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Frankie Bones- The World's Most Underground Number 1 DJ

Author: Skruff
Thursday, 9 November 2000
"When Paul Oakenfold stands up and says 'I'm the number one DJ, blah, blah, blah...' I can match everything he says and does." Legendary New York DJ Frankie Bones, the first US DJ to play at British raves in the late 80s, spoke to mezzmusic this week, about his life and the recent rise of dance music in the States. Still prolific as a DJ, Bones also owns one of the city's premier record shops, Sonic Groove in Greenwich Village and releases a new single, "House Special", shortly (on Urban Substance).


mezzmusic: You said when you started your career back in the 80s that your goal was to become one of the best DJs of the 90's, how close did you get-

Frankie Bones: "I totally think I've achieved what I wanted to do, actually. When I said that comment, I was one of the first DJs in America to get involved with the whole rave/Summer Of Love scene, and I wanted to pioneer that scene in the States. I didn't make a million dollars, but I'm doing really well. I've got a record store in New York City, I still DJ and love what I do. We jump started the scene here on the East Coast and never looked back."


mezz: Do you still want to be the number 1 DJ-

Frankie Bones: "If you are, say, a Carl Cox or an Oakenfold type of DJ, meaning you're supposedly the number one DJ in the world, then there's nobody to kick, to push out of your way. So, no, I don't want to be the best. I just want to be up there, doing what I'm doing. If you're at number one, there's only one way you can go."


mezz: You always wanted to be underground, why-

Frankie Bones: "Underground is a very loose word. If you're unsuccessful, you can mask it by saying 'I'm underground', but when I say 'underground' I mean rebellious and non-conformist. Over the years, if I would have stuck with house, I could have become like Louie Vegas or Kenny Dope (Gonzales) or like anyone else in that whole house realm. They're all very talented but I was more of an unruly character, and looking back, I have no regrets. I feel unique from what I do as a DJ."


mezz: Is it true that you once got sacked for playing Lil' Louis' French Kiss-

Frankie Bones: "Oh yes. Back in those days, clubs were more disco-ey and more handbaggy and that record was very upfront at the time. So I got fired. I also almost got arrested on the same night on my way home. We got pulled by the police and the cop came out of his car with a shotgun. We had half an ounce of weed in the car and we were rolling up as he walked towards us but then he must have got a call on his radio, because he just jumped in his car and left... We were stunned, thinking, 'Where is he going-'"


mezz: In 1993, you took a complete break, how close did you come to giving it all up-

Frankie Bones: "It was only for a six week period that I stopped DJing. I went to a detox hospital in '93, cleaned up in four weeks, and only missed six Saturdays of DJing. Since then, I've DJed every week from November 4th 1993, until now. It's just a matter of sorting your head out. Definitely from '89 to'93 they (the drugs) did their damage... well, not really any specific damage but it was just time to stop and get serious."


mezz: What's your attitude towards drugs these days-

Frankie Bones: "I don't want to tell people what to do but I feel that if drugs can enhance things, then whatever they're enhancing, they'll be impairing something else simultaneously."


mezz: Why has it taken so long for mainstream America to get dance music-

Frankie Bones: "Because in America we've got too much choice; in every aspect of life. People are just starting to figure out what they like here."


mezz: Sandra Collins, Keoki, and DJ Dan are leading a new wave of American DJ talent, will they be the ones to crack it big-time in the States-

Frankie Bones: "My mother once told me that if you're the pioneer, you won'
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