Local DJ and ethnomusicologist FLASH GORDON PARKS has made a documentary called This Thing We Do, a selection of interviews with a cross section of local DJs including legends like KCOH’s DON SAMUEL, mixtape and club pioneer DARRYL SCOTT, Vinal Edge owner and radio host CHUCK ROAST, producer and radio/party DJ DEF JAM BLASTER, music journalist MICHAEL SMITH and artists from all disciplines and eras including GRACIE CHAVEZ, DJ GOOD GRIEF, DJ COZMOS, DJ STYLES, DJ SUN, LITTLE MARTIN, THE ARE, WITNES, CEEPLUS, BBC and others musing on long lost venues like CLUB WAXX, DEEP PHAT, MAGIC BUS and stalwarts like CARRINGTON’S. They even get into the club legacy of RAY BARNETT. It’s a Houston history lesson that spans its radio, clubs, parties and record stores. DAMIEN RANDLE of K-Otix shot and edited the hour-long documentary.
So is this out, or do you have an actual release date where you’ll premiere it?
What I’ve been doing, before I got the finalized version, I was just kind of low key showing it around the city, just getting the excitement built up and just getting the buy-ins from everybody involved and all the people in the community. So now that everything is done, my goal is to start taking it outside of Texas and doing some different screenings in other markets. I’m trying to use it as a sort of edutainment kind of tool, and see if colleges would be interested in it. In that arena as well as museums and artist spaces and different things like that as well.
Have you gotten some feedback, some places that would be interested in that?
I got a few. I was able to show it at the Contemporary Arts Museum in town. They really enjoyed it, and it’s been getting a lot of love everywhere I’ve shown it. I’ve shown it in Austin and in Dallas, and I’m going back to show it in Dallas next week.
I noticed how thorough it is in that in the credits, you’ve got everybody listing off anybody you might have missed.
Yeah, because initially there were so many directions that I wanted to go with it, but I knew that it would just be a really difficult thing to try and get all those people under one umbrella. So I said, okay, instead of overexerting myself that way, I’ll just reach out to the people that I have at least a relationship with, or some type of connection to, and start from there, and from there possibly listen to who may have influenced them or inspired them or people that they feel are important in terms of contributing to culture at large in the city. I wanted to make sure that I did something that gave you a good cross section of the diversity.
Who was the most illuminating as far as opening you up to a world that you maybe didn’t realize existed?
I learned a lot from talking to Chuck Roast about the punk scene and the noise scene and just all the various experimental music that he was involved in in the ’80s.
He was such a huge influence. I could just barely get KPFT on the radio in the late ‘80s but I was listening to Funhouse every week. I got my taste in music from all different sources, but he was the biggest source.
Some of those bands I had heard of or was aware that we had something like that, but I didn’t know to what extent or how grand it was. And even as big as I feel like the impact was, I don’t feel like it’s recognized as such. I feel like we just kind of overlook at lot of this history, and just kind of write it off. But I feel like it’s important because it made all of these different parts of town or just these experiences that much more worthwhile.
Well every DJ brings to you a sort of openness to music, and he brought that to my ear. Every DJ does that, but they each have their own way of going about it. In the film he talks about that being from a sense of humor. But that openness I guess that’s sort of what this film is about.
Who did you wanna get that you didn’t get to interview for it?
I wanted to get Skipper Lee Frazier, and he was one of the first people I reached out to and tried to secure. I talked to his son, though, and his son was giving me a lot of good information. But I wanted to get him on film, to tell his story, at least a piece of it. Because he’s done so much there’s no way I could get his whole story, but at least something to document his influence on the city and his contribution.