I started with the Disc Jockey business when I was about fifteen or sixteen, what one could call a bedroom DJ these days. I used to record little radio shows on my cassette machine and use very basic cutting tricks. I had done a few small gigs with older DJs who were very helpful and encouraging. I built my own DJ system at the very beginning and aquired skills I never imagined I could aquire, but somehow realised there was more to life than the nine to five. After working as DJ intensively in the North West of England in several clubs and playing different genres of music, I was approached by an agent who was placing DJs all over Europe. Shortly after I embarked on a professional career in the business. I travelled with agents all over Europe and Scandinavia, In most of the jobs I would receive a decent wage apartment or hotel room, and in some countries food was paid for or or even use of the gym, swimming pool, vehicle or other facilities. I decided to create this blog to pass on some knowledge and maybe educate and inspire, Im not famous but I have been places and experienced a lot, so from time to time I will be posting various bits and pieces about DJ-ing.
I was only a young boy but took it all in from the older boys in the street, there seemed to be quite a mix , some were into rock music others into the soul music and others into both and had essential albums in their collections. The late sixtees and early seventees rock is a music is a culture of its own, and then the enture glam rock thing took things into other dimensions. Over the years I have worked in many open air public events and been asked about this area of music , which has always been a refreshing change for me. Quite a collection can be accumulated over a period of years and just to take in bands like Ram Jam " with black betty , Deep Purple , AC DC, ZZ top to name a few and then top it up with some eightees classic bands like Guns n Roses , Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Queen , then there is enough music to do an entire rock classics party night. Obviously from a DJ point of view its a collective scenario.
Here are some radio shows featuring fourty years of rock classics, enjoy.
When I started club Dj-ing in nineteen seventy nine the main stream dance music of the time was either soul and funk or disco. I was reaching back a few years into the beginnings of the funk era. The repetoire consisted of some of the first Kool and the Gang hits "funky stuff and hollywood swininging comes to mind" Commodores " brick house " Fatback Band and Fat Larrys Band, all of which were coming through the major city clubs. I still have a large collection of this music in my archive, I have noticed in recent years many bar DJs playing some of this music from compilation CDs and I was actually quite surprised to hear something like " David Bendeth feel the real from nineteen seventy nine, fourty years later in a bar near my home. The philadelphia International label contributed a lot to the disco era and so did the arrival of various new technologies.
Northern Soul Motown is still alive today , there are many events following this trend.
This music had a particular sound and a culture behind it, Although northern soul sounded very much like the so called motown sound a lot of northern soul was on smaller labels and limited amounts were released thus becoming valuable collectors items. Its said that the Northern Soul music trend became very popular all over the North West of England, Wigan casino being a well known spot for playing those Northern Soul Classics, some of the single Vinyl now exchanges hands for high prices. Motown music however hit the UK charts and was avainlable everywhere at that time any DJ in the north of England could be playing anything from Marvin Gaye Diana Ross and The Jackson five Smokey Robinson, the temptations right down to the depths of the Northern souls roots. mainly from Detroit but a also Los Angeles, Memphis, Chicago, and New Orleans as well.
Just to quote Duke Ellington whose lyrics were written by Irving Mills for the legendary jazz piece sung by ella fitzgerald.
Some experiences I have had at events were requests for swing. I actually got called up to do a gig with another DJ who was a specialist in this are of music and it basically needed some research on my part. I was to do the first few hours warm up , it was also a tuxedo job, very upmarket . I managed a two hour set of swing and big band sound , during the arrival of guests.
Many Styles of music but not necessarily on the same night in the same venue.
I can and have been known to do specialised areas of music for special events and this is something a lot of younger DJs tend to avoid. It might appear to some that that is more to DJ-ing than electronic beats coming out of a lap top or live mixing with abelton and a midi controller of sorts accompanied by lots of knob twiddling. Sure times and trends evolve and im sure any media or entertainment professional will agree with me that trendy club music doesn’t go down too well at a mixed age group family or corporate event. But on the other hand I'm not going to bore my audience with a standard program either.