Acid House: Where Did it All Start? The History of The Acid House

Acidhouse creator DJ Pierre deep technoUniversiy Park, a suburb of Chicago laying about an hour away from the city itself, home to a kid calling himself DJ Pierre. A kid who is to become the creator of one of the greatest music the world has ever known. A sound that started a musical revolution worldwide, which resulting in the second summer of love in 1988.

DJ Pierre’s friend Spanky ( Earl Smith Jr) introduced him to ‘The music box’. A gay underground nightclub in Chicago where the resident DJ Ron Hardy was playing old and new tunes together but not just playing them he was mixing them into each other and changing the feel of the music by bringing in and dropping out beats, basslines and other elements.

The young DJ Pierre was blown away. The Music box was one of the birth places of house music, it was dark, sweaty and the crowds would go crazy calling out Ron Hardy’s name when he played. Spanky told Pierre that he knew how they made the music, ‘they used a little box with drum sounds in it.’

Pierre recalls thinking ‘That’s ludicrous- a box, with drum sounds?’ he would lay awake wondering how they did it. After he bought his first drum machine (Dr Rhythm) it all started to make sense. Sparky brought along a friend Herb J ( Herbert R Jackson Jr) who bought a couple of keyboards and together the 3 of them sat around trying to figure out how to make tracks.

Few months later and Spanky invested in a Roland 303 bass synthesizer which he bought for $40 from a second hand store. Once they got it hooked up and running it was playing some crazy sounds and Spanky could not figure out how to get rid of them. Pierre said ‘Damn, I like this one here!’ and started to turn the knobs.

For the next 3 hours they sat turning those knobs, made a track, and thinking it sounded like the stuff that was played by Ron hardy they decided to give him a copy on cassette. They called the track ‘In Your mind’ because they kept hearing the ‘eoweoweow’ noise in their heads after they had done the track.

They went down to the Music Box early one night and handed Ron a copy of their track on cassette. He played it early with around 40 people in the club, he then played it an hour later and it cleared the floor a bit, he played it again at around 3am and people kept on dancing then at 5am he played it again and this time everyone went crazy. Had he played it once or twice then acid wouldn’t have happened but Ron forced that track, and regularly playing it people grew to love this new mad sound.

At that time DJs were not producing mixtapes so clubbers would go to the musicbox armed with mini tape recorders and record the music live with the clubbers screaming and shouting over the top. These tapes from different nights would get passed around, people thought the DJs were making the music and everyone was talking about Ron Hardy’s ‘acid trax’, his new track.

One such tape was played to Pierre who said ‘Man that aint Ron’s track, me and Spanky done that!’ Pierre and Spanky along with Herby J named themselves Phuture, and as their track was called acid trax by all the clubbers they kept that name and released it on the Trax label in Chicago. Acid House was born. Phuture gave birth to acid, and Ron Hardy was the midwife.

Acid Trax – Phuture

However, there is a dispute as to whether it was Phuture or Marshal Jefferson who really invented acid house music. Marshal Jefferson wrote a track called ‘Lost Control’ which it is said used the TB303 before Phuture made ‘Acid Trax’, but it doesn’t stop there, another well known Chicago house pioneer Adonis claims that he wrote ‘Lost Control’. Adonis says that he owned the TB303 and not Marshal Jefferson. ‘I owned a 303, not him. Marshal is the one that told everyone what machine I was using but of course he told everyone it was him instead of me.’ Adonis states that he was young and Marshal Jefferson took advantage of that and screwed him out of his rightful place as main contributor to the acid house legacy of Chicago.

Marshal Jefferson’s response to this is that he wrote the track with fellow Chicago house collaborator Sleazy B, and that the track was nothing more than a drum and bassline track. He owned a 303 which was stolen and after that he began using Adonis’ 303 which he says ‘he didn’t know how to use a 303 much better than me.’

It is these guys and many more great acidhouse music deep techno pioneers that inspired me to create my own acid music… Below is my tune (Acid Pleasure – Andiroo) set to a video of some excellent European graffiti.

Acid Pleasure – Andiroo

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