|Halloween 2011, DJ Sue in skull DJ booth on right, click to enlarge|
“I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight.
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise,
He did the Mash.
He did the Monster Mash.
The Monster Mash,
It was a graveyard smash.”
Bobby “Boris” Pickett, 1962
Spring is here and the last thing on everyone’s mind is Halloween. That is everyone except me. Next month I need to begin work on this year’s, “Ninth Annual DJ Sue’s Monster Mashup,” if I’m to be sure to finish it in time. That’s right; as most of you know, each year I create a two hour long mashup for Halloween. A “mashup” is where a DJ takes elements from one song, maybe vocals, and combines them with elements from other songs, like music, to make a new song.
The term “Monster Mashup” has double meaning. The obvious one is its connection with the song quoted at the beginning, the Monster Mash. In that context it is a dance done by the monsters in that song. The other meaning is that it is a monster of a mashup. In other words, this mashup is a beast. It is a single, two hour mp3. Maybe that meaning is only obvious to me as I labor for several months putting it together.
So what is it exactly? It is really a series of mashups mashed together into one big mashup. Along with the mashups, I mash in additional sound effects, theatrical pieces, song elements and the occasional untouched song. The fact that it is one big mashup of mashups adds a third level of meaning to the term, “Monster Mashup.”
One thing I’d like to stress is that not all of the mashups I use are mine. The majority of them are by other DJs but some are my own creations. The final product is mashed together by me with all of the elements mentioned above.
It’s hard to believe that this will be my ninth this year. The first year I did it, it didn’t look anything like it does today. In fact, the “mashup” element didn’t really exist. It was simply called, “DJ Sue’s Monster Mash.” It was a regular DJ show of Halloween appropriate songs like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. I embellished the fades and mixes with some spooky sound effects and stuff.
In 2011, I did my second year and you can see from the poster above, that I had referred to it as a “Monster Mash-up.” I had intended for the “mashup” part to be a one-time gimmick and go back to calling it the “Monster Mash” the following year.
I had the idea in September and I worked furiously to prepare. It eventually grew to a long list of mp3’s (music or sound files) and a clipboard full of written instructions that looked something like this:
With 28 seconds left, start Thriller, allow last song to fade.
At 1:28 start thunderstorm #2 on deck #3
Cue C. Daniels on deck #4 to 1:45, play to 1:53, loop 4 measures, beat match and fade in
Cue Ghostbusters on deck #2, change beats per minute to 128
With 28 seconds left, start deck #2, beat match @128, leave decks 3&4
In reality, my shorthand looked more like this for the same steps I just described:
@28 sec Thriller
@1:28 thunder2 deck3
DevilGeorge on 4 to 1:45, @1:53 loop 4 fade
Ghostbusters on 2 to 128 bpm
@28 sec Ghostbusters match leave 3&4
I completed the two hour show and even rehearsed it once. Those close to me knew what I was doing, including my then SL wife, Autumn Spice. When her friends’ club suddenly needed a DJ for their annual Halloween bash, I was asked if I could do my mashup show twice. I knew many people would be at both the Friday show (see poster below) and the Monday show (Halloween) so I decided to make up a second one on a second clipboard. I used about half of the show I already had but I also used stuff I had prepared but didn’t need the first time. These shows were big hits at both SL’s Metro Club and at a Woman’s Touch.
After the reactions to the two 2011 mashups, I had to do one for 2012. It was this time out that the final change was made and they took their final form, still used today, and we have Hurricane Sandy to thank for it. Maybe it’s best that I tell this story as a timeline. From the poster below, you can see that the Mashup was scheduled for Wednesday, October 31, 2012. I live three miles from the water on the New Jersey Coast.
Friday, October 26: Ordered evacuations began in New Jersey. I finished preparing the clipboard for the live mashup, still five days away.
Saturday, October 27: I had been watching the Hurricane and its projected path, realizing that it could hit and cause issues with the live Mashup if I were to lose power for a day or so. I had a great idea. Since I was planning to rehearse the Mashup on my day off, Saturday, I would flip on the record button and record the rehearsed set. This way, I could give it to Ashra and she could play it on schedule on Halloween if I was unable to log on due to the storm. My rehearsal was flawless and recorded. The resulting mp3 was 2 hours, 0 minutes and 51 seconds long.
