Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Follow the sound of scratching records and cheering crowds at any bar and club on the weekend and you’re inevitably led to the DJ. Ask them for a request and they might oblige. Or they might not. That all depends. Park Sports Bar in Montclair uses the allure of DJs to draw the crowds, but they don’t just book the same act every night. All three of their DJs have their own distinct flavor that sets the apart. “Before I start, I like to talk to people in the crowd,” says ‘Sir’ Issac Brown, a 35 year old veteran DJ. “It gets them motivated.” Brown is a karaoke DJ. His job is to break the ice with his personality and then melt it completely with the music. And he’ll do it by whatever means necessary, even singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in its entirety. Falsetto parts included–and he nails it every time. “That always blows their minds,” he laughs. But that’s just how you get people involved, he adds. Get the people to laugh at you, and they won’t mind being on the spot themselves. In a way, it’s more about being a performer than a DJ. Brown has been singing for 20 years and loves to work a stage. He even has pipe dreams of being on Broadway, and we wouldn’t dare hold such charisma back. He even has a group of followers, including one special one. “I have a stalker,” he admits, unable to hold back his laughter. “She’s 80 years old and comes to all of my shows. And she stares at my crotch pretty much the whole time.” “What can I say? I’m a Grandma’s man.” Indeed. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing old school about karaoke. It’s lucrative, sure, and it appeals to just about anyone. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But it’s a different game. It relies less on the complexity of mixing than it does on the force of personality, and not everyone can do it. But not everyone wants to. Take Kenneth Toone, or as he’s more commonly known, DJ Loony Tune. Like Sir Isaac, he spends a little time schmoozing with the crowd before he starts. What songs do you like? Any requests? Let me see if I have that one. Toone is an all request DJ. His job is to give the people what they want to hear. But that doesn’t mean the job is easy. No, not by any stretch. “Above all, my job is to bring a party atmosphere, and you have to be careful not to kill the vibe,” says Toone, who has gotten some frankly terrible requests in his time. “One lady requested the Hokey Pokey once. I’m not kidding.” And he’s had a lot of time to wrack them up.The 34 old year claims his mixing began when he was only 8. Since then, he’s scratched all over the tri-state–mostly in NYC–with some bigger venues like Webster Hall under his belt. And he does it by following the basics of mixing, nothing more. A good beat, a catchy tune, and perfect transitions. Follow those three, and you’ll see the faces light up all night. Why else do it than for the crowd reaction? Certainly, there is no better affirmation of the hard work one puts into their beats. Because, let’s face it. Making a living off of this is hard work. “It can be a tough life,” he admits. “You have to chase the money and build your reputation.” And not everyone wants to take the easy way out (weddings). Most want to express their vision, and they need to be patient with that. It is the tenant of any artist, and the creed of the no-request DJ. Enter DJ Max Jerome. A little older, a little wiser. A lot more prideful. Do yourself a favor and save the request, because you ain’t gettin’ it. Jerome is old school in equipment and attitude. Every since he was little and saw the video for Herbie Hancock’s Rockit with Grandmaster D.ST, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. “I never saw anything like it,” he says. And sadly, he sees less and less of it. Technology has condensed the turntables and stacks of vinyls to a Macbook in most cases. Everything is easier, and it has made people lazy. “Current DJs don’t blend,” he laments. “They talk over lazy transitions. They blare sirens, they ring bells, and they ruin it for those that try to keep the culture alive. They’re selling snake oil.” Why? He can’t say. But who can? Maybe there was something humbling about the amount of work it used to take to mix. Not just the technique, but the sweat hours. Dragging crates of records and hundreds of pounds of equipment to anywhere that would have you–now that made the payoff worth it. “Maybe anyone these days with iTunes calls themselves a DJ, but they don’t draw the crowds like we used to,” he says, adding, “Technology changes art.” Even DJ Looney Tunes knows that a real DJ is a real musician, no matter what anyone else might think. It’s about the craft of taking the song in a new direction, juxtaposing diverse soundscapes, and surprising people. It’s the same reason mixologists roll their eyes at Rum and Coke slinging bartenders with no respect for taste or proportion. “At the end of the day, you gotta make the crowd happy,” Jerome concedes. “If you think you’re hot and crowd doesn’t, the bar sales start to suck and you’re out of the job.” How, then, does a real DJ reconcile pride and duty? Just be good at what you do. Learn the basics–blending, transitions, and the history. Respect the culture. Grab some vinyl. Once you start to make money, don’t take it as a signal that you’re done with needing to improve. And for Jerome, that’s meant changing with times too. “Embrace that new technology,” he says. “It does change art, but it doesn’t have to change you.” Park’s DJs are a diverse crew. From Thursday to Saturday nights, they’re out there spinning and mixing. And their opinions need not affect yours, so check them out and get to know them. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to scratch. Check out DJ Max Jerome on Tuesday nights, Sir Isaac Brown on Thursdays, and DJ Loony Tune on Friday, all from 10pm-1am.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Last Saturdays: HipHop Meets Reggae!

