For as long as Wendy May can remember, life was never going to be straightforward, she always knew it would hold more than her South London working class roots would have her believe. Music saved her from a life of boredom and poverty, firstly becoming the “punk buyer” for Virgin Records in Notting Hill Gate at a time when the Clash, Elvis Costello and the like were regular customers.
She filled her life with gigs, and eventually in the early 80’s she joined the hillbilly punky ska band, The Boothill Foot Tappers. Label mates with Billy Bragg and the Housemartins, the Foot-Tappers toured extensively and had a radio hit with their first single, ‘Get your feet out of my shoes’, whioch was hailed by the NME as “The thinking-woman’s answer to Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand by Your Man’.”
After extensive touring and playing a numbest of John Peel sessions, the Foot-Tappers eventually signed to Phonogram and made their début album in 1985, which featured the legendary John Martyn on guitar. Taking ten musicians on tour in the back of a van eventually took its toll and the band broke up in 1986.
Wendy went on to start a club night at Kentish Town’s Town & Country Club on Friday nights called Wendy May’s Locomotion. It was an immediate success and regularly pulled in 2,000 clubbers every week. It has the distinction of being featured in Nick Hornby’s book, 31 Songs. Nick was a he regular and a big fan.
A welcome alternative to London’s more pretentious clubs of the time, there was no dress code and the music was soulful, wild and real. Frequented by the likes of Madness, Elvis Costello, Paul Weller, it also became a home from home for members from The Pogues.
Norman Cooke (aka Fatboy Slim) performed one of his first ever DJ sets warming up for Wendy when he was known only as bass player with The Housemartins. Phill Jupitus first took to the decks here. In 1987 Wendy co-presented the last series of The Tube for Channel 4 with Jools Holland and Paula Yates whilst also being the only female DJ and “youth presenter” on London’s Capital Radio, giving live sessions to up and coming bands.
Since then, Wendy has been DJing at many prestigious events, including at Glastonbury Festival, various tours with assorted bands and comedians, and every version of Margate Rock to date.
Wendy can be no happier than when she’s dancing behind the decks, spinning her favourite tracks. Now based in Hastings, you can find Wendy May on the beach or ate home, planning her next DJ set.