Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of
The Garage: Everybody Was Listening to Everything
Larry Levan invited keyboardist Michael de Benedictus to accompany him during his DJ sets during 1980 and then hired him to play on tracks such as “Heartbeat.” In return, de Benedictus asked Levan to join his band, the Peech Boys. A year in the making and released by West End, the band’s first single, “Don’t Make Me Wait,” combined soul, disco, dub, and rock. During 1981 Levan also began to work with Island Records, reworking Gwen Guthrie’s “Seventh Heaven,” “It Should Have Been You,” and “Getting Hot” for the subsidiary label 4th & Broadway and also completing unreleased remixes of Grace Jones’s “Feel Up” and “Pull Up to the Bumper.” Although Levan enjoyed a remarkably low profile in the city and no national profile to speak of, influential figures from the art-punk and hip hop scenes began to head to the Garage to hear him play.