Back in the Dot Com Era, when everybody had a venture capital website and disc jockeys were still employable, a small group of vinyl freaks from New York City started spinning rock records just for fun. An office space here, a clandestine basement bar there, wherever rock records and turntables could be found.
Yes, it was revolutionary, and people didn’t know what to make of it…
How dare you play records without charging a cover!
Where’s the velvet rope?
What did you say your DJ name was again?
Wait…are those actual records?
At some point, people began to let loose and realize it was in their best interest to get down to “Can’t Get Enough” by Bad Company without all the Y2K Baggage. Remember what it felt like to groove to Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do?”
The whole 14 minutes and 16 seconds?
Of course you do.
And it was good.
The Rock Fight started as a friendly game of give-and-take. If I played “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, what would be your response? It could very well be “Take the Money and Run” by the Steve Miller Band, for any number of reasons. A common theme, riff, or genre was all one needed to pick up a thread and spin.
Hell, maybe it was just another sonic ass-shaker that wouldn’t let you up, let you down, or let you go.
Either way, it was classic call and response. So what’s next?
Did somebody just mix four sides of Pink Floyd into a seamless web like some Psychedelic Sonic Acid Test?
Just keep the DJ honest. Show up with some vinyl of the rock vintage, spin ’em cold in the old way and see where it goes. And please don’t forget the booze.
At some point, the Rock Fight hit the bars and clubs of New York City. There were write-ups in the local rags–that’s magazines for you Millennials–and people signed up to spin their dusty-old grooves to the masses.
After the bubble burst and the Self Appointed Chosen People of The Information Supper Highway fell back to Earth, the Rock Fight found permanent digs at the Ding Dong Lounge, an uptown Manhattan dive with shitty taps and worse bathrooms. It was here that the need to solidify the movement was crucial. Define the style, own the copyright.
Give it a name.
And so the Rock Fight was officially christened and began a residency that some say helped rekindle the interest in scratchy slabs of vinyl.
Somewhere along the way the unspoken rules changed and Rock Fighters began hauling in mainframe computers and other modern gadgets to create “play-lists” for drunk co-eds looking for free shots. But that was never the point. (Well, maybe the free shots…or the drunk co-eds, but nobody seems to remember.)
Anyway, the Rock Fight soldiered on in ways never thought possible until the closing of the Ding Dong in 2014.
In honor of the brave women and men who hauled crates of records through the mean streets of Manhattan, the Rock File looks back and offers a sampling of Rock Fight fliers, designed by our good friend DJ Arturo.
Sample some of this good shit.