Sleep-Deprived & Heading To The Love Show’s Send-Off Gala Tonight

I’m sooo tired, my phone number should be 1-800-Mattress. I’m so tired, if I go to an airport they’ll make me check the bags under my eyes. I’ll try to tell you where I’m at but don’t expect too much of me today.

Last night I went to the celebration of Mark Kamins’ life at Santos Party House and saw people I haven’t seen in decades and might never see again. I had the honor to introduce Konk, a band of note that hadn’t performed since 1986. All around me were familiar faces from an era that I enjoyed so much. The late, great Mark Kamins would have been happy. It felt right. The music was wonderful and the love in the hearts of attendees was anchored by his memory.

While "working the room," I was continuously reminded of nights and people lost in time and space. Tall tales were told. Some stories that were horrible at the time were comical when told of again. It was 30 years ago when we all danced together, made love, and knew we were oh-so-cool. We all felt so immortal.

Mark’s passing has seemed to define our mortality as never before. The arc of our lives took us to an alternative universe where we could play with others who also felt the call to the corners. From these corners, world-renowned artists, musicians, and personalities arose and all moved on. The creatures of the night went their separate ways as misspent youths adapted to a world of adult responsibilities. It took Mark Kamins’ passing to bring us back together.

If I wasn’t so exhausted, I’d head off to see the legendary Robin Byrd, who is doing a Q&A thing tonight at 7pm at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. I personally have a thousand questions I’d love to ask her although I suspect not all of them have answers. I must stumble over to The DL for George Wayne’s Downtown 100 List party.

If I could muster up the energy, I might check out Goldbar, where” Live Flamenco” night is happening for the early birds from 9pm to 11pm, after which DJs Jonny "The Lover" Lennon, Louie XIV, and Chino are entertaining. “Future-themed Thursdays” include doo-wop, jazz, and karaoke. As the evening progresses, rock and hip hop will prevail. They seem to be trying to have fun over at Goldbar. A concept lost on so many operators.

Although I am too burnt out to tell you all about it, I must mention that The Love Show is on its way to Tokyo to shock and awe. Tonight they will have a send-off gala at Triskelion Arts, 118 N. 11th St., 3rd floor, between Berry and Wythe in Williamsburg. Due to its proximity to my apartment, this I can attend and after sleepwalk my way to my nearby bed. Please everyone say: Goodnight Mr. Lewis.

Honoring Mark Kamins With None Other Than A DJ-Filled Party At Santos

The passing of Mark Kamins was a definite shock and awww (editor Bonnie spelled correctly!) event. His passing in February made us all a bit more mortal, a lot more empty, and had us all thinking back to our misspent youths… well, spent anyway. Mark’s legacy includes names like Madonna, David Byrne, and Ofra Haza, and almost "everybody" of importance in the downtown DJ/music scene. An event called Mark & Cetera – a pow-wow of "everybody" – will celebrate his life. Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette, will host the party on Wednesday, April 17th.

The band Konk will perform for the first time since 1986. Other performances will include Crystal Ark, Nomi Ruiz, Coati Mundi, Strafe, Johnny Dynell, John Robbie with Harmony Trujillo, and the debut of the Pow Wow Band.

DJ sets by Mike Pickering, Jellybean Benitez, Veronika Vasicka, Justin Strauss, Stretch Armstrong, Eric Duncan, Francois K, WorldWarWalter, Jazzy Nice, Bill Bahlman, Mark Elias, Mark Fotiadis, Kip Lavinger, Ivan Ivan, Delphine Blue, Dodo Almaas, Walter Vee, Jody Kurilla, and more will bring us back to the glory days of Danceteria and Area.

A $20 donation to support the Mark Kamins Scholarship Award in electronic music is being collected.

