91X DJ's 'Nite
Club' Is No Dive
BY MICHAEL LAWSON
It's 6 p.m. Your radio's tuned to 91.1. A low rumble of crowd
noise and the clinking of ice cubes in drink glasses breaks the
Suddenly, a funky guitar riff cuts the crowd noise and gets everyone's
attention. A deep bellowing voice announces:
"Welcome to Tom's Nite Club, where the cool come to hang,
and boy, do those trees swing."
Is 91X doing a live show from a new San Diego nightclub?
Nope. It's the opening of 91X DJ Tom Perry's evening show each
weeknight at 6 p.m. "I wanted to do something different
at night," said Perry of his "Nite Club" concept.
"I didn't want to do just another DJ hour."
Perry's show isn't just another DJ hour. If you happen to tune
in to his show, you'll hear the constant rumble of crowd noise
and clinking drinks in the background during the evening. It
sounds like a real nightclub - so much so that listeners are
"People actually call all the time asking where the nightclub
is," he said. "So I have to let the cat out of the
bag and tell them it's just a radio show." Perry invites
a few characters on his show. One of the more popular guests
is "Hank the Maintenance Man." "He usually comes
in when the plumbing goes bad in the nightclub," the radio
bar owner said. Perry likes to invent scenarios for his club.
One of his favorites is bringing in the Alcohol Beverage Control
Department to check on his liquor license. And if you're wondering
who's behind the deep, bellowing voice of those "Tom's Nite
Club" announcements, he's John Monty, Perry's Metro Traffic
"I had to get Monty prepped before we taped the spot,"
Perry said. "So I took him to Foggy's Notion, gave him a
stogie and a couple of shots of Wild Turkey - just to get that
raspy voice." Such small details help make "Tom's Nite
Club" special. Perry said his listeners, with whom he tries
to interact as much as possible, love it.
"I want to know what people are thinking because putting
people on the air is the best arena for comedy," he said.
One of Perry's segments is called "Roommate Horror Stories,"
during which listeners tell horrifying tales of former roommates.
One listener who called borrowed her roommate's clothes. When
her roommate went out of town, she riffled through her dresser
and found a book on Satanism. She thought it was no big deal
until she checked the closet where she found bags of hair and
pigs' ears. She moved out after her discovery. Another girl called
to share her experience with her strange male roommate who never
left his room except to go to work. Whenever he came out of his
room he had this happy glaze over his eyes. One day he invited
her into his room where she saw a chair hooked up with electrodes.
He proceeded to plug himself into it and fired it up. He thought
it was great and wanted her to try it. This caller also moved
Perry loves the roommate segment because he can't believe some
of the things he hears. He also can't believe how he got his
job at 91X. He worked at the station for eight years doing grunt
work for other DJs. He answered request lines, covered shifts
on Christmas Eve and worked the soundboard for other air personalities.
He never expected to be on the radio. But one day it happened.
"It was a big surprise," he said. "I got the job.
They said I was real lucky to be getting it. I said, 'Don't make
me feel guilty.' " That was a a little more than a year
ago, and he has been happy as a "Top Nine at 9" winner
ever since. "It's a piece of cake," the 28-year-old
said. "I feel pretty lucky to be doing this."
The young jock couldn't be happier with his time slot, which
happens to be from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. He said he has the whole
day to fool around and watches all the TV talk shows. He confessed
to being a television addict. "I like watching all the human
oddities on those shows," Perry admitted. "Jenny Jones
is my favorite. But I think this is one of the problems with
America today. There's too many weird people on TV."
Perhaps Perry has a little too much free time on his hands?
"I was thinking about getting a second job," he said,
laughing. "I used to fold rugs at Pier One. Maybe I could
He'd better not. Perry said there's talk around the station that
the powers that be may move their after-hours guy to the early
shift. "Doing mornings scares me," he said. "It's
hard being funny at 6 a.m." But Perry has a few ideas on
how it could work. For the first half of the show, he said he
could do it from his bed. For the rest, he could get up and drive
around for a couple of hours waving and talking to listeners
on the road. Perry's other idea is to get a bunch of DJs together
for that "morning zoo" concept. The catch is that the
DJs all hate each other.
But for now, Perry said he's pretty content right where he is.
Besides, when your second career is in the music business, waking
up in time for a morning show would be impossible.
"I will neither confirm nor deny it," he said of his
rock star status. He's the band's second guitarist. The DJ/musician
said he doesn't want a whole bunch of radio listeners coming
just to see him in a band, which will remain nameless for now.
But there's a method to his madness. "I'm the mysterious
fourth member," he said. "Sometimes I'm there; sometimes
Perry explained he misses gigs all the time because of his radio
show at 91X. He recently missed a road trip to Seattle, but he
made a San Francisco performance by flying up after his San Diego
"I like having a gig after my show," Perry said. "I
go straight from the station to the gig. I like the pace."
Perry reported that the band is doing really well and described
its music as "voodoo-billy." "It's a cross between
'The Ventures' meet the 'Munsters,' " he said. "It's
kind of a creepy surf sound. The topics range from post office
workers to transexuals." So where does this popular DJ and
rock star go from here? He hasn't the faintest idea. But he said
he'll probably stick around San Diego for a while. After all,
he is a native, and his family still lives here.
He even graduated from San Diego State University.
One of his fondest memories of SDSU is a speech professor named
Fred Lewis who made the class do some bizarre voice exercises.
"He told us to work on getting our voices lower by repeating,
'Hello, Bubba, hello, Bubba, hello, Bubba' for about 10 minutes,"
the former speech student said in a deep voice. "He also
taught us to jut out our stomachs while we spoke. I think it
helps. I was impressed."
But as far as being on the air at 91X goes, Perry said he'll
probably stay until he gets fired or something.
But that isn't likely. He has just added his patented "Voice
Hate Mail" for folks who are fed up with him. Every Thursday,
listeners with a beef can leave a message on his "Voice
Hate Mail," and he will play it on the air. All you have
to do is call the "X-Line" at 296-XXXX. Another new
dimension to "Tom's Nite Club" will be "Friday
"I'll go to people's homes and do the show from there,"
he said. "If they're having a party, I'll stick around,
have a couple of drinks and do the last hour of the show over
the phone from their house. It'll be great."
Of course it's going to be great. Perry always thought being
a DJ would be a great way to be a wise guy and a smart ass and
get paid for it.
Welcome to "Tom's Nite Club."