It’s been nearly five months since the death of Paten Locke, and his legacy continues to grow. The dozens of artists who were influenced by him are doing their thing all over this country, and they carry his name with them everywhere they go. A large sum of them will gather in the Urban Core this weekend, with three full nights of DJ action lined up to lead us into the new year. All of the talent involved, and most of the audience, are people who were directly impacted and influenced by the man once known as DJ Therapy. Some of them might have never gotten into the business at all if it weren’t for him.
Thursday night, Dec. 26, Shantytown Pub hosts the tin anniversary of the Full Plate label and the seminal album Studies in Hunger, which Locke released with his longtime co-conspirator, the rapper/DJ/professional chef Dillon Vaughan Maurer (aka Lobsterdamus, aka DJ Lobby P). The duo first met back in 2004. “I was going to school at UF and had just put out my first 12 inch. DJ Basic of Asamov threw the song on an episode of ‘Skills Center Radio’; Paten heard it and apparently wanted to meet me. His exact words were something to the effect of, ‘Who’s this kid from Jacksonville rhyming like this? I need to meet him, so I can let him know he’s not as nice as he thinks he is,’ or something like that.”
Then the action moves Downtown, to the Justice Pub, where more than a dozen DJs serve up Little Plates, a specified concept that Locke and Maurer developed. The gimmick, in the pro-wrestling sense of the word, revolves around 45RPM records, long the medium of choice for singles, but mostly neglected by turntablists until the Full Plate crew brought it back. Not even Locke himself could muster a reliable guess as to how many records he owned. “It’s hard to say,” Maurer said, “but my approximate guess would be all of them. He owned all of the records, tons of 45s—he collected everything. Ravenously. His desire for records was unmatched.” Locke did more than probably anyone (and everyone) else to foment the rise of DJ culture in this city, asserting its appeal with an almost evangelical zeal. “I bought, traded and was gifted many records by P,” says Maurer, who spent many hours crate-digging with him. “He also laced me with a handful of the records he sampled to make our beats. Those are the most special, and I ain’t tellin’ y’all what they are!”
“Little Plates was P’s baby in Duval,” Maurer said. “Plates & Crates was mine in Atlanta. I was supposed to rock back in July when this was originally planned, but P got the diagnosis.” The decision was made to do the show anyway, with Maurer manning the helm. “It’s an honor to play my first one. It will be bittersweet without him there to critique my set.”
Among the crew assembled for this epic marathon are some of the region’s most well-known and most skilled DJs, including B-Ryan, Caine Blais, KGB, Kidd Yzer, Lord Swift, Matt Caulder, Ruff Rob the Drum Goblin, Shatter Wax, Shotgun, Wax Atom, Wizard Wand and Pizza Galore.
All three nights will be great fun for the general public, but they will also function as gatherings for the crew that coalesced around him, all of whom credit Locke for making them better. “I know he loved Little Plates for how it brought everyone together under one roof,” says Maurer, “just playing music and sharing ideas and whatnot. Ultimately, Paten was a bridge builder and a connector of people. Music was his language. There will never be another.”
Both venues are owned and run by the infamous Ian Ranne, who, like me, knew Locke for more than 20 years. It’s safe to say that neither venue would exist at all if not for Locke's role as a mentor and facilitator of the local scene. These will be the first such shows since his tragic, premature demise, but he will certainly be watching the festivities from somewhere, probably smoking a blunt while muttering a ruthless litany of sharply pointed but good-natured gibes toward the artists, thoughts that will be sensed instinctively and no doubt acted upon. All of us who knew him can attest that, whether there is such thing as an afterlife or not, he is still out there, somewhere, everywhere, forever.