Tag Archives: old school ravers

Tribe Magazine BBQ @ Toronto Islands July 27th


Remember Tribe mag from back in the day? Well Alex D, photographer and publisher is having a BBQ celebrating Tribe’s 20th anniversary this Saturday, July 27th at Hanlan’s Point.  The party is free but the ferry ride ain’t (hey, $7 is still cheaper than the cover charge for Comfort Zone, right?). Alex recommends you bring your own plates, beverages and treats to throw on the barbie. Dr. Trance, the grand daddy of T- dot rave amongst others will be spinning so yeah, this is ol skool. Bound to bring out eye-watering notes of  nostalgia in all diehards out there.  Maybe Dogwhistle might even care todrop by – who knows?  For more info, check out the link:


I had the pleasure of running into Alex D down at Harbourfront two weeks ago, after a panel discussion of Toronto’s rave scene moderated by local veteran DJ, Denise Benson. It was fascinating to hear some of the key players (promoters et al ) dish on their experiences not only as ravers but as entrepreneurs overcoming variegated twists and turns. I taped segments of the discussion and hopefully, will get around to transcribing portions of it for your edification sometime soon. If anyone reading this was a part of Toronto’s scene in the 90’s, then you’ll remember how important Tribe magazine was to the community.  It was the go-to for all the latest  news, gossip, music reviews, mix tapes, raver rants and harm reduction awareness initiatives, not to mention those wicked foldout posters. Heck, I think I might even have some copies kicking around in storage somewhere 🙂  Going with the shifting of the tides, Tribe magazine is now online, at http://www.tribemagazine.com

Copyright © 2013 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.


Promise Rave with Frankie Bones


Footage and photography: Frankenräver. Additional photos courtesy Jason Clarke.

Promise’s 12 year anniversary party was like a high school reunion for Toronto’s raving community. It was amazing to see all the old headz come out that night to celebrate in style. Indeed, the Promise crew took raving back to its roots by hosting the event at Zero Gravity’s training studio; a gorgeous warehouse in the west end. The authenticity was evident everywhere; from the classic coatcheck set-up to the funky décor complete with chill-out spaces. I really liked the fact that Promise recognized we’re responsible people – they didn’t bother checking our bags; just like da good ol’ days!  


NYC legend Frankie Bones at Promise

Ali Black warmed things up nicely in the main room, ahead of NY’s Big Apple appearance. I must say the acoustics creamed Footwork’s puny sound system which was a relief. Frankie Bones came on surprisingly early at 1, and dropped some of the nastiest remixes I’ve ever heard, combining classic hard house with Technotronics “Pump up the Jam” and Snap’s “I’ve Got the Power.” Bones was focused, intense and on point. The Empire State beaming in the background was a  clever tribute. But I was somewhat disappointed to see the hardcore veteran using cd’s instead of vinyl. And his set was super short too; just under an hour. Oh well…Lee Osborne made up for it with a pumping set of proper house that got everyone moving.

Cee Cee Cox and Koen initially got off to a good start, but then the bass cut out and they started playing some loopy tracks that just killed the whole vibe. Any underground DJ worth his salt knows that you have to keep that groove pounding, right ‘til the very end; not mellow things out when peeps are still peaking. And then, just like that it was over. At least it ended one hour later than Footwork at 5 a.m. Truth be told, for the kind of party this was, the place should’ve been rammed out. It never really got packed which was rather disappointing. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to sign o’ the times or inadequate promotion. However, receiving a warm handshake from Irving as I exited the venue reminded me of how much Promise has done to keep the true spirit of raving alive in Toronto. It’s obvious these guys put their hearts into what they do, and for that they are to be commended. After all, these are the folks who bring us the Cherry Blossom Party, Om, Cherry Beach and more, year after year. Big ups to the Promise crew for keeping it real >>>






Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Raver of the Month: Captain Colin


Shiver me timbers – it’s Captain Colin! An ol’ skool pleasure pirate and veteran of North America’s rave scene,  C.C. has graced many a rave and then some. From Seattle to Sault Ste. Marie, Captain Colin has seen plenty of action. Frankenräver conducted a 1 on 1 video interview with the Captain to discuss the vicissitudes of underground culture, vintage gear and what keeps him going after all these years. 

F: Greetings Cap’n!

C.C: Greetings…greetings n love.

F: Greetings n love on this gorgeous, sunny, spring not summer yet but I don’t know what the fuck I am kind of day…

C.C: We’ll call it spring.

F: Yeah, we’ll call it spring. And I’ve gotta ask you man, can you tell me what inspires you to keep raving after all these years?

C.C: Well, I mean it’s all a question of how you determine a rave. I like to party with adults and we like to party and chill ‘til morning.

F: Cuz that’s what adults do, right?

C.C: Exactly. In essence we are still raving but not with the traditional rave characteristics. 

F: Yeah, it’s kinda like being a kid with perks.

C.C: Yes. What inspires me to keep going is the underground party scene in Toronto just keeps getting better and better. And the caliber of all of the people throwing parties keeps improving, the music coming out is just revolutionary and so it’s more fabulous than ever, the underground party scene in Toronto.

F: In your opinion, what’s the main difference between raving in the 21st century vs. the 90’s?

