Tommie Sunshine: The Night I Fell in Love With Dance Music
Chicago-to-Brooklyn producer and DJ Tommie Sunshine tells the story of the night he fell in love with dance music. Hear from the veteran's own words what hooked him and kept him hooked for all these years.This article originally appeared on Insomniac
The night I fell in love with dance music wouldn’t have been the first night I heard dance music, but it would’ve been a specific party that I remember very well in Chicago, called “Gatorave”—the flyer was a spoof on the Gatorade bottle. I remember that night getting dressed up to go out; I used to wear these size-52 overalls from a place called Farm & Fleet, and I used to keep a Muppet in the front pocket that had a squeaking nose—I brought that thing with me everywhere.
“This was different; this was family, and I knew I was in for something really special that night.”
On the way out of Naperville, which is where I lived at the time (it’s about 45 minutes southwest of Chicago), I would always stop at this one truck stop on the way out of town to pick up “mini thins”—which were basically ephedrine. They sold it at truck stops. So, I grabbed them on the way out of town and headed for this party.
Now, we didn’t know at the time where it was, or what part of Chicago it was going to be in. This is back in the days when there’d be a map point; you’d have to call a number to find the party. It was a pretty complicated process, but by the time we got all the information, we ended up at this elementary school on the West Side of Chicago—the party was in the basement of this school. This was the summer of 1992, and what you have to understand is that in the summer of 1992, the West Side of Chicago was serious gang territory: Latin Kings, Maniac Latin Disciples, lots of other rival gangs. It’s not some place that a white kid from the southwest suburbs had any business being in...