DJ Rene Hewitt - The Inferno
Back in the day, the exciting dancers went to the clubs where the best Disc Jockeys performed their craft. When Disco and hustle dancing were at a national peak, clubs like: Starship, 1018, Studio 54, Paradise Garage and The Loft were the places to be seen. But then, one of the most exciting night clubs of all times emerged.
At the helm, in the DJ booth was Rene Hewitt. He was responsible for keeping the 1,500 dancers moving and coming back each week for more. I did say 1,500 dancers on the floor, at one time. We are talking about a huge club. What an enormous responsibility for any DJ. On Friday and Saturday evenings the club opened at 11:00PM and didn't close until 8:00AM. The clubs success grew by word of mouth. There were no visible signs out side, no paid promotions, you literally needed a map to find the place.
Rene was featured on WBLS-FM radio in New York. "Street Parties," was their late night dance show run by Eddie Riveras (President of International Disco Record Center), in conjunction with WKTU-FM. "This was a great way for free advertisement and people would show up at the club." Rene remembers how people would wonder how he was able to play at the club and be on the radio at the same time. "We use to laugh, because it was pre-taped," recalls Rene. Initially, he was spinning on Friday's but as his reputation grew and the owner, Angelo, saw Rene's success building the Friday night party, he was rewarded with Saturday's.
"The fire and police departments use to come to the club and close us down, claiming it was a fire hazard. There would be about 1200 people in the club and four to five hundred waiting outside to get in."
The music literally made the dance crowd scream with joy. The sound was incredible and the choice of music was moving. Some of Rene's top picks included "Devil's Gun" and "Another One Bites the Dust."
As a kid growing up in NY, Rene always dreamed of being a DJ. He began collecting records at an early age. Prior to spinning at the Inferno, Rene was the Disc jockey at The Chase. Located on 27th street in Manhattan, on the second floor, The Chase was a very small club. The club use to get so crowded that the dance floor use to sink and "we were so afraid it would fall in." "I would play from 10PM until about 9am and would pass out when I got home". During the day he was the editor for the music industries premier dance magazine, "Discoteckin." Later on Rene started his own DJ record pool, "Associated Promotions." Stella Winston, the notable talk show host, featured Rene's life story on her New York show, "Straight Up." She noticed that Rene had some wonderful talents and suggested that he have his own TV show. Rene jumped on the opportunity and created a new format for television, www.HouseandClassicsTV.com As producer and director of the show, he has pulled together a staff of 10 people from all sides of the music and film industry to create the show. It features mixed house or classic music by DJ's from all over the globe. The show will feature silhouettes of dancers, visuals, and a video segment called "A Classic Moment." Over his career Rene has spun at many legendary Clubs: Starship, Illusions, Bubbles, Club X, and Ice Palace 57, Studio 54, One Hot Spot, Side Street, Club Exodus and The Warehouse.
Today, Rene keeps busy multitasking in the music industry. " I'm still spinning records and recently was a guest DJ at E-Mans parties, Bang The Party. I also appear on Mike Stones roster of DJs and play occasionally at his club, The Warehouse. I've become the Public Relations Director for Maestro The Documentary (www.maestro-documentary.com) and co-produced the movies theme song Oasis with producer Aaron Carl. Rene also writes a record review column for NBC TVs affiliate station KCBD.com. Two years ago, Rene was one of the finalists in the Classic DJ Competition hosted by Nino Torre.
Rene's music can be heard on two websites, www.rogie.net and www.globalsoul.com . "I would like to reach out to those of you who visited or remember the Inferno. If it wasn't for the support of Angelo (rip) the owner of the Inferno and Kenny Carpenter, I probably wouldn't have made it as a DJ. It is friends like these that I cherish".
Rene brings back great memories of the Inferno. The music mesmerized us and gave dancers the energy to move all night.
the film MAESTRO has opened in New York, and it is playing at the QUAD CINEMA, W 13th St.)