DAZ76

May 8, 2009

Musical Revelry, Tape Delay #1

Filed under: As a DJ,Tape delay — daz76 @ 5:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

Wow, it doesn’t happen too much but I just found myself in the midst of musical revelry. Instead of just standing there listening like some bankrupted imobile old Pink Floyd fan I decided to start writing about it, the state. I’m listening to Atom TM’s latest release on the high profile experimental/electronic Rastar Noton label, Leidgut. It’s a stunning work of sonic art, incredibly designed digital audio structures that in one moment make no sense and in other moments too much sense, all in a good crunchy glitched out low rez digital way. If you know German electro pioneers Kraftwerk then this is like the best synthetic voice effects and most atmospheric parts of their classic album Radioactivity expanded on.

While this record owes everything to Kraftwerk it is an entirely original work. Except for the final track on the disc which just so happens to be a vocoded sound poem from none other than Florian Schneider, founding member of Kraftwerk. Right now the rhythm I hear is based around that sound that used to happen when a cell phone was near computer speakers – remember that? It’s sonic detritus now and and when processed just right can be an effective sound element in a composition. It brings that retro futuristic aesthetic, although that phantom cell phone sound is all but a thing of the past now, I’m reminded about how weird that was. This is a great piece of music for those with more exotic musical tastes, even academic and conceptualists will find much interest in Atom’s latest work.

BTW Atom TM is also known as Atom Hart, Ewe Schmidt, and most famously Senior Coconut. Check it out, revelry moment 1, over.

Last night I went to the dubstep party at Plush. This sound is considered fresh because it’s just catching on over here but the truth is this thing has been evolving for quite some time. No Doubt there is some eponymous moment when the classic dubstep sound was identified and labeled for categorization, the fact remains that the genre continues to include even more experimental and minimalist ideas. Late night at Plush they drop the tough, heavy stepping wobbled out bangers but if you hang out a little early the Djs play a lot of really experimental stuff, where the focus is more on the sound as the dancers are not quite primed to hit the floor. When a genre of underground UK dance music is incorporating weird shifts in time signature, unresolved measures, and uncanny levels of consistent, repetitive, eye ball wobbling bass we know exiting new musical progress is in effect. Sure check out some dubstep on line or CD but what I’m saying is that the real meaning and significance of the music comes from a physical encounter with a booming soundsytem, hardcore sub-woofers. It’s a bit like getting a massage except you wobble around with other people instead of just laying there.

The other thing I like about going to the dubstep parties around town is that it brings out a very diverse crowd. Many different people are into this music because of the cultural diversity represented in the sound. The dance peeps love it, the hip hop heads love it, reggae enthusiasts, and of course those of us who love dub music.

 Before I wrap it up dubstep has evolved more or less out of the jungle/drum and bass UK styles, and has a heavy reggae influence. Although the tempo seems relaxed, slow, the funk comes from playing with shuffled half time and off rhythms, which often mix well with minimal house or techno beats. It’s atmospheric and dark music, but once you find the groove it’s a stepper’s delight.  Revelry 2, out.

Why did I think that it was important to hate bands like Pink Floyd ( I think I already mentioned them earlier…) or Bob Dylan until just recently? Why did I impose this ban on what I deemed to be “old” music. My parent’s never force fed me their music and what they did play back then I liked. My mom was a fan of mellow singers and we always listened to pop radio in the car. My dad liked rock. Not blaring, but he surprised me once by taking me to see the Police.

The early walkman was a great way to disconnect from the world and I used to listen to all kinds of music with one rule in effect: It had to be modern, if not futuristic. To me that included punk rock, hardcore, rockabilly, goth, etc. The genre was not so much the issue, it was the newness that made it vital. For whatever reason, the Violent Femmes sounded new. Skinny Puppy sounded new. Virgin Prunes sounded new, even when they tried to sound old. Not to mention, by the time I got to most of these bands they were old. This was pre internet when you actually had to do leg work to know about the underground sound.

I’ve always had a very open mind regarding music and I would say that my desert island disc would probably include Carl Stalling, choral music from Bulgaria, Chinese music is amazing, Motorhead, etc.

Sorry I have to stop and call bullshit on myself for that last musical revelry.  First off I’m not even listening to music, the CD ended about five minutes ago. Obviously there is no such thing as a desert island disc these days, right? Now it would be a desert island ipod and you could pretty much put all the music ever on there so making a slim selection anymore is just dumb. I’m putting an end to all reveling right now but I’m happy I did get to mention Carl Stalling, Virgin Prunes, and Florian Schneider all in the same blog. Normally they get their own blog each.

Oh I forgot. I love Steve Martin’s banjo music.

Insane display of a dubstep quick mix. This is how it’s done.

Brilliant on every level – music by Carl W. Stalling.

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April 1, 2009

DJ activity update 09 – Ruta Maya

Filed under: As a DJ — daz76 @ 3:39 am

A few months ago you may remember that I was on the rampage to become a professional DJ once again. You see in my DJ heyday in NYC every bar, club, coffee shop, you name it, had turntables and payed cash. It was awesome. You had to have some skills or a look or something to bring to the table and I had old school skills. I had a regular job too, four days a week at a specialty musical instrument store in downtown Manhattan. We opened at 11 AM and we would all be dragging ass until someone made the trek for Chinatown iced coffee, the best in the world.

Those were the days. I’m going to write about all that NYC stuff soon, but for now I’m just saying, as far as being a DJ goes in Austin Texas 2009 it’s not NYC 1999. BTW I played a club gig NYE 1999 and yes I did play the song. It was great.

OK yeah, I made some inroads a few months ago with the people that run a bunch of the high end clubs in downtown Austin, you know the cheesy bottle service, soulless extravagance, house music. I always believed that I could do positive things in that atmosphere. Like sneaking in a little bit of consciousness in a nice sugar coated way. I still want to bring my version of club music downtown, but for now I found something else. I’ll get back with those dance club folks soon, I have unfinished business in that realm.

About a month ago I decided to stop by Ruta Maya on South Congress to see what they had going on DJ wise and they guy behind the counter told be that they did a dub night on Mondays. I had to meet with a musician and decided to see if he could meet me there on a Monday to check out the scene. I liked what I saw and after the meeting I spoke with the sound guy about playing. He said, “Bring some records and you will probably play, bring turntables and you will definitely play”. The following week I loaded my Technics 1200 turntables (man I love those fucking things)  into the car and headed off to Ruta Maya with a bag full of ancient reggae and cutting edge dubstep. When I showed up I was introduced to Dreadbeard, the founder of the night. very nice guy who lives up to his name. he told me to hang back and that I could play a bit later. When I did get on I was nervous, shaking. There was hardly any one in the place but I was still very nervous. DJing is not like riding a bike – it’s a skill that needs to be practiced and honed, at least that’s how I see it, and I hadn’t played out in a long time.

