Now for the real reason we're here true believers: Next months Wax Poetics Journal will feature a story by yours truly, it is a feature about the 1977 battle between super jocks Pete D.J. Jones and Kool D.J. Herc.
I first heard about this battle in the book "Yes Yes Y'all an Oral History" by Charlie Ahearn and Jim Fricke. In one of the chapters Kool DJ AJ Scratch talked about a battle at the Executive Playhouse between Kool DJ Herc and Pete DJ Jones. AJ described it as being the turning point in both Flash's career as well Kool Herc's.
Two years ago I wrote this piece about the nomination of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame http://www.stealthmag.com/board/viewthread.php?tid=1907. As you can see I talked to damn near every hip hop pioneer out there. It was while I was getting a quote from Pete Jones for the story that he happened to have mentioned the battle in '77.
For those that don't know Pete Jones was one of the first black mobile disc jockey's in New York City in the 1960's and '70's. He and a guy named Cameron 'Grandmaster' Flowers (R.I.P.) were the first black mobile jocks to play around New York back then. Flowers, it is said, was probably the first cat out there with a complete system and awesome mixing techniques. As a matter of fact Pete Jones told me that, "Grandmaster Flowers was the smoothest blender I have ever seen in my life."
They played rhythm and blues for Black and Latino audiences all over the city. Pete Jones had a bigger rep back then because he spun at the biggest clubs and for the biggest black station: WBLS. Legend has it that Flowers opened for James Brown at Yankee Stadium sometime in the late '60's.
Back in the day Pete DJ Jones was the man. That's him today at somewhere near 65 years of age. It has been previously reported that he was from Brooklyn, that is inaccurate - he is from Durham, North Carolina. The part of New York that he lives in is the Bronx.
Anyway I don't want to give my story away, but while doing my research for this piece it intrigued me to hear about a time when the name Grandmaster Flash wasn't a legend. The first person I interviewed for this story was Kool Herc http://www.bumsquaddjz.com/interviews/?p=16. The little bit that Herc told me intrigued me so much that I reached out to Pete Jones again for this article. He put me in contact with two gentlemen: JT Hollywood and KC the Prince of Soul. They gave me a wealth of information that, unfortunately, I was unable to use for this piece. I had to narrow the focus of the story down and I didn't want to go too far out in left field. Anyway, through my home girl Christie Z Pabon I got contact in touch with AJ Scratch, the original source of the story. I had him dig a little bit deeper for me for this article. I wanted to take the reader inside of the club.
Ever since I wrote about Flash and the Furious I wanted to talk to two guys who were with Flash the whole time but who have never been heard from before: EZ Mike and Disco Bee. AJ gave me EZ Mike's info who then put me onto Disco Bee. I drove 3 hours to Greensboro, NC to go interview Bee on New Years Eve (gotta bring in the New Year right yo). Both Mike and Bee gave me a wealth of information that, someday, God willing, I will put to use. The early story of Flash and the Furious 5 is incredible.
I tried to get in touch with Flash through his manager Kool Lady Blue, but Flash said that he wasn't a part of the battle. But AJ and EZ Mike confirmed for me that he was.
I wanted to do something I have rarely ever seen done before in hip hop journalism, especially about that particular time, I wanted to tell a story - a compelling story. Which meant that I had to put things in context and use imagery in order to really tell the story right. I am quite sure that you will like what I have done.
My editors Andre Torres and Brian DiGenti got Phase II to do some work as well and Elemental Magazine gave us some pics and flyers of Pete Jones from back in the day. And oh yeah, while I'm at it strong shout to Charlie Ahearn for hooking us up with the pic of EZ Mike and Mele Mel. I reached out to Disco Bee for some pics but never heard back. And like we said back in the day: This is a revolution sureshot!