This is the story of Junebug's double life as a DJ and drug dealer. Recalling the Bronx in the early 1980s, this documentary explores the old-school days of hip-hop and the dangerous underworld at the legendary Disco Fever. Never-before-seen footage and interviews with Kurtis Blow, DJ Hollywood, and Sal Abbatiello tell the tragic story of one of the greatest DJs ever.
Director's Statement Collapse
"So many of the guys that came before me gave their blood, sweat and tears so I could go on to make a gold record." -Kurtis Blow
White Lines and The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug developed out my love for hip-hop and its early pioneers. In my quest for a great story about the early days of hip-hop, I teamed up with writer Mark Skillz, whose article, "When The Fever Was The Mecca," introduced me to DJ Junebug and the Disco Fever. In his article I discovered the story of a phenomenally talented DJ who becomes a drug dealer while spinning at the hottest club in NYC.
I immediately connected to DJ Junebug's story about a young Latino artist that loses his way and I identified with the crossroad that Junebug came upon. I realized that his story shows how artists must be true to their craft and not get distracted by money and drugs. At the time when I discovered the story, it served as a valuable lesson in my own life.
I immersed myself into the project and was given access to never-before-scene photos and footage of the Disco Fever, courtesy of the club's owner Sal Abbatiello. Like Studio 54, The Copacabana, and CBGB, "The Fever" was one of those rare clubs that created a culture. Junebug was the house DJ. He played alongside such luminaries as Disco Bee, Lovebug Starski, and Grandmaster Flash. Having access to these materials paved the path for the project and gave me a sense of what it was like to be a "Fever-Believer."
In addition to a great story and archive materials, Mark Skillz, producer Michael J. Mouncer and I were able to bring together a very special group of people who knew Junebug, as both a DJ and drug dealer. The interviewees include the legendary Kurtis Blow, the original King of Rap DJ Hollywood, Sal Abbatiello, Fever-Believer Vernice Barnes, Junebug's son Nydrin Barnes, and hip-hop pioneers Disco Bee and Sweet Gee. Through these emotional interviews, the story of a young dancer turned DJ turned drug dealer emerged.
After months of editing with Michelle Witten, I was able to carve out a piece I am very proud of. It is my hope that this film teaches audiences about the early days of hip-hop and how raw they were, as well as offers a valuable lesson through DJ Junebug's tragic death. It is my pleasure to introduce DJ Junebug and the Disco Fever to a new audience.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Travis Senger has written and directed a number of projects for stage and screen, including art installations, music videos, and short films. His recent work has appeared at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, and on MTV2. He is currently working on a feature narrative.