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Music Tea w/ the Gentlemen of The Eric Jaffe Show

This Friday night, Tavern on Camac will be hosting an all male version of The Eric Jaffe Show, which is shaping to be a group of the most open and diverse male entertainers that this community has ever seen.

Philly Mixtape sipped some piping hot music tea with Mr. Jaffe and his brood of boys-Joe D’Angio (aka Pissi Myles), Ryan Wyrofski, Zachary Ryan, and S.M. Luke-and they each spilled about what they have in store this Friday night, and just what would happen if their all time favorite idol joined them on the coveted TOC stage. 

It’s time to take a seat at the music tea table with these fine Jaffe gentlemen..

PM- Kicking off our spillage, what do you gentlemen hope to get out of this event in terms of exposure and entertainment?

Joe – This month’s show is actually less exposure for me, cause no one knows who the hell Joe D’Angio is. I do think this is going to be fun as it won’t take 2-3 hours of prep (my usual), I get to sing some of the boy songs I never do anymore, and I figured “Fuck it, my feet hurt, I could use a break.” I had told Eric a couple of times that I was considering doing his show in boy drag, and he was always open to it.

Ryan – It allows me the opportunity to perform with some of Gayborhood’s finest singers, and since it is a free event, there’s always a great crowd.

Zach – I’m a young performer. Before doing Season 3 of Songbird: Search for Philly’s Best Singer, I never did much performing in public so being able to do the Eric Jaffe Show is, for me, both another learning experience and a way to increase my presence in the Gayborhood music scene.

Luke – It’s been over a year since I’ve performed, and I don’t do it often, so I hope the audience can get a better sense of what I do and who I am as an artist. I still feel like a lot of people aren’t familiar with what I bring to the table, so I hope I can surprise them. And entertain them, of course.

PM- What sets you guys apart from other entertainers?

Joe – I normally dress like a woman! I have a strong musical theatre and cabaret background, and I’m excited to get to return to that a little bit this time around.

Ryan – I come from a musical theater background. Growing up, I performed in many musicals and always loved songs that tell a story.  So while I might occasionally perform a pop song, I prefer to perform more theatrical numbers.

Zach – I think what sets me apart from the other performers are the genres I like to perform. I love singing country, folk, alternative rock and even some reggae from time to time. These genres are seldom seen in the Gayborhood among its other musical performers. People always seem pretty surprised when they see a guy playing nothing but a guitar in a cabaret show among a bunch of drag queens. It’s intimidating but I don’t mind sticking out like a sore thumb.

Luke – I guess the most obvious difference is that I’m a rapper. I know the Philly gay community is typically used to seeing performers who either do drag, or sing, but as a rapper, I offer a different kind of act to the stage. Hopefully people will find it refreshing.

PM- What can you spill about each of your performances? 

Joe – I will be bringing cupcakes. Those are for me, though, and there’s a good chance they won’t make it long enough to be seen onstage.

Ryan – Well, I hope everyone loves Disney as much as I do! (Ryan tells us to expect a lion costume…)

Zach – It’ll be just me, myself, and my guitar. I may be doing something a little different than what people have come to expect from me though. Stay tuned.

Luke – I’m more of a less-is-more kind of artist so you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!

PM- Here’s a fun sip for you guys. If your idol joined you on stage during the performance to sing a duet, who would it be and what would you sing?

Joe – Bette Midler would come RUNNING onstage and we would perform the entirety of her latest CD “It’s The Girls” as duets.

Ryan – I would LOVE to perform with Jeremy Jordan. I feel like the only appropriate song to do would be “It Takes Two” from Hairspray, since I’ll be acting just like Tracy during any duet…drooling over him while he sings most of it, then ambushing him with a kiss at the end.

Zach – My musical idol is Beyoncé, believe it or not, but if she came up on stage with me I’d either faint or be paralyzed by her flawlessness. I would kill to sing “Hold On” with Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. That chick is amazing and she’s one of my favorite vocalists killing it out there right now. A big motivator for me over the last couple of years is country singer Jason Isabell. He doesn’t sing about honky tonks or red solo cups or any of that bull shit. He writes songs about real struggle and hardships. He’s really genuine and I love that quality in any artist. It’s refreshing and I try to draw from that when I perform or write.

