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The Muzic Box

Related: Ron Hardy - Chicago - house music

Unidentified photograph of Ron Hardy


Chicago club where Ron Hardy used to spin, of whom Derrick May says he's the greatest DJ ever.

"The difference between Frankie and Ronnie was that people weren't making records when Frankie was playing, though all the guys who would become the next DJs were there checking him out. It was The Music Box that really inspired people." [...] --Phil Cheeseman

[...] it was to be another DJ from the gay scene that was really to create the environment for the house explosion - Ron Hardy. Where Knuckles' sound was still very much based in disco, Hardy was the DJ that went for the rawest, wildest rhythm tracks he could find and he made The Music Box the inspirational temple for pretty much every DJ and producer that was to come out of the Chicago scene.

"People would bring their tracks on tape and the DJ would play spin them in. It was part of the ritual, you'd take the tape and see the crowd reaction. I never got the chance to take my own stuff because Robert Owens would always get there first."

"The Music Box was underground " remembers Adonis. "You could go there in the middle of the winter and it'd be as hot as hell, people would be walking around with their shirts off. Ron Hardy had so much power people would be praising his name while he was playing, and I've got the tapes to prove it!

[Ron Hardy] started playing at The Muzic Box around the same time [1983/84] as Frankie Knuckles left The Warehouse, and other DJs like Farley and the Hot Mix 5 who threw down the mix shows on the radio station WBMX were making names for themselves." (Before 1985)

[Ron Hardy] took over the decks at The Music Box on the south side. The Music Box became known as a rougher, wilder and more hedonistic alternative to Knuckles' sophisticated mixes and it was here that the straight black crowds from the south side caught the bug.

1986 sound system

At the time I was doing the sound for Mars Bar on rush street and just happened to have stopped by the Box in 86" and Robert Owens knew who I was and asked me could I put some speaker cabinets in the Music Box. They wanted a diffrent soundman from the one they had.

I came up the ranks working with Ken Samuals (Engineer) of Wall To Wall Sound with Steve Poindexter (Dj and recording artist) and Lil Jon (Dj). During that era there weren't many blacks setting up pro sound equipment, least not in Chicago. First black pioneers providing sound reinforcement were Ken Samuals of Wall To Wall Sound and Bob Simmons of Fox Player Sound, Both still operating today.

I guess you could call us the men in the background. We've seen it and have done it all but get no recognition. Nothing went on in the 1970s and 1980s without us. As of the 1990s education grew on sound equipment and others began putting cheap systems together and renting out. If someone had a set or anything, they had to call a soundman. We are the ones who provided sound reinforcement for Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, Lil Louis, Farley Keith, Steve Hurley, Andre Hatchet and many others in the 1980s. I have personolly been out of the loop of the "House Music Innovators" since I moved to Arizona in 1991, but am still providing sound reinforcement for bands and concerts.

I see so many pages on all the DJs that we helped come up, but the soundmen never get mentioned. --Pete Sanders via email [Feb 2006]

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