DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry One Hundred Twelve.
Sunday, 2009.11.15, 6:52 PM CST.

Should I just quit?
Current Mood:  Depressed.  Current Scent:  Lingering traces of Messe de Minuit by Etro.

All right, everyone.  Buckle up.  It's going to be a bumpy post.

Following the Assimilation Depeche Mode Tribute Night, I'm not going to DJ for a while.  Anywhere.  (If you haven't read Journal Entry 111 yet, I recommend following that link and reading it before you go any further on this page.)

I obviously don't DJ events as often as I used to, but out of the handful of gigs I performed this year, I was looking forward to this one the most.

I unfortunately had a few things go awry.  Due to sound issues regarding my equipment, my choice of media (I don't play from a laptop), and my own personal remixes (which are apparently too bass-heavy), I'm not going to bother the Marquee with my DJing anymore.  I like the Marquee - I really do - but I don't like going through the extra hassle of being the one DJ whose equipment somehow causes issues with the sound levels at a location.

Aside from that...  Well, I've been having other issues lately as well.


I have a wife at home who needs to complete her college degree, and a two-and-a-half-year-old son who requires a lot of attention.  After I come home from my day job, I can't play the "DJ" all evening.  I have to be a father and a husband first.

Often, being a good father and husband means getting home after my day job and tending to my son while my wife works on her homework or studies for tests.  After that, when he needs to go to bed, I often (whether I like it or not) pass out along with him.  If I do stay awake, it usually isn't for long, since I'm so exhausted.

It's not that I mind dealing with X (my son) most of the time.  He's a good kid and I'm extremely proud of him.  But, he's also very demanding.  He shows signs of being exceptionally bright for his age, and I try to nurture that.  He loves learning - playing with flash cards and having people read to him.  He's also got some of the cultural "quirks" of his parents.  He would often rather watch DVDs of "Pee Wee's Playhouse" or "Fraggle Rock" than the latest children's programming on cable.

In summary, my kid is awesome.

There is no feeling that I can get from a dancing crowd at an event that can equal the joy I feel when I make X smile and laugh.  There is no "trainwreck" (catastrophic DJ mixing error) that can make me feel as bad as I feel when I have to leave the house and X looks at me with his big blue eyes and says "bye-bye Dada" with obvious disappointment.

Yet, I have often put a tremendous emphasis on my "gigs."  I have sunk thousands of dollars into getting the right equipment and buying the rarest, most incredible mixes for my DJ arsenal.

Practicing to be a great DJ takes a lot of time and attention.  So does raising a great kid.  For that matter, so does doing a load of dishes or cleaning the house.  Chores like those aren't going to do themselves.

DJing cannot be my "life" anymore.  Not like it used to be.


I've been in the DJ industry for over twenty-one years.  On one hand, this means I'm "experienced."  On the other hand, this means I'm "old."

I'll be the first to admit:  I don't embrace the latest in DJ technology.  You're not going to see me "DJing" with a laptop.  I still like to DJ the old-fashioned way:  I haul in a bunch of vinyl records and a load of CDs, and that's what I use to play music.  I enjoy new music and remixes, but when it comes to the actual DJ performance, I would rather actually give people the genuine, old-school experience of seeing someone work with multiple vinyl records (not just vinyl emulation) on real DJ turntables.

I have no question that DJ technology has made things significantly easier for DJs.  There are individuals who can DJ with a laptop and do a great job.  DJ Bone! and DJ Sokmonkey from last night, for instance - they do some great stuff with a laptop and I respect them for that.

Unfortunately, technology has also poisoned the DJ field by making it too easy to "be a DJ."  Any kid with a laptop (or just an iPod) and a sound system (i.e., a boombox) can call himself/herself a "DJ" without having to put forth much effort or expense.  While I and other legitimate DJs buy our music, amateur wannabes can acquire a "free" (stolen) music library by just going online and downloading pirated copies of almost anything they want.

The result is an industry that is saturated with "DJs," some of whom are genuinely talented and respectable, and a great deal of whom are talentless scum who have no passion or respect for music or musicians - they're just doing what they can in an effort to get rich, popular, and/or laid.

Being a legitimate, old-school DJ who prefers genuine, manual, full-contact vinyl work (instead of taking a couple of seconds setting up "autosync" in a computer program), I know that I'm going to require more practice than a laptop DJ.  It's amazing to see some of these laptop DJs doing their thing... but that's their thing, not my thing.

I choose to be one of the few dinosaurs who uses the old-school tools and methodologies.  Sometimes it feels cool knowing that I am one of the few and the proud who dare to work with real vinyl.  However...  Sometimes, in comparison to my peers in the field, it can feel a little archaic and embarrassing.

Guess which way it felt last night.  Go ahead.  Take a few moments and guess.

Last night, I was tired, exhausted, and off my game.  This was an event for which I'd been planning for months... and there I was, with over two decades of experience under my belt, and I felt like a noobie compared to my considerably younger DJ counterparts.

I disappointed myself in the first set, and I was fairly pleased with my second set.  However, I didn't put forth the time, effort, money and worry leading up to this gig to just feel "fairly pleased" with my performance.


I have a lot of thinking to do about my future in the DJ industry.  I'm not ready to say "I quit" just yet, but at the same time I don't feel as happy as I used to in this field, and I know that the more time I spend trying to stick around in the DJ field, the more time I have to take away from the most important two projects I've ever undertaken:  being a husband and being a father.

I'm not doing any more DJ performances until at least the end of the year, and I would be very surprised if I take another gig before spring or summer.

I'll keep practicing, though - off and on, when I get the occasional chance.  I'll keep working on the occasional production here and there, and I'll still keep posting and updating this site.

I'm not going to lie...  There is the possibility that I've seen my last gig.  There are a handful of people out there - myself included - who hope that's not really the case.  But, it's a possibility that I can't rule out.  I'm just too tired of gearing up for some really wonderful experience and being disappointed in the outcome.

I've got a lot of stuff I need to get done around the house, and I need to go get some groceries as well.  More later.