Luke – My fantasy collaboration would probably be with either Nas, Jay Electronica, Nicki Minaj, or Azealia Banks. All rappers who have inspired me greatly. What would we perform? In a perfect world, we would collaborate on a new original track of our own! I love the rebellious and DIY spirit of punk rock, and I love the energy of electronic and house music. In the future, I see myself creating music that includes all of those elements.

PM- Where can everyone find more of your performances? 

Joe – I usually perform under the drag persona Pissi Myles, and you can check me out Youtube or Facebook or on Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr @PissiMyles

Ryan –I tend to do things sporadically – I’m lucky enough to be a part of The Haus of Ham’s Mean Gays, which will be at 10pm Sunday, August 23rd at Franky Bradley’s.  And it’s going to be hysterical.  I also perform in the Light the Lights! Cabaret series at L’Etage, which will be picking up again this fall.

Zach – There are so many great venues and bars in Philly that host all kinds of musical tastes and I would love to experience the various atmospheres. I have a few shows lined up here and there over the coming months. I’ll be performing at Venture Inn in September. I’m also competing in Season 4 of Songbird at Tabu as one of the 10 All Stars competing against 10 new performers. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been told Bob and Barbara‘s has a Country Night which I am definitely interested in making.

Luke – You’ll be the first to know when I do. For now check out my site.

PM- Anything you’d like to say to the kids out there who’ll be watching?

Joe – I’ll be back in pumps in no time.

Ryan – The variety of performers that Eric has lined up will definitely make for an exciting night!

Zach – I hope I can entertain you!

Luke – I do accept tips!

If that’s not enough man mojo for you, we also spilled with the ringleader himself, Mr. Eric Jaffe, to officially make it to the bottom of the music tea mug. 

PM- What sets this show apart from your previous ones?

EJ – The Eric Jaffe Show has always celebrated the vocal talents of many different kinds of performers. This month’s show focuses in on some amazingly talented men who cover many different genres of music. There will be rap, folk, Broadway, and possibly some burlesque!
 
PM- Why did you choose to do it an all male version? 
 
EJ – I wanted to change it up this month. There are not as many opportunities for a male identified performer to take the stage, and I wanted to create a space for that. Also, it’s the middle of summer, and I am very thirsty for some MEN.
 
PM- What are you most excited about for this Friday’s show? 
EJ – I’m excited to see S.M Luke perform. I’ve never seen him live, but I live for the music that he has released. I also have confirmation that one of my cast members will be taking their clothing off, so obvi I’m most excited about that.
PM- Will you be performing a number?
 
EJ – DUH!
 
PM- Now, let’s spill about the upcoming Pop Musical Diary of a Gay Man. Anything you can tell us about it? 
 
EJ –The Pop Musical Diary of a Gay Man is a locally written jukebox musical coming to Philly Fringe Fest this year.  The show features songs from Madonna, Rihanna and more, and is about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality. I am very excited that The Eric Jaffe Show will feature a sneak preview of this awesome show! Check more of it out here.
 
PM-How did you choose this particular lineup?
 
EJ – I stood outside of the Bike Stop (a Philly gay leather bar) one night asking who wants to be a star. These are the ones who said yes!
 
PM- Something we asked all the guys, if your idol joined you on stage during the performance to sing a duet, who would it be and what would you sing?
 
EJ – I would love to do an acoustic cover of “Big Pimpin” with Elton John.
 
One last sip…
 
PM- Each of you describe this Friday’s show in one word..

Joe – Home.

Ryan – Yaaaaasssssss!

Zach – Vivacious.

Luke – Variety.