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Private Mark Kamins Memorial Happening Tonight

Tonight, about 50 of Mark Kamins’ friends will gather at Ed Steinberg’s apartment to remember the legendary DJ/producer and all-around great guy Mark Kamins who passed earlier this week. It’s always a shock when someone you know goes away before a reasonable time. Mortality is a call in the middle of the night…too soon, too soon. Immortality is a record or track played again and again. It’s a legacy that inspires. It’s a thread in the fabric of our culture. Mark did all that he could with the time he was allotted. His ticker might have been weak and malfunctioning, but his heart was strong and pure.

He left us with a lot… so much… but passed because he didn’t have the means to mend his broken heart. Now we are left heartbroken…missing our friend, our mentor, our beacon. Mark could have had more if he didn’t seek the purity. If he had sold out more, worked with less eclectic performers, played more mainstream stuff. He was an artist who died in Mexico far away from so many friends, but teaching the next generation his craft, his art. His passing has left us with an empty feeling .His life filled us with joy and amazement.

He, of course, was most famous for "discovering Madonna" and producing everybody’s favorite track “Everybody.” The other day I wrote a little something about Mark and the Hollywood Reporter referred to my post, so I’ll refer to a quote they attribute to Madonna. The material girl said:

"I’m very sorry to hear about Mark’s death. I haven’t seen him for years, but if it weren’t for him, I might not have had a singing career. He was the first DJ to play my demos before I had a record deal. He believed in me before anyone else did. I owe him a lot. May he Rest in Peace."

As I mentioned last week, Lit Lounge will be celebrating its 11th year as the go-to place for those of us seeking reliable mayhem. I was asked to DJ, but alas I will be out of town at a wedding, suffering the 80-degree weather in Puerto Rico. You lucky ones will get to attend and enjoy the great crowd and DJs Leo Fitzpatrick, Joshua Wildman, JR, Prince Terrence, Illyse Singer, Nate Turbow, JD Gluckstein, Haruka Salt, Austin Peters, and Nick Darmstaedter. That’s this Friday and as usual: expect the unusual and unexpected.

Last night, while I was eating with colleagues at Aurora, I ran into artist Maripol – who documented Madonna’s rise and designed her jewelry – had been crying for days. She will be with us tonight as we wipe the tears from each other’s faces and tell stories of a life well lived. There will be a public gathering soon. DJ friends will play at some club where people will appreciate what Mark contributed to our way. I’ll let you know.

Legendary DJ & Producer Mark Kamins Has Passed Away

The rumor mill has it that legendary DJ/producer Mark Kamins has passed. A massive coronary in Guadalajara, Mexico where he (pictured, last on the left) apparently was teaching was cited. He was having heart problems for a few months and about three days ago went to see a cardiologist. Yesterday he wasn’t feeling well and went to a hospital and passed away. Facebook, often the fastest bearer of good and bad news, has it being true. A number of close mutual friends are sadly confirming that this club/music legend has moved on. Mark was best known for helping sign a young Madonna to Seymour Steins’ Sire Records and producing her hit "Everybody." That was back in 1982. 

He worked with David Byrne, Ofra Haza, Karen Finley, and UB40 and Sinead. He had a heart of gold and a million friends. I just got this news about an hour ago and I am a bit shaken and not stirred to write anything. I will say that when I spoke to him a number of months ago, he seemed pressured. Some are saying he needed a heart bypass and didn’t have the means. Word came to me that his ex has confirmed. I’m not sure how this will become official … move from rumor to fact. That’s all I know except that Mark was beyond a legend. He was exceedingly human. He was vulnerable but sure, brilliant yet lost, a good friend but often very much a loner. I DJ’d with him at subMercer a couple years back and it was just about the most fun I’ve had at that game. Justin Strauss was whispering the names of obscure tracks Mark was spinning, and I’d go to the booth and say "hey, I was going to play that" and he was incredulous and amused. Mark tried to help me DJ but of course that was impossible. He was a titan and I a mouse. He was just grand. 

Here is an interview I did with Mark in the mag back in December 2008. Rest in Peace, old friend.

