Andre Collins

undaground archives

Biography Circa 2000

A Bronx man through and through, ANDRE COLLINS was born in the borough during the late fifties - the youngest of four, with three sisters. Raised in a close-knit, religious family his interest in music was encouraged, and helped him to become one of the underground's most respected veteran DJs. "I went out with my sisters first. [We] were Jehovah's Witnesses mind you, and they took me to LE MARTINIQUE to dance. They were friends with the Dowd Twins and they would show me off." From his first visit to a club as a teen, to his residency at The Warehouse, Andre always believed in the power of music and his ability to uplift people's spirits through playing. With a career that spans three decades, bears witness to the phenomenon that is Black and Latino gay club culture, Collins has earned his place among the industry elite that tutored him.

In the mid-seventies, when revolutionary parties like The Loft [Dave Mancuso], The Gallery  [Nicky Siano] and later, Paradise Garage[Larry Levan] were defining this burgeoning culture, Andre was getting his first taste of New York nightlife while exploring his own homosexuality. At the age of 15, he started sneaking into Siano's Gallery, where he really discovered his calling - and his tribe. "I was scared, petrified actually that first night but there was something about hearing "Love Is The Message" and "Love Hangover" that intrigued me and made me want to come back. What got me into the music was Nicky." He had to become a sound tech to engineer his first set though: as a Radio Shack turntable, Realistic 8-track and a cheap amp would have to do until his parents gave him his first set of pitch-controlled Technics. His record collection began here too, and has grown to include everything from alternative rock, soul, funk, jazz to of course, classic Disco and house. Records that would be played anywhere someone let him; displaying a tenacity and commitment to his art that would earn him gigs all over the city, along with devoted group of gay, Black and Latino followers of his own.

Though the mainstream would declare Disco dead by the early eighties, its music and the movement it inspired was thriving in NY's underground dance community. For Andre the 80's would mark his ascent to the top and the beginning of his ongoing relationship with legendary promoters Mike Stone and Charles Jackson. Residencies and guest spots at the City's hottest venues (including Midtown 43, Traxx, The Marc Ballroom, Red Zone and The Tunnel), membership in the prestigious For The Record Pool, and even a stint as a Billboard reporter cemented his influencee. But by the end of the decade, the perils of the sex, drug and dance music lifestyles many were living resulted in the loss of the clubs, people and vitality of the City's scene. For a time, even Andre was off the scene entirely. "The darkness came around '89 till around '93. It was a steady decline. I thought I could handle crack (I couldn't) and I was aware I had contracted the virus in 1986, but I didn't do anything about it until 1990 [when I] went through chemotherapy and radiation. Everybody was dying and I thought I was dying too."

In the last decade of the 20th century, however, Collins rallied and began his journey again. "I've been working on my issues. I've learned the value of life and that I need to pursue my the dreams and things that I want now. I fight for the quality of a good life." That good life begins with his celebrated residency at Better Days, where he shared the booth with his friend, the late David Cole (C+C Music Factory) who programmed the sampler. From there his collaboration with promoter Mike Stone, DJs Kim Lightfoot and Kenny Carpenter led to a rotating spot at The Sound Factory Bar (with the likes of Danny Krivit, David DePino and Fred Pierce), gigs around the country and abroad, and guest spots with industry titans TImmy Regisford, Little Louie Vega, Teddy Douglas, or the late Tee Scott and John Robinson. After the short-lived parties Kharma and Home wrapped up, Andre returned to his Bronx roots to join Stone and Jackson in re-launchingThe Warehouse. Now in its fourth year (and Andre's second as resident), he is finding the global and personal success he has long deserved.

Moving into the 21st century, Andre seeks success in the studio and well as on the dance floor with two major projects destined to expand his legend. In the Fall of 2000 RAMPAGE MUSIC released his first mixed-CD, appropriately titled, THE 5 BOROUGHS OF DANCE - THE BRONX; highlighting his energetic soulful style. "I made the CD here in the house. It was a good thing and a good experience."  In February 2001, WEST END RECORDS delivers his first remix, "The Muzik's Hypnotizin'" [THE INTERNAL SOCIETY VOL 1] which sees him rework a catalog classic on the Collins' Underground Mix. Getting better with time, look for Andre to remain an enduring force in the culture he helps propel into the future.