Sam “The Man” Burns is a DC institution. He first made his mark on the scene over 40 years ago performing in many of the city’s legendary clubs and also working in local record shops and radio. We got a chance to catch up with him and learn more about how he got started in DJing, his memories of the scene and what’s next for him.
Tell us about how you got started in the DC disco scene. Who are some of your influences and mentors?
I was a doorman at a club called The Chapter II and the DJ that night became sick. I was ordered to save the day. So I played records with NO experience. I studied other DJ’s, I practiced almost daily until I became a decent DJ. My mentors were Gregg Diggs, Tito Robinson, Preston Powell, Kevin Mills, Mark Blake and Kenny “Hollywood” Hart.
How would you describe the DC disco scene to someone visiting the city for the first time?
The hottest disco’s had the best music and the best dancers. The most exciting disco had dance contests. The Plum was the place to be for the $500 Grand Prize Dance Off! on Saturday night.
What does the word disco mean to you?
Nightclub, Music, Dance and Disco Lights. The French word for Disco is Discotheque.
What is next on the horizon for you in terms of your other musical projects?
I’m currently doing an upcoming video called “Uptown Uber Ride,” in which I write, produce and direct the video. Sal Negro and myself did the music for the upcoming video.
Sam “The Man” Burns will be performing alongside Cerrone, Jellybean Benitez, The Blackbyrds, DJ Boring, Honey Soundsystem, Andy Grant and Discoholic on Saturday, September 28 at U Street Music Hall as part of this year’s Blisspop Disco Fest. Tickets for this event can be purchased here.
Take a listen to his latest track “Uptown Uber Ride”, recorded with Sal Negro, here: