Dave's Dj Service public history is not hard to research, it was first registered for business with the federal government in 2011 and then with the State of Virginia in 2014. The retail license portion (known as The Alternative Source) was added in June of 2018. However, these dates paint very little about what makes Dave's DJ Service different, and why we do what we do.
I'll start with a bit of a disclaimer. Hi, I'm Dave and I am a musicaholic. I struggled my entire youth, and early adulthood accepting who I am as a person. I made many mistakes in my youth, mistakes that relate to accepting myself as a homosexual. You see, I grew up in the bible belt--the smack center of it: St. Louis, Missouri. My family was poor, but between my mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and yes even my father despite a fallout in my teens made sure we kids never did without. I have two sisters and a significantly younger brother. I am the oldest of four, and I have more cousins than I can count. Unlike most people I've met, my cousins and I were very close. We had unbelievable Christmases, we always had the latest games and CDs, and my family loved eating together. However, the other side of me was grapling with attraction towards men when I was raised in a church that taught me it was wrong. I couldn't help how I felt though. I tried to fill it with random encounters with people I had never met and didn't know a thing about every day. I'm not ashamed of it necessairly, it got me in a lot of sticky situations in my youth. While I am not ashamed of it, I had to move on.
Throughout this period of my life, I turned to music as my escape. It wasn't just a oh yeah-let's jam out kinda thing, it was my blood. It was my oxygen. Every genre. Every style. It consoled me. It pumped me up. It calmed my anger, my nerves, my sorrow. The 90s were filled with Techno-Hip Hop collaborations, Ballads, Grunge, Pop Country, Classic Rap, and Electronica Anthems. I moshed to No Doubt on their Tragic Kingdom tour, I sobbed to Don't Let Me Get Me by Pink when I realized gay wasn't a choice, I Pumped Up the Jam to boost my spirits, and I blasted Green Day when I needed music I could relate to. Music could capture my emotions and spirits, take me away from the seclusion I self imposed and that joy is something that we all express when we can sing our favorite songs or jam to a hit that we love in the car. New or old-doesn't matter, it's music. It speaks to us. I never knew I'd make somewhat of a career out of it.
While Dave's DJ Service officially started in 2011 according to federal filings, it's history has roots as deep as my own. I had my first public gig in 1996 at Hazelwood Junior High. Yes, you read that right, 1996. In 1996 I wasn't even old enough to be a freshmen yet, but my love for music was already deep. The Macarena was the focal song--I had to play it at least once every thirty minutes for 5 hours. It was an outdoor greetings event for new Junior High students to meet the principal, common professors, and get to see the lockers and layout so they had an idea of what was coming.
From that point, it was just a hobby. I did many small parties using my personal CD collection and two boomboxes using D batteries. I had no turntables or anything like that, but using two boomboxes allowed me to fade into the songs and I became good at matching one beat to the next. This continued until I left St. Louis shortly after my 19th birthday.
Though I did a few gigs in Ybor City from 19 to 20, my world came crashing down. I was burglarized at a time my primary income was a Domino's delivery job and my first ever boyfriend had used my ssn to open a bunch of cards in my name a charge them all the way up. I lost most my equipment in that burglary, and had to sell what wasn't stolen to get by. My little side gigs was over for the time being.
Through 7-11, Night Audit jobs at Days Inn and Wingate, and working at Busch Gardens (They all overlapped-it killed me but I was paying the bills) I slowly put my life back together. I moved to Williamsburg, VA with the help of my friend Jack. I met Jack through a parody writer's group known as AmIRight. We were a tight-knit group of people who all enjoyed writing parodies of popular songs. Anyhow, he got me up here and after a few months in Williamsburg, I moved to Newport News and met a karaoke host named Slim. Slim liked my style, and I his. He and his girlfriend at the time, Fran who was also a local karaoke host, told me I should meet Skyler and go to one of his shows. I got a group of work buddies together and we all went to Skyler's show and he offered me a spot in his company as a karaoke host after I performed Good Riddance by Green Day and Lonely No More by Rob Thomas at his show in my normal style. He and his wife set me up with training at the Wicked Sister and Garage, both of which shortly thereafter I would start doing on a regular basis. My very first gig in Hampton Roads was at a bar called Cactus in Newport News, I was hired to do a birthday party for a regular who loved Rihanna and classic rock. Her and her husband, along with the bar manager Kurt made me feel like I belonged in this world right away. Showing me love and support and appreciation for what I was doing. Cactus became a regular gig the next week every Saturday on the back bar as their DJ. My first official week with the company, I had picked up five weekly shows: Cactus, Sandbar, Garage, Wicked Sisters, and Parlays II. By my second month I had seven shows a week with two at Sandbar and one at Keagans in Newport News. I registered Dave's DJ Service and received a Federal EIN for it when it became clear that this area appreciated my difference.
