Thursday, April 9, 2009

DJs gaining rock-star status


Since when did spinning records make someone the object of adulation?
DJs in recent years have become celebrities. They’re dating Hollywood stars, attracting big crowds for their gigs, and getting written up in the gossip pages with the A-listers.
I recently caught a music video of a Dutch DJ named Tiësto and couldn’t believe my eyes. He was on stage playing recorded music for a crowd of thousands who were going wild for him. He just stood at his turntables and digital mixing controls, wearing his headphones and played music. He didn’t sing, dance, or play a guitar, keyboard or drums. He simply smiled and pumped his fist in the air while playing his dance beats and grooves. Not very compelling for a live performance. But the fans loved it. Maybe it’s a European thing.
I like electronic dance music – house, rave, trance, you name it. But I wouldn’t join thousands of fans to hear or see a particular DJ.
Enjoying the work of a good DJ in a club is one thing. But in a stadium or arena setting? No thanks. It’s bad enough going to see a rock concert at a big stadium and ending up watching the video screens because you’re so far away. But a DJ is a lot less interesting to watch.
There’s a range of DJs – from those who mash up and remix other people’s recordings like Girl Talk to those who create their own beats and melodies. Some like DJ Colette from Chicago even sing their own songs.
DJs have been around for a long time, but mostly as an underground culture with a devoted, but niche following.
Now U.S. DJs like Samantha Ronson and DJ AM are frequently in the gossip columns.
Kids are learning about DJs thanks to “Yo Gabba Gabba!,” a show on Nickelodeon in which DJ Lance Rock orchestrates the activities.
Later this year, everybody will get a chance to play DJ when video game publisher Activision Blizzard releases the music game “DJ Hero.” An extension of the company’s “Guitar Hero” rock music franchise, “DJ Hero” will feature a new genre of music and different game controls.
I’m sure it comes with everything you need to be a DJ. Except the adoring crowds.

Photo of Tiësto from djtiesto.com.
Photo of DC Lance Rock and characters from “Yo Gabba Gabba!”

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