Archive for August, 2005

I pet a kangaroo yesterday!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

I was DJing a charity event that included a petting zoo. The kangaroo was by far the softest animal I have ever pet. And I have pet a lot of animals…a lot of animals.

D.U.I. (dancing under the influence)

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Pour Me a Tall One:
I’m surprised I don’t have more alcohol stories, given the sheer volume I witness consumed every weekend. I had a bridesmaid pass out before the introductions. Last Saturday the bride’s brother was on the verge of challenging me to a fight for not playing the Macerana. For the most part though, people just get drunk and then get happy or sad or stupid and that’s about it.

There was one tragedy. There was man who had drank enough beer to intoxicate an ox (which was also coincidently about how big he was). He picked up a pregnant woman who was also a wee bit tipsy. They started spinning. Spin, spin, spin, spin, CRASH! The thing about gravity is it can have very negative effects one one’s DJ lighting equipment. Total damage done, about $2000. For some strange reason the man failed to give me his name and telephone number. My girlfriend was working with me that night and tried to track him down. Despite her best efforts, the guests and family members would not give her his identity. When she asked the pregnant lady, the woman didn’t even remember taking a header in to the lights and toppling to the floor. Ah alcohol.

It’s All Right, It’s All Right, It’s All Right…
On one reception in the dead of winter, Ryan had to go out to the parking lot for some reason. There he found a girl just standing on the pavement in her bare feet. When he suggested that she perhaps put on some footwear, she replied. “Nah, cocaine is the best.”

At the end of one of my jobs, I was in the bathroom and blew my nose. Due to my dry sinuses I am often subject to nasal crimson tides, and sure enough I started bleeding. One of the groomsman saw me, and said “Dude are you doing coke?” I assured him I wasn’t and that it was just the allergies. Apparently he wasn’t convinced because he then opened the door and shouted to the guests “Hey the DJ is doing coke!” Fortunately by that point everyone was too drunk to care. Ah alcohol.

Weddings Are All The Rave
In my early DJ days I would occasionally go on jobs with Ryan. Once, right before the bridal dance, Ryan said “You watch, she won’t put down that water bottle for nothing.” Sure enough, as he introduced the couple for the first dance, the bride took her husband in one hand and her water bottle in the other. That struck me as a bit odd and unclassy. I asked Ryan how he knew she would do that. He replied: “Ecstasy gives you a real dry mouth.”

Now Introducing The Maid of Honor – Mary Jane
This may be not just my favorite DJ drug story, but my favorite DJ story of all time period. Ryan was a little leary when his reception planner called for a great deal of Phish, Greatful Dead and Pink Floyd. Hmmm. Sure enough, a couple hours in to the night, he found himself in a fog of marijuana. The group was quite laid back for some reason and not much for dancing. Four more hours of this would be an eternity, so Ryan took action, and called the cops on them. Twice.

The cops did come out, but to Ryan’s extreme frustration remained in the parking lot and did not enter. He remained trapped in a purgatory of pot. Handed this lemon, Ryan found himself quite thirsty for some lemonade. So he decided to take advantage of the group’s slight indifference – he walked across the room, grabbed a table, stood on it, took the clock off the wall, spun it forward an hour and put it back on the wall.

No one even noticed.

So when “midnight” rolled around, he packed up and got the hell out of there as fast as possible. The bride and groom actually thanked him for the great night and said he did an awesome job.

Ah marijuana.

Getting Funky

Monday, August 22nd, 2005

I make it a point not to do back to back weddings, but as a favor to Ryan and because of scary upcoming home ownership costs

Friday – Ryan had been telling me for months how important it was I do a good job for them because he had personally vouched for me and they have already hired me for future events. At the last minute though he must have decided it was more important I fail miserably. How else do you explain him powerbuffing his dad’s corvette in the garage below my bedroom at 5am?

I have explained to him about 7 million times the importance of sleep for someone with narcolepsy, so he obviously wanted this job to be a disaster. And it almost was.

Even before the powerbuffage I had been up from sinus headaches and thunderstorms, so by the time I arrived to set up I was in the perfect state of narcotardation. But that didn’t stop me from getting funky. Literally.

