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The Many Faces....

Die J! Mars in his Brooklyn apt taken from "Under Summer" Japanese photo book by Katsu Nagaishi

it's "All or Nothing"

spinning at either Gomorrah or Sin City

at the legendary True Nightclub (NYC)

The long lost button.

For my band, Rise NYC.

He djs AND plays guitar but isn't related to Santanna... ;)

2005: Binary Starr is launched!

Destination: TAKE OVER NYC - 2006.

"The Downtown Dolls" a book by Ash & Diamonds

I'm standing beside DJ Jackie Christie with a leather newsboy hat

Friends at my recent B-day!  Sir Rexxx Black Vampire, Amber Ray (also Happy Birthday!), Gentle and legendary club promoter extraordinaire, Susanne Bartsch.

And now for a brief history lesson...

So it's 92, I'm living away from home in a Fine Arts Dorm in Etobicoke, Ontario (just outside of Toronto) attending York University Film School.  Somehow I stumble into landing a gig for the community station (CHRY 105.5 FM) doing the all-nighter on Pub Night after the bars close.  It's the same radio station where Danko Jones (Rishi Ganjoo) and Matt Galloway (Now Magazine journalist) came from.  My show was called "Earth Calling Mars" and I taught myself how to spin with 1200s live on air with hip-hop callers screaming me the instructions over dead space.  Talk about pressure...  The truth is, I never worked there, just hung around so much someone assumed I did and told me to fill in for a guy that quit.  It was a lot of fun.  I did many interviews with bands like Einsturzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, etc.  I had a ton of local industrial bands on (including some nice caller named "Rohan" who wanted me to push his VNV Nation cassettes, hoping that he'd land some more gigs opening up for groups like DHI) and Rotterdamn Rave DJ Dominik was my co-host (gave him his start).  Then, at 4 in the morning, I played children's albums and spoken word while I talked in a "different" voice as Mr. Freak's Four O'Clock Freakshow!  Somehow, I ended up sleeping on the floor in the hall in front of my screenwriting class with a "wake me" note on my chest.  I convinced my teacher I was "Method" writing a script about Insomnia and received an "A"...  Insane!! ;)  I also got my ideas for...

deas for a new comic book that I created called "Advice & Anal Delicasies: Words of Wisdom and other Bullshit from Mars".  My friend, Nuno Gomez, who was a Fine Arts major drew them for me.  It was put out in a local fanzine called "Psycho Instinct" that I also contributed to as a music journalist.  The fanzine turned into strictly ONLINE after 3 issues so I quit (not caring to learn how to use a computer back then...).

This was the first club-night I ever did.  It was held at a posh little 2-level club in downtown Toronto called "Kat Klub" at 55 Colborne St. next to Church near King.  It's long gone but I'll never forget it.  Not many people showed except members from Digital Poodle/Kinder Atom with Gerald Belanger who later gave me a gig spinning with Stained Productions' Greg Clow down at a University of Toronto Fraternity House where Death and Horror Incorporated performed 80s cover tunes.  I pushed a new German label called "Zoth Omog" with artists like Leatherstrip, Psychopomps, Ringtailed Snorter, etc.  This was back in 93 when one couldn't avoid "Head Like a Hole"or "Fashback".  The illegal Giger-ripped color cardstock flyers cost me a million dollars to make too. :)  Somehow, I stuck it out... Someone recently reminded me that I was fired from that gig for scaring away a New Edition-cd release party that was cutting into my night.  I think I saw Bobby Brown, cranked up Bi-God 20 while my friend danced around a candle causing Bobby and his party to run away screaming at the owner.  Back then I was a kid and didn't want guys in suits to scare away my cool crowd!  :)

Believe it or not, I was there in 93 and they hated me as much as I hated them (the staff).  I gave it a shot at turning the famous college hang-out (The Dance Cave on Bloor Street in Toronto) into a die-hard Goth-club where my top-10 rotation list consisted of The Fields of the Nephilim, "Ribbons" by the Sisters of Mercy, etc.  The only thing we could all agree on was Manchester music (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Farm, etc.) which the night later became.  The Goths, stuck to Queen St...

