On Sunday morning, December the 23rd, after copious pre-partying at my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, our group of 5 split up, with three driving into The Village as a unit, and the other two, myself and who we’ll refer to for these purposes as “Dr. No”, taking car service down to 218 Sullivan St. for the purposes of taking in The Scumfrog, live and in person. At exactly 3:03 AM, we sprung from the taxi, presented our pre-printed tickets to some very amenable door men, when we found out that we were the last on the “Want Tickets” list to arrive (you know, best for last sorta thing), thanked them, tipped them, and bounded in for our red stamps. Coat check seemed daunting so we held our coats for a bit, as some of the drinking crowd seemed to be hitting the exits–as always–before things had even gotten good. We entered to the sound of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, a creepy rendition, quite frankly, which we found much to our liking. It’s very easy to identify a deejay by sound. We’ve been doing so for years. We could see it was Scumfrog, as he was visible in the booth, and we probably were never more than 50′ from him on the whole evening, which is a credit to The Sullivan Room, an incredibly intimate venue. But if he were perhaps obscured, we’d have known it was him. The Scumfrog is very distinct and has a fondness for Rock & Roll–over thick, chunky beats, which these were.
Dr. No had taken a wrong turn somewhere upon entrance. No doubt he would turn up. So I grabbed a drink and went right for the upper deck, where there was plenty of seating, so I settled in with a prayer that no one would approach me, and just listened to the set. While there’s a lot we admire about The Scumfrog’s music, if we had to narrow it down to one thing, we’d say it is the beats. He’s very aggressive and we can appreciate that. We grew up with Danny and JP, and cut our teeth at after hours clubs, here, in Miami, and in Las Vegas, for the most part. Frankly, we don’t even like JP, who to us, is very “Jersey”, and whose sets are often, shall we say, askew. To come out to a regular party, during “regular hours”, when you don’t even need to submit to a body cavity search upon entrance, and to be wowed by hard beats is very notable. We’re sure that Scumfrog appreciates that the ear of the city is very refined, and we think the set reflected his respect for this House Music community. Chunky is the word that best described the consistency of beats, which is a very high bit of praise, and was the word we were mumbling when Dr. No caught back up with us a few minutes later.
Dr. No had found a seated perch right off the dance floor and when he saw me, he called me over to that spot. While we hate moving, it was the right thing to do. Like any house party, the patrons are going to be predominantly men, but there was definitely some talent on the floor, and it only takes a few hot chicks dancing, because really, how many places can your eyes be in at once? A couple of stripper quality chicks dancing (Saturday night strippers, not Monday night strippers) can go a long way. Once I got set up over there, a guy came over and approached Dr. No. I was happy to ignore it, happier still that he hadn’t approached me. But I could hear the conversation, and this cat had a very Aussie accent, and so right away the very paranoid patron that I am started doubting it, wondering if this guy wasn’t a fake Australian/real pig. So I am patiently waiting this thing out, when Dr. No mentions the Australian Open, and directs this kid to me, because I am a very big tennis fan. Fuck. It turns out, the guy probably was from Australia because he knew enough to talk about Aussie prodigy Bernard Tomic, which frankly, is not much of a topic among local 5-0. He said that Tomic had some issues and I had said back that a player that good, that young, often has hiccups because they are raised in the spotlight. Then the guy asked me for drugs. LOL. We knew it was coming and were glad to get it out of the way. We do not know where to get drugs in The Sullivan Room and wouldn’t have told him, even if we knew. Surely, if he approached everyone in the bar as he had us, he’d find them. So that’s what we told him. Ask around, but we can’t help you. He was cool, and we really hope he found what he was looking for. Surprisingly enough, he was the only person who asked us for drugs, which has to be some sort of a record. One that we appreciated, because we are too para to get solicited in a situation like that.
We were paranoid indeed. We were paranoid that our friends, “Dr. Mo”, his wife, “Dr. Jo”, and our friend “Dr. Bo”, had retired early and weren’t really on their way to the club. Yes, we roll with doctors. Three M.D.’s and one D.C. And to tell the truth, they sorta look at me like a Godfather of sorts in these situations. I had vouched heavily for The Scumfrog, so I was of course anxious to see them and to see them having fun. Dr. Mo, an avid House fan (How serious, you ask? His email tag is “twilofire”!), had also gone way back with The Scumfrog, and had lived in the same apartment building as him about ten years ago, on 34th and 3rd, where he saw him all the time. It had turned out that they had been there, on the other side of the club, so they had heard a bit of the set. A track came on–“No Can Do” by Hall & Oates. Dr. Mo settled in on my left and asked me the following questions:
“Do you think he played ‘Trippin” yet?”
“What do you think of all the popular music?”
I knew he had not played “Trippin'” yet, and stated as such. He asked me why I felt that way. Because to play “Trippin” early in a set was amateurish, and probably even an amateur would not disrespect that track that way. Also, I felt it would be bad form to play a request early in a set. “Trippin'”, besides, is more of a set’s linchpin, and you wouldn’t waste it by blowing it prematurely.
The second question was more interesting. My answer was honest. I said that some hardcore fans would probably frown on popular music in that spot, think it’s campy. Then again, we’ve all heard it done. I’ve heard Steve Lawler drop the Red Hot Chili Peppers, heard Danny drop from Michael Jackson to 50 Cent (boo!), even heard Victor Calderone drop “Without Love” by the Doobie Brothers at the Old Crobar in Miami, and that selection probably made the most impact on me of any record I’ve ever heard spun. We all love to hear identifiable music, especially when it’s good, and Scumfrog has an excellent sense of what the fans want to hear. But this was a two part answer. “As long as he drops them over hard beats, he’s got nothing to worry about.”, I said. And Scumfrog really delivers at that, and we feel he has even improved at that, that his craft right now is extremely tight and polished.
In short, we picked the right spot to come out from under a rock. Scumfrog was amazing, and we will be sure to repeat the affair the next time he plays The Sullivan Room, which was also even better than we remembered. It’s an easy place to hang out. Drinks are cheap, and all the workers are very appreciative, when you tip, whether they be barmen or bathroom attendants. That’s the nice thing about going out these days. We can actually afford to spend money, and always prefer to tip well for the enjoyment and the unofficial benefits that go with tipping, which we’ll not discuss in this space.
Somewhere around 4:25 AM, close enough to the end for us, and to 4:20 for that matter, The Scumfrog dropped “Trippin'”, B Side, as he so graciously sent us the link to. What a gentleman. We knew what it was immediately, and we went right to the booth to thank him. We hope he heard us. If not, here it is as well. From there he played “If I ever Lose My Faith”, as we expected, and then to chants of “One More Track!”, he played “Asteroidz” by DBN Featuring Matilda, and it was quite a bomb. In fact, it was the only time we took out our phone all night, as we did not want to seem rude, but at that point–last track–it hardly mattered. We also actually felt bad about guilting The Scumfrog into playing “Trippin'” because we didn’t feel like the crowd was that warm to it, like these kids don’t know “Trippin'”, and therefore it felt a bit selfish on our part. At any rate, we’ll take it.
The Scumfrog played a great set in a great room, and the only recognizable music we heard was either classic, or Scumfrog classic, in which case, we knew to expect some things because any deejay will fall back on a few tracks here and there. And now, we have just a couple of questions. Well, more, but we’ve narrowed it to 2. One was, after a triumphant show like that, what does an ex-NYer from New Mexico do with himself? Our bet would have to be real pizza. The other, was he sporting a bit of a mustache now?
And for the unsanitized version of events, you may inquire within. But if we tell you, we may have to kill you.