NoCo Hall of Fame: DJ Lance Rock

NoCo native Lance Robertson is the star of Nick Jr's hit series Yo Gabba Gabba!

North County native Lance Robertson is the star of Nick Jr.'s hit series Yo Gabba Gabba!

When Brad Pitt dresses up as you for Halloween and legions of crafters make artsy knick-knacks in your likeness, it’s safe to say that you’re officially a pop culture icon. That’s what happened this year to DJ Lance Rock (aka Lance Robertson), the star of Nick Jr.’s wildly popular kids show, Yo Gabba Gabba!…and yep, you guessed it, he’s a native North Countian.

Lance Robertson in his NoCo days. Photo: Hazelwood School District

Lance Robertson in his NoCo days. Photo: Hazelwood East

These days, Robertson sings and dances with a quirky cast of costumed characters, teaching kids about things like sharing and nutrition with the help of celebrity guests like Elijah Wood, Andy Samberg, indie band MGMT, and the hilarious Jack Black. But in 1983, he was just another Hazelwood East graduate, working at Streetside Records and Vintage Vinyl in the Delmar Loop.

In the early 90s, Robertson headed up the St. Louis techno band My Other Self, known for its dreamy, multimedia shows. He also ran the Loop record store Deep Grooves, specializing in dance music, and DJ’d at numerous parties and raves, some of which I attended.

Back then, DJ Lance was a colorful fixture in the local hipster/music scene, always present at cool shows and events. He seemed to know everyone, and everyone thought he was a super fun, talented guy.

DJ Lance: inspiring creativity

DJ Lance: inspiring creativity in felt

Robertson moved to Los Angeles in the mid-90s, about the same time I did. (I saw him at concerts out there too.) After years of working retail, spinning records and playing in the L.A. band The Ray Makers, he was tapped in 2007 to be the host of Yo Gabba Gabba!, a silly, clever, musical kids show that feels like a hybrid of Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Sesame Street.

The show takes its name from the Ramones’ lyric “gabba gabba hey,” and it’s become such a huge hit (especially among Gen X parents) that Robertson and the rest of the cast are now on a nationwide concert tour. Will they come to St. Louis? I don’t know. But a 40-something man dressed in orange spandex, dancing with a monster, a dragon and a robot… Sounds like a classic NoCo character to me. Rock on, Lance!

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  1. Darren says:

    The Yo Gabba Gabba color palette gave me instant deja vu: I remember seeing Lance at a wedding reception 15 years ago wearing a jacket, shirt, pants and shoes that were primary red, primary yellow, primary blue and kelly green (non-respectively). He looked like the cover of Queen’s “Hot Space” come to life! Who needs fashion when you’ve got style?

    (http://www.progarchives.com/progressive_rock_discography_covers/1755/cover_143112272009.jpg)

    What a guy…So happy for his success. Get down with your family-friendly self, DJ Lance Rock!!

  2. admin says:

    HA! Great story, Darren! I hate losing creative, fun people like Lance to other cities, but I’m sure glad we had him for a while.

  3. toby says:

    He also worked at a record store in one of those strip malls on North Lindbergh, just north of 270 (forget the name). So in the early 90s, it was like he worked at every record store SIMULTANEOUSLY!

  4. abbazaba says:

    that store was sound revolution that was on lindberg… sure thats the one u were tlakn bout.. or cd reunion…

  5. Blue Tapp says:

    LOL great clip! I haven’t ever seen that kids show. Too fun.

  6. Mel says:

    I casually knew Lance in the 90s, and I would see him at rock shows and at Deep Grooves and the records shows he would work at. He was so personable and a such a gentleman. I also happy that he’s now a national phenomenon, because he’s deserving of his success.

  7. [...] DJ Lance Rock (Nocostl.com) [...]

  8. Jen says:

    Yo Gabba Gabba Live! Will be in St Louis March 21, 2010 at the Fox Theatre!

  9. Chuck says:

    I watch Yo Gabba Gabba with my grandchildren almost every day. I like your “modern” approach with manners and how to meet new people and social interaction. I don’t particularly care for the way a lot of the guests dress and present themselves, but times and dress change and I can deal with that. All I have to say is KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! My babies love you!!!!

  10. James Kerry says:

    Hey there!
    My band recently made our first song!!!

    Please have a look, we’ve learnt a lot from your blog! :)
    xxx

  11. Natessa Moore says:

    I watch Yo Gabba Gabba with my little every chance I get!! She id 15 months old and your show is the only thing she will sit still for and she actually tries to to sing what she hears on the show. So, thank you from the bottom of heart for the few mins day I can spend enjoying something fun and pleasent with my little girl.
    yours truely Natessa Moore

  12. hey i have a kid 16 yrs old who is named Semaj Gray. He is a spitting image of Dj Lance. Does anyone know how to send him a fanmail letter. This kid could be his sidekick. i cant get through on nick jr site my email is lovely_angel_6978@yahoo.com. Any help would be appreciated.

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