Junior Vasquez

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Junior Vasquez
Birth name Donald Paul Mattern
Born (1949-08-24) August 24, 1949 (age 65)[1]
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres House
Occupations DJ and producer
Years active 1980s–present
Labels Tommy Boy Records
Virgin Records
Nervous Records
Website http://www.myspace.com/officialjuniorvasquez

Junior Vasquez, (born Donald Paul Mattern, August 24, 1949,[1] Lancaster, Pennsylvania), is an American club DJ and remixer/producer.[2]

Career[edit]

Mattern moved to New York as a young adult in 1971 with ambitions of becoming a fashion designer, briefly attending Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and working as a hairdresser for a while.[citation needed] However, Mattern soon became fascinated with NYC nightlife especially with the work of DJ Larry Levan at The Paradise Garage[citation needed]. After adopting the pseudonym "Junior Vasquez", he commenced his career in music production in the 1980s. Vasquez began to work with DJ and pop remixer/producer Shep Pettibone, and together they co-produced and edited numerous singles from such artists as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, MC Hammer, Prince, Pet Shop Boys and others. It wasn't long before Vasquez landed a brief residency at Club Bassline, where he began to make a name for himself as a live DJ.

Many of Junior Vasquez's earliest underground hits were released under the name "Ellis D," including the seminal gay house track, "Work This Pussy." Vasquez also released the tracks "Just Like a Queen," "My Lolleata," "It's Scratched," and "Took my Love Away" under the name "Ellis D." The style of the tracks release under the pseudonym "Ellis D" are largely credited today with having influenced the sound of house music generally, and particularly the sound of most all subsequent "gay" house singles.

From 1989 to 1995, Vasquez gained national prominence, along with music industry influence — through his residency at the original Sound Factory, a club he co-founded with Richard Grant, which was located at 530 West 27th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea district. Vasquez quickly built a following of loyal fans who became known as "Juniorites". Devoted to Vasquez's musical style, personality, and the spectacle of his weekly Sunday morning after-hours parties, his fans made Vasquez one of New York City's most popular DJs. Soon afterward, major record labels began soliciting Vasquez to produce club-friendly remixes for their top singers utilizing his personal beat-driven house style. Due to a rise in demand from these labels, many singers and musicians such as C+C Music Factory, David Morales, Björk, Marilyn Manson, and Madonna were known to frequent his Sunday morning events. Working with many popular artists allowed Vasquez to create his own repertoire of exclusive "Private Collection" of authorized remixes (along with several unofficial remixes) which were not released to the market and thus made his live sets even more distinctive to his following due to the fact that they could only be heard at Vasquez's Sound Factory events.

Junior Vasquez was also closely associated at this time with The House of Xtravaganza, a gay ballroom "house" which enjoyed great prominence in New York City at this time. In the early 1990s, Vasquez released his single "X," which sampled a gay man saying the word "extravaganza!" (the voice sample was taken from the film Paris is Burning). The track became a house music phenomenon, and was followed up soon thereafter with the equally as influential and successful "Get Your Hands Off My Man." More than any other two tracks, "X" and "Get Your Hands Off My Man" brought Junior's "factory sound" to even greater prominence in the house music scene.

After the Sound Factory was closed in February 1995, Vasquez held residencies at the Tunnel (1995–1996), and at ArenA (held at the Palladium) (1996–1997) where his suspended booth was custom-designed by designers Dolce & Gabbana. In 1997, he returned to the former site of the original Sound Factory, now called "Twilo". Remodeled to include a custom-designed DJ booth for Vasquez's exclusive use and fitted with new cutting-edge audio technology known as "Phazon", Vasquez's residency at Twilo lasted until May 2001 when the venue was abruptly shut down by order of the city. In 1997 Ian Jenkinson and Inner Rhythm Artists Tribal Gathering enlisted Vasquez for the Largest single artist DJ event in UK history at the London Arena. Problems with the venue saw the event split between the two largest clubs in the country, Ministry of Sound and Cream.

With the demise of Twilo, Vasquez began a new Sunday morning after-hours residency which he named "Earth" at the highest capacity club space in New York City, Exit Nightclub. Vasquez's gig at Earth ended without fanfare in 2002. In the years that followed, he held shorter-lived residencies at various clubs in New York, including Discothèque, Sound Factory (so-named by Richard Grant who retained legal rights to the name and opened in a new space located in the Hells Kitchen section of Manhattan shortly after the closure of the original site), Pacha (which opened in the site where the new Sound Factory once stood), Spirit (which opened at the former space where Twilo once operated), and The Roxy.

