DJ Jerry B’s Blog Mostly daytime ramblings

June 25, 2010

“Can we come see you at a performance?”

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , , , , — DJJerryB @ 8:08 pm

There was a time that this was a common question. On the rare occasion that I am retained to play for a public event, sure you can stop by. I will generally list these on my Facebook page.

And once in a while a prospective customer will ask if they can “drop by” at a wedding to see me in action. I’ve even seen it as a suggestion on a few websites.

The short answer is, “no, I’m sorry, you can’t.”  The reasons should be obvious.

How many uninvited strangers do you want “dropping by” at your wedding? How distracted do you want your disc jockey to be by treating your wedding as an audition for his next job?

Moreover, what is really to be gained by seeing someone on the job that can’t be determined during the interview? Listen to your DJ’s voice. Watch how attentive he is to your vision of your wedding. Is he personable and confident, or loud and obnoxious? Ask for references from past wedding customers and check them.

One other thing to consider is this: what will you see if you eavesdrop on someone else’s wedding? You’ll see a performance based on the vision that they had for their wedding, not yours.

June 17, 2010

Hiring a DJ

Filed under: Advice — Tags: , — DJJerryB @ 6:24 am

As self-serving as the title may appear to be, this is not going to be an effort to promote myself as the only disc jockey in the Boston area that you should ever consider hiring. Of course I would like your business — it’s what I do for a living. But working throughout New England over 20+ years, I have met some really great (and some not so great) DJs and this is intended to offer a few words of encouragement that will, hopefully, help in the decision making process.

First, decide if you want a professional DJ or a hobbyist to spin tunes at your event. There is a difference and, yes, price will be a consideration. If it’s a pool party or backyard barbecue, for example, hire the kid down the street with the iPod and all the music that he “purchased” off the internet. Or slip the guy who has a legitimate sound system and plenty of tunes a few dollars. You don’t necessarily need to pay for a disc jockey because, quite frankly, this type of casual get-together doesn’t require the same level of involvement as a once-in-a-lifetime moment like a wedding. My own prices for very informal parties are modest for this exact reason.

One word of caution is to make sure that whoever you hire understands that grandma’s ears are more sensitive to sound than your 12 year-old nephew’s. And neither of them need to be bombarded with profanity or questionable subject matter within the music. Professional DJs have access to the same radio edits that you hear in your car — amateurs don’t.

You also want to ensure that whoever you hire, whether pro or amateur, has enough variety in their music library to offer at least a little something for everyone. Do you really want four hours of Thrash Metal at the family cookout?

For more formal or truly special celebrations — Weddings, Graduations, landmark birthdays, etc. — then I would strongly encourage anyone to hire a professional. These are occasions that you only have one chance to get right.

Get multiple price quotes, but don’t choose based on price alone. Check out their website, get references (and check them), speak with them on the phone to see if they seem like the type of personality that will fit into your vision of the day. Every DJ is not the same. Gauge how responsive they are. Do they reply right away to e-mails and phone calls? If so, it means that they respect your time as much as their own. Do they listen to what you want and need, or just give you a sales pitch to try to sell you on their service? Is the person you speak with going to be your disc jockey, or will it be farmed out to someone else? Some DJ companies will offer you a low-ball price, then hand you off to an inexperienced disc jockey.

The single best bit of advice that I can offer is to trust your instinct. If you feel a connection with the person you are considering hiring, that’s a good sign.

June 10, 2010

Class of ’90 – June 5th

Filed under: Reunions — Tags: , , , , — DJJerryB @ 7:45 am

My thanks go out to the Boston College Class of 1990 for a fun night. It was my first time on the Chestnut Hill campus. This was a group that liked to party and were not shy about requesting music. Some wanted a trip down memory lane and others were ready to boogie down to current dance tunes. The 400+ classmates definitely kept me on my toes. It was also exciting to speak with so many of the attendees and learn that they had come from far and wide to be there for Reunion Weekend.

And I discovered a new way to measure just how much fun a group is having — an entire dance floor chanting “One more song! One more song! One more song!” at the end of the night — it’s always good to know that you can leave people wanting more.

June 2, 2010

The Kids – May 23rd

Filed under: Fun,Personal — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — DJJerryB @ 12:37 pm

I was again fortunate enough to be part of the PMC-Kids Ride in Natick, Massachusetts. This is the fourth installment for this annual event and, as usual, the planning committee did an outstanding job. It was held this year at Belkin Lookout Farm, giving the older riders the chance to cruise through the orchard pathways. Regular visitors to the farm would recognize it as the route that the train takes to give customers a tour of the fruit trees.

Anyone battling cancer has a hill to climb, but it seems especially unfair when it is a child having to fight that fight. PMC Kids encourages the concept of “Kids Helping Kids” through their participation in this amazing fundraising effort. In 2009, every penny raised by the Pan-Mass Challenge — 100% of the money donated — went directly to the Jimmy Fund. This year, right around 250 young people, ranging in age from 3 to 12, participated in the Natick ride. Dozens of others volunteered, performing such duties as registering riders, manning the refreshment tables, face painting, beading, balloon animals, and so on.

Landry’s Bicycles, as usual, was there. Not only did they have a tent set up to provide maintenance to the bikes participating in the ride, but they also donated a very cool looking mountain bike to the raffle. The number of vendors who donated prizes or volunteered their time (or both) continues to impress me. It ranged from the small mom & pop operations and local restaurants, all the way up to contributions from The Boston Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. There was even an appearance by Batman.

It’s good to be part of a community effort like that.

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