Early in the morning on Sunday in Madison, WI at the Brochach Irish Pub, a graphic and unfortunate incident in the ongoing ridiculousness and absurdity of entitlement occurred in the club. All working DJs know exactly what I’m talking about because we’ve all experienced it before, and are going to experience it again. And I honestly hope that everyone who reads this that honestly believes DJs need to shut the fuck up and just play the requests the crowd wants to hear… takes a serious step back and realize that 1) this is a serious risk to us DJs not only financially but also physically and 2) no one on this planet deserves this kind of abuse strictly because of something mundane like someone doesn’t like a song that’s currently playing on a given sound system.
On the real, we all go out to dance clubs and bars in general to have fun right? And sure, we all expect a little something special when it’s our birthday or whatever we’re celebrating when it comes to the spot we choose to go and the group we choose to surround ourselves with. Well, this past Sunday, this certain party hostess took it about 30 steps too far. She was apparently so upset with the song selection that she took it upon herself to not only yell at the DJ, but she destroyed his laptop, headphones, and microphone. After she was pulled away the first time, she escaped and began punching and scratching the DJ in the face. EVEN AFTER THAT, as she’s being dragged away, she grabbed a glass and threw it at his head. Seriously here, WHAT IN THE FUCK?
Now I get we all typically get intoxicated on our birthdays and things can get misconstrued quickly in any given conversation. But seriously, this is a DJ doing his job on a weekend night and my gut tells me he wasn’t trying to do anything to ruin this girl’s special night on purpose. Dude wants to stay employed at the club, right? What gives anyone the right to fly off the handle, destroy equipment, physically assault the DJ and then flee the scene with their birthday cake (and two accomplices) before the police arrive?
I’ve been DJing since 2000 and feel like I’ve seen a lot from the DJ booth. I’ve had a jealous dude grab my laptop off the laptop stand and throw it on the ground solely because the girl he liked wanted to be at the club with me instead of out with him. I’ve seen girls recklessly spill drinks on equipment and disrupting a DJ’s work flow because they wanted to hear something and they raise bloody hell when the DJ had security remove them. I’ve recently had some dude lean in to make a request to me bumping my needle (yeah, I still play on turntables) off the record and he wanted to fight me right then and there because I pushed him back and told him to back off. He genuinely had no clue he even touched my equipment or was straight up in denial that he was acting like his request was more important than anything else going on in the room. This list is really endless and the fact that anyone feels obligated to excuse this kind of behavior has ZERO idea of how much money we spend on constantly updating equipment and how much time we invest on being prepared for any given club night.
Seriously though, I can’t remember a time I went into anyone else’s place of employment and threw a shit fit. I’ve been swindled, lied to, ripped off, and made fun of in places of business and I’ve never flipped out on any level remotely close to this. Maybe I just value other human beings and believe there’s always a better way. Sure, there wasn’t any alcohol involved in some of these personal incidents I’m referring to but come the fuck on. Have some decency and treat others with some sense of respect, ESPECIALLY when there’s no evidence of malicious intent.
This girl in Madison deserves the book thrown at her. Not only should she replace all of the destroyed equipment and be prosecuted on assault charges, but the DJ should also sue her for punitive damages, including any and all lost wages he’ll be denied because of his broken equipment. We’ve all seen these superstar DJs be pulled off the decks in Las Vegas and Miami because the bottle service crowd wants to hear Pitbull. But this incident is on ground level. We’re DJs working from paycheck to paycheck just trying to eat. Those superstars can just get fired up at their agent and management and still make ridiculous loot playing everywhere but the club that removed them from the booth. We DJs on the ground level don’t have these luxuries and just want to keep working and be treated with an ounce of respect. Is that really too much to ask?