An Interview with The Disco Twins of Queens
Troy- When I ask that question I mean have you guys went so far as to have a Patten number and selling it out of stores?
Reggie- We have made speakers but as far as that is concern that is not our forte.
Robert- But we have talked about it as earlier as two months ago. So it’s still on the table.
Troy- Now as far as your m.c.s you had Cory Dee, D.J. Smalls as well as m.c. Robin Hood. How did these guys get on with you and your brother? I know Cory lived in your building but what about Robin Hood and Smalls?
The Twins and D.J. Smalls.
Robert- We met Smalls at the Hotel Diplomat through D.J. Hollywood. D.J… Hollywood introduced him to us as The Son of Hollywood. Every club here in Queens that Hollywood went to he bought Smalls with him and he would introduce him as the son of Hollywood, D.J. Smalls. That was everywhere he went. Everyone liked Smalls because he was young, short and compared to Hollywood. Hollywood was not too heavy but energetic and so was Smalls. So they thought Smalls was his son. So we took a liking to Smalls and we started working together and traveling and doing parties all over.
Troy- Where was Smalls from because I don’t think he was actually from Queens, did he come from the Bronx also?
Robert and Reggie- He was from the Bronx.
Troy- So how long did that last between you guys and him?
Robert- To this very day.
Troy- O.K., did you guys ever considered doing a record with him?
Reggie- Rob you want to answer that?
Rob- We wanted to do a record with him and we tried but at the time Smalls was doing a lot of other things and so we never got a chance to do anything musically like that. As far as Robin Hood he lived in the neighborhood so whenever we had a venue he was there. He rocked with us for about 3 years from like 1978 to 1981. Then we met someone else that was similar in style and his name was Woody Wood.
Troy- I didn’t know he ran with you guys. Did you produce his record?
Troy- So was there a time when all 4 guys were running with the Disco Twins?
Troy- Did they ever do routines together?
Reggie- No, the most routines we had were with Smalls because the other cats that were rocking with us more or so were emulating Hollywood or Smalls. Smalls was the son of Hollywood so they had routines together but those other cats like Robin Hood and Woody Wood were mostly emulating D.J. Hollywood. We had another mc name Sesame who was also a markup of Hollywood, we met him at the Hotel Diplomat. One of the Ballrooms was called The Sesame Ballroom. We said instead of calling you Tony we are going to call you mc Sesame. Once again the downstairs was called The Constellation, we had the Sesame Ballroom and Russell’s place was called the Palm Room.
Troy- So those guys never thought about doing any routines together like what was going on up in the Bronx and Harlem?
Robert- Yes we did the routines but with Smalls as well as Cory D. But all four together they have not.
Troy- Later on you had some female mc’s running with you, Nasty Tee and Star Child?
Robert- Yes we worked with them.
Reggie- Star Child use to come to this grocery store we opened up around 1981 or 82 on 96th street and Northern Blvd called Prince The Superette but she came after Nasty Tee. We later did a record with Star Child.
Robert- Nasty Tee also came to the grocery store, she use to play the video games but somebody told us she can rhyme so we started working with her and from there we started doing parties with her too.
Troy- Did she try and take it to the next level by making records?
Robert- Well she did try to take it to the next level but sometimes you get derailed though life because there was a time she started working for Puffy, in fact I believe she worked with him for about 10 years. I believe she did some nonprofit work for him.
Troy- Were there any other mc.s that got down with you guys?
Robert- We had this guy down with us name Steve that called himself L.A. Hollywood. He along with Cory D and this other guy name D.J. Sex who was actually an mc use to party with us when we use to play 8th Street in this park in Astoria Queens in the late 70’s. That might have been 1976. In fact I want to bring up this other brother that rocked with us, he was Spanish, his name was Disco Kid, real name Louie Roman. He’s in Texas right now. He was the cat that showed us a lot of things about editing and splicing. It was the 3 of us working with the systems and record plates, splicing and editing. See we made our own records back then with plates. Disco Kid made that record with us “Where’s that b—- that said she was going to suck my d—!” This was before sampling and editing was even out. We had to cut the tape and cut the analog to put the tape together. We learned all of that from him.
Troy- So you guys would have a tape made at your house and then take it to a store and have the plate made or you actually made the plate at home as well?