Run-Amok Entertainment In Assocation With Road Block Radio Presents:
"Last Saturdays" HipHop Meets Reggae!
The Spot Lounge, 45 Commerce Street, Newark New Jersey.
Doors Open At 9p.m. to 2:00a.m. (Everyone Is Free Till 10p.m.)
Security Is Tight-Dress Code Strictly Enforced. Proper I.D. Is A Must.
August 28th 2010
Special Performance By: Nite Music By Max-Jerome (99.5 WBAI-FM) & Darrin Dee (Road Block Radio)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rock Steady 2010: Max-Jerome On The Wheels.

The 5th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival Includes Rock Steady Crew Anniversary, Newark Jazz Composers Tribute & Gospel Showcase.

The Internationally Anticipated Free Three-Day Festival Has Over 30 Musical Performances, a Photography Exhibit, Wellness Pavilion, Green Marketplace, and Activities for Seniors and Children NEWARK, N.J., July 22 -- Beginning at noon on Friday, July 30 until 8:00pm on Sunday, August 1, music, dance and positive energy will reverberate throughout Newark emanating from the internationally anticipated 5th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival presented by SEIU, Razac, Verizon Wireless and Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District. The free, three-day outdoor festival offers a unique combination of outstanding live music performances, arts, culture, wellness and green lifestyle pavilions, and attractions for the entire family. Over 30 performances in four genres of African American music highlight the spirit of Lincoln Park's urban eco-village: a tribute to Newark's great jazz composers James Moody, Wayne Shorter and more, a gospel showcase with "How Sweet the Sound" A Verizon Experience and Newark Idol youth performers, encore performances by house music icons Loleatta Holloway and DJ Joaquin "Joe" Claussell, and hip-hop pioneers EPMD, Big Daddy Kane and many more celebrate the 33rd Anniversary of The Rock Steady Crew.

For a complete list of performances and activities for seniors, families and children, visit Pre-Festival | Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 11:00am Festival Kick-Off Press Conference Russell Aldo Murray Gallery, 460 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102 More Info: Pre-Festival | Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm Opening Reception for "Reflections" Exhibit presented by State Farm Insurance and LPCCD. Curated by Tony Graves and Akintola Hanif, Reflections provides a retrospective of the Lincoln Park Music Festival through the photography, film and multi-media art of Vincent Bryant, Tamara Fleming, Tony Graves, Akintola Hanif, Jaecyne Howell, and Stafford Woods.

