Back in the day, the Mercury Cafe was the top spot to DJ swing music. It became one of my goals to be asked by Dan Newsome to DJ there. The main question was – how do you get asked when they’re never going to hear you play?
Well, the opportunity arrived later in 2005, the year I moved to Denver. I was still trying to run the occasional workshop in Kansas City and I asked Dan and Tiffiny to teach there. I was also going to DJ the Saturday dance at someone’s dance studio loft. Plan in motion.
I eventually ran into a problem; there were break-dancers attending the dance. How in the world was I supposed to get them onto the dance floor and still cater to the swing dancers? Also, I knew what the Merc’s DJ program was all about – solid swing music, very minimal novelty songs, strong DJs. I was concerned, but mentally said “screw it” and played “Hey Ya.”
Well, the break-dancers and swing dancers took the floor. If I recall properly, I think a cypher even occurred. It worked and I even got a crack at DJing the Merc a month or two after this. Thanks, Outkast.