After setting up all the heavy equipment I got dressed in my tux and went back to start the cocktail music. I went to reach for a CD and a cloud of green emerged from my armpit. Horrified, I sampled the other pit. It was equally gagworthy. I considered just keeping my arms down all night, dancing like a penguin. Instead I decided take action. Fortunately there was a private bathroom where I locked myself in. Using soap and paper towels, I swabbed each pit thoroughly. This was only a temporary fix though so I needed something more. I saw a can of air freshener and went for it.

Lesson learned on this night – Air freshener is *NOT* deodorant. It burns. Then it stings. Then it burns some more.

Still, pits o’ fire beats pits o’ funk any day of the week. Now destankified, I went back and waited for the bridal party to arrive. And waited. And waited. They finally showed up, over an hour late. They had requested earlier that they do the bride and groom dance upon arrival. So you’d think the extra hour would have been enough time to cue up the correct song. Enter the narcotard.

I introduced the bride and groom to wild applause, directed them to the dance floor and proceeded to play “When You Say Nothing At All”, which was scheduled for the bridal party dance later that night. The bride and groom both yelled “NO!” at me, sending me in to a mad scramble to find the right song. As I fumbled to switch CDs, I tried to cover it by asking everyone in the room to give one more huge round of applause for the new Mr. and Mrs. Marty Smith! Unfortunately Marty was the best man, not the groom.

Very very lucky for me everyone there was extremely laid back and didn’t mind they had Corky the DJ.

Saturday – After a full night of sleep, I headed to my next job recharged and excited. The excitement stemmed from playing at St. Michael’s, home of the most phenomenal Polish food on the planet. I was not disappointed – potato perogies, polish mashed potatoes, some noodle cheese dish, and spiced meats wrapped in cabbage leaves, all made from scratch. I get misty eyed just thinking about it now.

Sadly the point came where I had to stop eating and start working. Everything went much smoother than the night before, but my equipment still had a few surprises in store. My light controller, which had been behaving for the last few weeks, decided to zap me while I talking on the microphone: “Is everybody ready to d-d-d-d-dance!” Don’t mind me, it’s just the tourettes again.

Fortunately I didn’t have to worry about songs skipping, because Ryan installed new CD players. They are a little fancier then the last ones with a few new gadgets and buttons. One of these buttons is called “Key Lock” which I must have accidentally pressed while distracted by someone making a request. I hit the play button, expecting Wild Cherry, and instead got the Wild Chipmunks. Flustered, I began pushing buttons and turning dials, but the song continued to play in the key of F-ed up. Eventually I gave up and switched to a new CD. The great thing was that while the crowd gave me a few strange looks, they kept right on dancing.

Yeah play that funky music white boy! But about those funky armpits…

why?

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

I was driving behind a van littered with the typical fascist Bush stickers, when I saw one that gave me hope. It read exactly this: ONE MAN WOMAN – Say yes to Marriage!

Now I know this can’t be a grammatical error, what with Laura Bush’s big push for reading and all, so it’s obvious that while the zealots still may not condone gay unions, they are actually in favor of hermaphrodites marrying themselves. They still have a long way to go, but it’s progress and a huge victory for man-womans everywhere.

mellowdramatic blade

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

I hadn’t planned to go rollerblading tonight. If anything I was going to curl up in bed and cry, possibly with alcohol. Just one of those times where my perceptions are getting the better of me – ah nothing is going right! Hateful job plus having an idea for a screenplay clawing to get out daily but no time or privacy to write it plus trying to close on a duplex but getting stalled on the miserable FHA loan process plus Ryan’s renovations from hell reducing my living space to 1/4 of my bedroom and AHHHH!!!

So when Ryan’s fiance and the decorator came over to discuss dining room wallpaper I felt compelled to leave. It was that or snap in a red fury of burning rage and…oh who am I kidding, I would have just gone in to my room in sulked.

Glad I didn’t, because the blading was awesome. I found a smooth country road I have never been on before that went on for miles. On my right the sun was setting on what must have been a flower farm – whole fields of them! On my left the moon was rising over fields of yellow. Just beautiful and very surreal.

