Since unleashing his metal-themed 666 mix and DJ set on June 6, 2006, Stones Throw chief Peanut Butter Wolf has spent the last half-dozen years watching the signs of the beat.
July 7, 2007 brought forth his 777 spiritual podcast mix, following by performances on seven consecutive nights in seven clubs featuring seven genres of music. August 8, 2008 found him upping the ante to eight nights, eight clubs, eight genres. But this time videos were added to the mix. September 9, 2009 brought nine nights in nine clubs in nine area codes with all '90s videos. The finale featured guest DJs including A-Trak, Arabian Prince, Dam-Funk, and J Rocc.
Over the last three years, the events have become ritual. 10/10/10 brought 10 DJs in 10 hours, including Madlib and Prince Paul. 11/11/11 trotted out the Gaslamp Killer, Cut Chemist and Jason Bentley. And now, Wolf is at a numerological impasse. 12/12/12 — the last in the series. To celebrate, he's planning the most ambitious assault yet, spinning for 12 hours with all 12-inch vinyl records, broadcast live on Boiler Room from 8 a.m. this morning until 8 p.m. tonight.
For the after-party, he's hosting and performing at Lincoln Heights' Low End Theory. The bill promises 12 DJs, 12 records each, all 12-inch singles. You get the gist. In honor of the event and numerological law, we asked Wolf to pick his 12 favorite 12-Inch records that he purchased when he was 12.
In his words:
1982 was a big year in my record buying “career”. It was the year that my buddy Steve and I really got into buying 12″ singles and we were ironically 12 years old. Before that, we'd rarely buy them because for the same price, you could buy three 7″ singles. By 1983, I learned about new wave with The Cure, Yaz, Depeche Mode, New Order, etc, but 1982 was pretty much the year when electro-funk ruled my tastes. Kinda worked well with the video games like Tron, Xevious, Galaga, and Zaxxon that I was playing at the time.
1. Planet Rock- Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force (Tommy Boy 1982)
This was the record that changed everything in dance music when it came out. I didn't know at the time that it was basically a cover of Kraftwerk's “Trans Europe Express,” which predated it by five years, but I did know it was a JAM. We used to prefer the instrumental version to the vocal and still do.
2. Scorpio-Grandmaster Flash (Sugarhill 1982)
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were the best rap known group out at that time and to hear them go “electro” made me feel that maybe rap WAS in danger of going extinct. It was all about the “space jams.” This was a pop lock anthem.
3. Big Apple Mix Vol. 1- Big Apple Productions (bootleg 1982)
This was a bootleg DJ mix on vinyl that taught me about Djing. It was probably the first time I heard songs mixed together on beat, which made me want to be a DJ. My friend Steve and I didn't have DJ equipment, but we did have a pause button on our tape deck and would do “pause mixes.” This is a great mix of soul, disco, new wave, electro, funk, hi-NRG, Italo, etc. You could only buy it at the flea market. Not at record stores. These bootleg mixes went for $8.99 when 12″ singles were $4.99, but it was worth every penny.
4. Pack Jam – The Jonzun Crew (Tommy Boy 1982)
The Jonzun Crew's music was all pretty much dark, evil, minor chords with the best sounds. It took the west coast like 4 or 5 years to catch up to this sound. Kinda ironic that someone making this kind of music would go on to produce syrupy boy band pop music like New Edition and New Kids On The Block. Which reminds me, a young Bobby Brown is pop locking in one of the Jonzun Crew's music videos.
5. Buffalo Gals – Malcolm McLaren (Island 1982)
I saw Malcolm McLaren speak at the MOCA in SF in the late 90s and he told the story about how he went to NY in the early 80's and saw a huge black guy wearing a “Sex Pistols” t-shirt. Malcolm was the former manager of the band and bragged to the guy about that and the guy invited Malcolm to a hip hop jam in the park he was spinning at. He turned out to be Afrika Bambaataa and the rest was history. This was probably the first record I heard with scratching.
6. Hip Hop Be Bop-Man Parrish (Importe/12 Records 1982).
From what I later read, Man Parrish were kind of a gay disco/Hi NRG band from New York who were influenced by “Planet Rock” and went to the same studio it was recorded at and used the same instruments. The result was a sort of “Planet Rock part 2.” They looked like three Adam Ants for the price of one (check the video which I never saw til many years later). Supposedly, Madonna opened for them for some shows when she was first starting out.
7. (tie) Black Hole Bop-X-25 (HCRC 1982)/ Mirda Rock-Reggie Griffin (Sweet
These ones were more electro funk. More on the happy funk tip during the verses, but dark music during the breakdowns. And they both had that sci-fi appeal with the sped up voices, slowed down voices, and robot voices. Any song with lasers worked for me.
9. Keep On – D Train (Prelude 1982).
Looking back, I see D Train as kind of the godfather of house even though it was considered soul when it came out. I'll never forget when my friend DJ Dusk was killed by a drunk driver in 2006 and we had a special Rootdown gig for him that was like his memorial. Each DJ got 10 minutes to play whatever they wanted in tribute to him. Most DJs tried to cram in as many songs as they could in that 10 minutes and I just let the whole 9 minute version of this song play and it was really painful and healing at the same time.
10. Body Slam – Bootsy Rubber Band (Warner Brothers 1982).
Although I was buying Parliament and Funkadelic songs since the late '70s, this was my introduction to Bootsy. It had such a good sound/mix. Later when I went to college, I went back and bought the “Stretchin' Out In Bootsy's Rubber Band” from the mid 70's and wore that (and all his other albums) out.
It's sad that people don't take Bootsy seriously because he made himself a cartoon character (like Rick James), but he has some of the freshest slow songs that remind me of the Beatles.
11. Mt Airy Groove – Pieces Of A Dream (Elektra 1982)
A disco jazz song with rapping on top. The rap version was terrible in my opinion when I was a kid, but we loved the instrumental. It was freaky and funky.
12. Snap Shot – Slave
I don't want you to think I was ONLY buying space jams back then. It's more that the space jams ONLY came out on 12″. I was really big into soul and funk still too and bought those on 45. But every now and then, I wanted the extended 12″ version like w/ this one.
The ending was so fresh how he started talking over the break. I learned how to “talk cool.” I used to write the lyrics down word for word and do my own karaoke at home. They'd play this song on KSOL and usually only the short version, but one time I heard the long version and HAD TO get the 12″.
Outstanding – The Gap Band (Total Experience 1982)
You Can Do It – Vaughn Mason (Salsoul 1982)
Ya Mama – Wuf Ticket
Tough – Kurtis Blow (Mercury 1982)