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Confidential, Monday, October 19, 1998
Ever wonder who puts the shake in today’s movers and shakers now that Rudy has tried to take the pepper out of New York City. It’s the artists formerly (and currently) know as DJs.
In between bar hopping, I took a few moments to chat with two of New York’s top-ranking DJs. First up was DJ Quick. We met at his studio in Chelsea. Talk about sweeping a girl off her feet, Drew Quick not only has good looks, but good manners to boot. As we sat down, he offered me a beverage and a bag of fresh-cooked popcorn – what a gentleman.
Drew was just named one of Threat Records’ "Top Ten Top Guns" NYC DJs (no, I wasn’t one of the judges) and has worked at dozens of NYC clubs and private parties, including his own space at Studio 22, a party/rental loft on 22nd Street. Drew began his career as a singer. His band even landed a record deal with Atlantic Records, but disliking the manipulative tactics of record companies and the irresponsibility of certain bandmates, Drew decided to take control of his destiny. Seeking independence and his own creative musical realm, Drew pursued a career as a DJ where he could be master of his domain, and have more control over his environment and creativity. It seems to be the right choice for the man. He has become a sought-after success.
DJs not only reinvent sounds, they reinvent the wheel too. The old wheel, that is, the one that some people aren’t even familiar with – the turntable. This ancient piece of technology has taken on a whole new meaning since the birth of CDs. Once used in the comforts of our living rooms to recreate the sound of studio recordings, the turntable is now used as one of the instruments in the process of studio recordings. While the value of an album is all but lost with most of us, DJs hoard vinyl records by the thousands, preferring them over CDs for their control in blending sounds and beats per measure. The sounds emanating from a CD, on the other hand, are far too mechanical and limited, says Drew.
After my session with the intelligent DJ Quick, I headed downtown to visit DJ Chumley Twist, a jovial, light-hearted, and entertaining fellow who came to NY as an art student in the seventies. On one fortuitous evening during his college career, while attending an art exhibit at the Black Bird bar, Chumley was asked to substitute for a DJ who was a no-show and, the rest, as they say, is history. He ran back home, collected his music, played that night, was hired and soon working from three to seven nights a week. He then went on to play many of the hot night clubs of the seventies and eighties such as the Limelight, Pyramid, Brownies, the Cat Club, and the Bank.
Steeped in the history of the NYC club scene, Chumley reminisced about old times, preferring the club crowd of the eighties to that of today. He remembers the people being older, bolder, and open to a wider variety of music. They always participated, Twist said, whereas today the crowd is often detached and driven by familiar sounds heard on TV and radio.
Both DJ Quick and DJ Twist have collections of well over 20,000 albums and although Chumley loves to mix everything from golden oldies, to gothic, punk and even swing, he confesses to being a rock’n’roller at heart. When asked if he could DJ anywhere in the world where would it be, he responded, "The Grand Canyon, because there’s a lot of rock there."
This fall, DJ Quick will be the musical director of a new club, The Slipper Room, opening on Orchard Street. It will feature an ultra cool burlesque performance room and hang-out lounge. Meanwhile, you can catch DJ Chumley’s sounds at the Blue Moose Saloon on Varick Street. Couch potatoes can watch DJ Chumley’s cable show I Wanna Rock on channel 56 every other Thursday night at 8:30 pm. His show Blast Off, which won Billboard Magazine’s "Best New Regional Modern Rock Program" Music Video Award two years running will air again, so watch for it.
Wanna have DJ Quick or DJ Twist spin for you. Contact the numbers below:
DJ Quick: 212-505-9234
More NY Rock Confidential Installments:
09/01/98: Hellfire '98 (benefit for NY Underground Film Festival)
06/04/98: the first annual New York City Tattoo Convention
05/02/98: Didi's S&M Special with Flesh Fetish
03/28/98: No More Tears and Soft Parade
02/27/98: Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach, Mick Rock, Lenny Kaye,
12/26/97: Ramones, The Dictators, The Undead, more
11/29/97-12/11/97: Sexus, Princess Superstar, more
09/19/97-10/16/97: Blowtop, Crazy Raymond & the Watchdogs, more
05/21/97-08/17/97: Toilet Boys, Nashville Pussy, Turbo A.C.s, Waldos,
07/23/96-09/09/96: Electric Frankenstein, The Wild Bunch, more