Junior Vasquez

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Junior Vasquez 1946 - now


Junior Vasquez (Pagoda Entertainment). (b. Donald Mattern, circa 1946) Celebrity DJ and remix specialist, more commonly known as the co-founder of New York's Sound Factory club. In 1989 Vasquez, a onetime record-store clerk, teamed up with a former employee of the legendary Paradise Garage to create the Sound Factory. There, Vasquez built a cult following for his trademark DJing style, an imaginative fusion of raw, bass-line-rich tribal and house, with a seemingly boundless repertoire of sampling and remixing techniques. The Black and Latino, mostly gay, faithful would reverently groove to his selections, whether they were discs spun at incorrect speeds and barely audible volume or out-of-nowhere sampling of "The Stripper" and the Looney Tunes theme. Influential as a groundbreaker (new dance tracks were frequently debuted and monitored at the Sound Factory), Vasquez is increasingly sought out to produce, remix, and write for others--most notably Mxdxnnx and most bizarrely heartland rocker Jxhn Mxllxncamp, whose dance-inflected 1996 album, Mr. Happy Go Lucky, Vasquez produced. After the Sound Factory's sudden demise, Vasquez was lured to spin at the Tunnel, and later the Palladium, by embattled club owner Peter Gatien, whose enticements included opulently custom-designed DJ booths and superstar treatment. After the closure of the Palladium, Vasquez began, in September 1997, a residency at New York's Twilo.

My Loleatta

Bruce Forest on Loleatta's appearance at Better Days: " I sure do [know the acapella recording by Loleatta Holloway]. I recorded it. And anyone who tells you different is either wrong, or lying. Here's the story:In 1985, Loleatta Holloway did a rare live performance at Better Days. Rare, because she didn't do many, and Better Days did very few livedates as well. The main reason was that BD was a round room, and the feedback problems with 30,000 watts of subwoofer output was serious. But Loleattay was an exception. Along with First Choice, she was the most important artist for the Better Days crowd. I recorded the gig on reel to reel tape. I edited out all the music, and kept just the spoken vocal, consisting of lots of 'trash talk' and cool sexual innuendo. For a long time, I used to lay the vocal over various instrumentals, ranging from house tracks, to MFSB's Love is the Message. The speaking part was in sections and lasted about forty minutes in total. The crowd went NUTS for it, and it became my trademark. Many people asked for a copy, but I promised Loleatta that I wouldn't ever give it out. However, Shep Pettibone, my friend at the time, did a relief spot for me one night, and helped himself to a copy, against my direct wishes. He gave this copy to Junior Vasquez, who promptly took my idea, laid the vocal over a house track and made a record called 'My Loleatta.'It was a mild success, and he made a few more. He also actually put the acappella on a 12" and sold it. I was furious, and so was Loleatta. Too late though.The spoken vocal, copied off Junior's record has been on dozens of records,and it both makes me feel nostalgic, and pisses me off every time I hear it. Hope this helps. Spread the word if you like." -- Bruce Forest, Fri, 24 Jul 1998


  1. Earth Music 2 - Junior Vasquez [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Though he's pushing 60, Junior Vasquez, the legendary cofounder of Manhattan's Sound Factory, still has the touch. The marvelous vibe he found on the first Earth Music record continues with this mix. Vasquez knows his way around progressive and club-oriented house, having invented more than a few aspects of both. His facility shows in the generous space he gives tracks like "Lamya" from Empire, letting the song's giddy chorus fade into oblivion before launching back in with Superchumbo's "Irresistible," from Get the Lead Out. Like Earth Music, Earth Music 2 is not for halfhearted fans of the genre. This record is raw, designed explicitly for the old-school, diva-house, raise-the-roof crowd, for whom every night is a morning. That's the way Vasquez has always been, and with any luck, always will be. --Matthew Cooke for amazon.com


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