Danny the Wildchild & Phantom 45
- Words: Vivian Host
Phantom 45 (Brian Sarpalius) and Danny The Wildchild (Daniel Garcia) are both in love with Maxwell Street Polish. "It's our equivalent to Philly's cheesesteak spots like Pat's and Geno's," explains Danny of the sausage stand. "It's all outdoors. People are there at five or six in the morning, eating on top of their cars." It's not surprising the pair frequent Maxwell's–it espouses many of the values they hold dear: it's unpretentious, it's fun and it stays up all night long.
Phantom and Danny have been nearly inseparable since they met in 1992 at Hot Jams. Phantom, who was doing the ordering for the record store, turned Danny, an avid turntablist, onto the breakbeat hardcore sounds coming from UK acts like Acen and 2 Bad Mice–both were instantly smitten by the so-called 'ardkore sound (drum & bass's predecessor). When the Chicago drum & bass scene blew up in 1994–with warehouse parties like Ripe drawing 2,000 to 4,000 champagne-swilling, lighter-waving ravers per weekend–Danny and Phantom were playing nearly every event.
Though US rave fever has cooled considerably, the duo still plays around the country regularly. Their styles complement each other–both play dancefloor-ready tracks from the likes of True Playaz and Ram Records, but where Phantom goes with smooth, house-style mixing, Danny layers fierce scratch routines over the beats. "You see DJs and they're a dime a dozen," declares Danny. "They're smoking a cigarette, talking to someone in the booth–it's really not exciting. Even if there's a little string breakdown, I tend to add scratches to it to let [the crowd] know that I'm behind the decks and I'm ready."
Those who know Phantom and Danny know that mixing is about the only thing they take seriously. Phantom is known for his Southside Chicago pride and his fondness for Mexican beer, while Danny's famous for his easy laugh and his fondness for the sticky greens.
Not surprisingly, these jokesters say that they have never had a fight with each other; in fact, they've learned a lot from hanging out. "Brian has taught me how to have fun on the road," says Danny. "From Danny, I've learned that you should put a towel underneath the hotel door if you're going to be smoking," adds Brian. "And also a shower cap goes right over the smoke detector."
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