As I write this, I realize that I am still recovering. The pressure, the happiness, the drama, and of course, the relief -- the events are still fresh in my mind, and as I sip my morning coffee, I prepare to revisit the wildness that I called "PRESERVATION..."
Going into this with high expectations, I was already a nervous wreck. Newspapers wrote stories about the event. We've spent WEEKS planning the party, the CD compilation, the t-shirts, the promotion, etc... It takes a LOT out of you. Well, I know it took a lot out of ME. I realize that I put so much of myself into this. In fact, I can't even call it a party. It was so much more -- it was the start of a MOVEMENT... But as I write this, I think back and realize that it was all worth it...
My night started at 7PM... I'd already spent the day in awe, checking the online sales of the PRESERVATION compilation CD -- it had just been released this morning, which was another soul-consuming process in itself. Thank God for Mel (Winders) and Jason (Jones) being here with me, because I don't think I would've remembered everything -- Camera, DAT player, CDs, etc. My damn phone kept ringing ALL DAY, from people with all sorts of questions. The BIGGEST question of the night: "Can you put me on the GUEST LIST?" (That is one of the most ANNOYING questions you can EVER ASK a promoter! After all of the money, hard work, blood, sweat and tears that went into this -- especially on the biggest bar night of the year -- you KNOW you're gonna come in and drink, but your ass didn't feel like paying a $10 cover charge? WHAT?! Are you SERIOUS?)
I wanted to arrive at the club early, so we could do a proper sound check. Most of the W.A.R.M.T.H. team had arrived early, as we were ALL excited to see this night become a success. Kevin King (and his wife Michelle), John Cline, Shant Kirmizian, Mel, Jason & I were able to have a nice little meal before getting started -- I was so frazzled, I was barely able to eat. Tink Thomas connected the equipment, and before long, the party had begun -- at least for us... It felt really good just to "unwind" a bit before the crowd came. The merchandise table was set up. Seeing the CDs & T-shirts on display gave me an overwhelming feeling of "WOW... this is REALLY HAPPENING!" Like a proud parent on graduation day, I was preparing to watch my "baby" walk across the stage, so to speak...
9PM... Karl Lucas started his set. At this time, NOBODY was in the club besides us. However, Karl played like he was performing in front of a massive crowd -- he was in a zone. I felt sorry for the people who didn't come early to hear him, because he truly BROUGHT THE PAIN! I admit I was nervous... It seemed like everyone in Detroit was throwing their own party -- which pissed me off. AGAIN, I must remind you... So much planning went into W.A.R.M.T.H. Personally, I believe that some people decided to throw their own party just to compete with ME (I do have haters, but whatever...). But as I've ALWAYS said about W.A.R.M.T.H. -- it's NOT about me. It's about OUR MUSIC and OUR SCENE... Some of these close-minded, hateful bitches can't see the "forest for the trees." But I digress... KARL played his heart out, and even if there was no crowd, I appreciated him.
10PM... People finally began showing up. Karl was still DJing, although Eric Johnson was supposed to start. Tink was gone, but told me he'd be back in time for his set at 11pm. By this point, I was like "fuck it. Whatever happens, is gonna happen..." It was out of my hands at this point, and I accepted things as they were.
Mel was working the door, and had issues with "correct change." Our car was parked in the wrong spot, and was almost towed away. My cell phone rang constantly -- when it worked -- from people either trying to find Oslo, wanting to get "on the guest list," or asking me what time my set was... Although I'd had a drink or two by this time, I still wasn't calm!
Eric Johnson arrived at around 10:15, ready to DJ. By this time, Quentin Harris was here, and we were hanging out at the bar. It's always great to talk to Quentin -- I think personally, because we're so much alike. DIVALICIOUS, honey!!! LOL... I love his attitude, and although we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like to (the bitch is ALWAYS gone, in some country SOMEWHERE!), when WE get together, BABY, it's a BLAST!!!
Back to Eric Johnson... when ERIC JOHNSON says he's bringing HEAT, you better believe it. I was starting to "come out of my shell," calm down and actually ENJOY the night. I remember people like Tasha Price -- I know this sounds silly, but I REALLY wanted to make sure that people KNEW how much I appreciated them -- just for walking in the door. Tasha said to me, "I wouldn't miss it for the world." I truly had to fight back tears, because my emotions were so intense. I kept thinking "wow... people are REALLY coming to support W.A.R.M.T.H.!" I wanted them to feel what I felt. Seriously, my heart was filled with so much love and appreciation. I really hope they felt that...
Okay, I keep straying, but... ERIC muthafuckin' JOHNSON... BABY, I don't know WHAT he played, but whatever that tune was, I was sitting down... the BASSLINE ripped right through me, and I ran up to the DJ booth and SCREAMED!!!!! (And I was even more proud to see him rocking it with his W.A.R.M.T.H. T-shirt on!)
11PM came and went... Where the hell was Tink?! I kept getting text messages from him, asking who was playing -- could he play at 12, instead of 11, etc... In hindsight, I understand that this is a "typical DJ trick," to ensure they have a full crowd to play to. Whether HE was doing that or not, I don't know. But again, whatever. It is what it is...
