Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?


February 3, 2011 by DJ Elroy

Remember in the 1980s and 1990s when DJs were actually trailblazers and played by their own rules?

Where are they now? Where is that innovation? That adventurous spirit? The attitude?

One of my favorites, Bad Boy Bill, was there. Radio DJ, DMC legend (remember the dildos?), entrepreneur, hustler, mass-distribution visionary, and bangin’ Chicago house “hotmix” icon, this was the man that convinced me I needed a pair of decks.

But where is he now?

He’s touring, to be sure. He released an artist album in 2009. But what happened to the floor-banging sets we used to get from him?

The music has changed, you say. Sure it has. But there is still plenty of bangin’ stuff out there, stuff that will allow for the rapid-fire mixing, tricks, scratching, and everything that made him a favorite. Why did he follow the bread crumbs down twisted path of electro house with everyone else over the past 5 years? Is it easier? Has he lost his motivation?  That drive to be different, to be better?

Or Carl Cox? He’s still rockin’, hasn’t really changed his style, but is he leading the pack now or just sitting back and doing what he’s always done? Playing it safe?

Or Sasha? He pushed the limits in the early days, but… Well yes, he’s done a lot for a the digital game. I’m not as fond of his sound now, but he is still willing to try new things. But is he the only one?

James Zabiela (whose nod from Sasha gave him some cred) burst into the scene as the new face of dance music, the digital wizard. And yes, he played a big part in turning the DJ booth upside down. Do you need to be a turntablist to scratch? Not anymore! This kid has done a lot for the music.

But who is leading the charge with him?

Sure, there are others that are breaking new tech, embracing the future, or bucking the norm. There are people leading the trends.

But where are the rockstars?

It’s more than just the gear. It’s the willingness to break the rules. The confidence to try new things, to experiment. Even if you’re jockin’ on a custom controller, are you really doing something new? It’s not just about new music and new gear, it’s ATTITUDE!

Do you have it?

One thought on “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

  1. […] There are plenty of the world-class elite that don’t challenge themselves anymore. They’ve found a formula and simply stick to what works. Yes, it’s safe. You could even make the arguement that people have come to expect a certain […]

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