I passed a farmer’s bay where big diesel trucks were loading crops. The smell hit my nose and I got very choked up. You wouldn’t think the smell of gasoline and corn would have such an emotional effect, but I was right back on my grandpa’s farm. He’s been gone many years now, but I still found myself missing the big guy.

Already in depressed mode, this added painful nostalgia created a state of melcholyedness. Which lead me to reflect – what would happen I were squished by a tractor out here? In my haste to get away I had left my wallet at home. The only way to ID me would be from my cell phone. The police would have to go through my “Recent Calls” list:

First call – “Son”. When I moved in 4 years ago Ryan started calling me Son, and I started calling him Son (to this day I’m not sure why), but the cops would think it was my son and since I appear to be about 19 the child must be quite young – better to speak to an adult and not to traumatize the lad just yet.

Moving on to the second call – “Boo” Another mutual nickname, this one being my girlfriend. “Boo” came about because we are both very ghetto. Well fairly ghetto anyway. Well just not really ghetto at all – although in all fairness I defy any other white chick to go word for word with Ludacris the way my girl can! But this wouldn’t make much sense to the officer at the scene of the splatter, so moving on.

Third call – “Annette”. Nice normal sounding name. Obviously a close friend or family member. So with a heavy heart they would call Annette to inform her that at approximately 8:23pm last night I effectively became road pizza. Annette would be quite broken up, possibly even devastated. The police would console her on her loss, which in this case would be about 1% commission on the FHA loan which I would now be unable to secure from beyond the grave. Annette is my loan officer working on the duplex. At least she could have helped me get a good deal on a plot.

But I’m home in one piece now and perceptions are improving – everything is going to be ok :)

Still haven’t ruled out the alcohol though.

Good luck finding a DJ that can move like THIS! (shakes hips spastically)

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

I was recently asked “Steve, where can I find a DJ of your amazing talent and god-like ability to rock the crowd?”…Well, I’m paraphrasing a bit. It was more like “very amazing talent and supernatural ability to rock the crowd” but hey close enough.

The DJ is sadly often overlooked when planning a wedding. I’ll try to stay off my soapbox here, but it will be difficult. Once at a bridal show a photographer told all the young brides to be that he would be the most important factor for the entire special day. Yet at the end of over 100 weddings I have never heard anyone say “Man, that was the most awesome photographer ever!” In fact if your guests are noticing your photographer at all, it’s usually a bad thing (see “rude, pushy”)

When you really break it down, your reception is two things: food and fun. Atmosphere is important (and should really be approached creatively – no generic mirror centerpieces and please no fishbowls because the poor critters won’t survive the night), but some of the best parties I’ve ever played were in buildings that should have been condemned in 1963.

If you have great food and great fun you have a great reception. To do this you need a great caterer and a great entertainer. Keep your budget in mind (sadly most weddings now require a 30 year loan), but also remember you get what you pay for. If there is one place to shell a few more bucks on your party it’s for the food and fun.

The main thing is just knowing what you want and not being distracted by the behemoth wedding industry that wants to suck the life out of you (Oh look honey, the brochure says our flowers can be delivered by skydiving midgets!) With that in mind, things you can ask your prospective entertainer:

Will you agree to the hours played with a written contract?

Will you consult in person or over the phone to plan out the night?

Will you formally introduce the bridal party at the beginning of the night?
(highly recommended for a classy beginning)

Is dinner music included?

Do you take volume requests?

Do you take song requests?

Do you have a wide selection of all types of music?

Can I provide you with a list of music types to play or be avoided?
(Some brides want to do the chicken, some would rather have their spleens munched by weasels)

Do you interact with the crowd or play like a jukebox?

Of course the entertainer will tell you everything you want to hear, so really there are only two options: word of mouth and crashing weddings. Most of the receptions I do now are for people who were guests or bridal party members from past jobs. They actually saw me in action so they know exactly what they are getting. Word of mouth is almost as good, but make sure you getting info on the specific entertainer – my agency has over 70 DJ’s alone and let me tell you it’s a real box of chocolates because you never know what you are going to get.

Sorry this was pretty generic, but I’m definitely open to any specific questions!