Maybe you've caught one of his current weekly gigs, Thursdays at Manor and Sundays at Rockwell Lounge. Or maybe you saw him back when he held residencies at Le Passage and The Underground. Maybe, if you're lucky, you've heard his hip-hop/old-school mash-ups at exclusive parties hosted by the likes of Gen Art[link: genart.org] and Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. Or maybe you've just seen his mug splashed across party-pic Web sites. Chicago's Paul Blair, better known as DJ White Shadow, has played practically everywhere...

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15 Minutes with DJ White Shadow, aka Paul Blair

Maybe you’ve caught one of his current weekly gigs, Thursdays at Manor and Sundays at Rockwell Lounge. Or maybe you saw him back when he held residencies at Le Passage and The Underground. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ve heard his hip-hop/old-school mash-ups at exclusive parties hosted by the likes of Gen Art[link: genart.org] and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. Or maybe you’ve just seen his mug splashed across party-pic Web sites. Chicago’s Paul Blair, better known as DJ White Shadow, has played practically everywhere…

Age: 30
Neighborhood: Uptown
Status: Married with 16-month-old twin boys

Maybe you’ve caught one of his current weekly gigs, Thursdays at Manor and Sundays at Rockwell Lounge. Or maybe you saw him back when he held residencies at Le Passage and The Underground. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ve heard his hip-hop/old-school mash-ups at exclusive parties hosted by the likes of Gen Art[link: genart.org] and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. Or maybe you’ve just seen his mug splashed across party-pic Web sites. Chicago’s Paul Blair, better known as DJ White Shadow, has played practically everywhere, including L.A., Atlanta, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and New York.

His tour schedule is a long way from collecting eggs on the Ohio farm where he grew up. But in fifth grade, in what turned out to be a pivotal move for the budding music aficionado, the Blair family relocated to Detroit. “Detroit is a very music-oriented city,” Blair says. “The DJs are incredible, and they always broadcasted live from the clubs, so you could hear [what was playing at] the clubs when you were 12.” Blair held his first residency, at the Delta Market in Takamatsu, at age 17 while attending college in Japan. More recently, at a local charity event, he let me hop behind the turntables for an impromptu tutorial on scratching. I caught up with Blair again recently between gigs.

1. What’s your drink?
Negra Modelo, or Scotch and ginger ale

2. Who’s your favorite drinking pal?
My brother, Sam

3. What was the last book you read?
Killing Pablo, by Mark Bowden

4. Last song or album you downloaded off iTunes?
 "Love You Inside Out,” by The Bee Gees. I don’t know why I didn’t already have it.

5. Favorite restaurant or dish?
Anything from Sushi Wabi

6. Who’s your favorite Chicagoan, dead or alive?
Ron Santo

7. Describe your job in one sentence.
Play records for people to dance and drink to

8. What are your three most prized possessions?
My Mac PowerBook, my record collection, and my wife’s diamonds

9. When’s bedtime?
Usually between 3 and 5 a.m.

10. Favorite Chicago store?
Saint Alfred

11. Where do you get your local news?
WGN in the morning. What up, Robin?

12. And your coffee?
Dunkin’ Donuts

13. Favorite brunch spot?
Furama on Broadway for dim sum on Saturdays and Sundays

14. Who’s your favorite artist?
The Isley Brothers. They’re incredible, and I believe Ron Isley is the record holder for the longest span between Top 40 hits: one in 1950-something and one in 2004.

15. What’s your take on celebrity DJs?
They always suck. If you are a DJ and become famous, à la DJ AM, that’s cool, but if you are famous, à la Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, and then start DJing, it stinks. It’s lame for clubs to hire these people; the music is never good. Would you pay Pedro to be your dentist? Just because you were in a movie doesn’t mean you can do everything.

* * *

Coming up this week: Along with other ladies of the local media, I’m participating in a fashion show benefiting the Service Club of Chicago, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday the 9th at Chaise Lounge. A minimum $20 donation at the door includes Champagne and hors d’oeuvres by Chaise chef Isaac Holzworth. Be sure to say hi if you drop by.

Photograph: Rob Zoom Photography

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6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

this guy is the best DJ ever.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

i've seen whiteshadow spin many times. he plays to the crowd; his parties are always a friggin blast. didn't he used to own lakeview broadcasting co? what happened to his underground gig? i hate manor.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

i think he did own LBC, before the underground gig i think. have you seen him at rockwell? i've seen him the past 2 sundays downstairs and it is the best time ever. so refreshing to hear music that you hear NOWHERE else by a dj that doesn't take himself too seriously! keep it up white shadow!

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Isn't dj'ing for celebrities kind of like being a celebrity dj?

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

no. a celebrity dj is just that -- a celebrity-turned-dj. someone like danny masterson from "that '70s show" who gets hired to host parties at clubs and stand in the dj booth pretending to actually mix records. then there's a dj-turned-celebrity like dj am or samanthan ronson.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I saw samantha ronson at crimson. She is not good.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

So why do you think celebrities are being hired to dj now?

Are clubs more concerned about appealing to the masses through the use of celebutantes so that they can sell more liquor?

What does that say about today's club (I hesitate to use this word) culture?

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I received one of his CDs at a GenArt event at The Underground, and it's absolutely amazing. This guy is incredibly talented.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I think that the world is facinated with celebrity of any kind and its a pity. I have friends that are DJs that have worked on their craft for years that often complain about there jobs being taken from celebrities. If clubs want to hire celebrities to be in there space, they should have them do it outside the DJ booth. I actually went to underground to see White Shadow play, and they had Danny Masterson playing. It was awful. I am glad he is not there anymore anyway, the place has really not been good lately. I'll go to Manor now.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I'm glad to see White Shadow get some props. He is so underrated--and probably doesn't make anywhere near what these clubs are paying these "celebrity deejays" to spin and they suck a$$. Thanks, Sarah, for writing about Paul! And he's a cutie, too! :P

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Samantha Ronson is a talentless hack who is fortunate enough to have a rich and connected daddy.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

there are plenty of good dj's out there. the problem is, there aren't any good clubs anymore.

smartbar showcases plenty of talented dj's but it's more of a bar.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I don't know this DJ, but that junk club underground is a dump. And that little bald dude who always wears the hat is a weasel. I am a TV producer in LA and he kissed up for 2 hours while we were in Chicago. I checked up on him and he knows no one he claimed to know. I hate liars. I guess I'll go to Manor or Smartbar next time in town...

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Big ups to White Shadow. Uncle Rico is my dentist.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I knew Shadow when he as DJ'ing in college - after he got back from Japan, he tore it up in Kalamzoo, but quickly outgrew that scene. He's a great guy and his music is always cutting edge! Go Mentos!

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Saw this guy in LA and Chicago... stud. Also, am in the biz, and very true about the Detroit music scene.... lots of talent coming out of there that many people don't hear about (some they do).

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