Hmmm. I pretty much channeled my nervous energy and shot laser beams of dub into every body’s brain and the cute tattooed girl that was working the bar gave me props by suggesting I had “Mad skills”.  She immediately became my barometer behind the decks. I decided then and there that if she’s wobbling around behind the bar while I’m playing then I’m doing it right. Even when I was in New York I always played to the bartenders over the crowd. When you are a DJ the bartender can be your best friend in the world, not only for the free booze, but for the inside information about the patrons, management, money, and other potential DJ threats. That’s not an issue here, because not a whole lot of guys are clamoring to rock Ruta Maya on a Monday night. Everyone knows Monday nights suck, but Monday is where you can experiment, practice, and most importantly make connections with others who care enough about what they are doing to get out on Monday nights as if it were Friday.

I’ve been doing the gig for three weeks now and it’s been great. Dreadbeard brings the turntables and all I have to bring is my headphones,records, and needles. Dread plays a mix of dub, dance hall, and electro,  and he brings a very considered, bass heavy and experimental sound. You are as likely to hear Aphex Twin or Kraftwerk as you are King Tubby’s. Carles is the other DJ, an Italian guy well versed in minimal dub and underground techno the likes of which generally come from Berlin. He’s using a computer and a program called “Live” to mix in audio files and effects, creating a truly original dub mix. You are not going to see or hear this anywhere else in Austin on a weekly basis. It’s going down, Carles’ take is %100 unique.

Um, it’s all good, I’m a DJ again. I can’t say that I’m a professional DJ, but I can say with confidence that I’m a DJ that is very professional. Going out on Monday is strictly for the industry people or the adventurous and I like it that way. The random folks that do show up are exactly who I want to play for, people who want to hear something new, different, and on a quality sound system. On that note I have to add that there is no DJ booth at Ruta Maya. we play from the stage with full stage monitoring at volume, while the house system is kept under control of the vigilant sound man Kurt. point being that in the room the music is loud but not so much so that you have to compete for conversation, yet for us on stage it feels like being onstage at Madison Square garden it’s so loud. I love that, and in my experience it’s a rare opportunity to have that kind of monitoring.

Last night they recorded about 45 minuets of my set and I have it in my possession for distribution. I’m making copies of it now and anyone reading this who wants one I will mail it to you happily.

In the meantime you can check out my original music for a taste of what’s going down:

http://www.myspace.com/darrenryanmusic

It’s inevitable that I’m going to be writing more about this stuff because things always happen when you are a DJ, even a Monday night DJ. I was never writing before so I will certainly be looking at this whole thing as a story unfolding, because that’s what it is. Should be interesting and here’s the info about the gig;

Dub Transistor

Every Monday night with DJ Dreadbeard, Carles, and Darren Ryan

Ruta Maya

3601 South Congress Avenue

Austin Texas 78704

No cover

March 13, 2009

Band Update

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 2:46 am

The whole starting a band thing is pretty crazy. One minute I am pondering the nature of my set up or how the drums will sound through the effects and then other times it seems like there is no way I’m going to go on a stage with a bunch of other dudes and make this sound. It seems inevitable and yet absurd. But people do it all the time, right?  Every night of the week, all day long people are playing music for others. The truth is that this performance concept was born of the inspiration I received when one of Austin’s top electronic music impresario said the me, “No one else is making electronic music like you do here in town”. It wasn’t a statement regarding the good or bad nature of my music, just that at the moment, in this place, it’s sort of unique. I would be stupid to not act, given this information.

The newest member, Jeff, who got back to me from craigslist seems like a very cool guy. He’s a percussionist and producer, and his specialty is Indian and middle eastern music. Cool! Also, he’s a student of holistic medicine. So essentially we have an in house medic in case anyone has a dub related injury or trips out too hard. I’ll meet with him tomorrow to get him a CD.

So right now less than two weeks from day one of this venture the band consists of me on electronics and live dub mix, Gerard on conga, Lane on timbal, djembe and percussion, and Jeff on dumbek. This shit is quickly going world, and that’s exactly as it was meant to be.

One of the amazing aspects of this project to me is the willingness of these musicians to work with my vision, letting me be the director and they are the players. I expected more trouble getting it across that I already knew what this was going to sound like live, but they quickly acknowledged that and seemed relieved that their was a vision, a direction, and a plan.

Also, my suggestion that the live drums would be mic’d and processed through effects was received positively. I wondered if that would freak out the drummers, but again curiosity and experimentation is fueling this group so we move forward.

We are going to have to create a new form of rhythm for this sound, a hybrid of styles but directly based on the Niyabinghih traditions that informs jamaican roots music. As long as that is clear I don’t care how it is achieved or on what instruments. I will definitely turn to Gerard to lead the drummers. I’ve seen him do it and he’s good at it. Gerard has other long running projects but both the other guys hinted at the concept of a collective forming, and I’m into that, because sometime I’d like to just be a musician too.

March 11, 2009

Rebel Rock Sound in the Area!

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 4:52 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve really been ignoring my blog lately. I started making these little web videos and that was satisfying my need to discuss all my thoughts on everything publicly in it’s own way, and as I’ve said before writing is kind of hard for me… That’s not true, writing is easy. It’s the whole spelling, grammar, making sense thing that gets me.

I started a band.

About two weeks ago a local booking agent, I won’t say who just yet, contacted me about performing at one of their curated events as a sound artist. It turned out the event was specific to laptop music, and I don’t use a laptop. I might be if I decide on a set up, but now, no laptop. They said, “Cool, we’ll get back to you for another event”.

I said, “Cool, talk soon”.

This initial contact made me stop and think, “Damn, I need to get a fucking show together ASAP”. I listened to the music I wanted to play and tried to picture the vision of a live stage version and of course immediately Pink Floyd came to mind, billowing red, baby blue, pink, and black smoke flickering in the strobes. Done. Stage atmophere sorted.

Then I tried to imagine how to recreate the songs live and I realized I can’t. Not yet anyway. The music only exists in the speakers, meaning no hi-fi, no song. That’s not so worrying for me because I am a DJ and understand sound system culture and ideology. Some music needs to be played on an instrument to be effective, some songs are only effective in the speakers, the sound system is the instrument and I control that sound.

