Peace , its an honor.....im not gonna ask you about the single pole
double throw switch , or Pete Dj Jones . Im gonna try to ask some
things that I never heard you answer . ........... How did you
actually hook up with Mean Gene & Grandwizard Theodore (The L
Flash : Well , after I had already taken 3 - 4 years to create the
Dj art form which I call the quick mix theory , which included
cutting , backspinning etc...I was a searching scientist . I would
drag things in from backyards, abandoned cars - electrical items
like speakers , thrown out stereo equipment - because I was in
search of something. I got to an age when my family was really
pissed about it . I decided to make a move , I took my equipment and
I met a gentleman named Gene Livingston . I lived on 138th St and
Cypress Ave. he lived 168th & Boston Rd . In meeting Mean Gene
he was known as the block bully - you really didn't wanna piss him
off . He was willing to be my partner . The majority of the
equipment was his and I added mine.
I got comfortable with my equipment staying there . His mother Mrs
Mary Livingston was a sweetheart , she treated me like I was one of
her children. I practiced at his house and honed my craft . Mean
Gene had the back room of his mothers apartment . She had one
of those old school apartments that was really big . Genes room was
way in the back...you had to go through the living room to get
there . When I would go through the living room there was this
little kid in the living room playing around with his mothers stereo
. I noticed he was able to find the beggining of the break on a
record...he would do this with one turntable .
He would pick
the needle up when the break was about to end ; he would pick the
needle up and drop it in the precise spot where the break began . I
was so amazed by this !! I couldn't do that . I had to come up with
the clock theory , which is bringing the record back mathematically
x amount of revolutions to arrive at the top of the break , by a
mark on the record . He was able to do this by picking up the needle
and dropping it right on the groove . I found this so amazing !! I
told Gene that his brother was doing what I wished I could do. I was
trying to show Gene this new found way of Djing..I called it the
needle drop. I asked if we could incorporate his brother into the
group , because at this time we wanted to do any and everything to
get noticed. The person who was the overlord and had all the
recognition by himself was Kool Herc. He was the man to shoot for .
I thought that since the few people that I was showing this to
couldn't do it , not only would it be a relief to me , but a great
gimmick because he was so young and short for his age. Gene said
" Flash if I catch you with my little brother on the set , its
gonna be me & you". I was like fine...this was Mean Gene
Livingston the neighborhood bully - you didn't want to get into any
shit with him . I respected his wishes for a minute , but as soon as
he left the neighborhood ; I would get his brother , and take a milk
crate and turn it upside down and I had him stand on. I told him to
do what he did on his moms stereo. We kept it secret for a long time
. After awhile I had to tell Gene that his brother had the technique
down and I took him to 63 park with me . People found him so amazing
. He actually looked better than me doing it because he was so little
. It got Gene pretty upset and me & him couldn't perform in the
same group so I had to leave . That's when I formed my own group.
JQ : What are
your 3 favorite Breakbeats of all time ?
GMF : Apache
, Star Wars &...hmmm this is hard.....Mardis Gras (the bells) by
JQ : What is
your relationship to EZ Mike & Disco Bee ?
GMF : Whooaaa
good questions !! .....EZ Mike is my childhood buddy . I have been
knowing him for most of my life . After this style of Djing
became popular , he was one of the few people who caught onto it ,
but he wasn't interested , and he went astray . He led the
other life , and it got him in some trouble - we were disconnected
for ten or twelve years ; and we just reconnected this year . Mike
is the one in all the pictures with us. He is on the Message album
cover with us . He has a clean head and is very focused now .
Disco Bee is in Greensborough , but whenever I have gigs where I
need his experience I call him out . He has a family and lives down
South but he still rolls with me . They both do....they were both my
JQ : When the
group split EZ Mike went with Mel's faction right ?