C.C: Well, Toronto’s got quite a sophisticated party scene. And I think the only place you’re going to find real kind of theoretical full raving is at the underage parties. I guess if we’re just going to look at underground partying because that’s really what I’ve been doing, I guess you could call them raves as well. The biggest difference would be the musical diversity nowadays. Nowadays we’re getting a lot more diverse broken beat music, a lot more diverse rooms. It used to be that it would just be a techno room and maybe another techno room (laughter).

F: Yeah…

C.C: Often we got a drum and bass room and a techno room but now we’re just getting a lot more variation. And as well a lot of the producers are doing what I like to do at my parties which is book different styles of music throughout the evening so that flows nicely together as one piece. 

F: Which parties do you promote currently?

C.C: Currently I promote the parties I throw, Bassgator’s parties. We throw a couple of parties each year, big and spectacular and the next one will be in June. As well, a bit of promoting the CirQlar parties which is a blending of epic party situations; graphics, visuals, big deco artists as well as circus performances. They bring in top notch music, epic circus performances, they’re fabulous but you couldn’t really call them a rave cuz they usually end at like 4 a.m. but they’re pretty raving ‘til then (laughter). Their parties are fabulous. I also always enjoy the Suma Collective’s parties, Promise parties. I also promote for the Make It Funky events which are really quite fabulous and they bring in a lot of great talent.

F: So what encouraged you or led you to explore the psy-trance aspect of raving?

Captain Colin contemplates the horizon…and likes what he sees so far…

C.C: My first introduction to the scene is I went to a New Year’s event and I was just like blown away at how when the event ended, everybody at the venue worked together to get the place stripped and clean and get everybody gone right away. And I realized they have a different scene, they work together on things rather than being consumers of events. My first time partying with the psy-trancers was quite interesting because the party we had went until 6 a.m. and like, 14 of us go back to a beautiful loft place to the afterparty. And within 45 minutes 8 of the 12 people are snuggled up and going to sleep and I had no idea why did I do this…this is an after-nap party I didn’t get it. And so we were out on the back porch loving the sun, and they started waking up and coming back to join us and they weren’t planning on going anywhere; that’s why they’d taken a nap, cuz they weren’t going to go home at noon, they were staying all day. And so they just partied different, more a family vibe.

F: Yes.

C.C: So it’s the community entirely is what drew me into the trance scene. And I listen to some of the world’s best trance DJ’s and get to hear some of the best trance available and that really makes a difference in all these trappy and fabulous demonstrations within their field. It all depends on the DJ. 

F: What were some of the best party experience you had back in the day?

C.C: I’d have to say the raves, the rave at the Science Centre like ’97 I think, just blew our minds. And when we got home, my friend lives right beside the Chinese Community Centre and there was some sort of Chinese celebration day. So we got home and we come out on the rooftop of the balcony/patio looking down and they had like a 40 foot Chinese dragon with about 20 or 25 people inside it dancing around right in front of the house and it was just quite a magical event. 

F: Awwh man, that must have been an amazingly trippy scene! 

C.C: It was quite trippy.

F: Would you say that rave culture has helped to define the person that you are today? I mean, look at you, you’re just…raving on! (laughter)

C.C: I consider myself more of a party enthusiast and that’s because I really enjoy having a good time and where having a good time gets people out, and I enjoy spending time with people where they stay and have a good time…

F: Yes…

C.C: I started throwing parties at the age of like, 14, we opened our first club in northern Ontario. I started throwing my first festivals in ’97. So I’ve been in it since the very beginning. Like as soon as I could I started throwing parties. And now it got to a point in 2001 where the events we were throwing got to such a spectacular level that I went on hiatus, because I decided we’re not going to throw any parties unless they’re big and fantastic and just spectacular. And so now that’s what we’re doing with Bassgators; we’re throwing a couple of parties a year and making it spectacular. By spectacular it’s about taking it to the next level: live drummers. For our one year anniversary we had fireworks, a full-blown fireshow, we’re putting it in the best venues, we’ve been using St. Stephen’s In the Fields church in Kensington Market. We’ve got a rave that runs until half an hour before they start feeding the homeless. And we strip down that church, clean it and have it set so they can feed the homeless and I’m down with the priests. I’m down with the people that run the church because we’re throwing celebrations. I mean it is raving but really they’re celebrations.

F: Tell me Captain, what were some of your favourite fashions from back in those days?

C.C: Back in those days, I’d have to say my favourites were Geek Boutique, Snug and Luscious for the ladies. 

F: Luscious! Mmmm….

C.C:  I’ve seen a number of girls with ol skool Luscious overalls on lately. And been wowing over them until somebody told me hers were a knock-off new remake of them which was a little disappointing. I liked having those ol skool wares still kicking. I’ve got some ol skool Snugs here from (lifts leg to show label) I don’t know when…

 F: Oh yeah

 C.C: ’97 ish.

F: Those are hot baby!

C.C: Have you ever messed around with music production in the past?

C.C: Yeah, I’ve been with music, aggressively from about ’91, actually 1990. I produced in the Sault for 4 years and then my studio moved to Toronto and I would take road trips to Toronto and produce in Toronto til about ’97, at which point I realized that my time had gotten everything connected so that something should have been released, but I realized my time had not come yet so I went on hiatus from production but now I’m making music again. And you can see me perform at the next Bassgators party. 

F: When’s that coming up?

C.C: June 2nd

F: Where?

C.C: The location is soon to be revealed at a later date but it is gonna blow your mind!

F: Ol skool – awesome! Well thanks Colin. It was a pleasure speaking with you and having you share your wonderful experiences with us.

