There is SO much I could write about DJ Viper, and trust me when I say this is a TINY amount compared the conversations we have had about his background!
Viper's stories are full of history about the scene we love and the people involved in creating it. He has a marvellous recollection of his journey, which lead him to be where he is today, in terms of the music he plays and his collection of around 4000 shellac records!
Many of you will know or have heard of the legendary DJ El Nino, who Viper was close friends with. Nino was collecting shellac from the age of 16 and, when Viper was 12 years old, he idolised Nino, who was 9 years his senior. He describes Nino as “the don, who was always dressed immaculately”. Nino, in turn, influenced Viper and took him to various club nights, including the Fortissimo. He also began collecting records himself, with Nino feeding him information on what to listen to.
Nino booked DJ Viper (then known as DJ The Hat) for an introductory slot at The Lady Luck Club, Drury Lane, Covent Garden - the first burlesque and grind joint in England. He took the crowd by storm. The Lady Luck Club became a big deal and featured in Italian Vogue, with images taken by the same photographer who captured the punks back in the day. Fashionistas started coming out and Lady Luck was arguably the best dressed club in the world.
Then, with their shared love of music from the 20s, 30s, and early 40s, Nino, his wife Tomoko (DJ Lady Kamikaze), and Viper created the first Club devoted to solely playing this genre of music. It was named The Black Cotton Club, where they could play music that nobody else was at that time. Other clubs were playing predominantly Rockabilly/40s, 50s, 60s and The Black Cotton offered an alternative. The DJs wanted to let everyone hear how good the music and talent was from the earlier eras. And that was it - it opened ears, minds, and hearts and others started to come aboard and play similar music.
Viper holds a huge amount of regard for the history of the music he plays, as well as his much-missed friends El Nino & Tim Hellzapoppin’, who worked hard and dedicated their lives to keeping the music and scene alive. Nino was artistic and creative and Tim was everywhere, such was his love for the music, with his night “Gangbusters” being one of the best Sunday night events around.
We really are so very privileged to have DJ Viper play for us and I know he will be playing with pure love and joy. That’s exactly what Frisking The Whiskers is about.