A kaleidoscope of sound provided by DJ Max-Jerome. On View: July 29 - October 2. Russell Aldo Murray Gallery, 460 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102. In The Park | July 30, 31, and August 1 -- On Friday, July 30, Essex County Division of Aging will distribute free organic produce to the senior attendees -- On Friday, WellCare Health Plans will engage seniors in "Silver Sneakers" activities including line dancing, Zumba, foot massages and free raffle drawings -- On Friday, 12pm - 2pm, Newark Community Health Centers, Inc. and Health First co-sponsor "Reach Out and Read" fostering childhood literacy, health and wellness -- On Saturday mini exercise boot camp with Doctor Khalil Carmichael at 11am and 1pm -- Saturday and Sunday, Mind, Body & Spirit "Positive Thinking" Sessions with Caryl Lucas at 9am, 10am, 11am, and 2pm -- Yoga classes on Saturday at 10am and 12pm, and Sunday 12pm and 4pm at Lotus Yoga Newark, 460 Washington street, #1, Newark, NJ 07102 -- All weekend 10am- 5pm, Newark Community Health Centers and Health First co-sponsor the Health Pavilion and provide free health screenings, blood pressure, diabetes, glucose, and body fat index, and mental health information -- All weekend youth skateboard and golf clinic, 12:00pm-4:00pm -- All weekend the Green Vendor Marketplace features green vendors and organic farmers market -- All weekend the festival will feature food and merchandise vendors -- All weekend NJ for Haiti, PSEG and Newark Now will collect canned food and supplies for Haiti relief efforts -- All weekend "Work Those Hips" Hula-Hoop contests at 12pm - 3pm sponsored by Americhoice On Stage | Friday, July 30, 2010 At 12:00pm, on stage at the festival, the City of Newark will present a proclamation designating July 30, 2010 Newark Jazz Composers and Musicians Day 12pm - 2pm - An Afternoon of Jazz Hosted by Amiri Baraka, the All-Star Newark Arkestra will invoke the "Tickler's Town" spirit of Newark's past and perform a historical overview of Newark Composers and a concomitant sampling of Great Ladies of the music. 3:00pm - 5:00pm YOPAT presents the 6th Annual Newark Idol.

Celebrity judges Stanley Brown of BET's Sunday Best, Kathy Sharpton, Do It All of Lords of the Underground, and Eric Sermon of EPMD will award a youth performer as Newark Idol 2010. YOPAT performers will pay tribute to Bishop Walter Hawkins with a company piece. 5:00pm - 9:00pm Hosted by Dr. Albert Lewis with Special Guest. "How Sweet the Sound" a Verizon Experience takes center stage with performances by Lorraine Stencil, Lance Williams and True Worship, Vincent Walker and Testimony of Joy, Will Brown and Another Level, Susu Bobien, David Jackson, Tiara Holt, Hav' Mercy, Integrity House Choir, Christ Church Newark Praise Team, La Vidadera Praise Team and A special 5th Anniversary performance by Surprise Guest. On Stage | Saturday, July 31, 2010 12:00pm -9:00pm Dedicated to the memory of Shelton Hayes and Kim Brandon and hosted by Ms. Theresa and Eddie Nicholas with special guests. Featuring an encore performance by Loleatta Holloway, Newark's own Kenny Bobien along with KOFFEE, The First Flowetress of House and special surprise 5th Anniversary performances, DJ Joaquin "Joe" Claussell, Danny Krivit of 718 Sessions, Omar Abdallah, DJ Basil and a special dance and drumming performance presented by The City of Newark's African Commission. Live percussionists throughout the day featuring indigenous instruments from Brazil, West Africa, Peru and India featuring Foluso Mimy and trumpeter James Gibbs. On Stage | Sunday, August 1, 2010 12:00pm - 8:00pm End of the Weak with Special Guests host The 33rd Rock Steady Crew Anniversary "Rock Steady for Life". Performances by The Rock Steady Crew with Crazy Legs, 9th Wonder, Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane, Dynasty, Stop Shootin, Immortal Technique, EPMD, Artifacts, Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz, Black Sheep, Bishop Lamont, Mickey Factz, DJ Max Jerome and the REDBUTTAFLY 2011 new collection runway show. About Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District is a non-profit 501c (3) organization with a mission to plan, design and build a comprehensive arts and cultural district in the Lincoln Park/Coast area of the City of Newark, New Jersey. Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) is transforming a low-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey from blighted lots into an urban eco-village. Leading the revitalization of an emerging arts and cultural district, LPCCD is one of the nation's best practices in sustainable urban development. The project includes 125 LEED United States Green Building Council certified units, music festivals, historic restoration projects and the Museum of African American Music, a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Source: Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District CONTACT: Kimberlee S. Williams, FEMWORKS, +1-973-494-9705,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Music Speaks-A Photography Exhibition.

