Two Hundred Twenty-Five.
Saturday, 2019.11.30, 7:02 PM CST.
So, about that last New Year's Eve performance...
Current Mood: Informative!
Current Scent: Love Dungeon by Dua.
hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend. Things are going
okay here. Ups and downs, as usual. I'm enjoying my time
without any public performances, and I'm not ruling out the possibility
that I might just make it an indefinite or even permanent thing.
new website, badgerkelley.com, is in the works, and hopefully you'll
really like it. It looks significantly different than this one.
I'll have more information about that later.
wanted to take a few moments and address my New Year's Eve performance
from last December, as the hired DJ for the Totally Awesome 80s 2018
New Year's Ever party. This was far from my best performance;
in fact, over the course of over three decades of DJing, I would rank
this as one of my least favorite events ever.
was my second time performing at their New Year's Eve party, and well
before we had even reached midnight, I told myself that there wouldn't
be a third time. That was how badly things went.
first time around, my 2017 performance to bring in 2018, had gone wonderfully;
I got lots of accolades and I had a blast. This time around, things
went spectacularly wrong in a number of ways. I accept part of
the responsibility, but there were numerous other factors that contributed
to the less-than-stellar performance. This post is not so much
to provide "excuses," as much as it is to set the record straight
about certain factors that were out of my control.
POST IS LONG, AND IT WILL CONTAIN A BIT OF OBJECTIONABLE LANGUAGE.
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
anything else, I want to say "thank you" to Totally Awesome
80s for hiring me for the event both years; I honestly appreciated the
should also point out that I have never been an official employee or
any other kind of representative of Totally Awesome 80s radio; I was
hired as an independent contractor (DJ Badger, LLC, dba Awesome Retro
DJ Service, which started operations the year before Totally Awesome
80s radio went live).
I say is meant to reflect the opinions of anyone at Totally Awesome
80s radio, nor any other business or entity, other than my own individual
self. I DO NOT WORK FOR THE RADIO STATION. Got it?
you came to the party and had a great time and treated me and others
with respect... then, thank you. I genuinely appreciated it, and
I still do. This post isn't about you, and I really hope that
you had a great time.
being said, for everyone else...
Ladies and gentlemen, just because you paid a lot for your ticket
doesn't mean you get to treat a performer like shit.
were some genuinely good, fun people in the crowd who seemed to enjoy
themselves a lot and came up with a positive attitude when they asked
for songs. Those people were totally cool as far as I was concerned.
I don't mind working requests into a set, as long as people are nice
with the tickets ranging around $100 a pop (at least, that's my understanding),
there were some others who were coming in with an overly "entitled"
attitude and the belief that their high ticket price included the right
to treat people like myself with disrespect. As I was trying to
balance the musical selections for an entire crowd, there were some
individuals who couldn't tolerate and/or comprehend the fact that their
particular request wasn't more important than anyone else's.
in the fact that a lot of them were already shit-faced drunk before
the dance music even started, and it was a recipe for disaster.
I'm a long-time seasoned, professional DJ, not the musical equivalent
of a street whore. Screaming at me and coming up repeatedly to
tell me how to do my job, while I'm trying to do my job, is
not a good idea. Coming up over and over and over to
remind me of your request isn't a good idea, either. That should
pretty much apply to any DJ performing in a club, at a wedding, at a
corporate event... yeah, anywhere.
DJs are people too, just trying to do our jobs. I had every intention
of coming up there and giving you the best performance that I could.
Just because you're drunk and think highly of yourself doesn't
make you an expert on 1980s music.
were two points in the evening during which I was confronted by people
who were sure that a song I was playing wasn't from the 1980s.
