Laurin McQueen Fedora’s life is sweet. Having already lived in six states and two European countries, he still managed to find the crux of creative inspiration in one of the most unsuspecting places—a Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream store.
“The [name] ‘Sleazy’ was added eight years ago when I worked at Ben and Jerry’s and flirted with a lot of customers,” says the DJ/producer. “I have lived up to the adjective since then more than I could have ever imagined.”
On the decks, Fedora dons the moniker “Sleazy McQueen”; in the studio it’s “Tony the Pony” casting the eclectic spell of funk, house and breaks tracks that ebb with layered soul, bass and quirky panache. “My DJ style and production style are totally different beasts,” he says. “The best way to describe my sets is to say it’s ‘house-party house.’”
But crafting and remixing beats remains one of McQueen’s first loves, and in 2007, he moved to Orlando and landed in the mix with intelli-house producers Q-Burns Abstract Message (Q-Bam) and Atnarko. His work with their self-helmed Eighth Dimension and EIGHT-TRACKS label conjured up the kind of creative catharsis that produced underground funk gems, including “Too Much Rainy Days” and the moody bassline of “Workin All Night.”
“‘Workin All Night’ was my jam,” McQueen says of the production tip. “Last March, 2006, I called in my buddy, Hugh [The Nasty Fruits], for a disco session. I had a really rigged recording set-up and he had to keep singing or making noise, otherwise it would stop recording. We had a funny studio interaction, I would hold up old funk and disco records for immediate ad-libbed lyrical inspiration and he would sing the first thing that came to mind. I think the line itself was inspired by the gatefold picture of the Rick James LP with ‘Cold Blooded’ on it.”
When McQueen’s not tapping into the punk-funk brainwaves of dead Motown artists, he’s busy wreaking club-land havoc in his green lucha libre mask. The infamous “Club Queso” nights at Orlando’s Peacock Room are nary complete without an appearance by Sleazy busting out wrestling moves in his mask—and sometimes, little else.
“I bought my mask in Tijuana a few years back and hid it like a dirty secret until I was called upon to DJ at Q-Bam and Atnarko’s bi-monthly, Club Queso,” McQueen says. “My mask and I found a home in Orlando shortly thereafter. Now, I act as the late-night entertainment, I come out at about 1am in a mask and outfit matching the theme of the night…[I] run around, get in bar fights, hog-tie dancers…These shenanigans are usually reserved for Orlando though, as most of them find me in scant clothes and I am afraid of your Midwestern winters.”
As for his more massive mission on the music front? “I have been working with some really talented vocalists recently… I am on a mission to make house music for people that don’t like house music.” (Jenn Danko)
Sleazy McQueen headlines B-Side, with residents Karl Alamaria and Josh Harrell, at Streetside, 3201 West Armitage, (773)252-9700, December 13 at 10pm. No cover.