One of the DJs just walked. Get your butt up here!
So read, loosely, a Facebook message Stacey Wiggins received that changed his life, and reaffirmed a vocation.
The timing was fortunate, to say the least, as Wiggins was wrapping up a DJing gig he had at a nightclub because the owner was selling the place.
On a Friday night, Wiggins got the message from a door girl at a gentlemen’s club where a vacancy had just opened up.
“Well, 20 minutes later I walk in and within an hour of walking in the door I was training in the booth,” says Wiggins. “I’ve always loved the nightlife/club scene and the party music that came with it.”
ED Magazine spoke with Wiggins about honing his DJing prowess before gentlemen’s clubs, setting up the “Cheers” vibe, and how he quarterbacks the whole club.
ED: When and where did you start working as an adult club DJ? What made you decide to stay once you got there?
WIGGINS: I started in the same city I grew up in, Brunswick, Ohio in 2011. At first I thought it would be cool just to DJ at gentleman’s club. But before that, I was into DJing at local bars as a fill-in DJ for other guys, from there I ended up getting my own gigs and also throwing theme parties for the bars as well. Well what I didn’t realize that is what adult clubs were looking for. I’ve hosted stages and parties as well at Peabody’s in Cleveland before it closed its doors, for artists like Potluck, Kottonmouth Kings, Mims, Twista, Lil’ Flip, Paul Wall, Tech N9ne, Raekwon, and D12 in 2009-2010. Little did I know all this was priming me for what it truly means to be an adult club DJ. After starting at the club, I was under the impression that it was a young man’s game so when I started at 26, I thought I would be here until about 30-32. Then, I started to see and hear on social media about P.A.N.D.A. and the ED EXPO through Michael DeSuno’s (DJ Platypus) strip club school podcast. My first EXPO was the first year in New Orleans (2014) and that trip told me one thing: I know what I’m doing for the rest of my life. It felt great to be around people with the same passion for the industry as a whole.
“(House girls’) requests for music can be off the wall and make me want to slam my head against the wall, but they are the ones talking to the customers the most, so actually listening to them is key. Working with them is key.”
— Stacey Wiggins
ED: Where are you currently working as a DJ, and how would you describe the area in which you work and the clientele?
WIGGINS: I work at Christie’s Cabaret in Brunswick, Ohio which is about 30 minutes south of Cleveland (20 minutes if you drive like you’re from Texas). I’ve always called Brunswick a melting pot of Northeast Ohio. They all love what they love and finding that middle ground can be difficult, but I grew up here so that definitely gives me an advantage to entertain people. But I would say we have southern hospitality with a New York attitude. We can be very friendly but don’t piss us off, it takes more than others, but we really don’t want to fight. Everyone just wants to have fun. I would say age 24‐42 white male would be the median when it comes to customers that come in the most. But we also get groups of woman as well. I’ve even done a bachelorette stage show. But any given night that could change from the night before.
ED: What role do you feel you’ve played in the success of the clubs where you’ve worked; and, in general, what role do you believe a DJ plays in the overall success of a gentlemen’s club?
WIGGINS: I’ve heard this once and I wholeheartedly believe it: the DJ is the quarterback of the club. But for me and my club of Christie’s Cabaret, I don’t just DJ, I floor host as well. Mixing both positions has given me a new vision on how the customers are reacting to the music I play. I’m very open to requests and try to remember a lot of customers’ requests when they come in as well. Another one of my boothmates and I have actually made a customers’ requests song list, like the same for entertainers. And those customers love it, they feel like they’re in “Cheers.” I love working with the feature entertainers that come by and put on great shows as well. But the main key is communication with the house girls. Their requests for music can be off the wall and make me want to slam my head against the wall, but they are the ones talking to the customers the most, so actually listening to them is key. Working with them is key. You can’t just always ignore what they want, I’ve had grown-ass men ask me to play Halsey or Billie Eilish because they wanted to make the girl they’re sitting with happy. Even talking with the server or floor host — I try to get everyone involved in some way or another. Playing a song that will make my bartenders wiggle their butts a bit, calling out a floor host for anything. Just make sure it’s all in good fun.
ED: How hard is it, as a DJ, to play music to such a diverse crowd and keep everyone happy? What’s your strategy when it comes to this juggling act?
WIGGINS: My strategy is watching the crowd, I’m pretty sure I have a certain stand or face when I’m trying to read my room because no one bugs me for that 30 seconds. Also just walking the room helps, listening to what people are saying at the tables. Hell, I’ll even ask some people what kind of music they’re into. But in a seven-hour shift, I’ll start with a mix of older and brand-new stuff, testing the waters. After about two and a half hours, I play all the hits until about 1 am, then throw it back with sing-a-longs — anything I can think of to make them still sing a song as they’re walking out the door. Sometimes I’ll completely flip that formula.
Basically it’s what Captain Cold said in the TV show “The Flash”. Make a plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw the plan away. Just have to think quick. And be prepared for anything.
ED: If you could change one thing about the strip club industry, what would it be?
WIGGINS: I would like more forward-thinking people to be heard. I took advantage of the fact that in the area I’m in, there aren’t that many theme parties and I got the clubs’ eye. Thinking outside the box is not a bad thing but you have to stick to your guns. If it fails, at least we try, go through with the idea.
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?
WIGGINS: I love all types of music, from classical to modern mainstream, I’m definitely a firm believer in good music is just good music. When I’m at the club, I usually play a lot of remixes. On a busy Saturday night, if I can hit them with hits from the ‘90s and just get everybody singing along, I am happier than a pig in shit. Outside the club, I definitely listen to it all. I’m always singing to something, from Jason Aldean, to Five Finger Deathpunch, to Ed Sheeran, to Drake. I’m all over the board people. And I love it.
ED: If you could see any concert or lineup of artists, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
WIGGINS: 1977 Elvis Presley, and any Garth Brooks concert. The energy you see coming from the crowd — I just need to be a part of that. I’ve seen Michael Jackson at a very young age, like 6 years old, and I still remember most of that concert. Another one is definitely Linkin Park. I absolutely love all their music, and I also believe Mike Shinoda will go down as one of the most underrated producers of all time.
Here’s more about Stacey Wiggins!
Where do you originally hail from: Brunswick, Ohio
Current Club: Christie’s Cabaret, Brunswick, Ohio
Years employed at the club: 8 going on 9
Years in the industry: going on 9
Favorite recording artist: Tech N9ne
Industry hero: That again would have to go to Tech N9ne. He knew he was making great music, then started his own label. Now he’s globally known and admired.
Favorite feature entertainer: I can’t just pick one, I love all the ones I’ve worked with for all different reasons.
Favorite part of your work night: Just just seeing people have genuine fun with the music and entertainers, but birthday and bachelor shows would definitely be my favorite part when I do them.
Pet working peeve: The girls that come up with damn-near every excuse in the book not to go on stage. Why are you here if you hate the stage that much. Or go work at a bikini bar where they don’t have a stage.
Advice for fellow club DJs: Patience is a virtue. Weather any storms that come your way and it will payout in the long run. I promise you that.