Showing posts from 2013

A Black Man's KISS

When I heard recently that KISS was finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame it was kind of a shoulder shrug moment.  It took so long for KISS to make the cut that any excitement about the induction that I might have had in the past has totally diminished in the present.  While some people argue that they don't deserve it, I think they totally deserve it for longevity alone (not to mention catchy songs that stick to you like flypaper).

My discovery of KISS came in the form of bubblegum cards and pinball machines while being a kid residing in a St. Louis ghetto in 1976.  It was a dramatic experience that sticks to my memory because my father made such a big deal out of me buying KISS bubblegum cards when I was seven years old with his money.  My father yelled at me and kept questioning why I bought the KISS bubblegum cards.  I had no real answer other than, "I don't know…they just look cool."  I was seven, black and had never heard KISS' music. …

DJ Leon Lamont • Halo Bar • 12.28.13


The Non-Competition DJ Contract

When a person gets hired at a mobile DJ company said person is almost always asked to sign a non-competition DJ contract.  A non-competition DJ contract is pretty much what the title says.  When a new employee signs this contract they are agreeing not to compete with the company that just hired them for at least a year after leaving the job for any reason.  This contract protects the mobile DJ company from having people get hired, learn all of their tricks of the trade and then run off and start their own company around clients stolen from the mobile DJ company.  It's pretty simple and fair.

I post this because a friend was interested in getting a job at a mobile DJ company and didn't really understand the non-competition contract.  Somehow my friend made himself believe that he could not do any club DJ gigs if he signed this contract.  I assured him that he misunderstood the contract.  I started some of my early days as a DJ working for a mobile DJ company and being a DJ at c…

Numark Orbit DJ Controller in Principal and Practice

When I first starting receiving e-mails about the Numark Orbit MIDI controller, I figured it was just another entry-level DJ piece of crap tethered to some unusable, half-assed designed DJ software.  So what got my attention and made me look further into the product?  The words "Black Friday Sale" and "Wireless".  The aforementioned words sparked my interest, but what brought me closer to actually considering running out and getting an Orbit was the claim that it could be MIDI mapped to any MIDI controlled software (OK, and I kind of like the lights). 

Before even considering blogging about the NO MIDI controller (horrible abbreviation, right?), I felt I owed it to my DJ brothers and sisters to actually take the device out on a gig or two first.  My set-up was the Numark Orbit, Serato Scratch Live (with video plug-in), MacBook Pro, and the Korg KM-202 mixer.

On the first gig night, I mapped the Orbit to some basic Serato functions including a few controls on the v…

DJ Leon Lamont-November 29, 2013


Leon Lamont's "8 Dollars"

DJ Leon Lamont-House spin/8 Dollars film screening-November 22, 2013


How Long Will You DJ?

Recently, a friend asked me, "How long do you think you'll be a DJ?"  Who knows?  I've been a DJ for well over a decade and the playing field for the working DJ becomes sketchier and sketchier by the day.  Just this past week, people I know have informed me that they are doing DJ gigs for bar tabs (& no money), being hired without any DJ skills just because of their gender and/or sexual orientation…and then you have to ad in the usual stuff like nepotism, politics and being undercut by hungry low-pay DJs. 

While in NYC recently, I saw a young woman "DJ" using iTunes.  The bartender wasn't shy about telling me that the young woman was hired because of her good looks and not her DJ skills.  "She fits the image of the bar", the bartender said.  Did I find this experience disheartening?  You bet.  The average professional DJ spends at least $500.00 on DJ software and break-out boxes alone (not to mention controllers, turntables, mixers, and C…

DJ Leon Lamont - Monarch Private Event Space - 11.09.13


Be Judgmental

In my questionable youth, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be and whom I wanted to be there with.All of this concise self-discovery was based on one simple idea: be judgmental.It wasn’t until I stopped being judgmental that my life became a huge maze filled with ghetto trap doors that led to other ghetto trap doors and then another and another and so on.All of those past snap judgments and lightning speed assessments were not for naught.The problems and situations I find myself in now would be unfathomable were it not for my abandoning my personal credo.I seemed to let one truth cloud another in adhering to a firm belief that human personalities were like clay and could be shaped into beautiful things if set inside of the right hands.All the while forgetting that mud could be mistaken for clay at a glance.

The snap judgment of a bar skank saves you the future drama of a baby-mama gone ballistic.A likewise judgment of ex-friend turned junkie saves you the fut…

DJ Leon Lamont - The Safe Word Is "Mix"


James Bigbooty - You Need James Bigbooty


Sushi House Mix (demo) 2005


She Wore Dolce & Gabbana

She wore Dolce & Gabbana
Sitting around smoking weed
She wore Dolce & Gabbana
She's so out of my league
Little does she know
I've got what she needs

Click here to download

Cover Band or Original Band?

