[ Keith ]


“All Around The World”
Keith Leblanc Interference
2008 — w/ Doug Wimbish (electric bass guitar)
((( king of the beat )))


Blanc Like Me
King of The Beat
You might not have known that Hip-Hop’s original drummer was a skinny little white kid from Bristol, Connecticut.

But that’s exactly what Keith LeBlanc was. A skinny little white kid (drummer) in The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section — with his mates, Skip “Little Axe” McDonald (guitar) and Doug Wimbish (bass guitar) — called “THE WORLD’S FINEST RHYTHM SECTION” by The New York Times in 1980, after recording “The Message,” “White Lines,” “New York, New York,” and other tunes considered Hip-Hop anthems today. A skinny little white kid, who after leaving Sugar Hill, made the historic “No Sell Out,” the record on which he “sampled” Malcolm X speeches, cutting to a number of beats of his making. All this with the blessing of his friend Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’ widow.

1979Hip Hop Happens

Skip “Little Axe” McDonald (guitar)
Doug Wimbish (bass)
Keith LeBlanc (drums)

No Sell Out
Keith LeBlanc w/ Malcolm X
vs. Sugar Hill
((( original hip-hop beat )))

photograph (BlancRecords.com)

Friends and Enemies — Before cutting “NO SELL OUT,” Keith asked permission of friend BETTY “QUEEN” SHABAZZ, Malcolm X’ widow. Later, it was Betty who sat by Keith’s side in Federal Court when he made his case that Sugar Hill Records owners JOE and SYLVIA ROBINSON had stolen “No Sell Out.” The Robinson had taken the “No Sell Out” tapes off the Sugar Hill studio shelves, had half a million vinyl records pressed, and on the label gave the writing credit to Joe and Sylvia, with NO MENTION OF KEITH. 

1985Miami Vice
Artists United Against Apartheid

“Vice” (Miami)
Melle Mel
vs. Sugar Hill
((( tropical snow )))

Artists United Against Apartheid

1985 — Keith, Doug, and Skip, played on and produced the (Artists United Against Apartheid) record, including “The Struggle Continues” with Miles Davis. Like Motown‘s Funk Brothers a generation before, Keith, Doug, and Skip (The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section) were virtually unknown, despite being heard all around the world, in all musical genres. After making “Sun City,” the boys were sought for collaboration by a number the time’s most popular musicians, including: Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Herb Alpert Colors, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, Annie Lennox, Seal, Madonna Erotica, Carly Simon Letters Never Sent, Sinead O’Connor, Stone Roses, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Billy Idol Cyberpunk, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Paul McCartney (“Back in the U.S.S.R.”). David Bowie Tin Machine (band), Nine Inch Nails, Joe Satriani (Time Machine), Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones.   Rose Royce, Al Green,

The entire Sugar Hill Rhythm Section had fled, fearing Joe Robinson would hunt them down. Joe was pressuring everyone, claiming he was owed a cut of the money they had made on their own, on projects that had NOTHING TO DO WITH SUGAR HILL.

All three, especially Keith had written, played, and produced Artists United Against Apartheid. Keith worked with Miles Davis on two Apartheid songs, in addition to “Sun City,” the project’s primary tune.

Doug, having worked with Jan Hammer and Jeff Beck, brought Keith, Skip, and Melle Mel to work with Hammer on the original Miami Vice soundtrack. had also done work with Jan Hammer on the first Miami Vice soundtrack album. All that after, of course, Skip and Doug had played on Keith’s “No Sell Out,” the Robinsons and Sugar Hill’s final sin.

Living Colour (discography)
Tack>>Head (discography)
Little Axe (discography)
Bernard Fowler (discography)

“Funk For You”
Keith LeBlanc (Tack>>Head)
Lost Tunes
((( founded in the beat )))

“Mother Earth”
The Chess Project (Keith LeBlanc)
New Moves

((( remixing the blues )))

 Still Alive And Well?

Chess Records revived … an album of classics reinterpreted by a supergroup.”

