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* What is your full name?
Juan Jay Negron

* Where and when were you born?
July 1956 in TheBronx, NY, USA

* When did you get bitten by the Disco bug?
I always liked fast music with a beat. That started when I was a youngster. I started collecting records at the age of 6. No slow songs, They were all fast with a beat.
(Chubby Checker, DeeDee Sharp, Joey Dee & The
When Disco came out, I was already in.

* How come you started DJ'ing? Was it something you wanted to do, or did
it just "happen"?
It sorta just happened thru my love of music. Let me explain.
When I was a kid (ages 6-13) I used to study radio.
I used to study the DJs; Dan Ingram & Frankie Crocker were my favorite Radio DJs.
At college (1973) I was a Radio DJ at the Lehman College radio station WHLC 590 AM.
I was 16 yrs old and even playing hookey from class to do my show.
It was an uptempo R&B/Funk/Rock show. (Motown/Philly Sound/Rare Earth/Santana)
Eventually I was dropped from school for non-attendance, and the show died with it.

During the next year I met a neighborhood guy named Paul Solari, who was actually a club DJ.
He passed the corner where I was playing my latest cassette featuring some home made edits
of some current hits. ("Masterpiece" by The Temptations, "Jungle Fever", "Living For The City", "Mighty Love")
He liked the edits. He invited me to come to the club and I jumped at the invitation.
Soon he was showing me his craft--beat mixing---Gerrard turntables with no speed control.
He taught me everything, BPM, mixing during the intros & not the vocals, segue, double-copies,
self made extended versions using two 45s. He taught, I listened and got real good at it.
Paul became my mentor. We would spend 18 out of 24 hours together rapping about, disecting, listning to, debating
about MUSIC.

* Who was the first DJ you heard?
The first Club DJ I heard was at a place on W.81 st & Central Park West in 1971.
I was 15 years old and snuck in the club with a false ID. I paid $5 and they gave me a ticket to get a drink---&rt;in the bar next door!!!
The club didn't serve liquor.
It had all kind of different color lights, strobe, and people dancing wall-to-wall.
I immedietly was excited.
He was playing "Funky Nassau"---and that's the first thing I noticed.
I said to myself, I have that record home.
Then he played "Get On The Good Foot" by James Brown.
I said, WOW, I have that too.
I wound up having over 75% of the music he played and that was a boss feeling.
I said to myself, I could do this too.
So I spent the rest of the night watching him go from song to song, using a toggle switch.
No mixing---no cueing---No headphones.
Crowd was screaming to his selection all night.
At the end of the night, I thought, I've got to do this again.
I got bitten by the bug.

* Did you have any DJ "mentor(s)" or someone who influenced you? Some
comments on them?

My mentor/teacher was the man previously mentioned, Paul Solari. I was so young 16 & 1/2 years old so he had to teach me everything:

How to act, how to behave with bosses, who to respect at the club, who to keep away from, etc.

In addition what songs do the club like & don't like.

My taste at the time was very soul, pop & funk orientated.
I didn't know about the 'underground hustle music'.

He taught me that also.

* Could you name some of your personal favorite DJ's of the Disco era?

My absolute favorite was Walter Gibbons.

We used to go to Galaxy 21 after work to listen to him spin. Our clubs closed at 4am---Walter would be getting warmed up around that time. He would go until 11am sometimes. He had his own 'home made' remixes that he would play. He also worked on a 'tri-amp' system in which he would have separate volume controls for the bass, treble, & midrange.

He would work the controls in & out to make a different sound everytime he played the song.

It was incredible. He once played the break from "10%" and "Disco Party" back & forth, changing the bass, horns, & highs in & out, song to song; the place went nuts!!!!

Another DJ I loved was Francois Kervorkian.

He would take chances and be very progressive with his music. At 5am with the crowd screaming on he switched genres and went from "Super Freak" to "Bedsitter" to "Cake" to "Start Me Up" and back to
'D' Train. The crowd screamed even more. And he has remixes no one had. "Bedsitter" & "Cake" were a couple of them---&rt;took me 2 months to find. (imports)

* What do you think made you a top DJ? Any specific skills, special
technics or...?