C.C: Well I ‘d like to tell you about what’s happening on our west coast because I went to west coast this summer, I went to Basshouse, I went to Shangri-La, I got to party in Vancouver, see what they’re doing. The west coast has an entirely different sound right now. West coast Canada has some phenomenal producers making an epic, new way of bass music which is not dubstep, but something way more fantastic and fabulous; something tribal, something that people need to start tuning into. So everybody start listening to your Vancouver, your west coast producers B.C. out there, they’re making some really delicious crunk. And it’s really important that your ears hear it cuz you gotta hear the good music and that’s what keeps this going for the parties. 

F: That’s right! Support your local talent folks. Awesome dude (Grips).

C.C: Alright! Thank you. 

Apart from promotion and music production, Captain Colin is a trained masseuse, providing excellent massage therapy in a calm environment with ambient music, essential oils and a mineral altar for maximum vibes. His warm, caring personality and professionalism put me at ease; I felt re-aligned and thoroughly relaxed after his expert treatment. Highly recommended.To book an appointment, e-mail dapadun3@yahoo.ca

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author


Raver of The Month: Buddy Holly


Buddy Holly

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?                                                      

Buddy's most prized possession circa 1995

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!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.



Frankenräver’s Farewell Party with Donald Glaude and Jelo


Comfort Zone 1998


Comfort Zone's Flyer Wall

Well well…judging from the number of hits my review on The Comfort Zone has been getting, many of you just can’t seem to get enough of that infernal den of iniquity. Yes, it’s a sleazy little dive but let’s face it – CZ is one of a kind and has definitely earned its place as an afterhours legend.

As a special treat for all you CZ lovers out there, I’ve included an excerpt from my e-book, ‘Tuned In Mashed Out,” where adventure raver G-Fly, heads down to The Comfort Zone with her compadres after a rambunctious house party. It’s 1998, Toronto’s rave scene is kicking up a storm and CZ is still reasonably priced at around $7, long before the era of extortionary cover charges kicked in….

TUNED IN, MASHED OUT: Confessions of a Rave Junkie

by Frankie Diamond

Carlos interrupted my Planet Synth excursion to say goodbye. I gave him a hug & promised to call him later. I was still wired. There’s no way I could go home now. About a dozen people were left, dancing in the living room. I needed to find Griff & those guys so I went to the kitchen. Beercans & bottles were scattered everywhere. An E’d out couple sat at the kitchen table with their arms around each other. I asked them if they’d seen Griff & they said no. I checked the backyard. No-1 there either so I went to the basement where I found Griff, T-Rex, Karen, Tippa & others chilling out, playing video games. Reese sparked an L & waxed poetic on how great the night was. And it was far from over. There was talk of going to the afterparty at Comfort Zone. Apparently DJ Sneak was supposed to be spinning. Turned out every1 down here was too fucked up to go home, courtesy of Craven’s fruit punch. Griffin was the only 1 who hadn’t tried it, but he’d dropped an E & was rushing large. I asked Griff how he ended up being friends with someone like Craven & he smiled mysteriously. “Craven’s not your average gino,” he said. “We go back a long way.” Turned out Griff & Craven’s dad had known each other for years through business ties. Griff’s dad owned a Greek restaurant & happened to be good friends with Craven’s dad who ran an autoshop. Craven got his nickname cuz he craved drugs so damn much it was a wonder he hadn’t keeled over yet. “I keep telling him to slow down but he won’t listen,” he said. “One day he’s gonna find out the hard way.”

Griff finally pulled the plug around 4. The sparse group of hard core ravers remaining clapped & showed their appreciation b4 bouncing. Griffin’s long departed guests showed theirs by leaving a huge mess behind. Empty beercans, bottles, roaches, chips & glo-stix littered the floor. Griff didn’t seem to mind. “I’ll deal with that later,” he said as we drove to the afterparty, blazing up on the way down. Eight of us made it down to Comfort Zone, which was strangely comforting in all its grimy glory. The perfect haven for those who couldn’t go home….or didn’t want to. CZ won’t judge you. I could still see my name etched into the peeling, plastic upholstery of the couch where I’d inked it on in a drunken stupor last summer. Welcome back Gemma! Some unknown guy was spinning progressive. Where the hell was Sneak? At least 50 people were here, with more to come. Still early. Griff brought Tonya & I bottled water & we proceeded to dance. Sneak finally snuck on & threw down some deep house. Which was fine but I would’ve preferred something harder. It was getting busier & a tad hot so I went out for a smoke with the fellas. Moments later, I was rushing like a frigging express train. The weed brought me right back up. Fuccckkk…my eyes were rolling like mad so I donned my shades & zoned right the fuck out. Black light action was going on up in here too. I could see my fucking teeth glowing fluorescent green in the mirrors. God I looked like a freak – but so did every1 in here. We’re all freaks to be here in the 1st place at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning, when decent God fearing folk were either still in their beds or getting ready for church. We were in The House of Ecstasy, which is as close as we’ll come to God (for now anyway). Plus I saw a good number of people from Griff’s house party down here too.

