First up on the board… Music. I love it. I listen to it. I study it. I record, mix and manipulate it and, sometimes, I make attempts at setting choreography to it. Either way – Music and Movement are the two things that make my world-go-round and I couldn’t see my life any differently (except for, maybe, driving ‘stunt’ cars for choreographed car-sales commercials… I’d live for that shit). Hence, the tattoos on the back of my arms that one of my artsy-fartsy sisters also shares with me.
I Dig Music
Since long before I can remember, my childhood home was filled with the music of a 1979 Wurlitzer organ. A four-tired monstrosity with three sets of keyboards and a full set of floor pedals that only my mother could play. I swear she was a musical goddess sent to us from the likes of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Benny Goodman. Let me not digress. Aside from having “When You Wish Upon A Star” in all its organ-style gorgeousness every night when it was time to go to bed being played live, my home was always filled with some solid, musical culture. From my Mother playing the likes of Sam Cooke, Pavorotti, Bach and the Supremes to my sisters playing Whodini, Guns N Roses, Poison, JJ Fad, Salt N Peppa and anything else that was on the Radio in the early 80’s. All of which were likely played from cassette tapes or vinyl records. We had culture and I had no idea.
- Mom is the most competent and studied musician I’ve ever met. Put pages of sheet music in front of her and she goes “yeah, I got it… but lemmie give it a little soul, baby.”
- My sisters opened the door to house music. The ‘bmpt-tst-ah-tst-bmpt-tst-ah-tst…” I used to hear coming from their rooms was the coveted sound of Chicago House Music played live over the airways of what was once known as our very own B96 (96.3FM Chicago).
7th grade. 1990/91. My first house party. If you don’t know what that is, you’re in the wrong place, kiddo. I was all of eleven years old and had entered middle school. Riding the wings of my sisters’ popularity, I was invited to John Woodalls’ annual house party. My plan was to just dance my little 11 year-old face off, but nay… ka had another plan for me. This was the first time I had ever been up close enough to see what a real, live DJ was doing and I was HOOKED. Especially after a couple years of tape-deck edits. That DJ was (and still is), a good friend of mine; Mr. ‘Wizz Kid’ Walter Gorzela. And he’s the one that got me started; albeit with a mismatched and busted-ass pair of belt-driven turntables and a Radio-Shack Realistic, two-channel mixer. Ya gotta start somewhere, right? Not bad for an 11 year-old. Walter saw something enough in me to offer up an upgraded pair of decks not much long after.
I wanted to learn how to mix and scratch like Bad Boy Bill.
My Equipment got better, I got older and learned how to play instruments
I’ll sign the title of my Bronco to you right now if you can get me those
I seriously gave a friend my truck for (my 2nd) pair of 1200’s. Literally. I had two vehicles at the time while living in a one-bedroom condo in Elmhurst. Neither of those cars was the one I sold my first pair of Techs to buy. So stupid. What kept me going in the meantime was a temporary set of BD10’s offered to a super supportive friend, Tom. I’ll never forget that push, old friend.
My friend Danny called me up one day to tell me there was a set of decks at his local pawn shop. While I couldn’t afford them, I happened to have a beat-up, but drivable truck taking up space in our parking lot. I told him that if he could get his hands on the turntables, I’d give him my truck. He came to the condo with his little brother not a day later. Both with a turntable each. You wanna know how quickly I signed the title to my Bronco II Carryall? If you’re still reading… you need not ask how long it took. I still have those turntables to this day and couldn’t imagine ever parting with them again.
I soon picked up actual instruments
At age 17, I visited my best friend Andy while on break from college. For as long as I can remember, the dude always had a guitar nearby or a Peavy sticker up on a wall from his brothers’ heyday. He was studying photography at the time (I love telling this story). This was the time of grunge, Seattle rock, plaid flannels tied around the waist… cigarettes, cheap beer and even cheaper marijuana. I grabbed his knock-off Les Paul and sat to play at the top of the stairs in the house we grew up in together. Many many terrible notes came from my strumming which lead to the words “Dude, that looks right on you. Take it back to school and learn to play.”
And I did. Later on my mom got me a sweet, entry level Hamer Slammer 4-string P-Bass for Christmas back in ’97. I whaled on that thing with horrific terror and still have it to this day. I might’ve Impressed my mother with a few, terrifying, attempts at Bach’s Prelude in D. (The first bass book I ever bought – wtf was I thinking?). The chops got better and so did the gear in time. I spent my first few good dollars on an Ibanez SDGR and years later stepped up to a real ErnieBall MusicMan Sterling 4 HH. And damn, it sounds good. Played with a coupe bands… left a couple bands… life happens.
In the midst of all that, I was still a DJ first. Kept my chops up on the turntables playing a multitude of gigs. Mostly in the “rave’ environment, and I loved it. Househeads everywhere. Got a computer when I was at the ripe, young age of 21 and started my first business, Organized Noise, back in 2002. DJ’ing was my passion equal to dance.. DJ work kept me excited for the nightlife. The gigs got bigger and the equipment got better.
Not once did I decide I wanted to start a mobile DJ business. I planned to be a remixer for dancers and choreographers but club/rave/house-party DJ gigs just kept coming and I wasn’t complaining about it. Aside from the late hours and shit pay. It got old.
Never-the-less; Organized Noise, Inc (my audio-editing company) was born in the spring of 2002 and I’m still doin’ it.