Register    Login    Forum    Search    FAQ

Board index » DISCO » DJ's / Remixers




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: DISCO ROUNDTABLE
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 2193
Location: South Florida
IN THE WORDS OF THE DJs:

A Disco Round Table

Some will say that if you can remember disco's glory days, you weren't really there. These disco pioneers beg to differ. Those boogie nights of no rules, packed dance floors, and innovation by necessity not only shaped a music and a lifestyle, they also shaped who these DJs were and are today. Hear the sweet sweat in their stories.

BEGINNINGS

New York
Kevin Burke
Uncle Charlies' (Manhattan), Botel, The Monster (Fire Island)
Casablanca/EarMarc Records

"I was a bartender at Uncle Charlie's and I bought all the jukebox 45s. I got my nerve up to DJ when we became one of the first stand-up bars to have a DJ booth. You didn't have to worry about keeping them dancing, and so I could play something like 'Dance: Ten; Looks: Three' from A Chorus Line. I was and still am kind of shy, but I felt as though I was throwing my own party and these were my guests--and I didn't even have to talk to them!"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boston
Danae Jacovidis
A-House, 15 Lansdowne St, 1270 Club, Styx, Chaps
Disconet medley mixer

"I started out at the A-House in Provincetown in 1972. The DJ was sick and my lover, who knew the owner, said I was a D--I'd never played before. But I ran home to get all my 45s and, after that first night, I was hooked. They didn't even have a mixer, just an AM/FM receiver. If you held down the button halfway, you could hear both turntables at once. If you pushed too hard, one of the turntables would cut out."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Francis Grasso
The Sanctuary

"Back then, you couldn't adjust the speeds. You had to catch it at the right moment. There was no room for error. And you couldn't play catch up. You couldn't touch the turntables. I had Thorens, and you couldn't do that on Thorens. All you had to do was start at the right moment. Nobody mixed like me. Nobody was willing to hang out that long. Because if you hang out that long, the chances of mistakes are that much greater. But to me it was second nature. I did it like I walk my dog." (TL)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minneapolis & New York
Jerry Bonham
The Saloon (Minneapolis), Ice Palace (Fire Island/Manhattan), Harry's Back East (Manhattan)

"The first time I heard a DJ beat-mix was in a little bar called Alfie's in Chicago. I had to figure out what he was doing. A month later, I got a job at the Saloon, even though I was actually too young to be there. It looked like a barn inside; it was the first leather bar in Minneapolis. They wanted only the 'manly men'; no women allowed. And there used to be a strict dress code. But that didn't work, because not too many people in Minneapolis wore leather . . ."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Orleans
Al Paez
4141, Friar Tuck's

"In the beginning, you were like a technician; no one thought of looking at the DJ. My first booth was set up with my back to the crowd, because it wasn't enclosed and people might put drinks on the turntable." (BC)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Long Island
Jackie McCloy
Bijou, Community Gardens, Side Street, Penrod's, Les Nuages
Founder, Long Island Record Pool

"I considered hanging it up because other DJs were so good. (But) I became more motivated by hearing someone who was terrible and playing in a big club and I'd think, Even I could do better than that! Bobby Lombardi, from Rumbottoms in Massapequa and the Corral, was the first to arrange his music by beats-per-minute. He'd record all his records onto these tape cartridges, like a radio station, and then he'd mix by synchronizing the carts. I asked Bobby if I could try mixing the same way but with records. He said yes, as long as I didn't try to get a job at his clubs, and so I became the first DJ to mix beats-per-minute with vinyl."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CLASSIC CLUBS

New York
David Mancuso
The Loft
Cofounder, New York Record Pool

"The bars used to close at 3 a.m. Anything that stayed open after that was after-hours and illegal. But I was just having a party at my home. I wasn't open to the public--it was strictly by invitation. I never sold anything on the premises--and I never allowed anything to be sold. Everything was included in the contribution you paid at the door, including food and punch. In this situation, there was no economic inequality. I made less money, but I thought, Hey, I'll have that much more of a party and I'll be doing what I want to do." (TL)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Nicky Siano
The Gallery

