The Best Summers I Spent While Growing Up Were at United Skates of America!
This December will mark my 34th year in radio. Before that I got hooked on being a DJ while working as United Skates of America. I was the DJ at the giant east side rink in 1976 and 1977. U.S.A Roller Rink was located on Green River Rd. where the shopping center behind Rafferty’s sits. Owned by Hugh and Pat McGee, it was the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night.
Hundreds of rink rats would pack the place for truly good, clean fun. During the summer and during all night skates, the place would get so sweaty and stinky the doors would fog over from the humidity. My job, was to keep the folks skating, and as often as possible, make out with girls in the DJ booth. I did that a lot by the way. I was 16, WTF??
The rink guards would get mad at me if I’d play too many fast songs in a row as the rink rat kids would get worked into a fever pitch, and the penalty box would be quickly filling up with the unruly. Songs like “Ridin’ The Storm Out” by REO Speedwagon, “Rock an Roll All Night” by Kiss and Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band” would get them flying around the rink. Usually, a rink guard would come up to the booth and tell me, ‘Dude, I think it’s time for a moonlight skate!”. So, I’d lower the lights, turn on the mirror balls and play a couple of songs that would let teenage couples get close on the floor an play a little grab ass. One partner would skate backward, the other forward as their silhouettes painted in the sparkly light of the mirror balls winded around the floor to songs like “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees and Johnny Rivers “Slow Dancin’, Swayin’ To The Music”.
It was the most carefree time of my life, and the DJ bug bit me hard. I could have went to law school, but I decided to play music for the masses. It may not be as carefree as it once was, but it’s still fun everyday!