I wanted to change up the interview process a little bit. I wanted to show a side of music that was not from the performer’s side of things but from the person that plays those artist’s tracks. I want to introduce you to Dave Tripper from Fusion Radio (www.fusionchicago.fm) in Chicago, Illinois. Dave is a long time techno and dance fan and an awesome individual. I’ve gotten the chance to know Dave for a little while now and he is always excited to talk about music, beats, DJs, and anything else he can get his hands on. Sit back and enjoy as I introduce you to Dave Tripper.
So how did you get into the DJ business?
The truth is, it’s all about having a passion and being in the right chat room at the right time. I have been into radio for a long time, back to the glory days of WLS-AM, before they became an uber-conservative radio cesspool. Listening to legends like Larry Lujack, Brant Miller, Yvonne Daniels and others and then later on other stations, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, Jonathan Brandmeier, Paul Barski, Robert Murphy, Tom Joyner, Doug Banks and others really instilled in me a true love of the medium of radio. But it took a long time before my passion was realized.
Over 5 years ago, the dance music station Energy 92.7 in Chicago went off the air. A friend of mine and me were so mad, that we explored starting our own station, not realizing it takes millions of dollars to buy a station in the Chicago market. Then, I stumbled upon “internet radio” while searching, and it intrigued me. I told him about it and stayed up until 5 A.M. researching it. I continued and finally found a Yahoo! Group that said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Starting an internet dance station. If interested…” I went to the chat room at the exact time and there were a grand total of 4 people in it. At the time Greg (the current COO of Fusion Radio), Sonny (former PD), Jake (tech guy) and myself were in there from what I can remember (which is not much (laughs). The other 3 were geek tech talking way over my head, so I just sat in there and soaked it all in. Finally, I made my presence known by saying, “Hi.” They asked me what my interest is. I said, “I would love to do a countdown show.” They said, “OK, go ahead.” And that’s honestly how it all started.
Is Fusion your first DJ gig?
If you don’t count block parties and weddings, yes it is. My previous experience was in playing and singing music. I was in a rock band for years and helped my brother run his Chicago record label, Kentland Records.
What got you hooked on dance music?
I have loved dance music pretty much from my youth. The first “dance” song I can remember was “Rock the Boat” by Hues Corporation. I loved the song, which led right into the Disco era. Anything disco, I loved. Then came New Wave (Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Devo, Blondie) and the UK invasion, part 2 (Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, New Order) And of course, Chicago was one of the centers of House music, and with the legendary mix shows on WBMX in the 80’s, I was in dance music for life.
You host a show called Diva Hour. Tell me a little bit about that.
Diva Hour started as my tribute to women and gay acts in dance music. Radio has not represented the massive contribution that both have made, so I’m doing it. Plus, it’s an hour where if you’re not a diva or don’t have diva traits, that you can be inspired to be a diva! Feel the divaness! Be one with Diva Nation that is Diva HOUR!!! OK, a bit much. But Diva Hour represents having an attitude of confidence without having an attitude. It has definitely struck a chord with my listeners, and they are into it from moment one, so much so that I now have a weekday Diva Hour request show (9 P.M. on Wednesdays at www.fusionchicago.com). I knew the segment would be popular from the start, but never imagined it would grow to what it’s become; so far.
Who is your favorite DJ?
I’ve really been into David Guetta’s stuff lately. His songs ooze passionate vocals, but also pay homage with obvious 80’s influences including Depeche Mode and others. But I also really like Benny Benassi’s whole sexytime vibe thing. His songs are essentially like having sex. And whenever my listeners are feeling randy, horny, or whorey, I break out the Benny.
What is your favorite color?
Purple, because it brings out my impossibly Alaskan Husky blue eyes (laughs) also, I really like Prince, so it’s a pleasant coincidence.
You like living in Chicago with all this snow?
No sane person would ever like all this snow. Chicago would be a perfect city if we could lose the 6 months of winter and 2 months of desert-style summer heat. Oh wait, that only leaves 4 months. On second thought, just flip Chicago and San Diego. Let’s see how the beach bums would deal with -30 below wind chill.
If you could live anywhere else in the world where would you go?
I’ve never been to Ibiza. I want to see if I could survive a week on the 24-hour party island. By the way, if I do go and anyone sees me lying on the street, just pour some Gatorade down my throat, and I’ll be fine
If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be?
It’s cliché because of all of the books and movies done about him, but DaVinci. What a genius! Just picking his brain for days would be absolutely mind-numbing and probably make me feel really, really stupid and wished I would have studied even harder in school.
Is it hard hiding behind a microphone all day?
I have shows two nights a week, plus club dates, so it’s no big deal. I love every second I’m behind it. I’d love to have a Truman Show radio existence if I could. I’d love to be the first jock to do an entire show in the shower, with or without optional web cam (laughs). Of course, I’d have to figure out how to do it without electrocuting myself.
What do you do for fun on your nights off?
