Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cameron Paul Tells All
Pt. 2

The night I was hired at Broadway Power & Light I was ecstatic. I raced home to tell my parents that I was now a “Professional DJ”! They were astounded that I was actually hired. Their son had actually turned all that noise and pounding that came out of his room for the last several years into something that would actually make some money!

Broadway Power & Light was open Wednesday to Sunday nights. I worked the slowest nights at first which were Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Peter Brown was their weekend guy. The owner, Marvin, wanted me to hang out on weekends to listen to him, his music and his “style”.

My first night I came in to listen to Peter was a Saturday night. I had never been in this club except to audition when there was barely anybody in the place. Then it looked cavernous. But when I walked in that Saturday night it looked like a completely different place. It was packed, wall to wall. The music was blasting, lights were flashing on the dance floor and there was one more thing that was impossible not to notice. I was the only white face in the whole crowd.

I realized just then that this skinny white kid from the suburbs was going to have to keep a club full of urban African American customers dancing and happy. To say a little panic set in would be an understatement. But I decided right then and there that I would make it work. I would listen to Peter and pay very close attention to the music. But hearing the music would be a challenge.

Peter Brown was a very large black man who could barely fit in the tiny booth. He was the epitome of what Marvin wanted in a disc jockey.

Mixing? He never heard of it. Talking on the microphone? Boy could he. In fact he wouldn’t shut up. He talked in between the songs. He talked over the introductions of the songs. He talked over the breakdowns and over the endings and he talked over the singing! He could have been playing polka music for all anybody knew.

He cracked lame jokes. He talked to fine women on the dance floor. He talked to any woman on the dance floor. He ordered his drinks over the mic. In fact, one time, I could have sworn he was reading from the dictionary! And the amazing thing was the dance floor was always packed and no one seemed to mind the verbal barrage.

As I listened it dawned on me that keeping my mouth shut and actually mixing great music was going to be my claim to fame at Broadway Power & Light. The club may be packed and not an inch to move on the dance floor but these people can’t possibly enjoy this aural assault. I knew that if I could build up one off night to a sizeable crowd, Peter Brown’s days would be numbered. It may sound devious, but I wanted weekends. And I wanted them now.

...more to come

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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