DJ Charles Dean, a.k.a D!Z, moved back to Charleston last month after a hiatus in Greensboro, where he played drums for a while in various jazz and funk bands. Two years ago, he stopped at a middle-of-nowhere North Carolina thrift store and asked if they had any records on hand. The reply? “Yeah, but they’re all black.”

Dean euphorically sifted through a forgotten box of vintage 45s to find Fred Wesley & the J.B.’s at the bottom and the Funky Meters right on top. He paid the guy $10 for the lot that turned out to be “chock full of heavy grooves,” Dean says. It inspired him to return to his first love: spinning records.

In order to buy new turntables, he sold an old-school Shepard Fairey print and never looked back. Dean’s still on the dig, though. “The thing about the 45s is every time I find a good collection to look through, I find a new label or a new artist, and something great comes out of it every time,” Dean says.

You can hear his collection of late ’60s, early ’70s seven-inch vinyls yourself when D!Z spins at the Tin Roof on June 15, at Social (during their starving artist series) on June 18, and on June 21 at the Royal American. He’ll be DJing tonight at Blind Tiger beginning at around 6 p.m. Here’s a sample of D!Z’s handiwork below. 

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