DJ Dossier

DJ Dossier: Bobby Musselman

When the 34-year-old drops his tracks, it isn't happening inside some bourgie-looking DJ booth at an Old Town Scottsdale club like Martini Ranch or Axis/Radius for a couple thousand peeps. Nope, his chosen venue is a wee bit larger. Namely, Chase Field in downtown Phoenix, where an average of 25,000 Arizona Diamondbacks fans have gathered this season to watch our hometown heroes struggle through one of their most frustrating years to date.

Musselman has served as one of the team's official DJs, where his duties include booting up each players' theme songs as they step up to bat (like MGMT's "Kids," which is the anthem of pitching ace Dan Haren). Along with co-worker Eric Hanson, the one-time club DJ is also responsible for broadcasting the various songs fans hear during batting practice, between innings, and throughout the game, ranging from Dean Martin's "That's Amore" during the "Kiss Cam" segment to a particularly punchy rock or hip-hop track to get things going when the chips are down.

But it ain't just some cushy job pushing buttons for nine straight innings, as Musselman works just as hard as your average turntablist as he mixes up aptly-timed tidbits of songs in reaction to what's taking place on the field.

Plus he also works the mixers at a slew of weddings during his off hours for his Mobile DJ company Millennium Entertainment, to boot.

Name: Bobby Musselman

Weapon(s) of Choice: I have a laptop and use this software called virtual DJ, which is basically two MP3 players in one, so I can do multiple things at the same time. I also have a proprietary controller that hooks into my computer, so I'm all hands on with buttons and jog dials and can search through songs quickly. Sometimes we've got only 10-15 seconds to find something and get it up.

What's the difference between your job vs. a club DJ? This type of DJing is very unique compared other types that are out there, like a mobile or club DJs. Way different from what we're doing. When you're in a club or at a wedding it's about finding something with a beat and getting the dance floor going. For baseball, we try to find songs that fit what's happening then and there. For example, Augie Ojeda hits a triple so let's put on "Triple Trouble" by the Beastie Boys. Or if the opposing infielders are having a conference on the mound, we could throw on the Beatles' "Help!" or something. We try to put more stress on them obviously by playing a song that focuses on how poorly they're doing.

How did you get your start: When I was a kid, I'd always wanted to be on the radio. After high school, I attended the East Valley Institute of Technology, but eventually realized it wasn't what you know, but who you know to get into radio. Ironically, my boss at the Diamondbacks now has been a good friend for 15 years. I went over to his house 15 years ago and he gave me an ad from the State Press that said, "looking for DJs, will train."

That day changed my life because I became a Mobile DJ working weddings and company parties, transitioning into local nightclubs as a DJ and an MC. A couple of clubs I worked were advertising on the radio, and I went into local stations to do voiceovers for commercials, networked and got my foot in the door in the radio industry. Did five years of it in Texas, Palm Springs, and northern Arizona.

What local clubs did you spin at way back when: One of my greatest mentors, who's no longer with us, was DJ Jamie J. I lived with him for a year and way back in the day I worked with him at old Club Tribeca in Scottsdale. We left there and went over to Club 411 in Tempe (which is now Cherry) and I worked as his MC until six month later the owner decided to give me a Tuesday night slot. Then I worked for Sheppards for awhile, then became the head DJ at Have a Nice Day Café when they opened.

How did you hook up with the D-Backs: I came back to Phoenix [in 2004], and then in 2006 my mobile DJ company got booked to work the Diamondbacks cocktail reception, fashion show, and after-party where they changed the uniforms from purple to red. We did such a decent job that I got a phone call a couple months later to interview for this job and to help freshen up the music [at Chase Field] and assist with Eric's workload.

What's the lowdown on the at-bat music for each D-Backs player: The players choose the music themselves and pick out the songs that hopefully gets them where they need to be to zone in and sqaure up and hit that home run. Conor Jackson used "Say Yeah" by Wiz Khalifa. Eric Byrnes, he used Van Halen's "Jump," which fits him. The pitchers get two songs generally, so Dan Haren, for example, has a song when he comes up to bat and a different song when he comes out to pitch. But some players have two or even three songs. Chris Snyder has three Beastie Boys songs he's going through right now.

Trent Oeltjen came up from Triple-A about a week ago. What's his song: Being from Australia, he's using Men at Work's "I Come From a Land Down Under," which fits him perfectly.

How many songs are at your disposal: I personally have 20,000 to 30,000 songs on my computer ready to go. And I also have access to Napster or iTunes for "on the fly" if a song is requested, or if we think a certain song fits the mood we can download it right way. Like if one of our players requests some brand new hit song and we don't have it, or maybe one of our Spanish pitchers is requesting something out of Mexico, a cumbia or ranchero song that we don't have in the library.

How do you use music to get the crowd going: It varies. If it's a game where we're doing really well, we'll put in some high-energy music, which also helps when we need the fans to really back us, like in tie or extra-innings situations. I might put a good upbeat instrumental song, like the Black Eyed Peas' "Pump It." When we're not winning or the opposing team has a large advantage, we tend to keep things at a different pace to really not focus on the loss, I'll play something upbeat (but not super upbeat) to keep the fans involved. Maybe something like the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" or Van Halen. Just a really big song that keeps people entertained and even dancing. We try to keep the energy and hopefully pray for a win in a situation where we wouldn't expect it.

But if we're tied or in a rally situation and only down a run or two and need super high energy in the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings, we might put something out there like Metallica or Rob Zombie. Super energetic rock music to really get the fans into the game to help with energy and push things the other direction for us. I've seen comebacks from three or four runs down before, but it doesn't happen as often as we'd like it too.

Is it harder getting fans fired up during a losing season like this year? There's a sign hanging up in our booth that only the employees for Game Operations can see that states something about how it's the players job to win the game and it's our job in Game Operations to win the fans with the entertainment. With all the injuries and stuff this year, the strengths and weaknesses of the team, it's sorta been out of our control. But we do our best and want the fans to enjoy their time at the stadium regardless of the players or the situation with the season. We keep it fun and try to send the fans home happy.

What's some split-second maneuvering you've had to make: Mark Reynolds has been doing extraordinarily well this season, hitting 36 home runs, and one of the longest home runs in baseball at 477 feet. When he came up to the plate during the game with the Mets this past Monday, the New York pitcher decided to [intentionally walk] him. So as soon as he started to take his traditional walk song, like Aerosmith "Walk This Way" or Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Three Steps," we decided to send a message to the pitcher to give [Mark] some respect by pitching to him. 

As soon as the final ball was thrown, my boss from Game Operations came on my headset and asked if we could play the chorus from Aretha Frankin's "Respect." I immediately threw the song into player, looked at the waveform, and was able use the mouse and the jog dial to find that part and hit play to get the message across in the five seconds we have between plays. It's an art form, and a unique one.

What's the track you can't get out of your head currently: It's probably "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas. I've been playing it the park a lot 'cause it's a great song.

Last album purchased: The Star Wars soundtrack. There was a bride who wanted something off of it for her wedding that I couldn't find on the Internet.

Best experience as a DJ: I would definitely say it's the people I get to meet. This weekend we're playing the Dodgers, so the legendary Vin Scully and former Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela will be a couple of booths down from me calling the games. Some DJs might look at their job as just another day at the office, but I'm fortunate to be able to meet people like Vin.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.