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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 14
Seattle DJ Almond Brown remembers DJ Frankie Knuckles
Arts & Entertainment
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Seattle DJ Almond Brown remembers DJ Frankie Knuckles

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

If you've ever danced in a Gay nightclub - or any nightclub for that matter - you have enjoyed DJ Frankie Knuckle's legacy: House Music. Knuckles, 59, died on Monday in Chicago, Illinois. Knuckles' longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson, told The Chicago Tribune he had 'died unexpectedly this afternoon at home.'

Several music websites have reported Knuckles had died of complications from Type 2 diabetes.

In the mid 2000s, the DJ had developed the bone infection osteomyelitis after breaking bones in his foot while snowboarding. In 2008, he had the foot amputated.

He is remembered as a legendary producer, remixer and house music pioneer.

Knuckles combined 'elements of disco, electronic sound, soul and synth into a new genre that earned him the title 'Godfather of House Music,' Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said.

'His electrifying remixes and high-energy performances on the turntables packed clubs for decades, and he inspired a generation of DJs, bringing house music to the mainstream,' Portnow said.

Knuckles worked as a remixer with top artists including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. He won a Grammy in 1997 as nonclassical remixer of the year.

Upon hearing the news of his death, Sidney Woodruff, known locally as Seattle DJ Almond Brown, recalled meeting Frankie Knuckles. DJ Almond Brown is a House Music DJ and co-hosts the podcast Now Serving on MixCloud.com (http://www.mixcloud.com/almond-brown/).

Brown recounts meeting the legendary DJ at a gig. 'Inaya Day and Ultra had just got done with a short set, and Ms. Day asked me to join them upstairs. I was already coming off of a musical high and weekend that I will never forget for the rest of my life.'

'Before I knew it, I was feeling like a fish out of water, but still feeling welcome,' he said. 'David Morales, Louie Vega, Ultra Nate, Inaya Day, a few of their friends, and me; and on the couch, sat Frankie Knuckles.' 'He was so quiet, so calm, but his presence filled the room and the love and respect being quietly given was immeasurable,' said Brown. 'I was in awe, disbelief, and humbled. When I had the chance, all I could do was slightly bow with my hands together and say 'pleasure to see you, Frankie' and move on.'

According to Brown, DJ Frankie Knuckles simply nodded.

'That was enough for me,' he said, adding, 'Some folks never got the chance to have even that brief moment to be in the midst of greatness.'

'He shaped and laid the ground work for all of us to do what we love to do today,' said Brown. 'With one pillar gone, we must continue to preserve the true roots of our genre. R.I.P. Frankie ... I will continue to do my part to preserve this legacy of TRUTH you built called HOUSE.'



Inducted to the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005, Knuckles also had a Chicago street named after him in 2004, at the former site of The Warehouse club that was patronized by Gay men from the black and Latin-American communities, where he made his name in northern Chicago.

'The people that used to hang out at The Warehouse coined the phrase 'House Music',' Knuckles said in a news interview before his death. 'At the time I was the only DJ in the city playing a sound that they heard nowhere else.'

'So, when dance parties and regional DJs began popping up on the South Side of the city, to attract the same kind of audience that I had at The Warehouse ... they would advertise that they played 'House Music',' he said.

The legendary DJ was as busy as ever in the days before his death. In fact, he played London's Ministry of Sound on Saturday night.

His Facebook page listed several upcoming dates over the next few months.

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