The New Yorker

FOR YOUR GRAMMY CONSIDERATION (Best Contemporary Blues Album) Marshall Chess and Jamar Chess team with producer Keith LeBlanc to reimagine their family’s hallowed Chess Records vault — including favorites by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, and more …

The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section
Skip “Little Axe” McDonald (guitar)
Doug Wimbish (bass)
Keith LeBlanc (drums)

Bernard Fowler (discography)
Tack>>Head (discography)
Living Colour (discography)
Little Axe (discography)

2024 — For Adrian Sherwood’s party at The Jazz Cafe, celebrating ON-U SOUND’S 40TH YEAR, all the original Tack>>Head bandmembers took time away from their individual projects (Living Colour, Rolling Stones, Chess Records) to play their English mate’s show.

1979 — The New York Times called The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section “The World’s Finest.” At the time, Skip McDonald (guitar), Doug Wimbish (bass), and Keith LeBlanc (drums) were the Sugar Hill Records House Band. The musicians behind many of the Hip-Hop anthems (“The Message,” “White Lines,” “The Downbeat,” “New York, New York”) that stand as the solid foundation for the Hip-Hop phenomenon we live today.  

The Sugar Hill Gang
Melle Mel
The Furious Five
Grandmaster Flash
The Sequence …

China Syndrome
Animal House

James Brown
Afrika Bambaataa
Soul Sonic Force 
1980Just Say No
1981Tom Silverman started Tommy Boy Music in his New York City apartment, with a $5,000 loan from his parents. The label was grew out of Silverman’s Dance Music Report , a bi-weekly publication, he started in September 1978. Dance Music Report continued 14 years, until its closing in 1992.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1982 No Nukes
Central Park NYC June 12, 1982 (album)

“Faggots Against Killing Men In War”
Bruce Springsteen
Jackson Browne
James Taylor
Linda Ronstadt
Joan Baez
Gary U.S. Bonds
Bella Abzug

1983 — 
1984BEAT STREET (Bernard Fowler)
Herbie Hancock Sound-System
Keith LeBlanc (“King Of The Beat”)
“NO SELL OUT” (Malcolm X)
vs. Sugar Hill Records w/Betty Shabazz.

Candy Staton
Rose Royce

1985Live Aid
Live Aid (Feeding Africa)
Mick Jagger & Tina Turner 
We Are The World (USA For Africa)
Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones
Farm Aid (Midwest USA)  
Artists United Against Apartheid
Miami Vice
Adrian Sherwood
On-U Sound Records
Underground Bristol
Fat’s Comet (Night of Rap) NYT
Gary Clail
TACK>>HEAD (Discography)
Bernard Meets Mick
Mick Jagger She’s The Boss.
Jeff Beck Flash
w/ Jimmy Hall, Rod Stewart, Nile Rodgers, Carmine Appice, and Arthur Baker (Production). 
1986Jeff Beck Flash

Jan Hammer, Simon Phillips, Doug Wimbish, Steve Lukather, (Japan Guitar Festival)


keith LeBlanc
mike Brown (Cocoa) TODAY

1986Major Malfunction

Adrian Sherwood (ON-U SOUND)
The Mad Scientist, Electronic, Industrial, Funk, RHythm & Blues, Mark Stewart, Fats Comet, Gary Clail, Tack>>Head, Tape Time, Sound System, Bernard Fowler

Always with an interest in NASA and the United States Space Program, it made sense that Keith would take the shuttle  Challenger tragedy, and cut a record that served as an electronic eulogy for the six astronauts who lost their lives in explosion just after launch.

1987 — Living Colour Vivid, Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction, Joe Satriani Surfing With The Alien
1988Young Americans 
The Second Coming of Mick Primitive Cool The Brothers of Sodom
1989Bill Hicks
Viciously Honest (“Patriot”/”American Scream”) “The Gospel According To Bill Hicks” (GQ)

“The Story Of Willie”
King Missile (downtown nyc)
((( apocalyptic opinion )))


The first documentary film following the life and career of Bill Hicks, after his death in 1994. From impersonating Woody Allen at Bible camp when he was 13, to becoming one of the funniest, most compelling, and viciously honest stand up comedian of the 1980s, regularly mentioned among Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor.

Funky President (2009) video
Bernard Fowler (“New York Time”)

1990Time’s Up
1991 — Living Colour Lollapalooza (Inaugural) Jane’s Addiction
1992 — Living Colour Biscuits
1994 — Living Colour No Dread

Funky Obama
The election of a “brand new funky president” promised hope for better days.