But I didn’t stop there. As I envisioned my “band” on stage amid the flickering light there were other figures there besides me. Drummers. And a dancer. Yeah a dancer. Every cool band has had a dedicated dancer, Happy Mondays, 808 State, Meat Beat Manifesto, Public Enemy, the list goes on. It just so happened that I met a break dancer a week or so before at a hip hop night and we were talking about making a video.

The first person I contacted about the show idea was a friend from when I was studying afro-latin percussion, playing in our local samba school and with a small folkloric group specializing in Puerto Rican and Haitian music. Gerard’s opinion and experiance is heavy in these matters, and I sought his guidance in an email. I invited him to be part of the sound.

I then contacted the dancer and he was very into the idea, even stating that he “strobes” which I guess is a form of popping. He also mentioned costumes, which had not even entered my mind, but of course, costumes!

I wanted to hear back from my friend Gerard from the folkloric group for his advice on the matter. He’s an old school drum guy and knows the Austin scene well. After not hearing back from him for a few days I thought he blew me off as a freak or missed the email. I decided to hit craiglist in search of drummers.

Before I posted the message I spent a few nights putting together a rough mix of the the program. Right now the show runs about 23 minutes and I’m shooting for a half hour with additional songs ready to mix in after as DJ set. Point being the musicians would be able to have a recording of my mix (minus dub effects and other live elements I will add) for the show, hopefully easing up on rehearsals. So even then I had a really good idea what everything was supposed to look and sound like.

I was bummed I never heard back from Gerard, but I moved ahead anyway.

I posted a simple message in the musician section of craigslist for drummers interested in Jamaican roots and dub music, and I mentioned that I was performing a digital version of these rhythms and wanted to experiment with live dub mixing.

Two guys contacted me, very curious about the electronic aspect of the music. Both are full on gigging percussionists and one also produces ambient dance music as well. So far so good.

I was encouraged by the contact, but still disheartened that Gerard didn’t care about my new music project, I wanted his blessing. I had begun communicating with the other drummers about the project and then with perfect timing came Gerard’s response. A very considered reply, he had really given my idea some thought. Long story short he’s in, and I met with Lane, one of the other percussionists a few days ago and gave him the CD of the show mix. Cool guy, like minded and curious.

I feel good about Gerard and Lane and I am still not %100 about the other guys, but we’ll see about that. I put together a small collection of links that I sent the guys to show them where I’m coming from on a musical and mental level.

We will wait out South by South West before we actually rehearse, although a meeting is planned in a couple of weeks. Not a formal rehearsal, just a loud introduction…

Do I need to suggest how exciting this is? I have been waiting for the right time and place to try out some of my new music ideas and it’s moving ahead. So by late summer (next September) we will be playing some chill psychedelic dub, and I’m sure I’ll get all hot and sweaty, and I hope you do too!

Next up, naming the sound system. All suggestions welcome!! Here are the videos I sent out to the other guys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV_tKUoWZak

This one shows the drum style I’m after.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HPgcmHtiwA

Real dub recording session from Kingston mid 70’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mansions_of_Rastafari

This is discussing the influence of Rastafarian and African ritual drumming on reggae and roots music in Jamaica. Check it out.

January 25, 2009

The Worst DJ Gig of My Life

Filed under: As a DJ,Austin life — daz76 @ 7:16 am
Tags: , ,

I started a new class tonight and I noticed this girl as she came in the door late. She looked familiar and an unsettling feeling came over me. I was sure I had unknowingly insulted her at a party or something. I don’t insult people (you know, to their faces) but sometimes in the night when the libations are flowing I often think I’m being funny and sometimes people get rubbed the wrong way. As I sat there in class I was trying to remember what I might have done…

I want to talk about the worst DJ gig of my life. Keep in mind, I’ve had a few REALLY bad DJ gigs that include nearly falling off a ten foot ledge in pitch blackness into a well of broken beer bottles and piss, threatened by a crazed rasta drug lord type who nearly punched me for not playing his request, and also the time I was held captive along with the bartender at a bar on Ave. A in NYC by an out of control homeless guy. At one point he started throwing pint glasses at the bottles behind the bar which were smashing and exploding over my head. 5 NYPD cars showed up that night… That was really fucked and I nearly stopped any work with bars/clubs after that. But you know what, it gets worse.

How can it get worse than all the potential for injury, the violence, aggressiveness and fear? I’ll tell you how. It has to do with humiliation. Nearly getting beat up by a rasta is not humiliating. Being terrorized late at night in a bar is not humiliating. It’s scary, traumatizing yes, but not humiliating. No, it takes that extra something special to really ruin the usually positive and eager to please attitude of this DJ. It takes humiliation.

Here’s how it went down.

It was a few years ago and I had been asked to DJ a friend of a friends house party. This place was known for parties and it seemed like it could be fun. How wrong I was. First off, this is Austin Texas and it was the dead of summer, boiling at night, no let up from the heat. Obviously this was a big old doors open Austin house party so obviously no air conditioning and yeah, it was twice as hot inside as it was outside. I set up my CD mixer (I prefer turntables but their floor bounces the needle off the records) and surveyed the party. There was no music playing when I showed up so I thought, “This is going to be casual, no worries, just have fun”. I had been asked to bring some commercial stuff to mix in, specifically that ridiculous(ly awesome) “Walk it Out” song so I went out and dropped about forty dollars on crunk and also some reggaeton too, to keep things lively. I brought other stuff as well, but I almost felt like I had been asked to not be,
 how do I put it, too much of a DJ, as in playing house or other more specific forms of underground dance music.

One of my problems as a DJ, and maybe in life, is that I often forget to follow my instincts and do it the way I would want it done. In this instance I pandered and I noticed that while people loved it when I dropped my beloved “No Diggety” remix, they seemed dis-interested when I went to the more commercial hip hop that I had been told they wanted. My stuff was working, yet I felt obligated to mix in the top 40 radio jams. Plus it was way too hot to sustain any real type of dance, people would die if they danced for more than 10 minutes at a time. To compensate for this I brought out the microphone and had people passing by get on the mic and talk, give shout outs, it was great. People were laughing and being silly and even though I was melting I was having fun. It was around midnight when a girl, drunk, came over to me and said she wanted to hear some music.