I got my wish when another DJ took over & dropped some hard fucking house. YEAH!!! THAT’s what I’m talking bout! Holy…now the party’s getting started. Griff, T-Rex, myself & every1 else are all stepping like mad. I’ve stripped down to my tank-top, with my sweater tied around my waist. Man, this is the shit! Steve Venom on the decks. Bite me! Later I dropped half an E, blissed right out & finally sat down what seemed like half a lifetime later. Reese had passed out on the couch. He was not alone. About a dozen whacked out ravers were crashed out right beside him. I planned on joining the slumber party soon so I sipped some water & just nodded to the beat which gently vibrated my bottom. Some dodgy looking guy asked me for water. He looked like he might have some kind of disease, so I asked him not to touch the rim with his lips. He looked offended but I didn’t give a fuck. Guy must’ve been really thirsty or really broke cuz after giving me a weird look, he took the bottle grudgingly while following my instructions. Afterwards, I made sure to put it into my pouch for safekeeping.

Next thing I know, T-Rex is shaking me. “G-Fly, let’s go.” It’s after 3 in the afternoon. Can’t complain. We said our goodbyes to some of Griff’s friends who decided to stay, & went out for breakfast. I finally got home around 6. Thankfully mom wasn’t there. She’d have something to say for sure. She really has no clue what I’m up to these daze. Whenever I go to raves, I just tell her that I’m going to an all night party & I won’t be back ’til the next day so she’s kind of used to it now, though she kicks up a fuss every now & then. 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 Like what you’ve read? Check out more excerpts from Tuned In, Mashed Out under the December and January archives!
 Tuned In, Mashed Out – available now on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/frankiediamond

Another Juicy Excerpt from Frankenraver’s Book, “Tuned In, Mashed Out”


Tuned In, Mashed Out chronicles the hilarious shenanigans of self-professed rave junkie, Gemma “G-Fly” Anderson. Set in 1998 during the height of Toronto’s burgeoning rave scene, G-Fly is encouraged by her gorgeous supermodel friend, Katrina, to keep a journal for forty nine days as an exercise in artistic liberation. What follows is a mind-blowing excursion into underground youth culture, where Ecstasy reigns supreme and the Dj is GOD. While her long term relationship with Delroy teeters on the edge of collapse, 23 year old Gemma finds herself falling for charismatic 19 year old centrefold, Shastri. Can she withstand temptation and discover her true identity in the midst of all the madness? Brilliant, best-selling author, Frankie Diamond, takes you on a fantastic, roller coaster journey into Gemma’s angst filled world. There’s never a dull moment as our plucky protagonist grapples with vexing dilemmas such as racial identity, recurring nightmares, Ecstasy overload and raging hormones. Get ready for a page turning, thrill addicting experience, guaranteed to leave you in stitches and jonesing for more.  

Tuned In, Mashed Out: Confessions of a Rave Junkie by Frankie Diamond

Sat Oct. 17 – DAY 31 

             Khareem took me to a lounge on Richmond St. where we met up with his homies. He was happy to feed me drinks & I knocked back a coupla shots, plus 4 beers. If it’s 1 thing I love about Khareem is that the brotha’s not cheap when it comes to drinks! The music was kinda boring; commercial RnB mostly, but the DJ played some house, which kind of made up for it. I told him he should try raving sometime. He said it sounded interesting & he might check it out 1 of these days. I don’t remember much about last night apart from dancing on a table & being asked by security to come down, subsequently slipping on a wet patch & falling flat on my ass. All in all, it was a good night. I got home at 4, to be up for work by 7. Woke up with blinding headache, regurgitated stomach contents. Even saw bits of undigested hot-dog floating around in there. Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? Somehow, I managed to get through the Saturday morning frightmare. The customers must have noticed my zoned out zombie expression & decided it was probably best to refrain from asking me dumb ass questions. Might chew your face off for that price tag infraction, lady. Finished work at 3:15, went home, crashed out, only to be awakened by T-Rex calling to say she’ll be picking me up in half an hour. I haven’t even showered yet. Now I gotta get ready for Griff’s party. My outfit’s laid out on the bed. T-shirt, matching beaded necklace, sweater & jeans. I save the expensive gear for when I go to the clubs – like my shiny cargos for example. I would really hate for gum to get all over that. Hope I have time to blaze 1 up b4 I step out. Should be a good night!

Sun Oct. 18 – DAY 32 

            Last night was da bomb! Oh my God, Griff sure knows how to throw a friggin party! When we arrived, Griff & his homies had cleared out the living room to set up turntables & speakers. Crates of records were stacked on the floor. T-Rex, her friend Karen & I, set the chips, dip, & snacks out on the dining table. The fellas proceeded to do a sound-check which consisted of Reese, a Jamaican brotha, rhyming on a mic to some jungle. Carlos sat on the couch with T-Rex & me, bopping his head while rolling a blunt. “Dis here’s some good shit!” he bragged. “We’re just getting warmed up.” This was mykinda scene! I was dying with curiosity about what those boys were doing behind the decks, so I approached them & they gave me a tutorial on how to mix. It was fun! I loved the feel of vinyl under my fingertips. I thought, hey, I could be a DJ too! Griff gave me pointers on beat-matching & showed me how to man the switches n stuff. When I first started raving, I asked him about the special FX producers used on the tracks & he schooled me on basics like sub-lows, filters, panning, etc. He’s so cool. I learn a lot just from hanging with him. He asked T-Rex if she wanted to give it a try but she shook her head no. We took a break to get blessed with Carlos’ creation. Damn. That was some kick ass bud! After 3 hits, I couldn’t toke no more. I sat there chilling & next thing you know, I felt a weight pressing against the side of my head. I moaned in protest. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” I looked up groggily & saw a white girl I didn’t know sitting next to me on the couch. T-Rex & Carlos were gone. Shit, I passed out!

