Tag Archives: DJ

DJ

It’s Friday, last day of a 4 day work week. And it was quite an interesting work week. I’m not going to rehash the week, you can always go back and read what I wrote. Today was something else. I mainly played DJ today.

Some of the sub-subtenants enjoyed what I was playing and told me so. I mentioned that I used to do it for a living. But that wasn’t true. I never made a living from it. Maybe $30.00 and a burger or cavatelli with broccoli.

Occasionally I DJ’d someone’s wedding. That was always a nerve wracking experience. The first time I really DJ’d at a friends wedding was in 1986. I borrowed equipment from Ulysses Sankitts, a friend I had only met a few days before at a job I started one day before Ulysses.

He trusted me enough and talked it over with his brother Tony and they brought it to a loft on Broadway right above Canal Street. Eve who was a waitress at McSwells married Jeff a bartender at a bar in the city, so the guests were mainly the hip crowd. I guess I did well. It was a blur really.

I did spend more money on records than I was actually getting paid. Back then if given a choice between music and food, I would pick music. I was spinning records on off nights at McSwells, eventually taking over Guy Ewald’s shift. Charlie had Saturday nights so I had Fridays.

Occasionally we would switch shifts. McSwells was so insular then, whomever would DJ would sometimes work the door, always for $30.00 and the aforementioned dishes.

One time I was DJ’ing a wedding and the couple gave me a list of what they wanted played. I didn’t have Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton and it was the main number. They provided a copy but I never got around to it. The marriage was doomed anyway. The groom had quite a wandering eye and I think within a year it was kaput.

Another time a couple a few doors down from McSwells were getting married and I had the whole place swingin’. I remember a conga line snaking through the crowd at 1st and Clinton while I played the extended dance mix of Konk Party, still a favorite song 25 years later.

They paid me with a check that I cashed at McSwells even though McSwells never did that. Of course the check bounced and I got an earful from Steve Fallon’s sister Ann. But I loved to play music for other people and I still do.

I prefer to make people dance than actually dancing myself. The last time I DJ’d was at Lois and Fred’s wedding party in August and no one danced. I played nothing but hits and surefire things to move some butts and get asses wiggling but it never happened.

I guess I would be better suited for small situations without a dance floor, like office cubicles. When I worked at Farfetched, I would try to carefully select the music for the store, but sometimes Lois or Susan (or Denise) wouldn’t like what I was playing and I would get a puss on, taking their rejection of my musical selections so personally.

I think I would do well as a radio DJ, but that is my brother Frank’s area and I wouldn’t dare encroach on his space, no way.

I will say being a DJ with an iPod is a lot easier than lugging crates of records around. I would lug about 6 crates sometimes. On New Years Eve at McSwells I would bring 10 crates. That was always a big money night, $150.00 (maybe more) and various potions and drinks.

Good times from what I could remember.

Tell Me Something Good

It’s Tuesday. In a much better mood at that. I did think about going to McSwells for their holiday party, but it’s always so awkward. I’d go and see Roda but he would be wanted by so many that I would stand around wondering what am I doing there.

Rand and Lisa went and I bet they had a good time. They always do. And the wonderful Pat Longo was DJing and I’m sure he did well. Whether or not any one danced is another story.

As much as I loved to DJ at the McSwells party, it was always a stressful affair, including one time Irwin Bicuspid was sitting next to the speakers and complaining about the music being too loud. He is or was a DJ at WFMU as well as my brother Frank.

No one would dance at the holiday party despite my best attempts. It didn’t matter since I wound up getting as fucked up as everyone else. New Years Eve was a nerve-wracking experience as well.

No one would dance at all before midnight when, no matter what year it was, I would play Prince- 1999. That would get those asses shaking not to mention those butts. And of course I would get as fucked up as everyone else, usually spinning from 9PM until 3 or 4AM.

I would usually be situated by the bar so it was an easy reach to the right for a fresh cocktail or pint of Guinness. But somehow I acquired the foresight and knew that I couldn’t keep on partying like that.

Plus I wasn’t in Hoboken anymore, I was in Weehawken and the walk home wasn’t as kind as it used to be. So I eventually faded from view at McSwells.

Steve Fallon eventually sold the place to a guy I never had the misfortune of meeting though I did see the huge beer vats that he had installed in the front room. He gave up after alienating most of the staff and regulars and it fell into the hands of Todd Abramson and 2 others.

When I did go back I didn’t know anyone, except for Roda who signed on after the Fallon era, after listening to the fun stories that Rand and Julio and myself told him about what fun we had there.

It wasn’t fun anymore, Todd had taken control and the regulars moved on, sobered up or died. He’s still there though and it would have been good to see him last night. Perhaps Friday I’ll pop in for a pint and give him a holiday hug.

Last night was quiet instead. I watched Heroes instead of recording it. I was glad that I did, especially with the Obama-esque president at the end. A black president. You only see his lips and his eyes, never his whole face.

If I recorded it, it more than likely would have been cut off like the previous weeks. It did give me a chuckle. He did a better job of a Barack Obama impersonation than Fred Armisen.

So I’m in a better mood today. The stalker phoned and Vivek took the call as he was at my desk. He told the stalker that I am being fired because she wouldn’t stop calling. She asked him where his ethics were, firing me at Christmastime.

He told her that if she wants to call me she should call Ireland starting in January and hung up the phone after wishing her a good life. I wished I would have thought of that. Still I forwarded my phone to the fax machine in case she calls again.

