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Sure, we have DJs spinning in clubs just like previous generations, but a glaring difference is the sheer spectacle of DJ sets today. Filling stadiums and attracting mainstream audiences far and wide, few feel the need to look into what happened before, how it was in the good old days. That mellow intimacy of the original club days is gone. Now, attending popular dance events involves underage kids dressed head-to-toe in neon American Apparel, sporting nonfunctional eyewear and screaming for the ever-present, “drop.” That’s why looking at these pages from the premiere issue of D.J. International is so intriguing and critical. Via Gridface:

Here’s another blast from Chicago’s disco past, courtesy of Daniel Goss. Rocky Jones used the name “D.J. International” for this magazine, years before founding his famous record label. As near as I can tell, this premier issue is from the spring of 1979.

Jones surveys DJs on the topic of unionization, observing “a fear of corruption and unfair practices.” Another piece describes the first annual Aragon Ballroom “Battle of the D.J.’s” won by Kenny Jason. (In a possible case of sour grapes, a couple of Gay Chicago articles from the period imply that Jason won because he was associated with the event promoters.) There are profiles of Kenny Jason, Lou DiVito, Rick Gianatos, and Al Siewart, as well as photos of many other DJs.

Check out the pages here.




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