The Time I Had To “Pull” Macy Gray From DJing Because She Sucked So Bad. BONUS - The Time My Buddy Had To Pull Aaron Carter For The Same Reason
A few weeks ago I went on my friends' PHNM, Jupiter, and Neek's @5on5 podcast to catch up and talk djing.
My friend DJ PHNM came up in Chicago right after me and we worked together for almost a decade at one of the hottest clubs in the country, Underground, in Chicago.
Working there that long, we saw pretty much everybody come in, and do some crazy shit.
During our discussion we somehow got to reminiscing about some of the times we were forced (by ownership) to “pull” celebrity DJs that were bombing.
For those that don’t know, when c list and d list celebrities begin to realize they’re washed up, and they don’t want to turn to the sex tape game, often times they turn to DJing.
Yes, this makes somebody who chose that as their profession against better judgement and the cries of their friends and family even more uncertain and skeptical of their life choices if you’re wondering.
But they do it because it’s quick, easy, big money.
A lot of these celebs can command anywhere from 10k on the low end to $50,000 just to show up and pretend to dj for an hour. Paris Hilton gets around 100 racks. No joke.
Now some of them actually do learn how to play and some of them are actually pretty fucking good (Benji Madden from Good Charlotte was actually good after he got a few years of gigs under his belt). (Danny Masterson from “That 70s Show” became so obsessed with the gig that he went basically full time and named himself “DJ Mom Jeans”). (Mark Ronson’s younger sister, Samantha, has been djing for decades also, she dated Lindsay Lohan off and on for a while and there was a period of time where Lohan spun)
Anyway, this place Underground was where all the celebs who came through Chicago used to go when they were in town. They were obnoxiously rude and difficult at the door which only made people want to go there more. (We are a weird species).
For some reason, management felt, despite the mile long lines and demand to get in, that they needed “a draw” every now and then and they’d book these horrific celebrities to DJ. We’re talking Ryan Cabrera, Nick Cannon, reality tv “stars”, and the aforementioned Macy Gray for a few examples…
Now don’t get me wrong, many musically inclined people, aka musicians, are unreal DJs. I mean UNREAL. The top 3 I’ve ever seen that would blow your fucking mind at how skilled they are are -
#1- Kid Rock
#2- Lil Jon
Macy Gray sadly would fall somewhere in the 200-300s on that list.
AMAZING singer and vocalist. One of the most unique and distinguishable voices ever.
She also killed it doing the National Anthem at this years all star game.
Also, people forget, she was on a banger with the Black Eyed Peas back before they sold out and went straight pop radio.
Great singer. Atrocious DJ. Atrocious.
Long story short, management at The Underground (shout out Scott, Felton, and Billy) decided to book her on a Saturday night when I'm 99% sure Lollapalooza was in town. She was a "friend" of one of the owners so I think it was more of a favor to stay in her good graces than anything.
Anyway she gets on at midnight. The place is wall to wall you can't move. And she starts playing. I remember turning to one of the bartenders there within minutes of her starting and saying, this is an interesting choice to play in a club. Pretty sure it was something by Enya. (Not her fire jam "Boadicea")
She absolutely killed the crowd within like 15 minutes and my phone started lighting up. It was one of the owners texting me to come to the back service area immediately. I got back there and he began telling me we had to pull her before people started leaving. And by "we", he meant "me".
I said absolutely no way but he said he wasn't asking me he was telling me.
You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear how scared I was, and how long it took me to finally sack up and tell her she was getting kicked off, and how I legitimately thought she was going to kick my ass when I did.
After I told that story, my buddy PHNM went into his story about the time the same club booked Aaron Carter, yes, that Aaron Carter, to also DJ.
He got on, tried playing iTunes (no joke) and the owners wanted him off immediately. We're talking not even two minutes in. The way PHNM recounts this story, and Aaron's reaction had me in tears.
From there we went into the game show portion of their show, where they match up two artists, head to head, and make you decide between a song from each of them for five rounds.
I was given Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. Two of the greatest acts of all time, and two of my favorites. This was like putting a gun to my head each round. Impossible decisions.
We had a great time talking shop and it was an entertaining talk on a lot of stuff outside just DJing.
p.s.- to this day NOTHING beats the time I booked Hodor from “Game Of Thrones” to dj at my club in Cleveland right before the final season kicked off.
Nicest guy ever. LOVED tech and deep house. And loved to dj.
Maybe I should do a whole blog on this night? I really wish I had the stones to start writing a long time ago when I had all this cool shit going on. Had some real fun stories.
p.p.s.- shout out DMS and Kevin Scott. Best record pool in the game.