Tales From the DJ Booth: The One Fetish Every DJ Has...



If Megan Fox traveled into a club I was working at, directly from a weed farm while wearing nothing but coconut oil and consent, telling me I could do anything I wanted to her, I would ask one thing: "Can I pick your music?"

There is nothing more rewarding than watching a talented dancer not bat a fake eyelash upon hearing something outside of her playlist’s comfort zone. Only a stripper would be cool with the idea of being naked in a room full of potentially dangerous strangers while, at the same time, fearing the act of bouncing one’s buttcheeks to a song that isn’t played eleven times a shift. Now, I know that dancers reading this column are probably doing a mental inventory of all the terrible Puddle of Zombie songs that DJs have forced upon them, but let us not forget that the job of a DJ is to notice a song like "How You Remind Me" and instantly delete it from whatever hard drive it’s currently infesting.

No professional disc jockey working in Portland strip clubs should be without at least a few hundred gigs of Tom Waits, Love and Rockets, Wu-Tang, KMFDM and Mike Patton side projects. The only reason you’re not seeing much of this type of DJ is because, one, dancers don’t let DJs pick music and, two, shitty DJs keep giving dancers a reason not to let DJs pick music. Upon interviewing new DJs, club owners should incorporate tests like "please name two songs by Pharcyde," instead of just asking "Can you go six hours without meth?"

What most dancers don’t realize is that, at the end of the shift, it really doesn’t matter whether or not a certain song is played, as long as the money turns out to be good. Aside from a beyond-degrading musical selection (anything from a Disney movie, Tori Amos, that song about talking to angels, etc.), there is no single genre or artist that will cause a patron to be like, "To hell with the gorgeous woman, I hate this band so much that I’m unable to continue my life as a tipping customer." On the other hand, a dancer who is busy screaming at her DJ because of an incorrect song selection will, in fact, push away the lonely man who thought he left his screaming female counterpart at home to enjoy a night alone.

Every now and then (as in, six to seven times a day), while working as a strip club DJ, I would discover music that made me think, "Hey, this would be a really great song to play for a dancer. I wonder who would enjoy it." Usually, the answer to that question is to the tune of "whichever girl will actually let me play it." This is sad considering that decent music is now being paired with a girl who looks like one of those public service announcements about abused animals ("this is what Crystal looked like before she was rescued..."). Raggedy Andrea gets the privilege of dancing to Alabama Shakes, while Cover Girloria is making everyone listen to the same garbage by Garbage (unless I choose to play Sarah McLachlan and get hella meta for Raggedy Andrea).

If dancers were forced to behave like DJs, it would look something like this: Dancer discovers new move, dancer performs new move on pole, DJ freaks out and yells from the booth, "What are you doing? I don’t know that move! What happens if you fall?? That trick SUCKS."

Do the right thing. Beg your club manager to hire a DJ with both real-world DJ skills (this means having a resume’ that includes a variety of clubs, weddings and paid events that require catering to a variety of crowds, while absolutely zero merit should be lent to social media). Then, make sure that the DJ understands how strip clubs operate on a technical level (radio is a good background, but avoid morning show douchebags, opt instead for college radio graduates). Next, make sure they can keep their junk in their shorts and sexual harassment to a reasonable minimum.

Finally, as a dancer, let the fuck go and dance. The person behind the booth will be doing their job, as your tips guarantee their wage. If you hear Tom Waits mixed into Tupac, there’s a reason. If your request for Overplayedytron or Modest Rat is ignored, and the DJ opts instead for a track by Band You’ve Never (Heard Of), there’s a reason. If the person in the booth is not an "agenda DJ" (as in, boss didn’t hire them due to a sick Soundcloud mix that was actually a just bunch of mish-mashed dubstep, but boss never got around to listening to it, so hashtag yoloswag tough shit), the music being played while you dance is likely something enjoyed by those weird people who give you money... customers.

On the other hand, there is no greater boner-killer than a gorgeous woman who chooses to pair her routine with terrible music that no one attracted to the female form could ever appreciate. Even lesbians hate Evanescence. This is a cold, true fact that will not be up for debate until sometime in the mid 2050’s, when daddy issue rap-rock for entry-level goth teens becomes vintage enough to be sold in some elitist record store in Portland.

Another favorite of mine is having to respond to a dancer’s terrible taste in audio with "Oh, this is your friend’s band?" Now you’ve not only ruined any enjoyment I would have obtained as a customer sitting next to a subwoofer, but you’ve gone the extra mile and made it clear that you’re the type of stripper who hangs out with guys in bands... in Portland. I can already picture the corner near the fridge where empty beer bottles and cigarette butts pile up alongside a catbox full of black mold. This kind of ruins the fantasy.

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