month, DJ Lee Burridge tears the pages out of his diary and sends
them to DJmag.com to reveal all the mishaps, shenanigans, and
craziness from his ‘365’ world tour. This month he
sent us his diary from New York
Words: Lee Burridge
Everything has been written about New York so where should I begin?
Ahhh, an anecdote! The first time I came to New York, my friends and I were lured into taking our very own limo into the city for just $45.
'Why take a cab when you can ride in style?’ we thought.
You know how this story ends. It turns out the actual price was $45 PER PERSON so we started our trip with approximately $135 US dollars less than we had anticipated.
Welcome to New York - you are officially a schmuck!
I've wanted to live here ever since, if only to find that Lincoln Continental-driving bastard... I KNOW WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE!
I, like many others, love this city and all of the hustlers, freaks and Bill Patricks that inhabit it.
So much, in fact, that it was the first 365 location I chose and what better time to live here than in September and October, as it isn't suffocatingly hot, yet it is still warm enough to comfortably walk around in a g-string and heels (or so Bill told me).
A City To Live
So now we had to decide where in the city to live.
Trying to find an apartment in New York City is a sobering experience, both mentally and financially, and is superseded only by trying to find a roommate to live with that isn't insane.
Speaking of which, we saw one memorable ad on craigslist.org that offered a room to (and I quote) ‘a willing young girl who may have come upon hard times and needs a place to stay in exchange for her services.’
Erick Morillo you devil.
Long Island was mentioned to me as an economical choice by Bill but we ruled it out immediately because it's not actually in New York City.
Back in the good old days (pre-2000), I hear that you could get a 5 million square foot loft with river view in Williamsburg for $200 a month, free parking and crackheads included.
But ever since the eastward exodus of quasi-art students with post-post-modern hairstyles seeking lower rent and a chance encounter with Andrew WK or Matthew Barney, W'burg has become nearly as expensive as the city.
In the end, there was no real deliberation on this matter because my girlfriend used to live in the city and knew immediately where we should stay.
Where else can you see goth raver rastafari-bums in the park playing accordion while their pitbulls sing along?
Where else can you hear salsa music coming from a sixty-year-old man rolling around the block on a shiny bike decked out with tiny side mirrors and Puerto Rican flags?
Where in lower Manhattan can you still get a $3 beer in a bar devoid of all bling?
The East Village, of course. If Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry loved it, then so could we.
History and people aside for a moment, the restaurant selection is vast, ranging from Ukranian diners that stay open all night (which for me was very handy) to clusters of inescapable, tiny flashing light-laden Indian joints (whose electricity meters surely must spin like dreidels).
Deep in this neighborhood you will also find a little restaurant called Gruppo that has the best pizza in the city (in the world for that matter), which is no small feat in a place where every cornerside Gino and Dino is claiming that title for themselves.
And good food is only the beginning of what makes the East Village so great.
Lots of real people live in relative harmony here; families and Hells Angels and hipsters and the odd junkie are all jumbled together in tiny railroad-style apartments.
Everybody has a dog, every bar has a jukebox, every corner has a store that sells ice lollies and cold Vitamin Water.
Pairs of worn-out Nikes from the 80s hang on the wires overhead, retired from days of dancing on flattened cardboard boxes. Shops in the area allow and even ask graffiti artists to customize their metal shutters and walls.
Imagine walking along the street and seeing a group of three grandmas in curlers sitting on neon lawn chairs watching Wheel of Fortune together on the sidewalk... and then seeing it again every Wednesday after that.
That is the East Village. There is a distinct lack of overweight, pushy tourists and instead there are what feels like thousands of pensioners wheeling around push carts that say "Trust Jesus."
It is one of the last vestiges of old New York in Manhattan and it has soul.
Sadly that it changing as aging landlords die off or sell their buildings to the highest bidder. Very slowly the area is becoming infested with Gwyneths and shiny stores called Ennui that sell $200 Christian Dior diapers for dogs. See it now before it goes Starbucks!
String Of Parties
New York has a very fickle club crowd at times so pulling off a string of successful parties wasn't going to be easy.
