Undeniably one of the most popular reality TV shows of the last decade is Pawn Stars on the History channel. The show follows the dealings of three generations of the Harrison family and one lovable sidekick at their family owned Gold & Silver Pawn shop in old Las Vegas. The affable sidekick known affectionately as “Chumlee” also has a secret passion. He loves to DJ. I had the opportunity to catch up with him at MBLV21 this past March.
MikeC: Thank you for coming by the convention today. I wanted to start out with a few questions about the show Pawn Stars. The show has been on air for almost 8 years now and has filmed over 400 episodes, right?
Chumlee: Yeah, it’s been crazy. We should hit 500 episodes at the end of this season. When we first started we didn’t imagine it lasting this long. We thought there would be 430 less episodes.
MikeC: So how much of the show is scripted?
Chumlee: None, really. If they gave us a script we would have to be paid like actors.
MikeC: So there’s no format? You don’t know what’s coming in or what each episode is about?
Chumlee: There is some format, but no script. We just be ourselves.
MikeC: How hard was it to get in front of the camera?
Chumlee: The longer we do it the more comfortable we get. I’ve been there over a third of my life. We don’t have to “act” in front of each other. We’ve always been that way, which makes it cool because we don’t take work home with us.
MikeC: How has being on the show helped you grow as a person and a businessman?
Chumlee: Being on the show has opened a lot of doors for me. It’s given me a lot of opportunities also. As a businessman I’ve learned to take advantage of those opportunities.
MikeC: Your character seems to have the biggest fan base and most popular merchandise. Would you say you are the most successful person on the show?
Chumlee: We’re all successful, but think about it. Would you rather have Rick’s bald head on your stomach or a beautiful, sexy Chumlee shirt? (laughing)
MikeC: I’ve got to agree with you there. I have a “Chumlee for President” sticker on my office locker.
Chumlee: I’m probably the most fan friendly person in the shop. People come in to talk business with Rick, but they love taking pictures with me.
MikeC: So what turned you on to becoming a DJ?
Chumlee: I’ve always loved music and I had some friends that were DJs. They helped get me started.
MikeC: What type of equipment do you use?
Chumlee: I like CDJ’s from Pioneer.
MikeC: Which program do you prefer?
Chumlee: I learned on Serato. I never really got into Scratch or Virtual.
MikeC: What styles of music do you like to spin and mix?
Chumlee: Hip Hop mostly. Old School and some Top 40.
MikeC: Who has inspired you or influenced you the most as a DJ?
Chumlee: I’m a big fan of Jesse Marco, DJ Eric D-Lux, DJ Just-N-Incredible and Deadmau5.
MikeC: What type of gigs are your favorite to play at?
Chumlee: Clubs mostly, but I like to play anywhere I can make people dance and feel good. I love watching the floor fill up and people dancing to new stuff or being able to throw on an old favorite and watch people react.
MikeC: I watched some video clips from your DJ debut at the Ghost Bar. How was that?
Chumlee: It was awesome! Ghost Bar is at the top of the Palms. It’s such a cool location. The place was packed. We really had a great time.
MikeC: If you could DJ at one club, which one would it be?
Chumlee: There’s only one. Hakkasan
Chumlee: I love going there and watching the DJ’s spin.
MikeC: So I heard that if the Raiders come to Vegas, you offered to DJ all their events for free. True?
Chumlee: Yeah, I did offer that. Anything to help the team. I think it would be great if they came here.
MikeC: I also heard on a side note that local strip club owner offered free lap dances to the team if they moved here. Would you DJ those events too?
Chumlee: (laughing) No, I’ve left those days behind me.
MikeC: Not to get off track but, I gotta ask. What’s up with DJ’s and sneaker collections?
Chumlee: (laughing) I don’t know.
MikeC: DJ AM had over 500 pairs. You have a few hundred yourself, right?
Chumlee: I actually have a pair of the DJ AM Nike’s. I had close to 500 pairs in my collection but I’m way down now.
MikeC: On the show you are the sneaker and pinball machine expert.
Chumlee: (smiling) I would use the term “expert” lightly. I do know my sneakers though. I grew up skate boarding and started out with a few pairs of Vans. I just started collecting from there.
MikeC: You’re a young guy that has really enjoyed some big success and a few setbacks. From a business standpoint, what advice would you give to DJ’s?
Chumlee: You have to brand yourself, you know, set yourself apart from everyone else. Be different and unique. I would say skill is 50% of it, but making the right connections and smart business moves is also very important. Practice, practice, practice. Vegas is a tough town for DJ’s. Lots of competition.The guys that make a name for themselves aren’t always the best DJ, but they know how to make connections and move their career forward.
MikeC: Great advice. I guess that applies everywhere. Chumlee is continuing to hone his skills as a DJ. He recently had carpal tunnel surgery on his wrists and plans to get back to spinning when he heals up. You can catch him on the History Channel for the latest season of Pawn Stars. Chumlee’s latest business venture is a candy shop located next to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop. Next time you are in Vegas stop by. Chumlee is always happy to take a picture with fans.
Filed Under: Business, Digital DJ, Everything Else, Performing, Personal Development
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