Reggie- No we took it to this place called Sunshine records. They use to make these odd plates. I think the other place was called Associated Records. We would go there and bring our cassette tapes and they would make plates out of our demo tapes. One was on 42nd street between 6th and 7th avenue and the other one was on 48th street and 7th avenue.
Robert- I think they would burn them on to the wax, you would only be able to have a certain amount of play. You couldn’t play on these particular vinyls all the time. You would have to spend about 30 or 40 dollars for that plate. You would probably get about 25 uses and then you would have to buy a new one.
Troy- So can you break it down a little bit more for me because guys like Fab 5 Freddy and others would tell me these plates were big and made of metal or something and no one wanted to carry them around. But you are telling me it in a different way, you are actually saying it is vinyl and it was soft and it would run out after a certain amount of plays.
Reggie- Well it wasn’t soft it was hard and real thick and you couldn’t bend it.
Troy- Was it heavier then a regular record?
Reggie- Yes it was heavier then a regular record, it was like 10 inch plate. Very rare was it a 12 inch because it was more money, so the 10 inch we would use and they would burn it on the record with a needle and you can get like maybe a 100 plays out of it or less, but you would hear a hissing sound letting you know it is starting to wear out. So we would get a new plate every so often.
Troy- So what was the first plate?
Reggie- The first one was “Where’s that b—- that wanted to suck my d—!” The sound was like a rhythm box or beat box.
Troy- So where did this beatbox sound come from did ya’ll take it from another record?
Reggie- No we took it from my man Louie Roman who was Disco Kid like I told you earlier, he made the beat for us. He came out with this beat programmer; he had this little beat box machine.
Robert- Right he use to do that live and when he did that “Who is that B—- that wants to suck my d—!” everyone liked it because we did a mix with that. So we said you know what we can burn it and make a record with that and that’s just what we did.
Troy- Which one of you said “Where’s that b—- that said she wants to suck my d—?’
Robert- That would be me! It was actually two records one was Suck my d— and the other was, “Who was that b—- that wants to suck my d— for a day.” (We both start laughing.) People loved it. I got cats on video a couple of weeks ago talking about that plate and they had the whole record down pat I couldn’t believe it.
Troy- So there is more to this, what else is being said?
Robert- I only said those words and then mixed in McFadden and Whiteheads No stopping. We have a party coming up and we are going to do that same thing again because all the people from that era are coming to this boat ride we are promoting.
Troy- So I’m sure that is going to blew some peoples minds after not hearing it for 20 plus years. Was there ever a time people wanted to know how they can do it also?
Robert- Sure, tell him the story Reggie.
Reggie- Well there was this guy that wanted the record very bad and he thought it was in the stores. So he went around looking and he went into this particular store on Steinway Street, him and his friend. When he got in the store there was a bunch of people in there and he goes to one of the guys behind the counter and asked do you have the Twins records. The worker says, “What’s the name of the record?” So homeboy starts looking around the store but he couldn’t say it, so he mimicked it and left out the curse words but he said, “Who is that blank that wanted to suck my blank!” So the guy looks at him and says I don’t know what you are talking about, tell me the name of the record! So homeboy is looking at these people that are on the line behind him waiting. So finally homeboy has his cousin with him and says, “Come on let’s go, he doesn’t know the record he must not have it.” So homeboy says it one more time but this time he uses all the curses and the guy kicks him out of the store and they almost fought because he was cursing at the guy. It was funny, it was hilarious the way he told me the story. So they threw him out the store and he never knew to this day that it wasn’t a real record that was printed and put into the stores.
Troy- Good story, who was the guy?
Reggie- His name is Shawn Randolph from Astoria Queens and he was a brother that enjoyed our music so he would come to a lot of our jams and he thought that was an actual record that we put out, he didn’t know it was just a record we made for ourselves that we carried around and we were the only ones that played it and we made sure of that. We use to scratch off the name of the company that was on the plate because we didn’t want any one to know our secret.
Troy- So how big was your system back then? Also is your system just as big today or have you and your brother cut back on the amount of pieces you have?
Robert- (paused before answering.) I think it is pretty much the same we just changed a few things around. We are known for having the lease amount but having the best sound, not trying to sound conceited or whatever. We usually don’t have a whole lot of stuff. We had about 4 speakers and that was it. We had maybe two or three berthas and some ultimate cabinets. We were very efficient with what we had.
