Come on Irene

What the excitable DJ Irene Gutierrez lacks in finesse she makes up for in balls

"I had already been in rehab once, then I fell back off the wagon. One day I was sitting down in one of those getting-high moments, and I was like, 'What am I doing? I'm stupid.' I realized that I only have one plane and it's the only plane I can catch, and if I don't catch it, I'll never get anywhere. It was a lot of faith in God, that's how I did it. When I was high I would tweak on the Bible, read it and say, 'Please help me, I can't do this by myself.' Then one morning I woke up and I had this glow in my face. Something just happened, it was weird, and I stopped doing drugs."

Six months later she gave up drinking, and for seven years she's lived an entirely drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. "It has to be that way. I just got tired of trying to be a victim," Gutierrez says, attributing her recent bout of success to sheer force of determination. "When you go through what I went through you become fearless. You have to learn to be strong even though you're not. I've been through a lot in life, which brought me where I am today. I feel strong and confident now, and I'm happy."

She's also passionate. It's there in her music, and it's rarely far from her conversation. Is she a passionate person in private? "I am a passionate person. I'm a passionate lover," she says shyly, almost whispering. In public, however, like her in-yer-face DJing style, she favors far more blatant expression. "Sex sells!" she says, giggling, when asked about the cover art and advertising posters for her last album, Global House Diva 2: Live in Ibiza. It features her lounging amid a scantily clad group of revelers, one silicone-enhanced dancer peering lustfully into her open satin shirt. "It's all fun, because that's what I am, a bunch of fun," she says, still laughing.

How's this for blowing the demographic curve? DJ Irene is a 39-year-old lesbian recovering addict who spins records for a living.
How's this for blowing the demographic curve? DJ Irene is a 39-year-old lesbian recovering addict who spins records for a living.

On the subject of exploiting sex for commercial gain, 39-year-old Gutierrez is decidedly level-headed. "I try to keep it clean, where it's not too much and not too little," she says, the jarring intro to "Acid Eaterz" notwithstanding. "What other people do is up to them. If that's their thing, then I don't disagree and I don't agree. I think what really makes the artist is their talent. You can be the hottest thing around and you can't play for shit. Look at DJ Rap. She's awesome. She's a great drum 'n' bass DJ. I have respect for her because she has talent. Sandra Collins, she looks really good, and she's a great DJ. As long as you have the talent to back up your shit, that's what matters."

Looking to the future, Gutierrez is committed to developing her musical skills so that she, too, can write, play and produce as expertly as her heroine Madonna, whose cowgirl image fills the wall space above the mixing board in her home studio. Although her current DJing schedule involves an exhausting amount of travel, she hopes to eventually settle into more of a studio role, and her goal is, of course, to work with Madonna.

"I tell everybody that, so that someday she will hear it. I figure by the time she gets to her next album I'll be ready, and she'll be ready. Bitch vs. Bitch, that would be the best sort of album." She's clearly given it some thought.

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