((( obama’s ode )))

Shepard Fairy

Keith LeBlanc
Closing the Malcolm X / Barack Obama Circle
Keith LeBlanc

Recalling the earliest days of Hip-Hop, Keith will tell you that playing outdoor parties in the parks (basketball courts) of The Bronx, Harlem, and Jamaica Queens with: — blancrecords.com


Give The Drummer Some


Keith LeBlanc often opened Tack>>Head shows, usually following, seamlessly, Adrian Sherwood warming up a waiting audience with a mix of tunes, beats, and electronic compilations from his band-member position at the mixing desk. Not many bands are confident enough in their drummer to do such a thing, but since his beginning, as one of the most important Hip-Hop creators, Keith had been called “KING OF THE BEAT.”

2004 After a 14-year hiatus, the band Keith helped put together after moving to London, TACK>>HEAD, reunited for a coast-to-coast tour of the United States.

As here at the Abbey in Chicago, Illinois, Keith typically opened the shows with a short drum solo. typically did on its Summer 2004 Reunion Tour. This performance was at the Abbey in Chicago, Illinois.

1976 HAROLD SARGENT, invites Keith to take his place as the drummer in Hartford, Connecticut’s popular Wood Brass & Steel. Also in the band are SKIP McDONALD (guitar) and DOUG WIMBISH (bass guitar), with who Keith, three years later, would be Sugar Hill Records’ house band. WOOD BRASS & STEEL, signed to TURBO RECORDS, one of Joe Robinson’s many small labels. Wimbish’s dance/funk track, “FUNKANOVA,” makes it to the R&B charts, and becomes a favorite of DJs at the popular dance clubs in Manhattan, including STUDIO 54 and THE PARADISE GARAGE.

1979 JOE and SYLVIA ROBINSON “discover” THE SUGAR HILL GANG, create SUGAR HILL RECORDS, and release the legendary (first-rap-on-vinyl) “RAPPER’S DELIGHT.”

The Original Sugar Hill Rhythm Section

— Needing a band to play on their original Hip-Hop catalog, THE ROBINSONS, who own TURBO RECORDS, recruit the Wood Brass & Steel Rhythm Section to fill their need.

1980-1982 — As the SUGAR HILL RECORDS HOUSE BAND, Keith, Skip, and Doug write, play, and produce many of HIP-HOP’s ORIGINAL ANTHEMS, including “THE MESSAGE,” “WHITE LINES,” “NEW YORK, NEW YORK,” and “THAT’S THE JOINT.”

— (VideoFraeGrab) “Sun City”



— Video w/Steven Van Zandt, Arthur Baker, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock 

1985 In addition to the song “SUN CITY,” a full-length album by the same title was also released. Although nearly all recognition went to the participating mega stars (BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MILES DAVIS, U2, RUN-DMC, LOU REED, HALL & OATES, HERBIE HANCOCK), when listening, KEITH’s hand in the production of SUN CITY is obvious, and his being asked to play and produce easy to understand when knowing of his musical connection to many of the participating artists (PETER GABRIEL, KEITH RICHARDS, RON WOODS, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, and MELLE MEL, who had (THE ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION (Keith, Skip, and Doug) help write, play, and produce “THE MESSAGE,” “WHITE LINES,” and “NEW YORK, NEW YORK.”

Betty & Me


— video by dj TyDoZ

1983 — 
1984BEAT STREET, Herbie Hancock Sound-System Keith LeBlanc (“King Of The Beat”) “NO SELL OUT” (Malcolm X) vs. Sugar Hill Records (Joe and Sylvia Robinson) w/Betty Shabazz.
1985 — LIVE AID (Mick Jagger & Tina Turner) We Are The World (Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones), Artists United Against Apartheid, Farm Aid, Miami Vice, Adrian Sherwood, On-U Sound, Fat’s Comet, Gary Clail, Bernard Meets Mick Jagger She’s The Boss. Jeff Beck Flash Jimmy Hall, Rod Stewart, Nile Rodgers and Arthur Baker (Production) Carmine Appice
1986Jeff Beck Flash Jan Hammer, Simon Phillips, Doug Wimbish, Steve Lukather, (TOKYO)

1987 — Living Colour Vivid, Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction, Joe Satriani Surfing With The Alien
1988American Influence 
The Second Coming of Mick Primitive Cool The Brothers of Sodom
1989 — Bill Hicks Viciously Honest (The Patriot/American Scream) “The Gospel According To Bill Hicks” GQ

— Keith’s cut set to a mix of Malcolm X still images.

