Horns and Halos


I don’t know what the big deal about CMJ is. Things are exactly the same as they always are in these parts—just more crowded. At the opening-night party at the Bowery Ballroom last Wednesday, drunken rock ‘n’ roll twosome Boozy Jo and the Bag Lady found themselves getting more inebriated than usual, no thanks (or, maybe, lots of thanks) to Soulwax, a/k/a 2 Many DJs, who decided that the balcony setup, which had no monitor, was sub par and that they would only play on the stage at the end of the night. This left the ladies to their own vices—they had to spin between the sets of every band that night, which meant a steady intake of alcohol. Downstairs, the Northern State girls schmoozed with the industry schmucks and handed out newly finished copies of their eight-song EP, Dying in Stereo. They escaped the hoo-ha—parents in tow—by rigging up their own “dressing room,” actually a cordoned-off booth next to the upstairs bar. That’s rock star for ya.

Ghouls made out with goblins, Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson bumped and grinded, and Edward Scissorhands poked his pointy fingers at a naughty maid. All just par for the course at Motherfucker’s Halloween bash last Thursday night. I figured that of all the devilish parties that evening, this would be the one with the best costumes—and I was right.

All the boys who dressed as the Crow seemed to be the luckiest: They were the ones swapping spit with hotties on the dancefloor. Another guy came as a horny devil—literally. Topless and painted all red, he sported horns on his head and another giant horn on his crotch, playfully thrusting his business at all the ladies in the crowd. The most popular hipster persona was Richie Tenenbaum—there were three or four clones of Luke Wilson’s headband-clad character running amok. Misstress Formika, as a zombie version of co-promoter Michael T, hosted the scary costume contest. Maybe it’s the war thing, but two toy soldiers, painted entirely in flat green and brandishing binoculars and rifles, got the biggest response, winning out over the horny devil and Mr. Scissorhands. Later, Mr. Scissorhands was spotted outside, sitting dejected on the sidewalk.

The MF partyers came dressed as their favorite rock stars, too. I spotted David Bowie, circa Ziggy Stardust, and a member of Devo, complete with potted-plant hat and whip. Yours truly donned a Paul Stanley getup. A real-life rock star from the Foo Fighters turned up after their Supper Club gig, where they dressed like their favorite rock stars, too—in matching suits and ties, they came as the Hives.

Jam Master Jay‘s senseless death is a huge loss for the hip-hop community. I asked heads what Jay meant to them.

DJ JS-1, DJ for Rahzel: “He was an idol to me. I spent half my life trying to be like him. Rahzel’s first demo was produced by Jay back in the ’80s. Rahzel grew up in Hollis, Queens, directly around the corner from D.M.C. We are both speechless about this tragedy. It is a horrible thing for hip-hop.”

Hank Shocklee, producer: “Jay wasn’t into violence and he never preached violence; his music was fun and positive. And that legacy as a great DJ and as part of Run-D.M.C. earned him adoration and respect from fans all over the world. It’s a shame that hip-hop and violence have become synonymous with one another. Artists have to be more careful of the messages they are sending out to the public through their art.”

Grouchy Greg, co-founder of Allhiphop. com: “I really got to know him this past year. We were going to be doing stuff with Scratch Academy. He had launched a class where he and all the influential turntablists teach the craft of DJ’ing. I actually spoke to him after Sugar Hill Studios burned down three weeks ago. I’m so lucky—I felt this way even before he passed away—to have known him. It’s a bad thing for hip-hop to lose anyone, but to lose someone of Jam Master Jay’s caliber—I never thought I would see this day.”

Ernie Paniccioli, photographer of Who Shot Ya?: “In all the years I knew him, he never shook my hand—he always gave me a hug. This is about as low a blow that’s ever been struck to hip-hop. I think this will be the last killing in hip-hop. People are going to turn around; you can’t go no lower than this. I haven’t felt this bad since John Lennon got killed. For hip-hop, this is like John Lennon’s murder. This is somebody that wasn’t trying to hurt nobody.”

DJ Premier, producer-DJ: “He was always a down-ass dude, always cool, and gave me advice on staying power in this shitty game that we call the music business. I’m definitely going to miss him.”