DJ Frankie Bones Profile
Frankie Bones, often termed the "Godfather" of the rave scene, has spent more than two-thirds of his life devoted to electronic music. He got a start earlier than most; at only eleven years of age Bones had what he deems his first true experience in ‘clubbing.’ Every Saturday from that fateful day in May 1978 until 1982, Bones went to Roll-A-Palace, a rollerskating rink in Brooklyn with a dancefloor and "forward thinking" DJs, as he puts it. "There he learned the basic concepts of how to format music from being a regular patron on a weekly basis."
By the summer of 1979, at the age of twelve, Bones had already wired two turntables to the same stereo to enable him to start the next record while the one playing faded out. "My father found a box called a 1-4 Audio splitter which was a mixer with four slides marked Audio 1-4 and that was it. The art of mixing came by accident when I took two 45s of "Good Times" and extended the chorus. My BSR turntables had no pitch control so matching the beat of the same song was easy."
His legendary STORMraves in Brooklyn in the ‘90s have earned him the reputation as a pioneer of rave culture. "Frankie Bones introduced raves…to the east coast by throwing a series of big underground parties.
They were known as the STORMraves. Many promoters give Bones credit as the founding father of raves in America. It was at one of these Storm Raves that Bones gave a very important speech after one of his very powerful sets. He explained what the scene was about and why he had brought it to NY: peace, love, unity, and respect. When he finished everybody in the warehouse waved their hands in the air in complete unity. For many it was the most beautiful speech anyone has ever heard," says one attendee. From Prodigy to LTJ Bukem to Carl Cox, some of the best talent to emerge in the global scene has attributed Bones as an inspiration.
Playing cutting edge music without gimmicks or limitations, Bones does not follow trends or try to create them. "I do not go for a look or a style," he says. "Fashion goes in and out of style; passion and dedication never go out of style. I cannot scratch like DJ Craze, cut like Bad Boy Bill, have major backing like Paul Oakenfold or rap like Run DMC, yet every time I start where they finish the crowd response equals or surpasses… How? Why? It is quite simple: I love what I do and I have loved what I have been doing."
Interview from the mid 90's with Frankie Bones
Frankie Bones is a name that everyone knows, from Chicago to Detroit, from France to Australia, there isn’t a place in this world where he is not known. But why?
He hasn’t actually produced that much over the last few years, and none of it has been incredibly massive. Fair enough, he does a lot of DJ’ing, but what really makes a name is producing.
That’s why we’re going to have to step back a few years. Back to 1988. Frankie Bones made a real name for himself with the Bonesbreaks series, and later on The Loony Tunes releases. This quality reputation seems to have stuck, even until this day. Back then, it was all about being in the right place at the right time, Frankie Bones was definitely one of the lucky few.
Speaking to the guy, you get the feeling he knows it too. He’s not big headed, he’s actually quite down to earth. A pleasant chap who’s done more drugs in his life than most, Frankie Bones is a pleasure to interview. We started off with his past, delving back twenty years to when he was a child.
“From 78-83 I used to party and hang out twice a week at a place called Roll-A-Palace in Brooklyn. Then my first club in 83 called The Fun House, which was like a rave before the rave scene happened, which led to my first acid tip with DJ Jellybean, who was a major influence in my life from 82-85. I also used to go to The Roxy and Skate Key in the Bronx. But it was when I used to skate at Roll-A-Palace that I first became interested in DJ’ing. I always wondered how the music would never stop. It just kept flowing continuously. When I realised how they did it, it totally amazed me. So in 81, when I was fourteen, I bought my first pair of decks and a mixer”.
He’d been buying records since 1975, because of his father, who was his main source of inspiration. So he just got on with learning the skills required for mixing, practising for hours at home until he had got it right. At the time it was mainly Disco that Frankie was playing with. Then came the early stages of electro which he found he was incorporating into his sets.
But then in 1985 Frankie’s world was shattered. His father was murdered. The amount of stress this brought to his family was enormous. It just made him want to pursue life as a DJ more and more.
“I was fresh out of school, and used to dream of becoming a DJ. Growing up, it was kind of weird. I lived on a dead end street with freight train tracks next to my house, so we were always on these tracks, exploring. The first raves we threw were actually on these tracks, exploring. The first raves we threw were actually on these tracks and, I know it sounds kind of crazy, but it all turned into something. When I was little we’d all play on these tracks with big dismantled cars, broken windows… doing all types of shit that little kids would do…. I guess that’s why my music has a Hardcore edge to it, because of the way I was brought up in Brooklyn”.
From the very beginning Frankie’s music has always been ‘hard’. In 1986 he met up with Omar Santana and started to make tracks. At this point Jellybean and the Latin Rascals, who did ‘Coldcut style’ edit mixes for Kiss FM, were his main influences, as well as Tommy Musto’s show on WKTU N.Y. which went off the air in 1984.
