DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Eighty-One.
Thursday , October 30th, 11:47 PM CST.


This is going to be a longer post than I usually put up.  In fact, it's going to be such a drastically long post that I'm writing it over the course of several occasions, actually starting on Wednesday, May 21st, 2008.

I have no problem admitting that this post has been a long time coming, and it's actually very, very belated.  However, it's been a busy year, and I've really wanted to make this post a special one.  So, every once in a while, I would add more and more to it... and I figured that since 18 is my favourite number, it would be strangely fitting to flip that around and make this post Journal Entry number 81.

As of February 13th of this year,
I have been in the DJ industry 20 YEARS.

That's right.  Way back in February 1988 (02-13, if I remember correctly), at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Claremore, Oklahoma, I got my first DJ experience helping my friend and mentor, "DJ Dave," with a special Valentine's Day dance.  That was one of the most influential experiences of my entire life.

It is stunning - absolutely stunning - to consider than over two full decades have passed since that point.  I can still remember going music shopping with Dave and his friend/Mirage Productions colleague Gerard, as they ran out to get the 12" vinyl singles of MARRS' "Pump Up the Volume," the Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter," and (if I remember correctly) Keith Sweat's "I Want Her."  We were driving around Tulsa in Dave's old red Monte Carlo, which Gerard had practically saturated with this way-too-strong wild cherry air freshener.

I was a totally naive 16-year-old; even though I'd had a "record collection" of sorts since my early childhood, I had never owned a 12" single, and really didn't grasp the concept of "remixing" too well.  I'd never gone shopping at Buttons (51st + Sheridan, formerly Peaches) for music before; I had only gone there to purchase Atari games in the early 1980s.  Heck, I had never even had Little Caesars' Crazy Bread - a food upon which we made quite a feast that day.  Even though I was intellectually "gifted," I was extremely reserved on a social level.  I had never been to a club, and whenever I attempted to communicate with females it usually ended up a disaster.  Yet, here I was, dashing around Tulsa with two dudes who were (in my opinion) two of the coolest guys in my high school.

With all the good things that have happened in my life since then, it may seem strange for me to note that day among the happiest of my life.  I really felt special running around with these two friends, prying myself away from my computer for a few hours and being more of a "normal" teenager.  It was not only one of the happiest days of my life, but it was one of the most significant insofar as how much it altered my life's path.

From February of 1988 to the middle of 1989, I attended every Mirage Productions event that I could, working for little or no pay, usually just glad to be doing something outside of the house.  I learned how to work the (relatively simple) light board, and eventually learned a little bit about how to beat-mix from one track to another.  However, as we got closer to 1989's midpoint, a very sad reality reared its ugly head:  Dave and Gerard were going to be leaving for college, and I was probably going to be returning to my old routine of doing nothing but staying inside playing games and designing graphics on my Apple IIe.

Then, my parents approached me with an idea.  They had noticed how much I had "come out of my shell" since I had first started in Dave's DJ business, and they told me that if I wanted to start my own DJ company, they would give me the money to do so.  My parents were not excessively wealthy people by any means, but they made big sacrifices to give me a better life and make me happy.  So, in the summer of 1989, with Dave's help, I acquired the proper equipment to start my own business, EKG Mobile Music and Light Show.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I've gone through a lot.
In the past two decades, I have certainly done a lot, and I've gone through a lot - good and bad.  I've DJed at hundreds of mobile events:  weddings, corporate parties, college parties, proms, homecomings, special charity events, and even a couple of orgies.  (Yes, really).  I've done radio, I've done magazine journalism, and I've done production and remixing.  It's been a long and sometimes pretty rough ride.

I've made a lot of good friends along the way...  and lost a lot of friends as well.  Some of those friendships were lost due to my own poor judgment, while others simply went away out of their own volition.  There are a few about whom I can easily say, "Good riddance," but there are a number of friends whom I genuinely miss.

I've had my share of romantic relationships - some were wonderful, some were hurtful, and at least one or two were a little embarrassing.  I've felt love, and I've felt betrayal.  I've felt a lot of victory and I've felt a lot of regret.  I have felt beautiful happiness, and I have felt immense desperation and disappointment.  I eventually found someone incredible and decided to keep her, and then got married and even cranked out a fantastic kid named X.

I currently have a good life, one that I too often take for granted.  I have a really good "day job," a decent home, and a family of my own.  Still, I would be lying if I said that there are a lot of times that I want to go back.

I miss my past a lot.
I miss the old days...  Damn, do I ever miss the old days.  I miss going out and entertaining crowds of people (in the early days, mainly high schoolers barely younger than I was!) by playing music.  I miss the fun of tracking down new and unusual light effects to add to the show.  I miss the energy and excitement of playing a hot track and watching the audience go a little nuts.

