A dispute erupted early Monday between 55 South and the MOM SJ Players—who together have been producing the popular Motown on Mondays weekly party in San Jose for a little more than a year now.
The first signs of trouble came this morning, when members of the MOM SJ Players—a collective of local DJs and producers—announced that they will no longer be spinning Motown-influenced dance music at 55 South, as they have every Monday for the past year.
Today at 9:40 a.m, DJ Shea Butter—a member of
Following suit, DJ Cutso, a member of the Bangerz and the MOM SJ Players, announced via Twitter in a since-deleted tweet that his group would not be performing tonight:
However, the party isn’t going anywhere, says 55 South owner Paul Chun.
“Motown lives, buddy!” Chun said. “It’s just a parting of ways, a changing of the guard.”
Motown on Mondays (MOM) is not unique to San Jose. In fact, the brand stretches from coast to coast—with official MOM parties held in major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, L.A., Denver, Chicago and Brooklyn, every Monday night.
Chun said that he has some new DJs lined up to play tonight’s Motown on Mondays party. He added that he has the rights to produce the Motown on Mondays party locally—a claim at least one member of the MOM SJ Players disputes.
Metro reached out to Thomas Ramon Aguilar for comment. In addition to running the locally based live-music production house, Universal Grammar, Aguilar is also a member of the MOM SJ Players—along with members of the BVMO and Bangerz crews.
“We are in limbo right now,” Aguilar wrote in an email. “I cannot comment on this beyond that.
“I can comment more on the subject of the 55 South vs MOM SJ once things have settled. At this time, both parties have lawyered up. … We own the brand for SJ made permissible by the MOM owners.”
Chun emailed Metro a copy of what he said is the final contract between 55 South and MOM DJs & Events. Chun said that the agreement stipulates that 55 South may choose to end a relationship with a group of DJs.
“Any issues between local DJs and their respective venue should be resolved between those two parties and should not reflect upon the MOM brand or management,” the document states. “MOM DJs are instructed to respect all rules and wishes of their respective venue, or otherwise be terminated by either venue management or MOM DJs & Events.”
Chun said that he reached an impasse with the MOM SJ Players over how the individual performers would be taxed for their services, for which they were paid.
“I have nothing bad to say about these guys. They’re all great guys. We had a great year,” Chun said. “But when it comes to the brand, I’m the one that went out and licensed the party. They can say whatever they want to. At this point, they opted out. They quit.
“For them saying that this party is done is totally off-base.”
Metro reached DJ Cutso by phone but he refused to comment in detail. “This issue is unresolved, and I have no comments at this time,” he said.
Aguilar wrote in an email that “even though 55 South owners are still promoting the event tonight, who ever DJs this has not been approved by the MOM brand owners (Gordo Cabeza, Madrone, SF), or us.”
Reached by email, DJ Donovan Gordo Cabeza, co-founder of Motown On Mondays, declined to go into detail. “Will get back to you as soon as all the details are in, everything at this point is just heresy,” he wrote.
Metro will update as more details become available.