Dealing with D-Bags

August 21, 2017 by Joe Bunn

I truly believe that, as DJs, we have one of the best jobs in the world. I love my job, and if you don’t love doing this, I suggest you seek another form of making a living. But, there are times when we have to deal with certain things that say a bank teller might not have to. In this blog, I want to talk about dealing with three types of folks that we will simply classify as “d-bags” since they told me I couldn’t cuss in these posts.

  • Drunks. I’m not going to lie, I love to see an open bar at an event that I’m DJing. I think “social lubricant” truly helps people drop their guard and get out on that dance floor. However, it can also lead to dealing with jerks. The best way I’ve found to handle these people is to first address them directly. If they are in your face, requesting bad songs or dangling a red wine or beer bottle over your macbook pro, ask them kindly the first time to please step away from your gear and that you’ll try to get their song on. I usually give them one more chance when they come up and I ask more forcefully this time, especially if they are all over my gear or asking for something stupid. Back in the day, the line “I don’t have the song” would work when all you had was a crate of vinyl or book of CDs. Now everyone has itunes, phones, clouds, wifi. They know you can get the song. So if they aren’t dumb enough to fall for that one, try the old “My client (insert name here) has a ton of requests for tonight and since it’s her wedding, I need to get to those first and foremost. I’ll see what I can do”. Loosely translated that means get out of my face, you’ll never hear that tonight. If they still continue, you have no choice but to approach the host of the party. I would usually pick the groom over the bride in the case of a wedding. If they can’t control them, you should have an “out” in your contract that states something about controlling guests. I’ve never had to do it, but you need to know that you can pull the plug and walk out.


  1. Upset Clients. Every once in a while, you or one of your DJs is going to do something to upset a client. It’s almost inevitable. We are awesome, but we are also humans. A couple of examples would be you get stuck in traffic and arrive later than you would have liked, but still before the reception begins. You lay out their playlist late one night and accidentally flip the father/daughter dance with the mother/son dance. You mispronounce the sister of the bride’s last name. The audio on the rabbi drops out during the wedding ceremony. Sound familiar? These have all happened to you or someone in your company if you have been doing this for a while. If they haven’t, count yourself lucky, and realize that they will eventually happen. Sorry. So how do you deal with that? How you handle this will determine if you’re a good business owner honestly. My guys turn in an invoice every Sunday after their Saturday shows. The last part of that invoice is that they have to write a brief recap of the show and tell me if there were any issues (and list the positives as well). This allows me to be able to immediately call them and get the full story and find out if I need to contact the client. Once I decide how serious it is, then I make moves. For example, if the audio dropped a couple of times on the officiant’s mic in a 25 minute ceremony, I want to know that, but I’ll probably leave it alone. If the mic worked during sound check and then never worked a minute of the live ceremony, I’m calling the client. Why even wait for them to call you after their honeymoon and blow your head off? Nip it in the bud! Call or email them right away and offer that portion of the payment back! It’s the smart move, trust me! If you do happen to get that dreaded call from someone the day after the gig, just shut up and listen. Once you get their side of the story, tell them you want to speak with the DJ and you’ll get right back to them. Then do just that. Hear the DJ’s side of the story. However, regardless if they have a completely different take on what happened, that old saying “the customer is always right” holds more true today than ever. Are you willing to risk an upset client getting on WeddingWire and The Knot and trashing your DJ and your company? I’m not. I’d call the client back and say something like this, “Listen, I’m so sorry this happened. We know there are no do-overs in weddings, but is there anything I can do to try and make this less painful?” Most of the time, they want money back and whatever the amount is, pay it. Yes, pay up. That money isn’t going to make or break you. But their slander could.


  1. Angry Vendors. I’m sure we have all done events where you know every vendor in the room from the banquet captain to the videographer. And then there are others, especially when I leave town, where I don’t know anyone and they don’t know me, or care to know me. I get along with everyone at events, I look at them as a team effort, but there is going to come a time when some other vendor is going to get angry at something and you’re going to have to deal with it. How many times has a vendor stacked gear on your DJ table? How many times has the photographer’s assistant taken your vendor meal? Left the room with your couple as you’re reaching the peak of your dance set? It pisses you off doesn’t it? Especially if you don’t know them. Things like this happen all the time, but the most key thing to remember here is that you are a pro. You can ask nicely for the photographer to move their gear or run outside and get the couple back to the dance floor for “Shout”, but if they get angry, you cannot. At least not during the event. It’s not your day, you’re not the focus, the couple or client is. Save it for later. Eat your words, do your job and get that paycheck. If you have to address that vendor or want to let the couple know about their behavior later, that’s on you, but not that night. I’ll compare it to football. Sometimes you see guys flip out on each other on the sidelines during the game, and that’s all the announcers talk about the rest of the night and keep replaying the clip over and over again. Why? Because they look foolish and unprofessional. Don’t do it!

I hope these tips help you guys and I truly hope that you never have to deal with “d-bags”!





Joe Bunn Joe Bunn (53 Posts)

Joe Bunn started his DJ career at the age of 14 in his hometown of Wilson, NC. He did shows all throughout high school, college at UNC-Chapel Hill, and eventually moved to Raleigh, NC in the late 90s where he started Bunn DJ Company. The company grew from a couple of DJs to 15 of the area’s best mobile DJs. Over the past few years, Bunn DJ Company has expanded to Charleston, SC, Charlotte, NC and Richmond, VA. The company performs at over 800 weddings a year and another 400 private, corporate and charity events. Joe has been on the board of both ILEA (International Live Events Assocation) and NACE (National Association of Catering & Events). In addition, he is a writer for many national DJ publications such as Disc Jockey News, Mobile Beat Magazine and DJ Times. Joe still DJs almost every weekend, but in recent years has been helping other DJs across the country grow their businesses. He has given seminars at Mobile Beat Las Vegas, Wedding MBA, DJ Times Expo, local/regional organizations, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has also been hired by DJs all over the world to help their businesses in every aspect from branding to sales.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business