Needlz presents Jeff Mills: The Wizard Tapes

Here’s a real treasure for techno fans that I saw today over at the wunderba German spot Nerdcore. Jeff Mills’ WJLB Radio tapes from 1986 – 1989!

UR Forum member Needlz has digitized his Jeff Mills/Wizard mix collection. In all, he digitized 7 sets ranging in time from 13 – 50 minutes long. He also included 7 of his own tribute mixes to pay homage to the master. All from tape, so sound quality may vary. All to be found here at Detroit Techno Militia.

“I was born in Toronto Canada, but I was raised in Grand Rapids MI. I had a serious musical background my mother played guitar and sang the blues in bands for years. Always loved music and never knew anything else. My mom always had Aretha Franklin or the pointer sisters or Taj Mahal or Patty Labell playing in the house. Stuff like that, so groove was introduced very early to me.

When I was 13 I started breakdancing and couldn’t get enough of that new street sound, you know? Then it happened, when I was 14 my friend came back from Detroit and had a tape of the wizard and we were breakin to it. That’s when I became more interested in the music we were listening to. I asked him “what is this?” He said this is the wizard on WDRQ-before WJLB and that was it.

I stopped dancing and began trying to scratch on my moms fold out turntable. I used to hook the microphone up by the speaker of the fold out turntable, play a record on the stereo-system turntable and scratch threw the mic. It was awful, but it worked. Later I got equipment at pawn shops and started to make tapes.

My mom was a teacher and about 4 times a year she had to go to Detroit, so I started going with her to record the Wizard who by this time was on JLB. When I started to get good around the age of 16, I met this guy who rapped and we ended up getting a contract at 4-sight records. We flew down to Miami and made a 12-inch called Mega Jons Bass Backed w/ Dance Transformer. The music business back then was even worse than it is today, as far as actually trying to make it. I just wanted to make people happy with my mixin’. I didn’t, and still don’t, care about cash…its just not me.

The Wizard influenced me threw all of this, I would listen to his mixes and be like man I wish I could do that. That is what influenced me to make the tribute mixes. Over the years my scratchin’ has developed immensely so it was hard to do those because I had to put myself in the mind set of about 20 years ago. It was a blast and I look forward to doing more, you know I used tape decks to do those mixes, that’s it!

The Needlz tribute mixes are only out of total respect for Jeff. I did my best to make them true and remember they are 87 style. I think you guys who love the wizard will like them they are all me, not pieces of Jeff’s mixes, the wizard mixes are a variety from 86-89.” – Needlz