I love going to clubs, but am really intrigued by scenes in other cities. It’s impossible to go to every city, but I love talking with others about it. Also I love reading and watching TV about astronomy, politics, the history of comedy, improv (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) classic cartoons and listen to all genres of music, more than I could possibly list. Oh, and I actually watch the Weather Channel. Yes. I watch the Weather Channel actively. Also, I’m obsessed with tornadoes. The show Storm Chasers is epic.
What is the best club for dance music in the city?
Berlin. Their DJ’s are usually ahead of the curve on the newest and latest, with a marked aggressive edge to it. I’ll never forget hearing “Rockerfella Skank” almost 2 years before it became popular. And its dark and foreboding interior in such a small space makes it a superb dark dance music experience.
Cubs or White Sox?
Either way I answer this, I’m pissing off a gigantic part of the city. So I’ll say the Chicago Coxs.
you have a copy of 50 Techno Electro Tunes yet?
You are offered a DJ job at another station. Your salary will double. But it’s a country station. Do you go?
Good gawd. If it was country music from the 70’s and 80’s, I’d think about it for a second. But today’s country music is an absolute nightmare that should be launched into the nearest black hole or convenient, 4th, 5th, or 6th dimension. Let our inter-dimensional neighbors deal with this menace to the universe.
If you could meet any DJ in the world who would it be?
I briefly did a backstage interview with Tiesto, and I’d love to hang out with him. He has exceptional taste in all music, including Christina Aguilera and Iron Maiden. I’m not kidding (plus, I have him saying it on tape, er, mp3 (laughs). Of the ones I haven’t met, I’d say Paul Oakenfold. I briefly did a phone interview with him and he had a bad ass edge to him, which would make a very interesting “off-the-record” conversation with the stories he has to tell from decades on the road.
Is Lady Gaga good or just a one hit wonder?
I think she’s good. It’s like when I first heard Rihanna, I thought “Meh.” Then remix after remix got stuck in my head and I thought, “Wow, I guess I like her.” Gaga’s “Just Dance” got just annoying after awhile, but “Pokerface” is the real thing. Will she be able to survive the sophomore slump that some artists go through? That will be the true test.
Is Dave Tripper your real name?
Nope. It’s the result of my sister and me discussing what I should call myself on air. Originally, my name on Fusion Radio (which used to be Pure Pulse Radio which used to be Moodance…yes, Moo like the cow…sigh) was DJZ. I thought it was clever squeezing all the letters together as one entity. Wrong. That lasted for a few months, but then after talking to my sister, she suggested DJ Jack Tripper, because I looked like the original Three’s Company member as a kid and I actually loved the show. I liked the Tripper part, but decided to go with my real first name, and voila! Dave Tripper was born.
What is your all time favorite movie?
Auntie Mame. It’s about a very flamboyant aunt living the high life of the 1920’s until her brother died, and she wound up raising his 10-year old son. She was an incredibly interesting character and a lot like me. She was a dreamer, like me. She didn’t tolerate intolerance, like me. She was the life of the party, like me. She wanted nothing but the best for all those around her, like me. Wow, I guess I’m Auntie Dave. But seriously, watch the movie. It’s intelligent, a little slower paced with more intellectual humor than bust out ha-ha that people are conditioned to “like” today.
Who was the number 1 song on the Top 100 of 2008 this year?
Ida Corr v. Fedde Le Grande – “Let Me Think About It.” It was a dominating force in 2008. But it really was a coin flip between that and “Into the Nightlife” by Cyndi Lauper. Actually, the Cyndi song was the #1 requested song on Fusion Radio Chicago, but really, you couldn’t go wrong with either song at the top.
So tell me what it was like hanging out with Jenn Cuneta.
It was fantastic. She actually is in a band with her husband, where she sings funk/R&B, so we had lots to talk about. It was like two music geeks totally hitting it off. I would name an artist (Earth, Wind, and Fire), and she would fire back with another one (The Dazz Band). She’s also uber-talented and ridiculously smart.
Let’s play word association. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you read these three words?
Vodka: Chocolate martini. I freakin’ LOVE Chocolate martinis.
Teeth: Chiclets. I freakin’ LOVE peeps with perfect teeth.
Kentucky: Caves I freakin’ LOVED seeing Mammoth Cave when I young.
How does it feel to be the first Indyconcerts.com interview that is not an artist?
It’s really an honor to be the 1st. But to be honest, I really do consider myself an artist. I am an entertainer that loves, appreciates, and knows the music I play as much as I love, appreciate, and know the listeners that I have. I love being the Friday night party that has no cover charge, no drama, and full acceptance with everyone being invited no matter your age, race, sexuality, or other things that some people embarrassingly use to hold against someone. My party is open to everyone. And for those who are ignorant and have any “–isms”, you can pick one of my ass cheeks and chomp down really hard.
I always let the artist get the last word. Why not the DJ too? Go.
Love is all that matters, but intellectual curiosity is still vital. Muah. See you Friday nights in the chatroom at www.davetripperlive.com (SHAMELESS PLUG…BAH!) Also, thank you Ricky for taking the time to interview me. It is a true honor. I love you all.