HEY DJ! – LongJohn Jukebox

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Hey! DJ

01. What were your early musical influences?

My earliest musical influences were my parent’s record collection.  There was plenty of Rock n Roll to be heard and I used to love playing those records as a child.  My mother was also a massive Elvis fan and she also loved Connie Francis.   I was also very familiar with Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash as well.  I can also remember playing Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits a lot especially ‘The Boxer’.  So I would have to say those were my earliest musical influences.

02. What sort of music do your gravitate towards generally?

All sorts of stuff these days, but I still can’t help but lean towards the 1960s, especially The Who and The Kinks. I also adore the West Coast stuff like The Byrds, Love and Jefferson Airplane.  I also really like the C86 stuff, and even more so after the ‘The Scared To Get Happy’ festival, which I attended in June.

03. What have been the bands or sounds that have always been in your play-list or record box?

Stuff like Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, Curtis Mayfield, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Gil Scott Heron, The Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, The Byrds, Love and the Kinks.  I also have something of an obsession with The Who, and played with alarming regularity over the past 18 years.

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04. What about the formats available, your thoughts on Vinyl, CD and MP3?

Definitely records.  It might seem materialistic but I still love having a collection of music that I can see and handle, and the artwork on an album is an important part of what makes records so special. I can’t get my head around downloading music at all, and it seems I am not the only one as record sales have increased dramatically in recent years despite the cost of buying an actual new release on record.  Thankfully there are people who still feel an emotional attachment to the format as opposed to the virtual world of music that appears on the computer screen and can quickly dissapear at the click of a button.

05. Any current bands or acts that you feel seem to be producing the goods?

There is a female trio who come from Liverpool amusingly called ‘Stealing Sheep’. The album in question is called ‘Into The Diamond Sun’.  I have listened to this a lot recently and it defies easy categorization, despite the attempts of some music journalists to put the album in the Folk Pop tradition as it were. They are multi-instrumentalists, and I love the clever vocal harmonies as well.  I also wonder how they could ever possibly pull this album off live on stage, as there is so much going on in this album musically.  However I have it on good authority that they did manage just that.

06. What can we expect to hear on your show or during your Sets?

I will probably play stuff like The Seeds, The Byrd’s, The Ramones, the Primitives, Echo and the Bunnymen, 1960s girl groups, some Motown. However, no night would be complete without at least 1 song by The Who.

07. Anything that you really hate and why?

Well there are things that annoy me, however, I am sure it’s the same stuff that annoys many others who are resigned to the daily grind and that occupational hazard otherwise known as work.  Musically there used to be a lot that riles me, but I have mellowed to some extent.  However, I still can’t quite understand how those crap showbiz dancers like Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow have managed to drag out their circus act for so long.  They really do belong with Bruce Forsythe on those variety programmes like dancing on ice, or is it Strictly dancing on air?

08. What about requests?

I don’t think I will entertain the idea of requests at all. Hopefully I will play at least 1 record that people will like ha-ha.

09. Tell us what you are up to at the moment, where can we catch you playing out etc.?

The club that I and my pal Louie are about to start is called ‘Juke Box 7’s’, which is going to be held at the Elixir in Euston. We both think a somewhat open music policy, is more fun and hopefully it will stop us from playing the same records every month. Luckily we have got on board a couple of other friends who have a similar ethic to us. Hopefully playing stuff that will have a broader appeal as opposed to playing genre specific music to a niche crowd.

10. Your thoughts on the future and things that excite you beyond music?

I started writing music reviews recently and it is very enjoyable to say the least.  So maybe my future could be in that kind of direction.  Beyond music reading is my other vice.  I am currently reading a book by Thomas Wright, called ‘Oscar’s Books’.  This is in my opinion a very convincing attempt to map the life of Oscar Wilde by the contents of his library.  Wright offers compelling evidence that Wilde’s life and work was influenced by what he read.

11. Have you met or worked with anyone Interesting

I have come across some famous people, mainly by accident or at gigs. Most recently I met Tracey Tracey and Paul Court of the Primitives. I vaguely recall seeing Mike Joyce (Smiths drummer) very briefly on the same night.  So ‘I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour’.

12. Top fave tunes right now and fave other current DJ?

The DJ’s I like are all connected to the New Untouchables in some way.  There were others as well from the RnB and Northern Soul days, and some of these are also friends. There are too many songs to mention here, however, here are a few that have been on a lot lately.

  1. Gil Scott Heron – Lady Day and John Coltrane
  2. The Hollies – Postcard
  3. Stealing Sheep – Genevieve
  4. Billie Holiday – Gloomy Sunday
  5. House of Love – Real Animal
  6. Felt – All the people that I like are those that are dead
  7. The Primitives – Dreamwalk Baby
  8. Scott Walker – Montague Terrace (in blue)
  9. The Velvet Underground – I’ll be your mirror
  10. Belle and Sebastian – Like Dylan in the movies
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