Wicked celebrate 25 glorious years together October 2nd at Re-bar in Seattle for Chance of Rain Festival!
2016 marks a quarter century since Wicked Sound System formed, steering a course for underground dance music whose influence can still be felt today in California’s myriad of festivals. The crew’s legendary Full Moon parties formed the foundation for the west coast’s sound system/outdoor party culture.
The DJ crew of Jenö, Garth, Markie and Thomas went on to spread their gospel throughout America in a customized 1947 Greyhound bus with their own 15k TurboSound system and a crew of 20 friends. This inspired Garth’s record label Grayhound Recordings which became home base for the crew’s own releases and launched the recording careers of many other west coast electronic artists. 53 singles were released from 1998.
Now back to the beginning…
In the spring of 1991, a small brave crew of Acid House seekers set sail from south east England in search of adventure. San Francisco was the destination.
They made their mark under the Golden Gate Bridge at Baker Beach with the first in a 6 year run of wild and lawless full moon parties.
In a haze of psychedelic smoke the crew came up with a name. Wicked was born and consummated the following weekend with an all-night loft party above BPM Records in the city’s sex district.
From here they moved below ground to Jessie Street, a sweaty after hours jam that became the crew’s first weekly residency. Kick off was 2am!
Quickly outgrowing the tight confines of the basement, Wicked threw a series of warehouse parties before settling in to the King Street Garage with their own custom designed Turbosound system and camouflage netting.
By 1995 the parties and Wicked’s rep had grown exponentially. They invited the best DJs the world had to offer to play on the Wicked Sound System. Tony Humphries, Francois K, DJ Pierre, Louie Vega, Roger S, Harvey, Stacy Pullen, Robert Owens, K Alexi, Alton M, Three, Mike Clark, Chez Damier, Kenny Hawkes & Joe Claussel all made their SF debuts at Wicked jams on King Street, Townsend or DNA.
Wicked was the pioneering sound system at Burning Man in 1995. The same speakers went on to rule the late night airwaves each year at Reggae on the River with guest appearances on the mic by Reggae legends Mikey Dread and Junior Reid.
By now, word of Wicked had spread across the states. After a couple of years touring in a convoy of vans the crew teamed up with friends in Berkeley and all aboard Clay’s customized ’47 Greyhound bus, took the country by storm.
By 2000 the crew had swept through Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Salt Lake, Boulder, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, New Orleans, St Louis, Chicago, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Miami, Tampa & Gainesville, spreading their gospel.
After a 13 year run as the city’s reigning sound system, Wicked disbanded in 2004, although Garth & Jeno kept the flames alive with their Acid Disco Back2Back parties.
In 2011 the band reunited for a 13 city tour of USA & Japan to mark ‘Twenty Years of Disco Glory.’
Between them they have released records under various guises (Map of Africa, Rub n Tug, Welcome Stranger, Mammal, ARE Weapons, Defenders of the Faith, Crosstown Traffic & Rocket on numerous labels including Garth’s Grayhound Recordings. They have remixed Tribe Called Quest, Faithless, Perry Farrell, Freeland, The Glimmers, The Units, Coldplay, Roxy Music, Beastie Boys. Yabby You, !!! & Out Hud.
Garth has taken up film acting in Los Angeles. His silver screen debut was in ‘Speed Dragon’ which won best feature at NY Independent Film Festival, with many more in the works.
Jenö transmits his Full Moon radio broadcast NoiseFromTheVoid from San Francisco.
Markie has worked his way up to Head of Science at San Francisco’s School of the Arts.
Thomas has moved back to London where he produces music and runs his import business, Spirit Bear Mezcals.