REFLECTIONS: Music Speaks.
Curated By Tony Graves & Akintola Hanif.

Opening Reception:
Thursday, July 29, 2010 starting at 6p.m.

Address: Russell Aldo Murray Gallery Space,
460 Washington Street, Newark NJ.

Featuring works by:

Vincent Bryant, Tamara Fleming, Jerry Gant, Chris Cumberland, Tony Graves, Akintola Hanif, Jaecyne Howell and Stafford Woods. This exhibition provides a retrospective of the Lincoln Park Music Festival over the last four years featuring photography, film and multi-media art installations.

Music By: Max-Jerome (99.5 WBAI-FM NYC)

A special collection of priceless photos taken from 1972-1978 by Vincent Bryant at Newark’s legendary Zanzibar nightclub will also be on display. The exhibition is the official kick off of the Lincoln Park Music Festival, an event designed to revitalize and celebrate the Spirit and Soul of Newark. Festivities will be held in Lincoln Park July 30th thru Aug, 1st.

For more information or to RSVP: email or call 973-280-1949

The Russell Aldo Murray Gallery is a Smithsonian Affiliate gallery dedicated to African-American Art.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Spot Review– A Pilgrimage to Mekka.

"Please Note: Major Shouts To S. Royster for the wonderful review. Much appreciated"..


I kept hearing about this promising lounge in downtown Newark, NJ with great music, vibrant red curtains, an attentive owner and a vibe that catapults your sensibilities into the West Village. I was skeptical because there have been so many restaurants and lounges touting themselves as “a bit of New York City flavor in New Jersey.” I mean, I fell for it a few times, but NJ lounges are like the boy that cried wolf. There are but so many times I can go to a NJ wanna-be-New-York-City-restaurant/lounge, be disappointed and keep believing in the fairy-tale. But, The Spot has made me a believer.

If you have not visited The Spot in a while, forget what you think you know. The slow service, questionable crowd and limited menu are a part of ancient history. The Spot has hired more waitresses and bartenders to ensure that there is adequate staff to service its customers. It has expanded the menu from semi-interesting finger-foods to include various traditional, southern entrees. And, not sudo-southern entrees — But lip-smacking, make ya wanna smack ya mamma, might give you a heart attack at 30, as good as it gets, soulfood . The culinary experience is heighted by DJ. Max Jerome spinning everything from 80’s hip-hop to today’s rap to R&B.

Basically, the owner of The Spot is smart enough to fill the very obvious night-life void. He has found something that is missing in both NY and NJ. He has filled the vacancy left by Mekka. Mekka (now closed) was nestled into NYC’s alphabet city. It was a tight little spot with fabulous food and an excellent DJ. When I visited Mekka, I felt like I was at a dinner party – food, friends, music and an intimate setting. Mekka embraced a simple concept and turned that concept into something that I miss to this day. Well, until now. For me, The Spot is a pilgrimage back to Mekka.

Service: A

Value: A-

Food: A-

Crowd: B

Date of Visit: Friday, October 2, 2009

Feel Good Friday-45 Commerce Street-Newark NJ

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sundancing In New Jersey: "Brick By Brick".

