Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



DJ Psycho-Bitch talks Frankie Knuckles, career and house music
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 4224 times since Wed Jun 21, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The Chicago House Music Festival and Conference will take place June 23-24, with the first day spotlighting the conference at the Chicago Cultural Center and the following day being all about enjoying tunes at the Humboldt Park Boathouse Lawn.

Among those performing at the festival is DJ Psycho-Bitch (aka DJ Psycho-B)—a legendary figure who's been spinning records (and CDs these days, according to her) since the '80s and who has spun at places like Crobar and the gay club Cairo (both now closed). In a recent conversation, Psycho-B (real name: Valerie Scheinpflug) talked about house music, her career and dating another legendary DJ.

Windy City Times: How did you get your start? And as for your name, is it true that you got it from [fellow DJ] Teri Bristol?

DJ Psycho-Bitch: Yep. It's been a little over 40 years now.

When I met Teri, she was actually a cocktail waitress. (I used to tease with the Human League's "Don't You Want Me, Baby?") I was a server, too, and we met at this really tacky Greek mafia-owned gay bar by O'Hare Airport. One night, the DJ—who was such an asshole—was fired. Teri's friend asked her to play DJ; she was so timid and shy, but the friend said she'd be fired if she didn't. Technically, they didn't even have proper DJ equipment, like [the right] turntables or pitch controls.

Anyway, she started playing records and that's how she and I became friends. I used to go to the dance clubs downtown; I only went to this place because I had met some women and made friends. Back then, about 1980 or 1981, if you were gay you had to go to gay bars; they were, like, safe spaces. But I looked very different from the other women: They wore IZOD shirts with the popped collars and preppy, high-waisted jeans—and I had a purple mohawk and wore spandex. I [complimented] Teri and she looked at me, like, "Yeah, right." [Laughs]

At this point, I had hundreds of records, especially the 12-inch ones—but I never realized that's what I wanted to do. I started bringing her records, like stuff from WBMX; she would just play it and she was really good. She and I became close friends, and I almost had to force her to make demo tapes. There were many times when I brought her demo tapes and she ended up getting the gig—but being women back then… We didn't even know any other female DJs.

Before [Northalsted bar] Hydrate was Hydrate, it was Christopher Street. A friend was a DJ and the music director there, and he told Teri she should audition. She finally did it and all the guys were jammin' and looking at her. She rocked the place for an hour and the [director] loved it and talked to the owner; he came back and said, "They thought you were too progressive for this place." [Laughs] That was the most ridiculous thing I had heard; when it came down to it, it was because she was a girl. That's an example of the shit we've gone through.

This guy named Billy Cooper who did the lights at the [original] Baton and one night he said to us, "I wanna take you to meet [legendary DJ] Frankie Knuckles." We knew who he was, of course, but we had never met him. Here we were—two white gay women, one's a DJ; it was, like, against all odds in every way. [Laughs] He walked us to the booth—and that was when I had my a-ha moment. Frankie's smile was the warmest and friendliest, and he gave us a big hug. Everybody was soaking wet from dancing. But the way the crowd was eating out of the palm of his hand—it wasn't "Ooh, I want to be a DJ" but "I want to make people feel like this." I can't really describe it.

So not only did I get shit because I was a girl but because Teri and I had been dating. We actually dated for eight years. People thought I was riding her coattails, but what they didn't know was that I actually got her out there. It's a whole lifetime of love and passion, and my friends have been trying to get me to write a book.

WCT: And what about your name?

DJP-B: So it was hard for me to get gigs because I was a girl—and no one would promote me when I did get one. Back then, there weren't 10 DJs who did one night; one DJ did the whole night—and gives the DJ the chance to take people on a journey. And Teri and I brought in so many people; we had our own followings.

I knew I had to get my name out there. I finally got this gig and it was the first time someone was putting my name on a flyer. They spelled my last name perfectly but spelled my first name V-A-N, like I'm a van. I was so pissed off [laughs] and I had really bad PMS. I was at Medusa's and Teri walked in. She looked at the flyer, laughed and asked, "What are you going to do about it?" I said, "I have to get my name out there." I've always been very energetic and she [eventually] said, "Oh girl, please. You're nothing less than a psycho bitch!" [Laughs] I said, "Oh, my God—that's it."

That was a big deal back in the '80s because most DJ names were cute, like Ralphi Rosario and Tim Spinnin Schommer—and here's me: Psycho-Bitch. But that name really made a difference; the boys stopped fucking with me. Nobody forgot that name and I built an instant following.

WCT: By the way, when and why did you shorten your name to DJ Psycho-B?

DJP-B: That was for the [house-music event] flyer. Everyone is so ridiculously offended by everything these days.

Even Facebook booted my "Psycho-Bitch" page after 13 years. Two years ago, I woke up and I had a notification saying, "You violated our terms of service." They never gave me a chance to talk with them or even shorten the name. I was buying ads for where I was playing, and they continued to take money off my credit card for a page that wasn't even there. I tried to talk with them for three months.

I used to do this full-time but the way the clubs are now, with the multiple DJs and the bottle service. [Clubs] seem to be milking everybody for every nickel they can. It used to be about the music and the fun; now, it's about money, money, money. Now I only accept gigs that really matter to me. I'll never stop playing, but I just don't take any [gig]. And I've always stuck to my guns: I don't play Top 40.

WCT: What makes Chicago house music just that—Chicago house music?

DJP-B: House music is a feeling—and Chicago just loves good music. It's a big music town.

A lot of people confuse EDM with us. For Chicago, we just love good music. Maybe a pop artist will sing house because they hired [someone] to do a house mix of their song—but that doesn't make [the singer] a house artist. For us, it's not necessarily about an individual song; it's a feeling.