In 2010 Vasquez held a residency at club Love in NYC's West Village where he hosted a successful bi-monthly Sunday afternoon party known as Sunday Mass, as well as occasional engagements at Cielo (a small bar in Manhattan's Meat Packing District section). In 2011 he continues to spin at occasional events at various venues around the world.

In addition to his work as a DJ and remixer, he has co-produced albums for John Mellencamp, For Real, Lisa Lisa, Cyndi Lauper, among others, and individual LP tracks for Madonna, Cher, Wild Orchid, Kristine W, and others. Junior, along with his record label Junior Vasquez Music, is also known for introducing new artists, including many crossover singers, to dance/pop music scene. Some of these artists include Vernessa Mitchell, Jason Walker, Casey Stratton, Quentin Elias, Vivian Green, and Sam Harris.

Madonna controversy[edit]

Vasquez had a public falling out with Madonna in 1996, after the release of an unauthorized single titled "If Madonna Calls". The original version that Vasquez plays at nightclubs contains what is widely believed to be an actual phone message from Madonna left on Vasquez's answering machine.[3]

The song's lyrics are as follows:

(voice recording ostensibly left by Madonna on Vasquez's answering machine at his home in New York):

"Hello, Junior. This is Madonna. Are you there? (short pause) Call me in Miami."

This is followed by the voice of vocal house artist, Franklin Fuentes that says:

"If Madonna calls, I'm not here"

This is followed by hard tribal rhythms, with the samples of the message still playing in the loop of the track, and the male singer repeating the words shown above along with "Hola Señorita Cosa" ("Hello Ms. Thing"). Towards the end of the song, the words change and the male voice concludes by saying:

"If Madonna calls…actually, if she calls, just disconnect her. That's right—if she calls, tell her I'm not here."

The song reportedly was produced after Madonna failed to show up for a surprise performance at one of Vasquez's parties held at New York City club "Tunnel" at the last second. Although never confirmed, Madonna did not approve of Vasquez's actions,[4] ending their professional relationship on bad terms.[5] Chances for reconciliation are impossible according to Madonna's longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg, who in a June 2003 news story in New York Magazine said “I can assure you that Madonna will never work with Junior again."[6]

Personal life[edit]

Mattern is openly gay and has overcome an addiction to heroin and methamphetamine.[7][8]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • 1998: To the Rhythm
  • 2001: J.M.O. After Service
  • 2003: Junior's Magic Orchestra

Mixed compilations[edit]

  • 1994: The Future Sound Of New York
  • 1994: This Is The Sound Of Tribal
  • 1995: Best of Junior Vasquez: Just Like a Queen
  • 1997: Live, Vol. 1
  • 1998: Live, Vol. 2
  • 1999: Junior Vasquez, Vol. 2
  • 2000: Twilo, Vol. 1: Junior Vasquez
  • 2001: DJ19 Plays J.M.O. Perspective Service
  • 2001: Junior's Nervous Breakdown
  • 2002: Earth Music
  • 2002: Earth Music 2
  • 2003: Anthem
  • 2004: Ageha, Vol. 4
  • 2004: Anthem 2
  • 2006: Party Groove: White Party, Vol. 7
  • 2009: Generation Next
  • 2010: Junior's Nervous Breakdown 2: Demented

Selected remixes[edit]

Note: The industry standard by which a remix is considered "commercially released" is the track has been made available legally for retail sale. This can mean the remix was released on a CD single, 12" vinyl single, cassette single, or it can mean the remix was released on one of the artist's albums (usually on a greatest hits compilation or as a bonus track to a studio album's international release). Other times it was included on a compilation or soundtrack album. The tracks listed below have all been released commercially in one of the aforementioned forms, with a few exceptions which are indicated with a note in parenthesis explaining the track's status. With the advent of Internet-selling using programs such as iTunes, that type of release is also considered commercial as it results in a profit and the artist and management oversee what is available on such programs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cielo: May 2009 News". top40-charts.com. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  2. ^ IMO Records. "Junior Vasquez Biography", IMO Records' Retrieved on 29 February 2011.
  3. ^ Music Makes the People Come Together from New York Magazine 10 September 2001
  4. ^ Should Junior Vasquez Win a Grammy? from www.clubplanet.com, date: 3 November 2006
  5. ^ Junior Vasquez: Exclusive Interview from www.atlantaboy.com
  6. ^ Donatella Gets Swept Away by Junior from New York Magazine 23 June 2003
  7. ^ No Longer Spinning Out of Control from www.aumag.org, date August 2006
  8. ^ A royal flush from the New England Blade, date: 3 June 2006

External links[edit]