My First Record

They say you never forget your first kiss, your first girlfriend ,well, your first anything right? As a DJ who started at the age of 15 I was reminded today while listening to some old songs on You Tube what my first record was. I didn’t even buy it, it was given to me by the DJ that lit the flame that burns til this day. His name was Jorge Valdes a 9th grader who had first met at a party that he was ” playing records” . The minute I walked in the door that night I was mesmerized by the fact that a guy playing records controlled the party. I didn’t see him for several months after that, nor did I see anyone doing what he was doing at any other party that I went to. On the first day of school at lunch in my Junior High Cafeteria there he was , motioning to me to come sit at his table with a bunch of other older kids with cool haircuts and clothes. I did the best I could to cover my T shirt from “Los Pinos Nuevos” a Local bakery. I had already been into music listening to the radio religiously when I got home. My parents owned a big Zenith Console stereo ( off limits of course) and a large collection of records Elvis,Herp Alpert, Ray Conniff, Al Hirt The obligatory Coke album ( a local group of kids from Miami High) rounding out the collection on the latin side Perez Prado,Celia Cruz,Conjunto Universal . I couldn’t hear them ,but I could hold them and read the liner notes and admire the cover art which on some of the Lps were a little risque at the time. But these kids spoke of a different kind of music ,it wasn’t Elton John,America, Captain & Tenille that I was listening to on my local station.They were talking about groups like BT Express, LaBelle,AWB, Van McCoy ,Silver Convention, O.C. Smith, The Intruders,Double Exposure. The were talking about clubs that their older brothers and sisters would go to. This was a strange new world for me , but I liked it !! DJA 2x3 copy
The following day at lunch ( now wearing a much cooler T Shirt with the ” Man from Uncle” logo) I sat down next to Jorge who immediately handed me a white label 45 RPM of the Trammps ” That’s Where The Happy People Go” He said ” Here to start your collection” I looked at it for a minute . I imagined myself at a party where I was in charge of the music . People danced , girls whispering, smiling and pointing at me ( hopefully not laughing at my T shirt). I was a DJ !! I peddled home that day faster than ever ready to defy all rules concerning the Zenith stereo . I was going to play ” MY” record , and I did as soon as I stepped in the door and about 3 hours before my Father got home. I must have heard it about 20 times before my Mom had me turn it off because I was going to ” Waste The Needle”
It was an exciting time I wanted to learn all about this ” Disco” thing these guys were talking about. I discovered a record store within bicycle riding distance where I offered the old man to organize and help out around the shop in exchange for records. ( Lee’s Records) My collection began to grow 45s , Lps and the new 12 inches . More Record stores were popping up all over Ultra Records, Ricky Records E.R.E Records , The Record Gallery, The Village, Do Re Mi, Lily’s . Soon I was able to fill up a few crates and with money saved from jobs here and there ( an the help of my Uncle) I was able to buy a Speaker ,some turntables and a small little mixer.
All because of ” Disco” Where the Happy people Go.
DJ Alex Gutierrez