“My early productions were Freestyle/Latin, Hip-Hop and although I started DJ’ing House with early Trax and the DJ International stuff from Chicago, I didn’t really produce any House until 1988. My first equipment was a 4-track reel and Casio RZ-1 Drum Machine, which was originally my room mates and I eventually bought my own. I was good at Multi-Tracking and Editing as well as writing actual songs. My first three songs went over really well on New York and Florida radio, but I soon realised I was more interested in mixing Freestyle and House together in my tracks than writing lyrics for girls that could not sing, and take all the credit. My first three volumes of Bonesbreaks and the Break Boys were early trax which merged Breaks with the standard 4/4 House rhythms”.
In 87 Frankie got a job with a pressing plant called Apexton, where he worked from 9-1 boxing records. As time went on he built his way up, first of all doing the promotion, then just working on tracks. After this he’d go to the TGHE studio between 2-midnight and this would happen six days a week. He was, what you might call, a busy man.
“Then I went to London and wound up playing in front of 25,000 people, it was one of the best parties I’ve ever played at. I was like a baby in diapers up on stage in front of 25,000 people, all on E at the same time at 7am in the morning. Actually the Storm Rave I did was probably the most satisfaction I’ve ever had. We had 5,000 people in a truck loading dock in Queens on September 19th 1992. After previously getting shut down losing $32,000 we thought the scene was all over… and we came back out of nowhere. We pulled twice as many people. I think the pure satisfaction of this party, and anybody who was there will tell you, was that it was the beginning of the end. It was the last party where people didn’t come with their preconceived notions of this person’s gonna fuck you up cause they gave them bad drugs or they did this with one’s girlfriend. The typical ‘as the record spins’ soap opera as I called it. I kind of lived it too. I went through a lot of shit when the Storm Rave shut down in 93 – it was a bad year for me because the drug thing got so out of control that I checked myself in. Now, I’m a lot smarter because of that. I think these kids have got to lighten up with the drugs and focus on whey they are going out. Too many kids go out to get fucked up and it’s not a good way to approach this. Even when I was fucked out of my mind, the music still mean a lot to me.
I don’t know what these kids are looking for these days. The Rave gear, I hate that shit. I’m just a t-shirt and jeans sort of guy, not all this Rave gear like light sticks and the fucking white gloves. It's not about that. It was always about the music from day one”.
To me, this says it all. Techno is music. It’s not about drugs and fashion at all. It’s when you connected the word ‘Rave’ that certain people came in and fucked things up for everyone. Drugs can play a part in the ‘Rave’ scene, but when it comes to Techno, it’s the music first and everyone should remember that.
“After 93 I went through my drugs rehabilitation. This is something that a lot of kids are going to have to visit. Too many are out of control. The Ecstasy has more fucking shit in it too. It’s like you get an A, a B, a C, a D, an E and an F with the Ecstasy you buy. It’s really bad and I don’t think these kids know – they just buy drugs from someone they’ve never seen before. I don’t think they know anyone that can get them good drugs. There’s been parties where there has been good drugs, where people just lost their minds and it was good for everyone. But those days are over”.
They certainly are over for Frankie Bones, he now only smokes weed to keep him chilled out in times of stress. Besides he has a hectic schedule ahead of him now and is busy at work in his home studio.
“My studio is set up like a DJ booth. Three Technics 1210’s with a brand new Vestax PMC 46 mixer, with Alesis monitors right in my face. The studio equipment is an EM-U SP-1200 sampling drum machine, Casio RZ-1, Roland DJ-70, Roland 808, 909 and 303, all sync through a Mackie 1604 16 track. The effects are by Lexicon, Alesis Digitech and A.R.T. plus noise gates by Beringer and DBX. This is a basic set up for underground applications and basic fucking about. Most remixing I do in other studios”.
So look out for his new stuff. Right now he’s working on Loony Tunes 5 for Nu Groove, Bonesbreaks 11 and 12, a mix CD for E.S.P. in Holland and one for Dance Opera in Belgium. There’s also a US compilation for Direct Drive Records. His main project for the future is his solo effort for his Sonic Groove label which is run through this shop of the same name in New York.
