Some people would wince at the thought of a bar being the place that you had the most fun. A bar is a place where it can be said that people waste their time and money. A place that breeds alcoholism and sometimes violence. Walking into a bar may be the last thing you remember when you wake up in jail with a black eye and a busted lip. This is a place you might not go back to for months because you jumped up on the bar dropped your drawls when you favorite song came on. Some would say bars are dispicable places.
Being a DJ, I can tell you some of the best memories of my life were inside bars and clubs.
Yeah, I know, Big DJs stick to clubs instead of a bar with a soundsystem, yada yada. When a DJ is tired of having to play what the club wants, there comes a hunt for a place a DJ can just get his/her thing on. A magical place where a DJ can play what they want, when they want, and how they want. A place where the owners aren’t being shitheads about printing flyers, dress code, bar tab, guest list, and volume. Instead, the owners want good music, good vibes, and no bullshit. A place where, for a time, there was a trampoline in the back room!?!?!?
It would seem I would have to die first, in order to go to this heavenly place where DJs go to live in eternal bliss.
Instead of an early exit, I found this heavenly place right here on Earth. In fact, right here in my own city: Landlord Jim’s Cocktail Machine. LLJ’s has the best thing going out here if you ask me. A small dive bar that now sits in a vacant apartment building in the East Village section of downtown. Away from the boojie, touristy, House music infested Gaslamp District that San Diego is (for some reason) well known for. There are three big ingredients in this cocktail machine that make it the best bar in the city:
1. STIFFEST DRINKS IN THE CITY fo’ cheap.
2. Some of the finest DJs in the city have blessed the decks there, and still do.
3. “NO COVER, NO DRESS CODE”
I used to go to LLJ’s when it first made it’s transformation from local scallywag daytime drunkard hangout, to scallywag nightime dancing drunkard hangout. Being right around the corner from SD City College, I used to dip down there after class for a little drizzle before I trekked back to my crib. Sara and Virgina, along with my man DJ JUNIOR THE DISCO PUNK are actually the people who seemed to turn the place around. Originally there was no DJ booth, so DJ’s had to set up on the pool table. Of course, there is also everyone’s favorite:
LLJ’s has had a problem before with having no Cabaret license. No cabaret means no dancing, and no DJs allowed. For a minute they had DJs doing their thing remotely live from Junior’s kitchen upstairs in front a video camera that was being fed through the bar TVs. Eventually the booth went in, and they just decided to do it as rebel as possible.
The original Landlord Jim’s T-Shirt with the motto “Where The Women Drink Like Sailors.” Priceless!
One of the funnest nights was a couple years ago at Landlord Jim’s one year anniversary. All the OGs were there, including Brisk One who was out back painting trucker caps with a stencil. I copped a Jungle Green version, and then did a rap show inside with Mike Czech.
Another time there was a crew art show, where Disko Rick and I DJed. In fact that was the last time I ever saw Disko Rick DJ at a spot. R.I.Power!
My favorite memories, one word: Cumbias!
Off the head, here are the DJs I can remember rocking the spot. If anyone is reading and I left them out, my bust.
Junior The Disco Punk, Mike Czech, Disko Rick, Jay Dread, JBlow, Drez, Ratty, @ Large, Buddah, Steven Flex, Phil, Still Life, D-Styles, NuMark, LRS, Sonny Phono, Melo-D, Rhettmatic, Atari, Hippoh, Mark E. Quark, Flo, Mateo, Charle Rock, Mario, Cros One, Ali-Asha, Iron Mike, Profile, Hektik…The list goes on…
While it was cool to be right around the corner from my school, that fact is eventually bringing Lanlord Jim’s demise. The people voted to give City College more money, and they are taking over the property between City College, and Broadway. They made everyone that lived upstairs move out, and Landlord Jim’s is left squeezed between a closed down Taco Shop, and an Art Gallery/Spoken Word/ live performance venue known as Voz Alta.
When JBlow and I took over the Saturday Night slots, we had no idea when LLJ’s would be getting their notice to leave. The general consensus was that it would be sometime in 2007. We knew that we would have at least 90 days from whenever the notice was served, so we might as well mash it up while we can. Thus “Till The Wheels Fall Off” was born, and we haven’t faltered since.
Alas the notice was served, and our very last night, including the bar’s last night, is January 5th. We are putting togther something real nice for the last night, so stay tuned. If you are from out of town, and will be here before that final date you have to make it through to get a little taste of San Diego History. Mapquest that bitch, and bring yo ass on!
Landlord Jim’s=Jumper Palace!!!