RAY CAVIANO (RFC RECORDS)
“I have very fond memories of the extraordinary DJ, Roy Thode. I admired his passion and commitment to his professionalism and love for the music. Roy had tremendous Integrity when it came to playing the right records and understanding his crowd and the movements on the dance floor. There is no question that Roy Thode’s incredible dance music legacy will be remembered for many years to come.”
DJ ROBBIE LESLIE
I honestly cannot tell you the first time I met Roy Thode, but I do know when I first fell under his powerful, musical spell. It was in the second half of the 1970’s and I was working in Fire Island Pines as a bartender. I had every Saturday night off… an almost unheard-of thing for a seasonal worker… but there was a very good reason: Roy Thode was spinning at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove on Saturday nights! The Pines was eerily quiet on Saturday late nights because everyone was in The Grove dancing!
The Ice Palace on those magical nights was a steam-bath, jam packed with blissful, smiling men and women enjoying a soundtrack woven together by a tall, bearded man high up in the DJ booth. His focus on the turntables was manic and feverish; he did not stand idle for a single moment up there behind the glass. And the sounds issuing from the speakers reflected his intensity, his supreme musical tastes, and his talents manipulating vinyl.
Long beyond dawn he would play his records on those summer Sunday mornings. Crowds would linger – unwilling or unable to tear themselves away from Roy’s siren song. Many would dance outside on the deck and embrace the new day. I often stayed until the last song was played and the speakers went silent at last. The remaining dancers screamed, applauded, stomped their work-boots, and begged for more…
I learned that summer what it meant for a DJ to elevate the playing of records into something intoxicating and perfectly thrilling!
A summer or two later and I was a DJ myself, spinning weeknights at The Sandpiper. Roy, who I had met socially by that time, was thoroughly supportive of my new chosen career. He often would come to my gigs on Monday nights and sit back in one of the dark corners of the club, just listening for hours to me and taking in my own personal style. Though he never gave me specific pointers or mixing tips per se, his presence and encouragement were priceless assets to me as I learned and grew.
In the coming years I would dance to Roy on countless nights at Studio 54, the Saint, Ice Palace 57, Underground, and other venues. His musical fingerprint still echoes in my ears, and in my memories.
He stands alone as an inspiration, a mentor, and an example to follow reverently.
Thank you, Roy Thode, for so many golden nights and for your stewardship of a music form still celebrated to this day.
DJ Robbie Leslie
DJ CHICO "STARR" WILLIAMS
“It was a lively night after the 1st show which was about 4 AM, and I saw 3 unexpectedly familis 3 unexpectedly familiar faces by the bar. The Anvil had just installed a brand new booth with technique quartz 1500s, And a brand new sound system from Graebar.
Roy Thode, Sharon White, and Wayne Scott, were sitting…. wellllll… actually standing at the bar closest to the big mirror on the wall of the exit signs. I was so surprised because the Anvil did not allow women inside. And Sharon, was one of a very lucky few to attend the inner workings of the shenanigans of the Anvil and the great music that accompanied it….
“Deputy of Love” had just come out and I had a couple of copies and immediately upon 1st playing it, I remixed the 1st intro, which was very very short. Maybe 8 counts, about 4 to 8 times, before dropping the song into the 1st verse. When I thought….well, why not. And threw in a slow phase, which sounded like a jet aircraft taking off of an aircraft carrier, which peaked just before the second verse….wowwww, I thought, with that dj flush we all get, when the gamble of new territory goes wild……..
In the middle of the song, I looked up at the stairs to the booth and there was Roy Thode, smiling and saying: “wow” dude, that was amazing. And I looked at the bar where he was and I saw Sharon and Wayne waving and giving me the OK. Boy I was on top of the world right then. Roy thod actually invited me to play on 1 of his Sundays at 57, And I was shocked and very gratefully, super happy.
And the night continued marvellously. Hit after hit, mix upon mix, flawlessly composed and executed.. I was on fire.
Later that morning, and I’m not sure whether Sharon or Wayne were still there, it was early.. the Sun was up and Roy came to my booth, and he said, “you’re the king of sleeze”. “I’ve never heard anybody play at this BPM for hours”.
Whenever Roy was playing at the Ice Palace on Fire Island I would try, always, to go and listen to him because he was always so creative and just hot, musically. It was always super sweaty, in no uncertain terms, those nights on Fire Island, and the ?, or as most people say, the Grove.
That’s one of the most vivid memories I have of the boy they call Roy. And the man he became. He will be fondly revered by me and many others, around the world, who were fortunate enough to be touched by his ministry of music.”
DJ JOHN CEGLIA
“As a young DJ in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, I was looking for a way to get myself into NY or LA and play in a bigger market.So I decided to attend the Billboard Disco Forum in LA in February of 1980 and had great success networking with record label executives, and DJs, including my soon-to-be mentor Jim Burgess.
At the awards ceremony there was a tie for Best National Club DJ between Bobby Viteretti of San Francisco, and Roy Thode of New York. I didn’t get a chance to meet either of them at that forum, but later became friends with both of those DJ legends. As a result of the networking I did in LA, in June of 1980 I had a chance to audition for the residency at New York-New York The Discotheque on W52nd Street, thanks to WKTU and Billboard Magazine Chart guru Michael Ellis.
At nineteen years of age I got the job and was thrilled to be coming to New York.In July of 1980 I asked to be a mixing techniques panelist at the Billboard Disco Forum in New York, and Bill Wardlow of Billboard Magazine granted me the opportunity. The mixing panel was the last event of the forum, and everyone who attended wanted to see, and ask questions of the DJs on the panel.
Amongst DJ legends like Moderator Jim Burgess, Bobby Viteretti, Mike Lewis of Studio One in LA, and others, I was the least known panelist. In fact, not one question was directed at me.But at the very end of the mixing panel we each had to demonstrate two mixes for the packed ballroom. Standing room only.
I was the second last one to go, and nervous as hell!My first blend garnered a nice cheer from the crowd of DJs, club owners, record label execs, and promoters. My second one was a long blend laying the entire intro of Souvenirs over top of the break of Girls Affair by Change.
People stood cheering during the blend and I was the only one on the panel to receive a standing ovation. A moment I’ll never forget. When the session was over, one of the people who came to congratulate me was none other than Roy Thode.
He introduced himself, and I was quick to tell him that I already knew him and his music well. Roy couldn’t have been nicer, or more humble.He was very complimentary of my technique and offered me my first night as a guest DJ on Fire Island, at the Ice Palace, Cherry Grove. The first night of many at one of my favorite places, and a place where I made many lifelong friends.Being in New York for only two months I will be forever grateful to Roy for his generosity in offering me the opportunity to come to Fire Island.
We lost Roy less than two years later, and although he was taken from us way too soon, we were lucky to have him as an incredible DJ talent, and we were even more fortunate to have known him.”