A Guy Called Gerald

From Academic Kids

A Guy Called Gerald is the stage name for Gerald Simpson, a musician, record producer and DJ, and perhaps best known for his early work in the Manchester (UK) acid house scene in the early 1990s and the track "Voodoo Ray". At that time, he specialised in techno music produced using retro equipment, such as the Roland TB-303 bass machine and the TR-808 drum machine (he sourced much of his equipment from Johnny Roadhouse, a second-hand music shop on Oxford Road in Manchester).

He has proven to be among the most innovative modern electronic music figures. His early influences came from his Jamaican roots; his father's blue-beat, ska and Trojan reggae record collection, his mother's pentecostal church sessions and the Jamaican Sound system (DJ) parties in Manchester's Moss Side area where he grew up.

He absorbed jazz fusion at clubs like Legends in Manchester where the dancefloor in the early 1980s inspired him to study contemporary dance. Around 1983 when electro and early hip hop, Breakdancing and b-boy culture made its way from the US, he left dance college to immerse himself in electronic music. At this time music from Detroit and Chicago - from producers such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson was being played by Stu Allen on Piccadilly Radio and imported directly into Manchester's specialist record shops.

Inspired, Gerald began experimenting with tape editing and drum machines and the regular jams in the attic of his house led to forming the Scratchbeat Masters. Using cut up beats, samples and turntables they would challenge other crews and their sound systems. They released a 12' single called "Wax On The Melt", a collaboration between a number of crews and Graham Massey and Martin Price together with whom he would later form 808 State. Their first album Newbuild was released in 1989 but he soon left the group to concentrate on his solo work.

The result of heading back into his bedroom studio was "Voodoo Ray", played first at the infamous Hacienda and then the underground clubs and entering the UK charts a year later. It was one of the first acid house tracks produced in the UK. This was a time when musicians believed they needed to be signed to a major record company to have a hit but without the backing of the major label marketing machine and spurred on by the acid house fever sweeping the club scene, "Voodoo Ray" entered the charts in 1989. At the same time a track he'd produced before leaving 808 State, "Pacific State" was released and hit the charts. However they had released the track without Simpson's permission and without crediting him as the producer. The dispute ended in court and Simpson won.

In 1991 after a mismatched partnership with CBS / Sony producing one album, Automanikk he started his own label, Juicebox Records, releasing a string of pioneering 12" singles - the seeds of what became known as jungle and later drum and bass. The first singles were compiled and released on his landmark (and very rare) third album 28 Gun Bad Boy (1992) .

During the next five years as jungle rose in popularity and expanded well beyond its UK roots, Simpson continued to release music on Juicebox and crafted his next album, Black Secret Technology (1995). It is cited as one of the first single-artist drum and bass albums and was very well received.

In 1997 he moved to New York and in 2000 released Essence on the independent label, !K7 Records. Essence was Simpson's first song-based rather than dance/club album featuring guests such as Louise Rhodes, David Simpson, Lady Kier and Wendy Page.

His latest album To All Things What They Need was released on !K7 Records January 2005.


Selected Discography

See also

External links


  • Carlise, Colin (1995) Fly (http://www.fly.co.uk/gerald.htm)
  • Kabuubi, Maxine (2000) Knowledge Magazine (http://www.knowledgemag.co.uk/features.asp?ReviewID=1278&PageNumber=1&SectionID=1031)
  • Shapiro, Peter; Rough Guides (1999) The Rough Guide to Drum n Bass ISBN 1858284333
  • Eshun, Kodwo (http://www.jahsonic.com/KodwoEshun.html) (1998) More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction ISBN ?

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