Just take a moment here to think about what you do when you want someone, a stranger, to do you a favor. What is the logical way to approach the situation? Hmmm, maybe friendliness would work, a hello, or wow, even an introduction. But no, this was another one of those all too common situations, any DJ who’s played out enough knows the scenario. I’m talking about the white chick (sorry to be racist against white chicks but I am) who for whatever reason wants to be up in your business, like they are intimidated by the control that a DJ can wield. And what’s sad about it too is that I had already decided to relinquish that power by involving the random people passing through the room. I knew because of the heat this wasn’t going to be a dance party, so I went with fun party rocker instead.

So this drunken, wanna be hipster chick who radiated the vibe of I fucked ten Mexican guys when I studied Spanish in Monterrey last month so now I’m sorta Latina, I want Manu Chao now!! I bring in the extra racist element only because I got the feeling that one of the hostesses was Chilean or something, and she was lovely. There was just that annoying summer abroad kind of vibe with her friend and I went with it. Usually what I do when confronted by some obsessive music trainspotter or kantancarious DJ groupie is to give an over the top compliment like, “Wow, your eyes…” or, “Cool dress – do you sew?”. Both of those handy frazes have worked for me every time, except this fateful night.

I could tell she was fucked up and hostile so I just took the CD and asked what tracks she wanted to hear. She said something like, “Just play all of it, I want to dance!” I somehow surmised that it was indeed Manu and I thought I would play a cut or two and move on. But no. The CD wouldn’t play in my machine, and I use professional CD players that even read MP3. I honestly tried to get her music on, because I like Manu Chao too.

I’ll put it into turbo here so as not to ramble. After being completely distracted and thrown off course by one out of a few hundred people at the party, I decided she had already taken up too much of my time and I went back to finding other tracks to mix in. She wasn’t having it. I tried to explain that her disc didn’t want to play in my machine. I showed her, it was the truth. She became not enraged, just sort of single mindedly determined to hear her CD, right then, right there. I watched as she yelled at her friends for a computer, which someone finally procured. A mac none the less. Somehow she managed to plug in to the stereo in the living room (the party people had brought in a PA for me) and now there was a skipping CD blaring through the room. The very hot, very unfun, very annoying room.

I said fuck it and pressed stop on the mix. She could have it. Get me the fuck out. Home girl, you win. Within moments my brother and a few friends had come over and I didn’t need to explain much, as by now there was a small group of anorexic girls surrounding the original troublemaker and they were now blaring a clicky, skipping CD of Latin pop hits, dancing along even though it sounded like shit and people were staring.

I had cumbias. I had Latin funk, I had No god damn Diggity for fuck sake. Needless to say I felt completely humiliated by this one drunken woman as I packed up my gear. The saddest moment for me was when one of the gracious hosts came to me as I was leaving with my few friends that I came with and silently handed me like $50 in cash. I remember it was all folded up like she was sneaking it to me.

When I was back home I had to force myself to again unpack the DJ gear and set it up on the table where it lives near my fireplace. I was so disgusted and cursed the people in Austin and the anti fun DJ thing that goes on. I was thinking of new forms of negative expression to describe this pasty drunk bitch that had ruined my night and embarrassed the party hosts. It was so awkward because I felt that I had failed the party by packing out, but what could I do?

A secondary sting came later when I had a conversation with the guy that had originally asked me to do the gig. Obviously I said WTF? about the crazy chick and this dude didn’t really defend her, confirmed that she was WASTED but also suggested that I had freaked people out by using the microphone. He suggested that people didn’t understand that. My heart sank because these supposedly hip, in the know, party in the house people didn’t get a DJ using a mic or letting people do shout outs? This was not an austere underground Berlin or Detriot techno club with a Phazon soundsytsem and bottles popping, this was a sloppy summer kegger in a house in central Austin. If anything I should have just played reggae and chilled out dub all night, but no. I had bought the over priced mix CD with “Walk it Out” extended remix etc and wasted my time trying to have fun with a crowd that is still just getting up to speed with Daft Punk.

Never again.

Oh and by the way, the girl I mentioned getting a funny feeling about in my class tonight? I figured it out.

That’s her.

I guess I have to say thanks because I have never really delved into what happened that night for the simple fact that it was so embarassing and uncool and I wanted to forget about it, but it’s huge part of how my view of Austin was shaped. It’s alway cathartic to put feelings about those situations down and I did. It also reminded me again of the multiude of DJ stories I have in the back of my mind, floating around like a distant dream. So, in many ways pain and humliation can be inspirational in coming to understand who we are and why we end up in certain places, certain situations I am a careful person and I learn from my mistakes, and I feel certain that when all was said and done the annoying party girl probably felt pretty stupid later, and probably feels pretty stupid often if her actions that night are par for the course. That is if she even remembers, and something tells me she probably doesn’t.

We’ll see…

January 1, 2009

Mexico is for Dreamers Like Me

1. Cancun

Just arrived last night in Cancun and my first impression was, “This fucking sucks!” There’s a fucking Bennigan’s and a Chili’s… Millions of people trying to force you to buy stupid shit trinkets and it just stunk of gross culture-less and un-curious American tourism.

The hotel is cool, a 2 story condo 9 stories up with an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a bit ghetto really but the beach below is pristine, with white sand that disappears beneath your feet when the tide goes out and deep turquoise water. The water is not cold, but it’s not exactly warm either, but this is late December…

After walking the strip of tourist bars and giant mega clubs we decided that  the most normal looking place to get a beer was the Hooters. I fucking hate Hooters, but in that moment I was so happy to be sitting there away from the din of pounding Cancun nightlife.

I really want to keep this short because it’s only day 1 and there are still the DJ gigs and who knows what to come. At the Hooters we decided to talk to a manager and get the real deal about hanging out like a pro in Cancun. Basically to get away from all the cheesy fuglers you have to go into downtown. We learned there is another entertainment district that is mostly frequented by the locals, industry peeps, and more savvy visitors.

After our conversation with Gorge the manager we sat drinking beers and I’m not going to lie, the Mexican Hooters girls are like a million times cuter than American ones. The place was quiet and I guess we seemed a bit different, speaking funny Spanish and not pounding yard long drinks. Eventually our waitress asked us where we were from and she had never heard of Austin but lit up when San Antonio was mentioned. Her name is Fernanda and I’m in love with her. She has beautiful Mexican features and long, jet black hair. Black eyeliner and a bit of an attitude. OMFG. Fortunately I know some funny Mexican slang and she was amused that this white boy could talk a bit street.

She stole my hat but eventually gave it back and as we were leaving she asked if we were going to come back again.

Um, yeah…

I will get a picture of Fernanda. I will get proof that I shit you not about my fledgling relationship with a stunning Mexican Hooters girl. She’s originally from Guadalajara. I’m heading back to say hi later tonight.