1983 — Keith cut MALCOLM X speeches to his innovative electronic drum beats to make “NO SELL OUT,” considered the first “sample” committed to vinyl. A dispute with Joe & Sylvia Robinson, over the record’s ownership (and profits) and profits is settled in Federal Court. Some believe Keith’s legal victory was the beginning of the end for SUGAR HILL’s Hip-Hop dominance.  RUN-DMC, THE BEASTIE BOYS, and the rest of the younger, more aggressive DEF JAM crew.


dave hogerty

London Calling  — Keith begins a serious musical partnership with ADRIAN SHERWOOD and his ON-U SOUND records. Having invited DOUG WIMBISH AND SKIP McDONALD to join him in England, THE ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION was now moving in a more Electronic/Industrial direction, playing for GARY CLAIL and MARK STEWART, who might be considered LEFTIST POLITICAL COMMENTATORS as much as singers. One of the most popular of these (12″) singles was “HARD LEFT,” using samples of then English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s speeches.

These singles marked the formation of TACK>>HEAD, although the name had never been written in any credits at the time. Until 1987′s  GARY CLAIL’s TACKHEAD TAPE TIME, most credits were made to MARK STEWART and GARY CLAIL as bandleaders, or FATS COMET on instrumentals, or when wanting to include the entire group.

1986 — After moving to London and partnering with ADRIAN SHERWOOD and his ON-U SOUND label, Keith releases MAJOR MALFUNCTION, sampling NASA’s Launch Control’s account of the space shuttle  Challenger exploding on the title track. with the inclusion of SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION mates SKIP McDONALD and DOUG WIMBISH, many call MAJOR MALFUNCTIONthe first full-length TACK>>HEAD album.


“Major Malfunction”

b/ Keith Leblanc (KLB)

— Keith Leblanc (On-U Sound)

Major Malfunction

Video for the title track of Keith’s MAJOR MALFUNCTION record, on which, similar to “NO SELL OUT,” Keith “sampled” NASA control room recordings of the moment the space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after launch. With DOUG WIMBISH, SKIP McDONALD, and ADRIAN SHERWOOD all appearing on the album, many consider MAJOR MALFUNCTION to be the first full-length TACK>>HEAD record, despite the band not having yet been named. Doug came up with “TACK>>HEAD” a few months later, using the name of a popular inner-city/ghetto African-American hairstyle of the day.

After making a number of 12″ singles, many by the name FATS COMET, the band did credit 1987′s “WHAT’S MY MISSION NOW?” (one of its most popular singles) to “TACK>>HEAD.” It was then too that the band began using the (American) Statue of Liberty as a common visual element its media and on covers. Most notable was using friend GEE VAUCHER’s painting on the cover of the first (official) full-length TACK>>HEAD album, FRIENDLY AS A HAND GRENADE. (Vaucher is best known [in the music world] for her work with the band CRASS.)

Before Bernard Fowler’s arrival, “TACK>>HEAD” maintained the heavy, more electronic industrial sound established by Keith and Adrian. This was apparent on 1987′s  ”Ticking Time Bomb,” and the 1988 show at the RITZ in NYC recorded with plans to release as EN CONCERT. The record wasn’t officially released, but one could see the increasing American influence, as Doug and Skip (with Keith) began to reestablish their ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION bond. Most notable on EN CONCERT was the inclusion of MELLE MEL and his singing the Sugar Hill, Hip-Hop anthem, “THE MESSAGE,” and a true-to-the-original cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “Crosstown Traffic.”

With this TACK>>HEAD shift toward Funk, Rock n Roll, and Soul (especially after Bernard’s joining later in 1988), Keith released many of the more industrial/instrumental tracks on  1989′s STRANGER THAN FICTION (with “DREAMWORLD,” and still-a-favorite “EINSTEIN”), as his own band called INTERFERENCE.

When TACK>>HEAD first disbanded in 1991, Keith started Blanc Records, and released two (“Best Of”/Alternative and Outakes) compilation albums, TACK>>HEAD POWER VOLUME 1 and TACK>>HEAD POWER VOLUME 2, in 1994. In 1997, Keith finally delivered what so many fans (who always considered TACK>>HEAD a better band to see/hear live) had been waiting for. TACK>>HEAD POWER VOLUME 3 was a compilation of the band’s live performances (from New York, New Zealand, and England, with BERNARD FOWLER, MARK STEWART, GARY CLAIL, and MELLE MEL, between 1988 and 1991.


