Initially when I reserved www.mcgonigal.org this was going to be the main page for Disc Jockey advertising and information. However, in the fall of 2001 I made the decision to "semi-retire" from the DJ profession...and as of May 2002 we officially ended our company. What follows is a brief history and explanation of the service:
In retrospect, Can You Feel The Beat was a very successful, enjoyable and profitable hobby for 16 years. Myself and one of my best friends, Leon Rebodos, began our DJ service in April 1986 with our first paid gig at Bradley University's Sigma Chi "Derby Days" bash...back in the days when we were all still in college and kegs of beer were allowed on campus. Actually the pay was $50 (for Leon...I personally was not paid) and given free beer, food, etc. I was there mostly for the fun - to help out, drink and pick up girls - but ended up doing a ton, running the party to 5:30 AM or over 11 hours of DJ playing time!
Leon and I considered music a true hobby - we were very much into all different types, we had lots of fun playing tunes for people and found out that we worked remarkably well together. SO, we thought that making some money off of our hobby was a natural, and thus Can You Feel The Beat was born (by the way, the name was Leon's idea and taken from an old Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam song).
We both worked at the (now long-ago closed) FlipSide Records in Palatine...so we hung a couple signs in the window and made some business cards. A couple block party-type jobs came from this advertising, and then with some friends and acquaintances getting married and having parties, it just sort of took off. At first we rented equipment, then purchased some used items (some of which are/were still being used)...and in 1990-1991 I dropped several thousand on a full line of brand new speakers, amp, lighting, etc...a bit overwhelming at the time but it paid for itself quickly. Yes, while starting out we did a couple stints with some crappy DJ services, the kind where you did all the work and they paid little...this was helpful and showed us that the real control (and $$$) was just working for ourselves. Though there were some opportunities to make this a full-time profession, both of us agreed we were much happier just doing it part-time.
I have a huge file of past service contracts, which represents about 2/3 of our total jobs. We estimate doing well over 200 weddings in our career, and more than that amount in other types of events. It's a somewhat biased opinion of course, but we truly have been one of the best out there in terms of music, performance and results, and have hundreds of satisfied people who would quickly back up that claim.
OK, so with all this fun and success, why call it quits? Despite the numerous pros and few cons, it boils down to this one simple reason - it's just wasn't that much fun for me anymore. I always told myself that I'd continue DJing as long as it was enjoyable…but when the time came that it seemed like more of a chore than a hobby, and when the interest wasn’t there, the right thing to do would be to hang it up. It is important to note that though I was the one who initiated the retirement discussions, Leon seemed to feel exactly the same. I used the term "semi-retire" because there will still be some occasional work for friends, my own parties, community events, etc. However, there will be no return to frequent weekend work. The skills are still there, but the interest is not.
By the way, the last official event was be Palatine High School's 2002 prom on May 3, 2002...our 14th Palatine prom in a row! It's interesting to note that upon our retirement announcement, the two main teachers who for several years were in charge of the Prom committee also decided to resign those responsibilities...we were quoted as their inspiration to do so. We actually "unretired" for part of an evening in June 2003 to help out with our 20-Year high school class reunion...yes it was fun, but when we finished there was certainly no talk of a reunion tour!
So now you have the story on Can You
Feel The Beat. For those that are interested, I have included our informational flyer and price lists here for
reference. If you ever need advice or are looking for some music, feel
free to contact me.
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