From The Ground Up: September Supplement

September 4, 2015 by Stu Chisholm

The past few days have been about as hectic as they can get!  Naturally, this time of year is reunion season, and my first “official” gig with my new DJ rig turned out to be one for a good friend of mine: the Dondero High School Class of 1985.  A cool bunch of people, some of the coolest music EVER, and this time flying without a net!  The system performed flawlessly, after a hasty reboot when Serato belched some odd sound, but the biggest drawback is in hooking everything up.  Carrying around uncased components reminded me of the days when I assembled my turntables, mixer and mics on banquet tables when I first started out.  This time hog has GOT to go.  Unfortunately, the gigs wait for no one.


The weekend after the above, I was in downtown Detroit at the David Whitney Building for the Dominican Girl’s High School Class of 1975.  The icing on that cake is that ’75 is also MY graduation year!  Imagine: a class reunion of nothing but women, and all of them my age.  A dream come true!  Once again, the new system performed perfectly, and I must be getting over my learning curve, as the crowd at this dance was a bit more demanding and interactive.  These women came to party!  The biggest obstacles this time were the ones provided by working downtown with construction going on and One Direction performing at Ford Field, visible through the window of the ballroom where I was playing.  Oh, and the $60 fee the parking lot “scalper” demanded to stash my truck.


It’s becoming obvious to me that I cannot carry around my gear in boxes for much longer.  Luckily, I’ve found the perfect solution: my long-time friend and colleague, Jeff Rounds.


Michiganiacs might remember that name as the guy behind Night And Day Productions during the 1990s, as well as the head of the now defunct Michigan Disc Jockey Network (some history available here).  Jeff had been a force to be reckoned with, establishing his company as the most referred in the area, and the Network pre-dating the ADJA.  His background had been in engineering, and he would often build his own road cases and build his own computers.  After some personal upheaval, however, Jeff retired from the DJ biz and began a new career in home remodeling and construction.  He regularly builds custom cabinetry to compliment his creative room builds, so it was obvious to me when I needed the perfect road case as to who I should call.


I had spent a couple of days prior to calling him scouring the internet for something a little different from the usual road case.  While there are many fine options out there from the usual players, none of them had the look I was hoping to find.  See, many couples spend hundreds, and even thousands of dollars decorating their reception halls.  Most of my events are weddings, and elegance is the order of the day, yet here was case after case looking like something that would be on tour with Aerosmith!  Or, worse, something the military might air drop at an Antarctic research station.  In my mind’s eye, I saw a DJ rig that looked every bit as tasteful as the most posh wedding venue!


I’d even consulted with four separate furniture builders, but not one of them could wrap their head around my needs; not only did it need to look good, but it had to be rugged, while being lightweight at the same time.  When it finally dawned on me to call Jeff and beg him to once again dabble in the DJ realm, he instantly grasped what I was trying to achieve.  He came out, measured my gear, looked over my amateurish drawings, listened patiently to my blather over dinner and is now working on my ultimate console solution.  I’m extremely excited to see what he comes up with.


In my last entry, I also mentioned my side business of teaching firearms safety classes for those seeking permits to carry concealed firearms.  Multiple income/revenue streams seem to be the wave of the future since our economic recovery (if you can call it that).  Besides my DJ work, I have two others aside from these classes: writing (as in my books and column for Mobile Beat and other publications) and being a wedding officiant.  Recent events, however, have pushed me towards adding yet one more: becoming a licensed massage therapist.


Suffice it to say that we DJs tend to be “people persons,” or more accurately, “people pleasers.”  Years ago, I had worked as a teen for a special care facility for handicapped and special needs children, doing physical therapy.  There, I learned muscle and skeletal structure and how to manipulate both for keeping limbs toned and minimizing muscular atrophy.  I remember with fondness the friends I made there and the way I could make them feel.  In recent years, I’ve gained a bit of a reputation as the go-to guy among my friends in my various social meetup groups for a great back rub or shoulder massage.  It was through one such group that I met a new friend, who is a certified therapist herself, and she ended up giving me my very first massage.  My reaction: why haven’t I done this before?


Being a friend as well as a pro, she offered to show me some techniques to improve my amateur efforts for my friends.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.  So I’ve committed to taking the whole course and adding massage to my repertoire.  Unlike the firearms training, which came directly from my work as a DJ – traveling at night with expensive equipment, sometimes carrying cash, etc. – this aside may well have no overlap beyond the new-agey style music that is played during most massage sessions.  Or, perhaps I may one day offer my wedding couples one heck of a great “spa day” prior to their big day?




With all of this, as well as various asides like catching a performance by the legendary Michigan Rockabilly superstar, Jack Scott, who is still killing it at age 79, my schedule has been outrageously packed.  For these reasons, I STILL have yet to finalize my new logo.  I’m also working up a rather innovative. snarky response to the whole “WED Guild” concept which will most assuredly become part of my new marketing plan.


Oh, and yesterday, Vanzilla once again demanded to be worked on.  I thought I was done, but my rear brakes decided otherwise.  Silly me!  Until next time, safe spinnin’!

Stu Chisholm Stu Chisholm (54 Posts)

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit’s rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit’s best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.

Filed Under: DJing Weddings, Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Career Development