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vol 3 - issue 05 (jan 2001) :: untapped
UNTAPPED TALENT: BIG REG
interview by debbie

NO MATTER THE FUNCTION, NO MATTER THE VENUE, A DJ MUST ALWAYS ROCK THE CROWD. AND NO MATTER WHAT STATE HE'S ROCKIN', DJ BIG REG ALWAYS LEAVES THEM ENTERTAINED. DURING A FREE MOMENT FROM SCRATCHING WAX STATE TO STATE, DJ BIG REG SAT DOWN WITH TASTES LIKE CHICKEN'S OWN MIXED MASTER, DEBBIE, TO ROCK A SIMPLE Q&A SESSION.

debbie: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to blaze on the wheels of steel?

Reg: I was 12 and had a choice of getting a motorcycle or turntables. I chose the turntables.

d: And it just went from there?

R: Well, I was buying records anyway. I just started scratching back and forth. Then I learned how to mix. Everyday, I would come home from whatever sport I was playing, and practice for two or three hours. I've been doing it ever since.

d: How did you learn?

R: Through a lot of practice. Friends of mine were DJs. We just put our heads together and came up with a lot of different things; good and bad.

d: That's usually how it goes. Now, tons of musicians will mention how the music business can be corrupt. Have you encountered any of this corruption yet?

R: Yeah. Everybody’s out for themselves and has their own agenda. So, anytime someone asks you to do something, you have to look deeper and find out the true meaning of "why". Why they want you to do the date or why they want you to play a certain album.

d: Yeah, people have alterior motives. They're out to get their own thing, and don't care about you or your art. How do you make sure that, when they go home, they remember you and what you've done?

R: You have to say your name over and over and over again. With DJing it's moreso about the showmanship. The music has to be tight, but you have to be tight, too. You have to let 'em know, "This is Big Reg," over and over again.

d: If you had the chance to educate someone who's totally unaware of what's going on in hip-hop, what would you tell them?

R: That's a tough one. Start from the beginning, even before hip-hop. Start with disco music. Then go from there and just listen. Go through your Sugar Hill Gang, Treacherous Three, Run DMC, and listen. I do it all the time. You have to reinvent the music.

d: You're taking in what's been done before and building upon it.

R: Exactly.

d: What are the five most essential albums in your vinyl arsenal?

R: Hoooo! If I tell you that I’d have to kill you.

d: What? (laughs) Have I stumbled upon top secret information?

R: Yes. Let me see. Do they have to be hip-hop?

d: They could be anything.

R: Alright. Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” and Notorious B.I.G.’s “Dreams”. There's definitely five albums I can't go without, but you've got me stumped. There are just so many.

d: How many records do you have?

R: Oh, man. I've got over 10,000 joints. Man, you've got me stumped. There are so many records that are valuable to me.

d: Do you want to come back to that one?

R: Yeah. Hold on! One more! Ghetto Red Hot by Supercat.

d: Alright. Here's an easy question: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?

R: Two. I'm impatient.

d: Where do you do most of your shows?

R: The Upstate Area. Upper New York.

d: How did you end up in Columbus?

R: Preston (Collins, of Sunz At Night) is from Rochester. Wherever he goes, he brings me.

d: Both Rochester and Columbus are medium-sized cities. They're constantly growing and have tons of potential. What's different about them?

R: Any medium-sized city I've played has its own music. When you play those cities, you always have to find out what their music is, because you have to play for the crowd. That’s what makes that particular city unique.

d: Are you hesitant when dealing with a huge music scene, like the one in New York?

R: At first I was kind of nervous about playing in New York. I'm like a big fish in a small pond in Rochester. But I think I get more love being from where I’m from. The people in New York City respect that I'm from Upstate and still doing my thing.

d: If you could be any comic book or cartoon character, who would you be and why?

R: Superman. Because he always saves the day.

d: In your amateur opinion, do dogs have lips?

R: Yeah, and they have a severe overbite.

d: Hell yeah! See, I think they have lips, too. Some people here at chicken-headquarters think they don't. What do you think weighs more: Lil’ Kim's hair or Jennifer Lopez's ass?

R: Jennifer Lopez's ass.

d: Oh yeah. There's this scene in The Cell where she goes to the fridge to get some butter or something, and her ass is taking up half the screen! It's massive!

R: Yeah. I saw the new video. I understand.

d: (laughs) What's the ultimate DJ show lineup you'd like to be in?

R: I did it already. Me, Green Lantern and Kid Capri.

d: Well, that kind of ties into my next question. You know how DJs and MCs go hand in hand? You've got DJ Shadow with Blackalicious and Latyrx in Quannum. You've got Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist in Jurassic 5. What MC would you like to hook up with and do an album with?

R: Jay-Z. He's my favorite MC right now. I've been following his stuff ever since “Hawaiian Sophie”.

d: Who, in any walk of life, has influenced you to keep doing what it is you do?

R: My wife. She's always there to support me.

d: Is there anything you'd like to tell our readers?

R: Yeah. If you're an aspiring DJ, don't get DJ starter packages. Get a set of Technics 1200's. That'll work.

d: How do you feel about the rise in the popularity of the DJ?

R: It feels great. At least once a week, I have someone asking me what they need to do to become a DJ. It's not as hard as they think. For a while it was hard to get vinyl, but even that's picking up now. For a couple thousand dollars, you too can be a DJ.

d: Well, Reg, that's about it for the interview. Oh wait! You still owe me two favorite albums!

R: Okay, okay. DJ Kool's “Twenty Minute Work-Out”. Gotta have that. You need one more?

d: Yup.

R: You're killin' me!

d: I don't mean to.

R: Alright. “Time Zone” by Afrika Bambaata.


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