Wuh-huh-hoe!. If you weren’t there, you f***in’ missed it! Would I say it was a success? Hell yea! Great jocks gathered from all over the country in Atlanta for a celebration of the new face of P.A.N.D.A. There was a ton of new faces, some pleasant surprises and more than a few great memories created. The biggest draw for one of these events is how energized a D.J. can get from being around like minded people. We share the same struggles and triumphs. We’ve all been there and can share ideas and solutions with each other. Best of all, you get to feel comfortable just being yourself. Not everyone can understand the life of a D.J., it’s why you’ll hear it can be a problem to have a serious, committed relationship as a D.J., but it can also be hard even to find regular friends who understand it. So when these events go down, it’s like meeting brothers you never knew you had. So what did you miss?!
Singing….an ass ton of singing. Justin Jameson, D.J. at Gold Club in Myrtle Beach, and myself hit the road. The surprising thing about Justin is his taste in music. He didn’t wanna listen to the pop stations; it was all oldies, 80’s and classics the whole ride. Justin “D.J.ed” using the radio and I agreed with his decisions every time. We even repurposed a word or two and made our own improved versions. And that was just the lead in to one crazy night. We arrived at the entrance of the Artmore to see Dane, Jimmy Boucher, Adam Jones, John Bell and Jeb Jarrel all standing outside, shooting the breeze. We walked into the hotel just in time to catch Jon Harmon hitting the bar. I immediately knew this was gonna be a good trip. We all hit our rooms to prepare ourselves for the most ridiculous night out one could imagine. I scanned the bar as I walked in, wondering how I would find our group. And there, to my left, was a 6’3 bright blue ball of leather named Tim Rhodes on a stool…my question was answered. Tim takes his 80’s very seriously. And so does Dane, who strolled in rocking the classic Scarface look; blood red shirt, bright white suit. Amazing. The P.A.N.D.A. crew filled in, as did the legion of super hot women that work with Tim. It’s no surprise that his staff loves him. And then…the singing began again…
If you think that hours of bad singing came next, you would be wrong. No one could blame you. I was SHOCKED by the amount of people that have great voices. I think my favorite surprise was John Harris, aka Jammin’ Johnny B. Considering the fact he’s an ex pro wrestler and a well respected D.J, you wouldn’t think (hope?) the guy wouldn’t have many more talents. I was pleasantly surprised. After many great performances from Dirty Cash Dylan, Johnny Walker, and Willard Barth, to name a few, the crew all came together on stage for a rousing rendition of Timber. Funny enough, for as much as we talk about it, only Tim knew the words to the song! After we nearly broke the stage from the massive amount of weight that was jumping up and down during our resounding rendition of the Pitbull “classic”, we started making plans to move to the next and final party spot of the night. The Pink Pony. This was a bit surreal for me. I started my career in a Pink Pony so to walk into one of the Atlanta clubs that started it all was a real treat, especially with this crew. We acquired a private seating area with our own stage and the trickery and shenanigans began. Shot after shot, story after story. My big pleasure this night was the “sidebar.” J Dubb led Glenn Miller, John Bell and myself to a side bar to get shots. And I don’t think we left for an hour. I even mentioned to Johnny how cool it was to have MJP’s first D.J., one of his favorite D.J.s, and then 2 of his current D.J.s all together shooting the shit and sharing stories. It was an absolute blast. The night was insane. Beautiful, fully nude women, a music format that was unfamiliar to me, and a controlled chaos that can only be equated to the lightning-in-a-bottle that is the Pink Pony. Hell, we even ran into Boyd Crowder himself, Walton Goggins. If you’ve never seen Justified, shame on you. Still, you’ve probably seen this very talented character actor in something recently. He’s a class act. We had an exceptional time at the Pony and I’ll certainly be back.
Our second and final day proved to be just as much fun as the first. You would think with the massive level of alcohol consumption; we wouldn’t have been up quite so early. Again…you would be wrong. 10:30 came fast and before I knew it the day was off again. I got up, still a little fuzzy, and prepared for our first day in Atlanta. A group of us got together downstairs and decided to make for the restaurant Tim Rhodes has made so famous, Waffle House. As plans gelled for the rest of the day, I decided I’d needed to rest before I passed out and went back to the room. But the boys were just beginning. With visits to the Coca Cola Center and even the largest aquarium in the world, the pictures showed that all had a very fun day. As the day wore on, we all started making plans to connect at Turner Field for the Braves game. This game was my first ever experience at a pro sporting event, and I couldn’t have asked for a better memory. Some of the most uproarious laughter of the event came during this game. It was something I’ll take with me always. We bounced from the game a bit early so that we could all get ready for a night out at the Cheetah. Excellent food (the best I had all weekend), pumping jams, and a level of class most can’t compete with, the Cheetah is a place you must experience for yourself. Props to Jamie Carter for the plethora of great music as well as his work on lighting. And to Tim Rhodes for his hospitality throughout the weekend. I apologize for the length of the article, so I’ll bow out here. There’s SO MUCH more to talk about, but the point of this article still shines through. If you have the ability to join in on a P.A.N.D.A party, it’s in your best interest to do so. You’ll thank yourself for it. I promise. Thank you all for reading.
Ron “D.J. Ron James” Sparkman