Selling His Soul for Some Fancy Flea Medicine

DJ Smoak, Our Own

Up in Smoak
Up in Smoak

You may know him as the golden-noodle-locked, tattooed provider of the rock ‘n’ roll bands that get your dander up (bands with names like Black Pussy and Lecherous Gaze), the local DJ who spins that obscure groove metal, haunted happy hour head-banging music. Or, you may not know him at all. Either way, here’s your opportunity to gain a better understanding of Loy Smoak, the man with the greatest metal DJ name of all time, who, for nearly 15 years, has been filling the streets of SA with the scuzziest Sabbath and skunk weed-powered stoner jams and bands, more often than not for free, DJ Smoak. (You can thank him in piss beer, rotgut whisky and Marlboro Reds).

Is San Antonio the “Metal Capital” it purports to be?

Maybe, like, for old dudes. I think at one point we definitely used to be.

Who is the best band you've ever brought to town?

Danava. They’re like a Sabbath meets a Rush meets a King Crimson. It’s like real technical, real rocky.

Was that your favorite show?

Man, I’ve booked so many shows. But that was a memorable one. It was good getting that band here, of that caliber. And they’re a real rock ‘n’ roll band. A band that a rock ‘n’ roll dude can get into and a metal dude.

How does the booking process work?

There’s a connective line all across America. I can go stay at so many people’s houses or get in free here and there, just because of the network. And it’s not underground. You put it in and you’re gonna get it. But people still don’t know that they can come to San Antonio. There’s bands that have played Austin 10 or 15 times … and that makes me mad.

What do you think keeps bands from coming to the “Metal Capital?"

There are some people that have put a bad mark on this town. And I get it. But [these people] haven’t gotten beaten up or anything and they’re still around. Why aren’t people getting checked or exiled? I’m like level 10. And I want everyone to be level 10 … It’s not enough to just go to a show. People need to buy merch and … it’s not just a party. You can say you’re in the scene but it’s too easy to be in the scene now. Like, do something. There’s good honest people that have lost thousands and thousands of dollars. God knows how much money I’ve lost on food and fliers and lost money, and, I mean, all I wanted at the end of the night was a free shirt.

But then again, you know if there wasn’t people like Jaime Gonzalez who passed … Where is that element now? Those bands are playing Austin now because they don’t know who to come here to.

How has DJ’ing evolved in the past 15 years?

People sometimes, I don’t know what they’re thinking when they see a record player but some people are freaked out by it. They think there should be a computer somewhere. They don’t even understand the needle. And that’s weird because we grew up in punk rock and we bought records, so it wasn’t like ‘cool,’ it was what we naturally did anyway. And then they see colored vinyl and they’re freaked out even more. It’s mind blowing to them. Is it technology? It’s technology in a sense. It’s making caveman technology a little more colorful. It’s kind of mind-blowing to people. Fucking idiots, dude.

Lava lamps or blacklights?

Lava lamps or blacklights?


They’re safer. Snakes or a black jaguar?

Is the black jaguar friendly?

I was picturing it going up a log like a velvet painting. Cause you were saying black light or lava, so I instantly put myself inside of a van or a smoke room or something. Like, would you say boogie van or El Camino?

Boogie van, duh, there’s more room. Whisky or tequila?

Oh, totally whisky. And I usually like well whisky. Nothing fancy. I like Kentucky Deluxe. Totally OK with Kentucky Deluxe. I just can’t do [tequila]. Makes me crazy. It reminds me of, like, meth before it’s made. Does that make sense?

No. Not to me.

It’s like all fume-y. You can see the fumes. You’ve never seen it?

No. Maybe it was mezcal. Strobe light or dry ice?

Oh, I like dry ice. Dry ice is cool, man.

No. Maybe it was mezcal. Strobe light or dry ice?

Whisky and a Coors Light, “Colorado Kool-Aid.” Just a shitty beer. I’ll take a cigarette with it, too. I mean, this is what I do. I bring free music to people. And good bands, touring bands, bands that are on labels, bands that have been to Europe, bands that have opened up for Wolfmother and, like, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. And, if someone wants to sit around and complain, they can do it themselves. But they won’t and they can’t. It’s not easy — throwing free stuff. I’m OK with being bottom of the barrel. I think knowing smaller bands is cooler, playing smaller places is cooler. It’s not greedy, a lot less ego. And sometimes those bands still keep it real, keep coming back.

Do you feel like a diplomat for SA?

I do. I’m not saying that arrogantly … I will pay you good. I’ll feed you. I’ll offer you a place to stay and I’ll party you out … I know it sounds stupid, but I wanna be the old dude sitting in my chair with my denim vest and my necklace … I love being in rock ‘n’ roll … We all have fantasies, but I wanna live mine.

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