Walter Gibbons was born on April 2nd 1954. If his life had not been cut tragically short he would be celebrating his 62nd birthday this year.
Walter was a DJ. But he wasn’t just any old record spinner, the often abused title of “The DJ’s DJ” could have been invented for Walter. His peers came to watch him play after hours in New York’s Galaxy 21 when their own shifts finished. His style was unique and his influence was massive. Many techniques that are industry standard for DJs today were created in Walter’s booth. EQing records to add drama, tweaking the frequencies to thrill the dance floor, extending songs by playing two copies, sometimes relentlessly extending mere seconds of a record on a pair of belt driven turntables. An art he quickly learned to apply to tape, making him a pioneer of the re-edit.
Probably his greatest accomplishment was becoming the first DJ to have a remixer credit on a record. Salsoul Records boss Ken Cayre was so taken with Walter’s personal extension of Double Exposure’s “Ten Per Cent” that he asked him to recreate it in a professional studio. Not only did he want this version to be available to the city’s DJs, he wanted to release it commercially. And so Walter also has the distinction of being an integral part of the first commercially available 12 inch single.
In a relatively short space of time Walter completed over thirty remixes, all of them pushing studio engineers to their limits. His remixes were groundbreaking to say the least. He was a maverick and a genius. His legacy can be heard in a thousand records, his DJing and production style still influence today’s DJs and producers and some of his rarer releases command crazy prices among collectors.
Despite these achievements, Walter remains relatively unknown compared to some of his more illustrious peers, many of whom are still active today. We want to celebrate Walter’s birthday by releasing a series of custom, limited edition records, tapes and CDs and ultimately celebrating his life in the most appropriate way imaginable - with a party in Brooklyn, the place of his birth. And this year couldn’t be more perfect as his birthday falls on a Saturday!
Starvue in Brooklyn is a small room with an impeccable sound system. It holds no more than 85 guests and has no bar - it is simply a place to appreciate music and dance. Walter's biggest fan Al Kent and Brooklyn's Devin Dare will play special Walter Gibbons influenced sets.
Obviously, with two DJs (one travelling from Glasgow), hire fee and so on and with a strict capacity of 85 guests, the project is financially unfeasible. And there will be plenty who appreciate Walter's work but are unable to attend a party in Brooklyn. So we’ve put together a package of rewards to not only cover the costs of this unique event, but also to create enduring mementos of one of the most important figures of what has become known as "club culture”.
Risks and challenges
The only risk is not covering costs. If this turns out to be the case we'll try again in 2022, the next year Walter's birthday falls on a Saturday :)
Our challenge is to do credit to our hero!
- (14 days)