DJ BOBBY VITERITTI
Bobby Viteritti played long nights of sophisticated disco, R&B and sleaze music, in which songs were connected not by beats-per-minute or theme, but by their musical structure and by subtle instrumental sounds that were almost impossible to hear--unless you were under Bobby's spell.
In fact, many people today would not even know what sleaze music was or how really special it was to listen to a DJ that knew how to create that kind of atmosphere. No, sleaze its not a reference to something which is unclean, it is a reference to music which was played very early in the morning when the DJ was slowly winding down the party.
The rhythm and beats of sleaze music were slower and designed to ensure that the dancers experienced a "safe landing" at the end of the evening. Sleaze music was only played in clubs like the Trocadero Transfer in San Francisco or at the Saint in New York city. It took a very talented DJ to be able to pull this off and Bobby Viteritti was one of the true masters.
His sound was incredibly eclectic; within 30 minutes you could hear a moody space song, a tropical or funky record and a sleazy R&B cut, each bound by a particular rhythm or groove hidden deep beneath the vocals--but alive with energy and a stylish magic that was uniquely Viteritti.
Bobby's genius was in his ability to build a mood on the dance floor and to keep you dancing all night long through mixes of unbelievable energy--or unbelievable disorientation which was a state that most of the crowd was in while while Bobby was playing. He was famous for leaving a record--momentarily--by mixing into a perfectly matched instrumental passage in another song--and then back into the original record at a different place --and then out to his own personal version (tape edit) of another song. The effect was a brilliant combination of entertainment, amazement and vertigo, because just when you figured out where you were, you'd get lost again.
Nowadays, with quartz-locked turntables, drum machine-produced records, sampling devices, CD mixers and digital tricks, DJ's can pull off stunts like that easily. When Bobby did it, it was on old, belt-driven turntables, with records that were made by real (and imperfect) drummers. Bobby added hand cut tape edits using razor blades, instinct, experience and talent and the result was pure Bobby Viteritti.
Bobby's signature sound was a 124 bpm disco guitar and bass-infused groove that had a moody, hypnotic and sexual energy to it. In one of his mixes he buried it throughout Relight My Fire and he brilliantly reassembled that record into one of his famous "edits" that drove a floor insane--mostly by building tension with long edited sections of the Viteritti guitar sound. His mixes often exploded into a tweaked sound effect, a high energy mix or a displaced and rearranged piece of the same record.
Bobby always heard sounds in records that none of us heard until he mixed them together and showed us. Every night was full of examples, and somehow, once Bobby put his magic into a record, you never forgot how it sounded when he played it.
One night I was at The Palace in LA, when I heard him do a 30 second underlay from "I Confess" by the English Beat into "You're the One for Me" by D-Train; two songs that I would have never though possible or logical to mix together, but a work of art when done right.
Viteritti's style also defied disco gravity; he would throw a packed Trocadero into a frenzy by brilliantly mixing into a reggae record after a long space set, or make everyone feel like they were in a 40's musical with "I'm Not Jivin'--I'm Jam in'" by Leon Huff as a way to transition from one part of the night to the next. Or, by mixing into a 90 bpm reggae song from a 140 bpm Euro-disco record. These stunts took major talent and timing to pull off, and I never saw one backfire.
Bobby was famous for his low tempo morning sets that came as a needed break from the hours of 130 bpm intensity, and he would always play records based on the mood of the room on that evening.
I remember hearing jazzy records with cool vibraphones mixed into funky, tropical groove records that I never heard again or anyplace else. And near impossible (but always perfect) mixes from one torchy black female song into another. And sleazy 100 bpm sets in a near-black Trocadero Transfer that was hot and sweaty and moody and it sounded like sex. And the rays of sunlight streaking in on the dance floor during "Call Me Tonight" -- only to be slowly covered up by dark tarps and perfect timing, as the night was reborn in elegant splashes of purple and orange mirror ball reflections, and you were lost again in one of Bobby Viteritti's incredible musical trips.
(Comments taken from legendary DJs Steve Sukman and James Morales)
I totally agree with Steve's comments. I am the owner of an Internet music Forum known as The Music Lives On which is dedicated to preserving the music and the memory of the Saint in New York. Bobby is truly one of the greats and many of the members of The Music Lives on have been nagging Bobby to re-master and go back into the studio and create some new masterpeiaces.
The sleaze music is of course my favorite but some of Bobby's original edits are also unbelievable.
We at The Music Lives On, love you Bobby, and wish you the best of luck with your new website.
This website would not be possible without the enormous contribution of DJ Steve Sukman !
A Picture of Bobby from the Past
And Another Great Historic Picture
Bobby With Grace Jones
Bobby In April of 1978
This is a picture of me today as I undertake the process of digitally remastering my Reel to Reel tape collection to CD Disks.
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There is also some great information and memorabilia at Remember the Party as well at DJ Portals. Bernie's website Disco Music is very interesting and he posted a very nice interview with me here. There is also a nice interview posted about me by the editor of the site DiscoMuseum if your interested in learning a little bit more about my history as a first generation DJ.
Bobby Viteritti in 1976 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the Poop Deck.
This is me accepting Billboard Magazines Regional award for best Disco DJ in 1977 in Miami, Florida
This Photo goes back even further in time. This is a picture with me and DJ Robbie Leslie in Manhattan in 1977
Roy Thode, Ann Margret and Bobby Viteritti in 1978, Los Angeles, California
A wonderful shot of the Mirror Ball Cluster at the Trocadero Transfer. More pictures from the Trocadero may be found in the Photos section of this website. Enjoy your visit.
A Picture of Bobby in The Studio
A Tribute to San Francisco