DeeJay Punk-Roc Debuts A Melting-Pot Mix

His assimilation of diverse influences is expanding horizons of dance events and heavy-metal scenes alike.

Maybe the bean counters were hoping DeeJay Punk-Roc would mimic the big-beat style

of the Chemical Brothers or Propellerheads on his debut album.

If so, they miscalculated.

The Bronx, N.Y., native (born Charles Gettis) wasn't about to be confined to any such

limits for his recently released record, ChickenEye. He wanted an album that

reflected his roots as a hip-hop disc jockey, a world traveler and a lover of countless

musical genres.

"I have a real passion for music, and I'm just so sick of people trying to segregate this into

that corner and that into this corner," DeeJay Punk-Roc said.

"What I'm all about musically is a little bit of everything, and I wanted the album to reflect

that. I wanted it to be versatile and hopefully that's the point I've gotten across," he said

recently from Milwaukee, where he was making a stop with the hip-hop and heavy-metal

Family Values Tour.

"I believe the majority of the world's problem comes from trying to segregate things. I just

don't like doing that with music. To me, if it's good, I don't care where it came from or who

made it or whatever. If it's good, let's say it and just enjoy it.

"I figured that if I wanted to make a mark on music, I had to show what I was about

musically."

The result is ChickenEye, an 11-track album with grooves that roll through such

diverse musical styles as big-beat, early '80s techno-funk, jazz and ambient.

"I Hate Everybody" (RealAudio excerpt), for

example, is a fast-paced sonic collage any big-beat artist would be proud to call his or

her own. But then there's "No Meaning," with its loop of ambient keyboards, plus jazzy

horns and piano, backing a fierce scratching session.

"Dedicated" recasts the flute loop on the Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot," while the

background noise on "Far Out" is reminiscent of many a Public Enemy song. Then

there's "My Beatbox" (RealAudio excerpt), which clearly wears the

influence of Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" on its electro-funk sleeve.

"I was trying to re-create that feeling," the 28-year-old DeeJay Punk-Roc said, "but put my

spin on it. If any one track on the album stands out for me, it would be that one. ... If it had

not been for 'Planet Rock' I probably would have never started to make music."

DeeJay Punk-Roc was the youngest of six children born and raised in the Bronx, the

New York City borough that spawned hip-hop. He spent years traveling in the military

and soaking up new sounds around the world, but he says he's still mainly influenced by

the artists he admired when growing up: Bambaataa, Run-D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow.

"I was never very good at rapping," he said. "I had friends who could do that better than

me, so I just started spinning at block parties. As a kid, you get out there and you do your

little [Grandmaster] Flash impression thing or whatever and that's how it started."

"I think the first time someone dances to a record you play, you're hooked," he said. "Ask

any DJ and they'll probably tell you the same thing."

DeeJay Punk-Roc left high school and home at 16 to join the U.S. Army. Spending eight

years in uniform, he was stationed at such faraway locales as Japan, Germany and

England. He returned to civilian life in 1993 and started organizing block parties again,

he said. Within a few years, he was performing at large dance events across Europe and

working on his debut album.

Apparently it's all adding up. Many in the longtime hip-hop-influenced dance/rave scene

are finding DeeJay Punk-Roc's mix of diverse influences a welcome breath of fresh air.

"Turntablists and hip-hop DJs are bringing a whole new thing to dance events," said

Northern California rave-promoter Sason Parry of Cool World Productions. "They bring

something that's very organic and original that the scene hasn't had for a long time and

they're expanding the horizons to allow for more diversity and more inclusion."

ChickenEye also has been heralded in club-music circles as a refreshing new

twist in an arena often dominated by faceless knob-twisters who only scratch when

they've been bitten by a mosquito and whose hip-hop experience is limited to what they

hear on the radio and TV.

Recently, DeeJay Punk-Roc had a new audience for his melting pot of musical styles,

appearing between sets on the heavy-metal-centric Family Values Tour. Besides playing

his own tunes, he brought along approximately 150 records from his collection of 15,000.

"I spin a little bit of everything," he said. "I spin a little hip-hop, some retro stuff and a little

bit of my own material. I just mix it up. It's never predictable and that's the way I like it.

That's why I like this tour so much."

In particular, he proclaimed himself a huge fan of the fire-crazed S&M industrial-metal

band Rammstein, saying that if any band on the tour were to influence his next album,

it'd be that one.

"The first time I saw 'em I was like, 'Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!' " he recalled. "I'm a fan of rock,

you know, and after I saw their show I was just like 'Whoa!' So, I could really be inspired

there -- we'll see.

"I've laid down most of the material for the next album already, probably about 70

percent of it," he said. "It'll change up, though. I'll chop it up a little bit, because that's the

way it always goes."