             I sat up immediately. The room was filled with people. A hard house track was rocking full tilt. I could hear chatter & laughter all around me. The pungent odor of sess & cigarettes filled my nostrils. Alright! I woke up just in time for the party!  I walked around, looking for familiar faces. The clock on the wall said 11:40 so I was out for roughly 2 hours. I turned right & walked down the crowded hallway towards the kitchen. I couldn’t believe how busy this place was! I squeezed my way in and saw Griff sitting on the counter, beer in hand, chilling amongst friends. Boxes of partially devoured pizza laid open on the table. The noise in here was a virtual uproar. I walked over to Griff & he gave me a hug. “Hey Gemma, u ok? You were out for a while! Here, have some beer.” I took a sip while he introduced me to his friends. I was dying with hunger so I inspected the contents of the pizza boxes. Meat lovers was way too heavy for my taste. All that was left of the vegetarian were a few lonely pieces of green pepper & mushroom. I managed to score the last 3 cheese & settled for picking off the pepperoni on another slice. I got a beer from the fridge to wash it all down. Mmmm….yummy! At that moment, Delroy ran across my mind. I wished he could be here with me. That really made me sad so I put it out of my mind with another swig of beer. Everywhere I looked, it seemed almost every1 was hooked up ‘cept for me. Shit. I tell myself I’m being paranoid cuz Griff’s single too…well, sort of. It seems like him & T-Rex r kinda seeing each other. SHIT! I really need to forget about this else I’ll drive myself crazy, so I returned to Griff’s corner & listened in on the conversation. They were discussing rave related stuff like upcoming parties, headliners, & the best type of E currently available. Eric couldn’t make it cuz he’d gone on a business trip to Amsterdam. That lucky bastard.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Time 4 Another Sneak Preview! Frankenräver’s E-book on 90’s Rave Scene


Well folks, it’s time 4 another sneak preview of my up & coming e-book, set to be launched into cyberspace sometime next week. Yay! I’m excited! T.I.M.O. chronicles the hilarious shenanigans of self-professed rave junkie, Gemma “G-Fly” Anderson. Set in 1998 during the height of Toronto’s burgeoning rave scene, G-Fly is encouraged by her gorgeous supermodel friend, Katrina, to keep a journal for forty nine days as an exercise in artistic liberation. Get ready for a page turning, thrill addicting experience, guaranteed to leave you in stitches and jonesing for more!

Warning: This posting contains mature subject matter which some may find offensive. Of course, that only applies to uptight conservatives, religious fanatics and anyone who has never uttered the word “fuck” in their entire lives – you have been forewarned…

Thu Oct.1st – DAY 17

It’s 6:57 a.m & I can hear the wind gusting like crazy. It doesn’t sound very inviting out there. The only reason I’m up is I have to be at work for 9:15 a.m. I hate waking up early in the morning but at least I’ll have the rest of the day to myself & it does get busier at night than during the day. Mom’s quarrelling with Amir to wear a jacket cuz it’s cold out there. He insists his school blazer is enough to keep him warm cuz a big jacket’s gonna kill the style he’s trying to flex. I guess he’ll find out the hard way.

Last night I dreamt I was at a mini-rave. I was in this little room with a few floories who, as usual, were passed out on the floor. For some odd reason, I had my Roni Size c.d. & decided to put it on. When “Brown Paper Bag” dropped, the room was suddenly filled with ravers. They were swaying in trance-like fashion to the seductive jazzy intro, stepping & bopping their heads. I made my way to the front of the crowd, trying 2 feel the vibe. Everyone was on E except me. Then they all disappeared & the room was empty except for 1 girl sweeping the floor. House was pumping from the adjacent room. Guess that’s where everyone went. Two black transsexuals were in the house & 1 of them needed help with his-her bra. I helped him-her hook the bra around her ample bustline. She needed extra help with the front. I watched as he-she did some grotesque folding manipulation of her breasts, which were actually massive folds of loose flesh. When she was done, it looked like cleavage. “Now you know how it’s done honey,” she said, dropping a conspiratorial wink.

So much for anxiety dreams & all that crap. I gotta go now.

Sat Oct. 3 – DAY 18

Well, I’ve managed to skip yet another day but it’s not such a crime. At least it’s not as bad as robbing a liquor store for example. But enuf of that. Today is D-DAY. I’ve bought my ticket & WE ARE GOING!!! I got hyped up in bed this morning just thinking about it. I finally spoke with Shastri on Thursday night. His brother was supposed to be coming with us, but I found out later he was going 2 another rave – “Liquid Groove” – which featured hard techno. “Fusion” (which is the 1 we’re going to) is supposedly more well-rounded with drum & bass & jungle in da mix, as well as house & techno. Should be a rocking party!