Legend has it that Mark Kamins was bugging Sire Record’s Seymour Stein for a producing gig, and Stein told him to get his own act. That act turned out to be Kamins’ ex-girlfriend Madonna. Stein was so anxious to sign the material girl that she was rushed to his hospital bed to get it done. Mark’s production of her first single “Everybody” still bangs dance floors today. Kamins’ production career includes work with the Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor, the Beastie Boys, and my old friend and Danceteria bartender turned performance artist Karen Finley. When I was going through my wonderbread years in the nightclub world, I looked up to Mark and always felt privileged to have a few minutes of his time. I caught up with him via Skype as he is now living in Europe, and we chatted about the music and the rise of the International DJ.

Where are you now? I’m in Paris, then I’m going to Moscow, and then Tokyo for a month.

You’ve made a life for yourself as a traveling DJ. Well, now I’m like Barbara Streisand — I’m on my retirement tour, then I’ll come back out of retirement next year.

Can a person like you retire? I don’t think so. DJs will play till they die.

Years ago before I was in the nightlife business, I looked up to you like you were a god. You were one of the people on the scene who was not just making music but was also leading the way, taking everybody to a place they hadn’t been before. Where was your beginning in this business? I was always just a guy who played records at parties, from when I was ten years old on.

You DJed at places like the Mudd Club, Danceteria, and Peppermint Lounge. My first gig was at Trax, which was the rock club on 72nd and Columbus. And that’s when Jim Fouratt and Rudolph heard me and Sean Cassette play, and they decided to put both of us together in the booth at Danceteria.

What are your memories of Danceteria? There were at least three Danceterias; the first one was on 38th Street, and it was an illegal Mafia club with no liquor license, but we sold drink tickets. Jim Fourrat had this concept of bringing the bands, and Rudolph had this concept of image, and we were the first club to have video. The magic of the first Danceteria was Jim and Rudolph taking Sean Cassette from Hurrah (which was Arthur Weinstein’s first club) and then taking me from Trax, where I played Motown and hardcore R&B, and putting us together in the booth at Danceteria. We opened at 8 p.m. and played till 8 a.m., which was the first time two DJs played together for 12 hours. Sean would go into punk, and I would go into James Brown and beyond, and that was the magic of it. This was around the beginning of the new wave era, with the coming out of the Sex Pistols. Those were the original seeds of new wave.

New wave to me was one of the most fun music genres. I guess now that music is going that way, the electronic music is happier. Do you see that in Europe also? What’s going on in Europe right now is amazing; it’s a very 80s feel, but its very electro. A lot of bands want to sound retro; they don’t want to sound fresh from all the new technology. They want to record on tape, they don’t want to record on the computer. So it’s really exciting when I listen to these kids, even my son’s band, The Young Lords … it’s amazing, that these young kids can take the new music and do that again.

In the 50s we had jazz, the 60s rock, 70s disco etc., and somewhere around the 90s and 2000, there wasn’t much new music being made. Now it seems that there’s a new type of music or a new energy coming. Can the mash-up be considered a genre? No. I’m a DJ, and every DJ has the same record — it’s how you play that record, that’s what makes a difference. So what’s happening now is that new kids want to hear live music, and its killing old school guys like myself and Frankie and Jellybean. Rock bands are doing DJ sets, which is now the hippest thing in Paris, and one of the hippest things in New York. So, in a funny way we’ve gone the full circle — we killed live music and bands in the 80s, and now they’re killing the DJs.

Bring me back to a time with the Beastie Boys, with Madonna and seeing a type of music, seeing a person like that — the talent of the Beastie Boys coming up through the nightclubs. First of all, I think Danceteria was a magical space like Andy Warhol’s Factory or Max’s Kansas City or CBGBs. Jim Fouratt and Rudolph had this amazing finesse to hire people that they believed in. Why were the Beastie Boys the sweepers at Danceteria? Why was Madonna one of the dancers? Why Sade was the bartender at Danceteria? That’s crazy shit man. So you’re talking about a magical moment, a magical space, and a magical time where it was the beginning of something. Even Karen Finley was the bartender, and LL Cool J was a busboy. Rick Rubin, who is now one of the greatest producers in the music business, his first gig was playing with the Beastie Boys on the second floor of Danceteria because I had to go to a gig in Europe. I have a Polaroid picture of that night.