I miss getting together with good friends (like Kevin, Billy, Brian, Keith, Tim, Darrell, and "Archie") on a regular basis to do gigs, driving here and there, talking a lot, usually about women and music.  I miss the points at which we would get the stuff set up and realize that it all worked right on the first try.  (I don't miss the occasional but rare times in which something would go wrong - like an unidentified hum in the sound system, or a power outlet that ended up not supplying, you know, power...)

One can chalk it up to a middle-aged guy's simplistic whining and pining for his youth if one wishes.  However, as is often very clearly seen in the nature of my various postings, it's true:  I like who I am, but I miss who I once was.

EKG is dead; I'll admit it.
Even though part of me really wants to believe that EKG Professional Mobile Music is still alive and well (you know, just sleeping)...  It's dead.  I've got to admit that.  It died a quiet, natural death after the last EKG gig at the end of 2002.  I've been DJing, producing, and remixing since then... but it really hasn't been the same.

I'm not dead, though... and it's time to celebrate that.
I have a couple of major projects in the works.  Of course, I've had a few setbacks that have, well, set me back.  But, there are a couple of big, big deals in the works.  It feels like I've been saying something to that extent for years, but something is on the horizon.  Something pretty major.

After 20 years of DJing, I have decided to have a celebration.  Not only am I going to have a party, I am going to host THE biggest party I have ever thrown in my entire career.

I know, I know...  I've said something about having a big party before, and sometimes things have fallen through.  However, this time will be for real. 
Yes, unlike most of my parties before, there will be alcohol at this one!  The location and date are still being worked out, but odds are it'll be in mid-2009.  (Yeah, quite possibly it will actually be after the 21st anniversary...  Bummer.)

I have been working on building up my light system and improving my sound system dramatically to ensure the greatest possible show for this event.   If you have ever seen any of my other events (at the Gypsy or otherwise), then you know that I'm a nut for light effects.  Consider how big those systems have been, and then consider that this setup is going to be a LOT bigger than anything I've ever presented before.  It will have more intelligent lights than ever before, an entirely new set of lasers... and much, much, much more.  Nothing I have ever presented, at any prior performance, has ever been as massive as this.

This will be special.  This will be the most significant performance of my career... so far.

I will be telling a certain select group of people the details first, and I will reveal them here soon after.

The site is changing, just like the world is changing.
This site is going to undergo some changes.  The main layout will be different, though I hope to keep the general "format" of the Journal section the same, for continuity's sake.  I'm pretty sure there are going to be a few changes in the Journal area, too, though - mainly content-wise.  You'll see what I mean, very soon.

20 Years of "Thank yous."
I couldn't have come this far without the help of a lot of people.  However, realistically, I know that if I sit down and write a list of everyone I want to thank, I'll inevitably miss somebody.  But, if I use that as an excuse to not make a list at all, then that won't be fair to anyone.  So, if I end up skipping somebody, then please forgive me.  Here's t
he big list.

  • Thanks to God and the Lord Jesus Christ for loving and protecting me no matter how far I stray.
  • Thanks to my late mom and my dad for backing their nerdy kid in such a major and risky endeavour.
  • Thanks to Lanna for accepting and (in many cases) tolerating me.
  • Thanks to X for showing me that I really could accept a kid at this point in my life.
  • Thanks to Dave for letting me tag along and essentially changing my life.
  • Thanks to Gerard and Dusty for agreeing with Dave to let me tag along.
  • Thanks to Tim (DJ TMJ) for sticking around and being a good friend.
  • Thanks to Kevin (Wink) and Billy (Mix) for being such excellent help early on, and to Brian (um, Brian) for being the longest-running assistant.  All three of you are incredible.
  • Thanks to Paul and everyone else at Mohawk Music for giving Tulsa the greatest music shoppe it ever had.  I can't say "I miss you" enough.
  • Thanks to KTOW for providing the early dance tracks that inspired me to move on with the EKG project.
  • Thanks for Matt and the rest of the crew at the University of Tulsa's Storm 101.5 for giving me a chance on the air.  It was nice to be able to bribe somebody with a Ramones album.  :)
  • Thanks to a fair amount of the crew of The Edge of Insanity.  Despite my major differences with one particular evil douchetard there, the experience as a whole helped me grow and even, indirectly, resulted in my introduction to one of my best friends.
  • Thanks to Jack and Sally of Music Magic and Bryan and Kindra of Powerhouse... some of the best "competitors" in the business (and some of the few for whom I really had respect).
  • Last, but certainly not least, thanks to everyone who was ever supportive enough to buy one of my CDs, read one of my articles, or enjoy any of my performances - DJ, spoken word, comedy, or anything else.  Knowing that I have something to express is the initial "spark" that makes me want to create or perform, but knowing that someone out there likes my work is what drives me to keep going.

That pretty much does it...  It's been a crazy ride, and I'm hoping for at least another 20 years of DJ industry wackiness in my future.  So, we'll see how things go.

With love and a metric ton of gratitude,