Speaking of hyped up, DJ Hype tore shit up last month at the Warehouse for Syrous 5 year anniversary. The line-up to get in was insane but it was worth it. I was chilling with Da Undaground Crew, grooving to Mystical Influence & about to dose my E when some dork knocked it out of my hand. Before I could pick it up, he stepped on it. I was pissed! Luckily the pill was in a baggie but it got crushed to a powder. Blaine advised me to dissolve it in water. I then proceeded to lick the bag & tried not to gag on the supremely horrible taste. By the time Hype came on, I was out of my fucking mind & sweating like crazy. Almost bit the sides of my tongue off from all the grindage. It was amazing to see this geeky looking white dude having the time of his life grinning like mad, scratching & mixing, driving every1 nuts. Oh my God…I swear MC Fats & Rage were like the Dynamic Duo on da friggin mic, especially Fats. His hypnotic voice put me in a trance with the reverb heavy sound FX, tripping every1 right the fuck out. People were literally falling over as they tried to move around during a mindblowing, synth drenched interval of spectacular mindfuckery employed by the masterful Hype. Not only that but Fats had this amazing voice which blew me away cuz not a lot of MC’s can sing. That night was 1 of the best nights for jungle / dnb ever! Pascal was all up there in da mix too, spinning LTJ Bukem. Bukem was like a rainbow waterfall flowing through my mind. Pure bliss! Hype took shit to another level after wrecking pure devastation on the dance floor with Ice Cube’s “West Up” set to jungle, which sent all the junglists & hip-hop heads into a stepping frenzy. My jersey got all torn but I didn’t give a fuck – it was Animal Crackers up in that joint, especially with the high concentration of males jungle always seems to attract. “Front, back, side to side / we be givin’ it up til the day we die/ niggaz hit me up I’ma have to erupt – So MOTHERFUCKER WEST UP!!!  Ya heard!!!

Yesterday I went to buy my ticket at Puff the Magic Dragon before I started my shift & guess who I saw as I was leaving the store!! Do I really need to say his name???! Needless to say, I was just as surprised & elated as he was. After all (& he said it too), what r the odds of us bumping into each other like this? Highly improbable I would say, since we move in different circles outside of raving. I had time to kill so we chilled for a bit. He did most of the talking & I did most of the gawking. I was just drinking him in, absorbing every aspect of his physicality; every blemish, each little strand of hair, inputting all the details into my demented database so I could pull up that file later & savor it lovingly, like a favorite dessert. His 6′ 3″ frame was draped in baggy sweats which couldn’t disguise the fact that he’s got broad shoulders & a killer body to boot. His sparkling, hazelish eyes r so expressive, being framed by delightfully thick, perfectly arched eyebrows. They remind me of dad’s eyes, except his are much lighter, like the color of champagne. He’s also got these juicy, mauve colored lips bracketed by the most adorable dimples & disgustingly straight, pearly white teeth. Shastri’s so friggin fine he oughta be locked up! Why oh why are mixed boys so damn hot?!! I picture him as a gold complected Adonis, batting sooty lashes & grinning shyly on an Olympic pedestal surrounded by screaming harpies. That gilded lily leaf would barely cover his formidable charms to be sure. I’m stunned almost speechless by his eloquent glory. His hands are shapely & well-manicured. I want to feel them on me. I can just imagine his pink tongue lapping up against my labia…OH THIS IS 2 MUCH!! Quite frankly, I would be genuinely surprised & MUCHO RELIEVED if he made a move (but not while under the influence of E). Anyways, we’ll see how this drama plays out.

Well Timo, I’m hooked up for tonight. I’ve got my E & later I’m gonna pick up some weed. It’s costing me a small fortune but I think it will be money well spent. This time I got a hugs & kisses. It’s a cute little thing. According to Eric, it’s supposed to make u feel “rushy rushy.” As long as it doesn’t make me sick, I don’t care. I’ve got to get my butt in gear as I have a busy night ahead of me. Still have to pick up some party favors – glo-stix & lollipops. So I’ll see ya tomorrow. Hope I’ll be coherent / co-ordinated enough to write (YEAH, WHATEVER!!!).

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Raver Of The Month: Johnny Cairns


Raver of the Month

This month’s title goes to Johnny Cairns. Originally hailing from Toronto, Johnny recently opened up about his past experiences and the impact dance culture has made on his life. (This interview has been truncated to keep the article concise).

Johnny Cairns

 F: Can you define what rave culture means to you in one sentence?

J.C: One people under a groove.

F: Ok, that sounds familiar…I think that was Parliament!

J.C: (Laughter) That’s right. We’re all one, we’re under the groove and you could feel connected out on the dance floor, unlike anything today, especially in the ‘90’s, so between 91 and 90 and 2000 actually is when I did it, I did the whole decade and it was incredible. Connected.

F: Who or what got you into raving?

J.C: My little brother actually. When he moved back from Montreal in 1995, we moved in together and went to York University together and he was into psychedelics. I discovered psychedelics at that point and some of his friends who were a bit younger. He was 19, I was about 25, and so I went to a rave party with him down at Palais Royale… and it was at that rave in fact, the people I went with bailed, they actually bailed. It was the first time I felt that really profound peak in the heart, when it just started pumping and when we left the club I was like Nooo!!! cuz the girls got freaked out on psychedelics and they had to leave and I went with them. That was my second rave. After that I was like “See ya!” I’m out there. That’s how it rolled.

F: So psychedelics was your drug of choice?

J.C: Absolutely, that’s all I would do. Wouldn’t do anything but psilocybin, scientific term.

F: Yes, scientifically proven to trip you out without any major ill side effects. So what was your fondest memory from that era? And when we refer to era we’re talking from the era of ’95 onwards correct?

J.C: Yeah, ’95 onwards. I did go to raves in ’91. I went to a Nitrous party, in fact. Was offered some LSD at that party, turned it down and then proceeded to go into the drinking crowd and after that, only to come up in ’95 and actually do the psychedelics and go for it.