"The first year that new Gallery was open, we had this huge party on the Fourth of July. We rewrote the Declaration of Independence. Wherever it said, 'We the people of the United States,' it was, 'We the people of the Gallery,' and 'We want to dance all night.' I came out as the Statue of Liberty. I had these draping robes and this big crown, and when they turned out the lights to sing the national anthem, my crown lit up. People went bananas. And my friend Monica, she was so stoned on acid, she starts screaming, 'They're electrocuting him! They're electrocuting him!' We had to drag her off the dance floor, because she was ruining my act and my hat." (TL)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Tony Smith
Barefoot Boy, Xenon, the Funhouse

"My first club crowd was from '74 to '78 at the Barefoot Boy. It started out white and ended up half-and-half, which happened to a lot of the places I played at. Once you integrate the crowd, you can play more kinds of music, better music. By the time I moved to Xenon, Saturday Night Fever had already happened, and so here was a straight crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 'Studio rejects.' Because if you couldn't get into Studio 54, you'd go to Xenon. There was a lot of pressure with a crowd of that size, and I ate it up. After nine months, the crowd trusted me, and I could play underground imports, Garage music, rock, street music, Barefoot Boy music--I wanted them to know it all."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Bacho Mangual
Le Jardin, Plato's Retreat, the Ice Palace, Studio 54

"I played at Plato's Retreat from '75 to '86, when we were shut down. Plato's Retreat was like a playground. (People) went swimming, there were rooms in the back. The drug scene was pretty intense--we never had liquor. The gay audience at the Ice Palace would respond more, but at Plato's Retreat I was able to play 11 years at a club that was thought of just for sex. It wasn't. They looked forward to seeing what I was gonna dig up next. There's nothing better than having control of your environment and your crowd. The dancing doesn't stop, the energy's there, the sweat. My bosses never told me what to do. I even married the daughter of the owner of Plato's Retreat. I'm 43 now--I've been in this business for 28 years."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Wayne Scott
Botel (Fire Island), Flamingo, Hurrah's, The Saint, Studio 54, River Club, Cock Ring

"Studio 54 was such a show. At the gay clubs, you could play things that were different. At Studio, you had to stick to the Billboard Disco Top 20. All the Billboard people were there and all the people who sang the Billboard hits were there. We were also expected to mix in some alternative records like the Talking Heads, who were very disco-ized anyway . . . Flamingo had a very exclusive clientele, lots of doctors, lawyers, not off-the-street people. You had to have three members recommend you in order to get a membership. The people there were usually so busy during the week that they didn't really know the latest stuff, so it was easy to wow them. I remember the first time I played 'Hijack,' the first time I played 'Last Dance' from test pressings. People were floored."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Los Angeles
A.J. Miller
Paradise Ballroom
Cofounder, Los Angeles DJ Association

"Paradise Ballroom, which became Probe, was one of the few discos at the time, so I had a lot of freedom. Studio One was the only New York-style club with beautiful lights that was big inside. Paradise Ballroom was a small club, intimate, so I got to know the people and they got to know me. It wouldn't be anything to look up and see celebrities, but I believed the music belonged to the street people. You developed a trust with them. You could play things they'd never heard and they'd react." (BC)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York
Paul Casella
Hollywood, The Monastery

"Hollywood was a gay club at the beginning, then it turned straight. All the hot clubs were gay, and then the gay crowd would move on to the next happening club and their old club would turn straight. They used to do half-hour drag shows in the middle of the night. There were six or seven DJs, and we all had one night apiece--Tom Savarese, Bobby Guttadaro, Tony Gioe, Joey Palminteri. Deejaying was in its infancy, and so we would all get ideas from watching and listening to each other. If one record didn't work, well, then you'd come back with one that you knew would."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CLASSIC CROWDS


Montreal
Robert Ouimet
Limelight (Montreal)
A&R for RFC Records, producer (Karen Silver, Mighty Pope, Star City), import columnist for Dance Music Report

