This Saturday, Miamians will bear witness to a show more than 30 years in the making, courtesy of Lang Cook & the X-Y-Z Affair.
When it was released in 1984, Cook’s debut LP, She’s Hot With 2,000 Watt's, stood out as an oddity. The Miami native’s brand of spaced-out, synthesized funk would be an offbeat proposition in any time period, but without radio play — and purportedly having only 1,500 copies pressed — the album never had a proper chance to resonate with even the most sonically adventuresome listeners.
More than three decades later, the legend behind Cook and She’s Hot With 2000 Watt's has burgeoned — the promise of a synth-driven, distinctly Miami funk record proved too enticing for crate diggers and vinyl collectors to resist. There’s been an awareness of Cook and She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s for some time. Miami legend DJ Le Spam is a noted fan, and standout tracks “Liberty City Jam” and “Chocolate Stuff” have been on YouTube for several years.
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But until now, it’s been nearly impossible for anyone besides the most intrepid of music geeks to listen to the record in full. Courtesy of Miami native Daniel Edenburg — perhaps better known to Gramps regulars as his DJ moniker Brother Dan — and his Terrestrial Funk record label and shop, She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s has been remastered and reissued, available to anyone with an internet connection or a willingness to visit a Miami record store. In addition to producing the record, Edenburg and crew have created a promotional video spotlighting Cook and selections from She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s.
This Saturday at Gramps, Edenburg and a who’s who of Miami DJs will throw a party to celebrate the LP's rebirth, culminating in Cook’s first live performance since 1984.
Before everybody starts boogieing down, New Times caught up with Edenburg to discuss how the reissue and show came together, his experience working with Cook, and what Miamians should anticipate this Saturday.
New Times: When and how did you first encounter She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s?
Daniel Edenburg: I honestly can’t recall. It’s a Miami legend, so it comes up in conversation amongst record collectors and music lovers in the city. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Andrew "Le Spam" Yeomanson or Arun "Mr." Brown that showed it to me. They’re the only two people in town that I know of with original copies besides myself.
There’s been plenty of knowledge about it in the global record-collecting community going way back since the record came out in 1984. It’s that funny correlation that exists with rarity; the harder it is to find, the more people know about it and want it. She’s Hot With 2,000 Watt’s is the Miami Holy Grail, and reissuing it has finally made it accessible to the people.
What was your initial impression of the record, and what compelled you to dig deeper into and learn the story behind it?
I first heard “Liberty City Jam,” the A1 on the record, and instantly fell in love. The Roland SH-2000 he used on it has this funky acid bass line that predates the Roland TB-303, and that sound has always spoken to me. “Chocolate Stuff” is the second track I heard, and its 30-second ethereal disco breakdown at the end of the track drew me in deeper.
Those were my first impressions, but it wasn’t until I owned the record that I was able to experience the full nine-track album in all its glory. Each track is so unique and cool. “Another World” is probably my favorite one to listen to now. It was working on this reissue that deepened my interest in learning more about the story behind the record. Until I had contact with Lang himself, all I had to go off of was the information on the record sleeve and the folklore that exists behind the record.
What is the story behind Lang Cook and the record? Is there a specific reason why it languished in obscurity?
Countless records were lost to obscurity and never saw the audience they deserved. A lot of that music will disappear off the face of the Earth one day; that could’ve held true for this one. Lang approached the mammoth TK Records here in Miami and was turned away. Willie Clarke admittedly didn’t appreciate the record back then, and who knows if Henry Stone even heard it. It was privately released. Lang says 1,500 copies were pressed, but that might not even be an accurate figure. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were less.
Regarding the re-release, how did you go about finding Lang Cook, and how did he respond to you and Terrestrial Funk’s interest in She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s? And for that matter, how did Miami musical legends Willie Clark and DJ Le Spam become involved?
I was reading an article on a digger’s experience visiting record shops in Japan. The guy specifically mentioned his excitement about finding a copy of She’s Hot With 2,000 Watt’s, and when I got to the bottom of the page, there’s Lang in the comments section dropping his email address and inciting people to reach out. It was a few weeks later that I finally got a reply to my email, and we got on the phone that night.
Lang said he had been spending time at Willie Clarke’s Deep City studio in Hialeah and that Willie told him I was the guy. I think they both saw themselves in me, and that’s why things came to fruition. Le Spam came into the picture later on, he’s been a great friend of mine, and I’ve also looked up to him for his contributions to this city's culture. He was kind enough to let me use his copy as the artwork that we then restored, and his record was one of two we used as the source audio for this reissue.
What has been the process or timeline of securing the rights for She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s reissue, as well as remastering the record, working with Lang Cook, and putting out the album's promotional video?
It took over a year to make everything happen. This is the first Terrestrial Funk release, so I had to source and build connections with the insane amount of parties that are involved in making a record. There was plenty of delays from cash flow, manufacturing issues, and even some meaningless drama. The video was shot in a few days over the course of a couple of months with my codirector and producer, Pablo Arrangoiz, who spearheaded the filming. Editing took us forever, but I couldn’t be happier with the final product. It’s a psyched-out video that explores every track on the album and serves as a great visual accompaniment.
How did the opportunity for this Saturday’s live show at Gramps come about? Have you been involved in the logistics of the performance at all, or are you letting Lang do his thing?
Lang and the original guitarist, Teddy Studstill, have been eager to play live. The band got together for a few rehearsals last year, but those tapered off due to the delays on the record release. Now that the release is out, it was just a matter of locking in a date with Gramps. I have a great relationship with the venue since I do a weekly party there every Tuesday. It just so happens to be the best bar in town.
For those interested in owning She’s Hot With 2000 Watt’s, where can they purchase it and on what formats will it be available? Will it be available for streaming?
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No matter where you are in the world, you can grab a copy from us right now at terrestrialfunk.com. We’ll have copies at the release party Saturday as well, and you can get Lang to sign it then. All the great local Miami shops — like Technique Records, 1-800-Lucky, Sweat Records, and others — will have copies as well. The records have been distributed internationally, so go support your local shop wherever you are. As far as streaming goes, you can purchase a digital copy of the album on our website, and we’ve got clips on SoundCloud and YouTube.
What can Miamians and music geeks look forward to this Saturday?
Audiences will have the opportunity to hear one of the rarest Miami records of all time performed live for the first time in 34 years. On top of that, we’ve got an all-star DJ lineup that includes Le Spam of City of Progress Studios, Jason Joshua of Mango Hill Records, Deejay Ray of More or Less, and Dylan McArthur of Tambourine Party Records. This group comprises some of the best DJs I know, and their sets will channel the spirit of this celebration.
Lang Cook & the X-Y-Z Affair. With Brother Dan, DJ Le Spam, Deejay Ray, Jason Joshua, and Dylan McArthur. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is free.