|A Guy Called Gerald|
He launched Juice Box Records in 1992 with the infamous 28 Gun Bad Boy release and this was followed by an LP of the same name. Situated in the same complex as Simply Red, Gerald gradually built his reputation, when along walked a bohemian kid called Finley.
Finley is now a Brit award reggae superstar but back then he was another shady figure from Moss Side, but with a brilliant voice. It was Gerald's Finley's Rainbow that secured Mr Quaye's CBS contract.
"He came into my studio wearing these leather trousers and he wanted to do a track. He kept pestering me every day, then he came in and sold me an amplifier. I recorded the track and thought nothing of it, until some guys came around asking for their amp. I was pissed off and I included the track on the record Black Secret Technology as a sort of payoff."
Some payoff. The album itself was ahead of its time, the shape of things to come. This is probably why Gerald had the same album re-edited remastered and re-released. His most recent offering Aquarius Rising has just been signed to Island Records. So while Goldie gets to grips with supermodels and Roni gets to grips with muso industry awards, Gerald just gets on with it.
"It's eleven years since I began doing what I do professionally. I have completed
Just over a year ago, Gerald was invited to David Bowie's 50th birthday bash. Apparently, Iman's hubby was so knocked over by my man's remix that he decided to continue the liaison.
"It was meant to be or should I say stumbled across. The thing about his music, generation to generation there has always been some kinda funk to it. I mean, he was the man who introduced to world to Luther Vandross. He's doing what I wanted to do seven years ago.
"At first I was just brought in to mix the track Telling Lies. Then he spoke of further work at his party. There are still a lot of unfinished projects in the can. That is why I have got to go to New York to finish them."
Earlier on this year around January, Gerald found himself, back home, chilling in Jamaica, something he had long wanted to do but which his workload had prevented. Then there was a track that needed mixing and the studio was in, yes you've guessed it, Jamaica. Hole in one, as you might say!
"I had been working with Roy Ayers as part of a collaboration between him and Wummi. Wummi was part of Soul II Soul back in the day. Well, it was pure energy, the guy's really sporadic and he is a genius. Anyhow, we were all in Jamaica at Jon Baker's studio in Port Antonio. He was just playing the vibes while the rest of us were really drained."
Jamaica is the birthplace of Gerald's mum and dad. The Simpsons hailed from the parish of Westmoreland. G's dad comes from a town called Savannah La Mar. Apart from the obvious church choir connections, Gerald's cousin is none other than former Uhuru frontman Michael Rose.
"We never got hooked up. which was a shame, cos I love his voice. Jon had this track from Prince B of PM Dawn and one of Bob Marley's kids singing on it. It was a bit too close to dad and some of us started taking the piss. Anyhow saying that, I got the chance to hear some of the really good music coming off the island. There's Sizzla and Red Rat, it is the two ends of the scales right there, the commercial comical stuff and the serious culture element. Sizzla actually reminds me of Michael Rose cos he doesn't actually chat as such, he kinda sings too."
While in Jamdown, Gerald must have noticed the similarity between his home country's music and that of his first initial fan base outside the UK - Detroit.
"I think it is similar in a way because they are both cottage industries. Everyone like kinda lives and works in the same area. You have to, because you cannot afford big studios. Derrick, Juan and this other guy used to share the same complex."
The techno scene is very much a closed doors situation. It is almost standard that most producers and deejays set themselves to be enigmas. They rarely give interviews and rarely involve outsiders. Gerald is an exception.
"Way back before I even had a work permit I was coming to Detroit to dee jay. On the immigration slip I said I was visiting on holiday. The immigration officer, a black man, turned to me and said no one comes to Detroit for a holiday."
Whatever, he certainly got his props and when the court case between himself and 808 State was in full swing, the Detroit kids were quick to point out whose side they were on.
"I went to this club and all the kids were wearing a T-shirt with 808 State crossed out and justice for Gerald in its place. You see, in Detroit it's really brilliant because they have never heard Voodoo Ray. The track they know over there is Blow Your House Down.
"Detroit techno is now an institution worldwide and everyone knows that techno originated in Detroit. Yes, there's his bastard brother in Europe, Berlin, Rotterdam, wherever. In Detroit it is probably the circles that I move in, but everyone I know either makes music, owns a label or is involved in the music in some manner or form. Me and Carl Craig and them guys went out to get supp'm to eat, there was like all these techno gods in one place. Now if that was in Europe, Glasgow for instance, there would have been the most cameras clicking."
When quizzed on his own heroes, Gerald admitted that he would love to work with Derrick May. Mr Strings Of Life himself was actually booked to play at the Juice Box Christmas party. Unfortunately, he was double booked and the agent had to send Claude Young along as a replacement. Other mentors include Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and Chic Corea. As far as direction goes, the man who did it all before any one else had this to say.
"I love the idea of doing a soundtrack because the way films are made at the moment, the music totally fits the film. Take Natural Born Killers, it's going into different scenes. You have to remember a certain part or you will miss the plot. The music is designed to be part of this. That's the kinda thing I can get with. Nowadays, they are using relevant music to fit the film, music from that particular era, the era in which the film was made."
So this magical mystery tour that began in Say La Mar some thirty five or so years ago and laid its seed in Lancashire; the seed that grew from a MacDonald's employee to a seminal figure in the nouveau Manchester scene; that reinvented itself as the 28 Gun Bad Boy, saw the Black Secret Technology and eventually came of age with the rising of Aquarius. Does he ever think back to Moss Side? I mean, it was home once upon a time.
"You know, I wouldn't even know what is going on up there now. I ain't been there good on three years. It's like I am working on a wow system. Like when I left I said I am not coming back here. It's alright but it is like you do favours, put someone up or whatever and they leave all different kinda clips and firearm parts under the bed. It's like I have my own house up there that I bought from the profits of Voodoo Ray. There's people you grew up with and went to school with, so you cannot really turn your back on them. They are like there's a warrant out for my arrest, can I stay around your house until it cools down? Then next thing you are woken up at six o'clock in the morning. They would say does such and such live here and you have to try to remember what kinda blag name he told you to give them."