being somehow surrounded?
“Boo is my brother. The other peeps, I just tried to help. But sometimes it’s hard when they don’t like to listen. The Urban Heirs have been like my home boys, and I’ve tried to help them find their niche in the game. Though it is one of my companies, I have always been a loner. No, I really don’t need no one around, but we all grew up together. So we try to show the lil’ unity that we have…”
Tell us a bit more about Urban Heirs…
“We had a joint called Urban Ensemble. It was deemed as back Action pt.2, Craig and Matt worked on it, but in the mean time we were being lazy. I mean, they were… Hahaha!”
Your biggest success so far?
“I think my truest production is ‘Funky Ghetto’, but I got fucked on that album. One of my favs would be ‘Mental Black Resurrection’.”
One may feel the presence of African influences on some of your works. What does this continent represent to you?
“They owned Negroes first as slaves, so Africa means little to me! Hopefully I can visit to see it as a tourist, or a DJ. But there’s nothing African about my music. Those instruments in my productions were transported with the Negro slaves. But they are not African.
We (the Negroes) and the Africans have the same colour skin. But the Africans are not the progenators of the Negro race, even though I like some African music.”