The legendary club DJ brings his patented energy to TMC for Parade Day BearDance


HE’S GRRRR-EAT! | Tony Moran teams up with Colton Ford to entertain the bears on Sunday at TMC.

RICH LOPEZ  | Contributing Writer

Gay culture has always been ahead of mainstream society when it comes to fashion, sex and music. But the straight folks eventually catch up. Take the DJ — an exalted occupation in the gay arena. But it’s only recently that mixers like David Guetta and Skrillex have rivaled Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga for mainstream familiarity.

Tony Moran has held that kind of fame for decades, spinning for gay Pride events around the world. But despite all he’s accomplished, his goal at every gig is the same: To offer one hell of an experience.

“I think people see me wanting them to be satisfied and maybe that translates onto the floor,” he says. “I want to appease the most people I can. I think the greatest discovery I’ve had as a DJ is that positive energy is contagious.”

Even after working with megastars (Michael Jackson, Celine Dion) and scoring two Grammy nominations, Moran has held onto his passion as a club DJ. He gets that he’s famous, but at an early age, he learned he had to constantly strive beyond what he’d already accomplished. A musician gets noticed for growth in their music, be it stronger lyrics or a shift in musical style, but DJs have to balance the line between their identifying sound and sound growth if they want to ascend the ranks. For that, Moran has learned to rely on his crowds.

“I had started spinning when I was 19 and made a lot of records in a short time, but by the time I was 24, I was already being called a has-been,” he recounts. “That has always stuck with me. So I make efforts to create something new all the time.

Basically, people just wanna hear some fucking good songs. When the music stimulates their senses, it stimulates me.”

That philosophy isn’t limited to his club work. When he headlines the BearDance Pride T-dance at TMC on Sunday, he’ll share the bill with porn-star-cum-singer Colton Ford. Ford and Moran met only recently, but instantly struck up a friendship. Moran suggested they work together, sensing a similar vibe from Ford that he had felt from far more established singers.

“When it comes to artists, I am sensitive to figuring out their motivation,” Moran says. “When someone like Whitney Houston sang, it was through her heart. When I look and hear Colton, I see that same thing.”

The two are collaborating on Ford’s next single, “Let Me Live Again” … and Moran is working under the gun to have it ready for BearDance.

“I’ll have it mixed [before I come to Dallas] if it breaks me. But Colton’s got a great head on his shoulders, and when I hear this song, I think we can reach beyond the audience who just wants to see him.”

Moran feels confident the show will be a success, in part from working with the BearDance team. He felt comfortable saying yes to the gig because of how organized they were.

“They rallied together to make something happen and get decisions made,” he says. “A lot of other events don’t have it as together as they did. They are such incredible team players; it felt like we were creating something. Getting Colton to be a part of it is even better!”

Moran hasn’t felt he needs to tweak his style just because his audience is more bear than traditional club kid — he only wants to be a part of the celebration and bring a positive attitude.

“By the time I’m done there, I will have stamped it with my identity. I love how the bears have found a way to be comfortable in their skin and have a party,” Moran says. “I have my own personal history with bears, so it’ll be great — they’re so cuddly and loveable. It’ll be fun to be around a bunch of happy faces. I don’t care what size they are!”

DJs Sean Mac and CBass will spin starting at noon prior to Moran’s T-dance as a parade watching party. DJ Blaine will close. Proceeds from the day will benefit AIDS Arms.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2012.