The Call-Up | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Call-Up 

DJ Bonics recalls the decision to go on the road with Wiz

By DJ Bonics, as told to Rory D. Webb. See our companion piece, "Made in Pennsylvania."

" [Kahlifa's managers] Will [Dzombak] and Benjy [Grinberg] approached me and said they wanted a new DJ for Wiz. They had a three-month tour booked in fall and there was a single coming out called 'Black and Yellow,' but no one had ever heard it. 

"Some people in radio work their whole life to get to a music-director or afternoon-hosting position, 'cause that's what they want. I was already doing that and had a salary and benefits, and that's something that's hard to give up for something that's not guaranteed. Wiz Khalifa was not guaranteed at the moment. So when they asked me ... the decision wasn't hard; accepting it was. 

"Knowing that everything I had built in Pittsburgh, especially radio, I was going to give up. ... At the time, WAMO wasn't even around. So when you think about it, how many pop-station jocks in Pittsburgh were there? There's four — the morning show, mid-day, the afternoons and there's nights. There are only four slots and it's not like those positions open up a lot. I worked hard as fuck to get there, and to give that up was tough. I remember crying in the studio of KISS, knowing that I had to do this and accept this. Some people who worked there didn't even understand it — like, ‘Wiz Khalifa? What? Really?' To me, I'm like, ‘Yo, I need to do this.' And so I made the decision and quit KISS, which was really tough. 

"I lived on Mount Washington and had this crib that overlooked the city, and I had to get rid of that. I put everything I owned into storage. I was like, ‘Yo, I have to prepare myself for this whole experience. I'm gonna be gone for three months. I can't sign a lease somewhere. What's the money gonna be like?' I spent the summer adapting. Basically, I'm not getting that paycheck every two weeks. So I had to hustle and continue DJing and making X amount of money to just figure it out. Then I went on tour with Wiz, and the rest is history."


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