They were totally convinced that I would come to an 80s party and foolishly
try to sneak in a song that wasn't from the 80s - so totally convinced
that they needed to come up and bitch at me about it while I was trying
were wrong. If you're one of those people, and you're somehow
reading this (or having it read to you by someone more capable - always
a possibility), I am super-pleased to tell you, in writing, that YOU
of those songs was "Right
on Track" by the Breakfast Club, a single that got up to #7
on the Billboard Top 100 in 1987. The mix I was playing was very
close to the radio version that had been played over and over and
over on Tulsa's K-107 back in the day.
yeah, some guy wasted a lot of my time (and his, for that matter) coming
up and insisting that I was playing a song that wasn't from
the 1980s, because he was alive in the 80s, and HEEEEEEE sure
didn't recognize it.
a little news for you, there, Boozehound Einstein: I STARTED DJing
IN THE 1980s, two years after that song was a radio hit.
Not only are 1980s music and culture part of my business, but they are
hobbies that I've loved and studied for decades. When it comes
to 1980s music, especially if I'm performing at a strictly-80s event,
I make sure that I know my shit. And guess what, pal?
You didn't know your shit.
second one was from some practically trashed lady who came
up right as the dance music started, in order to loudly question whether
the Music Play" was from the 1980s, because she was certain
that it wasn't. I was playing a remix from 1991 that included
a somewhat more exciting intro, but it included all of the lyrics and
instrumentation, and was very recognizable as the 1983 pop
radio hit which reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in
October of that year. The song was quintessential 80s. Tulsa's
K-107 played it thousands of times, even up into the late 80s.
The song is pretty much a landmark among 1980s pop-dance tracks.
yeah... come on up and tell me that you don't think "Let the Music
Play" was from the 80s. Then go have another drink or twelve.
I play remixes. It's one of the things I'm known for.
the 2017 New Year's Eve party, I played a slew of special dance remixes,
and it went great.
last year's New Year's Eve party, I played a slew of special dance remixes...
and I got chastised for it pretty harshly.
see, one of the things for which I'm known is the fact that I play a
lot of remixes. I posted
about that in detail earlier this year, but it's something that
I've done since I started DJing over thirty years ago. I have
a collection of over 10,000 DJ-only remixes on vinyl and CD - not just
a ton of crappy pirated MP3s on a hard drive, but over 10,000 remixes
that I have PURCHASED over the years. You don't even want to know
how much time and how many dollars I have invested in my remix collection;
I would go so far as to call it obsessive (and I have no doubt that
my wife would as well). In the late 1990s, I was so well-known
for my knowledge of remixes that Karaoke & DJ USA magazine
even hired me to write a nationally-published remix review column.
since I started DJing, I have done my best to hunt down rare but
good remixes of practically any dance-oriented song that I play.
This doesn't mean that I play a bunch of "remixes" with a
crappy house beat and a few samples of a song sprinkled repetitively
on top. I am very picky about the remixes I play, and I normally
try to go for remixes that add excitement to a song without destroying
the song's original integrity, including all of the verses and choruses
of a song.
I wasn't playing a bunch of hyper-altered dubstep mixes or techno mixes
or anything like that. Longer tracks with extra samples and effects?
Sure. But nothing too "modern" sounding. It had
worked GREAT the year before.
this time around... plenty of people came up to bitch at me about the
remixes, and while I did try to force more and more radio edits into
my set and the night went on and the complaints kept rolling in, I was
unable to provide a radio-edit-only show. I have absolutely zero
regrets about that. If you want a radio-edit-only show, you need
to hire a more boring DJ (i.e., someone from DJ Connection). Playing
radio edits one after the other like a human jukebox is not my normal
style, never has been, and never will be.
a word of warning to anyone who might want to hire me in the future:
If you don't like remixes, DO NOT HIRE ME. Okay? Okay.
special note to the lady who came up four or five times over the course
of the evening to ask for "Thriller," then didn't
dance when I played it, then came up as I was playing the
goddamned song to ask me to play the original version instead:
If I could go back in time and do that performance over again (not that
I'd want to endure the likes of you for one more evening), I wouldn't
play any version of "Thriller" AT ALL, if only to teach you
a lesson about patience. I had plenty of other requests from far
more reasonable people that I should have played instead of yours, and
I regret that I played it for you.
