Is there a more iconic image of a person paying homage to a song than Tom Cruise’s strutting to “Old Time Rock and Roll” in the movie “Risky Business”?
If music has any nostalgic or sentimental value to you – and you have friends – you might like a new party game created by some men in South Charlotte.
Over the past six months, Brian Coggin, Terry Gabbard, Brian Seagroves and Steve Moser have developed Diss Jockey, a game that encourages you to keep songs in your head, no matter how haunting they may be.
The game is played by participants following prompts on cards shaped like records (Note: If you’re younger than 20 years old, Google “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”) and playing music through their cell phones and tablets.
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It was a lot of fun. It’s not a competitive game at all, it’s more just to experience your music tastes and your friends music tastes.
The cards direct you to think of songs by a combination of two categories: a general prompt such as “This TV Theme Song” or “This 90s Song” and a more specific prompt such as “that should be played over a photo montage at your funeral” or “that should be used for torture.” Points are awarded by the Diss Jockey, or judge, for suggesting a good answer (a hit) or a bad one (a diss).
So, for example, you could either be rewarded or penalized for submitting the theme song from “Friends,” depending on the combination of the aforementioned prompts and the tastes of the Diss Jockey. There are more than 2,000 possible combinations for song themes.
Diss Jockey’s concept evolved out of a summertime cookout attended by Seagroves, a Waxhaw resident, and Gabbard and Coggin, who both live in Ballantyne. Partygoers were watching music videos online and casually having a conversation in which they challenged each other to name songs from quirky made-up categories.
Within a week, Coggin conceived the idea to develop the game into a marketable product. He arranged for a conference call with Gabbard and Seagroves, who are both theater teachers at Ardrey Kell High School.
“I said I have a business opportunity,” said Coggin. “Brian (Seagroves) said ‘This better not be Amway.’ That’s when we decided we were going to make a game.”
The group launched a campaign on kickstarter.com, a website in which patrons can pledge funds to help get creative projects off the ground. The men set a goal of $6,000: the cost of placing their first order, which they accomplished in the fall.
Diss Jockey is packaged in a glossy 3-inch by 3-inch box, just big enough to house the cards. It is recommended for players age 14 and older. It retails at $20 and orders can be placed at www.dissjockey.com.
Moser is responsible for marketing and distributing the game locally. It can be found in eight different game stores and music stores in the Charlotte area including Carolina Tabletop Games in Pineville.
Coggin says they’ve sold about 350 copies and have 40 more on store shelves. The entrepreneurs also test market it with small groups of friends and acquaintances as they did at the Ballantyne home of Gary and Donna Rudolph on a recent Saturday evening.
Five married couples played several rounds. Sure, “hit” and “diss” cards were being issued with each round but no one seemed to be keeping track of the score. Their raucous laughter and singing and swaying to the music indicated they were too enthralled in the anticipation of which golden oldie they were going to hear next.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Gary Rudolph. “It’s not a competitive game at all, it’s more just to experience your music tastes and your friends music tastes.”
One of the categories was “This one-hit wonder song … that would be awful to hear during your colonoscopy.” Answers included “hits” from the 80s and early 90s such as “Whip It” by Devo, “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany, and Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
But one entry has to be a “diss” and the Diss Jockeys, Dennis and Suzanne Mooney, dissed Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” submitted by Dean and Kristen Antonilli.
“You can turn that crap off,” quipped Dennis Mooney. “But I actually like that song so I would want to hear it if I was having a colonoscopy.”
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.