Sunday, October 28: I shared my plan with Ashra and she agreed. We even came up with the idea that I’d make a life-sized cardboard cutout of myself that she could put behind the DJ booth. Alas, the file was too big to email so it never happened. Knowing the Hurricane was about 24 hours out and I was not scheduled to do a show on Monday, I logged out of my show Sunday night playing as my last song Riding the Storm Out by REO Speedwagon. I was still under the impression that I’d make it on Wednesday and be able to do the Mashup live.
Monday, October 29: Sandy made landfall before midnight. I had already lost power about an hour before. Through previous hurricanes and what not, I’d rarely lost power and if I did, it was never out for more than a couple of hours. I went to bed confident I’d still make my Monster Mashup just less than two days away.
Tuesday, October 30: The Governor put the estimates to restore power to most people at about a week. For the first time I began to consider, I might not make my Monster Mashup on Halloween. I counted my blessings. A couple miles down the road there were homes that were completely destroyed. I emailed people in SL to let them know I was well.
Wednesday, October 31: Still widely regarded today as the “Halloween that never was.” There was NO trick-or-treating anywhere. I sat at home that night, reading a book by candle light and eating the Snickers bars intended for the trick-or-treaters. The time for my Monster Mashup came and went and I thought about everyone in SL.
Friday, November 9: After ten days without power, the lights came back on thanks to crews from Ontario, Canada working in my neighborhood. I was able to log into Second Life and many warm welcomes that evening. Maya Shadowhawk decided to throw a “Welcome Back Sue” party the following day at her Castle on Park Place. Everyone knew I had prepared the Monster Mashup and asked if I could play it then.
Saturday, November 10: I had thought the whole time that the Mashup would not be played this year and I would just save it for the following year. Instead, ten days after Halloween I got to play my Mashup. It’s a lot of work doing it live and I really wanted to relax and visit with my friends, who were just filled with questions about the storm. In what I saw as a moment of weakness at the time, I played the prerecorded mp3 instead of doing it live. As a DJ, I had cued each song and started it at the precise moment I chose. I shuddered at the thought of a prerecorded DJ show. Maya and others convinced me that I had put in so much work into it that it was definitely not cheating.
|DJ Sue's Welcome Back Party at Castle Shadowhawk|
I really enjoyed that party, especially since I didn’t have to work hard during it. I enjoyed it so much that I have not done a live Monster Mashup since then. From that one in 2012 onwards, they have all been prerecorded. The Annual Monster Mashup had achieved its final form. Below are the posters in order of all the following Monster Mashups, from 2013 through 2017.
This coming Wednesday (June 6)
Here at AWT, we have Christmas in July every year and on July 25th, we decorate and play Christmas music. So this Wednesday, June 6th, why not have Halloween in the spring? For my set I will play that two-hour mp3 from 2012 and relive that twisted Halloween one more time, the Halloween Monster Mashup that almost never was.
Each poster above, when you clicked on it in SL, would give you a notecard explaining the event. This usually had a list of the artists mashed together, sometimes other DJs who’s mashes were mashed in and other things. I will close with the content on that notecard from 2012, the notecard for the show you will hear on Wednesday…
Trick or Treat to the Beat!!!
DJ Sue’s Third Annual Halloween Monster Mashup Party
Wednesday, October 31, at AWT, 2-4 PM SL time
Yes, it’s scary, very scary. Sue has taken all your favorite songs and chopped them up. She has taken them into her laboratory and stitched them all together, bringing them back to life as one big unholy creation. This year she seemed to delight in taking her chainsaw to Lady Gaga in particular. You will hear…
The Bee Gees
The Beasty Boys
Blue Oyster Cult
Book of Love
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Four Seasons
Ray Parker Jr.
Bobby “Boris” Pickett
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rolling Stones
The Screaming Lord Sutch
The Sex Pistols
…and Many… MANY… MORE!!!!!!!
Are you brave enough to dare and groove to the tunes? Hope to see you there!
|DJ Sue makes her entrance, Halloween 2013|