Those damn request cards.
the planning for the event, I was asked if I would be okay with the
radio station leaving stacks of cards around on the tables, on which
people could write their requests in advance, so that when
dinner was over and the dance music began, I would be prepared with
the knowledge of what people would want.
could have worked well. It did not. Here's why.
cards were left out on the tables for the course of the entire night.
While I performed, I had OVER A HUNDRED of these cards brought up to
me at all points during the evening. Some were given to me nicely,
and some were thrust at me hatefully - see item #1 above, regarding
the poor combination of alcohol and entitlement.
I have someone bring me a stack of request cards 30-60 minutes before
the end of the performance... those requests are probably going to get
overlooked. And they certainly were. I simply couldn't play
everyone's requests, especially the ones that people were trying to
wedge in after midnight. NO DJ could have played everyone's requests
without playing only a few seconds' worth of every song. There
wasn't enough time to do so. But, of course, through the course
of the night, I had people left and right interrupting me to ask when
their request was coming up.
and this is a big one... the cards ended up giving people who would
never have thought of making a request a method by which they
could just go ahead and fill out as many songs as they could squeeze
out of their streams of consciousness, often without any intention of
ever getting up and dancing to it. To them, I was nothing more
than free background music, so why not pack the requests with songs
they wouldn't bother dancing to? (I knew right away that the "You
can get me to dance if you play my song!" at the bottom was 100%
USDA-choice unadulterated horseshit.)
some of these people weren't just requesting 80s music. People
were asking for tracks by newer artists like Bruno Mars, and then coming
up and asking if I could make an "exception" for their individual
modern song. YOU PAID $100 TO COME TO AN 80S PARTY, WITH PEOPLE
IN 80S COSTUMES, BEING BROUGHT TO YOU BY AN 80S-FOCUSED RADIO STATION...
SO DON'T EXPECT ME TO PLAY ANYTHING BUT 80S MUSIC.
as if all that wasn't bad enough, those cards had a special space at
the bottom for a dedication This particular aspect of the request cards
had never been discussed in advance; I wouldn't have agreed
to using the cards if I had known about the "dedication" part
in advance. (And besides, who dedicates a song to himself/herself?
"Dedicated to me:" doesn't really make much sense, does it?)
not only did I have a swarm of people constantly sending in request
cards and asking when their special little request was going to be played,
a lot of them expected me to stop between songs to announce dedications.
If I had announced every dedication, it would have chopped up the flow
of the performance so badly that it would have killed the energy on
the dance floor. So, some dedications were announced. Many
were not. Some people were happy. Some were not. I
was in the latter category. It was ridiculous.
The contests and the bad timing.
had thought about leaving this part out, but I still think it merits
you came to either the 2017 or 2018 New Year's Eve party, then you'll
know that they packed in a lot of contests over the course
of the night.
if you know much about me at all, you probably know that I don't play
tracks from a laptop - I cue up the tracks on records or CDs and play
them that way, just like I've done since 1989. This fact is important
for a very special reason: If I have a song cued to go next, and
I suddenly need to change it out, it's going to take me at least several
seconds to cue up a different song. I can't just press a couple
of buttons on the laptop and suddenly have a different song ready to
if a staff member tells me that it's time to have a contest (let's say
the dance contest or costume contest or Rubik's Cube contest or whatever),
then I'm going to cue up something that would be good background music
for the contest - NOT a dancefloor-packer that everyone will want to
come up dance to, since the dance floor will be in use for
the contest at hand.
me so far? Good.
here's where it gets tricky. If I'm told that a contest is about
to start, then I cue up the track for a contest, and then a
few seconds before the current song ends (thus, when it's time to jump
to the "contest" background song), if I'm suddenly told that
the contest is going to be held off for another few minutes, then that
means I'm probably going to have to go ahead and play that "background"
song for the dance crowd - not because I want them to dance to it, but
because it's better than suddenly giving them a bunch of dead air while
I scramble for something else.
the contrary, if I am told that the contest is going to be held off
for a few minutes, then I scramble to find a GOOD dance song to throw
on, and THEN I'm suddenly told that they've changed their mind
and we're going to do the contest "right now" after all...
well, that means that I'm going to be forced to use a big floor-packer
as contest background noise.
not going to say that the staff of the radio station did those awkward,
sudden changes multiple times over the course of the evening... but
I'm also certainly not going to say that they didn't.
