With over 40 years in the music business with 30 those being at the helm of Starfleet Music Record Pool. 500 thousand DJs from around the Globe are registered with the world’s most prestigious record pool.
It all began with the job of Record Store buyer, evolving into Spinning Vinyl at the clubs under the name DJ Captain Kirk to founding Starfleet Music record pool, both names he received the blessings on from Gene Roddenberry’s son. Best put by Ronnie himself “Well, I’m an old Trekkie. I saw the original Star Trek back in the ’60s & I always wanted to be Captain Kirk. Throughout my early DJing career, I had not given a thought to having a DJ name/handle, so when one of the radio stations, WCKZ Kiss-102, asked to do their mix shows, the PD asked what my DJ name was, “DING”, the light went off in my head & DJ Captain Kirk was born. I’ve had a ton of fun with that name, plus it helped spawn my company name as well, Starfleet Music Pool.
I have all sorts of items given to me from companies associated with Paramount/Universal, even have a drop by Gene Roddenberry’s son, Rod Roddenberry, who is in charge of the franchise now, saying thanks to Starfleet Music Pool DJs. You’ve gotta love it.”
He is MR DANCE MUSIC! Ronnie has been successful at making people dance to music they have never heard before, helping to shape the dance scene for over 40 years by getting the newest and latest into the hands that spin it. Ronnie was the one that created and coined the “crossover” music genre; being the first to send the Urban sound to Dance Club DJs. From the Days of Vinyl to be the first in the Pools to send the new Digital Music Format MP3 out to his DJ’s, Ronnie Matthews is the Dance Scene Music Trailblazer.
Ronnie has met and worked with some of the biggest names in the music biz from Sylvester, Michael Jackson, P Diddy, Taylor Dane, The Village People, Kristine W, Vanilla Ice and Cece Penniston, Lady GaGa, Dupa Lipa just to name a few and he continues to do so and has a story to go along with all of them. Ronnie is well respected amongst the other record pools, Record Label A&R Reps and recording artists alike.
What’s the best band or artist you have ever worked with?
WOW, great question! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many different artists throughout my 44+ year career. Back in the mid-’70s, when I got my 1st club gig I played in one of the 1st Discos in Charlotte, NC, Faces. Loved Sister Sledge, Travaras, The Gap Band, The Trammps, Chic & a whole lot more, which all performed at the club. It was an amazing time to have been DJing. Then we head into the ’80s & the clubs I played in like 2001 at Myrtle Beach, SC than in 2001 in Charlotte, NC, where we had all kinds of the regional & national bands, like Sly & the Family Stone, which was a crazy show! George Clinton & his crews. It’s just too hard to pick the best having worked with so many different ones throughout my 28+ years of DJing.
Having been in the business 40 years, have you achieved all your goals with this?
Another great question. After 47+ years in the music industry I’d have to say no, but thinking about it I have far excited what I ever thought it was going to be like. I’ve met so many people in the music industry, the artist that I speak with weekly to monthly that I played their music from the late ’60s to the ’90s & DJs, all whom I can call my friends today. I’ve DJed in great clubs, mix shows on hot radio stations, the buyer for Camelot Music’s largest store in their chain at the time, where we broke all kinds of records for selling the most 12”s, CD-5s, Maxi-cassettes than the rest of the chain. Now I’m running one of the top record/digital music pools in the country with global reach as well, for 28+ years. I’d love to be making more money, but don’t we all!
What do you get up to in your spare time when not working on Starfleet Music Record Pool?
Spend time with my wonderful wife, Andrea & when it’s warm outside I love riding my bike! Been doing that for some 65+ years I’m sure.
If you could work with any band on a new song, who would it be and why?
Another WOW question, because I have a very famous artist like BOHANNON, Ohio Players, The Chairmen of the Board, Gus Redmond, to name a couple that I get to work with that are legends in the industry & artist that are in the middle of their careers like Kim Cameron & Side FX, Anything But Monday, Cheryl Reid that make amazingly great music that can pack dancefloor in a minute & hit #1 on our charts. It would have been great to have met Prince & work with him. Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars all would be great!
What was the first gig you ever attended?
Do you mean where I worked or a concert? 1st gig where I was finding out about DJing, would be with my old friend Gary Patterson (Disco Pat), who was at a local school party where I helped him set up his light & sound equipment in the gym. I watched as all the girls were hanging around the DJ coffin as he was getting the whole school dancing. I couldn’t believe he was able to work for the crowd & make them dance to a variety of music.
If you’re talking about my 1st club gig, then that would have been at the Tree House, which was remodeled & turned into Faces. I had applied for a DJing job here earlier that year & was told they were covered by their radio DJs. Pat & I just returned from a long trip mobile DJings throughout the southeastern & the phone rang. The owner asked Pat if he could fill in I Pat said he was tired but maybe I could fill in. I got on the phone & was asked to play. I said I could do it but I wanted to play my style of music, which would be Funky, Disco. He said I don’t care what you play as long as the music was playing in-between the band sets. I got there & got set up with their DJ booth which had belt drive turntables & an old Teac broadcast board. The doors opened to the club & I started playing my style of music & within 30 minutes or so my dancefloor was filling up. The band came on & played its 1st set & they barely had anybody get on the dancefloor. They went & I started up again & the dancefloor was packed. By the end of the night, the 2 owners pulled me into their office & offered me a job as their NEW DJ for their soon to be a NEW club, Faces. That was the beginning of my club & Mixshow DJing.
What inspired you to get into the music industry in the first place?
I use to love listing to funky music, Motown in particular, when I was a kid into my teens. After getting that DJ bug in the mid-’70s, watching my ability to manipulating people on the dancefloor at will I was HOOKED!
If you like the sound of the band, do you normally give them a chance regardless?
This is one of the things that I’ve always enjoyed the most, breaking new music, regardless if it’s a well-known artist/group or a brand new one not heard on the radio before. That has been my reputation from the beginning. There’s nothing like having people come to the DJ booth early in the night asking for familiar music, only to come back to the booth later in the night asking, WHAT WAS THAT SONG, WHO’S THE ARTIST? I’d say, that’s those songs you were bitching about earlier in the night. Nothing like having a packed dancefloor all night playing fresh new music in & out with some of the hits of the moment.
Do you still perform DJ sets?
Nope, I retired from that after some 29 years. After dealing with night club owners that would have dress codes that helped keep a great classy crowd, then changing their minds late in the evening as they saw bums being turned away at the door, letting them in for the money, saying make sure you dress better next time in, only to have to throw them out for starting fights & running off the classier crew. Same thing for doing mix shows, which I did for a good 12+ years at various radio stations in the area. I had hot numbers at the stations my mix shows ran on, but the last station I was at the music director was younger & had never been east of the Mississippi & I having been here all my life. The station hired me right after the previous station was bought out by our competition.
They said they were looking forward to getting the good numbers as I had at the previous stations, BUT he said I was not going to be able to break new music like I had been doing previously. He said you can play 1 new song an hour & songs people would recognize, however when he would call me & ask about some of the music I had played the night before, asking who is C&C Music Factory, Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam, etc I’ve never heard of them before. I said those were recurrent hits from the world-known artists. This was the mid 90’s. He also asked why I played the remixes of the songs & not the versions they played on the radio? I said this is a Mixshow where we play what we’re playing in the clubs. At that point, I figured it was time to retire from this mess.