DJ Rob Hitt wasn’t bullshitting when he named his weekly Tuesday night bash at Angels and Kings “Trainwreck.”
If you don’t mind The Real World’s Baya Voce and her po-faced DJing apprenticeship, there’s a late open bar followed by a $5 whiskey special. I made it through the open bar but was buckling when some new acquaintance, home on break from college, held a shot of Jameson under my nose. I waved it away. “Oh that’s right, you need to stay alert,” he deadpanned. “You’re following the chick from The Real World.” Down the hatch.
Voce wasn’t difficult to find in a crowd of tipsy emo kids wound tightly in their skinny jeans. She was wearing a bright aquamarine Patagonia fleece and gulping ice water. Shining a high wattage smile on me the reality TV starlet gushed about her newly acquired skills; "I just had a DJ set up built in my room!" Wait, where do you live? "Uh, I can’t tell you that." Did she like how she came off in the new show?
“Um, I’ve only seen two episodes,” she said with a chipper shrug.
“OK, well just so far,” I pressed.
“It seems very… it’s very funny.”
I paid my respects to the night’s grandee, a skinny, hyperactive 31-year-old punk, sporting a three-day beard and a double-breasted gray military tunic. Hitt’s no stranger to making sacrifices to the gods of MTV. In the late ’90’s his band Midtown was a homegrown favorite of the vibrant Jersey punk scene. Then it appeared on an episode of Road Rules. “You’re funny,” he said, laying a lean finger in my direction when I mentioned Midtown. “It’s just weird when people bring that up.” In a rapid-fire delivery, he went back and forth with himself on whether it was worth it to do the show.
“Credibility?” he asked. “Does credibility even matter?” I admitted it was a tough call. With rising excitement he replied, “When you’re friends are giving you a hard time it might.”
He recalled the MTV suits approaching him 10 years ago with an offer to fly his band to the beach and do the show. “They told us it would look like we were making fun of the cast.” Reading my face, Hitt shook his head in disbelief. “Riiiight.”