GMF : Yes ,
at that time things were rough on Mike , and I think that Mel made
himan offer to basically be me . I left because I was fed up with
the whole situation . There were still shows and money to be made ,
but I didn't want to do it anymore. The closest thing to me on the
wheels was Mike , because Disco Bee didn't really have the dexterity
. So they coerced Mike into going on the road with them . I didn't
get mad at him because he had to make a livin' .
JQ : What's
your favorite GMF & F5 release on the Sugarhill label ?
GMF : Freedom
JQ : Did you
realize that " Adventures On The Wheels " was making an
impact outside of New York ?
GMF : In
America nobody cared. The only person who ever gave the record a
chance was Frankie Crocker . Nobody here really understood it. When
it was released in Europe , Germany & Japan and we went there, it was like "
oh God he is here ". I was a hero to so many people that it
scared me . I expected this reaction in America , but I didn't get
JQ : Did you
get any flack from the label about releasing that type of record?
GMF : No she
(Sylvia) encouraged it . I approached her many times about it . I
just would drop it in her ear " Sylvia can I make a cut record
?" After awhile we were coming off tour and she flew me &
Mel in and said lets do this record . She told me to pick the
records that I wanted to use and we did it .
JQ : Did you
do it in one take ?
Nah...it took 3 takes . The first was just getting familiar with
moving from one turntable to the next - the dexterity . The second
time was getting even more familiar , and the third time I just
locked it in .
JQ : Was the
Bozo Meko version of "Flash To The Beat" authorized by you
No...just someone bootlegged it from a party.
JQ : What
about " We Rap More Mellow " ?
GMF : Well
Furious and I got into a real bad disagreement and split for awhile
. Terry Lewis had been after the guys to record for awhile. I wasn't
really pleased with him . When we split he got to the guys . They
made the record , but they couldn't use the real name , so they used
that name (Younger Generation).
JQ : Scorpio
told me , & I quote " its good being a part of our group ,
but sometimes I think GMF & F5 are some of the stupidest
motherfu*%rs in the world . Mel & Flash cant get along , and
that's why we aren't out here getting this money like Rolling Stones
, Kiss & Aerosmith . Mel & Flash hold grudges for 15 years -
that's why we aren't out there now" . Is that accurate?
GMF : Its
true . I think what crushed me is Mel was my golden child in my
formula , and when he sided with Sylvia for just a couple of seconds
it crushed me . When I put this formula together he wasn't a center ;
he was a point guard . He was such an important factor in the formula
, I cant imagine what she could have said to him that would make him
not see the same vision . When we stopped looking at the same vision
it all fell apart . Someone else was able to whisper in his ear and
it crushed me . When we were fully focused we were unstoppable
. When we all stopped looking at the same prize , I said this is
really over .
JQ : Do you
feel that if you had been a strong unit in 82-83 , that you could
have prevented some of Run Dmc & the next school from emerging
as powerful as they did?
GMF : I think
that the ball was dropped , so the timing was perfect . They didn't
really take advantage of anything - the ball didnt bounce anymore .
If you were watching the Bulls play ball , and all of a sudden Pippen
& Jordan don't get along anymore , and the ball just stops
bouncing - someone else is gonna pick it up and go with it . So the
ball was dropped by Jordan & Pippen so to speak .
I want you to
put this in your interview- the beatbox is a manually operated
drumbox that I used to play while I was Djing . It was a machine
made in England by Vox.It had a bass drum key , snare , hi hats and
hand claps . I used to play this like a typewriter almost .
The phrase beat box was coined by me , but it didn't reach the
masses . Well it went to sleep and reemerged with people doing it
with their mouths. So the human beatbox is these guys emulating
something that I created - I just want people to know that . My
neighbor was a drummer who used it to keep his fingers nimble .
Whenever he couldn't set up his drums he used this . He lived in the
projects - 149th & Jackson Ave . I begged him to sell it to me ,
he sold it to me for $125.00 .
