Not that he went away, especially — it's not like he's ever stopped DJing and, like any other year, he played loads during 2014 (although he did retire temporarily in 1990, only to return three years later). What's remarkable, however, is that — after almost 30 years in the game — the Trax man responsible for huge anthems such as 'Move Your Body', '7 Ways To Jack' and 'Open Our Eyes' — sometimes dubbed the 'Godfather Of House' — has finally started a label.
Dubbed Freakin 909 and set up with House of Virus, the first release (out this month) is 'True House Stories (Lock the Doors)', a boogiefied party starter from the man himself that, with its spoken word message, pays homage to the early house scene and the late-great Frankie Knuckles.
And this month he returns to London once again. It seems appropriate that one of the founding fathers would be picked to launch House Is A Feeling at Warehouse LDN on Saturday 7th March, who're clearly starting as they mean to go on. Big Jeff will be joined by Alex P and Soul Avenger on the night, so we wanted to hear a little more from the man from Chicago who helped create it all...
Remember your first clubbing experience? Tell us about it…
“I went to a club called Nimbus in Chicago... it was pretty much a pick-up joint where the music was secondary, and I was a walking hormone. Had a few drinks, danced a bit, then the DJ played about five slow records to end the night. I got a girl, slow-danced with her, then passed up a one-night stand. Why? I can remember, but I won’t tell.”
Three tunes that never leave your bag…
“Vital Signs 'Love Wonder'
Marshall Jefferson 'Move Your Body (The House Music Anthem)'
Ten City 'Right Back To You (NY Mix)'.”
What’s the most important record ever made?
“Jesse Saunders 'On and On', because it showed the non-musician/DJ that he could make music. Yes, there are probably 400 million bigger hits, but if you’re talking a single song that changed the game, I can’t think of another that comes close. Music would sound completely different today without Jesse Saunders and Vince Lawrence.”
What’s your lights-up, end-of-the-night tune?
“Can’t really say, because I change it up a lot. A lot of times I play at festivals where another DJ follows me, so I haven’t been able to end the night much lately.”
Imagine the world is going to end tomorrow. What you gonna do tonight?
“Probably hide in my basement and reflect on a great life while everyone else goes mental.”
If you could meet anyone — alive or dead — who would it be?
Give us three words to describe clubbing in the year 3000…
“Off the chain.”