Sharing music with other people is one of my favorite things. I love introducing friends and strangers to new tunes and old favorites.
Looking back, the most rewarding job I have ever had was as a DJ. I do miss that job. It didn't pay much and it consumed every Saturday night. But it was a lot of fun.
Since quitting that job to raise a family, I have rarely returned to my place behind a mixer. Giving my time to provide the musical entertainment for a friend's or family member's wedding, once for a youth group dance party, and I did it again today for a company party.
When your primary audiences are wedding receptions and school dances, your music selection skews to family friendly selections. Some people surprise me. I am not sure why anyone would want Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places played at their wedding, but it happens. Or a guest who repeatedly requested AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long despite the bride's request for no rock'n'roll (and eventually offered a $20 tip if I played it). Also, I don't care how nicely you ask, I will not play Marvin Gaye's Lets Get It On at a high school prom.
Most crowds are easy. There are some variances, but certain sets of songs that are safe for most groups. Classic rock, country music, and some indie rock for older audiences; punk-pop, top 40, and EMD for younger crowds. As much as I enjoy hip-hop, I avoid playing rap music because, well, language.
Today's company party was a family event. There were hordes of kids running around while their parents socialized. Considering the demographics of those in attendance, most of the music I played was recorded during the 70's and 80's.
Yet some people surprise me.
Folks filtered through the food line while David Bowie's song Changes played over the speakers. One guy made a bee-line from the chili filled slow cookers to my table with a question on his mind.
"Snoop Dogg?" He asked. I thought he was making a joke about the current musical selection.
"No," I answered, "David Bowie. But you're close."
"No, no, no. Can you play Snoop Dogg?" He said.
"Sorry, I don't have any Snoop Dogg with me."
"You don't have any Snoop Dogg?"
"Bummer." Pause. "How about Insane Clown Posse?"
"No. This is a family event. My music is as family friendly as possible."
"Oh. Well that sucks." He then walked away dejected. Not just to sit down and eat his chili, but out the door never to return.
Some people surprise me. Some people have an odd definition of "family friendly."