Let’s get started. What got you into DJing and music in the first place?
My father’s very diverse record collection (everything from Classic Rock to Motown to Doo Wop) got me hooked on music. Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” video, specifically peaked my interest in DJing as well as Jam Master Jay from Run DMC. I started to really get serious about DJing in the early 90’s, when I could eventually afford to get real turntables.
When did you discover soul and funk music? I’ve always been a fan, because I grew up on it. My parents would always be playing Jerry Blavet’s radio show on Saturday nights in our house. However, I got serious about it when I surrounded myself with Hip Hop in the late 80’s, early 90’s. I wanted to know exactly where these beats were coming from, so I dug deeper into Jazz, Funk, Soul, Reggae and everything else I could get my hands on. I believe it’s a healthy obsession.
Tell me about when you first started DJing. What kind of music were you spinning? Paint me the picture of what the scene and music was like at the time.
When I first started DJing, there were a few things going on in my area, but nothing like the party I started. That’s why I created it. I wasn’t a good DJ at first, but through the last 15 plus years have honed my style and became known for throwing good parties with good music. A party just like they did in the Bronx out in the park, when Hip hop was born. Above everything, I’m known for playing quality music and a good time at any of my events.
Tell me about when you started spinning soul and funk specifically? Were the records easy to find then? Was there a scene of DJs around you all looking for the same records?
Records were never easy to find, that’s why I love digging so much. It’s the thrill of the chase, and when I finally get something that no one else around me has, I can’t wait to play it out and share it on www.FleaMarketFunk.com.
Tell me about some of your parties over the years? What made them unique and different from everything else?
My first steady party was called the Soul Circuit, where I played Funk, Soul, Reggae, and Classic Hip Hop, plus had live MC’s who freestyled over beats. The MC’s stopped quickly after that, way too many egos. The night was about music, and they couldn’t understand that. I’ve done parties in the Lower East Side of Manhattan with my good friend and DJ partner DJ Un-G (currently residing in LA). We did Sexy Picnic and the After Work Special at a variety of bars and lounges for a few years before I went on tour. When I returned from tour, I just picked up here in Asbury Park, doing nights at the Asbury Lanes and a whole bunch of other bars. I’ve done The Get Down, Hip Drop, Saturday Night Rockers, and a few other parties. My nights are different because I play music no one else does. I do my homework and play good, unique music. That’s the difference. The 45 Sessions is quite unique as well, and I enjoy getting all the resident DJ’s and guest DJ’s together to play nothing but 45’s. Over the last few years I’ve been doing parties with 2 DJ’s and 4 Turntables at my weekly Tasty Beats party now and again. It’s worked out pretty well. We don’t practice, just improvise 4 turntables going at once. It has many genres, like a good mix tape. That’s gone over quite well. I did one with DJ Un-G and DJ Skills who have different styles. I like to try new things and keep things fresh at my residencies. My newest party is in NYC with DJ James Poole called Free Thinking. Everything Funky from both sides of the Atlantic. James is originally from Stoke-on-Trent, UK, so his music style and taste is similar, but from a different perspective. It’s all about diverse styles of music next to each other, in a really great atmosphere (the lounge we’re doing it in is Kush). Check it out here: TheKushNYC.com I want to be able to keep spreading this music all over the world, so I’ll always keep doing these parties.
What was it like going on tour with Tony C as the opening DJ?
I actually was part of the band, using the turntables as an instrument, which was fun. I did spin sets a few times before hand as well. We got to travel a lot all over the US and Canada, and opened up for quite a few national artists. I liked the travel, loved meeting new people and digging for records in different cities. The music business is a tough one, and has changed so dramatically, even since I left the band in 2005. I’m glad I went solo, but don’t regret the learning experience touring with a national band. It helped me know what to do and definitely what NOT to do as an artist. I look back to those days with some fond memories.
Tell me about your current party the Asbury Park 45 Sessions. You have some great DJs spinning alongside of you like Larry Grogan.
The Asbury Park 45 Sessions is a special night for me. It’s brought together a really great bunch of DJ’s from NJ, who all have a love for 45’s, especially Funk and Soul 45’s. Not just your typical top 40 stuff either. We all specialize in hard to find 45 records, with heavy drum breaks and the like. We’re the only party that does this in the area. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys either: Larry Grogan, DJ Bluewater, Prime-Mundo, M.Fasis, Jack the Ripper, Devil Dick, plus 3 years worth of special guest DJ’s who have rocked the 1’s and 2’s with sweet 7 inches. It’s my baby, and I’m proud to say that it’s been going on for over 3 years.
What inspired you to start Flea Market Funk? You are a world renowned crate digger. What are some of your favorite finds?
My love of Funk, Soul, Jazz and Reggae music, plus the desire to spread this music around the world inspired me to do FMF. I appreciate the compliment “world renowned crate digger”, but I really just see myself as a guy who is doing his part to keep this music alive. If I don’t do my part, these records will be lost in obscurity, and I don’t want that. I’ve had a lot of good finds, but my best 45 find was “Hey Joyce” by Lou Courtney for a buck. I’ve gotten great Jazz for like 50 cents, everything from Grant Green to Art Blakey. I love my copy of Art Blakey’s Drum Suite with “Cubano Chant” on it. Dusty and water damaged but the vinyl is mint. It’s the music that counts.
What are some records on your current want list?
Too many to list, I find new stuff I want every day! Ok, Ray Frazier and Sheer Madness – I Who Have Nothing. DJ Bluewater brought his copy over and I didn’t want it on my turntable at first, because it’s too expensive. I would want to dig it up, not buy it, so that’s never gonna happen. I never pay a lot of money for records, hence the name Flea Market Funk. The most I’ve ever paid for a record was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 something dollars.
Where’s the best place to find records in Jersey?
Wherever there are no other people..ha ha, but I’ve been hitting The Spot for more than 10 years and always find good records. If you know it, you know it. It’s a common spot, but over the last few years there have been many E Bay people and way too many record dealers that just want to profit off of the online auction craze. That’s their thing. They scoop up anything to sell, where I’m just buying vinyl to play and write about. I’ve started going at different times and I still find stuff to use, which is a bonus for me.
What are your current top 5 records that never leave your box when you DJ? Here are 45’s that never leave my box:
TNT Band – The Meditation
Mighty Groove Makers – Let’s Dance Some Mo’
James Brown – Hot Pants
Sugar Billy – Super Duper Love
Barbara Saint Claire – Teacherman