I can’t DJ. Well, I’ve been billing myself as a DJ for half a decade, but I’m terrible at mixing. Going from Kiss on ‘1’ to Hellacopters on the ‘2’ doesn’t exactly require Grandmaster Flash type skills. I don’t even own any gear and most shows I’m using some combination of iTunes, my laptop, a hard drive, an iPod and sometimes my iPhone. When I go up, it’s to bring back some musical memories for myself and my pals that *hopefully* showed up for my gig. I’ve DJ’d for hire as well, but my track list motivation is largely the same among strangers. I play Cake’s ‘Going the Distance’ or Blues Traveler’s ‘The Hook’ for purely a nostalgic look back at my college years at the ice cream store.
Adam was a dude that could DJ. He could blend. He could sample. He cared about how each note inter-played with the next. His gear and technique were top notch and above all was always prepared for a set. As DJ ZiD, he rocked a monthly industrial and goth dance night at ZuZu. The sets were accompanied by visual treats, clips from horror movies, and a well crafted 3D logo bouncing around the screen STAINLESS - DJ ZiD. Dude had his shit tight, on lock, and fully loaded. He’d be in his tall buckle boots, and sometimes a gas mask for full effect. You should have been there when we installed his video screen and realized it took up the whole front wall.
When us goths and punks and comic book nerds in New England see that first orange leaf, we start to obsess over our Halloween costumes. Adam loved Adult Swim’s Venture Bros. I booked us for the Middle East Corner stage on Friday, October 30, 2009 for ‘A Very Venture Halloween’: DJ Phantom Limb (DJ ZiD of Stainless) vs. DJ Hank Venture (DJ Clay N. Ferno) - indie punk and hip hop. Adam loved lots more than goth and industrial music, and this set allowed him to branch out a bit into the hip hop and some indie rock. We got the costumes together and Ines took some great photos of us in the alley for the flyer. I submitted the photos to the io9 website and we were mentioned as part of their favorite Halloween cosplay of that year!
The night came and we had encouraged pals to dress up in Adult Swim costumes. To our bewildered surprise, we had henchmen of the Monarch, a Devil and Lucy (Daughter of the Devil) show up! Us nerds gotta stick together — I’m most at home in the comic shop on a Wednesday cracking jokes with strangers about Guy Gardner (Space Cop!) or isolating among swarms of introverts at New York City Comic Con. These are my people and I love them to pieces! Sure, I’ll take a free hug.
Sometime between my birthday, October 6, and the date of this event, I made some changes in my lifestyle. I was only two weeks into my recovery as an alcoholic. I only point this out because my body, mind, and spirit at this point in early recovery could best be described as BAT SHIT INSANE. I did what I thought was best for me at the time. Instead of pounding beers and shots all night, I drank just as much Red Bull. Bad Idea Jeans! I played some dope tracks on my iPod / Laptop setup. Swingin’ Utters, Lot Six, Gza, MF Doom, The Clash, Cheeseburger. I work by dancing around my hard drives, letting the synapses connect in my head, connecting the dots of my playlist based on personal memories. Singing Sloppy Seconds with old friends on a school bus apartment. Associating Nine Inch Nails with a college dorm friend that liked to listen to Downward Spiral, high on weed, in the shower. Clapping myself back to reality with Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing to Fuck With on an ill-fated, infamously psychedelic, winter’s day. You know, Rock Star shit.
Adam, hurm…excuse me, Phantom Limb, took the headlining spot. He was so stoked to see the Henchmen (21+24) staring up at us. It honestly felt like we were in a cartoon. This is exactly the kind of thing that would happen on Venture Bros.
What I’m posting is a version of the set he played as Phantom Limb. You’ll notice it’s quite put together and tight. He actually rehearsed the thing, and I KNOW he wouldn’t have burned it to a CD for me if he wasn’t happy with it. You’ll hear Les Savy Fav, Busta Rhymes, Deltron 3030, MF Doom (he always told me which Doom track he was going to play in case my trail led me to Danger Doom or Madvillian - he knew it would!), Beck, KRS-ONE (Bwaaamp Bwaaaamp - Edutainment!) and so much more on this mixtape.
One day I hope to have the focus to drop a mix like this on the world. Can you imagine being this skilled of a DJ and mixing your own video to your tracks on top of that? Dude was so crisp.
April of last year, The League of Ordinary Gentlemen were blessed with Phantom Limb DJing our first Boston Comic Con After Party.
As we approach our second annual, we’ll have that deep and heavy feeling that something important is missing, but damn well should be there. — Clay S. Fernald / Clay N. Ferno / DJ Hank Venture, March 28, 2011