EJ – Absolut Vodka *ding*

 

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‘Fisco Rispo Disco’ Music Tea w/ DJs Jimmy DePre & John Michael Di Spirito

Picture it-it’s this Sunday. You head to your favorite Philly brunch spot for mimosas and prayers in curing the previous night’s nasty hangover. Then, all of the sudden, the hair-of-the-dog kicks in, and like Austin Powers, you’ve suddenly got your mojo back, baby. But wait, it’s 4:00…on a Sunday….you want to go and dance and suddenly you realize, there’s nowhere to go…until now. Yes, this Sunday, Philly hot spot Tavern on Camac is launching a new party called ‘Fisco Rispo Disco’, in which resident Tavern on Camac DJ Jimmy DePre and New York DJ John Michael Di Spirito have joined funkdafied forces to put together a one-stop disco shop for your buzz-y afternoon. Judging from the sounds of it, it’s certainly going to be the strobe-lit place to be every last Sunday of the month. This week, Philly Mixtape got the chance to chat with both local DJs, where we gabbed about what music to expect, what exactly a “Sunday Tea Dance” is, and just what the hell THAT title is all about…dive in.

PM-Okay, so John Michael, I’ll ask you this one. You and Mr. DePre have been friends for a quite some time now. Tell everyone a little about how you guys met.

JM-Believe it or not, it was at a party our friend (and fellow DJ) Barney Philly used to throw called “Woof” at the Gold Club. We were introduced as music enthusiasts and the conversation just went on (and on and on and on…) from there. Jimmy was the first guy I’ve ever really discussed my love for vocal harmony and doo wop music with and I was surprised by how much he knew and we never looked back!

PM-So, first and foremost, explain the title of your party to everyone….

JM-Well, one day we were hanging out talking about some “cheap” sounding record and we decided that “Fiscally Responsible” sounded nicer to say than “cheap”…So we thought “fiscally responsible disco music” was a genre all on it’s own…And then it just became “Fiscally Responsible Disco.” Since we all love abbreviations nowadays, the “FiscoRispoDisco” idea came about and we always talked about making that into an all-vinyl party one day…now it’s years later and here we are finally making it a reality!

JD-I’d like to think that John Michael and I have relatively good taste in all kinds of music but there’s always those guilty pleasures that you shouldn’t like because they’re so bad but you do. For years, him and I have joked about these pieces of music saying “they really were handing recording contracts out to anyone back then, weren’t they?” or “I bet the budget for this one was $5 with some change left over at the end!” I mean, if you heard some of the selections I’m talking about you would totally envision Oprah in your mind screaming “you get a record contract and you get a record contract and YOU get a record contract!!!” Being that downright absurd things come out of our mouths quite often, we decided that we would refer to these records not as cheap like so many already do but as fiscally responsible. We know that saying “Fiscally Responsible Disco” is quite a mouthful obviously, so over time we shortened it, like our friend Josh Abrahams would do, to a hashtag, FiscoRispoDisco, and started categorizing certain records as just that. The idea for a party based on this music came shortly afterward but then we came to our senses and realized we should keep the title but start a chill, hangout type party with the music we love so much from decades past. After all, it’s really that music that shaped where dance music is today in one way or another. However, if there’s one thing we always share a deep appreciation for, it’s really ridiculous music. Campy, over-produced, under-produced, all of it…and during the disco era and well into the 80’s, the music market was flooded with low budget productions, trying to cash in on “the sound”…ergo “cheap” music…

PM-What made you guys decide to have a Sunday tea dance party?

JD-Sunday Tea has always been an alluring and fun idea. Unlike a Friday or Saturday night where the music is a bit more serious and a “journey” is put together for the dancer, Sunday Tea allows for an easier sounding approach with little expectation other than having a good time with good music. With our Tea running from 4pm until 9pm, you could still sleep in, have brunch, grab a few drinks and a dance with friends and be home in time for a good night’s sleep so you’re rested for the work week on Monday. Tea Dance was started on Fire Island at The Blue Whale in the late 60s and has since then been recreated all over the world, including right here in our own hometown. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, it was tradition to go out on Sunday afternoon but Philadelphia hasn’t had a regular, proper Sunday Tea Dance in years and is long overdue for one, especially as the weather gets nicer in the coming months. We’re very excited to be bringing that vibe back to the city that changed the face of dance music not only in the 50s and 60s, but in the early 70s when disco was born here.