JQ : Where
did the "B Team" replacement guys come from after the
GMF : Lavon
& Broadway were good friends with Rahiem . Him & Creole were
comfortable with these guys . They were pretty good , but they were
never my template . It was ok....a way to keep the name alive . Of
course the original F5 is untouchable . Once I discovered the
disarray I was in at Sugarhill , I had aquired friends at record
labels . Once we legally got out , I met Bob Krasnow - the big
cheese at Elektra. I
talked to him , and explained my situation . I learned how to
sign a deal the industry way , which was a little different from the
way we did it previously . The records we did were ok , but they
wanted the original group . I told Bob that it wouldn't be cheap ,
and it would be hard to do . When I talked to them(Furious) they were happy
about it - they were with it . They said we just need a few things -
I got what they needed . Then I had a real good relationship with a
car dealer in Long Island . Rahiem wanted a BMW , Scorp wanted a
Benz and so did Mel. Creole wanted a Benz and Cowboy didn't want a
car . Cowboy rode shotgun with Scorp or Mel . Once the deal
was made with Elektra we went to Long Island , put the order in ,
and we drove out of there with 2 BMWs & 3 Mercedes . We drove
from Long Island to Ny - we drove through the Bronx following each
other through our old neighborhood like we are back !!! It was
almost like an advertisement . But it was my deal , and too many
people were messing with the structure of it . I could have saved
the deal because Bob was my friend . But I would tell Bob its red ,
and then here comes someone saying its green - and Bobs all confused
- it just got messier and messier.
JQ : Is there
any relationship with you and any Furious members ?
GMF : I see
Rahiem sometimes , we hug - I don't see Creole , Mels on the West
coast. I saw Scorp about a year and a half ago - he is in Atlanta .
That's where its at . In my heart im missing Cowboy too much. He was
the reason that my Dj invention was able to explode . He was the one
who believed . When I created this Dj artform I tried to mix and
talk at the same time . My theory was if I can run these breaks one
behind the other on time ; the parks gonna go crazy . The park was
like a seminar - everybody just watched. I cried for like a week -
then I tried to talk myself and it didn't work . Then many tried and
failed - but Cowboy had this ringmaster voice , and he had these
Simon says tactics - call & response . It was a great
diversionary tactic because people stopped watching me. It gave me a
chance to finally exercise my science . He kinda saved my life
. Him and Theodore reassured me that I had something . Its like how
do you replace Cowboy? I just couldn't do that again - I love &
I miss him so much . He was the first , like my first born . Its
like dad missing his kids still . So what Scorp said in essence is
that early on we were pretty stupid not to get together . But after
so many years passed as human beings you have to make a living - we
have children , and you believe in your craft . You push on and
wait for anybody to give you anything. By the grace of God I have
been pretty fortunate . I just wish that my second in command had
continued to believe in me - that's Mele Mel .
JQ : Yeah it
hurt me when you guys broke up. And its sad that when people mention
GMF&F5 they just know the Message , which wasn't even a group
effort . There was so much more before the Message.
GMF : That
record was the demise of my formula . The price was too high to pay
for that record . It was the beggining of the end . I fought Sylvia
and I cried & cried , and that's when I got into drugs to escape
reality. A stranger came in and divided and conqured basically . When
I lost the love & belief of Mel there was no way it could
properly survive. We couldn't relate , couldn't sit in the same
dressing room. When we toured we didn't strategize & talk like we
used to - that's what it took to put that group together .
Me & Mel used to consult each other . Then came the ugly
court battle & she stuck Grandmaster on Mel & the pain
continued. This is how I feed my children ; as great as Mel is he
don't have to put Grandmaster on his name for the sake of a record
company that don't like me . It hurt both of us and confused the
public . People wanted to book Grandmaster Flash , but is it the Dj
,or the guy with the long hair , or the guy with the muscles?
JQ : Peace
....its an Honor
As told to
Jayquan on 06/11/02
©2002 JayQuan Dot Com
Pete Dj Jones*