I didn't invent the wheel or anything. I like to spin with momentum. I don't like to keep it on the same plane. I like to be progressing to an emotional upswing. It has to keep going up or it has to change.

If I see people on the dance floor getting bored even a little, I will change the music completely and start over. I want them hooping & hollering; havin' fun.

Another thing that made me a lil different is that I liked to have my own versions of the top songs. I made lots of plates at Sunshine Sound and even more on reel-to-reel or cassette.

* When did you start DJ'ing? Which was your first gig and how did you get it?

Paul Solari, my teacher/mentor gave me my first gig.

It was at 'The Last Laugh'--it was latin night - Thursday night and I had to play in between The Joe Cuba Sextette, a very popular salsa band from the late 60s. I was young & nervous and Paul would not be there--I was on my own and I did well.
I remember playing "Love's Theme" for the 1st time that night and people asking me "what is that song?".

I knew I was there to stay.

The first 2 places I worked at (Last Laugh & The Playhouse) was very Mob orientated places. I was young & naive to this fact. An older gentleman asked me to play Frank Sinatra; I then told him that I didn't have any and we don't play that here anyway. (I told him with the boldest face that a scrawney 17 year old could muster up)---The boss was there 10 minutes later looking in the closet for an old dusty Sinatra LP that he had stashed just in case; he was very very nervous as he pleaded/ordered me to play it. I naively asked him why? The people will stop dancing. This was at the height of the night. He was shaking at this point and said "Just do it NOW!"

* Have you ever worked with something else - Or is DJ'ing your life?

I've had different great jobs in my life.

I was a bus driver for the New York City Transit Authority for 10 years.(self-explanitory)

and I was a case manager/court liason for NYC T.A.S.C. {Treatment Alternatives for Street Crime}

I assessed defendants in prison for admission into various residential drug treatment programs.

That went on for 10 years.

I had my own problems with addiction.

With the help of Narcotics Anonymous I finally delt with my own demons. One day at a time!!!!!!

* Which clubs (and years) have you played?

The Last Laugh was my first in 1974.(3 months)

The Playhouse was 1975-1976.. (18 months)

Act III was 1976. (4 months)

Tropicalia was 1976-1980 (3 & 1/2 years)

Pegasus was 1980-1982 (18 months)

The Roof Top was 1984. I played there for 3 weekends until I was fired for partying in the booth. (I won't get into it here)

Any favorite club of those?

Obviously Tropicalia 'cause it was the most famous & beautiful club. The Playhouse because I was so young and could play ANYTHING there and they loved it!

* Would you say there Was a different crowd in each of the clubs? Were
there songs that were floorfillers in one club that didn't work in another

Absolutely---In the Bronx, I was well known. People would come to hear me play & to hear NEW music. That was easy. Once I went into Tropicalia in Manhattan, an established club, they didn't care for what I used to play in the Bronx and wanted to be entertained in a different way. They were like 6 months behind in the music, and I had to adjust BIG TIME!!!

When I got to Tropicalia they were into "MIDNIGHT LOVE AFFAIR", "LADY BUMP", & "TRY ME" and in the Bronx we were over those songs already. So I had to get the crowds favor by playing their favorites while training them to like newer music at the same time.

I worked there 5-6 nights a week so it was easy but still a task. Took me the better part of a year to do this. Ask Louis Pegno, who was the doorman. He would see the frustration in me from time to time.

* Can you name some special "anthems" for some of these clubs?




* Any comments or special memories from these clubs?

So many memories!!

Like the time Peter Martins the owner of Tropicalia threw George McCrae out of the DJ booth & club because he wasn't dressed properly (he had a jeans suit on)--Peter thought he was one of my friends from around the way. George was bringing me his latest 12" "LOVE IN MOTION / GIVIN BACK THE FEELIN"

At The Playhouse we booked The Trammps to play live on a saturday night in '75. We thought it would be 4 dudes lip-singing to their hits like American Bandstand or Soul Train. I mean they only has 4 singles out--no album yet--they were pretty cheap to get--only $1100 total for 2 sets.

