Dirt History: Vinyl Passions & MōDX
they had bought an old theatre building that still sits on University avenue in the heart of San Diego. My mother attended the adult church and I became a regular of the Jr./Sr. High School assembly that was formerly led by Pastor Miles McPherson, an urban relevant, genius of a teacher (now leading his own, 'the Rock Church').
Now, without befuddling you with details, just know that in my latter years of attending Horizon's youth group, I began to find myself quite enthused over helping out with their music ministry efforts, performing skits in public or at schools, by way of Bboying. I was a teenage breakdancer, yes indeed, with visions of Rock Steady and Style Elements (break) dancing in my head.
Well, getting back into it.... it was my years involved in that Youth Group in which I met Merle & Dave, two group leaders who were also part of a DJ & MC rap duo we all knew as MōDX. For years I grew under the tutelage of these two Rap Rabbi's, becoming more and more passionate about music and my own part to play in it. I definitely remember testing the patience of these two men many times over with my youthful shenanigans, and yet I have NO memory of either one of them losing patience or cool with me, always pointing me toward good morality and strong faith, always encouraging quality output from me no matter what I did.
I love listening to records. Now I can't say that Dave Gomez, DJ Trippin', installed that into me directly because I've always loved records, it seems. BUT I simply cannot remember anyone else before I knew him that really inspired me towards vinyl collecting. He was simply obsessed with his collection and the way in which he kept it organized and how he expected people to treat his it. It was from him that I learned to respect what, quite honestly - especially nowadays, is a musical heritage (the Library of Congress did a study on the massive record collection owned by Paul Mawhinney and discovered that from 1948-1966, only 17% of the music in his vinyl vault is available on CD or Digital download. That is, 80% of the music from that time-frame is available on records ONLY and can NOT be purchased anywhere else like iTunes, Amazon Music, etc. So if there was such a thing as a pre-Apocalyptic Record-Rapture... we would lose 3/4rths of our music history from those two decades! See a short documentary here: Paul Mawhinney ).
Two pieces of artwork I did, trying to impress the legendary DJ Trippin'.
In the early 2000's, Many Years after Dave passed away, too soon, from Leukemia, I got a surprise blessing. Merle came to me concerning our DJ friends bulky music gear. There was nothing compact about any of it at all; 18 crates of records instead of an iPod, a hundred pound speakers over the current lightweight PA systems. Circumstantially Merle could no longer continue saving all of Dave's equipment in storage. I suddenly found my self the overjoyed owner of Two Technic SL-1200MK2 Turntables, Two massively large Sunn Speakers (if you remember that company, your old), a huge amp, a 6 channel mixer (that was as long as a small coffee table, and had the words "DJ Trippin" scribed on it) and 100's of records!!!
Merle told me (paraphrasing), "You're the only guy I know that would probably respect all this, so I want you to take care of it".
I can't remember exactly what he said but it seemed like he was not necessarily 'giving' me Dave's collection... but rather charging me with its care, knowing someday, Heaven's Kingdom on Earth, Dave is gonna want it all back!
Well... after so many more years now. I want to tell you all that I have quite honestly done my best! A few Items got worn out and broke (the mixer gave out years ago. And the Sunn Speakers too), some things got stolen (one of the Technics... stolen 20 feet away from us as we were doing a photo shoot, using the turntables as props. BUT they actually only got the broken one as I was holding the working one near me like it was my life! HAHA SUCKAS!),
and I even gave a few things away (Dave had a ridiculous amount of quite horrible disco-infused Funk. Sorry Dave... I carried them suckers around for years until it broke my back and I had to loosen up on some of em!).... YET I can honestly say that most of Dave's collection is still with me to this day.
And then there's the records... Dave signed each and every one so that no matter how much I personally add to this massive music mountain, I still feel his presence, his passion for music and ministry, for hiphop and urban culture, intertwined through out. I am still inspired by one of the few men who took time to help me develop as a youth.
Merle & Dave, MōDX, inspired a young hooligan like me, to pursue not JUST music... but QUALITY music - and ministry as well. I learned from Merle to get smart. He collected books like Dave collected records (Guess what my second biggest passion is?). I read books because I saw him read books. The books become knowledge & wisdom. The insight became lyrics and songs. I learned from David to honor that which precedes us. To respect our forefathers boundary stones and that there is nothing new under the sun. To search deep and wide and your effort will be rewarded.
From them both I grew to understand that I could praise God JUST AS I WAS. Right where I was, in the rap culture that I grew up in, that I could use my passion for music an art unto the glory of God. That I did not have to change and wear what they wore and speak like they talked - but that I was accepted, adopted by God through Christ, with purpose, just as I was.
Thank You MōDX... I miss you Dave! And I'm still trying to get Merle to come out of retirement and spit a few verses on a track!
5/1/2015 01:18:38 pm
Wow! Thanks for the history lesson. Its awesome to see how these two men had this kind of an impact on you. It makes me realize the importance of influence on our youth and how much it is needed. I'm thankful for Dave and Merle as well because I know that their influence on you has had an effect, though small, on me and the music I've recently done with you. This journal entry has encouraged me to want to have influence again on someone younger than me that needs it. Thanks Dirt!
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My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.