His delivery on the mic is smooth and seemingly effortless, so much so that it seems as if he were born for the job of a DJ/emcee. Bobby Mac‘s deep, booming voice can cut through a crowded adult nightclub, but he has enough finesse in his delivery to keep it from feeling like an intrusion. Instead, he’s the warm voice greeting customers at the Cheetah Club in Pompano, FL, and often, making them laugh. But those laughs come as no surprise, being that Bobby has a background in stand-up comedy. It’s these skills that make him multi-year nominee for ED’s DJ of the Year and a logical choice to replace the retired Tony Batman as the “voice” of the EDI (Exotic Dancer Invitational) contests.
Courtesy of Bob Chiappardi and StripJointsMusic.com, we had the chance to find out more about Bobby Mac’s industry background, what music he enjoys most and what he finds most challenging about being a strip club DJ. Bobby also chose his “top 40” tunes for his own personalized Spotify playlist, also courtesy of StripJoints!
THE ED PUB: When and where did you start working as an adult club DJ? What brought you into the industry initially, and what made you decide to stay once you got there?
BOBBY MAC: I got my start in a small topless club in Pompano called “Wild Things” in 1994, the most appropriately named club in history if you catch my drift. I was working as a comedian for The Improv at the time, taking gigs at clubs, cruises, private and corporate events just to make ends meet. A few of my friends worked in the biz and needed someone to fill in part time, so I said “yes” blindly without any idea what the job was. I had zero experience, and I knew less than nothing about music, but I was fearless on stage and felt comfortable in front of just about any crowd. Thinking back to those days where we didn’t have computers yet in the booth, a DJ was only as good as his CD collection, and mine was laughable. I rummaged though record store bargain bins for as many cheesy compilation albums and soundtracks as I could find, to get as many pop culture songs as I could, and marched over-confidently in to slay the dragon with my Case Logic CD wallet full of crap. I was literally so ridiculous, that it was refreshingly different from what they were used to. Whenever I would screw up or hit the wrong button, I just covered with a joke, or improvised these off-the-wall absurd statements about the staff, girls, or club, and they ate it up.
THE ED PUB: When did you start at Cheetah? What role do you feel you’ve played in the club’s success; or, in general, what role do you believe a DJ plays in the overall success of an adult nightclub?
BM: I am relatively new to the Cheetah family, and became a member of their team in February of this year. I was really excited to come on board because they have been a staple of the industry here for decades, and that tells you a lot right there. In the 24 years that I’ve had to learn from the greatest talents in the business, and working at some of the biggest clubs in the industry, being back in Pompano where it all started for me was a nice homecoming for me. The crazy thing about it all is that you never stop learning what this job means to an individual club, and even everything I brought with me might have to go out the window. You can never be too proud to adjust or redefine your role in this circus. It’s all about recognizing how you doing your job well will benefit everyone in the ensemble, and the overall product your club is offering. What makes a DJ a great asset to his company is not all in his music, but how well we utilize this position to make the club an overall unforgettable experience that makes people want to stay longer, and come back, too.
“You can never be too proud to adjust or redefine your role in this circus. It’s all about recognizing how you doing your job well will benefit everyone in the ensemble, and the overall product your club is offering. What makes a DJ a great asset to his company is not all in his music, but how well we utilize this position to make the club an overall unforgettable experience that makes people want to stay longer, and come back, too.”
THE ED PUB: How hard is it to play music to such a diverse crowd including locals and tourists (as well as the entertainers) and keep everyone happy? What’s your strategy when it comes to this juggling act?
BM: As I get older, the answer to this question keeps changing in a hilarious way. When I was new at this job, I learned right away that this wasn’t about the music “I liked,” but about what was right for the room. That’s really a basic thing to overcome, but it’s maddening thing to accept at the same time. There is no super-secret winning playlist, because your audience changes by the hour. What worked at noon, or 6 pm, may not fly at midnight. The key is not to overthink it, keep it popular and relatable so that guests and entertainers can connect to it. Take some fun chances on throwbacks once in a while, sometimes you’ll miss, but when you connect, it’s amazing!
