A GUY Called Gerald is one bewildered kid. He's cracking up. Too much hype, too many deals and too much aggro. Over head, the quick-money vultures linger awaiting their moment, cruising in ever-decreasing circles, waiting to pounce. He can't cope any more.
"Now I understand totally what it must be like to be Bros. Gerald is on a different level, but equally hassled," says Peter, manager of the boy's label RHAM.
Gerald can't go for a night out or stroll through the city centre of his home town Manchester without being stopped by someone wanting him to re-mix a track, do a gig or just chat. A lot to cope with for a nineteen year old bedroom DJ suddenly thrown into cult stardom. Especially when, in his naivety, he just can't say no "People stop him in the street and drag him off to studios," says Peter. "He goes because he loves recording, not for one moment thinking of the consequences. He agrees to do tracks on albums, remix indie records and do photo shoots, without any thoughts of terms or contracts. Then we have to sort the mess out!"
At one point at the end of last year things got so much that Gerald vanished for a whole fortnight, hiding in a squat in Oldham, a hill-town in the North of Manchester. "It was doing my head in," says Gerald. "I just had to get away."
The stress of success could never have been predicted. When the first advance tapes of Gerald's Voodoo Ray single leaked out from Liverpool label RHAM in August they caused little more than mild interest. Simplistic, small-scale production of eerie female vocals set to a tinny beat. Voodoo Ray rapidly grew in club status and gained him a Peel session. The frenzy took over around October when the vinyl appeared, a problematic release due to the sinking feeling in the stomach of Red Rhino (RHAM remain £10,000 out of pocket through the distributor's crash).
As the cash-in, cash-up mentality sets in, Voodoo Ray has been re-released on 7", 12", re-mixed 12" and CD single. Not forgetting the fact that it was a vital component of the compilation North-The Sound Of The Dance Underground. Add to this the album New Build by Manchester housers 808 State on which Gerald appears, and a bizarre Edward Barton record entitled Born In The North and you begin to realise why RHAM are so worried about Gerald's bad habit of saying "yes".
Hot Lemonade, his debut album, is the boy's real showpiece. It takes acidic back-bleeps and song concepts and puts them through a blender of influences including Eurobeat, Kraftwerk and hard funk. K9, Tranquillity On Phobos, In The Beginning and Arcade Fantasy take house music to another plane.
Hot Lemonade is not an album of hype, flashy production and fad following, fashion-conscious beats. Instead it is a primitive, blunderingly-brilliant piece of dance music history. A Guy Called Gerald is no sussed, money-grabbing gold 'n' girls dance producer. He is a naive Manchester teenager with a natural talent. Only the persistent vultures can spoil Gerald's dance-dream.
[Author: Sarah Champion]