I wonder if she would fit in my luggage?

After that Cancun didn’t seem so bad, and in fact it’s really very sleazy. The taxi drivers are the drug dealers, pimps are everywhere and very aggressive trying to sell “Mexican Pussy”. If transsexual hookers are your thing they are here too, in droves. Most of the serious shady business seems to be centered around the convention center, just a little FYI. At a certain point we said fuck it and went into a turbo cheese open air tourist club and had a couple of shots of tequila and a few beers. Once the corny trance music and rave skanks really got bumping everything was right with the world and I said, “Viva Mexico”.

Tomorrow I’m off to Playa, and then on to Tulum Thursday. I’ll be back in Cancun for one more night before I return to Austin on the 28th and you know where I’ll be- At Hooters of course practicing my Spanish with Fernanda. This shit is just getting warmed up and tonight after Hooters we are going back downtown away from the tourist zone. I just put batteries in my camera so picture taking starts tonight…

More later.

2. Playa del Carmen

I’m sitting in an internet cafe (they still exist) in Playa del Carmen getting ready for a DJ gig around 11 pm. I arrived here earlier after a quick trip to the Mayan archeological site at Tulum, where I will return tomorrow for a gig at the sister club of the one I’m playing tonight. I decided to go there today so that tomorrow I could just hang on the beach in Playa and not worry about tourist stuff. Tulum is fantastic, and the later you get there the better your chances of taking a few pictures of the site without all the tourists milling around. I took some nice snaps and will post them soon.

Last night we went back out for more Cancun action (scary!!) and started off not surprisingly at Hooters where there is a girl named Fernanda, who for what ever reason seems to think I’m funny. It was all very innocent and she would stop by occasionally to chat between serving drinks and what not. “Que onda, chicos??” she said and I replied, “Etamos bien tranqilos, que paso contigo chica?” She laughed. I asked if she knew Playa and the situation with transport etc. and she gave some tips about taking the bus.

I mentioned I was coming here to DJ and she lit up. Eres DJ? Me voy!” you are a DJ?I will go!) she declared and asked for the details, it would be amazing if she shows up. I just met this raven-haired Mexicana 2 days ago but it’s a thing as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway I’m just killing time now and will go find something to eat before the party gets going. I went ahead and brought mainly hard-hitting underground minimal trance and some breaks, because let’s face it – these people will be on X and coke for really real. I threw in a couple of more Latin-tinged tracks too for local flavor and I’m just really excited and nervous to do this. Everyone at the bar is cool and I think it worked well to my advantage that I went ahead and initiated our conversation in Spanish. The locals really appreciate that around here and it puts you in a different category of traveler.

Playa is such a cool town. It’s basically a grid of streets buffered up against one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen. I didn’t go in the water today, opting instead to check out the town and as I mentioned Tulum. Obviously there is money in Playa and the clothing and jewelry boutiques have the AC blasting and the doors to the street wide open. It reminds me a bit of San Miguel de Allende except with more exposed flesh and of course the beach.

Tulum. What can I say, that place is really cool. Who can deny the inherently awe inspiring achievements of the Mayan culture and this was my first visit to a major Mayan site.I better wrap it up and see what’s what for the evening. It will be amazing if this girl shows up but I’m not holding my breath.

In many ways my trip starts today – Cancun is just the jumping off point, base of operations. In many ways I might have preferred to just be in Playa, but then I would not have crossed paths with you know who. I must stay focused on the gigs, that’s the thing right now. I have plenty of time for fucking around through the weekend. So, yeah. Focus.

One other thing – It’s so nice that they have almost completely ignored Christmas around here. I mean people say, “Feliz Navidad” and what not but it’s differen. There is no Santa Clause or commercial aspect to the holiday, it’s mainly a religious thing. Refreshing, more later if I can find a connection…

3. Back to Tulum

I’m still in Playa, getting ready to catch a bus back to Tulum. The gig last night was kind of intense and the party went until just after dawn. I played early, around midnight, for an hour or so and then another DJ showed up and took over. I played again at about 2:30 and the energy was thick… I was correct about the vibe being that of rather “ecstatic” although I just was drinking beer.

My first set went well I guess, because right after Angelo, the manager at Om (the club/bar/hotel) said’ “You gonna play later man?” and I did. The people were great, sort of fancy and mostly Mexican and not a whole bunch of people from the US. By the time I got back on the decks for a second go the atmosphere was hot in every sense of the word. It was like an adult version of a rave so I went ahead and brought out the big stuff. I could describe every record etc. but when I put down 3 channel’s track “Fixation” the room went off at the break, and as the drums came back in some guy with an air canister blasted what looked like cold steam across the room as strips of white paper rained down. I have DJed a bunch of parties, but that was the single most hair raising (in a good way) moment of my career – I was tingling. I played for another hour and a half or so and switched out again with the other DJ, a guy named Felix who was so gracious about sharing the night with me, a gringo DJ on his turf that he had never met before. Something in the air in Playa…

I was looking out all night for the girl from Cancun but I never saw her. When I passed the front desk at the hotel this afternoon (I slept late) the guy behind said he had a message for me. She had called and said she had picked up a shift at Hooters but left the number of the restaurant for me to call later.

Word!

I haven’t called yet but that sort of blew my mind that she had left the message. I need to go catch the bus but I will report again tomorrow or later tonight if I can find a computer. Tulum is a bit more out there in terms of internet and even cell access but I’ll be back at the place tomorrow afternoon – Then it’s all Cancun until Sunday. at some point I hope to get to Chichen Itza…

Gotta go, more soon.

4. Apocalypto Exposed

Back in Cancun and ready to start getting mellow. In four days I have played two really late night DJ gigs in two different Mexican beach resorts, visited two major Mayan archeological sights, discovered the dark side of Cancun, and of course the pre-requisite falling in love with a black haired Mexicana who works at Hooters. Holy shit I need a siesta.

The party in Tulum was really nice, a little more low key than Christmas eve in Playa del Carmen, but not much. Om Tulum is smaller, but the clientele are more, how to say it… Out there. More Europeans and dread lock traveling types but they like to party. Not as ritzy a scene as the Playa gig, but still a bit nuts. There were two other DJs this time and for a couple of hours we played in tandem, one guy would put down a record and then someone else would mix in the next. we went back and forth like that for most of the night and it was really fun. At about 3 AM we each started playing sets of 3-4 records and would then trade out. It went down really well and I hope those guys can make it up to Austin sometime to do it all over again, although it could never be the same. Tulum has magic.