How did you help to launch Madonna’s career? I produced Madonna’s first record, “Everybody”. I discovered her and brought her to Seymour Stein. At that time, I was working for Chris Blackwell at Island Records, but I was the DJ for the Talking Heads so I knew Seymour. I brought Madonna to see him, and he gave me a singles deal, and then we did it. That was probably her best record, the only one she made with a live drummer.

You went on to work at other clubs like Mars, Tunnel, Palladium, and at one point decided to take your show on the road and you ended up in Russia, Japan, and Brazil. Every time I spoke to you, you were coming from someplace like that. A lot of club promoters and club owners came to see me, and they would come up to the booth and say, “Forget about what’s happening here, would you come and play in my club?” And I became the first DJ that was booked to travel and play in all these other countries.

That was unheard of, and I remember you bringing back world beats, stuff from Greece, Spain, Africa, that people had never heard of. And Belgium and Japan also … there was one record shop in Japan called Wave that actually had every record from every country in the world.

There was a time when DJs didn’t travel internationally, and the beginning of it was with you, Mr. Mark Kamins. I opened the doors for a lot of guys, especially in Japan. We opened the first real nightclub in Japan called Turia, and then a few years later we opened Gold, and that was the first club where every two weeks I would bring in a DJ from New York. I loved it. It was the first time David Morales, Little Louie Vega, Dimitri, and all those guys left New York City.

Mark Kamins’ Greatest Legacy & My Spot On The ‘Vanity Fair’ Downtown 100 List

The celebration of Mark Kamins’ life and times culminates at Santos Party House tonight. Konk will perform for the first time since 1986. Lady Miss Kier of Dee-Lite fame, as well. Coati Mundi, Crystal Ark, and a ton of other performers will crowd both floors of the club that most resembles the old- school type clubs where most of these folks did their thing …in days of yore. A zillion DJs including Jellybean Benitez and Justin Strauss and Mike Pickering and Stretch Armstrong and Ivan Ivan and Jazzy Nice and and and…. will make musical statements about the man we and thousands of others loved. I will MC along with Jim Fouratt, Chi Chi Valenti, Michael Holman, and and and. Proceeds of the event will go to the Mark Kamins Scholarship Award in Electronic Music. Walter Durkacz is the puppeteer pulling all the strings that make this sort of thing happen. Not an easy gig.

This journey will end for all of us maybe tomorrow, maybe in 40 or 50 years. Many have preceded. Some people will say Mark’s legacy can be defined by a great record or his immense body of work. I think Mark Kamins’ legacy is the love that he instilled in the hearts of all the people who will gather tonight to remember and celebrate a life well-lived. 
 
For 20 years, Vanity Fair’s George Wayne has compiled his Downtown 100 List for his annual party of the Most Fabulous+Inspired+Relevant People Who Today Define Downtown. The list has often been controversial, as many who think of themselves in those terms have been snubbed, and many newbies added have gained instantaneous validation and recognition.

The order of the list seems to be irrelevant save for the first name who is always someone delicious. This year that name is Kate Upton. The list includes Solange Knowles and Vito Schnabel and Marc Jacobs and Dita Von Teese and Alan Cumming and Susanne Bartsch and, like, 94 more. I am honored to be listed as well. George is an old and extremely vibrant friend. I will join him on The DL Rooftop, 95 Delancey, tomorrow night at 10pm.

Follow me on Twitter for my latest rants, observations, and controversies. 

