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 Footappers. Label mates with Billy Bragg and the Housemartins (appearing in their ‘Happy Hour’ video), they toured extensively and had a radio hit with their first single “ Get your feet out of my shoes” hailed by the NME as “ the thinking woman’s answer to Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by your Man”. They made the front page of Sounds in 84 as part of the ‘Cow Punk’ scene.
After extensive touring and some John Peel sessions they eventually signed to Phonogram and made an album in 85, which featured the legendary John Martyn on guitar. Taking 10 musicians out on the road in the back of a van eventually took its toll and the band broke in 86.
Wendy went on to start a clubnight at Kentish Town’s “Town & Country Club” on Friday nights called “Wendy May’s Locomotion” which regularly pulled in 2000 clubbers and is featured in Nick Hornby’s book “31 Songs” within his chapter “Velvelettes – Needle in a Haystack” about being a regular Locomotion goer and big fan.
Seen as a welcome alternative to some of the pretentious clubs in London at 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 became home from home for Camden boys The Pogues. Norman Cooke aka Fatboy Slim did one of his first ever DJ sets warming up for Wendy when he was the bass player with The Housemartins, and Phill Jupitus first took to the decks at her club!
In ‘87 she co-presented the last series of The Tube for Channel 4 with Jools Holland & Paula Yates whilst also being the only female DJ & “youth presenter” on London’s Capital Radio, giving live sessions to up & coming bands.
DJing for the past 30 years, including Glastonbury, Miner’s Strike benefit gigs, tours with various bands and top comedians, she is still happiest dancing behind the decks spinning her favourite records from her collection!
Now living in Hastings, you can find Wendy May behind the decks at various club nights in the SE, regularly DJing with bands at the legendary 100 Club as well as each month in North Devon at the Palladium club, with her Locomotion baby, The Boom Boom Room!