Tag Archives: Ulysses Sankitts

I Need U Bad

Another weird weather day. Up earlier than usual and out later than that, I was intending to do some busking. It was quite cool out and there were plenty of dark clouds threatening rain. I ran some errands including a stop at Solid Threads, a T-Shirt shop in Hoboken. Rand and Lisa got me a Jersey Fresh T-Shirt for my birthday and it seemed to be a size too small. I had a gift receipt which allowed for a hassle free transaction. There were other shirts I could have chosen from but I stuck with the original Jersey fresh plan.

From there I walked up First Street and walked over to the river. No buskers around, all quiet on the waterfront. I sat and read the Village Voice since I had nothing else to read. There was an interesting article about Fracking and how big business is doing whatever it wants, including fucking up the environment with polluted water and land. And then there is the nasty problem of natural gas being released through water lines, so if you turn on your faucet and no water comes out but gas does a simple spark can blow your house as well as your neighborhood to bits.

Why they don’t research solar power or wind power is beyond me. An inexhaustible supply is there ready to be used. It’s clean and would provide a lot of jobs, but instead we just concentrate on getting more oil from the ground and polluting the air with emissions. This is where a mash up of The Road Warrior and Koyaanisqatsi would make a lot of sense. Living on the top floor of a five story building I can tell you, there is a lot of wind out there. And some of you reading this can probably say there is a lot of wind here.

Back indoors I was surprised to see a friend from Murdoch daze on Facebook. Ulysses Sankitts, my old friend who saved my ass a few times has made it online. I will never forget the first time I met Ulysses, I started working for Murdoch Magazines a day before him. A friend from Maxwells was getting married that weekend and I was asked to DJ. Alas I had no equipment and the wedding day was just a few days away. I didn’t know what to do but I did know Ulysses and his brother Tony were also DJ’s.

So I asked this relative stranger if I could borrow his equipment, I would even give him my fee in exchange for the use of his turntables and PA. To my delight (and surprise) he said yes. That Sunday Ulysses and Tony arrived and delivered their gear and even set it up since I didn’t not know how to do that. It must have been 1987 since I remember playing Prince’s ‘It’ a few times at the reception. Twenty five years ago and here we are friends again thanks to Facebook.

We always were friends though, it’s not like I never saw him again. We became good friends, I crashed at his house out in Queens, partied with him at several clubs and he made a few appearances at parties that I had thrown, including the infamous basement party that must have had fifty people there, with party crashers. He seemed to get a kick out of my friends as did his brother Tony. Anyway he seemed just as happy to find me on Facebook as I was to find him. That Queens posse of Excer, Ray, Pedro and Ulysses is still around. Tony unfortunately passed away early in the century.

It wasn’t all grey…

Runaway Boys


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.