"I played from 1972 to 1980 at the Limelight, which was Mecca; the place to be here. We have a half-American, half-European feel to this city, so I could play the European imports, like Silvetti's 'Spring Rain,' a year-and-a-half before Salsoul picked it up in America. Everything came together in Montreal at the right time. People were hungry for the new music. They wanted stuff they were used to, but they also wanted something else--just like me."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WAYNE SCOTT: "The dancers were so wound up and the energy was so strong at clubs like Flamingo that it anchored me. The end of the evening was my favorite time, because you could get away with the down-tempo R&B stuff for the stalwarts hanging on. Flamingo was where they started those Black Parties and White Parties and cowboy parties. It got pretty decadent. They had leather acts and pigs in cages, and I think there was one night when one of the pigs dropped dead. I had to pretend that stuff wasn't going on."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
KEVIN BURKE: "Tea dance at Botel was magical. I'd play from 4:30 in the afternoon to 7:30 in the evening to the best-looking men in the world. They'd have spent the day at the beach getting a tan so they could meet someone for the night and would come out to dance and cruise. There was an open room with glass on two sides and it led to a big deck that looked out on the harbor. There were countless celebrities, from Liz Taylor to Rock Hudson. It was very, very high energy. My boss would get upset, because I'd get people so excited that they'd climb up and literally swing from the rafters."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JACKIE McCLOY: "Paul Casella would play The Doobie Brothers' 'Long Train Runnin' and at the break he'd mix in J. Geils Band's 'Give It to Me' and the crowd would go completely nuts. I stole that mix from him! When Paul and I were spinning at Broadcaster's Inn and Monastery, we would have people that would drive regularly from Philadelphia. We'd ask them why they would come to us out in Queens, and they'd say, 'For the music.'"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miami
Bill Kelly
Wherehouse 8, Copa
Founder, Winter Music Conference and Flamingo Record Pool

"The Wherehouse 8 represented the cross-cultures of Miami--Latin, black, gays, the rich people, the tourists. My customers would literally come in and bring me records that they'd danced to in Manhattan with notes saying that they were the hottest thing at Le Jardin or Regine's, and I'd play them right then and there. I know that's unheard of now. I remember getting a 12-inch of Love Unlimited Orchestra's 'My Sweet Summer Suite,' and it had everything in it that we take for granted today--a mixable intro, a break, and a build that just made people nuts. I was so grateful that someone gave me that. It just goes to show that the dance music scene in the early days was built by people who really loved the music--the dancers, the fans."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DJ PHILOSOPHY

New York
Jenny Costa
Butterfields, Lemon Tree, Elephas (Queens), Metro 700 (Long Island), Thursdays (Manhattan)
Mix show DJ/WKTU.

"It was tough getting started as a straight woman, but the work proved itself, and I'm still working 20 years later. I love watching people have fun, it's a high. It's like when you build something and it's finished and you're satisfied--that's like what you feel with a packed dance floor. I see the same people out four, five times a week, and I ask them, 'What's your motivation?' And over and over they say, 'The music.' A lot of these people work hard and need a place to vent their feelings, whether it's joy or frustration. Dancing to me is very therapeutic."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JERRY BONHAM: "Those leather queens love the nelliest disco music! The first time I beat-mixed three records together--'Daylight' by Vicki Sue Robinson, something off the Donna Summer I Remember Yesterday album, and I don't know what else--the crowd went fucking nuts, because they'd never heard anything like that in Minneapolis. All the other DJs hated me, because I was making life difficult for them. I was layering in sound effects and doing all the things that the records nowadays already have built into them, because they're made by DJs. Mixing these days is so easy because of that. You had to work it a lot harder back then."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AL PAEZ: "Traveling around, I met a lot of people; it was like a brotherhood. I was driving with friends to the second Billboard disco convention. We stopped in Atlanta looking for a disco and were directed to the Casbah. Listening to Jim Burgess, he was doing what I was doing, but better. I took that knowledge back and developed my style. I had monitors right above my head in the booth so I could hear the slightest mistake before anyone else, it was like a studio environment." (BC)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Philadelphia
Bob Pantano
London Victory Club, WCAU
Founder, Philadelphia Spinners Association