F: Wow, a Nitrous party in ’91. What sort of music were they spinning back then?

J.C: That was trance, that was a big trance party so that was DJ Dogwhistle, who was Chris Sheppard.

F: That’s right.

J.C: Chris Sheppard and Dr. Trance. Actually I was invited by Don Berns to the party, went with him, and he was Nitrous, he threw the party, he and Power and Don Berns and I were good friends, even though he was a bit of a pervert, a weirdo, liked boys but he and I were really, really cool.

F: Did raving kill any of your romantic relationships?

J.C: Absolutely, yeah. I wrote a book, it was 1000 days it became such a powerful spiritual thing and it wasn’t. There was this whole ethos of romance and sex when I was raving but I was almost like a monk in a way. A monk amongst thousands of hot girls, it was a really exciting thing. So yeah, it killed them all.

F: Do you think Ecstasy and M.D.M.A. should be legalized?

J.C: Yeah, absolutely, both should be. Why not? I think whether they’re legalized or not, kids are gonna do them and personally myself, I wasn’t a big Ecstasy fan and I’ve seen the results of Ecstasy on kids over the years. I knew people that did too much and they’ve got no memory, no brain left.

F: In your opinion, what sort of elements contributed to the overall demise of Toronto’s rave scene?

J.C: I think like all things it saturates, you know, it just saturates, it reached a peak and went down. There were other factors; the law started changing, the zoning started changing, they closed off most of our access to different warehouse spaces – they were gone suddenly and the wave crashed. I think a lot of us just got older too. A lot of us went into our mid and late 20’s and couldn’t do it all night.

F: In what year would you say raving officially died?

J.C: Oh, I remember the night well. My brother threw a party at Spadina in 1999, 2000. 2000 it was done. Over. I remember 2000, I clearly remember the feeling, I wept actually. I went back to help clean up my brother’s space and the vibe was just not there; it was really weird. That’s why I call it the 90’s vibe cuz 2000 came – gone. Like completely gone. It had already gone scenesterish already, like 99, 98, a little bit, but there was still some raving happening. It was becoming a bit more monocultured, you’d see ravers dressing the same whereas in the beginning, we were freaks. We were all dressed differently and it was wild.

F: I wanted to ask you about that. What sort of raver were you? What sort of fashions were you rocking back in the day.

J.C: I was like a psychedelic safari nut. For a while I was a space cowboy.

F: Space cowboy?

J.C: Space cowboy yes. I had a lot of cowboy shirts with polyester pants with four packet jackets and I had huge platforms, like Mad Max clear soled platforms, with those on I was about 6 foot 1. Freaked out people when they see me cuz I looked naturally deformed, like my head and hands and my body should be 6 foot tall so it looked right when I was 6 foot tall. Yeah, I actually had that experience once when I saw a girl in the Kensington Market area from a rave, she met me at a rave, she remembered me from a Mark Farina rave. And then she saw me, she goes, “Why are you taller?”

F: How relevant do you think raving, as we knew it in the 90’s is relevant to youth culture? Do you think it’s relevant at all in any way or do you think it was just relevant specifically for that time period.

J.C: I think it’s relevant, I don’t think one can say extremely relevant. The need to express yourself culturally is massive, right? And there’s a shining reflection of that that needs to come back. This kind of mono-cropped way of everybody dressing the same and acting the same is a really dangerous sign of where our society is going. We were in large part a rebellion against that and I think it’s important, it’s important for the youth to rebel against that, otherwise civilization is quite literally doomed.

F: True words. On a final note, how do you think raving has changed your life? Do you think raving has enriched your life in any way at all?

J.C: Absolutely. For whatever reason, I’ve always been into dancing, even in  like the early mid 80’s, late 80’s when I went to it. It quite literally saved my life.

Somewhere in the early 90’s I was very big into drinking and  was drinking myself right down into the gutter. And then I used to joke with people and say, “Raving saved my life.” I stopped drinking alcohol, I started eating well and I looked great. I was about 26, 27, and I looked 18, 19 years old, so baby faced. I started this rejuvenating thing to just drink water and dance all night. It really changed my view of reality itself as an energetic thing, not just a material thing. And I really got a profound sense of our interconnectedness, and a large part of that was due to raving. It’s changed the way I relate to others and has moved me forward in a lot of my projects, to today.

F: Wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about your experiences Johnny. I really appreciate it.

J.C: You’re welcome Frankie. You rock.

Johnny Cairns is a fitness instructor. He’s also into posititve thinking and mobile sound systems. Look out for djonabicycle coming to a city street near you… 
Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in part or whole and posted to another site or reproduced without the express permission of the author

To All da Ol’ Skool Ravers (and the newbies)


 Greetings Fellow Ecstaticans,

Welcome to Frankenräver! Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably pining  for the good ol’ days of the mid to late 90’s, when the rave scene reached its apex in Toronto. When Ecstaticans would hug each other and scream with  joy as the whistles and horns blasted our brains to oblivion amidst a sea of  glo-stix while the high priest of rave (aka the DJ) messed up our minds royally  with technical wizardry. All duly facilitated by state of the art sound systems emanating seismic frequencies so powerful that it literally transmogrified your  DNA (whilst pissing off sleep deprived residents on Toronto islands). Those  days are long gone my friends. However, like yours truly, you may have become permanently infected with the rave bug. Symptoms may include all or some of the following:

 a) A maddening reluctance to let go of the glorious past. You recall your first E trip like it was only yesterday.

b) You blatantly refuse to allow your mind to be turned to mush by commercial crap stinking up the airwaves and blast vintage sets by Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin.

c) You still have those cargos or Modrobes from way back when stowed away (to be auctioned off on E-Bay perhaps. Hey, those Snugs could be worth a fortune now!).

d) Despite the fact that you’re steadily approaching that  middle aged hill, you still have the stamina to pull an all-niter just like the good ol’ days. Though it might take you an extra day to recover now….bummer….