Truth be told if you have ever been or lived in Newark, NJ your guard is up at all time. I can't really explain the feeling I'm currently describing but deep down you all know what its all about. Let's be clear, I grew up in "The Bricks". I spent my entire life dreaming to move out of the city that I called my home for most of my life. I wanted out of Newark at an early age not because I was this impoverished child or nothing outrageous like that, I just felt that there was something else out there. When I grew up in Newark we had no gang life we only had Avenue or Street Beef. For example, Chancellor vs Lyons, Bergen vs Hawthorne. How did we settle it. Fist Fights or Football. I've seen stabbings, carjackings, knockouts, robberies anything you can think of. My generation are the descendants of the Newark riots, meaning we gets nothing. I feel like I have beaten the odds. Now I give back.

Twenty years later, I'm watching my television and view a documentary about Newark NJ. I'm like "ok" this is a must see. So I did, and DJed the event as well. I really don't want to give a review until I see all the segments of the show.

Oddly, people who have never even lived or been here are the biggest critics. Very Ironic. There is nothing worse than talking about a film you have never seen. This is a must see. The first part is a little "fluffy" I won't front, but I'm almost certain its going to go deeper in the hood, which is what everyone wants to see. (pictured Max-Jerome and John Forte)



Created and directed by the award-winning filmmakers Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin, BRICK CITY, is a five-part documentary series that captures the daily drama of a community striving to become a better, safer, stronger place to live. Against great odds, Newark’s citizens and its Mayor, Cory A. Booker, fight to raise the city out of nearly a half century of violence, poverty and corruption.


The Afterparty took place at the Spot Lounge on 15 Tuesday 2009. Almost everyone who associated with the film attended this event, and there was special performance by John Forte.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Wonderful Art Of Neo-Soul Ghosting 101.

Sounds of the City:
featuring House of Waters, The Marvin Sewell Group, Dapp Theory, and Max-Jerome.

Max-Jerome's (pictured -left-) performance is on 16 July 2009, and its starts exactly at 5p.m and ends at 10:00p.m.

FREE music performances in NJPAC's Theater Square! Tonight's performance features House of Waters, an eclectic band of virtuoso musicians led by pioneering hammered dulcimer player Max ZT, classified by Time Out New York as "the Jimi Hendrix of the hammered dulcimer"; The Marvin Sewell Group, led by acclaimed jazz guitarist Marvin Sewell, who has worked with Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, with cellist Diedre Murray, and with bassist Fred Hopkins; Dapp Theory, an ensemble that blends contemporary funk, groove, hip hop and spoken word with elements of jazz, led by pianist-composer Andy Milne; and Newark-based DJ Max-Jerome, currently heard live on 99.5 WBAI-FM on The Underground RailRoad and The Last Hip Hop Radio Show.

This summer’s series is co-sponsored by Chase, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), Richmond County Savings Foundation, Berkeley College, Boost Mobile, Bud Light and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Sounds of the City will feature a vendor marketplace in NJPAC’s arrival court. Vendors from around the area will set up tents each Thursday evening for concert-goers to shop at.

Sounds of the City brings together thousands of people from different ethnic groups and communities who live and work in Newark, as well as from beyond the City’s limits. Created in October 1998, this free after-work music series was the brainchild of a group of Newark
residents, musicians, students and NJPAC staff, whose purpose it was to help fulfill the Arts Center’s mission to be a place of access and involvement for local artists and audiences.

“Sounds of the City is a highlight for NJPAC every year. It’s a chance for us to bring the community together for a ten week party as well as showcase some of the tremendously talented up-and-coming artists from New Jersey and the surrounding area,” said Evan White and Verushka Wray-Spirito, co-Producers of the series. “We are delighted that we can bring free music to everyone who wants to come and hang out with us on Thursday nights.”

For the most up-to-date performance information, call the Chase Sounds of the City Hotline at 973-353-8046; 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722); or visit the NJPAC Web site at

There will also be an after party at the spot lounge located on 45 Commerce Street Newark NJ.

For More info refer to: