“After a short period of time, the tornado had passed. Everyone went outside to assess what had happened. There were trees down, broken glass. (It was) pitch black due to loss of power for blocks. And it was quiet. No sounds of cars, machines, nearby businesses. A truly eerie experience.”
This was the scene in Dayton on Memorial Day after 15 tornadoes swept through, including one that registered as an EF-4 according to the National Weather Service, signifying “devastating damage”.
Michael Davis remembers it well.
“We didn’t know just how extensive the damage was until the next day,” he says. “The main power line pole that supplied electricity to our club had been snapped in two different places and the lines were laying across the back lot. The rooftop units that supply the heat and air had all been ripped off the roof, some of which were in the parking lot. And it was like that throughout the community.”
Davis works as a DJ at EC Gentlemen’s Club in Dayton, a thriving fully nude, BYOB gentlemen’s club barely three months in existence when the tornadoes put in their two cents on operations. Presently, EC is making repairs and Davis says he expects his club to be back and running in July.
ED spoke with Davis about the tornadoes, how he got his start as an adult club DJ, the role the DJ plays in the overall success of a club, and how he plays a room.
ED: When and where did you start working as an adult club DJ? What brought you into the industry initially, and what made you decide to stay once you got there?
DAVIS: I started out as a karaoke DJ in a bar near Dayton, Ohio, in 2014. The owner of that bar also owned New York New York Cabaret in Franklin, Ohio, and I was approached by his girlfriend asking me if I would be interested in DJing a strip club. She told me how impressed she was at me working the room at the karaoke bar and wanted to see what I could do in their other club. So I said I would give it a try. I went down the following week and met the manager and he puts me on the microphone and gave me a couple girls to introduce and put in rotation. After the initial “distractions”, I was performing effortlessly and they offered me a job. I’ve made a lot of friends, met a lot of great people, and the money…well, the money is nice. But it’s just fun for me. It’s not really a “job” to me. I enjoy entertaining and making other people happy and showing them a great time.
ED: What role do you believe a DJ plays in the overall success of a gentlemen’s club?
DAVIS: I know there is technology out there that is intended on being a tool to replace DJs. In some smaller markets or on slower shifts I can see that as being helpful, but no one can work a room or get everything out of any entertainer to be able to put on her best show she possibly can as a DJ can. A football team cannot play without its quarterback. It would be nothing but defense and punting … punting all your customers to the next club with a DJ. Try watching a sports program or an awards show without an announcer. Yeah what you’re seeing would still be interesting, but most wouldn’t be as engaged and then would become bored and then they would find something else to do. I believe the DJ is like conductor of the symphony of ass and titties and plays every note from beginning to end with precise measure and calculation. Of course, there are some DJs that just want to load a playlist, call out a few names, hope the girl shows up to the stage, and then get a few bucks for doing “a good job.” As a DJ, I find that offensive. If I’m not doing my job and making my girls and my club money, I’ve failed. I hold myself to a higher standard and always strive to be better. Therefore, with a good, professional DJ — as well as a supportive owner and management (very key) — any club can be successful.
ED: Talk about the club where you’ve been working, and specifically what happened with the recent tornados in your area? How much damage did it do to the club? What was it like seeing so much tornado damage in your area?
DAVIS: Since February 2019, I have been head DJ at the EC Gentlemen’s Club in Dayton. The EC is a newly opened business started by Bryan Truax who was the GM at both Harem Fort Wayne and Harem Dayton. We are a fully nude, BYOB gentlemen’s club and so far it has been a very successful operation. Well, that is until Mother Nature threw her two cents in. The night of Memorial Day, a total of 15 separate tornados came thorough the Dayton area. A few of them caused some severe damage, including the one that hit my club and completely leveled a neighboring club. It was an EF-4 — that’s what we were told by the news report — creating a path 20 miles long of pure chaos and destruction. The worst part, it was at night. Dark. Rainy. No way of knowing there were funnel clouds forming. My owner saw the news reports and got ahold of my GM Alex Hernandez and told him of the warnings and instructed him to shut down the show and get everyone in the basement immediately (yes we have one of those). As the last of the staff and customers were down the steps, Alex said he rounded the lobby just as a massive amount of pressure crashed through the glass doors and shook the building. He got himself into the basement safely, but he said the sound and feeling was indescribable. After a short period of time, the tornado had passed. Everyone went outside to assess what had happened. There were trees down, broken glass. Pitch black due to loss of power for blocks. And it was quiet. No sounds of cars, machines, nearby businesses. A truly eerie experience. We found out a short time later a fellow DJ friend of ours who lived in the neighborhood, Tim Walker, had his house completely lifted off its foundation. We didn’t know just how extensive the damage was until the next day. Power was out across the area for more than 70,000 homes and businesses. The coolest thing was in the days to follow, Alex set up a makeshift tornado relief area in our side lot to help the community. We distributed water, food, and supplies to families in need that had lost everything. The local news even picked it up, a very positive thing for an industry that is normally frowned upon. My club is shut down at the moment due to the damage, but we are looking to get the repairs done quickly and be reopened in July.
ED: How hard is it, as a DJ, to play music to such a diverse group (customers, entertainers, the owner, etc) and keep everyone happy? What’s your strategy when it comes to this juggling act?
soDAVIS: I have made it a point throughout my career to get to know and read my crowd. And with such a vast variety in music, I can adapt quickly to what I know will work best and keep my crowd engaged, my boss happy, and my girls making money. I constantly observe what is going on on the floor and who is there. The cool thing about my club and the Dayton market in general is there is such a diversity of people that there is something for everyone. And with the right tour guide leading the group, everyone takes something away with them and keep coming back for more.
No one can work a room or get everything out of any entertainer to be able to put on her best show she possibly can as a DJ can. A football team cannot play without its quarterback.
— Michael Davis
ED: If you could change one thing about the strip club industry, what would it be?
DAVIS: Educating entertainers! Clubs are staffed with trained, qualified, usually experienced, professional people that are put in positions to make the business run efficiently and effectively. From bar staff to hostesses to DJs to floormen, everyone has a job to do and do it well. And then a new, usually fresh-out-of-high-school pretty girl walks in and thinks all she has to do is shake her ass and money will fall from the heavens and she’ll never have to work again and retire at 19 with a new car and a puppy. Entertainers these days lack the drive and hustle the girls had 10 and 20 years ago. I believe that if they could be taught a more proper way to engage with a customer, how to sell dances, how to put on a show on the stage, that the industry itself would improve and everyone would make more money.
ED: What is your favorite music to play on a busy Saturday night at the club? Conversely, when you’re not in the club, what music do you prefer to listen to?
DAVIS: I love energy. The more the better. That doesn’t mean the music has to be as fast as possible and everyone is hopping the entire time. What I mean is upbeat music with a good crowd response — music that makes you feel as if you took a brisk walk enough to get the blood flowing but not enough to exhaust you. My sets usually feel like riding a roller coaster. Big hills with some lower spots to balance the heart rate with the occasional jerking turn out of nowhere that still fits with the total experience. I love to mix in newer music with the classics all night. Rock, hip-hop, R&B, House, even some country from time to time. But it must have energy. Conversely, I prefer to listen to more laid back, light rock, oldies type music away from the club. Even some gospel from time to time. I like the balance.
ED: If you could see any concert or lineup of artists, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
DAVIS: I would have to say Crosby, Stills, and Nash, pretty much anyone in that Woodstock era really, Michael Jackson, and Elvis. The music from the ’60s and early ’70s was so raw and the blends and harmonies from the vocals to the instruments produced sounds that can’t be duplicated. Michael and Elvis were both phenomenal entertainers and put so much into their music and shows that no one can compare.
Here’s more about Mike!
Where do you originally hail from: Dayton, Ohio
Current Club: The EC Gentlemen’s Club
Years employed at the club: 5 months
Years in the industry: 5 years
Favorite recording artist: Steel Panther
Industry hero: My boss, Bryan Truax
Favorite feature entertainer: Annie Lane
Favorite DJ or industry pro: Danny Meyers
Favorite part of your work night: Right in the middle when the energy is just right
Pet working peeve: Girls missing stage
Advice for fellow club DJs: Know your room, take care of your girls, keep the boss happier than yourself, respect the booth