All of us DJs, whether spinning clubs, cafeterias, or concerts, occasionally find ourselves stuck in surreal situations with individuals who are very possibly clinically insane, and if so, surely off their frickin’ meds. Just a few examples, you ask? OK, there’s the the janky promoter, (see the Ice Cube film for reference), the belligerent MOB (mother of the bride), the swarm of ADD 13 year olds at the school dance (who are all turnt up on Hawaiian Punch)! There’s also the unknown, but astonishingly-cocky and unfriendly DJ that you have to work with, and even the dreaded “drunk girl with entitlement issues, bad breath, and lame requests.”
Due to the many career hazards that lurk out there in our line of work, I have begun compiling a list of completely sarcastic, unapologetically cynical, yet semi-serious “DJ Dos and Don’ts” that should come in handy the next time you feel the urge to backhand somebody at a gig! I must admit though that this list is also peppered with subliminal advice on how to control the one career hazard common to all DJs, that being the massive ego we carry so heavily in the oblong record crate located just above our necks!
DO… take all appropriate requests at weddings, bar mitzvahs etc, no matter how crappy the song may be to you. They are paying you for your mediocre sound system, not your great taste in music!
DON’T… take any inappropriate requests at weddings, even if the MOB comes up and demands it. Once at a wedding I did, the MOB actually requested “Bitch Betta Have My Money” by AMG. My keen DJ senses smelled about half a box of Sutter Home White Zinfandel on her wretched breath, so i decided not to go there, even for Mommy Dearest! She forgot what happened in about two minutes.
DO… patronize the hell out of pushy, long-winded morons who request crappy or inappropriate songs at your gigs, in order to get rid of them in as little time as possible. Tell them something along these lines: “Aw man, I love that song, I sure hope I have it on this computer… Awwww, great choice! Oh man, see, what had happened was, I’m in transition right now between internal and external hard drives, so I don’t have all the great songs that you’ve been requesting every five minutes, all night long, but awww, that song would have worked perfectly right now! Man you should definitely be a DJ, you have great taste!!”
DONT… ever let your guard down and actually engage in musical debates with moronic people who request absurd songs at your gigs. Live DJing is kind of like air-traffic controlling, in that you have to juggle lots of things in short bursts of time, so engaging in tire some and useless musical repartee is not advisable in most situations. Also, it’s a total waste of time explaining such DJ time constraints to insane morons, so when in peril, refer to the “DO” above and patronize the hell out of them all— it works like a charm!!
DO… be humble and patronizing (yes, more patronizing, its a great tool) when you find yourself having to work with overly-cocky, unfriendly DJs. The combination of overt cocki ness and unfriendliness is usually a sign of extreme insecurity, so in order to create a workable Dj environment in the booth with an insecure, er, jock, just be humble, but also drop a few random patronizing compliments on him like: “Nice scratch-pads bro,” or “Dood, is that the new two-terabyte, portable, bus-powered DJ mini-drive? Awww man, your the first person I’ve seen with that!” This tactic should subdue his ego just enough to get you through the night without pimp-slapping him with your new 17-inch Macbook Pro!
DONT… ever confuse “being humble” with “turning your swagger down!” DJs are entertainers, and good doses of swagger and confidence are generally good things to possess and emit when performing. Just make sure to leave most of your swagger in the DJ booth and let your skills speak for themselves!
Filed Under: Issue #143
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