DJ Dossier

DJ Johnny Volume Talks Local Punk, The Arrivals, Waylon Jennings, Avail, and more

You won't catch Tim Neilson (a.k.a. DJ Johnny Volume) loading up the latest Death to the Throne remix or fiddling with Serrato on his iBook during any of the 35-year-old's gigs. Nope, this old schooler's tools are much simpler: Two turntables and a shitload of records.

While we've never had the chance to visit his residence, we imagine it's packed with tons of rock, punk, hardcore, and rare vinyl gems. Neilson pulls out plenty of platters for biweekly spin gigs at Yucca Tap Room for Delinquency (his every other Tuesday punk night) and Valley Fever (his every other Sunday outlaw country night).

What's the crown jewel of his collection? Does he have any cool stories about rare finds? Read through this week's DJ Dossier for the answers to these questions, as well as many others.

Name: Tim Neilson

AKA: DJ Johnny Volume

Current schedule: Valley Fever (country) Sundays at Yucca Tap Room. DJ Dana and I alternate uaually weeks, but like this week for full nelson a tribute to willie, we alt through the night. delinquency (punk) every other tuesday opposite of babynose’s ten high tuesdays, also at yucca.

Genres spun: Punk, real country, metal, whatever.

How did you get started as a DJ? Punk rights with DJ N8ball (of May Cause Dizziness Records) without whom I never would have gotten into it! At first it was with him, later on my own. He lent me turntables, a mixer, and has given me a ton of records over the years.

Explanation behind your nickname: Johnny Volume was Johnny Thunder's name for a second before the New York Dolls. I was going through a huge Dolls phase and changed my MySpace name to it. My friend Erin had me DJ a fashion show for her and there on the flyer was DJ Johnny Volume.

What's something about you that might surprise others: I probably have more Stryper records then anyone you know. Seriously.

Best experience as a DJ: Whenever someone really digs a record I play, and obviously the more obscure, the better the thrill.

And the worst? One time at Mardi Gras, I filled in for DJ Dana for a country happy hour. I had DJ'd there years before for and there was a reason I stopped.

Other clubs you've spun at: Ready for a list of bars that have closed? Mardi Gras, Ky's, Last Exit, Lucky Devil, Jugheads, and Sucker Punch Sally's have all passed, but at least Stray Cat and Yucca Tap are still here.

Bygone club you miss the most: As you can see I have a lot to choose from. Honestly those nights at Ky's were like nothing else. N8ball, Cromag, Lantzer and I downing Sparks in the parking lot, then just cramming in that tiny place, it was special.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig? At the BANNED in Tempe one year anniversary, some emo kids started a fight. After a whole year of none, this was the first, and with our door guy, Danny Marianino was breaking it up. It was a sight.

What are your feelings about the local punk scene? What would you change if you could? I love it, so not much. I am so proud of all the bands and labels in this state. It puts a smile on my face like no other when I see a good local, like say Rumspringer, play an awesome out of town show, like say Awesome Fest 4 last September for example. Local pride for sure. So the only change would be more people at the shows.

Why has alt-country/Americana become popular locally? Bright Eyes? I have no idea!! It does seem that it's gotten big around here, but Dana and I always say we're the uncool faction of that. It seems like people have forgotten George Jones, Waylon Jennings etc. Dana didn't, that's why we have valley fever!

Which do you like playing more: Country or punk? Can I say Chip Hanna cause he's both? Really it is both. When Dana asked me to be involved in Valley Fever it was a welcome change, I had just quit BANNED at Jugheads and was just what I needed. Then [after] being away from a punk night for a while, Delinquency was a welcome addition to my week.

Are there similarities between country and punk? Hell yeah there are! Growing up a punk kid in Connecticut I didn't hear country. but the first time I really heard Waylon? Man, that was just about the punkest thing I'd ever heard!

What local bands are you a fan of? So many. Rumspringer, Casket Life, Good Men Die Like Dogs, That's Life, Grave Danger, Hashknife Outfit, Hotdog!, Robot Tank, Plainfield Butchers, The Elders, Father Figures. And has there ever been a band better than Flathead? I don't think so.

What songs will always get your crowds going? Air Supply? Not sure about the crowd, but me and Danny used to love it at BANNED, while it drove Tyler King (BANNED's bartender) up the wall.

Worst request you've gotten? If you ask Tyler [King] I didn't need a request, I'd play it on my own! Most of the time I'll just try and steer them toward something they might like that I do have: If you request Fallout Boy or Sublime, I'll suggest Green Day.

What site do you use for music? Razorcake, Interpunk, E-Bay, of course, [and]

Where do you shop locally? Eastside (sniff sniff), Revolver, Zia, Hoodlums.

How many records are in yout vinyl collection? I have no idea, maybe 3,000 LPs? Maybe 1,500 seven-inch [records]?

What's the crown jewel? Hmm, I am not sure. I have the North Side Kings test press, maybe that. Or the Avail/Young Pioneers split seven-inch test press. I forget what records I have sometimes.

Any good stories about rare finds? Yeah but they all involve Stryper records. I have so many, I am not ashamed.

If a fire broke out in your house and you could only save five records from your collection, what would they be? Ouch. Jawbreaker's Dear You DGC press on blue, Night Marchers tour singles, that Avail/Young Pioneers test press, Rocket From the Crypt's Circa Now on purple, Lifetime “ghost” it's not that good, but it is rare.

Which underground bands are you pimping lately in your sets? For punk, Tradewinds. For country, Shelby Cobra.

What else have you been listening to lately? The new Arrivals LP is probably the greatest LP ever, ever! Besides that, at home I have been rocking a lot of Cringer, Crimpshrine, and J-Church.

Last album purchased: Integrity, Those Who Fear Tomorrow repress, sounds so good too.

Last song downloaded: I don't do that a lot, so probably John Denver's Last Flight "Matt's Gay Song (Not That There Is Anything Wrong With That)."

Song currently stuck in your head: "Simple Pleasures in America" by The Arrivals.

What's your opinion on house shows or venues like The Slurp? Those shows rule, I have no problem with them, support them, attend them, they are all good.

Favorite concert you've ever attended: Oh man, so many. The Refused on New Years in Connecticut many years ago, Merle Haggard in Tucson some years ago, I saw Fugazi a million times, but really every time I saw Avail it was like church.

When not djing, where can you be found? Eastside, The Rogue, Bowling alleys, TT Roadhouse, and some random shows.

If you could punch out any famous musicians (a la Danny Marianino versus Danzig) which one would it be? Phil Collins.

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