Being the night owl that I am, I was shocked... shocked! to hear of the news late last night that 'The Godfather of House' music passed away yesterday in his home in Chicago. Needless to say his music and spirit have been a huge influence on me and millions of others over the years and it's terrible to have lost him at such an early age (59) to complications from diabetes.
If you don't know much about Knuckles, you should read this great obituary/tribute by Michaelangelo Matos at Rolling Stone today and listen to some of his music. But I'll tell you a funny story which goes back to when I was a young, young DJ/Promoter starting out in Idaho Falls, Idaho and happened to be getting married blindly for the first time to my high school girlfriend, one of my favorite memories from that night was playing my new Franke Knuckles mix CD "United DJ's of America" for our party and everyone, young or old getting down to it. We danced away under the stars that night. The way Frankie mixed and the spirit of the music he was known for was full of love and celebration, but always on the cutting edge, and that's something I've tried to carry with me to this day.
Another connection goes back to when I was living in Utah for the second time and having my friend Sergio Hernandez, a transplant DJ from Chicago tell me stories about growing up in the club scene there in the early 80's and 90's. About all the DJ's he heard on the classic WBMX Hot Mix radio shows and then in person, including Knuckles. When Sergio moved back to Chi from SLC he started throwing parties with a crew called called Krush which threw an amazing dj battle/party that Frankie showed up to support. It was then that he finally got to introduce himself and thank him for the music. This makes me insanely jealous because I had hoped to hear/meet him myself one day. But I feel like Sergio, by proxy, was able to convey that for us fans. What the DJ's are saying around the web this week is that, "Heaven has a new resident DJ". I can put my hands in the air for that.
For a sampling of his great vibrations watch and enjoy his recent Boiler Room Set, which he claimed as being the best party he'd played in recent memory–like a real old school NYC loft party. His RedBull interview from 2011 is fascinating, and you could explore more on his Soundcloud page. Headphone dance party anyone?