They came with a 14 piece band--2 vans full, complete with a baby grand piano--they did ALL the Philly Sound hits to perfection: "LOVE TRAIN", "TIME", "BACK STABBERS", "THE LOVE I LOST", "SATISFACTION GUARANTEED", and their 4 singles:


They even did "SEXY" (MFSB's hit at the time).

I was pleasantly shocked!!!!! (for days)

* How did you land your first residency? Which Club was that?

The Playhouse was the first where I was the house DJ.

Paul Solari got US the job; we were partners.

He was like my agent, he did all the talking, all the negotiating, all the scheduling.

The other clubs I got on my own, thru the owner visiting where I was working (Tropicalia) or auditioning (Pegasus).

* Can you tell more about the Tropicalia? The Club, interior, DJ booth, location, bars and so on...

Tropicalia was beautiful. Mirrored walls. Silver shiny dance floor. Very elegant. DJ booth was not huge (one huge step up from the dance floor), but I could fit 3 crates of records in the shelves so it was ample. When you walked in the bar was to the left, tables to the right, bright colors all around, very elegant. Then the back room was huge & dark--flashing lights bouncing off the mirrors & dance floor--it was very hard to see.

* What about Pegasus, where were it located? What did you do when the
building were sold, did you quit DJ'ing, or?

Pegasus was on 2nd Avenue between 63 & 64 street.

I had to earn respect there. I was the only white person in a black club, so on appearence I didn't have much credibility at first. Only the backing of the floor manager who hired me. It took a few nights but I settled in nicely. I knew I was in when the bartender, a LL fan and Paradise Garage member, gave me the thumbs up!!!

When Pegasus was closed I didn't look for a DJ gig right away. The music was changing and the atmosphere was changing. I knew I just couldn't go to ANY club and play what I played to any crowd. Disco was split up to different factions in 1982.

Freestyle & HiNRG clubs abounded where "Funkytown" & "It's Raining Men" & "So Many Men" were must plays and I didn't want to do that.

The clubs that I could play freely were few & far between; and they were taken up already by new & hungrier DJs. Like I was when I was 17-20 years old.

Now I had a full time job (bus driver, paying me well with medical benefits) and I was happy doing private parties once in a while. That's when my problem with addiction went into full bloom. (I missed alot of songs between '84-'90)

* Since you're one of the classic "Disco-DJ's" - have you got
any comments on how the DJ was regarded in the beginning and how it has changed during the years?
Also, any comments on the techniques, equipment and stuff like that?

In the beginning the DJ was the guy who broke the music. In The Playhouse the crowd EXPECTED me to play all the BRAND NEW HOT music at the height of the night--1am. They went there for that. Up to 1980 the DJs ruled. After that Radio ruled. The dancing crowd listened to Disco Radio that would play the same 20 songs and would start expecting the DJs to do the same----and a lot of DJs did. There were many DJs that got good gigs being human juke boxes and that ruined it for many.
Many club owners concerned with business only would hire a DJ that would cater to the radio crowd.

If a DJ balked, he would be 'out' and the owner would hire someone that would.

There were clubs that played 'progressive' but were few and far between.

* Which music is the easiest to mix?

I guess the newer music is because the breaks are prevalent and the beats are constant, but if you are not careful what you program, 'like sounding beats' can get pretty boring. You can be technically the best mixer and have a pretty boring set. It's not always about the mix. It's about the atmosphere & the music you play.

* Easier or harder to mix back in the Disco days compared to today?

Easier to mix today, but harder to judge a dance floor.

* How
would you describe your playing style? Any "trademarks"?

Like noted above, momentum, drama, emotion, & happy music.

* Do you remember/can you tell which was your best gig ever?

Tropicalia & Pegasus are tied.

I could play the new mixed in with the classics at any given time.

* Do you or did you know many of the other great DJ's of the Disco era?

I seen most of them at the record pool (99 Prince St.)
I generally kept with myself & my friends Paul Solari & David C.

David had 2 nights at Ipanema, and then a residency at Coatails Disco.

*Have you got any comments/memories/info about them?

No we did not keep in touch. I have reunited with Paul thru this site. We are in touch now constantly; trading music & reminiscing

* Many Disco DJ's went into remixing as well - have you ever been
Only private remixes. Nothing released.

