Hey, DJ: Davey Bones

They Bay Area DJ talks about his love for goth and new wave music and the upcoming third-anniversary party for The Hanging Garden.

Davey Bones (Credit: SF Lilith)

Bob Dylan is not often associated with dance parties, but for DJ Davey Bones, the first time he moved people to dance was when he selected Dylan’s “From A Buick 6” at a house party. A local DJ since 2002 who specializes in rock, classic goth, new wave, and synthpop from the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Bones is also the curator of experiences under the umbrella name The Hanging Garden. While it started out as just a dance night, The Hanging Garden has now expanded to include a radio show and live band showcase.

Prior to celebrating The Hanging Garden’s three-year anniversary this Saturday, we caught up with Davey Bones on his NYE, DJing style, and his favorite obscure ‘80s track.

The Hanging Garden takes place this Saturday [1/7], at The Uptown in Oakland.

SF Weekly: First of all, Happy New Year. How was your NYE experience?
Davey Bones: The Hanging Garden had a fun new wave and goth dance party on New Year’s Eve. It was a great turnout and our last event at The Night Light before moving to The Uptown this weekend for our three-year anniversary.

SFW: Tell us a bit about how you got into DJing.
DB: Someone had set up an impromptu DJ system at a wedding reception after-party in 2002 and invited me to try DJing for the first time.  Everyone seemed to like it, so a friend of mine and I started a regular night in S.F. and I just kinda kept going with it.  The first time I made people dance was at a house party with “From A Buick 6,” by Bob Dylan, if you can believe that!  Making people happy and making them dance is what really got me hooked on DJing.


SFW: Describe to us your DJing style.
DB: When I’m DJing at a dance party, I like to play music that people know but haven’t heard in a long time or maybe they’ve never heard in a club setting. When I’m DJing on the radio, I like to introduce people to music they’ve never heard before. It could be old or new. When I DJ at a live rock show, I play music that complements the featured band’s styles, but I’ve also been spinning songs by Bay Area bands a lot lately. The Ghost Ship fire made me more appreciative of the talent that we have here so I’ve been playing a lot of Alaric, Altar De Fey, Crimson Scarlet, ötzi, The Bedroom Witch and so forth in-between bands at live shows.

SFW: When did you start your party The Hanging Garden?
DB: A friend of mine and I started The Hanging Garden in January of 2014. He is no longer involved and I am now the sole promoter and resident DJ of the club. I wanted to create a dance club that, when you walk in, makes you say, ‘I can’t believe they’re playing this song!’ And have it be like that all night long.

SFW: Why did you choose to name it The Hanging Garden?
DB: It’s a reference to The Cure song, but there are lots of reasons behind it. When that song was released, it was during a period in The Cure’s career when they were both goth and new wave, which was my vision for the club. It was also during their “classic” ‘80s period, which is the kind of music we concentrate on at the club as well. So, if you get the reference, it pretty much tells you what you can expect to hear at The Hanging Garden: goth and new wave from the ‘80s.

SFW: When did The Hanging Garden expand to radio and live shows?
DB: In late 2014, my work hours changed which opened up more time in my life. I had been both a radio show host and a live music promoter before and wanted to get back into those things but this time under The Hanging Garden club name as kind of an umbrella for everything. It can get a little confusing as to what The Hanging Garden is exactly, but I’m OK with that. The Hanging Garden Radio Show is live every Tuesday evening from 6 p.m. ’til 8 p.m. Pacific Time on bff.fm. Our live band showcases with CiderUp Shows are every other second Saturday at The Golden Bull in Oakland.

SFW: What kind of bands do you seek to showcase?
DB: The bands we book and promote at The Hanging Garden closely mirror the classic goth, new wave and synthpop theme of the dance club and radio show. Working with CiderUp Shows, we’ve presented Clan Of Xymox, Animal Bodies, Christ Vs. Warhol, Savage Republic and many more. This year, we are looking forward to bringing lots of great bands to the East Bay including The Chameleons, Theatre of Hate, Acid Bats, Crash Course In Science, Star Industry, and lots more!

SFW: What’s your definition of classic goth?
DB: We use that term loosely and it is really open to interpretation. At The Hanging Garden, the goth we play tends to be from the late ’70s through the mid-’80s, but we will also play later stuff that is reminiscent of that period.

SFW: What’s an obscure ‘80s track you think everyone should know about?
DB:”Devil’s Dancers” by Oppenheimer Analysis. You hear it played in the clubs occasionally, but that band has a body of high-quality work that deserves more attention.


SFW: This Saturday, you celebrate three years of The Hanging Garden with a Bowie tribute. Which Bowie song means the most to you?
DB: At a young age, “Boys Keep Swinging” made me understand that it is OK for a man to have different ideas of what masculinity means and that the standard binary definitions of sexuality that I was taught in my somewhat conservative hometown were not the only parameters a person has to work with. The song helped open my mind in a really meaningful way. All of the music we play at The Hanging Garden dance party is influenced by David Bowie — Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, the list is endless. I’m very much looking forward to paying tribute to his life under the auspices of our third-anniversary party and our first event at our new location , The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland. The dance party will be there on the first Saturday of every month from now on (except February…I’m taking a break!)


SFW: What are you looking forward to in 2017?
DB: I’m looking forward to organizing a series of benefit shows with the Bay Area’s best deathrock, goth, and synth bands to raise money for both local and national groups that advocate for oppressed people and those who oppose the Trump agenda.

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