It was towards the end of '93 that both DJ Dominik and myself became really sick of losing our jobs for "being die-hard" and "true to the music".  We were so anti-sell out that we decided to say "fuck it" and throw our very own industrial rave parties dedicated to underground electronic music.  We would mix Skinny Puppy with Apothosis, etc. and started a fusion pushing techno and trance (like Cosmic Baby, early Aphex Twin) into the "alternative" nightclub.  NOTE: THESE WERE THE SAME NIGHTCLUBS that members from then-unknown VNV NATION spent there time hanging out at.  In many ways, THIS PARTY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NOW EVER-SO-POPULAR SYNTHPOP MOVEMENT consisting of Apotygma Berzerk, VNV, Fungervokt, etc.  WE DID IT and I'll take full credit, thank you.  It cost me a lot of money, being black-listed from the Toronto goth-industrial scene for being too "ravey', waking up in my car on people's lawns after falling asleep at the wheel (for spinning for 12 hours), etc.  IT WAS THE ORIGINAL "DARKRAVE" of CANADA, to be successfull copied 10 years later.   At least Dominik ended up scoring tons of Rave gigs out of it...  Me, I slumped into darknesss.... 

I got involved with a COMMUNE of disgruntled punks still wearing their Dead Boys T-shirts, chain belts, facial pievcings and mohawks.  They formed a new nightclub called "Death in the Underground" at Bathurst and Bloor (Toronto) and wanted me to dj.  Actually, a guy named Egor (who fits the description) and a goth-chick named "Vayorr" called me on the radio show to come down for a job.  I must say, with all the fights, pay rip-offs, etc., I still wear my Death in the Underground "Sonic Assault" t-shirt with the most pride I ever had from any club I ever worked.  It really was what turned me into the "Die J! Mars" I am today.  The whole staff and club was about "Fucking the system".  A door painted with a bullet-holed skull stood across the street from the ever-so-popular Big Bop (owned by the Ballinger Brothers who now own Webster Hall in NYC) and inside, I spun (with Blue Hair and a dusty suit) within a chicken wire cage that had sometime pythons hidden by a guy named Stick who constantly tried to scare me.  I think there was a "Count" doll crucified on the cage too.  With all the piercings and chains from the staff, we weighed as much as a MAC truck.  In fact, the staff ended up starring as most of ICE-T's sidekicks in the movie Johnny Neumonic.  So that was the staff...  As for the crowd, a convicted Vampire Serial Killer from the Death band Infernal Majesty often grunted with me over music selection, prostitutes from around the corner and mental hospital patients...  That made up about 75 % of the legendary club!  I just loved the idea of "fuckin the system".  Keep in mind, I went to highschool with one of Canada's biggest house djs ever, Matt C.  So, anything against the norm for me was cool back then.  The flyer above is for the retro party I did on Tuesday (which was one of the first retro 80s parties to ever exist).  I spun on Thursdays too.  Unfortunately, because of all the candles, wax ruined a lot of my rare vinyl from back then.  But at least it looked cool...  Unfortunately, Death in the Underground, is long gone...  I miss those guys but who the hell knows where you'd find them now..  It definitely put Toronto on the map and paved way for making it an Industrial Music town (the biggest one in America next to San Francisco back then).  There were even about 5 clothing stores and coffee shops dedicated to the music then...

After a fight with the management, I left to work for a new British dj on the scene, Lord Pale, at his club across the street called "The Savage Garden".  By miracle, the club is still pumping on Queen Street and I make a point of always stopping by if I'm up there.  I was their original Saturday night dj and pushed industrial and early "electronica" groups like Underworld.  I was even one of the first djs ever to make Dead Can Dance a hit in the nightclub scene.  I remember people thinking I was crazy for dropping Mr. Lovegrove the first time..  Not long after, goth clubs became trip-hop friendly.  After a few years I left but it was the last place I went back to spin at before I moved to NYC.

In the later years, I pushed synthpop (bands like D/Vision, Beborn Beton, etc.) and "Grave" (the music people decribed at our Dark Rave party, "Lust n' Rust").

