For Five Years, DJ Crash Has Created a Space for Musicians to be Weird

Jay Gavit, aka DJ Crash, uses The Corpsepaint Show and Deep Ellum Radio’s Beyond Punk to give space to "quirky" musicians.
Jay Gavit, aka DJ Crash, uses The Corpsepaint Show and Deep Ellum Radio’s Beyond Punk to give space to "quirky" musicians.
Jay Gavit
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It’s noon on a weekday, and Jay Gavit is stepping into his car to do an interview on his lunch break — a familiar tactic for those who live life with their right foot in the corporate world and their sinister foot in the counterculture.

By day, Gavit is a sales manager for a company that handles accounting work for large corporations.

“We're kind of wrapping up the end of the month,” Gavit says while closing the door, turning the air on and the stereo off quickly. “It's been a good month, so we're casual this week.”

By night, Gavit is the voice behind the moniker DJ Crash, host of Deep Ellum Radio’s Beyond Punk every Thursday from 9-11 p.m., and the unpainted face of Satan, host of The Corpsepaint Show online series every Sunday at 6 p.m.

Two very different worlds indeed, but for Gavit, both are about building relationships and daring to just ask.

“Sales is all about reaching out not being afraid to ask for the business,” Gavit says. “On the Corpsepaint side, it’s about not being afraid to ask for, like, a media request asking, ‘Would you please join us on this show?’”

In either case, Gavit knows how to handle people who are nervous about committing, whether because they're new to business or new to media.

Gavit says that The Corpsepaint Show began as something of a goof. “The idea was that I would sit around, maybe with another metalhead dressed in corpse paint, and we would play extreme metal songs and then talk about them in a dark humorous type of way,” he says.

But when the opportunity to grow presented itself, Gavit took the chance to expand the show’s focus and production.

“You've got a studio, you've got a fairly presentable show and you’ve got a microphone, so why just stick with metal albums?” he says. “Let's expand this and talk about occasional social issues and horror films and other cultural things.”

Now, for nearly five years, Gavit has combined his knack for relationship-building and his love for all things music to create a space for artists on the fringe of the music scene, despite any challenges he has faced.

Recently Gavit had to move the show from the online production company it once called home to a live Facebook format. He's looking for a new home for the show.

“In December, they raised the studio rent and also eliminated weekend work,” Gavit says. “Since my show was on Sunday, they were essentially just saying they didn’t like me anymore.”

Joking aside, the switch to at-home production has limited Gavit’s ability to cut to videos and images, but it has also afforded him with the ability to move away from the painted Satan role and toward his role as an ambassador for what makes Dallas weird and cool.

“I'm leaning more towards producing things as DJ Crash and sort of just a little bit leaning away from Corpsepaint,” Gavit says. “I think I kind of limited myself with The Corpsepaint Show and more extreme metal in horror. I still love all of that, but I kind of keep that over there and then more of my current ... under DJ Crash.

“It’s not that I'm closing up The Corpsepaint Show,” Gavit clarifies, “but when I'm producing a show at Gas Monkey, I think that it just kind of sounds better now to say, ‘Presented by DJ Crash.’”

Gavit can’t remember when exactly he started booking shows at Gas Monkey, but he knows that it started with building a relationship with management. He began booking interesting acts in well-attended shows in the less-popular, early-weekday slots. Gavit is now booking shows for days later in the week and coveted weekend spots.

“I think the plan for the future would be to continue maintaining relationships with wonderful artists from across the country and give more stage time and bookings to Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth talent,” Gavit says. “I'm always on the lookout for something a little quirky. So instead of a metal night, let's do a rockabilly night.”

The first rockabilly night will take place April 15 at Gas Monkey Bar ‘n’ Grill with A Night of Rockabilly Terror with Rock N Roll Cannibals, Crooked Bones and The Chilling Archives. Gavit is also interested in booking shows featuring all types of artists.

“I want exposure for bands that are local, that deserve it, that are not on bills every two weeks already,” Gavit says. “By exposure, I mean live bookings, or if that doesn't quite work, then would they be a guest on my radio show, or if that doesn't work, maybe they could be a guest on The Corpsepaint Show.”

“I guess the goal would be to convey an appreciation of music as a type of art,” Gavit says, “and the power it has.”

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