It’s quite some going for a DJ to have an entire two-day annual festival named after them.
Sure, several curate their own events – Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide, say – but could anyone else out there get away with the equivalent of the Andrew Weatherall Festival in the south of France this weekend? But then who else has achieved so much in so many fields as the man formerly known as Audrey Witherspoon, Lord Sabre, Rude Solo, The Chairman and The Major?
He was the rockist grit in the oyster of Shoom and the Boy’s Own Organisation (as you can see from his brilliantly punky sneer in this vintage Boy’s Own interview). He stormed the studio with zero training and immediately hit paydirt with his remixes for the Mondays and Primal Scream (smashing up the latter’s cheery-sad Stones ripoff ‘I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have’ and building ‘Loaded’ from the pieces), and has never looked back since.
As a member of the original acid house mafia and a startling talent on both the ones and the twos, he could easily have taken the superstar DJ route, but instead focused on running several mythical underground club nights – Sabresonic, Blood Sugar, Haywire Sessions and most recently A Love From Outer Space.
He’s produced plenty of great records, whether for bands (from The Scream and One Dove through to Fuck Buttons) or under his own steam (as Sabres of Paradise with Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns, Lords Of Afford with David Hedger, Blood Sugar with David Harrow, Two Lone Swordsmen with Keith Tenniswood, Asphodells with Timothy J. Fairplay, or solo).
And he’s no slouch as a writer, turning in scabrous, funny and weird journalism and creative writing of his own over the years, as well as collaborating with author Michael Smith to soundtrack his book Unreal City and eventually becoming artist in residence for publishers Faber & Faber.
But it’s as a radical remixer that he really catapulted into the public consciousness, and his desire to turn other people’s songs inside out has remained strong right up to the present. Dub, punk, techno, rockabilly, ambient, psych-rock, disco, the experimentation of Joe Meek and Phil Spector, and quite likely several kitchen sinks, have all been thrown into a remix oeuvre that belongs to him at least as much as it does to any of the acts who provided the source material.
So as The Chairman, now 51, celebrates a quarter of a century ripping the guts out of other people’s music and his fellow misfits pay tribute to him in an actual castle, we present 30 glorious examples of his ornery art.