The Legendary Keb Darge Live At The Backdoor


Friday, 19 May 2017
The Back Door
The Event

The Beirut Groove Collecitve all-nighter presents

Legendary Keb Darge (BBE/uk)

Ernesto Chahoud

Special guest appearance

Natalie Shooter

Keb Darge

Keb Darge (born 1961) is a Scottish DJ and music producer, in the genres of Northern Soul and Rockabilly music. He is credited with inventing the term "deep funk".

Early life

Darge has described himself as "a bit of a thug" in his youth. In his late teens, he "picked a fight with the only English boy in the town"; the other teenager beat him up, using taekwondo moves. Surprised, Darge asked him how he had done it, then began taking taekwondo classes. He eventually became a taekwondo world champion.

Darge began disco dancing in his early 20s, and entered in local disco dance competitions (dancing in the "northern soul style") in the North of Scotland. He 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 began dancing, 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. Meanwhile, he worked in various jobs, including butcher's boy, window cleaner and delivering leaflets.

During the 1970s, his work in tracking down vintage funk and soul music led to friendships with American musical luminaries such as Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Harold Melvin and George Clinton.

In 1987, he sold many of his Northern Soul records to pay for his divorce, but he had left over in his loft many other records of what he then referred to as "junk music" that he had 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 Ormonds 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. After this Snowboy left to focus on his jazz dance events.

Shortly afterwards, Keb heard about Madame Jojo's, a strip club located in the Soho district of London. He managed to arrange with the club a night for himself and various guests to perform weekly. The club accommodated him, and Keb'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.

Until early 2010, Keb held a funk night at the club every Friday, called "Legendary Deep Funk". He also tours around the world DJing, and also runs a record label, Kay-Dee, with Kenny Dope.

He has released several albums of compiled classic deep funk tracks, most notably the Funk Spectrum: Real Funk For Real People 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.

He has also helped to produce the modern-day funk group The New Mastersounds

In 1995, Keb had a cameo part in the surf film, Blue Juice, starring Sean Pertwee and Catherine Zeta-Jones, where he can be seen dancing in the village hall.

Personal life

Darge has been married three times. His first two marriages ended in divorce, and both divorces caused him to sell off much of his record collection at the time. He is currently married to a woman from the Philippines. He has lived in the Philippines since early 2012.

After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013, Keb provide food and shelter to victims of the storm. He also criticized the stockpiling of food aid by corrupt local politicians on his Facebook page.

He has a passion for militaria and is an avid collector of military miniatures.
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