This past weekend, one of the trailblazers of house music Daniel Wherret (known as DJ Dan) underwent a rather odd incident in Baltimore. At Red Maple, DJ Dan was spinning his masterful house set as normal, when a brash couple came up to ask for a mainstream song request. Without the ability to handle rejection, the boyfriend decided to escalate the situation with a swing at the disc jockey (because that will change his mind, of course). The couple was quickly ejected after the quick altercation and DJ Dan took to facebook to share the experience.
“The place was packed with my hardcore followers and the vibe was amazing. A girl who obviously did not know anything about me (or the night) kept coming up to me asking for a request I did not have nor would I ever play. I politely told her that I did not have it but if I had a remix of it that I liked I would play it but I just don’t have it. She said ‘How can you not have that? You’re the dj, you should have that’.
Then at about 1:30 she came back up asking for it again with a guy next to her. I honestly didn’t even realize they were together and trusting that the place was packed with people that came to hear my set, I figured he was a fan and he would hear me out and help me get through to her. Especially since he could see that I was still mixing and could not carry on this conversation. I looked at him and said…can you please explain to her that the track she is asking for is just not my style or sound? Shockingly, he started lunging an at me and said something along the lines of, ‘Bro you need to stop being disrespectful to her and play the song…’ To which I responded that no, actually I don’t! Then he ran up into the dj booth and swung at me, fortunately he missed and barely got me. Right then my friend stepped in between the two of us until the security guards came to have them removed from the club. While this was happening, I shut the music off and pointed right at him and announced ‘This guy just tried to hit me because I wouldn’t play his girl’s mainstream request’. The crowd booed at him and then I made my announcement that was captured on video.”
That video can be seen here as captured by DJ Scotto. Meanwhile, promoter Leonard Clarke for the venue also had this to say of the madness that Friday.
“I think Dan’s description of the incident as he posted it on his FB page was generally accurate and fair. This was an unfortunate and regrettable incident perpetrated by an intoxicated individual whom, unlike the other 99% of those in attendance that night, was not there for DJ Dan or for house music.”
Just because the DJ isn’t playing the Billboard Top 100 does not entitle anyone to barge into the booth and give them any requests. We have heard multiple stories where DJs and producers have been asked to change the song or given the boot for playing what they love rather than what the top-dollar customer loves to hear. Artists like Fake Blood, DJ Shadow, Kill Paris have all been kicked for these reasons and even Calvin Harris took criticism for playing his own song! This is an issue for audiences who crave to see a musician but cannot handle his/her track selection. It ruins the vibe, the atmosphere, and the positivity an event promotes for normal fans as well as for the musicians performing.
Hopefully, some people can get there bearings together and realize that if the DJ says no to their song request, they should turn around and leave.