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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
by Christina Li on Dec 16, 2010
Steve Fabus started DJing in Chicago in the early 70s in the era where parties ran rampant and inhibitions were non-existent. Inspired by the sounds of great soul records from artists like Etta James and Stevie Wonder, he discovered something liberating in the art of playing records. Since moving to San Francisco in 1974, he has been a staple of the disco and DJ community. Don’t miss this SF legend playing Go BANG! at Deco Lounge on December 25th.
SF Station (SFS): Since you've been playing in the SF scene since the 70s, how have you seen it change?
Steve Fabus (S): I see two classic era's in dance music: The disco era from ’73 to ’83, and the house era from ’87 to ’95. Of course, the rave scene was happening in the house era. The classic eras had many big clubs with resident DJs that were open all night every week. Now, the big club era is still over as we've known it in the past, but it could make a comeback. Today is interesting because there is new energy out there in many smaller clubs with loyal followings.
SFS: You were associated with the Cockettes. Can you shed a little light for those of us that don't know about it?
S: I wasn't part of the Cockettes, but I was a good friend to them. The Cockettes were a hippie drag queen troupe that performed outrageous musical parodies that gained a big underground cult following.
Think of drag queens on acid! They were noticed by the avant-garde from Truman Capote to Andy Warhol to John Waters. They performed most of their shows at the Palace Theater in North Beach. Some of the Cockettes and their friends would come to some of my parties. Notable members included Divine, Pristine Condition, Sylvester, Hibiscus, and Rumi Missabu. Of course Sylvester moved on to be a disco star. The Cockettes have regrouped and are currently doing a revival of "Pearls Over Shanghai" in the city.
SFS: In the 80s, you played the coveted spot at the Endup from 6am to 2pm. Did a sleeping schedule exist for you back then?
S: (laughs) The last thing on my mind was sleep. Most people did not mind losing a night of sleep in those days. That's what disco naps were for! It was all about stimulation, artificial or natural!
SFS: You moved to NY, back to SF, then to LA, then back to SF. What always brings you back here?
S: I love this city! I have more of an emotional feeling about San Francisco than anywhere else. It feels more like home. Even though the city has changed in some ways, it is still a community. It's good to get out of town, maybe I'd even move away sometime, but I believe I would always come back.
SFS: What do you attribute the success of your monthly Go BANG! parties to?
S: First, I would have to say it is because of the spirit of the party that comes from the man that created it, Sergio Fedasz. People come together at Go BANG for the love of the music, the love of dancing, and the love of being together. As Sergio says, "gay, straight, bi, try, whatever!" We're here for the love!
SFS: You've been playing disco jams for decades. What is one of your all-time favorite dance tracks?
S: I have to say it's “Let's Start the Dance" by Bohannon. But there are so many other great ones!
SFS: What do you think of all these young DJs bringing back the disco sound like in songs "Barbara Streisand" or Fake Blood's "I Think I Like It?"
S: In "Barbara Streisand," they sample "Gotta Go Home" by Boney M, so it's decent. Fake Blood's "I Think I Like It" doesn't sound like disco to me. There is some nu-disco that's real good, like Hercules and Love Affair.
SFS: You've also must have seen many awesome dance moves. Which one do you think never should have happened?
S: John Travolta "Saturday Night Fever." OK, I said it.
SFS: Lastly, what’s ideal Christmas party look like?
S: Relaxing with friends in front of a fireplace and having a drink!
by Christina Li on Dec 16, 2010