Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Part 3a - How My DJing Moved Up To The Next Level(s) - Hoops and Streets, 1985

It's 1985, I just graduated High School. Roller Disco is done and Wheels Skating Rink is closing down after the summer and being remodeled into a big nightclub. At this time I'm djing at Wheels friday afternoons, saturday mornings and afternoons, and the big saturday night session which is skating from 8pm to 10pm, and then dancing from 10 -12. So by djing for dancers, I'm really starting to learn the club world.

There was a club in Mt. Vernon, a town or 2 over from Yonkers, called "Hoops." This was a medium sized club but extremely well known. They lasted through the Roller Disco Craze and now that RD is dying down, dancing is coming back and so is Hoops. It was a saturday afternoon and a guy (forgot his name) comes into Wheels. A bunch of people are wondering why he's there. I had no-clue who he was but I was told that he was the owner of Hoops. It didn't really mean too much to me - I just figured he was there with one of his kids. At the end of the session, the guy is talking to my boss Trevor and then they both come over to talk to me. Unknown to me, this guy has heard of me (??) and was coming to ask me to DJ at Hoops, I couldn't believe it! He invited me to to come by Hoops next friday night.

I went by next friday. At this point the only club I was ever in was Wheels, which as a club was huge so being at Hoops and seeing a dancefloor smaller then a skating rink was weird to me but who needs such a big floor when no-one is skating. I had a few records with me so I could check out the booth, and that was it. I was hired to DJ at Hoops every friday night. That was great but short-lived because of the next story.....

During this Wheels stuff I became friends with a DJ named Eddie Feraca. He was the original DJ at Wheels and before I worked there I used to hang out there with my best friend Harry, and DJ Eddie was our idol. He was very very good even by today's standards. So I'm friends with Eddie, I'm 18 years old, he's close to 30 years old and djing at a club in New Rochelle called Streets. At that time New Rochelle was loaded with clubs and bars and it was simply the Hot-Spot in Westchester. People went there from all over. Eddie invited me to come by on a saturday night. Since Wheels was closed and I only DJ'd at Hoops on friday nights, it wasn't a problem going to Streets. This led to me going there every saturday night to hang out with Eddie and soak up everything I could by watching and listening. I don't know how it happened, but Eddie started having me mix a few records in the beginning of the night and eventually i would do the whole early part of the night, about 9pm to 10. Keep in mInd, Streets was packed and known for playing the best and newest music, and the best DJ's in New Rochelle - This was THE place, and I was djing there, early, but I was there - and I was the youngest person in the club by about 10 years.

One night about 11pm, Eddie was djing but he asked me to put on a couple of records so he could use the bathroom. For some reason he didn't come back. Now it's 11:30 and he and Al, the owner, are sitting at the bar hanging out, watching and listening to me. Eddie saw I was getting a little nervous because up to this point, I never dj'd for 1200 people. About midnight, he came up to the booth and said "Hey, don't you get it? This is your shot, now shut-up and do it" Eddie went back down to hang-out with AL, and by 4am, Al offered me every Friday night! This was HUGE, and eventually I dj'd every saturday night too. At the time Streets was the coolest and best known club in Westchester NY.....known for having the best music and DJ's and at 18 years old, in a world of 30 year old dj's and club goers I was one of the top guys. Eddie later introduced me to a few of his other well known DJ friends and "Light Guys." One in particular is Jeff. He Dj'd at Funhouse in NYC. As an 18 year old DJ I had the respect of and was on the same level as dj's with many more years of experience.

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