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Showing posts from 2014

Sometimes We Fail

With the current climate, a cry that I hear called out on a regular basis is the question, "How can we prevent our young black men from being gunned down in the streets by the police?"  
Parenting is a hard gig.  Parenting young black men in one of the most dangerous cities in the world (not to mention one of the most racist cities) is even harder.  I can lay out all of the blueprints, plans and ideas that I want, replete with real life examples, and still not solve a perceived problem.  Everyone's circumstances are different and you can't just have an ACME Young Black Man's Survival Guide printed and distributed with hopes of a 100% success rate from it's readers.  The unfortunate answer to the above opening question is, "We can't".  The reason we can't is because sometimes we fail.  None of us are perfect…and because this is a fact of life, sometimes things are going to go disastrously wrong.  If you were a teacher and someone came up to …

Breakbeat Mechanic vs DJ Black Guy

DJ Leon Lamont @ Halo Bar STL after Here Come the Mummies

North City Farmer's Market




Intro to Mixtape Ideas

What is Mixtape Ideas?
There are two types of people that listen to music; 1) people that want to religiously follow the programming hammered into their heads by commercial radio and 2) people that want to be turned on to something they've never heard before (new or old).  Mixtape Ideas is for the latter.
I decided to do a series of blogs to inspire mix tape production by readers.  Each week, I'll suggest an artist or act that I enjoy.  It's a digital version of being "turned on" …you know…when you sit and drink and smoke with someone and they lay some music on you.  Either you like it or you don't, but if you do…then that person has turned you on to that artist and that will hopefully lead you to other new artists thus expanding your musical library and vocabulary.  The blog isn't about new music, it's about "new to you" music.  
Where did the idea for this blog series come from?
I used to do a DJ residency that had two parts to the night.…

Algebraic Attitude Adjustment (Two Negatives Equal a Positive)

Five days ago, a friend tagged me on Facebook for a Positivity Challenge.  At first glance, I just scanned the paragraph and saw the word "challenge" and assumed it was the annoyingly viral Ice Bucket Challenge.  After responding so negatively to the word "challenge" I quickly realized that I was becoming like the dozens upon dozens of salty Facebook drones that I love to complain about.  The month of August was filled with funerals and personal disappointments unbound, so I readjusted my attitude about the Positivity Challenge and decided to give it a go.  
The Positivity Challenge basically works like this; you say three positive things for five days and each day you nominate three people in your Facebook friend list to do the same.  Coming up with three positive things to say each day wasn't the real challenge…the real challenge was getting people to participate.  The people that needed to participate the most and are the most miserable in life of course, d…

Precious Vinyl

I don't even argue with people when they start talking nonsense about vinyl versus digital when it comes to DJ gigs because nine times out of ten my experience and intelligence with vinyl outweighs theirs.  Most musicians know that this is the dumbest argument in the world.  You never hear musicians say dumb things like, "You're not a real piano player because you are using a MIDI keyboard with weighted keys".  Do you know why you don't hear musicians say that?  Because it's dumb, that's why.  Dumb people say dumb things…but I digress.

I started off as a DJ that used vinyl records and I was more than happy to turn digital when the technology was available.  I couldn't stand to disrespect even one more piece of vinyl.  My upbringing was in a two parent household in the suburbs where there was a father that was a record collector.  Let me be clear, this isn't like the parents that have a few records leaned up against an old off brand turntable…I…

Guardians, Gunn & Pods

I had a bit of nervous anticipation before seeing the new movie Guardians of the Galaxy.  I kept whispering to myself, "Please don't suck-please don't suck- please don't suck".  Why should I care if yet another Hollywood Marvel comics movie sucks?  Well…I care for a few reasons.  Like most creative types, I grew up on Marvel comics and pray for their movie adaptations to do well at the box office because I have pretty much outgrown comics but am a huge fan of comic based movies.  Another reason I care is because I love to see creative people from my hometown of St. Louis, MO become successful.  In this case, that hometown artist would be James Gunn.