These were all third party shows through SkyHigh, but I began using my share from those shows to build my own set-keeping Skyler in the loop so that he knew what I was up to. Off the bat, music and karaoke were my top expenses, far more than equipment and it would take time to build my solo collection enough to do weekly gigs. I had my first Dave's DJ Service gig at Myrtles apartment complex. I did their 2012 christmas party. Over the next year I did weddings, anniversaries and many other one time gigs until in November of 2013, I had my first weekly Dave's DJ Service show with Deana at Good Time Diner. By February of 2015, all of my gigs were on my own, while I may no longer be with SkyHigh I will always appreciate them giving me a shot to get started in this area.
Later in 2015, the longtime karaoke host of the area's prominent gay bars: Hershee, MJ's Tavern, and Rainbow Cactus decided he was moving to Baltimore and he had hand selected me to take over his gigs. While there were misunderstandings when things didn't work out in Baltimore and he moved back, those gigs became my staple gigs and helped in me securing my footing on the Norfolk, Virginia Beach side Hampton Roads.
In June of 2018 I obtained a Retail Sales and Use Tax collection certificate from the State of Virginia and began obtaining relationships and agreements with vendors. As of August 13th I've signed with over 20 of them, and have pending activity with several more. The idea behind The Alternative Source is to offer new and used items that have fallen off mainstream a bit and as such don't get attention from the big guys. I'm trying to be a source for people who like just off mainstream, or no longer mainstream. It's in it's infancy, I literally just listed my first items and had my first sales this month (August 2018). My very first sale was a 1986 copy of Stephen King's It, It went for $11.10. Hopefully, I can grow this to suit my vision in the near future.
The retail world is a bigger, more competitive, scarier monster than the Service World. Dave's DJ Service was a lot of very hard work, and it looks like The Alternative Source will be even more so. I plan to integrate the two and have the offerings of both apply and complement the other. I have no intention of shuttering Dave's DJ Service even with the rise of illegal torrent djs and youtube DJs (Honestly, why would anyone hire a Youtube, Pandora, or Spotify DJ--you can do that yourself). Those of us who own our music and have mixing software are able to transition properly, work with or without internet, beat match, not violate home-use license agreements in place on terms of service with many stream companies (including YouTube), and perhaps most importantly: People who own their music HAVE IT, it will not get taken down. Taylor Swift can't go poof: "I don't want my stuff on Spotify or YouTube anymore, sorry bi**hes" to me, cause I have the legally purchased CDs and MP3s. Sorry, mini rant but seriously I really hope that this venture takes off and that I will get the support I need to get things cooking, I will eventually be too old to maintain the style show I do without having a heart attack. Plus Red Bull is beginning to not work;).
Many of the bars I name dropped above have since gone out of business or rebranded. In fact, of the 10 bars I've done the most gigs at only four are still in business and have the same owners. Nature of the industry. For the record, Sandbar-the only top ten gig that I don't work at now, is still in business, and has the same owner--is on, and have always been on good terms with me and vice versa. The gig only ended because of a non-compete claus that expired in 2015. I will not actively go after another karaoke host's show (especially if the KJ is my former employer) but when they have a need on a day that I am not already booked, I would go back--as of yet that hasn't happened. For those wishing for my Newport News return I apologize, the scene over there just hasn't worked out as well as the scene over here due to staunch competition from the YouTube/Torrent types that have little to no upkeep.