DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Seven.
Saturday 2002.07.27 2:51 PM CST.
What do I do?  I'm a DJ.

First and foremost, I feel the need to apologize.  If anybody's been to the site looking for more recent updates, well, I haven't put any up.  Obviously.  I could blame it on being "busy," and that would certainly be true, but a better portion of the issue would be that I was "lazy."  I'm especially sorry that I haven't reviewed anybody else's work at ACIDPlanet lately.  I really feel like a world-class turd for not being quicker about it.  I'm still going to return all the reviews that I've gotten, and, yes, I'm going to be uploading some of those James Ether remixes very soon.

(Note:  The remainder of this Journal entry makes reference to "vinyl" and/or "records."  If you're one of those readers who has no idea what vinyl records are... ask your parents.  Thanks.)

Anyway, on to the good news.  Today has been beautiful.  As a lot of people know, I'm a fairly obsessed collector of DJ-only remix services.  Well, today, I was listening to some recently-acquired remixes that I'd received in a shipment from a supplier in New York.  Not only did I get a good batch of really recent remixes (mainly X-Mixes in this order), but I also picked up the five-record set of "The Best of Ultimix, Volume 4."  That set's been out for years, but I just got around to getting it.  A lot of the mixes were ones that I already had in my collection:  Ultimixes of Black Box's "Ride on Time," Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam," etc.  However, it also included a few Ultimixes I'd never picked up in past deals.  Snap's "The Power."  A medley of "Rhythm Nation" and "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson.  Etc.  Etc.  It brought back a lot of memories from when I first got into DJing, back in the late 1980s.

While I was listening and remembering, my postal carrier knocked at my door and handed me a very special shipment from a dealer on eBay.  It was from a deal I'd made over a month before, and the guy took quite a while getting back to me with a total price.  Long story short, we finally got the ball rolling, I made the deal, and I got an awesome bargain.

Long ago, there was a St. Louis-based remix service called Metromix.  They folded in 1992, but some of their mixes back in the day were phenomenal.  My order from this dealer included five complete vinyl Metromix issues, plus some other classic, out-of-print remixes from classic remix companies such as In the Remix, Wicked Mix, and Mixx-It.

I popped open the package and at first I was a bit worried.  Some of the sleeves weren't in the best of condition, but I hadn't been expecting them to be.  Luckily, the records- as far as I could tell (I haven't even played them all yet!) - were all in pretty great shape.  The Metromixes were really a hot find for me; words can't describe how happy it made me to add them to my collection.  Although I had remixes of many of the songs before, it was a huge kick to be able to listen to 10-year-old yet "new-to-me" remixes of some true classics:  MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," Digital Underground's "Humpty Dance," Johnny Gill's "Rub You The Right Way," C + C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat," and so many more.  Metromix didn't have marvelous tools like ACID Pro with which to produce mixes...  They made their mixes the old-fashioned way, which I'm quite sure - in many of these cases - involved a reel-to-reel tape machine and a razor blade.  In fact, some of the covers even have a cartoony image of the tape being sliced.  These were raw, old-school mixes, but still very professional.  Some of their mixes weren't too great, but many of them were knock-you-on-your-butt magnificent.

So, I was listening to these remixes, relishing the experience and literally dancing around my apartment.  Listening to the Ultimix set had reminded me of an era of my life long ago, when I was just out of high school and EKG - my mobile DJ service - was just in its first few years of existence.  It was a time in which I was still "finding myself," making money doing DJ work for dances and parties without really having a "day job" to speak of.

Back then, people would occasionally ask me "what do you do?" when I met them in social situations.  I would tell them, quite proudly, "I'm a DJ."  Invariably, somebody would ask "Which radio station?," and I would explain that I didn't work for a station (except, during a couple of years, when I worked in college radio... the Tulsa radio market had a tendency to really, really suck after KTOW* went under in 1991), and that EKG was a completely independent party DJ company, etc.  That one tiny sentence, "I'm a DJ," summed up what I was.  I loved music.  I played music.  I moved crowds.

[*KTOW was the last true alternative radio station in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I miss it greatly.  That's a whole other story, though.]

Listening to these mixes...  Well...  It brought back a lot.  It reminded me of the "glory days" of EKG, and in my opinion, of dance music in general.  The surging popularity of modern rock/grunge music (you know, the type of "alternative" music that you can hear on any top-40 station at practically any time of day) and more gangsta-flavoured rap signalled a practical death knell for the popularity of really great dance music around the mid-1990s.  That same depressing change in the musical climate brought about a decrease in the joy that I felt about DJing, starting around the same time.

The thing is, though, I never quit DJing.  EKG is still a functioning company, even though we're nowhere near as "busy" as we once were (I've spent tons more time working on music production than actual live DJing), and even though my closest friends and family members know that I've been strongly considering getting out of the business.  EKG is still alive and well, just laying low in the background.  I am planning on redesigning our sound systems and revamping the equipment, and I'm even resurrecting the Website, which will be coming in the extreme near future.  Listening to these remixes really "revved me up" about it.  I want to bring EKG back with a vengeance.  I want to bring real dance music back to the masses.

On weekdays, I sit at a desk at a big corporation and I help people troubleshoot technical issues, often due to their own user errors.  That's my "day job."  These days, when people in social situations ask me what I do, my tongue-in-cheek stock answer is "I sit at a desk and take calls from stupid people."

However, deep down inside, I know what I really do.  I might not do it as often as I handle my day job, but in the back of my mind, I know what I am, and the mixes I got today helped remind me of that striking reality.

What do I do?  I'm a DJ.

I'm a DJ.

- Badger.