Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 1, 2004

'World's Nuttiest DJ' getting national attention

By Ryan Gueningsman

It all started by renting the Waverly Village Hall and throwing dances for the community.

From those dances came countless community festivals, wedding receptions, public dances, and entertaining for corporate and company holiday parties.

Throw into the mix being a school bus driver, a father, as well as one of the area’s top fast-pitch softball players.

That is the life of Greg “Chopper” Lammers of Waverly.

A little hectic? Yes.

A little nuts? Yes.

Would he have it any other way? Nope.

He has been known as Chopper now for 24 years. At the age of 49, Chopper is still striving for the big time, and is looking to make his name nationally known.

Lammers took one more step towards his dream by playing a show in Las Vegas recently. He was invited to perform at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino during the American Disc Jockey Association Convention Feb. 17.

He has also performed in Orlando, Fla., on top of the IDS tower, played in the Minneapolis Aquatennial Torchlight parade, at Mystic Lake Casino, and plans to do a private party for Wells Fargo at the Minneapolis Convention Center in the near future.

Chopper’s beginnings

Lammers graduated from Howard Lake High School, and took several odd jobs out of school, including working at Pure Milk in Winsted, and several truck driving jobs, among them driving a beer truck for Ogle Distribution.

“That’s when I got into promoting dances at the hall in Waverly,” Lammers said. “I tried to book bands, and had a sound system. When the bands went on break, I went up there and danced around and goofed off, and before I knew it, I had a full-blown show between bands.”

Lammers had a nick-name when he was a child. Because of his last name, people would call him Lamb Chops. Soon after, Lamb Chops became just Chops, and eventually Chopper was born.

He borrowed $5,000 in 1980, and began playing for $25 a night. His first official Chopper show was 24 years ago Holy Thursday, playing at The Wunder Bar in New Germany, which is now Rack ‘Em Up. He performed for nine people.

The next week, he began playing at the Maple Lake Legion for $30 a night.

“It was a little by little process,” Lammers said. “One night I’d be in New Germany, then Winsted, then Watertown, then at Hollywood, but your friends can only keep you going for so long.”

Eventually, Lammers’ circle of bars and places to play became larger. He now has regular gigs in Princeton, Farmington, and Stillwater. Most of his shows now consist of private wedding dances, company parties, and teen and high school dances.

All of his music is edited, and his teen dances are non-smoking and nonalcoholic, he said. Dances that he does in Carver County are supported and promoted by the Carver County Sheriff’s Department, he added.

Lammers has three agents who get him work, but he said that 90 percent of his jobs come from word of mouth. He has had a lot of shows in Illinois lately, including the cities of Peoria, Decatur, and Chicago.

He has also been spotted several times on television, once on ESPN during a lady’s bowling tournament, playing music into commercials, and another time he did a public service announcement on Fox 29.

No matter where he is playing, or who he is playing to, Lammers’ motto is always the same: “Get ‘em laughin,’ get ‘em dancin,’ and drive ‘em wild.”

Lammers also donates one show a year to the residents of the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center.

“God’s been good to me, so that’s just me trying to pay Him back,” Lammers said. Another goal of his would be to get invited to perform in Waverly again.

Lammers is also content in his home life, having been married to his wife Raquel for several years, and now being a father to 4-year-old Annella.

During the daytime, Lammers is a bus driver for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District. He does the kindergarten route and the afternoon route, which allows him time to get some sleep.

“Kids are the greatest,” Lammers said. “At my shows, I try to bring out the kid in everybody.”

In order to do this, Lammers said he always has some tricks up his sleeve, including arriving with the classic car facade that he performs in, and a variety of hats and other props.

“You have to make the people the show,” he said. “You take it at the beginning and try to motivate people and make the audience the show.”

Lammers also noted that it is important to him that he can make it through the crowd and shake people’s hands at the end of the night.

He said that the nights that he learns the most from are the nights that he “flops.”

“Now, I look for tough crowds,” he said. “I’ve got that mountain built and I’m looking for pebbles to throw on top of it. Out of a successful night, it gives you confidence.”

Lammers said that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support of his wife, his father Jim Lammers, Scott Ogle, Paul Fobbe, Jan Fitzpatrick, Chris Sifferle, and Joe Hausladen and “the whole Hausladen family.”

Lammers also has a web site for more information, www.chopperdj.com.

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