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Silver Lining

Mark Kamins is out in the world DJing, creating, staying relevant, growing with the music, changing with the times and not retiring. In the conversation I had with him via Skype (see part one of our interview) he told me of DJs in Parisian clubs making peanuts as the world economy tanks. Still, the circuit DJs keep pulling in big bucks. The Haves and Have-Nots concept I apply to clubs in a recession seems to apply to DJs as well. Mark refers to Danceteria and mentions how poor everyone was; in the pre-bottle-service era, clubbies spent half of their energy on dancing and scrounging drink tickets. Danceteria gave birth, or at least a significant boost to legends, including Madonna, Run DMC, Russell Simmons, Chris Isaak, the Psychedelic Furs, and so many more — a list of employees who would become stars. I still visit a website where old habitués of the joint chat about old and new.

This is why I keep thinking that the club world is on the verge. Out of these economic times, a new generation of talented folk will emerge and most likely shape things culturally for decades. Maybe I’ll just name the next joint I build “Silver Lining”. Although my age makes me a bit creaky in the joints, and I sleep a bit more (I’m up to 20 hours a week), it also affords me the resulting experience. I remember the lean times and how the creatures of the night, unable to afford designer or “label” clothes, turned to style to get them what they needed. Modern clubs need style. I see it in the bars and coffee shops and of course on the street, but in the clubs its mostly clones. Out of the pain, the music exploding all over the world will once again become the driving force in nightlife. Dollar for dollar, a nightclub affords you a great hourly rate; a movie costs you at least ten bucks an hour, bowling and pool more, and Broadway and off-Broadway even more. Even if you can’t hustle your way into a joint for free or on the cheap, it still can be a five-buck-an-hour dance-a-thon.

The people need clubs, and the clubs must adjust to afford letting people in who don’t necessarily have hundreds to blow. The image promoter should fade as real style replaces the yuppie and bottle-service mentality. Word of mouth might push out unaffordable publicists, and staffing costs might just diminish as the hostesses and runners and door people are less important. A club full of stylish folk listening to music and drinking not-so-expensive drinks will remind us of those legendary days. For the second half of my conversation with Mark Kamins, we made our personal lists of our favorite clubs of yesterday.

You’re a multi-faceted DJ, with influences from all over the world. Maybe that’s why I don’t really have a specific song. If you want a David Morales mix, or a Junior Vasquez or Eric Morillo mix, you know what their records are going to sound like. But if you hire me, I do a lot of mixes. I want it to be contemporary, and I do my thing. I’ve always kept my ears to the street, and I’ve always wanted to play new music.

For a while, you were even down in Central America. Yes, I was head of Warner Brothers records in Mexico City for three years.

What were you trying to accomplish? What was interesting is they had a roster of about 12 acts. The one, two, and three acts, they said you don’t deal with them — that’s Luis Miguel, Mana, etc., they sell millions of records. So I went to the bottom of the list, and there was this fat Cuban guy, and I said OK, let’s produce this guy, and we made a record, and it ended up selling six million. I like to work with the underdogs — that’s what turns me on. So I took it upon myself to make something out of those guys.

Now how often do you get back to New York? I left New York after 9/11. I was living my whole life waiting for my next trip to Europe, and after 9/11 (I lived two blocks from the towers) and a couple of family tragedies, I said hey, fuck it, let’s live in Europe, let’s do it. So I sold the loft in Tribeca, and I moved to Paris. It’s been great every since.

Let’s talk about the best clubs in New York. My list of the five best clubs are: Area, Max’s Kansas City, Studio 54, the World, and Paradise. Danceteria was sixth on my list. OK, so the five or six clubs you mentioned were all run by two groups of people; you have your Rudolfs and Fouratts, then your Rubells and your Schragers.

To me, the World was one of the best because it was the first club where there was a lot of non-white people in the club mixing with the mainstream white crowd that dominated New York at that time. More than Danceteria?

Yes, I think so. You see, that’s my problem — everybody thinks Danceteria was a rock club, and it wasn’t a rock club. There was rock ‘n roll music on the first floor, and every time there’s mention of disco and house music, they never talk about Danceteria.

But the fact that Danceteria still has a website 20 years later where everybody is getting together and chatting is amazing. So what are your five? OK, so that’s your five with your criteria as a blogger and a big shot. With my criteria, I would say the Milk Bar, Opera Afterhours, Le Jarden, Plato’s Retreat, Galaxy, (more than five) Infinity, and the Saint — that’s a must.

