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Turnin' da Tables

By Jimi Bruce

My radio career having taken me to the city of Nashville to jock on WVOL ("today's R&B/Classic Soul"), I feel compelled to investigate whether there is a New York style Club scene here.  So now "Turnin' da Tables" for, on-location from the Music City, Nashville!!!

The first inkling of a club scene cropped-up when I read an ad in the Panorama for something called, "The Ritual of Spring", a festival of spinners apparently held here every March.  I missed it because of scheduling and the trials and tribulations of re-locating afar, but through e-mail was able to stay in-touch with it's founder and coordinator, John Freeman - a.k.a. "Mad Monk" of Mad Monk Productions.  Currently producing late night parties in downtown Nashville, I caught-up with the Monk himself amongst the Lounge Lizards at a new Nashville space called Liquid Lounge.

JB: This is Jimi Bruce for, on-location at Liquid Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee.  It's a beautiful, growing club, two floors, two bars, and some of Nashville's hottest DJs.  I 'm on the ground-floor bar/lounger area with Mr. John Freeman who is "Mad Monk".  Good to finally meet you!

JF: Good to meet you, Jimi.

JB: Tell me what Monk is all about?!

JF:  Well as my other two partners will tell you as well, Mad Monk Productions is a company dedicated to bringing positivity, responsibility, and change to the Dance scene here in Nashville.  Steering everything to an older, cleaner audience; just doin it bigger and better, and at a higher quality level than anything Nashville's seen thus far.

JB:  Okay, what do ya mean by "cleaner"?  Like, you gotta take a shower?! (laugh)

JF: Not that they have to take a shower (laugh), No, but actually they DO have to take a shower and wear decent clothing.  Ya know what I mean?

It's just like getting the Dance Scene outta the gutter, an you exactly what I mean by that; like Nashville's been plagued by some dirty-ass stuff and some warehouses.  Ya know little kids and whatnot.  So we're tryin to get it to, ya know, sort of "national" level!

JB: Show'em how to do it.

JF: We just educate, that's all we do.

JB: Where are you from?

JF:  I'm from Nashville, Tennessee originally. Moved to New Orleans, Louisiana

That's where I did my Rasin', my comin'-up.

JB: Your come upance and stuff. Alright. So how long have you been doing this thing here in Nashville?

JF: We started Mad Monk back in October.

JB: So basically you're Promoting?

JF: Well, no, actually Mad Monk does everything.  We represent DJs, we organize it, we fund it, we finance it, we put it together, we advertise - start to finish, yeah, we do it all.

JB: Okay. And so you're the founder?

JF: One-third of the company.  Me, Tonya, and Sonny put the whole thing together last October, and we've be, ahh, nothing but success ever since.

JB: Let's go back in time real quick, what was "the Ritual" about?

JF: The Ritual Of Spring was a celebration of change.  It was basically a show of people.  Basically the last couple of years, parties in general in Nashville, the quality levels have just absolutely plummeted. We Do have events here, but they've been like, no production, no lights, no sound, poorly put together, very poorly organized; the DJs have been getting a very bad, ya know, bad experiences here and that kinda thing. (little dicks,  as Brian just said in the background)...

JB: Okay...

JF: But, ah, that aside what the celebration of chance was all about was showing DJs that Nashville could be a top-level place in the country to play, a place you'd want to play.  To show them that the party is lights, sound, and the party is well organized, the party can be for an older crowd and not so ravy.  It could be for an older, cleaner crowd.

JB: Well, you got the right idea goin' on, ya know, and I wish you a lotta success.  Do you do any other clubs besides this [Liquid Lounge]

JF:  This is the only weekly we have right now, ah, we're doing six shows this summer; six Outdoor festivals which you'll know All about to cover. It'll be downtown, kinda like a dance in the district on uptown mix, only all Dance music.  Like from four to twelve; thousands of people...

JB: I think that's what Nashville needs, just in the short time I've been here.

Ya know when I moved here from the Northeast, people told me that there's just three music cities in the country.  New York, L.A. and here

JF: That's right.

JB: And I always thought that this is like, you know, just Country.  But since you're doing something like this, you're showing there a lot of other diversity in music here.

JF:  That's right. Ya know we're not the kind of company that claims that we started it, because we didn't; but we're gonna be the company that will definitely say that we put it on the map in Nashville.  When we do these shows this summer, we will literally say to the whole world , that Nashville has a scene, and is ready to take the ring with any city.  Like we're ready to go with Atlanta.

