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"DJ" Davis Rogan, Radio Announcer BORN: New Orleans, December 30,1967 Host of the BrassBandJam radio program on WWOZ, 1991-1999 Interviewed at }6zi Burgundy Street, November zooi There were twoperiods in my life when I was influenced by brass bands. Igrew up right by a Baptist cemetery,soI had the chanceto seethejojouspart of jazz funerals when I was a kid. When I was in the third grade, I switched schools to McDonough if, where the music director was Walter Payton. So Ipretty much took traditionaljazzfor granted, and in high school Igot into funk music andpunk rock. I was a DJ at WTUL before I left New Orleans togo to college. The Dirty Dozen played benefits for McDonough if around ip8o. And I'd seen the Rebirthplaying on the corner of Iberville and Bourbon for tips in 1988. By then, the Dozen had become a national touring act, so they weregone most of the time. The Rebirth was becoming the number onestreet band. The guys in that bandwere my friends and contemporaries, but the Dozen were on a different professional level. There was afeeling at the time that they -would lose their edge, but the Rebirth wanted to remain "street" and always be available for secondlines and functions. In 1991,1went to David Freeman at WWOZ radio, and he cleared the idea of my doing a radioprogram called Brass BandJam. I started the show to celebratethe brass band movement, and Iput the emphasis on the more modern bands. Somepeoplecomplained about that. The Soul Rebels had gone out to stake their own territory, with the reggae and the hip-hop thing. Then Hollywood arrived. A guy named Ron Seidelbergfrom Hollywood Records came in and said, "I want a band that mixes rap and brass band." So he went andgave Coolbone a quarter of a million dollars to make a record.Historically, Coolbone was created with thisguy from out of town having the concept of mixing theseelements. He hired somepeople to rapfor them. Coolbone was an offshoot of the Soul Rebels; Steve Johnson, the trombone-play ing leader,and his brother Ronell, another tromboneplayer, had both been in the Soul Rebels. There really was a boom in the mid-nineties; it was a golden erafor this new style of music. I'm wondering where wegofrom here. Nowadays, a lot of the bands sound the same—jou take apop tune, andjou do it in brass band style. The big stylistic leap was taken by the Dirty Dozen. But where else can itpossibly go? 168 Around 1994, there was thisfeeling that it wasgoing to blow up ona national level, in media terms. People would come onto the radio station when I was doing the Brass Band Jamprogram and say, "We want brass bands to be as big as rap." They had this hardfunky street sound, more bass—it was happening topop music all overAmerica. There's so much doublingup of musicians;sometimesit'sas if there'sjust onehuge band. When things happen, like three of the Rebirth leaving tojoin the New Birth, the whole thing starts to becomepretty indistinguishable. "Dj" DAVIS ROGAN, RADIO A N N O U N C E R 169 ...


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