  See? You are not alone! I totally feel your pain. No, really. I’m halfway through a six-pack as I write this. It really helps to take the edge off life in a world that appears to have gone  stark raving mad. Nevermind the Greek tragicomedy playing out in the Eurozone –  Rodgers & Hammerstein could make a best selling musical out of that one.  Actually, the world was going bonkers even back then, but at least glo-stix  cost a buck and Ecstasy didn’t contain rat poison (at least not yet!). I first  discovered The Joy of Raving in 1998. Some of the old heads would argue that I  was a newbie but it’s all relative. True enough, I was inducted into The Hall of Rave at a time when it was dangerously close to going mainstream. However,  it was mostly a mostly underground scene even though it had grown to epic proportions  by that time. Mom had no idea what the fuck I was really up to when I told her  I was going to those “all night parties” and neither did the media.  At that time, private security was in full effect at raves, and we never saw  cops unless the rave got busted. Thanks to visionless politicians like Mayor Lastman, police presence at raves became the norm from 1999 onwards. And that,  as you know, was the beginning of the end. Things were never quite the same  afterwards. Thankfully, I got a taste of the real deal before it curdled and  went belly up like a carton of expired yogourt.

I decided to start this blog as a tribute to ravers  of my pre-2000 generation. Mainly because raving is a counter-culture movement with as much significance as that of the 60’s and deserves to be recognized as such. In my opinion, it doesn’t get the respect it truly deserves. Up until  2009, whenever I googled “Toronto rave scene,” practically nada would surface in search results. Yet I could find a wealth of literature and films on  the rave scene in England and Europe. It was as if Toronto’s scene never  existed. Why was that? It really bothered me because I knew from firsthand  experience that in the late 90’s, Toronto had a world class dance culture vibe  on par with that of England in its heyday. Due to draconian by-laws created by  British politicians, raving was effectively outlawed in the U.K. by 1995.  Despite its untimely demise, it was successfully transplanted in North America,  thanks to the efforts of idiosyncratic British pioneers like Captain B. Mental.  Raving was an epoch in Toronto’s party history that can never be duplicated. It was the era of the super DJ, much like the age of the supermodel, when notable  disc jockeys like Carl Cox earned a whopping $10,000 per set. Armand Van Helden, Roni Size, Josh Wink, DJ Sneak, Derrick May, Sasha and Digweed, Kevin Saunderson, Daft Punk, Sven Vath and more ALL breezed through here and I was  lucky enough to have witnessed this stellar period in Toronto’s underground movement. Our scene was so huge that Americans would come over for a weekend  just to party with some of the biggest names in dance culture. This is  something that us Torontonians should be proud of. Fuck American Idol….RAVES ROCK!

          Even more telling is the triumph of  raving at a time when Facebook and cell phones did not exist and you had to call the hotline to get directions to the location on the same night….when  the internet was still in its infancy and you had to type in the fricking  http:// plus the address to get to the webpage which was uncluttered with  invasive advertising and the layout was simple and clean….POWER TO THE  PEOPLE! During that time, I used the net to glean information on MDMA and DJs  making the scene. The world wide web changed my perspective on how I accessed knowledge and empowered me to make wise decisions on how to act responsibly  with regards to Ecstasy, as it did for many others of my generation. 

          So my fellow Ecstaticans, rest assured  that you are not going crazy. There is truly more to raving than meets the eye. I like to think of it as a cosmic insurrection against the rotten, vampiric, capitalist system that’s currently bleeding the world economy dry, draining  Earth’s citizens of their vitality, fucking with people’s dreams and their right to exist and evolve beyond this materialistic hemisphere. As Public Enemy famously said, “Don’t believe the hype!” I encourage you all to come forward with your comments, photos and experiences to share amongst our thriving community. Please keep it simple and clean. Pornographic or racist material is not welcome here. Let’s make this a place where we can share and relish in the wealth of unique experiences that rave culture has to offer. Let’s take a stand once and for all and be proud of what Toronto has to offer, and put a stop to  the “Imitate America” inferiority complex that is currently ravishing our t.v. screens and airwaves like an errant strain of diehard retrovirus.

          Major shout-outs to my peeps – Stephen, Collin & especially Shane 4 helping me get this blog started. To Ricky, Jeff, Shaft – thanks for all your support and your fête joie de vivre! Big props to all the peeps who helped to make my rave experience truly immense: Ed, Jeffrey, Big Papa, Gio, Maria, Cindy, Sue, Ian, Leslie,  Eric, Stu, Simon, the amazing DJ’s, underground mags and the promoters who’ve put on fantastic events for us to enjoy. Last but not least, to all the countless ravers who’ve ever showed me love. YOU GUYS ROCKK!!!



Copyright © 2011 Frankie Diamond. This article may not be copied in part or whole and posted to another site or reproduced without the express permission of the author.