Bump Your Head (12") Bellboy Records
Ghetto Technics 12 (12") Ghetto Technics
Ghetto Technics 13 (12") Ghetto Technics
Ghetto Technics 15 (12") Ghetto Technics
Ghetto Technics 3 (12") Ghetto Technics
Ghetto Technics 4 (12") Ghetto Technics
Ghetto Technics 6 (12") Ghetto Technics
The East Coast House EP (12") Groove World
Trackwerk Blue (12") D-Dance
Who Knows Dem Ho's? (12") Whack Trax
Bonesbreaks Volume 1 (LP) Underworld Records 1988
Bonesbreaks Volume 2 (LP) Underworld Records 1988
Bonesbreaks Volume 3 (LP) Underworld Records 1989
Call It Techno (12") Breaking Bones Records 1989
New Grooves EP (12") Nugroove Records 1989
Bonesbreaks Volume 4 (12") Breaking Bones Records 1990
Bonesbreaks Volume 5 (12") Underworld Records 1990
Call It Techno (12") JEP Records 1990
Call It Techno (Remixes) (12") X Records (US) 1990
Cross Bones E.P. (12") Rave Age Records 1991
Crossbones E.P. (12") Fabulous Music UK 1991
Bonesbreaks Volume 6 (12") Groove World 1992
Trapezoid (12") Fabulous Music UK 1992
Bonesbreaks 7 (Progressive Vibe EP) (12") Groove World 1993
Bonesbreaks Volume 8 (Progressive Aggressive Freestyle EP) (12") Groove World 1993
From Brooklyn With Love EP (12") Groove World 1993
The Thunderground EP (12") Groove World 1993
Thunderground E.P. (12") Fabulous Music UK 1993
We Can Do This (12") Groove World 1993
We Can Do This / Feel The Rush (Test Pressing) (12") Groove World 1993
Bonesbreaks Volume 10 (12") Brooklyn Gutter Culture 1994
The 2 Clues EP (12") Empire State Records 1994
Bone Up! (LP) Trax Records 1995
Bonesbreaks - The Unreleased Project (12") Music Station 1995
Bonesbreaks Volume 10 (12") Hot Associated Label 1995
Einstein e=me+3² (12") Drop Bass Network 1995
Inside The Silverbox EP (12") Electric Music Foundation 1995
Bonesbreaks Volume 11 (LP) Underworld Records 1996
Climax Control (12") Hyperspace 1996
Furthur (12") Drop Bass Network, Communique Records 1996
My Peak (Promo) (12") Logic Records (US), Logic Records (US) 1996
Rewind Tomorrow E.P. (12") Futurist 1996
Technolo-G (12") ESP-SUN Records 1996
Trackwerk Orange 1 (12") D-Dance 1996
B2B (12") ESP-SUN Records 1997
Ghetto Technics 1 (12") Ghetto Technics 1997
Ghetto Technics 2 (12") Ghetto Technics 1997
Inside Mr. Paul's Greybox (12") Futurist 1997
Proceed With Caution EP (12") Electric Music Foundation 1997
Computer Controlled (CD) X-Sight Records 1998
Computer Controlled (CD) X-Sight Records 1998
Computer Controlled (Live In California) (CD) Livewire 1998
Dirty Job (12") X-Sight Records 1998
Ghetto Technics 5 (12") Ghetto Technics 1998
Ghetto Technics 7 (12") Ghetto Technics 1998
Ghetto Technics 8 (12") Ghetto Technics 1998
High I.Q. (2x10") Hyperspace 1998
In The Socket (12") ESP-SUN Records 1998
Rockaway Shuttle EP (12") Sonic Groove 1998
Technolo-G (CD) ESP-SUN Records 1998
The Candle EP (12") High Octane Recordings 1998
Computer Controlled 2 (CD) X-Sight Records 1999
Computer Controlled 2 (CD) Brooklyn Music Limited (BML) 1999
Ghetto Technics 10 (12") Ghetto Technics 1999
Ghetto Technics 11 (12") Ghetto Technics 1999
Ghetto Technics 9 (12") Ghetto Technics 1999
The Mutha Fuckin Good Life (12") Underground Construction 1999
The Way U Like It (12") Bellboy Records 1999
We Call It Tekkno (12") Bash Again! 1999
America In Black & White EP (12") Bellboy Records 2000
Baseball Fury (12") Sonic Groove 2000
Bonesbreaks 2000 (12") Badmotherf#*ker 2000
House Special EP (12") Urban Substance Records 2000
My House Is Your House (12") Bash Again! 2000
My House Is Your House (12") Bash Again! 2000
The Saga EP (12") Pro-Jex 2000
5 Drum Machines, 4 Effect Processors, 3 Samplers, 2 Turntables, and 1 Mixer : Future Concepts in Underground Invention (Cassette) Sonic Groove 2001
Electrophonic (12") E Series 2001
Filthy Dirty Animal Crackers (12") Blueline Music 2001
Ghetto Technics 14 (12") Ghetto Technics 2001
Ghetto Technics 16 (12") Ghetto Technics 2001
Ring Your Alarm EP (12") Pro-Jex 2001
The Metropolitan EP (12") Missile Records 2001
The Strength To Communicate (12") Remains 2001
The US Ghetto Selecta (12") Pro-Jex 2001
Turntable Specialist #1 (12") Hard To Swallow 2001
And Here's Another Human Distraction (12") Remains 2002
Army Of One (CD) System Recordings 2002
Pro.File 2: Frankie Bones, Turntable Specialist (CD) Brooklyn Music Limited (BML) 2002
The Day After The Music Stopped EP (12") Hard To Swallow 2002
The Lot Of People (12") Pro-Jex 2002
The Thin Line Between Fantasy & Reality (2xLP) Pro-Jex 2002
The Thin Line Between Fantasy & Reality (CD) Pro-Jex 2002
Underground Mash-Ups (12") Hard To Swallow 2003
(Pro)File. (Pro)Duce. E.P. (12") The Last Label 2004
Crash-Up On Interstate 95 (12") The Last Label 2004
The Lot Of People (12") Pro-Jex 2004
Unidentified (12") Kiddaz.fm 2004
Act Like You Know (CD) System Recordings 2005
Speedometer EP (12") Synchronicity Recordings 2006
The House of ODD (12") The Groove Shop 2006
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