But one thing I'll say about Chicago: It's full of talent. Even when I traveled overseas and played with so many other DJs, [I noticed] the talent in Chicago. Not only did house start here, but there's something for everybody. Some cities might play hip-hop or drum 'n bass; we have everything here. In Chicago, you can hear country, house, rock, jazz or blues. We are very lucky here.

I do have to say that I might not play a particular type of music—like hip-hop or pop, as I doubt I could even name five pop artists—but I support people who play it because there has to be something for everybody and we all make up a part of the big spectrum of music.

WCT: And what about the fact that the conference and festival will take place during Pride Weekend, considering house music got its start at a Chicago club for queer Black and Brown people [The Warehouse]?

DJP-B: That's pretty awesome. The only bad thing is that it seems like every time we have some big, wonderful thing that we've pushed for, there's something else going on, like Pride in the Park. We'll go without a big event during the winter but, come March, there'll be four really good events on the same day.

I just wish there were different dates [for the big events]. There are a lot of gay people who love house music who would come to Humboldt Park, and there a lot of straight people who support gay people and who would go to [Pride in the Park]. And then you have the NASCAR closures that are already happening.

It's awesome that we have these opportunities but I wish there was better planning.

WCT: What does it mean to you to be part of this festival?

DJP-B: I'm so honored and so proud and so happy to be part of this. I feel like I'm representing the city, the community and the people who have heard me for decades. I know people who are bringing their children to this festival.

For more information on The Chicago House Music Festival and Conference, visit . Admission is free for the entire event.

This article shared 4224 times since Wed Jun 21, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

May December film blossoms on Netflix
The Netflix feature film May December, directed by Todd Haynes, takes the craft of character study to a whole new level. The plot is inspired by the true story of Mary Kay Letourneau, an elementary school ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Bodyshop,' Beyonce, Ani DiFranco, Billie Jean King
The Breaking Glass Pictures film Bodyshop will be out on digital on Dec. 5, per a press release. The plot is described thusly: "The ghost of a young soldier sexually assaulted by his lieutenant says goodbye ...

Gay News

WORLD Queer teen dies, trans activist honored, HIV drugs, mpox, British lesbian
In India, queer makeup artist Pranshu reportedly died by suicide—at age 16—after being subjected to relentless attacks online, PinkNews noted. On social media, LGBTQIA+-rights advocacy collective Yes, We Exist claimed ...

Gay News

Martina Navratilova continues anti-trans comments
Lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova has been in the news lately for anti-trans comments, although she has been making them for quite some time. She recently sparked controversy with her remarks on a tribute by UK ...

Gay News

BOOKS Lucas Hilderbrand reflects on gay history in 'The Bars Are Ours'
In The Bars Are Ours (via Duke University Press), Lucas Hilderbrand, a professor of film and media studies at the University of California-Irvine, takes readers on a historical journey of gay bars, showing how the venues ...

Gay News

Jerry Mitchell bops into Boop!
Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell is bringing black-and-white Boop! The Betty Boop Musical into a world of color at the CIBC Theatre this winter. It's a pre-Broadway world premiere for the musical starring Jasmine Amy Rogers ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Billy Porter, queer novel, 'Tammy Faye,' queer DJ, Bella Ramsey
Billy Porter released his long-awaited new album, Black Mona Lisa, via Island Records UK/Republic Records, and it's executive-produced by Justin Tranter, a press release noted. Porter said, "So many of the songs on my album have ...

Gay News

Photographer Irene Young launches book with stellar concerts
"Something About the Women" was appropriately the closing song for two sold-out, stellar concerts at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage November 19, in celebration of the new book of the same name by Irene Young, the legendary ...

Gay News

SAVOR Fairmont Lodge, the MCA's newest sandwich and Krispy Kreme
Owning it: As I have mentioned, The Ramova Theatre will officially reopen this fall in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, at 3520 S. Halsted St., as a live music venue, craft brewery, beer garden and grill. However, news ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music awards, military film, Tom of Finland, Yo-Yo Ma, 'Harley Quinn'
Video below - Brothers Osborne—a duo that includes gay brother TJ Osborne—won Vocal Duo of the Year for the sixth time at the recent CMA Awards, per a media release. Backstage, TJ told reporters, "I did not expect us ...

Gay News

Eye-opening LGBTQ+ women's survey shatters myths and spotlights challenges
The realities, ambitions and hardships of queer women aren't often given deep analysis by researchers. Mainstream socio-political conversations, research data and legislative choices frequently center individuals whose lives are marked ...

Gay News

'Jersey Boys' stars reunite as Midtown Men on Dec. 2 in Glen Ellyn
The original stars of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys—Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer—will reunite as Midtown Men on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at McAninch Arts Center's Belushi Performance Hall ...

Gay News

Megan Rapinoe ends career with injury
Soccer icon Megan Rapinoe ended her legendary career on Nov. 11, as an injury caused her to leave her team's championship loss in the NWSL championship, ESPN reported. Rapinoe's team, the OL Reign, fell to NJ/NY ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Local bowling legend, Wordle enthusiast Mary Ann Graziano
Mary Ann Graziano was a fervent Wordle player, avid bowler and an ace golfer. But above all else, she was a friend to many. The Palatine native died Oct. 9 at the age of 82, after a long illness that left ...

Gay News

WORLD Macron, Senegal incident, drag queen, King's Speech, lesbian artist
French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his support for a bill banning gender-inclusive language on official state documents, according to PinkNews. During the inauguration of the space known as the Cite ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.