What does a club mean? What a club means to me is that when you come in, you feel like you’re with your family. You’re not a customer, you’re not a client, you’re family. And all the clubs you mentioned, when you walked in, you were family. It’s about being home.

I think people misunderstand service and familiarity. They can service you, they can get your bottle to your table fast, and the girl will be pretty, but they don’t understand that you have to know the person. But we didn’t even buy bottles in those days, we had no money to buy a fucking bottle, we were lucky to scam a drink ticket. That’s what it was all about. But what I figured out, the most important thing I ever learned in my life, was to rotate the dance floor. My numbers at the bar were higher than any other DJ at clubs like Danceteria and Mars.

What does rotating the dance floor mean? It was changing the music in a way that — I wasn’t playing a ballad just to change things, I would play a record that would change the feeling, change the aura. It would get people to go from the bar to the floor, from the floor to the bar.

Who do you see from the old crowd in Paris? What’s crazy about Paris is that everybody comes through. Afrika Bambaataa is playing tomorrow night, the Zulu Nation is playing in Paris tomorrow night!

What’s he playing, is it old school shit or modern? C’mon Steve, we do what we do.

Give me a moment that you look back on your life and can’t believe it happened. I was DJing in club Xenon one night because Jellybean had to take the night off, and he asked me to play. I’m in the DJ booth playing a record — Burn Rubber on Me — and Grace Jones and Larry Levan are standing behind me — and the fucking record started to skip! I start to freak out; I’ve got Grace Jones and Larry behind me, and the record is fucking skipping. Grace comes to my ear and says, “Use your mistakes”. Now in those days I had three turntables, so while the record is skipping on the beat, I took an acapella from the second turn table and the acapella was Jocelyn Brown I think, so she’s singing over the skip, and on the third table I took a drum track and mixed it in. I had all three turntables playing, and Grace turned around and said, “Yes, thank you for using your mistake,” and Larry Levan is looking at both of us like we’re crazy.

That’s an amazing Grace story!
Luis Miguel Tickets

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Mark Kamins, International DJ

Legend has it that Mark Kamins was bugging Sire Record’s Seymour Stein for a producing gig, and Stein told him to get his own act. That act turned out to be Kamins’ ex-girlfriend Madonna. Stein was so anxious to sign the material girl that she was rushed to his hospital bed to get it done. Mark’s production of her first single “Everybody” still bangs dance floors today. Kamins’ production career includes work with the Talking Heads, Sinead O’Connor, the Beastie Boys, and my old friend and Danceteria bartender turned performance artist Karen Finley. When I was going through my wonderbread years in the nightclub world, I looked up to Mark and always felt privileged to have a few minutes of his time. I caught up with him via Skype as he is now living in Europe, and we chatted about the music and the rise of the International DJ.

Where are you now? I’m in Paris, then I’m going to Moscow, and then Tokyo for a month.

You’ve made a life for yourself as a traveling DJ. Well, now I’m like Barbara Streisand — I’m on my retirement tour, then I’ll come back out of retirement next year.

Can a person like you retire? I don’t think so. DJs will play till they die.

Years ago before I was in the nightlife business, I looked up to you like you were a god. You were one of the people on the scene who was not just making music but was also leading the way, taking everybody to a place they hadn’t been before. Where was your beginning in this business? I was always just a guy who played records at parties, from when I was ten years old on.

You DJed at places like the Mudd Club, Danceteria, and Peppermint Lounge. My first gig was at Trax, which was the rock club on 72nd and Columbus. And that’s when Jim Fouratt and Rudolph heard me and Sean Cassette play, and they decided to put both of us together in the booth at Danceteria.

