Buddy Holly recently came forward and fessed up about his youthful hedonistic exploits. Better to get all that guilty joy out in the open instead of letting it fester, ooze and mutate into a raging mid-life crisis (oh the horror!)…For the record, Buddy is light miles away from mid-century meltdown. Turns out this dude is a walking encyclopaedia on North America’s partyland past. I told him he should write a book but as you can see, Buddy’s well, a little bit shy. I could create a 12 part mini-series based on Buddy’s überwild escapades, but I’ll stick to the simple stuff – for now anyways…
F: So Buddy, tell me when you first got into raving.
B: When we were club kids just going downtown Toronto to a couple of spots where they were playing house music.
F: What year was this?
B: 1991, 92 maybe. Like Bassline and Shelter. And then you could go to Oz; that was Factory back in the day. And they used to have these techno parties…there was a place called Freakshow behind City TV – we’d go there. Me and my one friend, we started a trend with our friends and it was like, we were into the music. We’d go down to Nathan Phillips Square, we’d go to a meeting point and get a map. It was just like a musical adventure, you know?
F: At that point, how many people were showing up at these events?
B: They started small but they started getting commercial…in the beginning maybe like 400 people, like the warehouse parties. Then they got really big like even ’93, 94, the big Atlantis parties and stuff like that; you would get about 2000 to 3000 people at those parties like Dose, Better Days and Destiny.
F: Speaking of treasure hunting, what was your most memorable find related to that era?
B: Awwh man…like mixtapes and records. ‘Cause I used to collect records but nothing too crazy. I remember my first two mixtapes were Syrous and Renegades parties with DJ Hype and Kenny Ken. That was like ’94 when I bought my first mixtapes. It was just an experience you know…
F: Have you ever embarked on a cross-country raving adventure?
B: We went to Miami once – the World Electronic Music Festival which was cool, ‘cause that was the first year they had it.
F: What year was this?
B: I guess it was 2000 or 99.
F: That sounds about right.
B: Yeah, I think it was. We used to go to Montreal Black and Blue parties. It was amazing, like 30,000 people at the Bell Centre. Unbelievable parties in Montreal. We went to Detroit once or twice, (then) New York city.
F: Who did you go to see in Detroit?
B: I went to see Derrick May once; we saw Richie Hawtin. It was a music festival – the Detroit Techno Festival. They had everybody there, like Jeff Mills.
F: I remember seeing Richie Hawtin, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson spinning at a rave in a parking lot downtown once. It was one of the most amazing parties that I’d ever been to.
B: (Aside) Hey man, can you flip that cassette? (To Frankenräver) An actual cassette! (Chuckles).
F: Do you know anyone who OD’d or G’d out on your sofa?
B: Not really; I mean, you would see it at parties, the ones my friends went to especially.
F: What about that guy you told me about that G’d out in his car?
B: He was a really nice guy; he used to party a lot with us and we went to Bassment one night at Bathurst and Bloor and he G’d out right at the corner in his car, like, in the middle of the intersection with streetcars backed up; he was there G’d out for half an hour with the car running.
F: Do you know what happened to him?
B: I think he was arrested that day and basically G was like the end of the rave scene for us; G and K, that whole vibe that came into the rave scene with the juicemonkeys and the strippers – that’s all they did. I remember the first couple boat cruises we had, like the Jennstar boat cruises – there was no G in the scene. They were the best parties in the world.
F: Tell me more about the boat cruises.
B: They were amazing. On the River Gambler they’d have like Derrick Carter, Cevin Fisher, Sneak, all these Industry guys. They used to throw the best parties and it was just that vibe and this was just before G and three years later. With G-heads like that, they had to actually get taxis to come and take people off the boat; there were bodies everywhere (laughter)…it was just really embarrassing, you know? I just think people could act more mature when they’re partying and be in control.
F: So how baked were you after staying up all night and then going to the boat party in the morning?
B: I’d be pretty baked; at Sundays they were called church, it was like a religious kind of gathering with all our friends, we’d have all the energy in the world. We’d go to friends in the morning and just stay by their place you know?
F: What was your time-honoured recovery routine?
B: Probably like a day, yeah like Sundays. Sunday nights you were okay; ready for work on Monday.
F: What was your most memorable moment at Industry?
B: Roni Size, Reprazent tour awwh man – that was such a killer party! Live drum and bass, two drummers, backup singers. Just live drum and bass; it was one of the illest things I ever saw. Besides that, it was Sneak and Derrick Carter on four turntables.
F: Do you remember what your last rave was like.
B: (Raps to Kenny Ken in the background) The funk phenomenon, I’m rhyming you like Lebanon! (Laughter). I can’t remember my last rave.
F: So when would you say raving as you knew it ended?
B: 2000. Like, 1999…I remember that party. It was just like, the energy wasn’t there, you know what I mean? It had become a business; it wasn’t about the music or the scene anymore; from the promoters, to the vendors, DJs, the runners – everybody. It was just all about making money; selling water, whatever – you know? Charging $6 for a bottle of water is murder.
F: And shutting off the cold water so you couldn’t refill your bottles. Yes, I remember that. I just think it was disgusting.
B: You see that; that’s not about love, you know?
F: No it isn’t.
B: That’s not love, that’s corruption, and once you have that in the scene, you can’t call it love or pure or ecstasy; it’s all about business, right?
F: Do you think it’s possible to overdose on Ecstasy?
B: I think you can overdose on anything…(laughter)…I overdose on apple pie everyday. I’m Buddy Holly!
F: If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
B: Nothing. I had such a great time.
F: On a final note, what word of advice do you have for today’s current generation of ravers?
B: Eat your wheaties! Stay in school.
F: Thanks for your time Buddy.
B: You’re welcome. That was awesome!
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