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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Get Drunk DJs Get Down, Drunk

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"We got asked to do my buddy's Christmas party in L.A.," Kevin Meyer, one half of Milwaukee's Get Drunk DJs, recalls. "There were Mexican wrestlers and he was trying to get a donkey. He was going to fly us out. I don't know why we didn't end up going-it was really heartbreaking. It was some crazy marketing, hipster industry party. He was making us sound like the greatest DJs ever."

"We are, though," Meyer's other half, Luke Chappelle, notes. "We're like Paul Oakenfold, times 10."

So, what's the draw of two dudes who spin rock records: no scratching, no mixing, all vinyl and all raucous? Chappelle and Meyer conceived the idea after noticing that the rock shows they went to lacked the continuity and energy of the live bands. Between sets, they wanted to do something that fed the party-momentum better than an obviously indifferent bartender pushing buttons on an iPod, playing another mood-drainer of a Top 40 song.

Meyer and Chappelle started spinning records at shows they would have attended anyway, and eventually moved on to creating complete events: booking, creating artwork and promoting entire shows.

"It's not even about DJing," Meyer says. "When we started, we kind of wanted anyone who saw The Get Drunk DJs to see it as a stamp of approval. You saw one show that you liked, and then you see our name on another flier. You might think, 'Well, I liked that last show, I don't have anything to do on this Friday night, so I'll go.'"

Spinning everything from The Coasters to King Khan & BBQ, Quintron, Wu-Tang Clan, Nobunny and James Brown and spanning everything from the '50s to now, Meyer explains that the whole point is to play "anything that represents the sleazy spirit of rock and roll."

Chappelle recounts a typical exchange: "I always get, 'So, all you guys have is rock and roll?' 'Yeah, pretty much.' 'You don't have any Alice in Chains?' 'No. No, I don't. Get out of my face.'"

Chappelle says that he and Meyer both have had a set idea of what they wanted to play since the start. "We started about six months after the Get Down," he says, referring to the popular local funk and soul spin. "They were doing mod night and we started with a similar idea of playing stuff people might not normally hear. [The name] came from the Get Down: The Get Drunk."

Meyer adds, "It was kind of like taking the piss out of them, but it should be indicated that we have nothing but love for those guys."

"Well, people go there to 'get down' and people go to our shows to 'get drunk'…and then they get down," Chappelle clarifies.

Meyer continues, "They're about just as much of DJs as we are: They're just collectors. We're collectors, but not in the same genre."

The genre Meyer speaks of is the same sleazy garage camp that The Black Lips belong to. The Get Drunk DJs have been promoting and DJing shows for The Black Lips long before they blew up.

"I put out a live record for them on my label [Dusty Medical] in 2005 and we'd known them before then," Chappelle says. "They're a cult kind of band. [The show at Turner Hall Ballroom will] be the best show anybody's ever seen in their life, bar none. The Get Drunk and The Black Lips joining forces is like a world summit."

The Get Drunk DJs will be spinning records in between sets by The Goodnight Loving, Gentleman Jesse and His Men and The Black Lips at Turner Hall Ballroom on Sunday, March 15, at 8 p.m.

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