It’s always pleasant when there is some acknowledgment of your effort. But, as movie producer Robert Evans relatedly lamented in his 1994 tome “The Kid Stays in Picture,” nobody really understands what a DJ does.
That said, the only genuine appreciation that I am capable of, unfortunately, is the satisfaction that you — the compliment giver — are having a wonderful time. Otherwise, I am silently questioning what your qualifications are in assessing my performance.
At any rate, this was kindly given to me at Tao Beach:
Because you are definitely exposed to many of the same old tunes, night after night, presented almost like a to-do list, which springs from:
1. The masses have grown accustomed to hearing this set; they expect it.
2. The DJ has not honed his craft enough nor educated himself in order to stretch beyond these songs.
I reference here “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi or “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, for instance. They have become classics; they are anthems, please don’t misread me. But they are to be revered as such, not relied upon as tools, an easy way to your audience’s heart.
Which leads me to the following note I received last week at Tryst:
Typically, if you want to hear a song, the polite way is to ask nicely. But the woman who presented this note was not actually making a request. She was instead providing a window into her personality and thought process:
1. The fact that she chose “Back In Black” by AC/DC signifies that she accepted her role as one of the masses, not only accustomed to and comfortable with the same old set, but in possession of a preconceived notion as to what the correct programming should be on any given night. She is in no way unique in appreciating this song, nor the album, as it has sold 42 million units to date. I would have been more impressed, and more likely to believe she was a true AC/DC fan if she had requested “Night Prowler” from their previous record.
2. In using the phrase “What the fuck!??”, she missed her intention of displaying a desire to hear the song and rather passed judgement on my performance, as I had not played it by that point. The subtext of her words is “You are a bad DJ. Don’t you know that all good DJs play this song?” To her, my retort would be: “I don’t typically play this song because I heard it one too many times at the turn of the century when I was the Thursday night resident at North (now Hyde).” A good case could actually be made for the nightclub popularity of this song being directly related with the playlists that myself and a small handful of other DJs chose to adhere to from the the late 1990s through present.
But, to accentuate how these two notes are related, and bring the discussion full circle, I played “Back in Black” by AC/DC anyway that night because my job is to help her, and the rest of the crowd, have a good time, regardless of the toll it takes on my constitution.
Big up to the police department in El Paso, TX. If you hadn’t found the copy of “Highway to Hell” while searching the home of convicted serial killer Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez, I may not have discovered AC/DC.
***To possibly be included in a future DJ Support Group post, please save the napkin note so that a proper scan can be made. Thanks***