Clubland was devastated by the passing of Chicago acid house pioneer DJ Spank-Spank of Phuture, the groundbreaking group he formed with DJ Pierre and Herb J in 1985, on September 21.
During his three-decade career Spank-Spank (a.k.a. Earl Smith, Jr.) recorded a multitude of productions and remixes for labels including Traxx Records, Strictly Rhythm, Emotive, Dance Mania, Force Inc, Djax Up-Beats and Music Man. In May, Spank-Spank suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in June. On September 18, he declared on what would be his last post on Facebook, “I love my Church!”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Spank-Spank’s family pay the balance of medical expenses.
According to the page, “The Smith Family has been left with a tremendous burden after his initial stroke a few months ago and we ask of you to help them with the expenses of recent medical expenses and services..Spank would give you the last dime in his pocket if you needed it. A humble, generous, God fearing man. Not much has to be said about his amazing character. Please help and support any way you can.”
In related news, the fine folks at EPM Music just posted an unreleased DJ mix created by Spanky in 2005. If you make a minimum pledge of $20 USD via their site, you will be entered to win one a handful of select items donated by friends of Spanky and Phuture. For more details and to download the mix for free click here.
According to a tweet by Chicago DJ/producer The Black Madonna, DJ Spank-Spank (a.k.a. Earl Smith, Jr.), a co-founder of pioneering Windy City acid-house outfit Phuture, has passed away. During his three-decade career he recorded a multitude of original productions and remixes for labels including Traxx Records, Strictly Rhythm, Emotive, Dance Mania, Force Inc, Djax Up-Beats and Music Man. In May, Spank-Spank (who was also known as Spanky) suffered a stroke and underwent surgery in June. On September 18, he declared on what would be his last post on Facebook, “I love my Church!”
He formed formed Phuture with DJ Pierre and Herb J in 1985 and was the lead drum programmer and main vocalist. Two years later, the group’s 12-minute track “Acid Tracks” laid claim to being the first-ever acid house record. We’ll have more on this breaking story as it develops.
Update: Phuture has posted a statement on Facebook about DJ Spank-Spank’s passing: “To our Acid House family and Music family at large we are very sorry to say that our friend and partner DJ Spank Spank has passed away. Spank is (was) a legend. We will for certian continue the work he’s started on his final album project and his innovations in music. Please for now: Pray for his family and DJ Pierre his brother. Allow them time to grieve. We will come back with news. Much love.”
Roland’s iconic TR-909 has often imitated but never duplicated. Partially analog, partially sample-based, the 909, which made history as the first MIDI-equipped drum machine, was introduced in 1984. While only 10,000 units were manufactured, this lil’ beige box gave forward-thinking producers in Chicago, New York, Detroit and London the ability to collectively forge the blueprint of hip-hop, house and techno.
All these years later the 909’s influence continues to be heard. We asked producers intimate with the Roland TR-909 to wax poetic about this magical machine that’s been the heartbeat of several generations.