How I Raved Again on America's Largest Hard Dance Tour
BY JOEL “DJ DEADLY BUDA” BEVACQUA SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2016 AT 5:15 A.M.
My flashlight cuts through the incinerated debris, revealing that my collection of rare, hardcore rave records is a molten glob of vinyl on the ashes of its shelving. The burnt husks of my Technics 1200 turntables crown the top of the fiery ruins, victims of a SoCal Edison transformer explosion the previous day, May 15, 2014.
“Hardcore will never die,” I mutter sarcastically through my respirator, and turn off the flashlight.
I spun those records when I instigated a Pittsburgh rave scene, headlined with Daft Punk at Even Furthur ‘96, ushered in a new millennium at the L.A. Sports Arena. I blasted them at illegal French teknivals and London squat parties over two decades. But I gave up that life years ago.
I thumb through the charred remains of family photos, letters and personal debris. I miss my history as a rave DJ, my lifestyle and my friends. Deep in my heart I’m still a raver, a hardcore raver. And at that moment, I make a promise to myself: If my history was just burned to the ground, I’ll make a new one, and this time I’ll do it right.
Complications immediately arise. Everything about DJing has radically changed during my hiatus. For starters, I’m a hardcore DJ, and no one listens to hardcore anymore.
“Hardcore” was the term ravers adopted once we fused the sounds, sensibilities and do-it-yourself ethos of psychedelia, hip-hop, house, techno and industrial in the early 1990s. Hardcore was a product of Generation X, a ray of hope erupting from that generation’s ingrained nihilism. In the U.K. they called it “hardcore breakbeat.” In America we called it “hardcore techno” and recognized its birthdate as when DJ Lenny Dee’s Industrial Strength Records released Mescalinum United’s “We Have Arrived.”
Now that I’m paying attention again, I discover that the music is better than ever — just not many people know about it. I start publishing The Hard Data magazine. Like Mercury navigating through Hades, I will deliver the news of hardcore’s return to its proper place in the rave universe — the fucking top.
Kari Lambou wants to buy a two-page spread centerfold for “Trauma Live’s Harder Styles Tour,” a seven-city tour featuring more than 20 of the hottest hardcore DJs and producers from Europe.
“This is insane!” I think, but Kari and George Ruseler of Hardtunes.com have been advertisers in The Hard Data for the past year. I know if they say it, they’ll do it. The global hardcore community knows it, too, and the buzz is deafening.
Boom or bust, I vow to document every aspect of the soon-to-be historic tour. I angle onto the tour lineup and make a promo mix for college radio stations. This is gonna be big.