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Author:  Pete Denis [ Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  WAS IT ALL THAT ???

The PARADISE GARAGE. Everyone loved it, it had a devotion that few clubs ever had. Everyone raved about Larry Levan. To this day, PARADISE GARAGE is spoken about as if it was SHANGRI-LA. WAS IT?? Was it ALL THAT? I question it, because I knew at least 50 better deejays then Larry. Granted, in that environment, he was spectacular, but have you ever wondered "What If" there was another, any other, deejay that had been there. Would it have been better? Or was there something, that I am missing,that made it so great because of Larry? I heard him elsewhere, many have heard him elsewhere, and no-one RAVED about him then? Was he a ONE-CLUB wonder? Like a one hit wonder? I know he did all those RE-MIXES on 12' versions. But, but, that wasn't actual spinning was it? I think he was the most-over-rated Deejay of the era. Many feel that way. But many think he was the world's best? I have never heard such opposing opinions? You are either a LARRY guy, or you are not. No in between here. Can someone answer that with a good response? Please, set me straight!

Author:  Jay Negron [ Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  YES!

I am a Larry Levan fan. When he was on--he was on! The one thing you knew when the weekend was coming up was that he was gonna play a song that was so new and great and hard to find or unavailable. And I am not talking about BS songs either. In the beginning he had some hard to find stuff; soon after he had some "not out yet" stuff.

I thought I was hot shit when I had the "original mix" BODY MUSIC by The Strikers. I played it at Pegasus for 3 months before anybody had it. One night we went to 'The Garage' and I hear the REMIX by him & Francois K. I was beyond belief. That sounded so dynomite when I heard it, I was like damn!!!! That remix wasn't on a promo copy until 6 weeks later.

I heard a lot of songs for the 1st time at The Garage because he got them so so early:
"Dancin" (remix) Crown Heights
"First True Love Affair"-Jimmy Ross
"Work That Body"-Taana Gardner
& much more!

Also the type of songs that he gravitated to were simple soul/dance: Jimmy Ross, Gwen Guthrie, Front Line Orch., The Supremes (without Diana), Jocelyn Brown, etc. I could go on---->yes I am a Larry guy.

I also love Walter Gibbons, Knuckles, Francois, Bobby 'DJ', Bacho, David from Ipanema, etc.

Author:  Pete Denis [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:03 am ]
Post subject:  Outside the Paradise Garage?

Did you ever see him outside the GARAGE? And how about when you saw him spinning at Paradise Garage? Was he always so good?? Or did his "habits" affect his energy and mixing? From what I know and from what I heard, he was at his best early. The later it got, the worse he spun? Do you know what I am talking about? Then at Club ZANZIBAR in Newark, he was actually poor. the management would only give him one night, in the middle of the week! They did not fire him, they wanted to use his NAME as a drawing card. But he disappointed many there! I think they eventually canned him! I hear all the positive stories about him. But sometimes truth becomes legend. And everyone believes the legend and forgets the truth.

Author:  Jay Negron [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:25 am ]
Post subject:  L.L. RIP

Larry was DONE(tostao!) by the time he got to Zanzibar's. His "addiction" was his first priority by then. (I was there myself at a point in time.) The best time to hear Larry was during '77-'80.
Maybe it just was a point in time that it all came together:
The mood of the crowd at 6:30am,
the new remixes he was playin,
the many DJ's(30+)that were on the dance floor (after their own gigs),
all of that made what was goin on really HOT!!!

Author:  DJ Ed Martin [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:31 am ]
Post subject:  Please!!

The Larry Levan I remember would have DEAD SILENCE at times, as he would miss his cue, and one record finished before he could mix in the next. I also remember him being totally off on some of his mixes. The beats were off! Technically, he was not up to par with all the other deejays I heard! Granted, he played a lot of songs before anyone else did. But that is only a big deal to deejays. A few days after he played something Brand New, others had it, and mixed it better then Larry did. And his days at ZANZIBAR, were a waste. He was actually booed at times!! So maybe there were a lot of positive things about him, but there were just as many negative things too. For my money, PINKY was the main man in NYC.

Author:  Delmar Browne [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:20 am ]
Post subject:  The Paradise Garage

To tell the story from an opinionated point of view, Larry was "Exclusive" when it came to his versions of songs.


Instrumental Version: I Want To Thank You - Alicia Myers
The original version of Life Is Something Special - NYC Peech Boys (No Vocal)
The Gwen Guthrie EP before it ever came out - Seventh Heaven, Padlock, Hopscotch etc.,
The Accapellas and there were too many to mention.