Troy- So say from 1978 to 1982 what was your system like, and how did you transport the equipment?
Robert- We had a mail truck that we bought. (Troy Laughs.)
Troy- So ya’ll bought like the breadbox postal truck and stripped it of its name and painted over it white?
Robert- Yeah but we painted it blue.
Troy- So you kept it blue and everybody in Astoria and parts of Queens knew you and your brother was coming when they saw your truck?
Reggie- Absolutely, when they seen the truck they knew! As far as the system back then we would take two Bertha’s and two 12’s.
Robert- He is talking about 1978, did we have the B36’s back then?
Robert- We did have some ring radiator twitters that we got from the street poles! They use to have something that I think was like radar detectors.
Reggie- I think they were light sensors.
Robert- Yeah to change the traffic lights and that was what we used for twitters. We use to climb the street poles to get the twitters. Some of the poles might be seven feet high and some of them would be like 3 stories high and we would climb all the way up there just to get those twitters because back then those twitters were like up to $125 each.
Troy- So why would twitters be up on a pole?
Robert- It was sensor to change the traffic light. It would make this ticking sound, which was ticking to tell you how many cars are coming by in order for the light to change. So we would climb the pole taking a ratchet set with us, someone would be down at the bottom and we would drop it down to them and then take them home and shined them up and then got them ready to put in a box.
Reggie- We use to do that with Disco Kid and Corey Dee.
Robert- Corey Dee was the smallest of the four of us so he used to be the one that would go up there most of the time. The cops almost caught us and they thought we were crazy going up there like that. They asked one time what we were doing up there and we said exercising. They didn’t know we were up there for twitters or trying to steal light bulbs they just thought we were fools. They would say get down and we would go right back up after they left.
Troy- So how did ya’ll guys know to go up there to get these twitters?
Reggie- Who told us Robert, the word was out. Ricky Grant?
Robert- Ricky Grant from Nu Sounds and Curtis of Phase One. That’s how we got wind of it.
Reggie- Because we were asking questions and these things were not in the stores. Ricky Grant I think was an engineer or something so he knew that you could produce that kind of sound from that particular product that was up on the light bulb. He was a genius too, in his own right.
Troy- So did anybody over time take them from the poles and manufacture them and put them in stores as tweeters?
Reggie- I think so, it was by JDR. I think they started reproducing them after it was in demand. Only Broadway Maintenance would service or change them every so often, because there is a diaphragm in there.
Troy- Help me out here Twins, to my knowledge tweeters are little speakers right but I am getting a different impression about them from you guys. (A tweeter is a loudspeaker designed to produce high frequencies, typically from around 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz (generally considered to be the upper limit of human hearing). Some tweeters can manage response up to 45 kHz. The name is derived from the high pitched sounds made by some birds, especially in contrast to the low woofs made by many dogs, after which low-frequency drivers are named woofers.)
Robert- Yeah it is like a silver bullet, it is called bullet tweeter, or it’s similar to brush nickel.
Troy- So what’s the difference between the tweeters off the lamp post and the tweeters in the store?
Reggie- (Reggie lets out a big Whoa!) Whoa it was incredible, a big difference. The ones in the store today are quad piezo’s, they never use to have them before the only place you could get them was up on the poles.
Troy- So you guys were like geniuses at the time being as no one else had them. How long did it take before the whole music community started to get their hands on it?
Robert- Maybe 20 years later, Richard Long was using them but they weren’t available at the time but he made them popular and that’s when everybody caught on. But I think he bought one and it was exclusive for him because he was like a test marketer for all the clubs. If anyone wanted to open up a club he was the person to go to put a sound system together for you.
Troy- So how many clubs do you think Richard Long was involved with because many people refer to him when it comes to the best equipment and all the clubs back then.
Reggie- He did Bonds International, the Palladium, Zanzibar, Regines. That’s some of the clubs I know.
Troy- He never went pass 59th street?
Reggie- Well he went out of the country, he did a lot out of the country and Zanzibar was in Jersey. He also did Empire roller Rink in Brooklyn.
Troy- Did he ever go to Harlem or The Bronx?
Reggie- Not that I know of and he was kind of expensive.