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Aron “Bugsy” Siegel

DJ-Portrait (English)

Name: Aron Siegel
Born: December 09
Type of DJ: Club-DJ, Remixer
Active : since 1979
Photo Aron Siegel

Atlantas DeeJays: Aron Siegel & Randy Dethman

Words: Aron Siegel (February 2003)

Aron Siegel got his first club gig at the age of 15 DJing in a teen disco in the upscale Buckhead community in Atlanta, Georgia. Already experienced with radio personalities and production professionals, Siegel quickly learned the difference between radio and club DJing. He worked to expand his knowledge of mixing techniques, other DJs’ styles, and as much old and new music that he could absorb.

Siegel found the high-energy sounds of Patrick Cowley/Sylvester, Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer, Cerrone, and Patti Brooks inspiring. “The music just spoke to me,” says Siegel. Siegel DJed intermittently at clubs, even lying about his age to gain employment. “I was always perceived as being much older than I was, so there was never any doubt that I was qualified, especially with the amount of disco music history I knew.”

It was after his appearance as The Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Show at a cabaret club called The Sweet Gum Head that he was able to get more challenging jobs. “The director thought that I was a good stage performer, and I was also technically inclined regarding anything audio, so he cast me to do both. I ‘narrated’ the show and worked the audio gear that handled the music from the stage.”

In the early 80’s, Siegel’s club gigs varied from working as the music director for shows at Mrs. P’s Annex Showbar Cabaret, to mixing dance songs for after-hours dancers at Numbers, to playing tunes for the stand-up leather bar, Texas Drilling Company.

Photo: Nightclub "The Cove", Atlanta

In 1982, Siegel was offered a position at The Cove Nightclub in Midtown Atlanta. Siegel eventually became department head and worked there until its close in 1994, 12 years later. Because The Cove was technically a private club open 24 hours, Siegel was able to DJ at other venues in Metro Atlanta, including the world famous Limelight, The Masquerade, Petrus and ’elan. After The Cove, Siegel worked at Club Anytime until 1997.

While working at The Cove, Siegel convinced management that hiring his long-time friend Randy Dethman would be one of the best decisions they could make. Both Siegel and Dethman set many standards and introduced new ideas to the local Atlanta music scene. Along with help from lightman and relief DJ Randy Alexander, they won several awards in the nightclub community, including DJ’s of the year, Best Lightshow (which they designed), and Music Factory Master Mix’s best medley. Aron “Bugsy” Siegel and Randy “Spike” Dethman became spokesmen for Harmonic Keys Magazine, a publication designed to enlighten DJ’s about the harmonies in music. Siegel also served on reporting panels for Billboard Magazine, Dance Music Report, CVC Report, and Details magazine.

During their tenure at The Cove, Spike and Bugsy incorporated every available piece of DJ booth equipment into their nightly sessions. Extra curricular pursuits contributed to their success. Siegel earned a B.S. in audio engineering at Georgia State, while Dethman programmed personal computers to control parts of the Cove’s sound and light show. When the owner opted to purchase an open-reel system, the two made a giant leap forward from being DJ’s to becoming producers, editors, and remixers. A & R Productions was formed.

Their first edit, Eartha Kitt’s Where is My Man, pressed by Hot Tracks remix service, was a hit with the club-going crowd. Hot Tracks staffer Lester Temple called on the A & R Productions team for more edits. Along the way, Spike and Bugsy produced four medleys:

They also produced numerous extended edits.

On a trip to Atlanta, dance sensation Sylvester was even privy to a special mix of his hit, Sex, that was just too hot and ‘Nasty’ for commercial release. Twelve edits made it to Hot Tracks vinyl, including:

Boys impressed Dice records label president Tom Wiesser so much that he flew both Dethman and Siegel to the Dice studios to do additional production on a Lauren Grey/Leah Landis effort entitled Destiny. While in the Dice studio, Bugsy and Spike produced an alternate mix of Lauren Grey’s Putting the Night On Hold.

More production projects became available to the duo. Silver Blue records’ recording artist, Lea, and producer Howard Wollen flew Siegel to Los Angeles for his mix-down talent and Dethman for his editing talent for cuts, including a clever cover of Lion Sleeps Tonight, Flip Side, and Wild Inside. Word spread of the team’s ability to polish a rough mix or production.

Tom Hayden of TSR records arranged for Siegel and Dethman to remix Amanda Scott’s Lies from original masters. “It was a European record with Rock and Roll roots. After all, Amanda Scott is Bonnie Tyler’s sister. You have to expect that kind of rough sound. We tamed the track, gave it a punchier club beat, and cleaned up a lot of the muddiness in the background pads,” says Siegel. Siegel also mixed down a track titled Who’s Looking Back for Vince Capretta, at Right Tracks studios in Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo: Randy Dethman und Aron Siegel im Cyberteknics Studio, Atlanta

Siegel kept up with local Atlanta artists and paid attention to a nearby label called Hot Hits. After contacting Hot Hits president Alan White, A & R Productions was contracted to do additional production on a track called Dancers, featuring singer Crystal Smith. White produced the A side with an R & B flavor similar to Janet Jackson’s Pleasure Principle. Siegel worked with MIDI programmer Herb Avery to flesh out a pumping, housey groove complete with sizzling piano track.

Hot Hits signed Jayne Doe, an incredible writer and vocalist who did background vocals, horn arrangements, or additional production on practically every track of the Atlanta All-Stars compilation. A & R Productions produced and mixed most of The All-Stars album with Alan White. The two Jayne Doe tracks, Blue Lights and Light My Fire/Fire, were released as 12-inch extended mix singles and charted very high on most dance charts.

Siegel and Dethman continued their relationship with Hot Hits and Doe for Everything Is Music, once rumored to have inspired the beginning chant in Vogue. Several songs followed with Jayne Doe on her own label, Jeneric Records. Dethman and Siegel co-produced with Doe, including:

Over the past several years, Siegel has worked with Grace Jones, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Ru Paul, Angela Bowie, and Alicia Bridges. While working at The Masquerade, he opened for Moby.

When the Cove installed a video system in the club, A & R Productions ventured into music video and television production, churning out video edits of Think, Speed Racer, and Constant Craving.

The two DJ/VJ’s soon found themselves producing television. 70’s Dance Party was a retro 70’s disco dance show that featured recording artists such as Alicia Bridges singing her hit I Love the Nightlife. Party can still be seen on late night cable.

Film Forum is a 30-minute magazine-style live television show about feature release movies on a local cable station. Dethman continued to produce Film Forum until his untimely death in 1997. Through the help of Director Allen Williams, Technical Director Fred Allen, and co-host Dean Treadway, Siegel has kept A & R Productions as a tribute to his friend and continues to co-host and produce Film Forum live every Tuesday night at 8 PM in the city of Atlanta. Siegel has recently interviewed Donnie Yen, star of Iron Monkey; John Cameron Mitchell, writer, director, and star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and Oscar Nominee Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit, stars of Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous.

Siegel most recently finished mixing sound for an upcoming movie, The Greenskeeper, which features John Rocker and Playboy model Christie Taylor. He has also worked on film sets with Michael Jordan, Phyliccia Rashad, and the Aaron Spelling TV series, Savannah.

Siegel lives on the Northeast side of Atlanta with his two cats, Junior and Meg.

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