* I know you did the "Hollywood Dub" acetate, did you do other
mixes/remixes as well?

I've done many on acetate (Paul has them all) and on Reel & cassette. The story about the Hollywood Dub is on Disco Patrick's website.


* Can you tell how you worked when creating these remixes? And what drove
you to do them?

Mostly Me & Paul were inspired by Tom Moulton & Walter Gibbons. They didn't change the music. They just wanted to get the best part of the song longer & better suited for the dance floor. And that's what I did.

* What about Record Pools- Which did you belong to and when (how long)?
Did you recieve much records from them? Most records you got in a

First before the Record Pools, Me & Paul used to go to the record companies to get product. Each company had mostly the same DJs getting music. Then Billy Smith the promo guy of 20th Century Records circulated his list that most of the companies adopted to be "the list"---if you was not on the list, you wasn't getting any music.

I was a charter member of the first record pool called "The Record Pool" at 99 Prince St. It was run by David Mancuso, David Rodriguez, & Steve D'Aquisto.

After politics was going to tear the pool apart many DJs went with Judy Weinstein's "For The Record" run by Eddie Rivera, the 'Cork & Bottle' DJ.

I went to LI Disco DJs run by Jackie McCloy. I knew him and I knew he ran a tight ship. None of his DJs were bogus. The most records I got in a week was around 50 with an average weekly pick up of 35. Only a few were good---lots of BS music being pushed on us at the time.

* Which other DJ's was members of the same Record Pool, any one of them
you were good friends with?

I wasn't "good friends" with any, but I used to pal around with Bacho (everyone did)

* Have you still got your DJ record collection? Or have you sold it off?

I still have most of my records---I used to give at least 100-200 discs away each year ('77-'00)---I figured if I didn't play them, I didn't need them. I was foolish. Wish I had some of 'em back!!--I still have about 2,000 discs behind my couch.

*You must have got a HUGE (and GREAT) collection if you've kept all your
during the years.

I kept the cream of the crop.

* Could you name some of your favorite Disco songs? Like some kind of Top
Ten or likewise...

That's always hard! ok, today it's:


Did I tell you that I love the Philly Sound??

* Did you like Disco music during that era, or was it just a job? (Since
you were a DJ I guess you liked it !)

It started going bad for me when real commercial bubble gum songs (to me) started being real big hits: "FUNKYTOWN", "IT'S RAINING MEN", "SO MANY MEN", Viola Wills, all the freestyle sounding the same drove me away for awhile. When HOUSE, which I see as a direct decendant of Disco, came on I got interested again. Artists like Ten City, Jamiroquai, C&C, & Incognito brought it back for me.

* If you could choose one Disco track that would describe you, which track
would it be?

"DISCO PARTY" The Trammps.

"you only go around once in life, and it's about time you have some spice; all work & no play makes a very dull day, yea,yea, yo, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoh!!!"

* What kind of music do you personally preffer?

Music that moves me---mostly Disco/House/Funk with momentum.

That narrow it down for you??

I just LOVE music.

* Since you DJ's helped launching many fine artists during the years...
Any special ones you wanna mention?

The Trammps, I told the story above.

* Do you still know or have contact with any other of the old Disco
acts/divas/DJ's from the late 70's early 80's?

Barry White used to hang in Tropicalia every Tues & Weds; He used to have his own table in the corner and would hate when he heard his songs played.

Ashford & Simpson lived across the street from Pegasus and would bring me their latest projects when they would be ready to release them.

Phyliss Hyman used to come to Pegasus all the time.

I am in touch at least every week with Bobby Vitteritti, Lary Sanders, Danny Pooch, and of course my main man Paul Solari; we have become 'best friends' again after all these years!!!

* Anything else you can think of that you wanna tell me about? All
information is very welcome, some fun happenings....
My life is wonderful now. I have a sweetheart (My Patty-Ann) that shares my life & love for this music (not as crazy as I am) and I have my CRIBS RADIO Show with hundreds of listeners where I share my music & my thoughts with on a weekly basis.


Jay Negron   Jay Negron, Boynton Beach, United States

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