JB:  How can DJ's reading my column get in touch with Mad Monk Productions if they want to spin with you?

JF: Sure. (615) 365-8170 or, or

The company's located at 815B Elissa Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37217-1310.

They can call us or e-mail us either myself, Mitch Tyler or Mrs. Pierce wiil be happy ta....

JB: Well I see that Tyler and Pierce are here, so let me talk with THEM!

Thank you Monk!!

Is there more than Country Scene is "da ville"?

JB: Now I'm here with Sonny of Mad Monk Productions.  Sonny, how ya doin'?

SO: Great.

JB: And what do YOU do at Mad Monk Productions?

SO: I do a lot of the DJ bookings, handling DJs...

JB:  And you're from...

SO: Nashville born and bred.

JB: I don't hear an accent!

SO: Comes and goes...

JB: What you envision for Mad Monk Productions?

SO: Well, here at Liquid it's happenin before our eyes.  Class. We want to blow the stereotypes.

JB: and if readers want to contact YOU?...

SO: They hit me at (615) 641-6063 and at

JB: Okay, Thanks!  Next is Tanya Pierce, also of Mad Monk Productions.

Tonya's very lovely, and, Tanya, nice to meet you!  What's your Monk specialty?

TON:  I guess my specialty is Marketing, designing, anything that needs to be designed for promotion...Printing, Graphics, anything like that, I take care of most of all of those type of things.

JB: What's your particular background?

TON: I'm not from here, I'm from Pennsylvania.

JB: What city?

TON: Tyrone.,

JB: Who?

TON:'s down by Penn. State.

JB: In the middle.

TON: Uh huh.. And then I've moved around, ever since my whole life; I've lived in eleven different states...

JB: How's you get into this kinda music and scene.

TON: Actually Sonny introduced me to it about like two-and-a-half years ago.

I knew nothing about the scene at all till I met Sonny. He just opened my eyes and I fell in love with it instantly and it's been a big part of my life ever since.

JB:  That's good.  Obviously you've traveled a lot.  Have you been to other big cities?

TON:  Yeah!  I've been to New York City; other places, actually I've been to Avisa, Spain which is a big Dance, party - over there it's just THEE place.

This type of music is what they're known for over there.  It's an island off the coast of Spain.  Beautiful and all.

JB:  Exciting! Wow. That's great!  So tell me your vision of Mad Monk Productions and how things are gonna progress for the year 2001 and beyond?

TON:  Ah, my vision is to continue doing nights like this here at Liquid Lounge, and hopefully other clubs as well, and then to also coordinate other big events like John was talking about the Summer events.  Were really excited about getting into that.  Um, and one day just to make a name for ourselves that people in Atlanta, New York, big cities like that know who Mad Monk Productions is.

JB:  What does Mad Monk mean?  I figured I'd save that question for you!

TON:  (laughs!!) Who thought of that?

JFREE:  It's got something to do with like, Monk symbolizing, like, spirituality, virtuality...

JB: Like the Buddhist Monk?

JFREE:  Exactly!  Like you look at the emblem and it says it all.  The meditating Monk... Mad Monk means like, we want to stick to the values of the Monk, but we're the kinda Monks that Get Down!

JB:  The spirituality in partying.

JFREE: There you GO!  That's exactly what it is!!!

TON: Exactly!!!!!

JB:  That's good. So now yeah, Partying is my religion; and Tonya why would  some DJ reading my column want to get in touch with you?

TON:  I believe that any DJ reading your column would want to come to Mad Monk Productions for the simple fact that Mad Monk Productions isn't about throwing "raves", we're about throwing serious Dance events.  We're trying to change the scene; make it very utmost respectful and classy!  There's nothin' wrong with gettiin dressed-up and coming to an event and dancing your Ass off!!!!  I help design fliers, do some of the marketing, and advertising; all of us are very dedicated to changing the scene in a positive way.

JB:  So If they can't get to John or Sonny, they can contact you.  Do you have 

a separate e-mail address?

TON: Yes I do, it's , and um we got a August 4th show, I don't know if you heard about that or not?

JB: No.

TON:  It's at Exit Inn definitely we've got that lined-up, and we're looking at some other shows.  We still got the Wednesdays; right here at Liquid Lounge

Which is starting to get really - it's awesome!!!  'Gotta come check us out when you're in Nashville!!!

JB:  Awlright!!! Thank you Tonya, ya know, you and got so much energy, and I hope it comes through in this article to you the reader!

TON:  Thank you!!!


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