Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Return Of DJ TommyMac

Once upon a time, I was a semi-professional DJ who spun tunes at weddings, clubs and a ship called The Spirit of Chicago. I fell into that line of work, not as a natural progression from my radio career, but thanks to some lucky intervention from my old room-mate Keith. I could write a book about the crazy adventures Keith and I had in that line of work along with tales of the insanity exhibited by the douche-bag who lined up our jobs and rented us our equipment. Overall, though, I look back fondly on those days. I was a damn good DJ.  But, that was a long time ago.

A former grad assistant of mine had asked me earlier this year to DJ her wedding reception. Part of me wondered if I still had what it took to keep a crowd entertained. I resolved that, if I was going to do it, I would try to maximize the entertainment potential while minimizing the overall hassle involved. My biggest gripe with my DJ career back in the day was the labor involved in lugging the equipment around. For this endeavor, I used a sound system I already owned. I had planned to use the same mixer I had used for The Virtual Sink internet show years ago, but I found that, years of storage had rendered it useless. I instead purchased a 4-Channel Microphone Mixer from Radio Shack (Catalog #32-2056). It offers 4 microphone inputs and two line-level inputs all over four channels and was very reasonably priced. For music, I alternated between a conventional CD player and my iPod touch.

Overall, I think I performed pretty well. Although I had a few slip ups and felt a little rusty, I still kept the crowd dancing through most of the evening. It was nice to see that some of the old tricks were still hits and it's also nice to find that line dancing at weddings no longer seems to be popular. The YMCA still packs the floor and Michael Jackson was hugely popular last night.

By far, the weirdest request of the evening came from some guy asking for Ghostbusters. I told him that if I wanted to clear the dance floor, I'd play it, but I usually rely on Yoko Ono's music for that. At the end of the night, I mentioned to the crowd that I can provide DJ services as well as videography, and, if they are so inclined, I'm also an ordained minister who can perform the actual service. With me, you get music, memories and eternal salvation all in one package.

In the end, I wouldn't say that last night signals a return to the life of a mobile DJ. For now, I think of it as a mere featured appearance. But, who knows? I might just be inclined to step back into the role for special occasions.

DJ TommyMac Returns. One Night Only.

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