DJ Pete Jones
Juggling 2 turntables in 1969
JayQuan talks with Pete Jones.
JayQuan : Peace …I don’t know where to start….when did you start actually spinning 2 copies of the same record…and what kind of records were you working with ?
Pete Jones : Well it was around 69 or 70….stuff by James Brown , Peoples Choice , BB King , Johnny Taylor , Fatback Band…I have actually done production work for Fatback . …People from their record label would see me spinning in the clubs and bring me records to rate……then I started producing for them .
JQ : What made you spin 2 copies of a record back in 69 ?
PJ : Well you know the best part of the record is the breakdown….what guys started calling the break or breakbeat. That was the part that got people dancing….so I would play that part continous . I had a mixer that had a cue …so that you could hear the record on one turntable while the other one played . I would have 2 copies….usually a 45 (rpm) and a 3 minute song could get extended to 10 minutes. There weren’t that many songs out , so if I had to Dj a party that lasted 3 hours ; I had to extend those breakdowns.
JQ : What kind of equipment were you working with ?
PJ : Sony Microphone mixers – Later a GLI 7000 Mixer – it was about the size of a TV . They didn’t even have cross faders.
JQ: Who else was doing this sort of thing at this time ?
PJ : Grandmaster Flowers from Brooklyn , Maboya , Plumber….then Flash Herc and Bam came after them . Grandmaster Flowers was the best mixing Dj that I ever saw…..Flash was the fastest.
JQ : Who was the first person that you heard rap ?
PJ : Dj Hollywood .
JQ : Did you ever have any Emcees rhyme for you ?
PJ : Luvbug Starski….he was like a son….I took him off the streets and he worked in my club. Also JJ The Disco King and Kc The Prince Of Soul .
JQ : Didn’t you retire at one time ?
PJ : Yes around 1980 … I had a few clubs….I needed to run them .
JQ : Do you feel that your name has been unfairly left out of Hip Hop history ? (Flash does mention that you were the first person he saw spin 2 copies of a record…..and the first with a cue on your mixer)
PJ : Well I was a club Dj downtown….you had to be an adult to get into the places I played . Therefore some guys talk about Flash , Herc and Bambaataa because they were park Djs…..anyone could go to the park, there was no age limit ,but they were too young to see me .
JQ: Did you ever play clubs where any so called stars performed ?
PJ : Yes….it was different ….the bands use to open for us !! GQ and Fatback would open for me , and I was the headliner !
JQ : When did you return to Djing ?
PJ : 1987 ….its hard to stay away…I still Dj , and I have a house full of records and records in storage .
JQ : Do you listen to Hip Hop and if so who ?
PJ : I like it all …Ja Rule , Jay -Z….I don’t know what they’re saying , but the music is good….they’re just using old music.
JQ : If I may ask , how old are you ?
PJ : Im 62 years old .
JQ : Incredible…..Aren’t you down with Kurtis Blow & some other Old Schoolers ?
PJ : Yes we have a Hip Hop Alliance…Me , Kurtis Blow , Russell Simmons , Herc and Grandwizard Theodore…..we just look for ways to make Hip Hop positive .
As told to JayQuan October 2001
photo from DJ Jamal