Welcome to 21 Questions, a regular feature where PHXmusic.com goes to the favorite hangout of a notable Phoenician and asks the "big" questions. This week we met up with DJ William Reed at Middle Eastern restaurant Fattoush in Phoenix.
Reed walks into Fattoush and greets the staffers like they're family. Our waiter, Sonny, comments on Reed's recently-grown summer beard and asks how all that DJing is going. Reed's girlfriend, designer Kelly Calabrese
, accompanies him and they debate over which favorites to pick from the menu. They settle on a vegetarian platter and bowl of lentil soup, respectively.
I ask Reed what he's been up to lately. He says he and Sean Watson are restarting Hot Fudge Sundaze on the rooftop of the Clarendon at the end of September. Oh yeah, and just working on starting a Black Angels
meets My Bloody Valentine
rock band, taking some music composition and editing classes, plus working on a new radio show for Radio Phoenix. Then we set in on those good 'ole 21 Questions.
Name: William Reed
Occupation: Full-time DJ, Promoter, and Radio Show Host
New Times: In one sentence, what do you do all day in your job?
William Reed: Let me think about that, because the nature of my job, fortunately, I don't have to work all day. One sentence. My days are filled with researching the newest, cutting-edge music, promotions, and constantly attempting to push the envelope in my field.
NT: What's wrong with the world today?
WR: I'd say intolerance. Social intolerance, racism, poverty, greed. Just neglect for the environment.
NT: Who's your favorite local band?
WR: It's tough to choose. I'm really fond of Dry River Yacht Club
. [Reed later tells me that he'd like to add Sunorous
to his list of favorites.]
NT: What was the last show you attended?
in Tucson which was fucking awesome.
NT: If you could time travel, where would you go?
WR: I would say, 60s, mid to late. No, 60s in general. I'd split my time between London and Paris and New York, and the reason why is because in those cities they were really pushing art, film and music. Everything was just really innovative and new and pushed the boundaries. It was exciting. People were excited.
NT: What's the worst job you've ever had?
[We break to look at two men pushing a brokedown sedan through the parking lot in the afternoon's excessive heat. "Man that sucks," Reed says.]
WR: I actually really liked my first job. Hmm. I had a DJ gig. I was hired to DJ regularly at a strip club, and, for starters, I don't like strip clubs, and, to add to that, they, the owners, hired me to do a concept night: metal. So, it was DJing heavy metal music to raunchy women on a Monday night. So, I played music I hated, in an environment I hated with people I didn't like.
NT: How good are you at cooking?
WR: I'm far from being a master chef, but cooking is one of my favorite things to do at home. So, I would say, I'm pretty damn good. It totally sounds arrogant, but, whatever, I love to cook. I used to do these dinner parties; they were around-the-world dinner parties, and each was at a different location. We'd pick a region, Southeast Asia for example, and everyone would bring a dish from that region. We'd bring drinks, music, and sometimes do attire. Man, those were so fun.
NT: Where do you go to be alone?
NT: Who's your all-time favorite fictional character?
NT: What's the first album you ever bought?
WR: Cassette tapes from... They used to have these magazines, like Columbia House, where you taped your penny to the post card and you picked nine or 10 tapes. I would send them a penny and I'd never buy anything. So, they'd send us a bill, and I'd get in big trouble. The first batch I did was the Pixies Trompe Le Monde
, Primus Sailing the Seas of Cheese
, Cure Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
, and a Depeche Mode
NT: Where is the best view in Phoenix?
WR: For best sunset, I prefer Jade Bar
or the patio at Sanctuary Resort
. The view from Sanctuary Resort at sunset is pretty great. Other than that, I'd say the Compass Room, so you get a complete, 360-degree view. You just sit and eat. It's the best during monsoon season.
NT: What's one thing you hate about Arizona?
WR: Well, there's a lot of creative people here trying really hard and doing a good job of making a contribution to our community. So, I won't say lack of culture. However, I'd say the widespread small town mentality. The level of ignorance I see. I don't really hate anything, but these are things I'm not fond of. No. I take that back. I hate the heat in summer time. It's unnatural for humans to be living this... Jan Brewer. Arpaio. I don't like those guys. Not a fan.
NT: What's your homepage?
WR: It's djwilliamreed.com.
NT: Do you give money to panhandlers?
WR: Not on a regular basis. I don't know how to answer that. I don't on a regular basis 'cause I usually don't have cash or change, but when I do I will.
NT: What's your drink?
WR: I'm an equal opportunity drinker. I'd say my favorite drink is San Pellegrino Sparkling Limonata, so if there's an alcoholic version that would be my favorite. [Reed turns to Calabrese and begins mentally concocting potential drink recipes.]
NT: Who is your mortal enemy?
WR: I can't think of anybody. I'd have to say I don't have one.
NT: What's the deal with Sheriff Joe?
WR: That's a good question. Well, the deal is that he's in office by popular vote. So, the deal is with the people. It's our state, our community, it's our county. Now with the exception of Jan Brewer who was not elected into office, the sheriff was. So the consensus is that Maricopa County wants Sheriff Joe Arpaio in office. So we, those who don't want him in office, are clearly the minority.
NT: What would you do if you won the lottery?
WR: Well. I have won the lottery. [pauses] Just kidding, but I'd like to win it. I would take care of my family. I would make philanthropic contributions to local businesses and institutions I support, namely those in the arts community. Then I would take a really long vacation, or, not even a vacation, a trip around the world to all the places I haven't been and all my favorites. I would put a significant amount in an IRA. I would want to do something positive with some of it. So maybe I'd research, in my travels, something I could relate to and start an organization to help disadvantaged youth engage with music and foster creativity. That would be something really cool that I could relate to. I'd do things I haven't had the money to do. I'd open up a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, an art gallery, men's clothing boutique. I'd finance her. [Motions to Calabrese. I ask what he means.] Kelly's a fashion designer. So I'd finance her.
NT: What's hanging above your sofa?
WR: The custom painting that I commissioned from local artist Jason Hill. It's a painting of the Olympus, a mid-century modern residential community on Central Avenue. I used to have a condo there. When I lived there someone showed me a small print of the building I lived in, as part of [Hill's] series of unique mid-century modern buildings in Phoenix. I was like: Whoa, that's awesome. I was only hanging really large pieces of artwork in that place. It's about a five-foot-by-five-foot piece.
NT: What's the best love advice you have?
WR: Love the one that you have and get with the one you love.
NT: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
WR: Well, I am an atheist, but if he did, "This one goes to 11
." He'd have an English accent, "William, this one goes to 11."