Pioneer and A Legend of Vinyl DJ
About Luis Mario ...Continued
As an active member and Chairperson of the Legends of Vinyl™, we cover national and international events. The Legends of Vinyl spin vinyl, use turntables, recreating history. We are the originators, the pioneers that gave way to the clubs and DJ's of today. I can be hired along with other Legends of Vinyl™ - for inquires - local, national or international please contact me. To learn more about our legendary pioneer status please visit www.legendsofvinyl.com.
Luis Mario is celebrating, in the month of September 2018, 49 years as a top nightclub DJ! He was the first DJ to pioneer "touring" across the country and abroad in the early 1970s, representing New York club DJs throughout the country and David Mancuso's and Eddie Rivera's I.D.R.C. Record Pools. He was the first DJ, in 1978, to perform live for four hours non-stop on New York's Radio WKTU FM. He made history by “killing” Disco in Las Vegas to introduce the “New Wave” era, broadcasted around the world by Entertainment Tonight in 1980.
" I think I’m one of the fortunate people who selected my professional career while still in high school, and not once have I regretted selecting my profession to this date."
Luis Mario's professional DJ career started at the inception of dance music/club music 1969/1970, landing short lived jobs and learning the trade by watching and being an understudy for DJ Francis Grasso, his wonderful friend and mentor. Steve D'Acquisto and Michael Cappello also had a great deal of influence, in the early 70s, on his decision to become a DJ, and for the love of his profession.
In those days his play lists were similar to what Francis Grasso, Michael Cappello, and Steve D'Acquisto were playing. It was a mix of Rock 'N Roll, Motown, Gospel, and R&B. There was no mixing involved; they called "changes", and they changed a record from one turntable to the other using the only technique available at that time, called slip-cueing, created by Francis Grasso. Years later, as he was one of the lucky ones to work seven nights a week, the word came around that there was a DJ in Queens that was using a new way of changing records. He immediately asked for a day off, and on a Wednesday he went to see this man at a club called “The Monastery”. As he walked in, he heard him playing and was mesmerized to hear one song blending into another without missing a beat. At the same time he had noticed that other DJs were listening and paying attention to this new and fantastic way of blending songs. "I, for one, immediately applied that technique and the mixing, as we know it, was born." He introduced himself to this DJ, as many did; he was pleasant and cordial. The DJ he is talking about is someone that he considers his friend, DJ Paul Casella. To this day they are friends in constant contact, and Paul became part of the organization that Luis Mario founded years ago, the Legends of Vinyl.
In the early days before record pools, as pioneers, the DJs walked the streets of New York from record company to record company picking up the "product", as they called it. After working every night till 4 AM they got up in the afternoon and went to see the promoters to try to get at least one new record to play that evening. On top of that, they hit the record stores to see if they missed anything. As creative DJ's with passion and conviction to make people dance, that was their routine, and their satisfaction was to make a difference that evening. Luis Mario believes that they did make a difference because they created a lifestyle that the whole world understood and still, to this day, follows.
In 1974 he is proud to say that he became a member of the first Record Pool, 99 Prince Street (David Mancuso). He remembers meeting a group of disc jockeys, the original masters, and he was part of it. DJs like Walter Gibbons, Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro, David Rodriguez, Steve D'Acquisto, Al Garcia, Leo Sayan, Eddie Rivera, Paul Casella, Michael Cappello, etc. (See photo of the Record Pool meeting on page 160 of the book Love Saves The Day by Tim Lawrence.) Years later he became a member of Eddie Rivera’s Record Pool, I.D.R.C. (International Disco Record Center). There he met the second generation of top DJs of the mid 70s.
In 1973 after hours/underground clubs were too few to get into as a DJ so, just like so many other DJs, he had to join the mainstream clubs. He landed a job at Mr. Laffs, owned by Art Shamsky and Phil Linz, two ex-Mets players, on First Ave and 64th Street. In a matter of weeks the line of people outside waiting to come in extended around the corner. They were coming in to partake of the wondrous musical trip that educated the minds of all of his following based on his beginnings in the Sanctuary, The Haven, Machine 1, The Jungle, The Loft, Superstar.
