Club Scout has made a critical life decision: I need a DJ name. It has to come with an interesting tale or a clever misspelling of my own moniker -- like DJ Klub Skout, maybe, or a superfluous combination of self-aggrandizing adjectives such as DJ Wicked Awesome Face. Or maybe I'll just call myself DJ No Fear, as a nod to inspirational jock dudespeak.
Yeah, No Fear. That's a good one.
I am at the British Bulldog (2052 Stout Street) on a Wednesday, and it's ModPod night, alternately known as Hang the MP3J, where the house music is jockeyed by whoever is MP3-capable and willing to share their playlists.
The deal is simple: Starting at 8:30 p.m., bring your iPod, Zune, Walkman or whatever output-able contraption you have and sign up for fifteen minutes of DJ fame. If you don't get booed out of the booth, you get a free glass of Peroni beer. And if you're really a crowd-pleaser, you might be awarded a $25 gift certificate to the bar.
Scout is up for the challenge -- or so I think, anyway -- and I slyly have a friend add me to the short list of amateur music curators. But before I can down my vodka tonic, aka liquid courage, DJ Jedi Scott, who hosts the night along with DJ Chris Irvin, is mispronouncing my name to let me know I'm up after the next few songs.
I start to panic. Yes, like so many great performers before me, I get cold, wet, sticky feet. Song titles are zooming through my head, and suddenly the hip and modern youths crowding around seem incredibly menacing with their vintage-chic wardrobes and their cool scooter helmets on their laps. Should I play what I want to hear, or should I try to woo the kids with surefire bar-room anthems? Against Me!, At the Gates or the Pogues?
Wait -- do I even care? I don't even like beer.
Jedi Scott is now butchering my name again while trying to call me out in the dimly lit bar. I'm skulking in one of the encumbering booths, hiding out in the massive landscape paintings that wall up the benches. The expanses were infamously rendered by Noel "Chief Sundown" Adams during the Depression as a barter for swill and grub -- and now I'm wishing I could pass into history as he did.
But somehow my feet are moving and I'm walking up the stairs to the DJ station, which is actually just a table set up with two turntables and a microphone on the second tier of the bar. I plug in and push play.
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I get a holler from the crowd when "Baby, I'm an Anarchist" comes on, and no one seems to notice that I sneak in "Bones," a guilty pleasure of admittedly mainstream garbage. Suddenly I'm up to five songs and loving the crap out of this. I probably could have kept going, if not for the line of other DJ wannabes -- plus Scott and Irvin's own mini-sets -- scheduled to round out the night.
I unplug and pass on the 1/8-inch torch. But before I walk away, I ask Scott how he got his Star Wars-influenced nom de plume.
"Let me dork out on you for a minute," Scott says to me. He leans over with a big grin and pulls up his shirt sleeve to reveal a full-color arm tattoo of Princess Leia garbed in the notoriously skimpy slave-girl outfit from Return of the Jedi.
Now, that's a DJ name with a story.