They Found It, First Picture Of CJ DJing, Stop Laughing [PHOTOS]
My first club DJ gig was at a little club in Franklin called Cedars and the owner, my dear friend Skippy Hebert, apparently found the first picture of me spinning the vinyl. Those were the days!!
It was the early 80s, we were young and full of life. The man who gave me my first radio job is Bobby Richard, the man who gave me my first club DJ job is Skippy Hebert. Both of these gentlemen forever impacted my life. I haven’t seen Bobby Richard in years but have chatted with him on Facebook. However, I usually run into Skippy Herbert a handful of times a year. I saw him in October for JayCee’s Jeep Jaunt. He had made a sign for everyone who drove by to see. That sign made me feel like a million bucks. Most people want to see their name in lights, this sign is better, it came from the heart.
When you’re young and stupid and the future seems so far away that you don’t even care, you don’t realize the present is shaping your destiny. Skippy Hebert gave a dorky, young, awkward, shy, not so good-looking kid a chance to play music in his club. Most of the people who showed up on the weekends didn’t even know I existed. They didn’t know how nervous I was at first. They didn’t know that MY destiny was being molded.
Cedars was the best little night club in the world. The nights Skippy would get on the bar and dance, would take the evening into overdrive. DJs like Eric Robicheaux, Mitch Trahan, Andre, and myself, knew the songs that would set him off. And we played them usually at that peak hour of the night when the place was packed and beverages flowing.
I’ve never had a better experience playing music. I was horrible, and no one cared. It didn’t matter if the songs mixed perfectly, it just mattered that you played the right ones. That’s where I learned, play the right songs and no one will care if you’re the ultimate mixer.
I made a few long time friends in that bar. Mitch, who was also a part-time DJ at Cedars, you are my brother from a different mother and I love you big like the sky. Mitch was Mr. Popular. Still is! Mitch thank you for making me laugh then and to this day. Thank you for taking this awkward, insecure boy that would have otherwise been stuck in the corner with his head down, under your wing and treating me like I was part of your family. Thank you for picking me up and putting a smile on my face when my family problems were eroding my being. I am forever indebted.
Eric, again, a part-time DJ, thank you for teaching me how YOU did it. You were always a better DJ. I remember when I first interviewed at KSMB, you and I were up for the same position and I got it. I thought in the back of my mind they had picked the wrong one. Never in a million years did I think we would both end up in Lafayette together and you would work for a company that would sponsor a show that I was part of. When you sit across from me on Friday morning during the Polyester Power Hour representing Moss Motors, did you ever think, when we were up in the DJ booth at Cedars, that would ever happen? It’s just hard to believe isn’t it?
And to you Skippy Hebert, I don’t know where to start my friend. I type this with tears in my eyes. At the time you had no idea you were changing my life with something that appeared to be just a stupid little DJ gig in a small town bar. Sir, you helped a kid with a big nose and one eyebrow open the ultimate door to his life. I always knew I wanted to play music for people. I have never done anything else in my life, except for that one time I thought I was going to get a real job and went to work for Radio Shack and even then I was working on the radio part-time. I have never desired any other job, never! Skippy, what you did for me was much more than you will ever be able to comprehend. You may actually be the reason I hold my head up these days. I was so insecure with my looks back in those days, I wouldn’t look up…they may have seen how ugly I was if I did. By believing in me enough to give me a chance to play music from high atop the booth where whoever was in there was sure to be seen, you gave me a chance to gain self-esteem and a chance to talk on a mic in front of a crowd for the first time in my life. The experience was priceless and you are in my heart everyday I wake. For that, I thank you to the moon and back.
To my friend Todd Pellerin, who was never a DJ at Cedars but spent some time in the booth, like Mitch, you are my brother. I never thought while we were cuttin’ up in the booth laughing at everything and having fun, you would be the man I would call on later in life to lead my Mother’s funeral procession. Todd, I just don’t know a better person. As a Louisiana State Trooper, I worry about you. You are a gift to this world as is the entire Pellerin family. Much much love to all of you.
I don’t have any biological brothers or sisters, but there are people in my past that I give the title to. One of those is Lisa Bertrand, Braud at the time. Growing up, I was never closer to any other human being. Lisa, it is impossible to explain what you mean to me. From May Day king and queen, to you having my wedding reception at your parents home, I just am not talented enough to put into words how much of my heart belongs to you…to this day. You always inspired me to be better. I know you get mad at me because I don’t visit you and you should be. Thank you, thank you, thank you for loving me. I will take you to my grave.
And a shout out to Wilfred Fields, the man who taught me how to laugh, and best man at my wedding. I should send you a commission every time I get paid. The humor that comes out of my mouth today and is broadcasted all over the world, you are directly responsible. I simply have never met a more funny human being. For the times you took up for me when I was being bullied in school and for the times when my home life had me in tears and you made me laugh, I thank you. You are a blessing to me.
A few weeks ago, I saw where a few pics from the old days had popped up on Facebook. I didn’t know these even existed. This is one of the first, maybe THE first picture of me in a club DJ booth.
There was a Halloween contest at Cedars one night and I thought I might want to go as Dracula. My Mom was a great seamstress, not professionally, just for friends and family, so I asked if she’d make me a cape, she did. I won!
I was so shy and insecure, but this night catapulted me out of my shell a bit. I remember feeling, for the first time, that I was “somebody”. It was a good feeling.
I am proud of being from a small town and keep a key to the old house on my key ring just to remember where I came from. That key doesn’t fit any lock these days, but it certainly does open the memories of my heart.