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Mike Knowler

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Mike Knowler

Mike Knowler

Mike Knowler

I was born on 20 November 1951, so that definitely puts me in the grumpy old man category. A sort of disco version of the late John Peel! I started Dj'ing when I was 17, so that means that I have been Dj'ing for 42 years. Like so many DJ’s of my generation I started off playing soul music and, back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I was expected to talk between the records, just as a radio DJ would today. In the 1970’s lead guitarists such as Eric Clapton were considered to be Gods. But by the 1990’s it was DJ’s like Sasha, Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold who had become the Gods. A couple of my friends have referred to me recently as the God from the Quad – but I assume them to mean this ironically!

Mike Dj'ing Radio Doom at Leasoe

I have an eclectic taste in music, as will be obvious from reading my DJ profile. However, it is the House Music of the period 1988 to 1998 that is my abiding passion. Strictly speaking, a person of my generation (known as baby boomers) would not be expected to be a House DJ. (Mind you Frankie Knuckles and Tony Humphries are both in their sixties). However, I went to New York in July 1986, to attend the New Music Seminar, and was exposed to House Music by a little known black DJ, and dub poet, General B, from Chicago. He described House Music as being a cross between Philly-Soul and New Order. He then obliged me by making a list of about 50 House tracks that he considered essential listening. I then went to Downstairs Records in New York, which was actually up some stairs, and purchased all of the tunes on his list with my Credit Card. Much to my surprise, by Christmas 1986, one of the records on my list was number one in the British pop charts: “Jack Your Body” by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley. My copy is the original US pressing on the Underground label UN-101. The House Revolution had definitely arrived. Unfortunately, at the State, my audience were not yet ready for the revolution. To quote the Last Poets: “When the revolution comes you will know that it is the revolution because it won’t be shown on TV”.

Downstairs Records, New York

For me the lyrics of the Italian House track “Getting Out” by S.L.D. (On the Italian Mighty Quinn label) sum up my personal feelings precisely: Get Ready For The Best Time In Your Life”!!! I was 38 when I bought that record. How many people can say that they had the best time of their life between the ages of 35 to 45. Most people are too busy having a mid-life crisis! At this juncture I would just like to thank Mike Pickering, Graeme Park and Laurent Garnier (who were all originally DJs at Manchester’s Hacienda) for being there to inspire me.
I used to go to the Hacienda when ever I could, most often on a Wednesday.

Laurant Garnier
Mike Pickering
Graeme Park

Of course there have been other memorable periods in my life: like visiting Manchester’s Twisted Wheel Club in the late 1960’s to listen to rare soul; or attending the Wigan Casino Northern Soul “All Nighters in the mid 1970’s; Punk Rock and going to Erics Club on Liverpool’s Mathew Street to see bands like The Clash and The Stranglers in 1977-78; Dj'ing at one off concert events, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, supporting bands like Teardrop Explodes, The fall, Dexys Midnight Runners, Curtis Mayfield, Big in Japan, Q Tips, Cherry Boys, Big Audio Dynamite, Suzie and the Banshees and Ultravox; playing alternative dance music & hip hop at The State in the mid 1980’s; and playing upfront funky American House Music in various bars between 1995 and 1998.

The Glasshouse Resident Dj

My only real regrets as a DJ are that I never worked outside the UK ; and I never recorded or produced my own House Record.

I have now been Dj'ing for over 50 Years playing Soul Funk, Disco & Jazz; from Northern Soul to Acid House and beyond.

Also, alot of the Quadrant Park generation are all now starting to turn 50. I have been receiving alot of requests for me to Dj at these parties which I gladly accept, as long as my diary is free.

The Glasshouse Resident Dj

Finally, I am proud of some of the work that I did at Open Eye and Square One Studios between 1978 and 1985. As a recording engineer / record producer, I made recordings that helped to launch the careers of people like Pete Burns (Dead or Alive), Echo and the Bunnymen and OMD. The ‘Birth of a Nation’ EP by Nightmares in Wax, Pete Burn’s original band, was produced and engineered by me at Amazon Studios in Kirkby, and was released on the Inevitable label in 1980. According to the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide, an original copy, in mint condition, would now be worth £40.00. Several of my other productions are also listed including the ‘Street to Street’ compilation LP, for which John Peel, who was a friend of mine at that time, very kindly wrote the sleeve notes.

Mike Knowler with John Cherry


References & Suggested Reading:

Central 1179 (The Story of Manchester’s Twisted wheel Club) by Keith Rylatt and Phil Scott. Published by PCP Limited. A good read

“Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” (The History of the DJ) written by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton. UK Publisher not known. Mine is a US Copy.
An essential read. Published by grove Press NY.

“Pump Up The Volume” by Sean Bidder Published by Channel 4 Books.

“The Scouse Phenomenom” (Parts 1 & 2) by Klaus Schwartzer. The scrap book of the new Liverpool Rock Scene, (Self Published).

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You can listen to my live interview with Dave Graham on City FM 96.7 using the link below:

96.7 City FM Interview with Dave Graham

Featured Announcements

All future announcements, Dj'ing venues & dates will be posted here!
So keep checking back for up and coming events!!

Please note that the State & Quadrant Park JukeBoxes are now up and running so get listening to them all time classsics picked by Mike Knowler.

Check out the Quadrant Park mixes as there has been about 15 tapes up loaded for you to listen to.

Juke Box

I will upload some of my favourite tracks for you to listen to, in full, on the juke box.
I have created a juke box for each club that you can open in a new window. This is so you can still navigate the website without interupting the play of the music!

(If you do not see the player window pop up, please check your Pop-up blocker settings!)

  Copyright © Mike Knowler 2011