DISCO FEVER/ DJ JUNEBUG Documentary…

Originally penned by Wax Poetics scribe Mark Skillz, ‘White Lines and The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug’ takes a comprehensive look at the pioneering club as well as the legendary resident Disco Fever DJ, DJ Junebug.

White Lines/ Disco Fever trailer

NY77 Clip

Sal Abbatiello was the 24 year old owner and promoter of the Disco Fever in 1977, after being handed the business by his father, it the ‘first white disco to open in the Bronx. He had created THE 1st Hip-Hop club by joining the dots of glitterball disco [in the Saturday Night Fever sense of the term], and the visionary talent of people like Sweet G and DJ Hollywood who had already honed their Rapping and record playing skills in the park jams and local block parties of the time. Junebug and pioneers such as Grandmaster Flash, Lovebug Starski, DJ Hollywood & Eddie Cheeba were “Uptown royalty when Cam’Ron and Jim Jones were in Pampers” during the heady days of the late 70s.

It was a club that directly brought the raw excitement of those outdoor jams, indoors. Up until this point, the outdoor jams were becoming increasingly dangerous, as stick-up kids and whippersnappers from around the way, still involved in the street gangs, were snatchin chains and robbin cats for they garms and jewels etc. It was described at the time as the ‘Home of the Rappers, and a home away from home to an entire community’. The film uncovers a world that most folk may not know about with regards to todays terms of Hip-Hop, a spot that pre-dated Rap as a physical commodity, Rappers Delight was still a couple of years away remember. The people escaped the perils of the projects and enjoyed the safety and spirit of the environment, whilst being entertained by some of the most important names in our culture. Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, and the Beastie Boys all performed for the first time in front of hyped up crowds at the Fever. Even when 5-0 wanted to enter the premises for a raid, they were more than welcome, cos the DJ booth had a direct connect from the front door, where the DJ would signal CODE BLUE – CODE BLUE, WE GOTTA CODE BLUE, this rang out across the dancefloor warning the clientele that they needed to clear the tables of the white powdered paraphernalia, general druggy detritus and any illegal activity that theyd been embroiled in up until that moment, big shouts to the C&C crew. The club was amongst many that sprung up across the city during that Studio 54 period, but none of the people from around the way that wanted to go to 54 would ever get in, so therefore, a spot outside of Manhattan seemed just as invigorating, becoming more musically inventive during the decade its doors were open to the public. It’s interesting to note that the Disco Fever was THE first disco to charge for people to get in with sneakers on, it was a dollar to get in if you wore shoes, but it was 5 dollars if you wore sneaks, true story

Lovebug Starski – Live at the Fever [spot the Pauls Boutique samples]

Sheila E – Love Bizarre clip from Krush Groove [shot at the Fever]

The film has premiered this week at SXSW, is receiving top reviews and looks to be one of the more interesting docs regarding the embryonic days of Hip-Hop since the VH1 feature length NY77. It’s already picked up a Special Jury prize…

The original treatment was based on Marks’ 2005 piece ‘When the Fever was the Mecca’ for Wax Poetics magazine, and features a whole heap of the OG DJs Rappers and characters from the period [some known affectionately as the Fever Believers], when Hip-Hop was still finding its feet in the parks and community centres of New York City.

The original article by Mark is available here

The Mass Appeal Dante Ross interview with Sal, is available here

A free compilation featuring music and dialogue from the flick as well as original aural evidence from the Fevers’ live shows is available here

A short clip of audio from ‘NY77 – The Coolest Year in Hell’ explaining some of the background to the history of the Fever is available here

Not the Disco Fever trailer but entertaining nonetheless

Biggest shouts to Mark Skillz for the heads up…

7 responses to “DISCO FEVER/ DJ JUNEBUG Documentary…

  1. there was no one in the music world who could do what junebug could do with 2 records & 2 turntables. to hear junebug spin was something to be heard, & hard to explain, he was one of a kind and is greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him , and those who were blessed to share his musical gift! rest in peace to a true legend.

  2. Wow seeing this doc brought back crazy memories and I saw people in it that have passed or just at a different station in life, and it made my eyes watery! I loved Junebug! He was 1 of my friends and he was 1 of the best DJ’s I’ve ever seen! I definitely miss those days, minus the backroom! LMAO I love you too Sal! I apologize for not being able to make it, but I was out of town the day of the screening, and I didn’t get back until the day after! I hope it was a great turn out nonetheless!

  3. I would like to thank Mark Skillz for writing this piece and ensuring that my uncle’s name is available for anyone to find if they want another piece of Hip-Hop History, and Thank you for this post. I invite you to throw it up on my site if you’d like.

  4. There’s never any way ,any Doctor can ever find any cure for the fire that has burned into US all .. The Fever
    has attacked us all & many til this very day! “catch it”! May June Bug Rest In Peace… God Bless!

  5. The Fever the hot spot I will never forget it DJ Jun Bug helped a sister escape from the problems of the world. Dancing on the dance floor with Dr. Jikle and Mr Hyde. No one could spend turntables like Jun Bug. Wowwwww seeing the doc took me back into time i have crazy memories . Sal You were the best and there will never be another D.J. Jun Bug (RIP) Fever Forever!

    • thanks Elaine, always great to hear from folk that were embedded in the culture back then

      were looking forward to the doc as we havent seen it yet, London is a little sleepy sometimes

      Hearing his name mentioned in the 1st Rap record I ever heard back in 81 was somethin I could never forget. The Message was a heavy record, the mention of the Fever and the name callin and police scene at the end of the track is my first memory of Jun-Bug. May the pioneers live long in peoples hearts

      Thanks again for the comments

  6. Junebug was a star on the turntables, and The Fever was his stage. And I came home from school, every weekend to party at The Fever, and hear Junebug’s mixes, Flash, furious Five, Starsky, Eddie Cheba, Kurtis Blow! Sal, Sweet Gee, Mandingo and the rest of the staff were the hosts, and it was a crazy ride into the very grassroots of Hip Hop.

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