The common belief amongst my hometown St. Louis natives is that I hate cover bands.This isn’t totally true.The only reason I even mention it is because a musician friend was asked to join a cover band and called to get my opinion first.My answer to him was, “What are you asking me for?It doesn’t matter what I say…you should just do what you want”.

I find cover bands boring and uninteresting both to play in as a musician and to watch as an audience member, but then I don’t like sports either.Do I think I’m above it or too good for it?Nope.I played in cover bands when I was a kid in grade school.When some of us play cover tunes from the age of ten upwards into our twenties in various forms playing in everything from R&B bands to marching bands, we tend to get burned out on the idea after a decade or so.

If you are a musician that has never played in a cover band, I highly advise that you get the experience somehow.Playing in a cover band will make you a better musician and put you on…

Drunk, Crazy, Request Guy On the DJ Gig and How Tips Really Work

He’s unavoidable.  Sometimes “he” is a “she”.  This is the person that requests a song from the DJ and if they don’t hear it right away they get upset.  Sometimes these people are mental and feel directly “dissed” if you don’t play their song.  Let me share a story with you.

So, I’m minding my own business, doing the DJ thing at a gig and a server comes up to me and points into the disco abyss saying that “that guy over there wants to hear (fill in blank)”.  I can’t see whom she’s pointing at and more importantly, if he wants to hear a song he needs to get up and ask for it in person.  It wasn’t a “no request” night so I had no problem playing a request.  Why didn’t I play what this unidentified, non-social stranger wanted? I didn’t have it.

As the night progresses I forget about the mysterious request guy.  People that are unseen and antisocial are easy to forget throughout the course of a night.  Angry that he didn’t hear what he wanted, the guy makes his presence known and says, “You…

Learn A Second Instrument

It’s pretty common for band geeks like myself to play more than one instrument.There’s always your main instrument that you love and then a second instrument that you just play for whatever reason.When I was in grade school and high school, it was uncommon for a band geek to not play at least two instruments (some of us even played three and four different instruments throughout the school year).
Most young people in school band programs end up playing two instruments for the same reason I did; shortage of musicians in the band.In Junior High School, our orchestra was short an upright string bass player.I was already a violin player (my second instrument to drumming), but not very good at it, so it didn’t take much arm-twisting for me to switch instruments.I put in extra time and hard work switching from treble clef to bass clef and learning technique.
The Benefits of Learning a Second Instrument
Learning a second instrument makes you a better team player and a better musician.It’s like…

Prevailing In Spite of…

I use to have a friend that loved to blame everyone else for his life failures and disappointments: most notably he would blame his parents.  His history was that of a fellow drummer that played in several bands with little or no success until he finally quit, got a day job, became married and started a family.  All of this, mind you, he claims is his father’s fault.  He shared a story from his childhood that was pretty much identical to not just my own, but many of my drummer friends.  To disprove his theory, I told him the below story.

When I was five years, I fell in love with the sound of drums.  I knew right away that I wanted to be a drummer.  I rushed to my father and begged him to put me into a class for drummers or find me a drum instructor.  My father was a musician himself and would often brag in front of his friends that he knew the best drum instructor in St. Louis and would enroll me into this instructor’s class.  Long story shortened, my father came up with plenty of exc…

Leon Lamont - Penthouse C


The Option to Live

When you tell people that you had a near death experience and actually considered death as a viable option you will most likely be met with a bevy of queer looks and questioning brows.It would be hard to explain to a person that you are not suicidal but instead curious to the point of vulgarity.I am no different.
Having experienced a bit of heart failure, I found myself in the emergency room of a hospital in a quiet suburb of Missouri, not in the least bit dramatically pleading my case for assistance as my physician had called ahead of time to explain my plight.
There was sweat on my brow and discomfort in my chest, but yet I still managed to muster a smile and a bit of humor to lighten the day of the woman behind the desk in the emergency room.As she told me to seat myself with a curious look of disbelief on her face, I sat with the Grim Reaper in all of his dusty glory as he presented me with the luxury of choice.
I was made to feel alive by the prospect of death and having it offered…

My First Band & Firing Band Members

I started my first band when I was ten years old.These days, I am glad to have grown up in the golden age of witnessing.If you weren’t there then you didn’t witness it. My generation was spared the humiliation of having every pitfall and misstep recorded on some kid’s cheap little videophone and posted online for the world to see.

At the age of ten, you don’t really know what you are doing when you form a band.It was more of a social club in the beginning with a drummer (myself), bass player, two bongo players and a clarinet player.I don’t know what sound we’d hope to get, but in theory it’s practically impossible to get a palatable sound out of a bunch of ten-year-olds playing original tunes with that line-up.
Most people I went to grade school with remember my first gig with my first band at a school talent show the way I do: as being terrible.My first band gave me my first unpleasant band experience…firing band members.Not surprisingly, the first member to get the axe was the clarine…

Leon Lamont - French Manny