Yet another reason for me to cheer on director James Gunn was the fact that I actually knew him back in the early 1990s when he was the lead singer for a rock band called The Pods.  The Pods sounded an awful lot like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but still sounded good and were some of the nicest guys I had ever met.  M…

I Scratch (My Head)

I scratch my head, but not much else.  People don't really give a damn about records anymore…and if they do…they are pretty much retarded.  They hate technology because they are bored.  Technology is for making life easier, but suddenly the world has decided that some things have been made too easy.  Many would rather waste their time doing a simple thing in a difficult way because it makes them feel as if they have…talent.

I'm a purist.  I'm keeping it old school.  That is why I use a rotary phone like in the old days.  If you don't use a rotary phone then you are just a poser that pushes buttons to get the same effect in a more efficient way.  How dare you…with your fancy lit up buttons.  Don't you know that rotary phones sound better and make you a real caller?

The humor is lost and half of the readers focus on the fact that it's not PC to say "retarded" in the year of their lord, 2014.  I have a weak defense, "I only use that word when I'…

DJ Leon Lamont - Honey - 8.8.2014

DJ Leon Lamont - Honey - STL - Naked Bike Ride

Mike Stud, IamG, Justina, DJ Leon Lamont - July 18, 2014- St. Louis, MO

Like Frankenstein

One of the things in my life that made me sympathetic to the foibles and frustrations of the fictional character, Dr. Frankenstein, was my rock band in the early 90's.  I had a concise idea of what I wanted it to be and how I wanted it to sound and it turned out to be something completely different.  You have this thing that is an abomination of your original idea…an odd beast that has run amok.
Not unlike the first Frankenstein monster, you start a band by pulling all of these different people into one entity all mismatched and crudely stitched together and you add electricity to it to bring it to life.  Something is unfinished or goes wrong and you try to make do with a temporary part, not knowing that the temporary part will become permanent.  Such was the case with my band not being able to find a vocalist.  I underestimated the difficulty of what seemed like a simple task.  My impatience got the better of me and I took on the task of vocalist myself while simultaneously pla…

Red, White and You: RCA cables for the DJ

People venture into the world of being a DJ and don't ask questions because somewhere along the way someone made them feel as though they asked a stupid question.  There are no stupid questions.  Either you know or you don't know.

Today, uncle Leon is going to write about the veins of the modern DJ system…the RCA cables.  What does "RCA" mean?  RCA is named after the company who invented them,The Radio Corporation of America.  RCA cables are the cables you would normally use to hook up turntables or CD players to a DJ mixer.  There are two lines: left and right.  Red equals "right" and white equals "left".  Red equals "positive"  and white equals "negative".  If you find yourself buying the orange and grey cables then it's orange equals "positive" and grey equals "negative".  An easy thing to remember is that red equals "right".  The hot color or bright color is always the right side or hot/po…

DJ Offended

Recently, a few people mentioned to me that a local DJ was playing at a venue I used to DJ at, the owner said something to the DJ that the DJ found offensive, then said DJ stopped in the middle of his set and packed up and left.  When asked what I thought about the incident I responded, "Why should  I care?  You're either professional or you're not."  I'm a professional…someone hires me to do a job…I do it.  Anything that happens or that is said during the gig is just another story to share with other DJs after the gig.  It's a bar.  What are you doing working in a bar if you are easily offended?  I can't imagine  anything the owner said to be more offensive than the lyrics I hear in modern Hip-Hop music. Furthermore, the venue in question already has a horrible reputation with DJs, so the DJ should've been prepared for some level of ill repute  going into it.     

Have I ever packed up in the middle of my set and left?  Not really.  There was one ti…


Professional Musicians

If I could wish one thing for all of my talented musicians friends…it would be that, one day, they would be able to work with a truly professional musician at least once before they died.  Technically, anyone that is paid to do something is a professional.  So I guess what I really mean is that they would get to work with a good, organized, serious professional.  An ex-musician brought it to my attention recently that, during his stint as a musician, he never had a manager, a booking agent, been on tour, had a record deal or worked with anyone even remotely famous on stage.  In a drunken slur of words this ex-musician accused me of having taken these experiences for granted.  I tried in vain to assure him such was not the case.  I appreciate every word blurb, gig (in or out of town), praise, criticism, management, record deal, and every famous and infamous musician that allowed me to share the stage with them.  It's an honor, a treat and (as this ex-musician …