Eric Johnson continued to play, and everyone was satisfied. Karl Lucas asked if he could play until Tink showed up. I didn't mind. As far as I'm concerned, the VIBE was right -- I could give a shit less WHO was on the decks.
Jason, Kevin & Michelle King were taking turns working the merchandise table. I really wish you knew what I was feeling, seeing everyone in W.A.R.M.T.H. T-shirt -- each of them having a look of pride on their faces. This is TRULY a team, y'all... And I swear it was evident. Not a clique, or a crew... but a TEAM.
Shortly after 12 midnight, Tink returns. Mind you, the lineup schedule was COMPLETELY fucked up by now! Quentin and I (who'd decided to do a tag team set together) were supposed to play at 12... BONE was going to play at 1 a.m. -- another story altogether -- and JOHN COLLINS was going to close out the party at 2... I wanted everyone to be happy, so even if I didn't play at all, I didn't care. Tink was going to have his full hour to play, regardless... I know this sounds crazy, but Karl Lucas, Eric Johnson, Tink Thomas & John Collins were REALLY who I wanted to showcase. Why? Well, for starters, they're damn good DJs. DAMN good. And part of W.A.R.M.T.H.'s mission is to show the world that DETROIT DJs can rock a party like NO OTHER -- and I'm not just saying that! There's a reason why Detroit is so special. There's no denying that... And SURE, we had some "more popular folks" on the lineup -- Quentin, Bone & myself -- but I wanted to show people that it wasn't about US... People like Karl Lucas -- someone who most people outside of Detroit might not even know -- can hold their own, and truly kick ass.
So now Tink is playing... He's doing his thing and I KNOW people were into it. I was too busy dealing with OTHER drama at the time. A group of kids (over 18 y/o, but under 21) wanted to get into the club. I didn't realize that it was really for the "21 and over" crowd, so it's my fault for not advertising it that way. Anyway, after going back and forth with the owner, and basically putting MY neck (as well as theirs) on the line, the group was allowed to attend the party -- as LONG AS THEY DIDN'T DRINK! I made it my personal mission to ensure that these folks didn't drink -- I wanted NO drama. Hell... OUR party wasn't getting shut down, all because some underage drinkers!
True to form, shortly after they got into the party, the "games" had begun. The kids knew they were being watched, so after only about 10 minutes, they left. I overheard one of them saying "I'm leaving because I can't get CRUNK!" (I wanted to break a beer bottle over his fucking head when I heard that... HOW DARE YOU disrespect ME and this establishment, just because you wanna get drunk... Get the fuck out!)
Mike Banks, Juan Atkins, Lou Robinson (SCAN 7) & Eddie Fowlkes (to name just a few of Detroit's Finest) were in the house. I hate that I didn't get a chance to actually SPEAK with Eddie -- especially after our recent lengthy phone conversation... Mike was wearing his AFRO, as he said he would. I was just so honored that he was there. You know, after EVERYTHING that Mike Banks and I have been through, believe me when I say that I have such a GREAT love for that man! Like a father to his child, I KNOW that Mike has that same love for me. (The day before, he told me how proud he was of me -- words that will forever remain in my heart. Even today, I find myself wanting to make him proud.) So this party was EXTRA SPECIAL to me -- simply because I wanted MIKE to witness it, look at his "son" with pride and say "wow... he DID it."
My respect has grown so much greater for JUAN ATKINS! He'd been scheduled for a gig the same night as the PRESERVATION party. When he received the flyer and saw the lineup, he turned down his OWN gig, so he wouldn't compete with ours. When I heard this, I cried tears of joy. Later on, Juan told me that people were "pulling his arm" to take the gig, so eventually, he agreed. I understood, but I was STILL impressed by his gesture. Wow.. Juan Atkins, showing love to W.A.R.M.T.H. So when I saw JUAN at the party, I couldn't help but reach out and hug him. I asked, "do you know how much it means to me that you're even HERE?" Then it dawned on me -- wait a minute... Shouldn't HE be playing somewhere else right now??? (The gig got cancelled, he said.)
By this time, it was a little after 1 a.m. and the moment was right for Quentin and I to let the crowd HAVE IT...
Quentin started off with "something!" I don't even know what the damn song was, but let's just say that the magic was in the air... He worked a Martha Wash acapella looped over this track, and MMMMM... it was HEAVEN. Mind you, I'm not used to "tagging" with anyone. But something about this moment was SPECIAL... Spontaneous... Completely unrehearsed... Quentin and I were determined to whip each other's ASSES in the DJ booth -- figuratively speaking, of course! He played his track, then I took the decks... It was time to show and prove, so I dropped the ONE track I'd been saving for this exact moment. "4 TYPES OF PEOPLE" by SCAN 7 feat. AARON-CARL... Baby, the place lit up. The spirit took over, and I swear, people's mouths dropped. Granted, before this moment, MIKE hadn't heard the track. Nor did Quentin, Juan or Eddie. I wanted "4 Types of People" to drop on them like a BOMB... From what I hear, it did. :-)
From that moment, it was ON.. Quentin and I went back and forth, and the crowd was loving every moment of it. I even heard Tink in the background, agging us on. "Whatcha gonna do NOW, Q? Whatcha gonna do NOW, AC?" Quentin dropped "Apologize" -- the track we did together. Okay, I admit... I was amazed. (How dare you whip my ass, with MY OWN vocals?) Our set got cut short, because DJ Bone really wanted to play. Again, I didn't fuss... And when I stepped off the decks, I was exhausted -- in a GOOD way... I did what the fuck I came to do. It was up to Bone to keep that momentum going... From what I heard, he did.
