Now we don’t want to give the impression that we’re a cynical bunch here at Time Out but, well, if you’ve read the mag before, it’s probably a bit too late for that. So we’ll admit it: when we heard that Irish-American actor Danny Masterson was set to play The 400 Club our eyebrows shot up so fast and so high they got altitude sickness. This is, after all, the guy who’s best known for starring in That ’70s Show and recently acted opposite Jim Carrey in Yes Man. Hardly fine DJing pedigree, you might think. But when we get all puffed up on self-righteousness and demand to see his credentials… well, he’s got quite a good comeback.
‘I’ve been DJing since ’97 – before I started doing That ’70s Show – so I’ve been doing it for over 10 years,’ a genial Masterson tells us. ‘I’m friends with some of the most famous DJs in America, people that have been doing this for a long, long time, and they’re the ones whose opinions I respect, so people can say what they want about me. I’m just lucky to have been successful in two careers.’
Damn. We still want to hate him, though, if only because he can drop US$3 million [Dhs11 million] on a house formerly owned by his hero, Chuck Berry. But the thing is that he’s just kind of… endearing. Especially when he starts enthusing about visiting friends in Dubai two years ago. ‘I did the skiing in the mall and the dune-bashing and ate a great steak at the Burj al Arab,’ he chatters with childlike joy. ‘It’s like Disneyland for adults.’ Indeed, although if you hug the stewards over here you get arrested. ‘Ha! I also love the cranes – as a kid I used to love watching buildings being constructed.’
He’s in the right place, then, but enough sightseeing (and site-seeing) – we want to hear about the set. ‘I play pretty much everything but house music,’ he explains, ‘there’ll be old-school hip hop, mature funk, ’80s tunes, rock, electro… I put it all together and whatever the crowd responds to most, I lean towards that.’
It’s a technique he’s honed by playing all the gigs he can get his hands on – something that’s left him with precious little private time. ‘It’d be nice to be home more often, but when you’re shooting films and doing DJ sets all over the country you don’t get to be home that much,’ he sighs.
Still, being away from home is a small price to pay for appearing in Yes Man, Jim Carrey’s most recent flick. ‘That was fun,’ he agrees. ‘I’ve done indie movies, but I hadn’t done a big studio piece for about 10 years. And it’s not often that you get the opportunity to work with Jim Carrey, so when you get one like that you jump at it.’ It’s also his highest-profile work since That ’70s Show finished. Not that he was ever worried about his career going down the drain. ‘I didn’t feel like that at all – I’ve been acting since I was a little kid, so I knew I’d continue working. I haven’t done any terrible films yet, so as long as I keep them out of my realm I should be all right, I think.’
In between acting and DJing, Danny is working on both a remix album and his first film as a director, a ‘dark, character-driven high-school film’ called Bunny Wiggens.
He’ll be keeping an eye out for those pesky tabloid journos too. When we ask him about rumours that he was kicked off a table by diminutive pop star Prince, he laughs. ‘No, that’s not true. I was DJing at the party, but it was [Speed Racer star] Emile Hirsch who was thrown out. But because I was DJing [the papers] said it was me. They just make up what they can. I try to stay out of that stuff.’ But how would he react if Prince did demand his table? ‘I’d say, “Please, take my seat.” He deserves it.’ Aw, we were hoping for a punch-up. Could he take Prince if it came to it? He’s only, like, two feet tall anyway. ‘Absolutely,’ he replies emphatically. ‘I’m an Irishman!’
Danny plays The 400 Club, Jan 30