DJ Howard Merritt
Howard Merritt started playing music in 1972 in New York. First major job was a club called “Flamingo” which was the greatest gay club to date according to many who lived it. He played at the Saint, the Ice Palace, 12 West, the Cock Ring, River Club, the Sandpiper, the Pavilion and other venues.
12 West 491 West Street (between 12th and Jane Street) Greenwich Village – Many well-known DJs have played at this famous club in New York City, Howard Merritt was among them. The list of contemporaries include Tom Savarese (first DJ), Jim Burgess, Alan Dodd, Jonathan Fearing, Jimmy Stuard (May 1976 – May 1977) Robbie Leslie (1979 – fall 1980) Jim Evangelista (final DJ) Art Figueroa (Guest DJ), Sharon White, John Ceglia, Kevin Burke and Casey Jones.
Howard Merritt visited the Pines at 19 years old and began his life as a houseboy. His DJ start began when he created music for his birthday party. Pictured here with Jim Burgess for the famous Beach 79 party, Howard says, “Jim Burgess was the best DJ of my generation. We played together at the Beach Party and this picture taken was as he turned over the platform to me, after he had opened the event.”
“Pictured here in 1979 with friends and collaborators including disco superstar Slyvester.” Howard Merritt, while a resident in California, played at Dreamland in San Francisco and Revelations in Los Angeles. He was one of the first DJs to travel coast to coast on weekends to perform at the Pavilion. He was a regular DJ at the Sandpiper when the Tea Dance was the only event playing. No Mid-Tea, No High-Tea. According to Howard “It was the time you got to be seen and socialize with friends or strangers. It was the best of times.”
Howard Merritt has had an illustrious career. During his years in New York he worked at Casablanca records office in promotion and in the A&R department until they closed the label. Working with such performers as Paul Jabara in the studio, and also did two remixes for Sylvester while in San Francisco.
Howard left New York in the late 1980’s and moved to Key West Florida to play at the famous Copa and then managed the club for 13 years.
DJ Howard Merritt live at The Saint The Red Party 1986.
Today DJ Howard Merritt resides in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and still plays gigs at Scandals where he helps all relive the memories of the past with the soundtrack to history…