Jr. Star Shows Thed the Light
When's the last time you had an epiphany? I had one this past Tuesday night. I went to Sharrif Simmon's taping of his TV show @ Mathew's Bar & Grill/[Birmingham, AL] and I walked over to politic with Junior Star for a minute. I'm standing there looking at his set up. I notice two CD Turntables and two Technic Turntables. My initial thought was that the Technics' were for "show". I thought they were mere urban musical ornaments, (i.e. decoration). Then I noticed the crate of albums behind him and I realized that the Technics were there to be used and not just for show.
I've always looked at record players as just a way to play music. Like an 8-track or a cassette tape. I figured that if you're not scratching and doing multiple DJ tricks all the time, there's no need to have a REAL Turntable set up. I have seen DJ's set up real turntables recently but most of the time they are linked to a laptop and the DJ is actually spinning mp3's or .wav files, and not multiple records. Junior Star was spinning records & CDs. It didn't really hit me until I started talking to him and I noticed that Sharrif had brought a live band to perform with. I'm looking at a saxophonist, trumpeter, bass player, guitar player and a drummer. Even Sharrif had a guitar around his neck for most of his set. This is when I asked myself, "when do musical instruments go out of style?" The answer is obvious...they don't.
For the first time I realized that knowing how to play music for others to enjoy with a record player is an art or at worst a skill. Knowing how to purchase and replace a needle is analogous to knowing how to purchase and replace strings on a guitar. Knowing how to find the song you want by reading the grooves on a black wax disc is analogous to knowing which combination of valves to press on a trumpet and how you should blow to make the desirable sound. If hip hop is music, then Technic Turntables are instruments...are they not?
So the next time you see a DJ bring out two REAL Turntables, know that you're watching a skilled performer whether he's scratching or just finding the right songs between wax grooves* on a black disc. He's displaying a knowledge base just as a pianist plays simple chords to harmonize with a singer. Thanks Junior Star. Keep spinning.
*[I just realized that the "grooves" on a record/album are probably the origin of us calling songs "grooves". ]