THE ED PUB: You’ve been the emcee for several EDI contests. How does emceeing an event (like the EDI) differ from being a DJ? What is the most enjoyable part of emceeing an event like the EDI?
“Hosting the EDIs is an exceptional privilege, and one of the biggest honors for me, because I get to work with the most phenomenally and insanely talented top professionals from all across the world. If you consider that most people would be lucky to see any one of these amazing performers, and here I get to work with 15 or 16 of them at a time, and watch them just give everything they have and leave it all on the stage for that competition. It’s breathtaking … “.
BM: You know, that is the one aspect of this job that still gives me those nervous butterflies before I go on, and I think that is the reason I love it so much. It takes me back to my roots of comedy and never being able to prepare for what I was about to do, until I walked out and started interacting with the crowd in the moment. That first exchange of energy between you and your audience is electrifying, because you have about two minutes at most to win them over, or they will turn on you. In the DJ booth, you have the option to retreat and hide, but on stage there is no escape. You really tap in to your truest persona and force yourself to connect with the audience, and when you do, the magic just seems to become real. Hosting the EDIs is an exceptional privilege, and one of the biggest honors for me, because I get to work with the most phenomenally and insanely talented top professionals from all across the world. If you consider that most people would be lucky to see any one of these amazing performers, and here I get to work with 15 or 16 of them at a time, and watch them just give everything they have and leave it all on the stage for that competition. It’s breathtaking really, any time you get to be a part of a showcase where industry professionals break the boundaries of entertainment and raise the bar of creative performance, it’s nothing short of spectacular.
THE ED PUB: When you’re not in the club, what music do you prefer to listen to?
BM: Primarily the ’70s and ’80s, but everything before the 2000s. Honestly, the further back, the better. This may sound funny, but I grew up with what was basically my parents’ oldies record collection, and I used to put the records on and practice my Wolfman Jack & Casey Kasem impressions as a kid. I’m also a humongous fan of Dr. Demento and “Weird Al” Yankovic. I fell in love with the message in those oldies records, because there is so much of it that is just full of outrageous fun, romantic hope, and honest love. You can play anything from that era and just immediately feel better.
THE ED PUB: If you could see any concert or lineup of artists, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
BM: I’ve been fortunate enough to see Weird Al, Paul McCartney, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Billy Joel several times, and those are my personal musical kings. I would love to have experienced a concert by Michael Jackson, Queen or Prince just to witness the unbelievable command they had over their audience with the art that went into their performance.
More about Bobby Mac!
Where do you hail from: Providence, Rhode Island
Current Club: Cheetah Pompano
Years employed at the club: 1
Years in the industry: 24
Favorite recording artist: Paul McCartney
Industry hero: I have two actually: Richard “Gonzo” Soligny for his insane dedication to coaching me through my toughest times in the biz, and Michael “DJ Platypus” DeSuno for pushing me beyond my comfort zone and challenging me to better myself no matter how much I think I’ve learned.
Favorite feature entertainer: This is a loaded question that I should never answer, I absolutely love to watch the creative process of just about every feature entertainer. But in my personal experience of the ones I have been fortunate enough to work with as a DJ, I have never seen anyone own, electrify, and totally destroy an audience in the same manner that Lacey Rain does. She has that innate explosive charisma and conscious control of every second, and every person in the room, that is just astonishing to witness!
Favorite DJ or industry pro: My two favorite things to watch is Jimmy Boucher own a packed house under pressure with ease and comedy, and Andrew Kutz destroy a Vegas-sized crowd with his turntables.
Favorite part of your work night: My crew, easily. Watching my management and floor team (David, Mike, Frank, Sean, Eric, and Matt) perform with ease under pressure is one of the most valuable aspects of my night. It keeps us all grounded and engaged in battle together.
Pet working peeve: TVs in the club… I know they are a necessary evil we have to live with, but it can get ridiculous at times.
Advice for fellow club DJs: Work ethic goes farther than talent in this business. Always find a way to give back to those who employ you and provide for your life. The more respect you give to your job, the more respect you’ll get from the people you do it with.