DJ Dr. Jock is a pioneering DJ of the Chicago house music scene. Born Dorado Jabez, he began his career as a self-taught DJ in 1976 at the tender age of 14; his DJ roots are in funk and disco. Throughout his career he has deejayed at several clubs throughout the Midwest, including the Bismarck Hotel, the Candy Store, and Sauers. He has also had the opportunity to play at the legendary and late DJs Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles nightclubs, The Music Box and The Power Plant. As a personal friend of radio personality Ramone “Ramonski Luv” Wade, he guest deejayed on the classic Chicago dance radio station WBMX (102.7 FM), as well as WGCI (107.5 FM). He has also co-managed recording artists and was part owner of Clear Cut Entertainment in Chicago. He is still out there rocking the dance floors throughout the nation.
SoulTrain.com: How did you get involved in deejaying?
DJ Dr. Jock: My father was a DJ, and I got a passion very early in my life. Grammar school was my first touch and it was on the old childhood classic “close-n-play” turntable.
SoulTrain.com: Did you have a DJ mentor, or was there someone that inspired you to start?
DJ Dr. Jock: After getting bitten by the “DJ bug” early in life, I just continued to pursue my passion throughout my school years at Lindblom Technical High School. There, I met the soon to be legendary Steve “Silk” Hurley. I also grew up on the same block as Farley “JackMaster Funk” Keith. I saw the DJ’ing the majority of the high school parties in the Chicago in those years. I wanted that recognition too.
SoulTrain.com: Who are some of the DJs that you look up to or admire?
DJ Dr. Jock: Steve Hurley, Farley Keith, and Kenny “Jammin” Jason. Then, when I attended college at Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville), I met a guy from Chicago who was the school Resident DJ, named Greg Beasley. He ran a group of DJs named “The Masters of Sound” (M.O.S.). That DJ group consisted of all Chicago DJs. They did all of the parties, on and off campus. I soon joined, and as they say, the rest is history. Later on, I started to admire the legendary late DJs Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles, as well as the legendary Angels of Love.
SoulTrain.com: Before there was house music, there was disco music. What is the connection of disco to house in your opinion?
DJ Dr. Jock: House is a derivative of disco. Disco gives you a steady drive and pounding beat. House took that sound and incorporated a touch of gospel styled vocals, and blended the two together. In my opinion, disco is house and vice versa. The two are one.
SoulTrain.com: As a house pioneer and DJ during the 80s, the birth of house, Chicago had a lot of emerging DJs on the scene. Are there any DJs in particular whom you feel stand out from the rest?
DJ Dr. Jock: After Frankie and Ron come on the scene in the late 70s, DJs were a dime a dozen. Everyone wanted to be a DJ. But, there were a few stand-outs. They included Farley Keith, Jesse Saunders, and you Playerre. WMBX’s “Hotmix 5” came out during that time and they took Chicago by storm. They had a huge following, and they still do.
SoulTrain.com: How would you describe the music scene today?
DJ Dr. Jock: Rap is everywhere. Black people, whites, greens, blues, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is listening to it. TV programs, commercials—it’s the prevalent music on the scene across the world. However, house had taken a back seat over the years, but has recently re-emerged and is coming back to the forefront. Then there’s the emergence of electronic dance music (EDM). Chicago DJs are slowly catching on, but New York DJs are already pumping it up.
SoulTrain.com: Many Chicago DJs are stuck in the ’80s as far as music played. EDM has taken hold of the industry and some DJs have progressed, while others haven’t. What do you think about EDM?
DJ Dr. Jock: I think EDM has hit on to something special. There are some great producers out there that are helping to move house and dance music to another level, including Duane Harden, Armin van Buuren, and Robby Engle, just to name a few.
SoulTrain.com: Besides being a house DJ, you also are an all-around DJ of music. What genres of music do you have in your collection?
DJ Dr. Jock: I love house, but I also have an extensive collection of hip-hop, rap, classic rock, and jazz. I love all music. I even have country in my collection.
SoulTrain.com: I understand that your father was a DJ as well. Please tell us about your father’s DJ history.