Long before I was a dj, I used to attend nights by DJ Iain, Ivan Palmer and Michael X.  I loved Michael X's vibe at the Boom Boom Room on Queen St (also owned by the Ballinger Bros.).  He didn't need to hire go-go dancers, they would do it for free.  He could members from the crowd to strip for a dollar!  It was a fun party.  Anyways, years down the road he remembered me, new I needed a job and gave me one spinning with him and Morgan for Canada's LARGEST ALL AGES NIGHT EVER.  It was held at 23 Hop (now The Joker Nightclub in Toronto).  That was the first gig I got really good at spinning with other people.  It's quite simple, SPIN EVERYTHING OPPOSITE OF THEM.  While Morgan and Michael pushed Grunge in the main room, I spun techno, acid jazz, funk, trip hop, etc. in the lounge and it went over really well.  I swear we would spin to something like 3000 people every night.  Originally it was an illegal boozecan with a lot of brutal fights (imagine a boozecan with 3000 people and lines a mile long not getting busted?!) but later became an all-age night.  In the end, I liked the kids better because they didn't know shit.  They weren't going to demand the old over-played tunes but instead wanted me to push anything GOOD?  What a concept!  It worked for me...  I ended up eventually in NYC and I think Michael X ended up skydiving in Florida. 

Because Freakshow was going so well, Michael X gave me the space to throw 2 more Lust n' Rust parties.  Cleopatra's DIN and Alkahest (from Richie Hawtin's Plus 8 label, aka "The Legions of Green Men") played the final party.

Unlike NYC, Toronto danceclubs don't need special cabaret licenses.  So, I got sick of all the danceclub spaces (being too tired and dirty) and started scouting out fancy restaurants to throw Goth parties.  I found one near my house at the time called "Runyx" and I then became a mobile soundsystem, hauling my 1200s and mixer out with my four crates of records every night in hope that I'd make some bonus bucks "charged $2 at the door, paid a staff, etc.".  I had a couple really great friends from back then and this party too turned into a family affair.  I watched people literally sneak in under age, meet, get married, have kids, get divorced...  Times were fast then.  The weirdest thing was this new friendly crowd, I never saw anywhere before that.  They just saw my signs that I would post on the street.   Anyways, eventually, I got too tired of hauling my equipment to gigs and, since then, have never done it again.  Another point of interest: I met a lost Italian couple who were new to Toronto around this time and were into industrial music.  In fact, they had a new band called "Decoded Feedback".  I pushed their home-made cassette on my radio show and introduced them to anyone who could get them gigs.  Hell, I even made them dinner.  ANYWAYS, one night at Runyx they wrote me off my friendship because I played the techno hit by L.A. style, "James Brown is Dead".  Can you believe there are people this fucking stupid in the world!?  Well, I can, and assure you that you'll never hear a Decoded Feedback track on any of my nights so please don't request it.  This is one of my many reasons for launching NOIR (more on that to come,,,).

Most people in Toronto would probably remember me for my gig, Invasion from Mars, held at Catch 22 every Friday night.  Jason Levesque was the promoter, Brian (owner of Anarchists' coctail) did lights and Pat Violo (the Velvet Underground) owned the club with Gio.  There were constant radio ads for the gig on CFNY 102.1 FM and we did a good 300-400 people every Friday night.  It was a very family club, meaning we all hung out even when it wasn't open, playing cards to 9 in the morning, etc.  Prayer Tower, Chris Shephard (AKA DJ Dogwhistle) were all there.  I played whatever I want and the crowd went nuts.  A few times the roof came down!  And then the club closed permanently, I went into a great depression and later became a "Die J!".

This was one of my favorite nights ever.  I assembled pretty much all the djs and promoters from Catch 22 (including Saturday dj, Jeff C, who is now a huge Toronto dj with the biggest weekly following at The Docks, Devil's Martini, etc.) and moved them over to a Sunday night location, Power Bar, to go head-to-head with Toronto's legendary busiest party, DJ Iain's Childhood Ends.  Nobody ever dared go there as it would mean to be blacklisted in clubland.  I wasn't afraid and we did but right when we were about to "win", the club management changed and kicked us out, wanted to turn it into another type of club.  I couldn't believe it and was devastated.  We were pulling in 700-900 people on a long-weekend, dancing to our underground music.  From standing outside Boom Boom Room in the rain in 92, forcing my flyers on everyone that left from 11-3 in the morning, fighting off bouncers to djing a posh giant stadium-type club to 900 people, I felt like I finally made it!  The work paid off!!  I was about to change Toronto forever from being into shit music.  I still can't believe the mistake the management made.. 

