I performed at a wedding recently. In fact, that performance has been an extreme focus of mine for the last several weeks. When I agree to perform at a wedding I become monomaniacal in my attempts to make sure I own and am familiar with every piece of music that I view as necessary for the event (based on my discussions with the bride and groom and my own instincts). I go to extreme lengths and tend to feel that if it is possible that someone might (appropriately) request a particular song or artist, then I better make sure I bring it. With the amount of money I invariably end up spending on music for the weddings that I DJ I essentially end up making no money, no matter how much I charge.
This particular wedding called for a mix of Persian music and old rockabilly, early rock’n’roll, surf, soul, garage rock, etc. I like to take on this sort of gig to get me listening to totally different music than my regular gigs call for, and to inspire me to research music. I always love researching music. This wedding got me reading not only every published guide to rock and soul, but also “Souled American: How Black Music Transformed White Culture” by Kevin Phinney and “Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Rick Coleman. For a while I saw myself becoming an old rock, soul, and rockabilly DJ. Oldies stations hardly exist any more and most of them have strict playlists that leave out 90% of the popular songs from the ’50s and ’60s era, much less the obscurities. I’m hoping to get around to making a mix of a lot of these older styles. My research kept taking me back further into the origins of “rock’n’roll.” I discovered wonderful artits like Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, and Rose Maddox. And I finally got around to buying stuff by the Collins Kids who I’ve always loved.
Even though the wedding ended up being a six hour gig I still didn’t get a chance to play hundreds of songs that I discovered, so hopefully I will get them out to the world some other way. The wedding was a beautiful event with a great couple, a great setting, and a great group of friends and family. It was my pleasure to be able to DJ the event.