Few bands have the confidence in its drummer to start a show with drum solo, but to this day, Keith is usually the first to take a TACK>>HEAD stage … alone, left to build a groove while the others (Skip “Little Axe” McDonald, Doug Wimbish) take the stage.

Going It Alone
Between the years with Sugar Hill Records playing the beats on so many Hip-Hop anthems, including Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five‘s “THE MESSAGE,” “WHITE LINES,” and “THAT’S THE JOINT,” and moving to London to create TACK>>HEAD, the legendary, Cross-Cultural, Industrial Funk band. It was with TACK>>HEAD producer Adrian Sherwood, that Keith produced some of his most important records.
“No Sell Out” (1983), on which Keith cut Malcolm X speeches with his experimental / electric drum beats is often described as the first “sampling” ever committed to vinyl.
Although virtually unrecognized (or credited), Keith produced and played on “SUN CITY” (THE ANTI-APARTHEID ANTHEM) that featured MILES DAVIS, U2, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, HERBIE HANCOCK, and so many more of 1984’s biggest (all-genre) stars.

Although still collaborating with his ORIGINAL SUGAR HILL RHYTHM SECTION mates (DOUG WIMBISH and SKIP McDONALD) with LITTLE AXE and TACK>>HEAD, Keith has begun working on many more solo (“KEITH LEBLANC”) projects.

Stop The Confusion (Global Interference) — A title recalling the past (“Stop the Confusion” being the subtitle to one of his original “No Sell Out” 12″ recordings, and “Global Interference” the name he gave to a touring band he put together in the mid-’90s), was appropriate for Keith’s first solo release, a collection of new tunes and remixes of favorites out of his archive.


CHESS MOVES — Inspired by the result of the new STOP THE CONFUSION Keith called his old friend MARSHAL CHESS with another idea. He wanted to get into the CHESS RECORDS ARCHIVES and see what would happen if he gave a selection of the OLD BLUES STANDARDS to a good ol’ BLANC RECORDS REMIX.

What happened was what Marshal and Keith decided to call “FUTURE BLUES,” and it sounded good.


BLANC RECORDS — Also updating his personal branding, Keith went back to the (“No Sell Out”) day when producing compilations of his ORIGINAL BEATS. The discs (available on his website) are proving popular with a young generation of DJs who appreciate the opportunity to sample BEATS GENERATED BY THE (ORIGINAL) MASTER.


Colors Review by Jonathan Widran

It would be easy for the former Tijuana Brassman and founder of A&M to just rest on his career achievements or just make music to pass the time, but instead, the 60-something trumpeter rings in with one of the year’s most remarkable jams. Alpert’s recent output has ranged from the heart of smooth jazz (Second Wind, produced by Jeff Lorber) to fiery Latin (Passion Dance), but here the muse takes him to the mystical world of studio-bred trip-hop. Working with multi-instrumentalists and producers Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbush, Alpert surrounds his muted trumpet with hypnotic vibes and ambiences — some of which seem to drift into the sonic atmospheres, others bred from thick machine generated exotic percussion textures percolating over throbbing urban bass grooves. While ethereal experimentation with tons of cool studio equipment and sonic possibilities seems to be the general philosophy, he hasn’t forgotten his Latin roots. The opening track, “Libertango,” features a lighthearted horn melody drifting over a throbbing urban bass groove, percussion clicks, and the galloping flamenco flavors of Wimbish’s acoustic guitar, all wrapped up in a dramatic synth orchestral sweep. “Dorita” centers Bernard Fowler‘s Spanish vocals amidst a wacky swirl of pitter patter and marching percussion, spacey sound effects, exotic soundscaping, moody retro keyboards, and Alpert’s catchy, laid-back melody. Bridging past and present, Alpert approaches Burt Bachrach’s “The Look of Love” as if it were a Miles Davis/Brian Eno collaboration, his smoky horn enhanced by his wife Lani Hall‘s breathy vocals. He also covers himself with a new hip-hop shuffle arrangement of his popular early-’80s gem, “Magic Man.” Older and wiser than either Rick Braun or Chris Botti, Alpert gives the genre’s two top horn guns a powerful run for their smooth jazz money.