“I’ve got to be the first person ever to play Joy Division in that club,” says DJ Atari, after being hired with Junior the Disco Punk to bring their club DJ sound to Kearny Mesa strip club Dream Girls on Wednesdays.
The duo, which can be found playing everything from ’80s hits to electro- and indie-rock mash-ups and remixes at the AC Lounge, Casbah, Brass Rail, Bar Pink, among others, said they were tapped by Dream Girls management to bring the nightclub atmosphere into the topless bar.
“When I talked to them, I explained that I’m a DJ — I blend music together and create a vibe for the environment I’m in,” Junior says. “That environment is usually dance-floor mayhem. I don’t do requests. I’m not a radio DJ, so there’s no request line.”
Both Junior and Atari said management had just one request: play what they would spin at a club during a weekend night.
“We’re playing stuff that’s never been played in that club before: Björk, Peaches, the Cure, Wu-Tang Clan, the Clash, Donna Summer, the Cars, Devo, Mötley Crüe,” Atari says. “You can’t forget Mötley Crüe.”
The contrast between DJing at a downtown nightclub where almost anything goes — except nudity — and a strip club was evident as soon as they plugged into the sound system. First off, they don’t do any announcing. That job remains in the hands of Dream Girls’ resident DJ, Rev. Drew.
“Me and Atari will just be shooting the shit and we’ll tell him, ‘Thirty seconds until the song is over,’ and he’ll click a button and he’s ‘on.’ [In a booming voice] ‘Theeeerreeee’s Candy Rain on the center stage…’ ” Junior says.
“We came in there, and I felt that Drew would think that we were stepping on his toes, and he’s been helping us, MCing between the tracks and making the girls deal with the music being different,” Atari says. “This is definitely thinking outside the box, and at first [the dancers] were reluctant about us, but over the course of a couple of weeks, they’re starting to figure it out and enjoy it.”
While the atmosphere is different, Junior and Atari say the concept behind bringing club music to a topless bar, while innovative for San Diego, isn’t new.
“A strip club doesn’t have to be some gross place. Have you ever been to Jumbo’s Clown Room [in L.A.]?” Atari asks.
“Jumbo’s is great. It’s like going to Live Wire but with Suicide Girls dancing to Bauhaus and the Cult…or Ratt!” he says.