Take Me To The Pilot

It’s a lazy Sunday after having a blast on Saturday. On Friday night Bill and I heard from Rand and Lisa that they would like to hitch a ride with us to Lois and Fred’s wedding party. They also asked if Garry Rindfuss, another friend, could ride with us but Bill had rented a Honda Civic from Zip Car which would sit four people comfortably, and five people uncomfortably. Since it promised to be a five hour trip, two and a half hours each way, it didn’t seem likely that Garry could ride with us.

Bill went to sleep early Friday night, I went for a walk, dropping off dvd’s at the post office and walking around town, smoking a Padron and watching the revelers lined up outside of various bars on Washington Street. Sat on the front stairs with Julio while I finished the cigar, the two of us talking which we haven’t done in a while. It was still pretty warm out, no breezes on Park avenue just as there were no breezes by the river.

We mainly talked about plans for Saturday, he working in West New York and helping out his sister’s husband, and me heading upstate. I was soon fast asleep after seeing Julio off on the third floor. The next morning, Bill was up and out at 6:00 to get the car and make sure his mother was going to be alright for the day.

I was out doing the Saturday morning thing, and home in time for a nice breakfast before heading out at 9:00 meeting Bill on the street outside, then heading over to pick up Rand and Lisa. It turned out to be a nice enough morning, as we headed north. I brought about 20 cd’s since the car was not iPod ready, but Rand bought an adapter and we were able to play my iPod as well as Rand’s which I asked him to bring for backup while I DJ’d.

It was a fun ride up, I was playing the role of the music selecter and Rand was the navigator while Lisa was the shining star and Bill the pilot. We harmonized to Queen as well as other selections. You’re My Best Friend and Bohemian Rhapsody were smashing. After a leg stretching stop in Roscoe, NY were were soon in Walton after passing through a major thunderstorm for about 45 minutes.

By the time we got to the Rainbow Lodge, it’s was blue skies. We met John Hamilton as well as his two sons, Jasper John and Henry James. Great names for the kids I think. John’s wife Donna drove up a few minutes after we did with Lois who looked beautiful in her wedding dress. John played the Wedding March on electric guitar, adding some Jimi Hendrix like effects.

I video taped it but somehow it didn’t come out. Luckily Rand who was officiating the ceremony was shooting it so that will hopefully turn up later. I don’t know how I lost it, but it must have happened during the transfer this morning. Fred looked great in his creme colored suit and tie with a snappy haircut, the perfect compliment to the bride.

Soon we were all in the lodge after the ceremony on the dock. Instead of rice, we were given bubbles and trout food pellets since the pond was stocked with fish. I started DJ’ing with Enjoy Yourself by the Specials, I Do, I Do, I Do by Abba and the stereo backing track of God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.

I was able to handle John Hamilton’s PA system and occasionally alternated with Rand’s iPod, ultimately finding it easier to just use my iPod. Still it was good to have Rand’s iPod there. I played the first dance for Lois and Fred, David Bowie’s Rock and Roll With Me from Diamond Dogs. I selected the music and ran back and forth to the table where I could have a few bites before heading back to the music setup.

I thought I was doing a good job, but according to some of the other party guests, the music wasn’t up beat enough. So I played Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band, an all time favorite but it seemed nothing I could play could raise most of this crowd off their seats. Regardless I made sure the people I knew enjoyed themselves.

The song that actually got people up turned out to be Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand. Followed that with an extended version of Kiss by Prince. Time flew certainly since we were having fun and before anyone realized it was nearly 5:00 and the Rainbow Lodge had to turn over into a restaurant once again.

John and Donna invited us to their house a few minutes away so we followed Jane in her car. John and Donna have a beautiful house which they maintain for the summer. So many inspirational things to stimulate Jasper and Henry’s imaginations. Jasper’s quite an artist and designed the cover for John’s book, Music, Madness, and the Unworking of Language.

Jasper is 11 years old and is known to filled up countless notebooks with his drawings. It’s actually John’s second book, the first was published in 2003, called Soliciting Darkness, a book on the poet Pindar who I had never heard about until I just looked it up in my library system.

A few more guests arrived at the Hamilton abode, including Fred’s mother and his best man who’s name I can’t remember. Chips and wine and some beers were served with Bill and I smoking cigars and John smoking his pipe.

It had been a while since I had been with John and Donna end it was really a wonderful time being with them and their boys. They’ve invited Bill and myself as well as Rand and Lisa to dinner when they return to the city. John is currently a professor at NYU. Prior to that he taught at Harvard and now Harvard wants him back. An enviable position to be in.

Bill mentioned that we had to get back on the road, another two and a half hours ahead of us. After being escorted out by zombie Jane we were on the densely fogged highways back to Hoboken. My harmonizing on the way back wasn’t as good as it was in the way up, but I hung in there singing along to As by Stevie Wonder and You Won’t See Me by the Beatles.

As usual, coming back from such a wonderful time with friends, away from the usual spots makes Hoboken look so dreary even on such a sunny day as it is today. Ob La Di, Ob La Da.

Snaps

Lisa

Rand

Bill

Me!

Rand and I reflected in Roscoe Diner

Bill and me

The bride

The groom

The Hamiltons

John Hamilton

Zombie Jane

That table

Henry and Jasper

A slightly more respectable Rand

A nice group

Henry hatted