by Edie Weinstein
Rubbing elbows with the likes of The Boss, Lady Gaga, Gene Simmons and Ariana Grande, Perry Angelozzi, is himself, a Philadelphia area legend whose reach extends far beyond the City of Brotherly Love. Imagine spinning tunes in venues that seat nearly 20,000 and more intimate spaces where couples celebrate their unions. To each room he enters, whether as a pre-concert energizer or playing music to which newlyweds glide across the floor in their first dance, he embodies the tag line “Not Just An Event, But An Experience.” He turns what is already a wonderful time into one that is over the top awesome.
The youngest of four, he explains, “I was the one nobody wanted to play with because I was so much younger, so I would sneak out of the house at 10 years old to the nightclub in Atlantic City. There was a very high profile DJ who worked there. I would sit on the steps and listen to the music he played. People asked, “What are you doing here?”
He would respond that he was listening to the music and the pivotal moment occurred when he knew he wanted to mesmerize the crowd the way this DJ did. When he turned 13, he was allowed in the building since he looked more mature and would watch the enthusiastic dancers. A year later, “I got my first opportunity to mix tunes. With my hands shaking, I did. A year after that, in 1981, I got my first job and never looked back.”
Like many who grew up in the Delaware Valley, he soaked up the sounds of American Bandstand, Steel Pier and local nightclubs. Music is not just something that he does for a living, but is an integral part of his life.
He says, “It’s everything to me. The first concert I DJed for was KISS and that was the first concert I went to at 9 years old which made it special to me. I started DJing pre-party concerts for the Beastie Boys, Sugar hill Gang and the Black Eye Peas. This was huge for me. I am close with all the big acts.”
He says that one key to his tremendous success is diversification, “I will do a Lady Gaga concert one week and a wedding the next week.”
Clearly, this labor of love lights DJ Perry up. The passion he has for his work is palpable and he takes his responsibilities seriously. He explains, “One of the things I do most is get to know every client or entertainer I work with. I research what influenced them, so I can play that music. When I DJed for Bruce Springsteen, I looked up the fact that his two influences were Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. When I prepare the crowd for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I will play Depeche Mode and New Order and for Justin Timberlake, I will play Michael Jackson.
DJ Perry is a lifelong learner who realizes the value of studying what makes his clients superstars. “Rubbing elbows with all these people, I pick up so much. I discover the reasons they are successful. They stay away from drama and make their product the best they can be. They focus on entertaining people. I just sat with Gene Simmons and Peter Criss from KISS and found that they have been through so much. These guys were rock n roll pioneers.” I keep them close.
Although his roots are rock and alternative rock, this award winning consummate professional dips into the well of every musical genre. Other favorites are dance, freestyle music from the 1980’s and old school hip hop. He adds, “There’s nothing I don’t like listening to. In the worst times of our lives, music makes our lives so much better. Put headphones on and it brings us back to reality.”
DJ Perry’s home office is filled with awards and autographed record covers. He shares, “As I got older, I started getting everything signed.” I wanted to keep a piece of their greatness near me.
DJ Perry is a living, breathing museum of music history, who says, “I wanted to be the guy who could play any genre and be successful. As an entertainer, I’m not playing the same things.” His 54 custom Technic 1200 turntables are a signature part of his act. I want to put on a visual show, not just play music.
He is gratified to be part of The Wells Fargo Center; “Producing opening production mixes for the Flyers and DJIng the Flyers and 76ers has meant a lot to me. It has changed my life. Being sponsored by Geno’s Steaks and his role as Special Events DJ for iHeart Media are some of the many blessings he acknowledges.
The personality it takes to handle the job DJ Perry is happy to do every day is, “naturally outgoing, organized, prepared and ready to do what needs to happen. You have to be tough and talented. When you have 10,000 people there who want to rock, you’d better be prepared to give the people what they want. You never DJ with your head down, you always DJ with your head up to see people’s reactions.”
A poignant moment caused this naturally high energy man to become contemplative and quiet as he shared about the personal connection related to a recent news story, that of the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
“I took it pretty hard. In the back of my head, I did worry about this happening eventually. All these people in arena concerts, What if it took one person to hurt us? It took away what was ours. We go to an arena to listen to music. It separates us from the problems in the world. I give kudos to Ariana Grande and all the performers who created the benefit concert which donated money to the people who were impacted by the tragedy. It was tremendous to bring people together. They are not going to take away our music and what we love. Ariana has been a star for a long time and showed why.
As a balance to such an active life, he explains what he does to kick back and relax.
“My office is a place of solitude surrounded by the people I have worked with”. I also love to go for a three- mile run four or five times a week and hit the beach. That levels me out. If I feel beat up then I will go to the top of a trail and run. When I am done, there is nothing like it. Like finishing a perfect gig”
To learn more about all things Angelozzi, visit his website, http://www.djperryangelozzi.com.
Rock on, Perry!