DJ Dr. Jock: My late father, Ricardo Juarez, was a DJ, but he was also a “doo-wop” singer. Then, as a teen and young adult, he was a ballroom dancer and music collector. He took his skills to the night clubs and danced at the neighborhood bars and lounges throughout the city, in the late 60s and 70s. He’s my hero!
SoulTrain.com: As a teenager and young adult, you produced several parties in the infamous Coolsville. Please tell us about Coolsville.
DJ Dr. Jock: Coolsville was the first venue that was my own. It was in the basement of the apartment building which my family owned. It was in the South Shore neighborhood and I grew up in that apartment with my brother, my sister Cori, my dad and mom, Helen. It was a follow up to the old basement parties that we were all accustomed to. I just took it to another level. I held my first “Battle of the DJs” there.
SoulTrain.com: You have had the opportunity to spin with some of the best DJs. Please describe what it was like to have that opportunity.
DJ Dr. Jock: Well, to have my fellow DJ friends to open their arms and accept me into the world of nightclubs and discotheque venues was a blessing and an honor. Being invited to spin at the Candy Store, the Muzic Box (The Underground), and the Power Plant were some of the greatest moments in my DJ history.
SoulTrain.com: You are still as popular as ever. What are your plans for the future?
DJ Dr. Jock: Currently, I am semi-retired. I only spin now for special events and special occasions. I am focusing on my personal life and family. I have my oldest son, Darien “Supaproducer Elodaepidemic” Johnson working hard in the entertainment business. He is currently working with Def Jams and pursuing a career in music production and engineering. Whatever I can do to help him, I will.
SoulTrain.com: A lot of DJs progress from deejaying into producing music. Have you ever had the desire to produce music?
DJ Dr. Jock: Not really. I let my brother and son take care of that.
SoulTrain.com: You are very well known in the music industry. In addition to that, you grew up with other DJ legends like Farley Keith, Steve Hurley, and DJ Lori Branch is your cousin. How does it feel to be one of the people responsible for bringing house music to the forefront?
DJ Dr. Jock: I’ve never thought of it like that. I’m just glad to have had a part in the evolution of house.
SoulTrain.com: Radio personality “Ramonski Luv” is a personal friend of yours. You two have been friends for years. Please describe how you two met and how your friendship began.
DJ Dr. Jock: We met at a summer music festival that was held near Navy Pier at Olive Park in the summer of 1986. We clicked and became good friends outside of the music business. We support each other.
SoulTrain.com: Besides being a DJ, you have other talents and interests. You are a drummer and you were managing a record business. Please describe your musical background.
DJ Dr. Jock: I play bass, lead, and rhythm guitar, as well as drums, flute, and percussion. I was the business manager for an independent record label, Clear Cut Entertainment. We managed a group named Crystal Clear. It was great while it lasted and was one hell of a ride. Shout outs to the Crystal Clear posse, including Rubix, Silva Dolla, and Spirit!
SoulTrain.com: You also are involved with your community and children. What are you doing to give back to your community?
DJ Dr. Jock: Over the last 10 years, I have coached youth sports. I also started the All City Car and SUV Association, which does community service throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Currently, I am the president of the local school council. I am also active in city politics, working with various aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
SoulTrain.com: If you had the opportunity to have your wildest DJ dream party, what would that be, who would be there and where would it be?
DJ Dr. Jock: It would be a party where I would bring house music and EDM together. It would be held here in Chicago at the world famous Soldier Field, and DJ’s from around the world would be spinning.
SoulTrain.com: That would be one helluva party. Do you have any last comments?
DJ Dr. Jock: DJ Dr. Jock, bangs the box, and takes you on a musical joyride.
You can contact DJ Dr. Jock for bookings.
—Pierre A. Evans
Freelance Writer, Contributing Writer – Soultrain.com, Ndigo.com, and Empire Radio Magazine. Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Model, Poet, DJ, TV Booking Agent – Chicago Talent Factory, TV Host – A Taste of Theater, and Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. You can follow me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @Playerre.