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Attorney of Records

DJ Alan S. King remains vital to Chicago’s house music scene

Published in 2021 Illinois Super Lawyers magazine

For decades, Alan S. King has been practicing labor and employment law, primarily as a litigator. And for a long time, so far as his colleagues knew, that’s all he was. They had no idea that to thousands of Chicagoans in the city’s original house music scene, and to many more worldwide, King is a legend. 

As the group the Chosen Few DJs, King and his crew made a name for themselves at the bridge between ’70s disco and the club culture that evolved on Chicago’s South Side during the ’80s. “We had been very popular DJs in the city around the time of the birth of house music,” King recalls. “I continued DJing through high school, through college, and kind of gave it up in law school and for the first, I’d say, 10 years or so of my practice. I just kind of hunkered down and left it alone.” 

Then it started calling him back. “It really is kind of my first love in life,” he says.

King’s return started in 1990, when a Chosen Few reunion sparked an annual tradition. “People would always ask us, ‘When are you guys going to play together again?’ and ‘Are you doing any parties?’” he remembers. “So we had this small picnic in Jackson Park, behind the Museum of Science and Industry. And I’d say that first year there were maybe 30 or 40 people [having] a good time reliving their old house music days. And we decided to continue to do it.”

Each year, the number of attendees grew exponentially, and now it draws 30,000 to 40,000. Eventually, it was all but inevitable that one of King’s colleagues would find out. “I was really reluctant to let my partners at my old law firm know about that side, because I was concerned that some people might think I’m not fully committed to the practice.”

But once it became known, King’s fears evaporated. “I was pleasantly surprised that both my colleagues and clients, and others, pretty much thought it was cool, and saw it more as a positive than a negative. That helped me get out there a little bit more.”

This year’s July 4 picnic, which had to be cancelled, would have marked the 30th anniversary. “I actually was going to have an amazing summer,” King says, wistfully. “I had something going at a festival in Croatia, another one in Amsterdam, another one in the Dominican Republic—and obviously it all got cancelled. … COVID has turned this industry upside down along with many others, but I found some bright spots in what we’ve been able to do virtually.”

King has since built an online following with extended sets on Saturday nights. To check it out, visit Twitch.tv/djalanking at 8 p.m.

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