"I started playing in nightclubs in 1972. All the big radio acts of the next few years--Barry White, KC & The Sunshine Band--started out being played in the clubs. In 1977 I started playing live from The Library, a club in Philadelphia, and I became the first DJ in the country doing live mixing on the air. I then worked at the very first disco station, WCAU, before New York, Boston, wherever. Within one Arbitron book, we were the #1 station in the city. Disco was the music of our city. Gamble & Huff, the Salsoul Orchestra, it was all happening here, just as Dick Clark and early rock 'n' roll happened here. It's part of our tradition."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JACKIE McCLOY: "One of the remarkable DJs was Jimmy Stuard at 12 West. He'd play the records that the average weekend warrior would want to hear, but he'd alter them. He'd play Thelma Houston's 'Don't Leave Me This Way,' and he'd layer in chants or rhythms from other records. Only the truly dedicated dancers and the other DJs in the crowd would know what he was doing, and we'd be screaming! Every time you'd hear Thelma Houston, you'd know that he'd drop in something else, but you wouldn't know what. Other DJs would try to impress their fellow jocks by playing the latest or the most obscure records. He could blow the minds of the hard-core fanatics while playing the same records as everyone else."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE PEAK HOUR

New York
Tee Scott
Better Days, The Candy Store, Paradise Garage

"Dancing is a form of relaxing. By relaxing, I don't mean sitting down at a table, having a drink and casual conversation. I mean allowing all the week's tensions and frustrations to be shaken out of your body by getting on the dance floor and working it off. In doing so, you actually relax. If you come to the club on a crowded night, your hair could stand on end from the static electricity. It rises off the bodies and the hum is in the air. People are going through a particular experience, especially if they go on a regular basis. The music, the people, and everything fits together." (BC)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DANAE JACOVIDIS: "Certain nights keep me going, when, somehow, everything comes together--the lights, the crowd, the records, and me--and there's magic in the room. (People) have their shirts off, their hands in the air, and are so into what I'm playing that they're ready to go on a journey. I'm always there ready to take them, but they're not always ready to ride along. You can't force it, or predict it, but it can happen."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New York & Atlanta
Jim Burgess
12 West, Infinity; Limelight (Atlanta)

"New York is culturally and socially more advanced. We're used to better things, more intense experiences. 12 West has the most appreciative crowd. They come for a party with a very intense peak between 2 and 4 a.m. There's a unity and cohesiveness to the party when everyone knows the record and the mood of it." (BC)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A.J. MILLER: "I would bring in the week's new records and see how they sounded; I always felt that if you could get the music 'into the walls,' it wouldn't be brand-new. I played a test pressing of 'Love To Love You Baby' in prime time, and it cleared the floor, but I played it again at 2:30 in the morning, and the place went up. Jimmy Webb stood in my booth and heard Donna Summer do his song 'MacArthur Park' and he cried. I think it was the first time he'd heard it all the way through." (BC)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
KEVIN BURKE: "We were constantly introducing new music out on the Island, because that's where the promotion men were. I played 'Best Disco In Town' for the first time, as Jacques Morali was there in the room. I can honestly say that I was the first person in the world to play Donna Summer's 'MacArthur Park,' because I was playing in the afternoon. People were screaming, howling. Within three minutes of that record starting, there was a line six- to eight-people deep all trying to find out what it was. This happened all the time, because I had a crowd that was knowledgeable, who had to go out and buy those records Monday morning."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Francisco & Florida
Bob Viteritti
Trocadero Transfer, Dreamland; Poop Deck (Ft. Lauderdale)

"Just when they were burnt out on a song and couldn't hear it anymore, I would remix it using a reel-to-reel recorder. It was like sticking a pin in everyone's rear end; when they heard a sharp new edit, all at once a cheer would go up. After a week's work, the crowd would throw themselves to me. I liked taking them on a magic carpet ride; I was all over the place as far as moods go. Once, at six in the morning, I was playing 'More, More, More,' real low-tempo, and I brought in Tommy Roe's 'Dizzy.' I tricked them; just about when they thought I was fucking with their heads, I'd go right into something else. I can express myself much better in music than in English vocabulary; I can let all my feelings out. On a great night, you feel psychic, like: I can't be that lucky, or I'd go to Atlantic City."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chicago
Frankie Knuckles
The Warehouse
1998 Grammy Award, Remixer of the Year

