Good To Be Bad

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Have you had a chance to check out the monthly “Mint” night at Club Octane in Monterey yet?  If not, make it your business to be there this Friday, when Chicago’s Bad Boy Bill, hailed by DJ Magazine as “One of America’s most popular and influential DJs,” will share the stage with club regulars Jesse Gonzalez, Ivan and Fred Perra.

Since August 2004, Mint has hosted world-class DJs every second Friday of the month from 9:00 pm until 4:00 am.  Local DJ Jesse Gonzalez was frustrated by the lack of a local venue for house music.  “To hear that kind of music you really have to drive up to San Francisco, and a lot of people do that on a regular basis,” he said.  Finally, Gonzalez and several other local DJs got together with the owner of Club Octane to produce Mint, which has been a great success.

Friday’s guest DJ Bad Boy Bill, aka Bill Renkosik, began mixing records at age 14.  Coming from a musical family (his grandfather was an opera singer) he was given a lot of support in his endeavors.  His father bought him his first set of turntables, and soon he was DJ-ing at friends’ parties and hip-hop battles.  Eventually, he began to branch out from straight hip-hop turntablism.  “My DJ style originated with the idea to remix a song live with two copies of the same record and then combine scratching and hip-hop techniques with house grooves,” he said.  He quickly gained a reputation for his mixing, and for using around 50 different records in the mix compared to other DJs’ 8-10.

At age 16, Renkosik’s friend Julian “Jumpin’” Perez introduced him to Keith Farley at Chicago’s WGCI.  Farley had enjoyed several hit records under the name Farley Jackmaster Funk and was a very influential figure in the Chicago House music scene.    Renkosik gave Farley a demonstration of his skills, and Farley was so impressed that he recruited him on the spot.  Although he was still in high school, Renkosik had a regular radio gig, using the on-air name Bad Boy Bill with the distinctive catch phrase “Bad Boy Bill is in the mix and he’s live!  Understand?”

Bad Boy Bill went on from being a radio DJ to starting his own record label (while still a senior in high school) as well as working as a club DJ, producer and songwriter.  He has been a three-time finalist in the prestigious DMC competition and has been voted best DJ by several music magazines, including BPM Magazine this year.  This year he also released a double-disc pack entitled “Behind the Decks.”  This is a CD and DVD combo featuring live performances presented in Dolby 5.1 surround sound to capture the full atmosphere of the clubs.

Bad Boy Bill works a grueling schedule, with over 150 live appearances each year worldwide, and often working 14-hour days in the studio when he is not touring.  “The payoff for me is seeing people dancing and having a great time during my set,” he said, “So hopefully if you’re into that, come on out.”

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, October 13, 2005

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