1983, Jay Strongman on the year of Go For It

➤ NIGHTLIFE SPECIAL interviews
Jay Strongman about London’s
fast-changing dancefloor sounds

The Face, journalism, interview, Jay Strongman, nightlife, reviews, dance music, Dirt Box, Demob, Rock-a-Cha, Wag club, Mud club,funk
First published in The Face, December 1983

In 1983 Jay Strongman rules the three hottest turntables in London. David Johnson finds out how this former suit salesman caters to both B-boys and Box-tops without missing a beat. . . First he span the Dirt Box into cult history, 18 months later some starry footwork has won him a transfer to Demob’s rival Saturday-night empire, while on Thursdays Jay also plays the Wag and on Fridays the Mud Club. Soulboys and fashionettes alike dance to Jay’s tune because his sudden rise celebrates a uniquely British marriage: that of Fifties style to the sound of Eighties funk. . .

One link between the three clubs you play? “Hard black funk: it’s brought everyone together. Kids who were going to Planets two years ago and listening to Depeche Mode are into Prince Charles now.”

What was the catalyst in London? “The hardcore Beat Route crowd who are now at the Wag. For the ones in the 25 age-bracket funk was nostalgia”

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The Face, journalism, interview, Jay Strongman, nightlife, reviews, dance music, Dirt Box, Demob, Rock-a-Cha, Wag club, Mud club,funk,

Click for larger image © Nick Logan/The Face Archive

British bands are not really leading the new music, are we? “That’s right. All the decent British bands have been too wrapped up in pop. It took Trouble Funk to take that basic Kraftwerk riff and turn it into something hard – Trouble Funk Express”

How did rockabilly get to be such an important club style? “I happened to go to the Bobby Sox in Neasden, an incredible underground scene. In ’79 everyone was wearing straw hats and dungarees and that’s when Bob and I opened Rock-a-Cha in Kensington Market. The whole thing went commercial with the Stray Cats.”

Why are you having to buy your own imports in Groove Records? “The record companies are out of touch. CBS are bastards. I went in there and said I do the Mud club and they said they don’t know it. Wag? Don’t know it. Most haven’t a clue about the scene.”

PLUS: THE FACE’S SUPREME CLUBBING TEAM
SELECT SIX OF THE WORLD’S BEST

SAMPLE REVIEW. . . Fake in Los Angeles: Forget New York – they’re all ageing Hispanic trendies living for Johnny Thunders. The West Coast’s where the Girl Georges are. Fake is the Fridays-only British club hosted by style-queen Sharman in the 1950s Continental Club. “Suitably sleazy” (LA Times)

➢ Elsewhere at Shapersofthe80s: 1978, When French semioticians come stalking Le Palace, you know it’s serious

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TAGS – The Face, journalism, interview, Jay Strongman, nightlife, reviews, funk, Prince Charles, Afrika Bambaata, dance music, Dirt Box, Demob, Wag club, Mud club, Plastic Club Milan, Rock-a-Cha, Stray cats, Trouble Funk, Bobby Sox, In The Streets, In The Bottle, Kid Creole, Los Angeles

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