Writing this from a concerned friend and cohorts point of view.
Been in the clubs for almost 22 years. There was a good stretch where it was 3-5 times a week, although now I can do maybe 2 nights in a row max, usually 1 and only 1 per week. Your body is funny like that — you get older and no matter how late you stay up you’ll still get up at 8 AM every morning. And even if you sip on nothing but that agua, you still feel like you’ve been through the car wash a couple times the night before.
I was one of those dudes never without a drink in his hand, the monitor on full blast, 6’6″ frame stooped low due to the short world I live in. I really thought I was going to live forever. My dumb ass had no idea how much damage I was doing on a nightly basis, all for the love of that funky low end and seeing people forget their troubles while dancing the night away.
I run 12-15 miles a week and stretch every day, eat right and organic 90% of the time, cut down on caffeine and booze BIG time, and overall am much more conscious of what i’m doing to my physical on a daily basis. But the damage has been done, and that’s because I wasn’t proactive from the early stages. At one or more times in my 20+ year career, I have had tinnitus, damaged nerves in my neck, erratic sleeping patterns, slight vertigo, horrible posture, kidney and liver issues, social anxiety, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, and a laundry list of other symptoms — all as a result of a hectic DJ lifestyle. But before you start feeling sorry for little ‘ol me, don’t. These symptoms are all under control (my own control, because they’re my own fault), have been or are being dealt with, or have gone away completely, because I worked on them. And only because I WORKED on them.
And therein lies my thesis.
DJs, please take care of yourselves. Don’t wait ’til it becomes irreversible. You’ve only got one body and if you want to stick around for a while in this game, you have to take really really good care of it, especially considering the environment we thrive in. The human frame is not made for this type of life — all of these factors ended up being detrimental due to non stop abuse year after year.
Here’s a few tips:
- Get your hearing checked, regularly.
- Get some personalized ear plugs, the kind where you just let in the mid frequencies (start here, for instance: www.westone.com — I got mine for $120).
- Eat a lot of bananas and drink a lot of water. If you don’t like bananas, then figure out some simple ingredient healthy stuff as your snack of choice (healthy snacking is key — 3 big ass unhealthy meals every day will ruin you). BALANCE your bad versus good food intake, and make sure that the good overwhelmingly outweighs the bad. And check your blood pressure regularly.
- Sleep. Then sleep some more. Then sleep even more. It ain’t the cousin of death, it’s the fuckin’ angel of life yo.
- Exercise. Stretch. Swim. Get massages. Acupuncture. Do cleanses. Quit smoking. Eat a shit ton of fruits and veggies. Basically, be a fuckin’ hippy while you’re being a rock star.
- Every 3rd gig or so, don’t drink alcohol. Just don’t do it.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, AND LISTEN GOOD. If you realize you’re having an issue, deal with it immediately. DO. NOT. WAIT.
Basically, respect yourself and stop thinking it can’t happen to you. I remember hearing a good number of homies tell me they had to leave the game because they were worried about completely ruining themselves. Straight up. And I don’t blame ’em. They are sorely missed, cuz they were bad ass motherfunkin’ DJs, but i’m glad to see them taking care of themselves as opposed to not.
We’re tormented artists deep down, but we owe it to ourselves and our passions to be good to our bodies.
Love yaself damnit. You’re all you’ve got. One love.