It’s been a bruising few weeks in the world of Detroit house and techno – and for a few of the scene’s occupants, literally so. Just under two weeks ago, Omar S and Supercoolwicked ended up in a scuffle at Detroit’s Paramita Sound. He says she started it, she says he started it – police are now investigating the matter.
Elsewhere, Derrick May’s decision to appear on two shows for PBS has totally backfired – with one being removed from streaming services and the other facing almost certain digital purgatory. Many of the names in Detroit aren’t happy with him over this – we’ve been reliably informed that Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins aren’t best pleased either.
Add on the fact that one of Detroit techno’s OGs is now seriously considering leaving the city that made his name – and anyone sensible would conclude that this is a time to cool things down. Which, unsurprisingly, isn’t what’s happening – and now we have yet another sign of how the scene’s old guard is collectively losing the plot.
Mike “Agent X” Clark has been running the Detroit-based Beatdown label for many years now. The label promotes itself by hosting parties – and they have one coming up on November 24th at The Marble Bar. Given recent events within the city, is the use of the name Beatdown entirely appropriate at this time?
Someone made precisely this point underneath a Facebook post by Delano Smith – another one involved with Beatdown. Clark responded with this…
“Please read about our history and understand what it’s about! It’s a company, not just a name, and regardless of all that, we have nothing to do with whatever climate you may be thinking about! As you don’t know [us] and we don’t know you and to chop off the ignorance that’s being implied please understand we not from some violent whatever suggestions you are implying, if that name resonates something bad for you I’m very sorry but this one of our Detroit house traditions for over 20 years! Please respect that!”
Clark could have responded with something along the lines of “this is a fair point in the circumstances, perhaps we could use a different name just for this occasion”. This would have been a PR coup – trust us, we’d love to write something positive about Detroit for once – and would have sent a strong message out at the same time.
But there’s just one problem – and we’ll allow one of our regular Detroit sources to describe it. They said that “Mike’s job for the past 35 years has been to crawl up the asses of Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and the rest of them, and to stay there. He’s been in their large intestines for so long now that he knows of nothing else.”.
Watching proceedings in the thread inevitably descend into an embarrassing farce filled with racist and sexist insinuations – all because the person who asked questions was a white female – was none other than journalist Michael James. He had plenty to say and spoke out on his Facebook page – reminding people that Clark apparently threatened his life some years ago, due to Clark’s ongoing support for Derrick May.
Naturally enough, Clark himself responded – and it didn’t take long for things to flare up yet again. Clark accused James of being “a controlling bully”, and James replied by saying “you have misunderstood what I wrote just as you always have”.
Even when Detroit’s veterans have a chance to do something good, they still can’t bring themselves to break old alliances…