I never did call the girl at Hooters (see report 1, 2 and 3 if you are just joining in) but I will pass by there later tonight to say hi and give her a mix CD like I promised. There were some very beautiful girls at both parties and I was chatting with a girl named Paula from Chile who really seemed to have a thing for DJs, especially foreign ones… She worked at the cafe next to Om and at one point offered to get me a beer from the bar while I was playing. so very nice. Her demeanor was what I would call cool, but not in that American girl way where they try to be aloof which is always a dead give away for insecure, or just unpleasant. She was just a really laid back and pretty girl with features that hinted at her Italian roots. There was no big fireworks but if I lived here I would definitely be eating lunch as much as possible at her cafe.

I crashed out as the sun was rising and was up again by 10 to make the trek to Chichen Itza. That place is amazing and I took a few photos of the Temple of the Jaguar, the ball court, and of course the central temple, El Castillo. Pretty impressive stuff and I am now officially fascinated with Mayan culture. We hired a tour guide and it was pretty interesting to hear him rail on the movie Apocalypto, and he said that Mel Gibson had focused to much on the morbid side of things. Here’s a few tid bits about the whole human sacrifice thing because let’s face it, it’s kind of cool… First up they didn’t do all the time, just during times of hardship or when the crops were bad. They sacrificed a lot of children but all ages and sexes were potential victims. They know this because the Mayans would throw the bodies (post sacrifice) into a cenote, a kind of a natural well, and the skeletons were found when it was dredged during the initial excavation of the site.

Here’s how they think the sacrifice would go down, based on murals found inside the Temple of the Warriors: A priest would have his two assistants hold the arms and legs of the victim over a triangular shaped stone. They would break the victims spine over the rock so as to anesthetize them, and then would put the body (the person still alive) on the ritual alter and proceed to cut out the heart with a knife made of obsidian, a hard black stone. The still beating heart would then be placed on the belly of the Chac Mool (Google it) and they would repeat the process with another victim. How awesome is that?! Good times at Chichen Itza, those were the days.

Now all I have to do is figure out what to get up to for the next couple of nights in Cancun. I’m not so crazy about any more clubbing and I’m still sort of all fucked up about this girl at the Hooters. Why do I always fall for the impossible? I know why. It’s because she is maybe the most beautiful girl in Mexico, so what can I do. My plan is to stop by early, as if I have other things going on, and see if she wants to meet up for a drink after her shift. That’s a simple enough plan, right? I hope she’s not annoyed that I didn’t ever return her call from Playa or Tulum, that might have been kind of dumb on my part but I was kind of busy… Anthony Pappa is playing at The City tomorrow night so I might take it easy tonight and leave a big night out until then. The City, by the way is the largest night club in Latin America and is probably worth checking out just for that.

Now, voy a tomar una siesta. More later.

5. All Fucked Up

Holy shit Cancun can really mess one up… last night was just no good. I mean it was great but horrible too. I woke up with no money and I didn’t even know where I was. I figured it out, got up and had some coffee. The trip is winding down and I think most of the madness is behind me, but of course there is the issue of the girl at Hooters. The black haired, gothy Latina from Guadalajara that I’m in love with.

Here’s what happened: As I mentioned I passed by Hooters around 8 PM and casually sat at the bar writing in my notebook (dudes – get a notebook to write in when you are trying to look cool, playing with your cell phone is lame) and I spotted her at the outside tables. Eventually she came over and to my surprise gave me a peck on the cheek (which I will never wash again) and said, “Que onda guay?”. We chatted for a minute and I nervously asked if she could meet up later in el centro, away from the Cancun gnarlyness. She gave me a look like she was thinking, “Is this guy for real?” but said OK. I pretended like I had to go meet up with some people for a drink but we decided to meet back at Hooters at 11:30 when she would be off work. I was like wow.

I returned to the condo to kill some time and get on the internet. When I went back she was waiting for me at the bar, talking to the other employees. I was greeted at the door by another girl and the vibe was different, they seemed to know I was not there as a customer anymore… She was out of the silly Hooters uniform and was wearing black jeans and a tank top, she looked amazing. It never crossed my mind that she had normal clothes because I had only seen her in her waitress outfit. Again she gave me a peck on the cheek and I could see the other girls sort of giggling and acting childish about our date. I was straight up nervous but did my best to play it cool and not act too neurotic…

Long story short she took me to a small bar in the downtown part of Cancun. We rode the bus, which to me was kind of a bonding experience. I speak Spanish OK but not like a native so we had some funny conversation as we sipped our drinks- I had beer and she was drinking a Cuba Libre. I asked her what it was like to be so far away from her family at Christmas and she sort of started crying a little bit, which made me feel guilty for bringing it up, but at the same time I was happy to be there, because I knew that she probably would have just gone home alone. We talked about her family and life in Guadalajara, and also my time living in Mexico a few years ago. I told her about Austin and San Antonio and joked that she could move there because we have Hooters too. I had a girlfriend named Perla when I lived in San Miguel and I found myself feeling very nostalgic about her, Fernanda kind of reminds me of Perla. We decided to walk around the town and the streets were full of Mexican families hanging out together, still celebrating the holiday. The lights and smells and dogs running around were just so… Mexican. The hotel zone of Cancun feels basically like you are in the US, not very exotic, but as I walked with Fernanda I knew I was in Mexico. It felt so good.

I was joking around and talking in my most exaggerated Mexican accent, and she was laughing at me. Eventually she said, “Estamos circa mi departamento, queres venir por un rato?” (we’re near my apartment, want to come over for a bit?). I nervously said, “Hell yes!”. It was small but cute and sparsely decorated. I love how Mexican people keep their TVs covered with sort of doily like things, I guess to keep the dirt out. She had a bottle of wine that she opened and we sat near a window that looked down on a quiet street. Mexican music was playing in the distance, coming from a nearby bar or restaurant.

I should stop here… We talked about how fucked up it was that she probably would never be able to visit the US because of her economic situation, it’s not easy to get even a tourist visa for most Mexicans. I left her place about 1 AM and we promised to meet up again tonight after she’s off work, but I almost don’t want to, it just doesn’t make sense to continue this because I know I’m going to be so sad when I leave.

This shit sucks…

After I left I returned to the party zone and caught up with my brother and a few friends we had met at the Congo Bar. This is where things got too crazy drink wise and basically $15 open bar is a really, really bad idea. I mean it’s a great idea, but mainly a really bad idea. At one point I saw my brother dancing like a mad man up on the platform over the bar. I have no idea how he got up there but he wasn’t alone. What a mess! We stumbled home about 5 AM and fell over.

