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BTD Episode 04: Promoter Recounts Being Rescued By Skrillex's Tour Manager After Security Run-In

Each week, EDM.com sits down with Disco Donnie, the legendary promoter, as he walks us through the most jaw-dropping stories of his career. As a veteran of the EDM rave scene, the dance party Don has worked with the best in the industry and seen the worst. Join us this week as he nonchalantly describes the time he had to unplug the closing DJ after a Skrillex show and got jumped by security.

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Skrillex’s inaugural Mothership Tour marked a pinnacle time for dance music when dubstep turned into the sound of an A.D.H.D. child capriciously flipping through bass samples like Sunday morning cartoons. Americans embraced halftime bass music as if it was the new black. Disco Donnie received the opportunity to book the still-young producer in San Antonio as the mothership sailed east across Texas. A last-minute venue change diverted the booking from Club Rio to Cowboys, a 4,000-person dance hall that identifies as the "premier honkytonk experience in Texas.” Donnie had a lasting relationship with the club, and they let him throw electronic shows early in the week, as to not interfere with their conventional method of operation.

The tour was a start-early and end-early breed, as opposed to the all-night club events that dominate the weekend circuit. The show was to conclude at midnight, however, the venue's owner didn’t have to close till two and demanded music be played until the doors were locked. To resolve this, the venue's manager organized a DJ to fill in the midnight to 2am time slot at the very last minute and everything appeared to be hunky dory. Skrillex's crew eventually realized that what the venue manager had arranged was actually a country DJ set (Cowboys, after all, being a country bar).

The show concluded at midnight as planned, and the post-show DJ climbed up to the booth for his two-hour set. “Sonny goes off the stage and for some reason the [tour manager] thought the DJ was going to play country music ‘cause we were in a country bar. So the guy starts playing dubstep, and all the kids that were leaving after Skrillex came running back in,” recalled Donnie. With pressure surmounting from the venue’s owner to snuff out the wubs for the evening, Donnie found himself in quite a conundrum.

“I walk up and had to jump up into the DJ booth and unplug all of the wires and threw the mixer on the floor, and the security just started wailing on me. So I was in the turtle mode, just bent over trying to play defense.”

Road Hog, Skrillex’s tour manager at the time, witnessed the ordeal and pulled Donnie out of the DJ booth and got him up in the tour bus for a breather. The driver attempted to take off, but the police had already blockaded their exit. “So here I go, walk of shame, I have to go back in the club and now I found the owner. He ended up charging me for damage to the mixer, which was bullshit. It was like a $20 mixer, and then I gave him a couple thousand bucks to just not play anymore music. I still throw shows there today” (laughs).

To celebrate the past 20 years of Disco Donnie, we're giving away tickets to EVERY Disco Donnie Presents event in 2015, along with some other great prizes. Click below to share this contest on Twitter and tell us how dance music has affected your life. We'd like to make this celebration about you, the fans, who've supported us every step of the way. Here's to a great 2015.

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