The rock music issue.
in advance of the night, I was told by the radio station that they'd
had complaints about my last performance from people saying that I'd
played too much rock music - and, therefore, I should hold back on playing
much rock music this time around.
was true... during the 2017 NYE party, I had played a few tracks by
Guns & Roses, Def Leppard, Journey, etc., and they received a great
response on the dancefloor.
you know why I played those rock songs? Because people had
requested them and actually danced to them!!!
this time around, once again, a LOT of people came up asking for rock
music. I wanted to work a lot of those requests in, but I didn't.
I held off on a lot of them because that was what I had been instructed
to do. I told people, honestly, that I wasn't playing as
much rock music this time - because I had been told not to.
of course, because I was right there in front of them, who got to bear
the brunt of their anger and frustration? Yep, that's right -
yours truly. Good times. Good times.
The asshole who threw his date on the stage.
my performance, the station/organizers received complaints that I had
gotten on the mic and "yelled" at someone who threw his date
on the stage.
did. I happily admit that I did so, I have absolutely zero regrets
about it, and in the same situation, I'd do it again. Maybe even
was during the Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes song, "(I Had) the Time
of My Life." You know... the huuuuuge hit from Dirty
Dancing. I was playing it - FROM VINYL - and the dance floor
was seriously packed with couples dancing together and enjoying the
song. It was a real highlight of the evening.
some big meathead decided he needed to have more attention than anyone
else, so he picked up his date by the waist (a la Dirty Dancing)
and THREW her up onto the short stage, feet-first, right in front of
the DJ equipment.
The record skipped. People were startled. But Lushy McDrunkTank
didn't happen to notice that... he just wanted more delicious attention
and perhaps a better chance of getting laid later, so he picked up his
date and DID IT AGAIN.
The record skipped again. People who had been trying to enjoy
their dancing were getting pretty irritated. I got on the mic
and tried to get the guy to realize I was talking to him, but he was
off in his own little world, so after the first couple of attempts,
I had to raise my voice. "Pardon me. Pardon me.
Hey. Hey. HEY!!"
I actually had his attention and made sure that he was making some kind
of attempt at actually listening to me, I told everyone that I was making
a "public service announcement" to make it clear that nobody
there should THROW PEOPLE ONTO THE STAGE.
like a reasonable request, right? I mean, to me, that doesn't
even seem like something I should ever have had to announce...
but thanks to this one douchebag, I did. I didn't want the crowd's
enjoyment to continually get interrupted just because some some guy
thought that was a good idea to plop a human being onto the stage hard
enough that the record would skip, over and over.
when the event was finished, and complaints came in to the organizers...
I was that mean, bad DJ guy who'd had the audacity to yell
at one of the patrons of the event.
telling you... I sure lost a lot of sleep over that one. Yup.
That last song - "Let's Go Crazy."
God, this pissed me off.
though I was doing <sarcasm>such
a terrible job</sarcasm> of entertaining
people that night, strangely, people continued dancing right up until
our stopping point of 1:00 AM. Hmm.
even though I'm <sarcasm>such a horrible,
horrible DJ</sarcasm>, at the 1:00
AM mark, people on the dancefloor were screaming and pleading and eventually
chanting for "One more song! One more song!" Interesting.
though I was exhausted and ready to just tear down and leave, I wanted
to at least give people a good, positive end to the performance, and
I didn't mind throwing in a few extra minutes.
from the stage, I looked around for a hotel staff member, and found
one in a distant corner of the room. I called out to him on the
mic to ask if I could play one more song. He gave me a thumbs-up
or some other gesture of affirmation, so I grabbed the long version
of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." I'm not a big Prince fan,
but I knew that one would go over well as a final track and maybe send
some people home with a great memory of the end of the set.
