MORE PROTEIN STORY
Boy George says; "I started More Protein to dominate the planet! No really... it was a way to get my friend Jeremiah Healy's track out 'Everything Starts With An E'. Jeremy was doing loads of music, mainly by sampling, and I kept telling him to make a record. Anyway, I heard this backing track that he had been working on and I helped write some melodic chorus parts and then we had the idea to put Caron (M.C. Kinky) on it chatting. We went in and recorded the track, I put up the money, and the rest is history!
To start with, we played it to a few different companies but because of the bad press the house scene was getting about ecstasy, we were rejected by everyone on moral grounds. They obviously couldn't get the joke, so we went to Virgin Records. At first, they agreed to put it out to the clubs to see if there was a good response from the DJ's, but apart from an ecstatic thumbs up from Manchester's Craham Park, there didn't seem to be much interest at all, so Virgin said they wouldn't go any further with it.
By this time, I started nurturing the idea of taking the label, beyond the one single, so I asked Jon Webster to release a few copies as a goodwill gesture, just to show some commitment to the label, and he did. Again, we didn't get much response to start with but after a few weeks, people really started to pick up on it. I remember Paul Oakenfold asking me about the track, so I brought a copy down to Spectrum at Heaven. When he first put it on, people were moving very uncomfortably to it, but with another few weeks, it was a rave essential and Caron was whizzing around to every rave pushing the record.
About a year or so before all this 'E' business, my brother Kevin, he played me a tape of a girl called Eve Gallagher to see if I would give her some vocal work. I told him at the time that I thought Eve was a lead vocalist, but I kept her in my mind. When I started to get More Protein going, I got back in touch with her and signed her to the label. By this time I had started to work with Mark Brydon from Sheffield's Fon Studios. I got turned on to Mark after he did a remix of 'After The Love'. the first Jesus Loves You single. It was love at first beat!
Mark and I had started with the idea of writing songs for other people but being the greedy git that I am, I wanted to sing them all myself. We did end up giving a track to Caron Wheeler, a song called 'Blue'.
I met Caron (M.C. Kinky) while I was recording my ill-fated second solo album "Tense Nervous Headache" (which is now one of those shelved masterpieces covered in dust)... I loved the way she chatted (rapped) and I got her to collaborate on an album track called "Kipsy", which is still a bit of a Boy's Own classic. I still intend to remake and remodel that tune someday.
I met her at Fred's in Carlisle Street. She asked me if I was still doing that "pop Reggae stuff" and told me she did a bit of rapping (jamaican style). As you can imagine, I was intrigued because when I started Culture Club, I used a white chatter called Amos (Captain Crucial), who was also mega brilliant. He appeared on tracks like "Love Twist" and "Murder Rap Trap".
I met Amos the day I went over to Mikey's Craig's house to audition him and talk about starting Culture Club. It was funny because I was in Mikey's bedroom and I'd brought my friend Claire Habbiba over because I thought she would be able to assess Mickey's bass playing. Claire was heavily into Reggae. Suddenly this young kid whizzes into the room on roller skates with long dreadlocks (real ones in fact!). Remember, these were the days of sew-on dreads so I was very impressed and he's talking like a Jamaican! I asked Mikey who he was and he said "Oh he is just me lady's kid brother", but I fully intended to pursue the issue even though Mickey wasn't keen and he ended up working with Culture Club later on.
Around that time, there was a brilliant club called the Language Lab. At the club, there used to be a sound system and various people would rap live. Amos always had trouble getting a place on the mike but when he did, he tore the place up. I guess its the contradiction that attracts me... like Helen Terry, who I met outside Heaven. Someone said "Oh she's a brilliant singer", so I went, "Go on, sing"... and she let out this amazingly soulful scream. "Right, give me your number" I said... and that was it!
I just seem to trip over people, that's why I think its important to go out to the clubs as you never know who you might meet. More Protein has been a very incestuous affair up until now, with everyone being friends and all working with each other, but that has started to change. At the moment, we have three acts: E-Zee Possee, Eve Gallaguer, M.C. Kinky and we are on the verge of signing an Indian singer called Jagdeep Singh - don't be misled, he sounds more like Michael Jackson than Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but even that would interest us.
We don't really have any rules, I like to think we adhere to that Summer of Love anything goes principle - ya know how it used to be in Ibiza when Dj's were more flexible you could hear house tracks mixed with the Woodentops or Orange Juice when dj's weren't so territorial. I think the problem is that dance music has saturated the market so much, that DJ's have become precious to protect their space. "I only play bleep"..." I only play hardcore rap. "I think it started with all the Indie bands getting into dance rhythms. A lot of the Black Soul DJs's hated things like Happy Mondays and there's been a division. Personally, I'm all for it. I think house music or dance has to keep reinventing itself, taking on a new slant, or it becomes boring. I'm not a fan of those Black Box type of tunes with people (dolly birds) miming to other people's vocals. I think it should be outlawed. Sorry!... I'm rambling.
Anyway we are also going to sign Captain Crucial (yes, Amos), which will be a sort of re-signing, because he was once signed to Virgin as Dark City, but the music he's making now is much harder, ore club orientated. As for the label is concerned, we are primarily a dance label, but there are no rules, I mean, "Bow Down Mister" for instance had great club support so you can never judge what's gonna go down - I think that's what keeps it exciting.
After Virgin Records decided not to put out "Tense Nervous Headache", I was a bit like a wounded witch. I was even contemplating giving up this music lark. Very very pissed off, I started working at Jeremy's putting some words to various tunes. I guess working with Jeremy gave me the bug again. Jeremy had been successful on Haysi Fantayzee and had got into productions. He'd always been into rap years before it became popular anyway. I wrote the words for Doctor Mouthquake's "Love On Love" and I helped on "Everything Srat's With An E". I guess being so successful in Culture Club made me take myself too seriously. With the Jesus Loves You stuff, its more fun to make. Being in a band is a nightmare! I really enjoy being in the studio whereas I used to hate it.
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