Even after Power ended, we tried to resurrect the party down the street at a secret Mofia hang-out but we couldn't do it.  The buzz was gone...

Evol Mondays was where I became "Die J! Mars".  It was actually the answer to a bunch of things.  See, when I was booming at Catch 22 with my party, "Invasion From Mars", I started receiving attitude from the die-hard goths that I was playing too much techno and not enough Goth.  So, as an answer I decided to do a night to school these so-called "die-hards" of Goth so goth even they would hate it: stuff by the Swans, Diamanda Galas, Foetus, Death in June, Eternal Afflict, all the Christian Death Side Projects, Birthday Party, etc..   What I did was actually create a monster!  The party lasted 4 1/2 years and became a phenonmenon.  I swear, everyone from pornographer Bruce La Bruce to actress Claire Daines (sneaking in under-age) attended this party at least once.  I still love the flyer.  And as for postering, I decided to put up thousands of posters in the form of an upside down cross in nice neighbourhoods would be a way to lure people in and they came.  People from mental hospitals, vampires, mid-life crisis, etc.  I became sorta a psychiatrist down there.  The night could have been renamed "The Well of Misery" and, I'm unproud, that a few suicides happened from some attendees.  The joke was over and it was so dark and "die-hard" that I got depressed and eventually pigeon-holed as Canada's #1 Goth DJ.  Thus, all the work of spinning electronica at Power to 700 people was long forgotten.  The Catch 22 gig was forgotten.  All people in the end could see was the Goth.  And I was good, there wasn't any tune in that genre I didn't have.  A film, at this point in my depressing life, was made about me called "Life on Mars" and later shown at the Bloor Cinema as part of the "On the Fly Film Festival".  If you can track it down, check it out.  I booked bands there too.  EVERYONE! From Corpusse throwing meat at people to the final Masochistic Religion shows.  Around this time, I became a regular Co-Host on Mitch Kroll's Beyond the Gates of Hell Radio Show (CKLN 88.1FM).

I sorta snapped and to try to get myself out of depression started a short-lived Drum and Bass night with DJ Stealth.  I hid under various dj names like "Mars H. Mello" and "Skywalker" to later find out that there was already a famous jungle dj named "Skywalker" out there--they busted me for false advertising as kids from Buffalo ran up to see me.  MC Caddy Cad was also getting his start there.  Unfortunately, it didn't take me too long to see that the graffitti-making baggy-clothes crowd consisted of only guys, was monopolized by The Vinyl Syndicate (DJ Sniper and Mystical Influence) and didn't want ANY other parties out there.  And they complain their scene is dead with no support...  I got good at spinning Drum and Bass but it really is a lifestyle and had a hard time re-learning how to dj after that gig ended.  I still give respect to all the jungalists and drum and bass-heads out there doing what they do.

In the meantime, I was going to Submerge records in Detroit to buy hard acid techno and electro records from Mad Mike at Underground Resistance.  I never really spun them anywhere but at home.  Then, I formed an electronica band ("Rally House Music") with Steve Sturgui (The Viletones, Nailed, EMF) and Izzy (Coma).  Steve loved it when I spun Detroit Techno and pushed me to do a one-off at a party thrown by my friend Alex.  It went over so well that I started splitting my drum and bass night up with half-techno, half drum and bass.  Needless to say, the experiment didn't fly... 

I started djing these really big monthly fetish parties thrown by Siren Clothing at the Big Bop with DJ Lazarus.  Then we did smaller, non-fetish, more retro parties at Clinton's once a month.  The rest is a blur...  I spun at that same weird location for a couple Stained Productions parties too.  BTW, I later spun a die-hard fetish party at The Velvet Underground that happened on Wednesdays once a month.

All those flyers were scanned many years ago by my good friend Helen of Softlight Productions.  They go up to around 1999.  I still need to scan about 50 flyers from 2000-2006.  Any takers...? 

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