03/06/06 – Keb Darge
Telford’s Warehouse, Chester
He began his career in local disco dance competitions (dancing in the “northern soul style”) in the North of Scotland, and made an appearance in the nationally televised 1979 UK disco dance finals. He also danced at the Wigan Casino, whilst collecting Northern Soul records. Soon after, he was DJing in Wigan at a club next to the casino, and around Scotland as well with his record collection throughout the 1970s.
At the age of 22, Darge moved to London, ceasing to be a DJ. Music promoters from then approached him, asking him to come back to DJing. He obliged, and gave the Northern Soul phenomenon exposure in London through his performances, bringing in people from northern England to London who were previously associated with Wigan’s Northern Soul scene before it dissolved.
After a while, Keb sold off most of his northern soul records due to a divorce in 1987, he remarried twice since but both marriages again ended in divorce, he is now happily married to a woman from the Philippines. Meanwhile he worked in various jobs: butchers boy,window cleaner even delivering leaflets to make ends meet. But he had left over in his loft many other records of what he then referred to as “junk music” that he picked up in the United States on his many jaunts to find northern soul records there and in the UK. This “junk music” would be the beginning of what Keb would later call “Deep Funk”, having underestimated the potential of these leftover records.
In 1989, during the heyday of acid house in the UK, Keb decided to play these funk records, and managed for a short while to get a night to perform regularly at “The Wagclub“, a club specializing in acid jazz. After his night there ended around 1992-93, he met fellow funk record collector Mark Cotgrove, aka Snowboy, at Club Ormones in London where the first funk-only night in the city was held, called ‘Deep Funk’. The night was named by Keb (he would later go on to use the name to describe the sound of the funk records he would play), but arranged by the club owners.
After this, Keb and Snowboy wanted to further expand on the “deep funk” sound, and decided to start their own all-funk night in on old restaurant, but this failed to catch on after a few months due to the burgeoning popularity of house music in the UK at the time, forcing Keb and Snowboy to close up shop there.
Shortly afterwards, they heard about Madame Jojo’s, a strip club located in the Soho district of London. They managed to arrange with the club a night for them to perform weekly. The club accommodated them, and Keb & Snowboy’s funk nights there became an instant success (and still are the leading club nights for funk in London today). Madame Jojo’s closed down their strip nights, becoming a full-time music club, partly due to Keb’s success there.
He has released several albums of compiled classic deep funk tracks, most notably the Funk Spectrum and Keb Darge’s Deep Funk compilations released on BBE Records. Keb Darge is a leading authority on deep funk and soul music of the 1960s and 1970s.
Besides DJing and helping to produce the modern-day funk group The New Mastersounds, Keb is also quite experienced in martial arts, having been a former Tae Kwon Do world champion, he has a passion for militaria and is an avid collector of military miniatures.
Keb no longer Dj’s at Madame JoJo’s since emigrating to the Philippines in early 2012.
Following the 2013 typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines, Keb has been providing food and shelter to victims of the storm. He has also been campaigning against the stockpiling of food aid by corrupt local politicians via his Facebook page.