Larry signed my copy of Gwen Guthrie's EP back in 1985.

We've met on a few occasions outside of the garage and I saw him toward the end of his life.

As a DJ, he had an introduction, body of the mix and an ending to his programming.

His mixes as far as beat to beat weren't great but his programming within a story was excellent.

Author:  Pete Denis [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:06 am ]
Post subject:  The Story

Thanks for chiming in. It means a lot that someone who actually knew him tells us a perspective we would not have been aware of. That concept of a "Story" during the course of the night is very interesting. I think all deejays went into the night with an idea of telling a "story" through their music. I at times started slowly, got wild, then came down. At other times, it was Wild all night long. The "story" would depend on my crowd. What Larry would do, correct me if I am wrong please, is go into the night with a certain story, and stick to it? He dictated to the crowd instead of the crowd dictating to him. Is that what you mean? From a deejay stand-point, that is fantastic. I will play WHAT I WANT. That is a fantastic power over a crowd. (Add to that, that he played"special" mixes of various songs). So in PARADISE GARAGE he was able to do that, and so he had this devotion because he took everyone on a great ride! He told his story, and they loved it. That would explain a lot. Why everyone who went there absolutely raves about everything he did. And it explains why in other clubs, it was not that way at all. His best, was in PARADISE GARAGE, and his worst would be anywhere else??? The cause being that he could not tell his "story" elsewhere. At other clubs, they did not respond to him dictating what was played. The crowd wanted that power? Is that correct? If it is, it explains everything!

Author:  Jose"Pepe"Sal [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:00 am ]
Post subject:  I worked With Him!!

I was a Bouncer for about 6 months at PARADISE GARAGE, then also on Wednesday nights at Club ZANZIBAR in Newark when Larry Levan worked there. I also have worked at over 50 other clubs. I can tell you, at PARADISE GARAGE, Larry ruled without mercy. He was in a zone, no-matter what he did, everyone though it was planned. If he was late on a mix, the crowd thought he planned it. They expected the unusual, and he delivered. Once he was out of that environment, things changed. In other clubs, the crowds expected mixing, on beat. That was not Larry! In fact, LARRY was amongst the bottom of the pecking order as far as being a good mixer. But at the Garage, he was the best Deejay in the city, because the crowd made him. Sorry to everyone who was a LARRY fan, outside the Garage, he was not too good. And yes, he was fired from ZANZIBAR!

Author:  Jay Negron [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Larry

Larry is revered primarily as the DJ and driving force of the famous gay disco "Paradise Garage." With engineer Richard Long, he custom-designed the Garage's monster sound system and DJ booth, complete with audiophile Thorens turntables.

Larry's brilliance lay not only in his technical skill and audio expertise, but also in his unique and eclectic taste. He confounded and greatly broadened the "rules" of what "dance music" could be, mixing everything from gospel, reggae, Philly soul and Euro-disco to rock ("Stand Back"/Stevie Nicks and "Eminence Front"/The Who, to name but two), post-punk ("The Magnificent Seven"/The Clash, and Talking Heads), ambient/environmental music (Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching, for example), and just about everything else. He augmented this aural collage with disorienting sound effects and mind-expanding audio manipulations, working the crossover and balance controls to throw sound around the room as if it had a will of its own. Larry was a shaman who opened a sonic Pandora's box when he D.J.'ed, with all kinds of beautiful, scary and indescribably bizarre sounds careening around the room like spirits flying out of the Ark of the Covenant.

Larry cut his musical teeth at The Loft, essentially the first underground, afterhours disco. Started by David Mancuso at the advent of the '70s, The Loft combined psychedelic culture with proto-disco music, which then consisted of longform, psychedelic-influenced soul ("Melting Pot"/Booker T. & The MG's, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"/The Temptations, etc.), jazz-funk like The Blackbyrds, funky rock ("Woman"/Barabas, for example) and trippy head music like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon." When "Paradise Garage" opened in 1976, Larry added gospel-and R&B-flavored disco to his musical menu.

With Larry at the helm, the Garage embodied all that was beautiful about disco: glamour, unpretentiousness, excitement, hedonism, epiphany through music, black/white and gay/straight harmony, and the general concept of the dancefloor as family. Celebrities like Grace Jones, Keith Haring, Nile Rogers, Chaka Khan and Madonna hung out and danced the night away along with thousands more of Larry's dedicated flock.