What are your memories of Danceteria? There were at least three Danceterias; the first one was on 38th Street, and it was an illegal Mafia club with no liquor license, but we sold drink tickets. Jim Fourrat had this concept of bringing the bands, and Rudolph had this concept of image, and we were the first club to have video. The magic of the first Danceteria was Jim and Rudolph taking Sean Cassette from Hurrah (which was Arthur Weinstein’s first club) and then taking me from Trax, where I played Motown and hardcore R&B, and putting us together in the booth at Danceteria. We opened at 8 p.m. and played till 8 a.m., which was the first time two DJs played together for 12 hours. Sean would go into punk, and I would go into James Brown and beyond, and that was the magic of it. This was around the beginning of the new wave era, with the coming out of the Sex Pistols. Those were the original seeds of new wave.

New wave to me was one of the most fun music genres. I guess now that music is going that way, the electronic music is happier. Do you see that in Europe also? What’s going on in Europe right now is amazing; it’s a very 80s feel, but its very electro. A lot of bands want to sound retro; they don’t want to sound fresh from all the new technology. They want to record on tape, they don’t want to record on the computer. So it’s really exciting when I listen to these kids, even my son’s band, The Young Lords … it’s amazing, that these young kids can take the new music and do that again.

In the 50s we had jazz, the 60s rock, 70s disco etc., and somewhere around the 90s and 2000, there wasn’t much new music being made. Now it seems that there’s a new type of music or a new energy coming. Can the mash-up be considered a genre? No. I’m a DJ, and every DJ has the same record — it’s how you play that record, that’s what makes a difference. So what’s happening now is that new kids want to hear live music, and its killing old school guys like myself and Frankie and Jellybean. Rock bands are doing DJ sets, which is now the hippest thing in Paris, and one of the hippest things in New York. So, in a funny way we’ve gone the full circle — we killed live music and bands in the 80s, and now they’re killing the DJs.

Bring me back to a time with the Beastie Boys, with Madonna and seeing a type of music, seeing a person like that — the talent of the Beastie Boys coming up through the nightclubs. First of all, I think Danceteria was a magical space like Andy Warhol’s Factory or Max’s Kansas City or CBGBs. Jim Fouratt and Rudolph had this amazing finesse to hire people that they believed in. Why were the Beastie Boys the sweepers at Danceteria? Why was Madonna one of the dancers? Why Sade was the bartender at Danceteria? That’s crazy shit man. So you’re talking about a magical moment, a magical space, and a magical time where it was the beginning of something. Even Karen Finley was the bartender, and LL Cool J was a busboy. Rick Rubin, who is now one of the greatest producers in the music business, his first gig was playing with the Beastie Boys on the second floor of Danceteria because I had to go to a gig in Europe. I have a Polaroid picture of that night.

How did you help to launch Madonna’s career? I produced Madonna’s first record, “Everybody”. I discovered her and brought her to Seymour Stein. At that time, I was working for Chris Blackwell at Island Records, but I was the DJ for the Talking Heads so I knew Seymour. I brought Madonna to see him, and he gave me a singles deal, and then we did it. That was probably her best record, the only one she made with a live drummer.

You went on to work at other clubs like Mars, Tunnel, Palladium, and at one point decided to take your show on the road and you ended up in Russia, Japan, and Brazil. Every time I spoke to you, you were coming from someplace like that. A lot of club promoters and club owners came to see me, and they would come up to the booth and say, “Forget about what’s happening here, would you come and play in my club?” And I became the first DJ that was booked to travel and play in all these other countries.

That was unheard of, and I remember you bringing back world beats, stuff from Greece, Spain, Africa, that people had never heard of. And Belgium and Japan also … there was one record shop in Japan called Wave that actually had every record from every country in the world.

There was a time when DJs didn’t travel internationally, and the beginning of it was with you, Mr. Mark Kamins. I opened the doors for a lot of guys, especially in Japan. We opened the first real nightclub in Japan called Turia, and then a few years later we opened Gold, and that was the first club where every two weeks I would bring in a DJ from New York. I loved it. It was the first time David Morales, Little Louie Vega, Dimitri, and all those guys left New York City.