NOTE: This is one
of several newspaper articles I wrote about the Valley Music Sound &
Light Show, a mobile DJ business we operated from 1976 through 1992. The
two pictures in this article were taken at the dance described but did
not appear in the newspaper. We officially
got out of the DJ business in 1992.
MY LIFE AS A DISC JOCKEY
by Mike Blakesley
Originally published around 1988
in the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise
As you may know, besides being in
the movie business and the writing business and the retail business, I
am also a dance music DJ. Along with the Valley Music Sound & Light Show
crew, I've been doing dances around this area for longer than I
sometimes like to admit.
Usually, things run smoothly. However, sometimes we have near-disasters,
such as the time we played Plevna last spring. Herewith, a chronology of
1:00 I make final preparations to leave the Roxy Theatre in the
capable hands of my employees. Then I pick up crew member Ray Deering,
and we jump in the Valley Music van and prepare to hit the road.
1:05 Van won't start.
1:30 We've "jumped" the van, checked the gas tank, the battery,
and several other essentials. Nothing. Drive to Ray's house to get his
1:45 Sound & Light equipment won't all fit into Ray's truck. We
scramble to find another vehicle, coming up with my dad's Ford Ranger,
and load the rest of the stuff into it.
2:15 Finally loaded, we leave town an hour behind schedule.
3:00 Stop at McDonald's in Miles City for some "Chicken McNuggets."
3:05 McNuggets are cold.
3:45 As I'm driving behind Ray down the highway, our aluminum
step ladder blows out of his pickup. It lands on the highway, skids past
the Ranger, and almost causes a car behind me to hit the ditch. The
ladder survives with a few bent legs.
4:20 We arrive at Plevna. People at Plevna High School have been
panicking because we're late.
6:30 Setup of equipment is going well. I start plugging in
lights. A kid asks me if I'm the guitarist.
6:31 Fuse blows. Lights out. I start looking for short circuits.
6:35 With the help of a schoolteacher, we find the breaker box
down a hall, around a corner and in a storage closet. We move some of
our lights to a different outlet.
6:40 Fuse blows again. Move more lights.
6:45 Fuse blows a third time. We begin to think that all those
people who keep telling us the lights really aren't necessary, might
have a point.
7:00 Finally we talk to a janitor who informs us that he can't
even run the "big vacuum cleaner" in this room without blowing the
breakers. We find another outlet, on a different circuit, in a room down
the hall 200 feet from the gymnasium.
7:30 Setup complete! The dance begins, and is a roaring success.
We breathe easier.
12:00 midnight: The dance is over. We tear down, and head for
home at 1:30 AM. We decide to park Ray's truck full of equipment in my
garage for the night.
1:50 AM: Arrive home. Truck won't fit in my small garage. We put
it in my parents' garage.
THE NEXT DAY...11:00 AM: We go to pick up Ray's truck to unload
it. It has a flat tire. I am also informed by my mother that the ice
machine and the pop machine at the theatre broke down while I was gone.
Oh, well. I guess if there weren't these kinds of problems, it would be
too boring to be show business.
Here's a picture of our
DJ equipment (before the CD era took over!)