With the aid of Made Event, we decided to move away from the idea of doing the same club four times and came up with four different events.
The first party, an afterhours held on a Saturday morning after Danny Howells' set at Spirit, took a lot of people by surprise, myself included.
One of my favorite aspects of New York has always been the afterhours parties that always seem to materialize no matter how hard I resist.
A wonderful friend of ours (who shall go unnamed) allowed us to camp out at his place from the wee hours of Sunday morning until, hmmm... if I remember the current record, Tuesday afternoon.
Because everyone is always so excited to keep the party going, it strikes me as odd that there isn't (to the best of my knowledge anyway) a definitive afterhours club.
I think this is due to the licensing laws which are always trying to put a Giuliani-style clamp on people having fun.
Anyway, we decided not to announce the 365 afterparty until the middle of the night at Danny's show.
The venue was APT which was perfect... small, comfortable and full of character(s).
That day I met a fantastically eloquent man by the name of Vinny who casually mentioned that my Nu Breed CD for GU sucked.
His words... but then he followed up by saying it had been "teeter-tottering with Swayzak" for six months while he decided whether or not to take it off his iPod.
Suddenly he burst into tears and told me I was “real", then pointed to Bill [Patrick] and said, "You're not real" and asked me to play something for the gay community (Cue "White Horse" by Laid Back).
Needless to say, the tears dried up and the sun came out!
We only wound up the party as the venue had to get ready for the evening and I think if I had gotten my way we could have easily cruised through until Tuesday afternoon, therefore beating the previous afterhours record.
The second event was a small launch party on a Thursday night at Opus 22.
I decided to give a little mix CD I made for New York 365 to everyone (I've not had any returned yet so guess it was okay!).
I played with Dennis Rodgers, a member of the 112 Crew, and have decided that if Bill Patrick is The Lone Ranger then Dennis Rogers is Tonto... no, come to think of it, I change my analogy.
If Bill is Wallace, then Dennis is Gromit, forever shaking his head in the background and quietly pulling it all together at the last minute.
His warm-up set was wonderful, twisted and unique. If you own a club, book Dennis!
That party ended early as it was a Thursday night and I had to leave early the next morning to fly to San Francisco for the Love Parade.
It is in its second year in San Francisco and the event was amazing.
If you're planning a trip to SF next year, try to go.
Somehow it was the most beautiful weather day ever (thanks, God) and the amount of smiling and dancing dog-walkers was out of control.
The weekend kicked off for me with a Love Parade pre-party at Mezzanine club.
It was full of people that were ready to stay up for three days, myself included!
Needless to say, I've not been to such a great party in SF for years.
The next day was the parade, and after half an hour of sleep and a bracing Jagermeister shot for breakfast we trundled off to the Anu float.
The parade of floats with banging sound systems was long, and although ours was actually lots of fun, the fact that the sound kept packing up meant that we had to endure the trance group in front of us thrashing out "Insomnia" by Faithless about twenty times.
After I finished playing, I walked around the square where the floats were parked and playing drum & bass, house, trance etc. to thousands of dancing people having fun.
Nothing wrong with that! I get the feeling that this event is going to grow up rapidly and hopefully become an alternative and/or a companion to the Winter Music Conference in Miami.
I had to leave during the Love Parade and fly to LA for Saturday night at Avalon Hollywood, which was fine by me because LA is mental right now!
The room was rammed out and Justin Gourley and Jon Doe were playing excellent music.
About an hour after I started playing, I decided to give out the last hundred or so New York 365 CDs, which in retrospect was a bad idea as standing on the front of the stage and handing them out turned into a massive crush forward.
Sorry if you were the people at the front who got a little squashed and if you are the crazy Asian boy who was jumping up and fiendishly snatching as many CDs as your little action man hands could grab, CALM DOWN!
Someone will undoubtedly put the mix up for your pleasure (or displeasure) somewhere online.
I left the club around 5.30 am, when it transforms into a super pumped-up body builders and prostitutes hard house event, as my Bugs Bunny-esque physique didn't stand a chance.