JM-Jimmy and I have both been DJ’s for so long now and we’ve done so many Friday/Saturday night residencies that we’ve always enjoyed Sunday parties a little more. For whatever the reasons, the crowds you get on a Sunday always seem to be the die hards. The one’s who are there for the music and the good times…and that’s what this is all about. No egos. No drama. All music. Throughout our various residences, we are sometimes restricted as to what formats we were able to play, so the idea of full on musical control and freedom obviously appeals to us! Jimmy’s the resident DJ at Tavern on Camac every Friday and Saturday night, so to have them let us come in with free reign on a Sunday too was really amazing! We’re very lucky for their support! I’ve noticed that there seems to be all these fun “all about the music” Sunday parties popping up in various cities so we wanted to throw our hats into the ring, so to speak. Especially in a city like Philadelphia which has such an incredible history of disco/funk/soul AND house music!

PM–Now Jimmy, I want to ask you, what kind of grooves can everyone except this weekend?

JD-Fun, chill and often interactive music is what can be expected this weekend. From 4-6pm I’ll be serving up disco, funk and soul sounds that will be definitely get your head moving and feet tapping. There’ll be lots of solid grooves with handclaps, fierce back up singers and sensational lead performances, both vocally and instrumentally. Naturally we’ll be featuring lots of Philadelphia music as well and things you would’ve only been able to hear at places like Catacombs, The DCA and Second Story back in the day. John Michael will take over the turntables at 6pm, bump up the energy and give you two solid hours of 90s house music drenched in piano and organ with infectious bass runs. Since house music was created from disco (check out the drumming on “The Love I Lost” by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes and tell me that Earl Young wasn’t drumming what we now call house back in 1973), the progression of music Sunday afternoon will make total sense and flow just right. For the last hour, we will tag team with Hi-NRG disco and house and finally bring you down in the last half hour with a few of our favorite morning music and sleaze selections. These more downtempo songs will gently bring the energy back down in the room and hopefully allow you to feel satisfied when you head for home. If home is not the immediate plan for you then these records will cleanse your musical palette as you get ready for whatever’s next on your Sunday night agenda. If you’re curious as to what I mean musically here, I simple have two words for you: Phyllis Hyman.

PM-Okay so Jimmy, while you guys are certainly best friends, have you ever had any “hold my headphones” quarreling moments making music together?

JD-Our quarrels have been far and few between fortunately. Sure there are certain artists that he lives for that I certainly do not understand but I have a few myself that he does’t get either. There’s nothing wrong with that because if we were both exactly the same musically, what fun would it be? We’re forever learning from each other, which is a beautiful thing, and I’m really looking forward to making this little dream of ours a reality together. I’m sure if I ever get around to playing Cut Glass, Johnny Mathis or Hemyl he’ll give me the old side eye but hey, I can’t help liking what I like. I’m sure my face will be the same if he plays “I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper” by Sarah Brightman lol.

PM-Now John Michael, I’ll ask you the same question….

JM-I can’t believe I’m gonna say this in print, but the main thing that comes to mind IS Johnny Mathis. I have NO love for him, no matter how many times Jimmy insists the disco version of “Begin The Beguine” is amazing… Sorry not sorry. Hah!

PM-So…if you guys had to pick a song that best describes each other, what would they be?

JM-Stardust’s “The Music Sounds Better With You”…cause it always does when you’re with friends who “get it.”

JD-“I’ve Got The Music In Me” by The Kiki Dee Band. From the day we were introduced to each other,  it was apparent that John Michael lives and breathes music the same way I do. Everything about that song perfectly describes him. It’s also a favorite of his so don’t be surprised if you hear it this Sunday or next month.

PM-One last question guys, why should everyone get their asses to Tavern on Camac this Sunday?

JD-Our main goal is to create a no drama, relaxed Sunday vibe where people who love music can go and hangout. Optimum sound quality is what we’re reaching for and the whole event will take place monthly from only vinyl on two Technics 1100 turntables (the predecessor to the well known 1200) run through a custom built Bozak DLC mixer. So often I hear people asking how come there’s not anything to do on a Sunday afternoon. Now there is and all we need to make it a success is support. This is something new and exciting in the neighborhood and we’re anxious for our friends to come check it out. Sunday parties always seem more intimate any time we attend them together and over time we’ve noticed that the regular attendees form this sort of dance floor family. Taking that into consideration, is there a better place to create something like that then right here in the City of Brotherly Love? I think not. John Michael said it best the other day, it’s the only place where you can have fun on a Sunday for $1 an hour. So please, swing by, grab a drink from Michael Raz and see what FiscoRispoDisco is all about. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

JM-Because it’s the best place for you to go after you leave your boozy Sunday brunch with the best tunes on vinyl for only $1 an hour!

