A Chance Meeting with Jason Aldean Has Led to Steady Summer Work for Dee Jay Silver

Las Vegas niteclubs regularly employ celebrity DJs to keep their parties hopping.

For Dee Jay Silver, a veteran of the circuit who currently holds down a residency at the Rehab Pool at the Vegas Hard Rock, appearing at various Academy of Country Music Awards events during the infamous “Week Vegas Goes Country” gave him a chance to meet country superstar Jason Aldean. It proved to be a fortuitous meeting.

“I was playing at Taboo Ultralounge at MGM at the time,” says Silver in a recent phone interview. “He came to the club. We realized we have the same agent, and he called me up a week later and asked me to go on tour.”

That was eight years ago. Silver’s first gig with Aldean took place in Little Rock, Arkansas; the two have been tour mates ever since.

“It was the first time I played a bigger arena like that,” says Silver when asked about the first gig with Aldean. “I was so nervous. I didn’t know how the country world would respond to a DJ. Jason is such a in-your-face artist and can get away with anything. His music crosses over so well. But the fans liked me, and it just worked from the beginning.”

Silver has served as an opening act on each of Aldean’s previous summer tours dating back to 2009. He’ll open for Aldean when he performs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Blossom Music Center.

Because his dad constantly sang and played guitar around the house, Silver got a good dose of country music while growing up. But he liked other types of music too.

“I swear to god, [my dad] only knew only one chord and would only sing country,” he says. “I like gangsta rap, as funny as that sounds. I grew up listening to everything, from rock 'n' roll to country and funk and hip-hop and James Brown and Jodeci and Hank Jr."

He initially started deejaying while in college.

“The first time I heard a real DJ mix record and saw how he moved the party up and down, I became addicted to it,” he says. “It was an art back then. You couldn’t just walk into a club with a flash drive. You had to hunt for the records. You were carrying around 12-inch records in crates. Now, everyone wants to be a DJ. I’m thankful I had to learn by counting the bpms on records. Anyone can buy a laptop, but I think they miss the old school methods of having to figure out tempo changes and mix things. Sometimes, a Mobb Deep drumbeat will work on top of ‘Dust in the Wind’ or something.”

Silver doesn't just spin other people's songs either. His original single, the rollicking, Train-like “Just Got Paid.” features twangy guitars and laid-back vocals courtesy of singer Austin Webb.

"I met Austin on the plane back from Las Vegas," says Silver. "He sat next to me, and we started talking. I said I was writer and wanted to meet up with him. We just got in from tour. I was putting my merch money and at the back of the bank line when he called me. He said, 'Let’s write that.' I wanted to get a good country crossover vibe. It’s an ode to the weekend if that makes any sense."

The tour with Aldean, who has one of the hardest partying crowds on the circuit, has to be exhausting. Silver says he simply resumes his regular schedule of playing clubs once the tour ends in the fall. In some ways, he finds that schedule more grueling.

“I just go back to work when [the tour's] over," he says. "Normally, I fly all week long. You might be in Scottsdale on Thursday and Charlotte on Friday and L.A. on Saturday and Nashville on Sunday. With the bus, we leave at midnight and we wake up at the venue the next morning. It’s so much easier.”

Silver says he’s a huge fan of the film Major League and played a track from the movie (the Randy Newman song “Burn On”) one time when he performed at Blossom.

He won’t make that mistake again.

“We played that as my walk-in music, and you should have seen the audience,” he says. “They looked at me like I just did my last hit of whatever drug I was doing. That didn’t work. How is that possible? That’s the greatest Cleveland song ever.”
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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