Somehow, in the middle of all these parties, Steve Porter and I had the best time ever in the studio.
Although limited by our schedules, we managed to finish a couple of tracks, one called "Raw Dog" and the other being "Dirty Panty Ho Wrestler."
This quirky title was inspired by a story Steve unleashed on poor, unsuspecting me while we were fiddling around with a hi-hat pattern.
Apparently, when Steve was about eight, his mum used to hire a teenage guy to babysit him.
Said babysitter was also a massive wrestling fan who used to bring wrestling magazines to read while at their house and one day asked little Stevie if he wanted to try out some moves.
At this point I would like to stress that nothing illegal or sexy ever happened to Steve (at least not with the babysitter) but I figured you readers with furtive imaginations should be put in your place.
As the legend goes, one day Steve was confronted by the babysitter who wanted to try out some more new moves but this time had raised the bar by going down to the basement and changing into Steve's mum's pantyhose (or ladies tights if you are English).
A few half-nelsons and piledrivers later, Steve's mom's car crept up the gravel driveway, panicking Hulk Hogan Jr., who shot back downstairs and changed back into more parent-friendly attire.
I spat out my drink and could not stop giggling for days (Don't worry Steve, your secret is safe with me).
What else did we get up to in New York? We heard that The Rolling Stones were playing in early September so my girlfriend and I got tickets to see them at Giants Stadium.
We both worry that one of them is going to die before they tour again so I was a little disappointed when I found out that I had to go to Mexico City and play that same Thursday night.
WAIT... I then found out I was DJing alongside Danny Howells.
Danny is as rock and roll as a DJ can be (although upon writing this Danny has a new girlfriend and a new wardrobe so maybe the infamous eye liner and paisley shirts are out and nights spent at home renting ‘Ghost’ and ‘Terms of Endearment’ are in. I hope not!).
Many (miniature) bottles of Jack Daniels and tequila later we threw up, threw the television set out the hotel room window, threw the groupies out and like the bad boys we are left the toilet unflushed when we checked out.
Rock and Roll? No... just lies. I missed the concert (and the $7 plastic bottles of Bud Light) but a good night with Mr. Howells more than made up for it.
The third party in New York was at Spirit and happily I was to be playing alongside Richie Hawtin, although, as the guy in Halcyon record store said, "You da warm-up DJ, right?"
Why yes I am, thank you! Richie is one of the few DJs who bring something different, something more and is pushing things so it is always a pleasure to do a night with him.
I believe there were a group of people who didn't quite get it but that's going to be the case when a DJ is not just a guy playing all the big tunes.
I actually heard him play twice while in New York and must say that I preferred the second time in the smaller venue Cielo as there was an awful lot of filtering down to silence during the Spirit show.
A quick flick of the hair (I never had hair jealousy before but, as Richie's original hairstyle came from the Burridge School of Baldness, I now want my own fringe to flick), a fiddle with the Allen & Heath sexy blue button and the track came thundering back in.
I feel the crowd loved this for a while but it was that way the whole night and later on that evening some people's attention started to wander.
We all stayed dancing until the very end, (which was way later than the advertised 7am finishing time) and crawled out of the club mid-morning.
We tried sooooo hard to get Richie to come to the afterhours with us including at one point me hijacking his passport (did you know Richie's middle name is Leslie?*) but he had to go to another gig.
I played in Toronto on Canada's equivalent of Thanksgiving at a huge party in Guvernment alongside Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice (yes, yes... this line up is a good one...) errr, balls!
How did I end up in the same room with Ferry Corsen?
Never mind, the crowd got super crazy but that's not what I want to write about.
I want to thank my driver from the airport, Paul. What a great guy.
He was from Poland and had lived in Toronto for many years.
We discussed the usual stuff on the journey to the hotel like sports, the weather, how he knew twenty-five ways to kill a man within fifteen seconds.
What?!?! He had been in the special army services when in Poland. Suffice to say I was really polite and gave him a big tip. (Side note: is it me or wouldn't fifteen seconds seem like a long time if someone was killing you?)
