Tuesday, October 21, 2008
DJing with my friend Dave last Saturday was nothing less than a total blast. Daddy's being Daddy's, with its pressed tin tiles, snap-buttoned bros, and rustic wood surfaces, I started off with a requisite country set. For an hour, I strung together Willie's RCA sides, Dillard-Clark, Bobbie Gentry, the Glaser Brothers, Waylon, Travis Wammack, and Tony Joe White cuts before using Joe Tex's funky if clueless cover of "Ode to Billy Joe" (in which Joe obliviously turns the eerie lovelorn tale into a homoerotic murder mystery) to spring into Dave's ridiculous soul 45 mini-set.
I learned the hard way that when you bring a Supreme Grandmaster into the mix like Dave, you risk being run out of the booth, not to mention the bar and block. I've been conversing with heaps of DJs of late and while it may be possible to learn about "the canon" of classic rock or what have you, once you dip into dance/ disco/ DJ culture, there exist reams and reams of realms that will never be coherent or conveniently ordered into a guidebook. Albums you can learn about, but delving into 12"s, dubs, club mixes, 10" promos, white labels, acetates, it fractures like a post-modern tome into alternate worlds. And Dave traveled freely through them, be they Miami bass, freestyle, or boogie: Change's 1981 Armani-sleek album cut "Miracles," some collab between Luke and Lil Jon, a Gloria Taylor b-side, this Carol Williams 12" (with a drastically different mix than the 10" version), "Don't Send Nobody Else," a dash of Sinnamon.
It was all I could do to keep up (by playing Cyndi Lauper, no less). Although seeing Dave's humility as he informed a drunk blonde that he did not have Thriller on him was priceless, too. She then asked me if I brought any Wings or Journey. McCartney II doesn't count, apparently. Transcribing an interview with The Real DJ Spun today, he noted: "Too many people these days just look to the internet to learn about music. If you’re a DJ, you don’t learn on the internet. It’s about interacting with people on a personal level, in-person." So I guess I'm packing "PYT" for next time.