I went swimming again today to shake the cobwebs out and I can’t say how much I love being near/ in the ocean. I think it’s my natural environment. I will go have dinner soon and then probably upload some photos until I go to meet Fernanda at Hooters later.

I can’t stay out too late tonight because we leave sort of early tomorrow and I have a hard time getting out of bed as it is. I honestly have no idea what to expect tonight but I’m going in anyway, heartbreak be damned – I’m going to live in the now.

More soon…

6. Epilogue

I’ve been back in Austin a few days now, still in shock after the accident in Cancun. I’m OK, I mean I didn’t get hurt. I still can’t believe what I saw, the Mexican girl get hit by a car. It was horrible. I’ve seen a few bad things happen to the human body in my time, but I was not prepared for the intensity of what occurred Saturday night. Fernanda died in the hospital from trauma to her body after she was hit by a speeding car.

I have been debating about writing this until now because it is so fresh, and I don’t want to take advantage of such a tragedy, but at the same time I need to get this off my chest.

We met up at the Hooters where she worked at about midnight and again caught the bus downtown. We returned to the little hole in wall cafe we visited the previous night and we sat having a few drinks and it came up that she was an aspiring actress. Our conversation was superficial, there was an underlying emotion, a funny happy sad thing going on, like we both knew what we were doing was absurd. Sure we talked about email and letters and how shitty my written Spanish is, and she spoke very little English, just the stuff you need to use at the Hooters in Cancun.

She invited me back over to her place and we were walking down a narrow street lined with Seafood restaurants, bars, and small shops as we came out to the main street. All I remember is Fernanda walking ahead as I had been stopped by a small girl in colorful if not a bit grubby traditional clothing selling woven bracelets and what not. I had said no a million times already in the 5 day I had been in Mexico and I thought I would just give the kid 10 pesos or something, I didn’t want the bracelet, but she was so cute.

I handed the girl the coin and went to the curb to catch up with Fernanda. She turned to me and said, “Que buena onda tu eres” (you are good vibes) and took one step into the street when I just saw a blur in front of me. I reached out my hand to grab her but it was too late. There was screeching and then screaming and at the same time all I could hear was silence. A car had swerved almost right up on the sidewalk and hit Fernanda full on, throwing her about ten feet away from where I was standing. I ran over to her body and pushed her black hair out of her face. I searched for her hand and held it. She was bleeding and coughing, it seemed like she was choking. The driver of the car and some other people came over and within a few minutes a police car appeared and an ambulance. I just stayed beside her holding her hand and and I put my other hand on her forehead. One of the paramedics pushed me out of the way and they began CPR. I stood there looking on in shock.

I rode in the ambulance to the hospital where I sat by myself for about an hour. Another police man asked me questions in Spanish, and I had very little info, I didn’t know her last name but I told him she worked at Hooters. A short time later Gorge, one of the managers from Hooters, showed up and talked with the police. After that he asked me what happened and I told him as best I could recall. We sat silently for another while and a doctor came out and asked if I was her husband or boyfriend. I explained I was a visitor and had just met her. He looked at me squarely and said something like, “Ella se murio” (she is dead) and something else I didn’t understand, but it had to do with her “espalda”, her back.

Gorge said he was going to stay at the hospital until they contacted her family and I took a taxi back to the hotel zone and just had this incredible numb feeling in my stomach. I had to get on a plane back to Texas in a few hours and could barely think straight. I didn’t sleep, in fact I haven’t slept much since then and I still feel pretty sick. I can’t believe what happened, it just doesn’t make sense. She was so beautiful, so far away from home. She was only 23 years old. Gorge told me that before I left the hospital. Also, he told me that her last name was Herradia.

I’m back in Austin now and I wish I had never gone to Mexico. Despite all the cool things and fun parties I really don’t remember anything except for Fernanda’s eyes as she looked back at me, and then that terrifying blur. I feel like I saw more but I have blocked something out. Something too bloody and wrong. Gorge told me to contact him at the Hooters and he would get me her families’ address so I could send a letter or something… I really don’t know what to do, I mean what am I supposed to say?

I’m never going back to Mexico.

December 3, 2008

DJ update 3

Filed under: As a DJ — daz76 @ 2:49 am
Tags: , ,

OK, so no word from my new friend the DJ booking agent. I’ll call her tomorrow to see what’s up. I’m not going to lie, I feel pretty disheartened about this whole DJ thing in Austin. I’m seriously not sure what the fuck to do… I do have an option that I could go with, it’s an option I’ve had for a few years now and for whatever reason (actually I know exactly the reason…) I have not attempted to give it a shot with this certain connection. It’s been on my mind, I might have to do it.

Completely randomly I contacted an old friend in Mexico (I used to live in Mexico) because I am going to Cancun/Tulum for a week at the end of the month. I thought I’d send an email seeing what’s up with him for the holidays. I remember that he would often go to Cancun with his wife in the winter and I thought he might have some insight into the area. This is a guy I used to DJ with in Guanajuato, he had a tiny little “electro pulque lounge” and we would play house and techno all night or until the cops showed up. Then we would go to the Cucaracha and get wasted. Anyway, he hit me back and said that not only would they be in Cancun, but there is going to be an all night party on the beach in Tulum and he told me to bring some records.

DJ gig on the beach in Tulum. No money, not a professional gig, but in some way it restores my faith in DJ humanity. The closest thing to that type of gig I’ve ever played was some outdoor stuff in San Miguel, but they were more like big private parties in someones back yard. I’ve been told to expect a large, mostly naked euro contingency and I think I know exactly what selections I will bring. Let me put it this way, the ambient shit is staying home! So some modicum of success on the DJ front. It’s far from home, for free, but I will see an old friend and get to stay up all night while the beats pound, just like we used to do a few years ago. I’m really looking forward to it., it will be a fun diversion, but that’s all it is, a diversion. Who the fuck knows, maybe I will love it so much I will move back to Mexico, the coast this time. I always wanted to live near the water and Babylon really does get me down… I’m dreaming.

So reality strikes again tomorrow as I grovel before the Austin club professionals, attempting to find favor in this very fickle city. When we talked yesterday she did ask me if I would come out and check the club on Wednesday, so I guess I will be doing that. Trying to be a DJ in Austin is really stupid, and hard!

I’ll report back on my progress and any tips on the Yucatan would be welcome.