For more on Fisco Rispo Disco, go here.

 

 

 

 

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“Philly Mixtape Music Tea”w/ DJ Jimmy DePre

If there is one person in Philly who I could spill music tea all day with, it would be resident Tavern on Camac DJ and music connoisseur, Jimmy DePre. I’m happy to say that since the launch of Philly Mixtape, Jimmy and I have become gabbin’ music galpals, so I couldn’t wait to dust off the good Lennox tea cups and get to sippin’ with him. Dive into our “Philly Mixtape Music Tea” below.

PM-Hey Jimmy, thanks so much for having this little music chat with me. I know you and I can go on for hours, so I’ll keep it short and sassy. To start off, tell me how you got started in the biz.

JD-I got started professionally when I was 15 working with Jerry Blavat. My musical curiosity and career interest for radio led me to him, initially to sit in and watch him do his thing. That one time turned into once a week and before I knew it I was learning the technical side of radio. One afternoon, his intern didn’t make it into the office and I stopped by after school. He needed a commercial cut, edited and produced by 5pm and no one was around to do it. Knowing basically nothing about computer audio programs, let alone how to use them, I went in blindly and by trial and error got it done. Soon, I was redoing everything the intern had done to sharpen my skills. A few months later, he asked me if I was interested in learning how to spin. I was again thrown to the lions. He took me to a gig, introduced me to his DJ who in turn briefly showed me how the decks worked and where the music was at and disappeared for a smoke/bathroom break. Here I was in front of about 1,000 people at this huge convention and it was either figure it out or not. Over the next 6 years with him, I honed my skills at first for slip-cueing and then beat mixing. I was constantly on the hunt for dance music, both old and new. I quit when I was 21 and a month later ,started a brief Thursday night residency at 12th Air Command. After that, things just kept going and going and here we are today.

PM-What’s the first song you think you ever heard in your life?

JD-It’s hard for me to remember the first song I ever heard, but I do know that the first song I ever heard on the radio was “A Wonderful Dream” by The Majors from 1962. The DJ playing it on the radio, Hy Lit, ended up being my inspiration for chasing that career path at the beginning.

PM-How about the first song you ever spun?

JD-Similar to the last question and given how I spun the first time, I have no memory of the first song I ever spun, but I’d be willing to bet it was a Motown record.

PM-Shout out for me one album that you can’t live without.

JD-While this may sound completely random, “What’s The Story Morning Glory” by Oasis is the first one that comes to mind. I have a lot of great memories attached to that album and it stands out because it’s so unlike everything else I play at home.

PM-Definitely one of the best albums from the 90’s, for sure. Speaking of the good ol 90’s, a lot of dance music right now has been kissed with that sexy 90’s deep house groove, what is one old school dance track that you spin all the time?

JD-I still include Livin’ Joy’s “Dreamer” often in sets and it still gets a great response. Janice Robinson’s vocals are killer and that organ in the hook is everything.

PM-Okay, so if you had to pick one Madonna song to listen to for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

JD-“Borderline” wins hands down for me. I remember loving it as a kid when I first heard it, and it sounds as fresh to me when I hear it now. It’s one solid groove and she gives a great performance.

PM-So, I’m sure by now that you’ve heard that both Janet and Missy are both coming out with new records soon. The other day, I asked fellow DJ Chris Urban the same question and he’s looking most forward to Missy’s album. How about you?

JD-Well if what Timbaland has to say is true, I can’t wait to see what Missy is going lay on us. It’s been almost equally as long since either have had an album out so we’re due for Janet too, but I’m really anxious to hear the “game-changer” that Missy has finished and ready to go. When something is described as “it sounds today, but the future” then I’m all ears and waiting.

For more music from Mr. DePre, go right here and be sure to check your life every Friday and Saturday night right here to see hear him turn it the fuck out.