"At the height of the night, I would switch all the lights out. The windows of the Warehouse were painted black, the crowd would be high on the music and on drugs. I'd pump up the bass, then play this record, which was the soundtrack of an express train. People would scream--it was a mixture of ecstasy and fear--it sounded like a train was racing through the club."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JENNY COSTA: "As a woman, I like to play pretty things. But I like the underground house that has a lot of balls to it, and sometimes I like to play really, really hard, because that gets the people moving. I have male friends that play prettier music than I do. So I take back what I first said--that was really sexist! It all comes down to personal taste."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DJ LIFESTYLES

A.J. MILLER: "I worked at a radio station as a music librarian and realized how many records they got that they never listened to, but I knew DJs who'd been playing 12 years and bought their own records. My friends and I never waited around for someone to tell us, 'This is the next single.' I realized we shouldn't have to buy our records all the time. About five of us, including producer Bob Crewe ('Get Dancin'') and promoter Patrick Jenkins, got all the DJs together, and we had a meeting to start a Los Angeles DJ pool. There were over 200 DJs; we had no idea there were so many out there."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
JERRY BONHAM: "New York and I didn't get along that well. I was really young and . . . you name it, I got caught up in it. I thought I better go back home and get my shit together while I still can. And so I went back to Minneapolis and stayed at the Saloon until 1989, when I came out to San Francisco. I was young. I could take cocaine, Quaaludes, whatever, and still keep playing. Now, I'd never play stoned, but back then, I could do anything."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WAYNE SCOTT: "I was too busy to get myself in trouble. People were always willing to give the DJ drugs, and if I'd taken everything that was offered to me, I'd be a dead man. Yes, my head was spinning, but it was mostly from the crowd."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOB VITERITTI: "I was paid $75 to play a Black Party, and I paid my own plane ticket out just because I wanted the job. So everybody loved me and was rooting for me when I demanded raises."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AL PAEZ: "People told me I'd never make a living at it, but I fed myself and raised my family for 25 years on deejaying. I helped open the Cat's Meow in New Orleans, which became the #1 karaoke bar in the country. But it was never the same as disco deejaying, when you controlled the crowd and got them to sweat."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOB PANTANO: "I really never experienced a backlash against disco. I've been playing dance music on the air for 21 years. Sure, I've run into resistance from radio programmers, but never from the public. I play dance classics at an oldies station, and people respond to Gloria Gaynor or Vicki Sue Robinson as if they're hearing a new song."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PAUL CASSELLA: "Years after Hollywood, I played rock at the Limelight and the Cat Club, but I dropped out when I got married. (His wife shouts out in the background, 'When he got a real life!') I started having problems with my hearing, and I'd get headaches. ('Why don't you tell him the real reason?' his wife shouts.) The real reason is my wife. I have three children now. I do miss it. But my head's completely changed. The stuff nowadays is too repetitive, the hip-hop. So now I'm a Metallica freak. I'm 46. I don't know how I got here, but that's where I am."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--Barry Walters
(With additional reporting by Tim Lawrence and Brian Chin)


_________________
Jayski
"Doin'The Doo"


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DISCO ROUNDTABLE
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 6:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:56 am
Posts: 520
Location: Orlando/Spain
NICE PIECE JAY, BUT I DONT SEE BONDS, THE UNDERGROUND, INFERNOS IN YOUR CHOSEN CLUBS, WHICH MOST DEFINITILY WERE SOME OF THE GREATEST CLUBS IN N.Y.C, AMONG A BUNCH OTHERS NOT LISTED.

_________________
STARR CHILD
DO IT TO THE MUSIC!!!


Top 
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: DISCO ROUNDTABLE
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 2193
Location: South Florida
It wasn't me CHULO. It was an article by Barry Walters off a Disco Compilation CD Box Set. See his name on the bottom of the piece???

_________________
Jayski
"Doin'The Doo"


Top 
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 

Board index » DISCO » DJ's / Remixers


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron