Short Story: DJ Ham Sandwich from DJ Girl 6's Biography: "My Turn"
I will be posting a few short stories from my Biography "My Turn." Let me know what you think!!
From 2007 to about 2010 I regularly played at a nightclub called Casbah at the Taj Mahal at the Trump Tower in Atlantic City. Every time I walked in I heard the same thing: “Put your Fuc*in’ Hands Up! . . .” It was the brand new song by DJ Class and the opening DJ was playing it before 11:00 p.m.! Patrons were cringing as though they were being accosted and looking around to see where the yelling was coming from. Hot song or not, the mood was all-wrong. The music was too loud, too intense and just too much for this time of night. The lights on the mixer were soo far into the red that the speakers sounded like they were playing through wax paper. This was an audio assault.
“Click-clack” I climbed the stairs to the opening DJ’s booth above the dance floor. “Hi there! I’m DJ Girl 6, the DJ from Vegas? I’ll be video DJing for you guys tonight. I think we’ve met before.” I tolerantly smiled and introduced myself for the third time. “Yeah yea, I love your videos you’re amazing! Love your show too with the MC and dancers its super cool.” He replies then turns to continue playing aggressive top 40 and house music. “Tap! Tap!” I firmly tapped him on the shoulder the way cops do when they catch you doing something stupid. “Hey, I know we’ve talked about this before but could you lay off the super new/hot/hard songs and stick to opening music maybe?” Teeth clenched, I spoke through them making less of an effort to appear cordial. “Sureeee.” He dragged his reply out dripping with sarcasm. “Click clack,” back down the stairs I descended rolling my eyes. Its not that I need those songs. Half of the issue is respect. An opener should have enough respect and etiquette towards the closer to refrain from burning them. The other half is, once those songs are played, some people just leave and it hurts attendance and bar sales. They heard their favorite song, what do they have to look forward to? Sure, I can play it again but they could already be gone or, if they are still there, I looked like an unimaginative douche’.
“So what did 'Ham Sandwich' have to say?” Timid my MC asked. At this point, I was lucky enough to travel with a small entourage of like-minded artists. I toured with an MC, another DJ and a few dancers. Life was good! “Same ole’ excuses man. I give Hammy 30 minutes. If he doesn’t stop, we’re goin’ on early.” I warned. We called him “Ham Sandwich” because my entire crew was vegan, me included. One night we decided to give Hammy the benefit of the doubt and took him to breakfast after work. He told us about some ham sandwich that Atlantic City is famous for.
“Sounds cool homes but we’re vegan so enjoy, but we’re gonna pass,” MC Timid respectfully declined on our behalf. Hammy was belligerently drunk. “Nah man! Nah, this is MY
city!!! Its not like that! Don’t disrespect me when you’re in MY
town! You’re at least gonna TRY
it. That not right yo! Snooty ass Vegas crap!” He yelled throughout the restaurant flinging his arms looking around for support. Patrons and restaurant management alike were staring and whispering amongst themselves. “My man, I’m from New York, and I still live there.” MC Timid corrected him. I hate being stared at, like absolutely abhor it! Grabbing the sandwich, Timid stops me; “Hey, wait! No! It’s not like that let him be a little baby about it.” I shove the sandwich in my mouth in a desperate attempt to make the eyes burning a hole into the back of my head stop.
“Happy?! Now shut up already!” I took a bite and spit it into my napkin. From there on out we collectively called him "Ham Sandwich."
“Boom boom pow!” rang over the sound system, again before 11:00 p.m. followed by Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, and it was my remix to boot. He defiantly played brand new Pitbull after Pitbull remix mocking me. “Enough is enough. Yo Timid! U ready to make a scene?” I asked eyebrows raised. “Like a crazy Puerto Rican at after hours diner girl!” (I'm half Puerto Rican). He replied giving me a high five. I looked him square in the eye nostrils flared and fire in my eyes. “Ay girl do what you gotta do.” He chuckled trying not to laugh. “You’re so cute when you’re mad, awwe.” I may be 5’0, 98lbs but I’m still the boss and I’m still the star. I set up my DJ equipment and cued up a record that started with a quote to get everyone’s attention. “Count to about 25, then get on the Mic and start hyping the crowd really hard because it’s going to go dead silent for about thirty seconds while I make my way back down the stairs ok?” We performed on a stage on the dance floor and the opener was hidden up in the rafters where nobody could see him.
Timid was still laughing, “ I’m having a hard time taking all that blonde hair and blue eyes seriously” he says, “but hey, you’re the boss,” and salutes me while laughing as I stomp back up the stairs.
“Clunk clunk.” I climbed the stairs a second time with unwavering determination. “Look at me!” I demand like a school principal. “I warned you!” I scolded him shaking my finger in his face. He smiled back in disbelief. “Yo girlie take it easy relax, chill, its not that serious,” he pleaded half-laughing with his palms to me trying to wave me down. “I seriously doubt you’ll burn another DJ after THIS!” I reached behind his mixer and pulled out the cords one by one. The club fell completely silent. Even I was shocked at the abrupt change. Shocked and slightly frightened, I headed for the stairs. You could literally hear a pin drop. No shuffle of feet. No swish of skirts. No clinging of ice cubes against glasses. In a club holding over 800 people not a soul flinched. “Y’all ready for the ONE, THE ONLY D J GIRL 6666!!” The once silent crowd emerged from the shadows, where they recoiled from the screaming hype men on every tracks played by the inexperienced opener.
A roar of support confirmed my intuition. I was correct to change the programming for the room. Nobody wants to be yelled at before they get their first drink. Don’t tell me to “put my f*cking hands up. . .” until I’m at least buzzed enough to do it.
In that instant I learned two things: Never fear the wager of dead silence for the benefit of birth into a new and different musical direction. Second, the first commandment of DJing is, and always will be, NEVER burn your closer.