It doesn’t take long before we’re arguing the relative merits of vinyl records versus other formats.
“Buddy Holly, I don’t want to hear it polished,” says Ian Chastain.
Chastain is one of a trio of DJs I’m talking with, including Dawn Baby and Jen Drake, at — where else? —Skip’s Records and CD World in West Eugene.
We’re talking about Bad Music for Bad People, an all-vinyl DJ night hosted every first Friday at Luckey’s Club downtown.
“You want to hear the crackles and pops,” Chastain continues.
“That’s the warmth of it,” adds Dawn Baby.
The three friends came to deejaying differently: Dawn Baby had a radio show, Drake is known for deejaying at the wildly popular ’80s Night and Chastain from his career at a record store (he works at Skip’s) and a chronic habit of buying records.
I’m told Luckey’s asked the trio to come together for a monthly garage, soul and rockabilly night. “It’s the dream team,” Baby says. “Our music merges really well.”
“It’s a rock ‘n’ roll night,” Chastain continues, but everything gets played — from Alvin & the Chipmunks to Motley Crue.
Drake usually plays rock. “Because I can’t compete with the soul goddess,” she adds, referring to Dawn Baby.
“We’re kind of each other’s own biggest fans,” she continues. “Whatever these two throw on makes me so happy.”
Each DJ has a different way to prepare for the night. “I grab three boxes of whatever I’m interested in that day,” Dawn Baby reveals. “You read the crowd and see what happens.”
I ask if people dance. “You kind of start out slow, playing what you want,” Baby responds, “and then you try and build it up so by the end everybody’s drunk, and then there’s dancing.”
“When I put on the original Gloria Jones ‘Tainted Love,’” Chastain explains, “people start dancing.”
What’s common among all the DJs is a love of music as well as record collections that take up entire rooms in their homes.
They buy records several times a week, and Dawn Baby occasionally goes to Portland to shop because she frequently taps out the Eugene market on her favorites: soul and rockabilly.
“You want to share your collection,” Chastain says. “I don’t want to sell my collection, but I could share it.”
“I always wanted to be in a band, and I could never play an instrument,” Dawn Baby admits, so she thought, “I can play records!”
It doesn’t take long before we’re back to talking about the audio quality of vinyl. “Tony Iommi’s guitar tone,” Chastain says, “is so different on vinyl than it is on CD.”
He then cracks a smile, adding: “I know we’re nerdy.”
The next edition of Bad Music for Bad People is 10 pm Friday, Sept. 7, at Luckey’s Club; $3, 21-plus.