Backroads of DJ History

Reading the quote below gave me some amusement, but also made think of all the strange and quirky things people, both DJs and those other sort of people, must have said and/or written about the DJ world. This one is from Pete McCarthy’s moderately entertaining book, McCarthy’s Bar. He does a lot of drinking and slagging off Americans in it, so there’s that. I suspect he never DJed in his life whatever his thespian achievements; he died not long after the book’s publication so he’d have had some catching up to do.

Not so much a backroad, more like the onramp to the motorway.


Funnily enough, I’ve just been on holiday with one of Pete McCarthy’s brothers, Paul. Think Pete spent quite a lot of time in SF right? I know he moved around a lot.

Unfortunately we never crossed paths. Sure we could have sunk a few enjoyable pints together.

In the late ‘80s/early ‘90s there was quite an influx of refugees from Britain to SF escaping the repression of the Thatcher years. Opened lots of little shops, clothes and records, in the lower Haight, around Fillmore, which had been hardcore ghetto for years. About ten years earlier, mid ‘70s, when I first arrived, the cops had blocked both ends of that block and arrested over 100 people for holding drugs. These were just the ones who didn’t drop their load. The sidewalks had always been thick with people, you couldn’t walk from one end to the other. My first place in San Francisco was at one end of the block; the second at the other! Cheap rent. I had nothing to steal anyway. I really thought the neighbourhood would never turn around, not that it was anything like as derelict as The Bronx. Anyway, all these people from England started their little businesses and ran parties on boats in the Bay and generally kicked off the rave scene there, a couple of decent bars opened, two record stores - one utterly awesome, Rooky Ricardos, gentrification ground through its gears and now, I’ll bet the place is utterly overrun by techy twits.

As far as the “backroads of DJ history” is concerned, Nicky’s Barbecue was there, which had DJs at night including Cheb i Sabbah’s Tuesdays of world music, which was quite the scene for years. Cheb is no longer with us, but he was quite the character and very talented. There was also a Grateful Dead night if I remember, but then it was San Francisco when it was still San Francisco.