I got the record on and the "Dearly beloved..." intro started
up, people understandably went nuts. The drums and guitar kicked
in, and they started dancing. I walked over to the fellow running
the main sound board (the PA gear and most of the lights were brought
in by a different company) and told him that I hoped this was okay with
him, figuring that it wouldn't be any problem since his company was
contracted for the entire night as well.
shutting this off in two minutes," he told me bluntly. "I've
got somewhere else to be."
in mind that it was just past 1:00 AM on New Year's Day...
and this dude couldn't hold out for five or six more minutes because
he had "somewhere else to be."
about a minute into the song, I got on the mic and very nicely thanked
everyone for coming, explaining that the sound was going to be turned
off in about a minute, and that there was nothing I could do about it,
and that I was genuinely sorry.
course... people started booing, hatefully, AT ME, for something that
I had just explained was completely out of my control. I tried
to make it clear that it was not my decision, and of course, they continued
to focus their anger at me, due to the wonders of entitlement and alcohol.
gave them another minute and then shut it down. Frankly, by that
point, I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there.
My performance, personally.
know that this was not my best performance, not by a long shot.
I wasn't in the greatest mood going into the event, and the issues that
we had made things much, much worse. The disappointment of how
things were going, compared to the spectacular party the year before,
really threw me off.
don't worry... if you go to the Totally Awesome New Year's party this
time around, you won't have to deal with me. I don't want to do
it, and I'm absolutely, 100% certain that they don't want to hire me.
I'll be far, far away, and I promose you that I will never perform for
them again in any capacity.
this year, I've already decided to cut way back on my DJ bookings.
Honestly, my "day job" affords me plenty for the life I choose
to have, and DJ gigs have mainly been gravy on top of that. For
those of you who haven't read my last few posts here, I've had numerous
reasons to slow down on the DJ events lately, so I have done so, very
also resolve to never again perform at any other event that charges
$100 per ticket. A lot of the people at that event were good and
decent and respectful, but a lot of them used that exorbitant ticket
price as an excuse to behave like spoiled, entitled, toddler-esque assholes.
Never again will I perform at any event that charges that much.
much regret do I feel about the whole thing?
I want to make it clear that I am not affiliated with the radio
station and I am certain that we will never do business again.
If you don't like this post, you can feel free to hate my guts
as intently as you wish, but remember that these are just my thoughts,
not theirs; I represent no one but myself.
you plan to complain to the radio station about this post, then you
really need to go up and re-read the parts where I explained that I'm
not their employee and I'll never work for them again in the future.
You'll just end up annoying them for no good reason, and you will accomplish
absolutely nothing further.
you can send me an e-mail and
tell me what an atrocious performer and/or human being I am. Your
e-mail will most likely get a hearty chuckle out of me, and you probably
won't get a response, so it will pretty much be a total waste of your
time as well! :)
Are we all clear there? Do we have an understanding?
So, all that being said: If you were there, and if you
were being disrespectful or giving me grief about anything
while I was doing my best to do my job properly... I hope that you clearly
understand that I don't give one singular flying fuck about
what you thought of me or may continue to think of me. If you
don't like me, and you ever see my name on a poster or a list
for an event - any event, anywhere - do us both a favor and
simply DON'T COME TO IT. I don't need you there. Got it?
won't have to worry about me repeating my performance at the Totally
Awesome 80s New Year's Eve party this year. I'm planning on being
home with my family and maybe a few friends, thanking God (probably
out loud!) that I don't have to deal with something like this again.
Personally, I think that this year, Totally Awesome 80s should
hire someone like DJ Connection. They're a shitty, watered-down
excuse for a mobile DJ service who would be perfect for such a crowd.
them than me, I assure you. Better them than me.
right... that does it for now! More later. Thanks.