In 1974 he was delighted to open “El Jardin” in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, making him the first DJ to tour abroad. After a few months he came back to New York, and a dream came true when he was asked to play at a membership only, after hours private club. This club had the underground atmosphere touch; that’s why he felt at home. The place was called Cobra's, a most decadent atmosphere, where the artists, from musicians to actors, would come to hang out. Cobra's was on the seventh floor of 18th and Broadway, owned by Dennis Johnston/Dennis Cobra. The ambiance started in the elevator where a dancer from the Trocadero Ballet Co. (a gay ballet company) would welcome you with a differently decorated elevator every Friday and Saturday night. Seven floors up you walked into a living room where the "hostesses" were several cobras and other snake species in a large enclosed aquarium. You could actually trip your night away watching these snakes munch on guinea pigs and rabbits. Enough said!!! What a trip of a job that was - he loved it. Throughout the 1970s he worked at such clubs as Le Cocu, The Sting, Directoire/Twinkle Zone, Abracadabra, Cork & Bottle, The Ritz, Night Moves, Reflections/Ginza, Adonis, The Tower Suite Disco, The Rooftop, DVA, Les Muches, Studio 54 (a couple of times as a guest DJ for private events), The Top Floor, Avenue One, Seconds, Percival, L'oubliette, Rockabout, Magique, Somebody's, Chip n Dales, Mr. Laffs, The Rainbow Room, Top of The World, Avolation, Melons, Levels, Stillwind, Iperbole, The Lollipop, Green Parrot, Galaxy, Ground Zero, The Cat Club, The Copacabana, and many other clubs for which he was in demand that he can’t remember. This was just in New York.
From the beginning of the annual Billboard Convention he was a participant but, in 1977, he met a disco producer, Jessie Sertain, who had an idea for a great project in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was chosen to be part of Disco Fever 2000, his second out of state performance.
When he got back to New York he was approached by Phil Gary, the man who brought the Rolling Stones to the States. He was also interested in Luis Mario's ability to make a night an unforgettable experience, and he got him out of state gigs.
In 1977 another producer, Roy Webb, got him to be the first club DJ to play at a radio station, WKTU FM. The radio station was creating a show to have famous DJs playing continuous music throughout the entire four hour show, just like in the dance clubs. He also toured in Dallas, Texas - daVinci; Beverly Hills, California - Max 151; Charlotte, North Carolina - 20th Century Fox; Louisville, Kentucky - Octaves. After that, Las Vegas called, and he was on his way to "Kill Disco", televised nationally at Club Money. He also worked at Paul Anka's Jubilation.
When he came back to New York he landed at the world famous The Copacabana until 1983. He was then, once again, called on by Roy Webb to open one of the most unique club/cabaret/theatres to hit New York, The Cat Club. He had the pleasure to share the DJ booth with one of the greats, his friend Paul Casella. For three more years he carried the responsibility to keep himself on top of the game.
In the mid and late 80s he was pulled in so many directions by club owners that wanted the same concepts that he had created for other top named clubs.
The 90s came, and he was ready to tackle South Florida, opening one club after another, and keeping the endurance and energy to land major contracts. He had the opportunity to work for and own clubs in South Florida - the famous "Lounge" in Coral Springs, Coco Loco's, Joseph's Landing, Pranzo's, Conga's, Deco Drive, Score, Miami Joe's, Tantra, Polo Lounge, La Sensacion, Cory Cafe, Club Savoy, Platforms, Hunters. Now, in the new millennium, he has reached so many highs that he is changing once again with the new era, and, to this day in 2015, The Legends of Vinyl and the L.O.V. DJ Hall of Fame are respected and legitimate entities. They are achieving new heights for the future. As a leader of the Legends of Vinyl, he feels not just responsible, but he also feels that it is imperative for him to keep their legacy intact and to guard their integrity for which they have worked so hard through the years. He feels that it is important to tell the truth and to find individuals that are spreading the wrong information about their history in social media and other avenues and, finally, to teach the audience and the new generation how they have built this industry and how they have paved the way for them.
In the new millennium, he is also reaching for new levels in playing; embracing the new technology and feeling confident as he entertains his audience. He has teamed up with wonderful friends in the industry; iconic DJ’s like Robbie Leslie and John Benitez, to bring new concepts to their audience. Kaleidoscope and Groovin' in the Park are just two of the events happening at the moment.
With no signs of slowing down he can say, without exception....What a Life!
Luis Mario's D.J. Entertainment
New York to South Florida
And Every Town In Between