Meet Greg Gioia

Welcome to my little corner of the web! If the url and banners haven't made it clear, I'm Greg Gioia, and this is my "about me" page.

Professionally, I'm a DJ, bartender, and event planner. Here is a fine picture of me, walking to my former, and favorite, car, followed by a brief description of what I do in each role. Following that is a long-winded version of my life's story to this point.


As a DJ I specialize in weddings and corporate / company parties and events. I play requests, but when left to my own devices I play a mix of indie rock, old rock and soul, old school rap, afrobeat, yé-yé, and pretty much anything danceable and fun, but not overplayed. I avoid the cheesy and cliché songs that seem to be the staples of many other DJs. But again, I take requests and customize my performance to the needs and desires of my clients and their guests.


As a bartender, I operate a mobile speakeasy. I show up and transform your home, office, or other space into a swanky cocktail bar for the night. I have spent 20 years mastering and perfecting hundreds of classic, and modern, cocktail recipes, as well as how to make the ingredients that go into them. I make, or in the current parlance "artisanally handcraft," most of the ingredients other than the spirits themselves. I make syrups, cordials, tonics, and bitters, as well as brandied and maraschino cherries, and a host of other mixers that make the drinks pop. I don't just bring the booze, I bring everything-- bar tools, glassware, napkins, and ice, and even the bar itself if needed.


As an event planner, I supply everything else one needs to host an event. After more than 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area special events industry I've built relationships with hundreds of vendors and service providers, and assist clients in finding caterers, florists, transportation, decor, and so forth, as well as any necessary rentals-- tables, chairs, linens, and anything else needed to build the event's infrastructure.


In addition to intimate cocktail parties, I specialize in planning and implementing large-scale theme parties. I've brought in 17-piece jazz big bands for '40s themed affairs, created a roller disco, and even transformed a warehouse into a hay loft, complete with a square dance caller and a hayride through the streets of Oakland to bring guests to the party. I've hosted casino nights, James Bond parties, masquerades, and more. The larger and grander the better.


And that sums up what I do, at least on a professional basis. Now then, if you want the looong version of my about me, continue reading.


Greg the DJ, the Long Version


My DJ career began when I was 14 years old, though I'd been unknowingly preparing for it even before then. I used to make mixtapes of favorite songs, and periodically chime in with my DJ patter and commentary. My goal at that point was to be on the radio some day, but when I entered high school and mentioned to an upperclassman that I was a DJ, he misunderstood and a few weeks later tracked me down and hired me to spin at a house party. With a cobbled together sound system and a stack of records, mostly 7" 45s I'd purchases over the years at a nearby flea market, I showed up and rocked the house. More or less. Keep in mind at that point a DJ at a party was a pretty rare thing, so guests were more forgiving than they'd be nowadays.


Age 14 was also the point in my life that I discovered the hip hop style of DJ'ing, and I began teaching myself to loop breakbeats, using two copies of the same record, and to scratch. I didn't know any other DJs, and there was no internet in those days, so everything I learned was either from what I heard DJs do in songs, read about in magazines, or saw Grand Mixer D.ST. do in the Rockit video. But I persevered, and became quite good, and by the age of 16 I was DJ'ing in a band and winning DJ scratch battles.


I was something of a musical anomaly back then. While most of my peers and bandmates were into one style of music, or one scene, I was all over the place. After DJ’ing with my rap band, I’d meet up with a different group of friends and go see Operation Ivy at 924 Gilman in Berkeley. My favorite bands were Run-D.M.C., Joy Division, Slayer, the Beastie Boys, and the Smiths, but I was also avidly into ska, punk and jazz. Not to mention that I listened to Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas over and over in my bedroom. To this day, my musical tastes are varied and eclectic, though that seems more acceptable in today’s digital information age climate. It’s no longer considered weird when I hook up four turntables and layer Monty Python, the Chordettes, Funkadelic, and EPMD into one mix. They even have a name for that now— a mashup— though when I did it it was just known as “Greg's being weird again.”


When I started college, at U.C. Berkeley, my DJ hobby truly became a DJ career.


To Be Continued