December 2, 2008

DJ update 2

Filed under: As a DJ,Comedy — daz76 @ 6:08 am
Tags: , ,

I talked again today with the DJ booking lady at the office I visited recently with a DJ mix on CD. We didn’t stay on the phone long, and there were some very positive aspects to the conversation, including the fact that they are creating some new nights and they want more dance music, not just the top 40/ hip hop mix that’s so prominent here in Austin. She told me that the other night one of her DJs was late (!) so she put on my mix to check it out on the club system. she assured me that she thought it was a good mix, but she said it was too mellow. Holy shit! I can’t get a break! I intentionally try to tone my sound down, because I’m thinking that’s the safe move, and now they want it more pounding. I’m pretty sure I hit it home that I could easily go more pounding if that’s what they wanted. I apologetically mentioned that I had included Latin elements in my mix because I thought it would be funky, she replied, “I love Latin”. I’m so confused…

I’m pretty sure I’ve made an impression on this booking agent, but I know she’s thinking about the cash register chi-chinging behind the bar on a Tuesday night. Sometimes you just have to go with the hip hop if that’s what the people want. I always think that the people just want it to be good, not annoying, and as long as the ladies are grooving my job is done. I think that often times a minority of loud, obnoxious know it all club vultures are so pathetic that if they feel in any way unsure of who or what is going on they spoil things for other party people who might just be up for something a little more cutting edge. I don’t know, because I’m not a clubber myself and never really have associated myself as one. I like all kinds of music and house is just the most fun to mix. At home I’m listening to ancient reggae, Pink Floyd or Nico. Or working on my own tracks. Or it’s quiet, like it is now.

I’m going to record a new mix in the next few days. I set up the turntables a while ago for that reason and didn’t do it. I’m shooting for a “hard commercial club” sound, but obviously I’ll bring my underground touch. I wonder if I can post it here?? I’m sure there will be some sort of update soon on my progress becoming a professional DJ, good or bad I can’t say right now, but I’m on it.

November 26, 2008

DJ update

Filed under: As a DJ,Comedy — daz76 @ 3:21 am
Tags: , ,

As I mentioned before, I am going to document my travails as I attempt to become a professional DJ in Austin Texas. I know, it sounds like a really dumb idea. It is, but that has never stopped me before and I’m still here, right? Some background: I was a DJ in NYC for many years in the 90’s and I played thousands of gigs. oK maybe not thousands but a lot. But that was NYC. Every coffee shop and bar had turntables and DJ music every night so with a little bit of hustle it was not so hard to get a gig. And they paid well too. Cash. It was sweet. But now I am in Austin and even in this progressive city the DJ industry is not exactly booming. It’s out there, don’t get me wrong. There is so much more going on than I even know about, just saying, this isn’t NYC.

So I made a power move last week and had some blank CDs printed up with my name and contact info. The CDs are blank so I can put whatever I want on them, a DJ mix, an original track, whatever. I burned a house mix I had on hand and on the advice from a door man on 6th street I followed my nose to an office in the Warehouse district. How I actually found the place so easily was amazing because all I knew is that it was on 5th street.

This office, I had been told, was HQ for a number of clubs and bars around town. I was buzzed in as a guy with some DJ CD’s to drop off and entered the office where I met the woman that books the DJ. She seemed nice and I believed her when she said she would listen to my mix.

She gave me her card and said to follow up later. I did today and we had a very interesting discussion. Don’t get your hopes up for me just yet because she basically told me that she liked the mix but that her clubs were a bit more pop/top 40. She asked how flexible I was as a DJ and as always I did the wrong thing and basically said not very. I didn’t say that exactly but I could have been more self aggrandizing and less obstinant about the music. Finally she came around to mentioning that one of her bar managers was looking to try a house music night. She said she had to go but repeated my phone number and said she will call me back about the gig.

End of story. Now we wait.

October 31, 2008

As a DJ

Filed under: As a DJ — daz76 @ 9:05 am
Tags: ,

My blog needs more of a focus, a through line, a topic. Right now it’s just what I think about this or that, the bizarre poetry writing etc. I’ve been cool with that because that’s just how it is, that’s the blog. Now I’ve had an idea that might make this thing a bit more interesting. Or it might go the way of my one off comic strip that even I can’t remember the name of. Oh yeah, Rollo and Dave.

What I’m getting at is that I might start talking about my struggle to become a professional DJ. I already did it a long time ago (get paid to be a DJ) in the late 90’s but I kind of gave up on the idea upon moving to Austin. I tried at first, a bit, but it just never gelled. I said cool and got on with other things.

The other day I put together my modest DJ set up, two beat up but rock steady Technic 1200 turntables and a simple 2 channel DJ mixer. No effects, just EQ and a crossfader. That’s all running through a computer type sound system. It may not sound like much, but when you’ve listened to millions of loud musics sometimes it’s totally OK to not blast it. In fact the only way to know if a jam is really hot is to see if it rocks at lower volumes. Whatever. See I’ve already started. Point being, I love the mix, I love mixing records. I don’t love mixing MP3 files, I love mixing records. And cutting, scratching and transforming even. OK I don’t hamster or chirp, and I’m still perfecting my screw mix. I just really like mixing records.

So I think I will be talking more about my progress as I find a real DJ gig/s. Not just a one off party, I’m talking a residency. This may be the biggest, dumbest, hearing impairment causing mistake of my life, but I had self doubt about getting into writing poetry, and that shit got me laid.

I was a wacky house party DJ in NYC for many years in the mid 90’s, but from about 1997-2001 it was at least two nights a week at various spots in lower Manhattan and more specifically the East Village. I also played at many one off events and parties and it was not boring at all. In fact it’s blog worthy stories, maybe. We’ll see. I played for the New York Tibet Society two years in a row there were tons of enrobed monks there and at the end of the night they paid me. I also was nearly beaten up by a Jamaican gang boss for not playing his request. It was at a lounge called the Koop somewhere near St. Mark’s Place. It was broad daylight as he stepped to me in the DJ booth. I was hired to play the happy hour set at this reggae dive and I dropped the needle on Yabby U “Man of the Living” dub and he turned and went back his table where three beautiful women were keeping him company. No doubt there was a bit of theater in the mix, but I do remember a few instances of real fear because of DJ related activities. And I will get to them here I think.

Primarily though, I want to look at what’s going on now, here in Austin Texas. With me, a proverbial nobody whith no connections and a dream as I try to get some DJ love in this town. The memories are good and will provide balance to the inky black void that is my career as a DJ today as I write. Will my luck change? I hope so, but more importantly maybe you’re curious and that’s what will make this blog more fun.

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