Music has been an important part of Dean Clott's world his entire life, through the good times and the bad.
When Clott was 6 years old, his 16-year-old brother got into a band, which was no doubt inspiring to the youngster. From that early age music was a constant presence in Clott's life.
"Ever since I can remember, there's been a basement full of musicians practicing for either his band or mine," Clott said.
Dan Feldner/MDN • Dean Clott poses in front of autographed pictures of music stars in his business, DC Entertainment.
Four years after his brother joined that band, both their lives would change forever.
"On the morning of my 10th birthday they had a truck accident and he was left paralyzed," Clott said. "And from then on I just kind of decided that well, I guess that I've got to do it because he can't do it."
While his brother is still in a wheelchair and had to quit the music business, Clott said they remain close and talk about music on the phone all the time.
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Clott got his start in the music business with Dean and Company, a DJ business he started when he was 15. Then in 1977 he started is own country band, Badlands Express. At first Clott wasn't old enough to play in bars, so his parents had to go along and chaperone so the band could legally play.
"So they went to every performance," he said.
Clott started working more and more fairs in the early 1980s, which necessitated going to fair conventions to find the jobs. Other acts started asking Clott to let them know if any extra jobs were available. This got him thinking about taking his love of music in another direction.
"We at that point said well, we should have an agency," he said.
DC Entertainment was formed in 1982 as a booking agency for various types of acts, including bands, comedians, hypnotists, DJs and karaoke.
Clott kept touring with his band and booking other acts until around 1995, when he gave up life on the road and concentrated on the booking agency. Never one to sit still, however, he soon started selling musical equipment and things just took off from there.
They are now an American DJ dealer and have just added the Behringer line of PA and lighting, which Clott said is a pretty big line of equipment.
"We do installs and we sell PA and lighting to anybody that needs sound or lights," Clott said.
Clott eschews the typical retail setup by having customers call to set up appointments. That way they get the store all to themselves and have Clott's undivided attention. The store is located at 5227 N. Broadway, right next to a large billboard advertising DC Entertainment. The phone number is 839-3006.
Today DC Entertainment is now the parent company for everything Clott does, including Crowd Pleasers DJ & Karaoke, and DC Transportation, a transportation company with a 15-passenger party bus, eight-person classic Lincoln limo, a Chevrolet Suburban for airport runs, and a recently acquired 35-foot, 22-passenger Ford Excursion stretch limo, which Clott said is the largest in town.
There is also DC Entertainment Concert Services, which does production for concerts, conventions and other big events. That includes video production, lighting and sound.
"The exciting thing about the sound is we just bought a bunch of PA from Clair Brothers, which is the largest PA company in the world," Clott said.
Clott has also recently been elected president of the North Dakota Association of Fairs and his old band even got back together.
"We're just kind of all things entertainment. Between limos and booking stuff and selling stuff and playing in bands," Clott said. "Right now I'm playing in four bands. For the most part they're various versions of one group and then it's a little bit of a change for each one."
There is of course Badlands Express, as well as a two-piece group, an acoustic band, and The History of Rock and Roll Show, which is four sets featuring four decades of music from the '50s to the '80s.
Along with the live shows, Clott has also released a CD under his own name called "Songs I Want to Sing." It features his spin on many country songs and was recorded in Knoxville, Tenn., around six years ago. The CD can be purchased at DC Entertainment or at any performance by one of Clott's bands.
He said the experience of going down to the area of Tennessee that is the heart of country music - Knoxville is only a few hours from Nashville - to record his own album was an amazing experience.
Perhaps his biggest thrill in the music industry happened backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, however. Clott actually got to audition for a producer in one of the Opry's dressing rooms. Country artists Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Justin Tubb and Charlie Louvin were all sitting in the room listening.
While the audition went well and the producer wanted to produce an album, Clott ultimately chose not to go that route. Still, he said it was an incredible experience he will never forget.
"Justin was actually playing guitar with me and singing harmonies while I was auditioning. That was kind of a little bit different, you know," Clott said. "They call it the mother church of country music there, and when you're in the back hallway in one of the dressing rooms auditioning for a producer, well (that's very cool)."
"I've had absolutely the coolest life. I've gotten to do so many things and worked with so many big stars on a regular basis. I keep in contact with the stars and talk on the phone with them. I get to work with the Oak Ridge Boys each year," he added. "It's kind of the dream life that a lot of people would really like to have."