The Rocks Off 200: DJ Piam, Poison Girl's Bacon-Fat Funk Specialist
Who? DJ Piam is one of those Houston treasures that is hard to translate to outsiders. A bike mechanic by day, Piam slips into DJ mode when the sun goes down and lays down a mighty smorgasbord of late-'60s/early-'70s old-school funk that would tie even a music critic's head in a knot.
Photo by Nick DiFonzo
He started collecting obscure funk about nine years ago after "listening to a lot of jazz and blues, a little reggae, a few other styles," he says. After just a couple of years, Piam's collection grew to the point where one of his DJ friends suggested maybe he should start sharing it. So he bought some equipment and taught himself the basics by making thematic mix discs for friends.
His first gig was at the then newly opened Pearl Bar on Washington Avenue. That lasted until "they remodeled the bar and the crowd turned yuppie and wanted radio music." But via the Pearl Bar gig he met DJ Relentless, who invited him to do guest gigs at the Davenport on Tuesday nights. The pair also opened for Solange Knowles' DJ set at the Flat.
These days his main gig is the first Monday of every month at Poison Girl Cocktail Lounge on Westheimer, where he lays down a steroidal slab of bacon-fat funk ranging from Houston's own Crusaders to Chocolate Snow.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I'm from here, so it's easy for me to stay," he says. "I've got family, friends, and I'm fortunate enough to have a good job where I've been for 15 years, and a nice place to live."
Good War Story: After Hurricane Ike, Piam's street didn't have power for three weeks or so. It was hot and really boring at night with no electricity, so he was staying with some good friends over in Montrose and wasn't around much.
Some scumbag noticed I wasn't around and broke into my house, stole all my DJ gear and quite a bit of music. Luckily, most of the CDs were copies, but I still had trouble tracking down replacements for some of the harder-to-find CDs.
A generous group of friends all pitched in and gave me some money to replace my stolen gear, which I'll never forget.
Story continues on the next page.