At this time, I sat down to talk with Ric -- a hardcore AC fan. I met him a few times before, but we'd never gotten to sit down and have a REAL conversation until now. So while sat on the outside steps, having our talk, Bone was inside ripping the people to shreds. (Get 'em, Bone!)
From what I heard, John Collins had left. I guess he figured he wasn't gonna get to play, and his personality is so calm, I can just imagine him saying "oh well... it's JUST a PARTY!" I admit, I was a bit disappointed, because I'd hyped HIM up so much. I wanted John Collins to shut it the fuck down... But at around 2:30, the crowd had thinned out, and the club was closing. I haven't spoken to John yet, but I REALLY want to apologize to him. I don't even know why -- it is what it is, right? I could blame OTHER folks for fucking up the lineup, but why? By this time, I felt like our party was a success ANYWAY! In spite of the drama, the mission was accomplished.
Let me also acknowledge Ms. Angela Slate & Dee Jones. Although they left the initial W.A.R.M.T.H. group and started their own collective, "Houseworks," it really warmed my heart to see them walk through the door, and SUPPORT this event. Their presence spoke volumes to me -- whatever our personal differences are, they showed me that THEY ALSO want to keep our scene alive... It's not about US... it's about the MUSIC. And I can't stress that enough. I wasn't being fake when I took pictures with them. While I wished we could ALL work as one, I understand that different people have different visions... I ONLY say this because of the bullshit I keep hearing in the streets. I've NEVER put any value on it, because at the end of the day, none of the drama really matters... I've stepped outside of Detroit -- and all of the fickle attitudes that come along with it -- and looked at the bigger picture. It's like a real family... You've got ALL types of people in this family -- some get along, other's don't. But we're STILL family.
Speaking of family... Angie Schwendemann (I spelled it RIGHT this time!), Tom Linder, Bill Stacy & his wife Becky showed up as well. I must've sounded like a broken record when I hugged them all and thanked them for coming -- but I wanted EACH of them to know that I MEANT IT!!!
Diviniti, Pirahnahead -- EVERYBODY really! (Especially my baby, Gary Martin... I STILL melt whenever he speaks to me, and he knows this. LOL.. I don't give a damn who knows it either. LOL!!!)
Everyone at W.A.R.M.T.H. worked so hard, and invested so much of themselves. All of the DJs, everyone who bought a CD or a T-shirt, danced to our music, etc... People who stopped in just for a moment, just to show their love. (Y'all don't understand!)
I'm still in awe of everything so far... From the extensive press coverage, to people spreading the word on the streets -- and that's just DETROIT! I haven't even begun to thank the people from all around the world!!!
As I write this, I received a few emails -- confirmations of orders. People who purchased the W.A.R.M.T.H. compilation CD. ALL of these confirmations (today) came from people in JAPAN... What?! JAPAN? REALLY??? Please know that again, I'm holding back my tears of joy. I am SO HAPPY and grateful to you.
I'm sure that by now, you've heard that W.A.R.M.T.H. is buying a building. I tried to keep it a secret for a while, but now that it's in the press, I guess I can't hide it anymore... This PRESERVATION event, as well as the CD compilation, was (among other things) a fundraiser for this purpose. How many of you actually knew that?
All of the DJs donated their time and talents -- most of them even gave their own money to the cause. Please don't make the mistake of thinking that this was "just another party," as I've said before.
We've received an outpouring of love and support from so many people -- it would be impossible to thank you ALL individually, although I eventually plan to do so. (I'm trying!) I get emails all the time -- ironically from people OUTSIDE OF DETROIT -- asking how they can help support the movement... At the time, I didn't know how to answer them. NOW I DO...
If you haven't, please find it in your hearts to actually SUPPORT our cause. For those of you who bought a T-shirt or a CD, I thank you so much. We even have the MP3s and WAVS of the album, for convenience. Come to our events if you can! Represent W.A.R.M.T.H. within your OWN organizations... Help spread the word -- we're REALLY dedicating ourselves to preserving the soul of Electronic Music. And YES, I'm reaching out to the WORLD... That's my biggest reason for changing it from "W.A.R.M.T.H. 313" (as it initially was) to W.A.R.M.T.H. INTERNATIONAL INC.
This party was the launching pad, and I think we're off to a great start. There's a lot in store for W.A.R.M.T.H., and I look forward to sharing ALL of these wonderful moments with YOU.
If you haven't done so, visit our website. Follow us on twitter (warmth313). Listen to our radio show (Fridays at 7PM EST on www.warmth313.com). Keep up with us, because together WE ARE REVOLUTIONIZING THE MOVEMENT OF TECHNO AND HOUSE!