This paragraph shall be titled 'Fun at Border Control'!
My friend Nancy and a few of her friends decided to take a road trip from New York to see me play in Montreal (that's the spirit!).
I asked them to bring a bag of records from New York that I had left as I was going to play a long afterhours set in Aria and then possibly head off to somebody's house for another fifteen hours.
In the record bag was my second passport (I won't go into too much detail, but as a performer, I can hold two UK passports).
Now, at the border between the US and Canada the car was stopped and searched.
This, I'm guessing, had something to do with the fact that although Nancy is from Long Island, the other people in the car were from Pakistan, Egypt and Iran (I'd say the big red light in the control booth was flashing like crazy at that moment!).
They were asked if they were carrying anything for anyone and of course, not seeing a problem with the records, they said "no".
A quick search of the car revealed a passport that didn't belong to anyone in (or under) the car. I wasn't there, but I guess lots of questions were asked during the next two hours.
Sorry, guys! Luckily there were no holidays to Guantanamo Bay offered courtesy of Uncle Sam.
So, after arriving at the Montreal airport, I had to talk my way into the country with passport number two in hand as it seems that no one in Canada has ever heard of anyone holding more than one passport.
It was a real joy after a long flight and getting through one border that I then had to set out on a two hour drive to the other border.
After the obligatory waiting time of an hour (although it was 2 am and we were the only people there) the border patroler gave me a speech so as to make him feel better about himself and show his authority and then we were off again, blunts alight, speeding toward Montreal!
And how was the club that night? Let's just say that I love Aria.
Here's a little Bill Patrick secret: if you are a promoter and you book Bill's airline tickets, make sure the ticket isn't under Bill's trendy DJ name Bill Patrick (or Patrick Bill as the ticket said when we travelled to the Chicago gig together) but actually under the name in his passport, William Garedeullo.
We averted the near-disaster and Bill banged it out before me at Sound Bar. (Oh, and check out DJ William G.'s passport sometime for an excellent photo of him with a centre part, wearing a preppy, button-down collared shirt.)
The closing party and last weekend of 365 was on Halloween.
This is a massive holiday in the US and I love the fact that everybody from grannies to trannies dresses up.
Walk around New York on Halloween, it's crazy.
The whole city transforms into a fancy dress shop. It's like being part of a huge weird pantomime.
Star Wars characters, giant vegetables, celebrities, men in mobile kissing booths, you think of it, someone's wearing it.
This party was at BED and was the first such event in that venue and was hilarious.
BED attracts a certain 'Sex in the City' type of person alongside the usual bunch of cool-as-you-like New Yorkers.
Some of the SITC types were a little put-out that I wasn't playing Beyonce or reggaeton but a swift "fuck off mate" seemed to do the trick.
Add to the mix a rag-tag band of people (with a broader taste in music than the aforementioned) all dressed up in the costumes of their wildest dreams/nightmares and we ended up with a party cocktail kind of like the ones you used to make from your parent's drinks cabinet when you were fifteen (Peppermint Schnapps and Wild Turkey with Diet 7-up, anyone?).
A very strange mix that one minute gave you a headache then the next made you laugh out loud in an uncontrollable manner.
I must say Mike Bindra's microphone technique needs a little work if he wants to hold any more fancy dress competitions and seriously Mike, next year don't try to throw people who are actually in the competition off the stage.
The winner that evening was our friend Nancy (yes, the same passport-smuggling one from Long Island) who last year dressed as children's literature detective Nancy Drew (although when at the afterhours she had caved in from a lack of sleep and was caught with her mouth open and a little dribble running down her chin was rechristened Nancy Drool).
This year she outdid herself with her wonderful Nancy Reagan costume. The 'Nancy Says Say No to Drugs' pin badges were a particularly nice touch, if I do say so myself.
The party closed on a real high, a little too early for my liking as I was expecting to at least finish when it was light, but some kind of weird license thing stopped us at around 5.
It was a great end to the residency and to everybody who came to one of more of the nights, I thank you.
*Richie Hawtin's middle name isn't really Leslie