Originally published by East Bay Express Oct 01, 2003
©2003, New Times, Inc. All rights reserved.
Veteran Special-Events DJ Jeff Oliver
Takes Your Fun Very Seriously.
By Katie St. Claire
CDs: check. JBL speakers: check. Microphone: check check.
Stage Props: check. Oversized sombrero for conga line: check.
These are the tools of the trade of DJ Jeff, the one and only "#1 Awesome DJ" who tries his damnedest to bring your party to life, even if it kills him. Which, he claims, it almost did when a rival threatened to do just that in order to thin the competition. No, this ain't no East Coast/West Coast thing. It's the highly competitive world of the wedding and special-event DJ, a world this Antioch disc jockey aims to conquer, and by and large has.
"You must always show up at least fifteen minutes early to each event," says Jeff, sitting in the somewhat cramped studio behind his house, where Planet Clair was greeted with a warm smile and some jasmine tea.
This is where he treats perspective clients to a video presentation of his work. It's very well-produced, with space-age computerized effects and a pumping soundtrack. A wedding scene is highlighted, in which the crowd is having the time of its life. One elderly guy, who may be too old to swim at the YMCA, proves he can damn sure do the dance. A tipsy bridesmaid leads a snake of dancers to the strains of Kool and the Gang's "Celebration." And isn't that the #1 Awesome DJ himself leading the entire party in that new dance CHA-CHA SLIDE?
Jeff Oliver knows parties. A born entertainer, he looks bit like a buttoned-down Rip Taylor, and shares the comedian's exuberant flamboyance. But DJ Jeff ain't no confetti- tossing Hollywood Squares lackey. This is the real thing: A massive collection of authentic looking wigs & hats, metallic jackets like rock stars wear, giant foam hands and a caseload icebreakers & competitions. If he can't get Aunt Mabel out of her chair and having a good time, well, maybe it's time to check her pulse.
If there's one piece of wisdom Jeff would like to impart before leaving this mortal coil himself, it's that entertainment is THE MOST important aspect of your special event. "In twenty years, are you gonna remember what you ate at that wedding?" he asks. "Are you gonna even remember where it was? Probably not. You are going to remember that great time you had dancing."
DJ Jeff's events range from sublime to wholly interactive. Clients whom want creative flair will find out that he doesn't just sit behind his equipment and blend one song into the other. He actually gets out there and leads the bunny hop, or he'll teach a plucky group of senior citizens the Cabbage Patch. His crowning glory is that old wedding standard, the Chicken Dance, during which he dons his chickenhead and flaps away. His flexible style seems to make everything look very fun.
He can also provide props for air-band enthusiasts and set up computerized lighting.
Want to show your guests how to cut the rug? Oliver can teach the Electric slide, achy breaky, swing, jitterbug, limbo, stroll and 14 other dances.
"He makes the whole reception because he's so involved," says Nancy Pittman, who did the chicken dancer at her daughter's wedding at Humphrey's restaurant in Antioch.
He'll also design event fliers, supply low-cost decorations and print personalized list of event locatoins with details on everything from parking spaces to kitchen capacities.
"You have to go the extra mile. Money and survival aren't falling into anybody's lap. Jeff see's that," says Sheri Cole, owner of Rhapsody in Romance bridal shop in Danville, who recommends Oliver to her customers.
But Oliver says his attention to detail isn't prompted purely by steep competition. He'll tell you he has been that way from the time he got his start in the early '80's as a banquet supervisor at the Concord Hilton.
"I washed the dishes, cut vegetables, cleaned carpet, set up thousands of tables and greeted the guests", he says. "I really care about people and I just want to make them happy"
Some of his ideas for the emergency kit came from trouble-shooting during those times. "I was always using tape, thumb tacks and etc.," he recalls.
DJ Jeff's Emergency Kit: To each event, Oliver brings a trunk with items designed to meet his clients' last-minute needs. Among other things, his inventory includes: Guest book, toasting glasses, Nylons, toothpicks, hair dryer, hair spray, shoe polish, breath mints, towelets, static guard, air freshener, safety pins, bottle opener, eye drops, lint remover, glue stick, shoe horn, packing tape, stain remover, wire, iron, etc.
To Hire 1-Awesome-DJ
CALL (925) 778-3764