As a remixer, Larry applied his inimitable touch to countless all-time club classics, including "Got My Mind Made Up"/Instant Funk, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"/Inner Life, "Can't Play Around"/Lace, "Heartbeat"/Taana Gardner, Gwen Guthrie's "Should Have Been You" and "Nothing Going On But The Rent" and many, many others. As a writer and producer, he helped create the sound of the innovative New York Citi Peech Boys and their seminal club hits "Don't Make Me Wait", "On A Journey", "Come On, Come On" and "Life Is Something Special," a joyous, mesmerizing celebration of life, love, and music. Larry's work has a spacious, epic, atmospheric quality, with a haunting blend of joy and pain.

After the Garage closed in 1987, Larry kept a considerably lower profile, doing guest spots at various clubs, including "Studio 54," "Palladium" and "Mars," and D.J.-ing regularly at "The Choice," arguably the inheritor of the Garage's underground legacy. "The Choice" didn't have the grandeur of the Garage, but Larry made it his home, casting his psychedelic spell on a diverse crowd of devoted Garage heads and various other afterhours types. Although his remixing work (and, according to some, his spinning ability) diminished, there's no doubt that Larry, even on a bad night, was still infinitely more creative, interesting and unpredictable than any other jock around. It was that unpredictability that was the reason for many of his followers disenchantment by the mid-and-late '80's: it was also the reason that legions more literally lived to hear him play, or were inspired to make their own careers in music and the music business.

Larry's legacy is more than just a legendary nightclub and a fistful of club classics. Larry Levan was the ultimate DJ: he didn't just excel at his job, he reinvented the concept of the DJ, blurring the boundaries of music, race, sex, sexuality, and changing thousands of people's perception of music, sound and the world around them. For those reasons alone he is still revered and talked about to this day. Larry.....we miss you, the club world has never been the same!


Author:  Pete Denis [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  HYPE

That is HYPE! It is a testimonial from biased source. I see nothing there I did not already know or read about. Plus it very much, from my perspective, full of sh**. I was not moved or swayed by that anymore that anything on any deejay. He was not in YOUR league Jay!! You are a much better mixer then he ever was! Adding strange sounds was an old disco trick used in the early 70's. Most Old-School deejays abandoned those tricks, when pitch control came into existence. But Larry refused to move on, and captured a club and crowd with, "tricks". Did he use an echo chamber too? Sound effect records? COME ON GUYS!! You got taken for a ride by Larry, some people simply loved the ride! Nothing wrong with that. But calling him THE BEST, or that he "reinvented" anything is pure Bullsh**!! TRICKS!!! MIXING IS WHAT COUNTS!! HE COULDN'T DO THAT LIVE!! I will give him credit, EXCELLENT REMIXES!! Did fabulous work!! And He ruled at the GARAGE. But don't insult yourselves and others by putting him on such a high pedestal! He doesn't belong there. JIMMY BURGESS, YES!!! LARRY LEVAN?? NO WAY!!

Author:  DJ Ed Martin [ Sat Aug 02, 2008 5:09 am ]
Post subject:  How Often Did You Hear Him?

I think there is a debate here. Some LOVE him, but admit his actual mixing was bad. I believe that if you are off on your beat music, you really shouldn't even consider him,"One Of The All-Time Best". No way. I heard him often, and while at times he did some great things, he wasn't very good. So how often does it take to pass judgment. I don't believe we should pass judgment. He will go down in history as what he is, part of Disco past, and LARRY LEGEND!!

Author:  Pete Denis [ Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:33 am ]
Post subject:  That is it??

Is that it?? No more comments on LARRY? Strange!

Author:  Jose"Pepe"Sal [ Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Larry

I had the opportunity to talk to some old timers, and they said, that the drugs in the GARAGE had a lot to do with how everyone heard Larry. The meskelin, the ludes, the amil-nitrate it all had something to do with how he was remembered!! Could that be true?

Author:  Pete Denis [ Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:02 am ]
Post subject:  True, but....

YES it could be true, but are you telling me that EVERYONE was drugged out?

Author:  DJ Billy Bob [ Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  No He Wasn't

Was He All That? No he wasn't. Sad that he is not around today to share with everyone his style. But as I remember him, he was great in the studio, and made a lot of his own remixes, but as for deejay technique, he was sub-par. I realize that he had a ton of supporters, and few thousand loyal fans who were there every night he spun, but as far as impressing me, he did not. Miami had a few dozen deejays that would blow him out of the water. In fact, here, he would have had a hard time getting and maintaining a gig at a top club. His beat mixing was below the standards set down here. People like Ciro Llerena, Scott Blackwell, Bill Kelly, Pete Denis, Ray Juanes and myself were considered much better. While I would never talk this way 20 years ago, I can see clearly now, the rain is gone!

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