Never More Lonely
A Love of My Own
Music Take Me Up
Mysteries of Love
Bring Down the Walls
Can You Feel It
On a distant planet in the jacking zone Fingers Inc. have been displaying another side of House music before anyone knew there was one. Far and free from the defects that have been conspired (in vain) to weaken House music's exploding popularity - musical thieving, - Fingers Inc. have filtered their dreams and experiences through a bittersweet blend of hypnotic electronics and oozingly emotional singing to become one of the scene's most popular and repsect acts.
The Fingers story began in late 1983, when touring R'n'B/jazz drummer Larry Heard was coaxed by family and friends into vinylising a tune he'd been fooling around with called 'Mysteries Of Love' Larry - know to his younger brother as "loose fingers', due to his keyboard playing style - felt that the song demanded a singer, and local DJ Robert Owens was the man. So Mr. Fingers became Fingers Inc. and in April '86, 'Mysteries Of Love' was released on the DJ International label. What followed was to become, for Chicago, a depressingly typical tale.
30,000 people bought the 'Mysteries-..' 12", putting it at Nr 10 in billboard's national sales chart, but the initial advance from DJI was all the money the group was to recieve. TO get out of their contract, Fingers had to give DJI another record, so they recorded 'A Path', an introspective career analysis detaling their bad experiences with DJI (echoes of Marvin Gaye's 'Here's My Dear'). In reality their options were limited, and so their career beat a path to the door of Trax Records where, after releasing 'Bring Down the Walls' and the 'Can You Feel it' E.P. they suffered similar treatment, and decided to stop recording for any Chicago labels.
"I don't know the music business anywhere else". say's Larry, "but small labels in Chicago are not very honest. At least we got something off every record. Some people got nothing, or had had their songs stolen."
In the second half of '87 they released 'I'm Strong' and 'A Love Of My Own' on their own Alleviated label, content - after their previous experiences - to be less visible but more independent.
Independence has always characterised Fingers Inc., not least of all in the subject matter department.
"Jack means nothing to me", claimed Larry at the height of Chicago's jackmania, "Our songs are about our experiences and beliefs. 'A Path' is almost religious." Robert's lyrics span everything from love wars to Ethiopia and, on songs like 'Feelin' Sleezy', reflect the heavily sexual/druggey ambience of Larry's music.
"'Feelin' Sleezy'" explains Robert, "IS sexually motivated. It'a about the all-American feeling of being at home home, bored, on your own, and wanting someone, going out to find them. Fingers Inc. is about looking at your life, the battle to fit into the circle of life."
This lyrical idiosyncracy - coupled with sophisticated rhythms and subtle productions - has meant that that Fingers Inc. have, despite their popularity, never been the victims of blatant musical piracy. But the influence of their style has been enormous. From 'Mysteries Of Love" to their latest single 'Distant Planet' - a collaboration with Harry 'The It' Dennis and Frankie Knuckles - they pioneered the now-in-vogue atmospheric Detroit sounf (Rhythim is Rhythim was often assumed to be a Fingers pseudonym).
'Another side' is Fingers Inc.'s complete works
to date, the defintive document, featuring all the DJI, Trax and Alleviated singles, 'Distant Planet' and another nine previously unreleased tracks, many featuring new group member Ron Wilson (on vocals). It's the consumate debut LP of a Chicago group who any House insider will tell you, possess talent and integrity in unusual abundance. Don't take it from me. Just put the needle to the record!
"Do I look like I'm Irish or Scottish to you?"