The other night, we watched a movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. It was the 1938 version, all black and white and fuzzy and wonderful. Recent correspondences with infamous DJ Junior Vasquez had me comparing him to Dickens’ main character Ebenezer Scrooge. Not because Junior is cheap or anything, but because of his transformation.
In A Christmas Carol, divine intervention restores the good in old Ebenezer, which by the end makes him a wonderful chap to be around. These days, Junior has also been transformed. He was Atilla the Hun, Junior, and now he’s Junior Mint. I don’t know if divine intervention played a hand, or a new prescription or the abandonment of an old one did it, or if it’s just a maturity that comes with age. I do know that I had a very few good friends that always vouched for him. When he was at his worst—a brooding, temperamental bully—they told me that he really had a heart of gold and was just acting out. We all forgave his sins and episodes because he was the greatest DJ on Earth.
These days, there are a great many Greatest DJs on Earth. Whether it is the internet (it’s always easy to blame the internet), or the global house music movement, DJs have become rockstars. Junior was a rock star before most of the others were out of diapers. Yet he wasn’t the first. He grew up in the shadow of Larry Levan, who to many was a deity. When Larry passed, Junior became the new deity.
He sent me an email the other day, and as I said, the comparison to the Dickens character struck me. I asked him if I could share it with you, as it is sort of a Christmas card. Junior is still troubled, but in his process he has found a road to happiness. We reveled in the past, in his moods as it meant good music. Nowadays, his set is less violent, less angry, and some might not embrace it as much as before. He has a new management team spearheaded by another greatest DJ, Timmy Regisford. He is playing around town now, and wants his old fans to come and dance. But more importantly, he wants a new crowd to express himself to. He plays monthly gigs at D36, weekly at Greenhouse, and approximately once a month at OPM in Brooklyn. Recently, he has played at Guilt Nightclub in Boston, 4Sixty6 Club in NJ, and is working on gigs in NYC, Miami, London, and Japan for the early months of next year. He told me he was busy in the studio working on new projects that he is "very excited about." He promised to keep me posted about his DJ and studio work, and send me some of his latest work as well. I asked him if I could publish the e-mail he sent me, as I thought it was really a wonderful insight into this enigmatic, very human, man. He told me it was okay to post, so here it is unedited:
I’m reaching out to you this day because I feel that your one of the only writers that I have actually read that speaks the truth. So we just had another great weekend when I played District 36 , its my second time playing there and I love the room it suits me well (brief interruption from the FDNY for 45 min ) but I understand everyone has a job to do so no one gets hurt. Obviously I used to hate it but I understand and it adds to drama of the room anyway. Which I always turn into my favor!
The last interview we did with Timmy Regisford and myself was amazing I thought his team of people have been a big help to this day filling in gaps which I needed and were getting Shelter/Factory on the way we did a test run and was a full house. Also my good friend Fabrizio has helped me so much along with my catologs and collecting all my materials also our mutual friend Dale who has massive reach with many of his music contacts and other contacts for great events and gigs for me to do as well and help brand me again. Everyone made me shave this time around and can send you my clean cut look as well know you like an image.
Well with all this being said the biggest part of my life now is to reach out to people like you or artists and industry people like Hosh Gurelli ,David Waxman of Ultra Records,Victor Calderone, Danny Tenaglia and many others I have not spoken to in a long time and I’m mending my bridges these days and I know it will take a bit but at least in my heart I can see the positive outcome.
With me reaching out I have got new remixes already to work on like Benny Bennassi and Kelly Clarkson, my biggest hope would be able to work with Madonna again and its my biggest passion . Sometimes you must see the light and I have. It’s an honor that I had the career that I did and also people have there ups and downs , these days I feel like I’m back on the upswing and I’m NOT looking back!! Would love to play in London,Miami, Tokyo and of course Amsterdam. I’m continuing my art which I love .
Well Steve Thank you for listening again and hope your well . I wish all well and please thank all my friends and fans staying with me and I WILL NOT FAIL THEM!