Home News Remembering Kristopher ‘DJ Metal’ Chupp, Longtime Valley Nightlife Fixture

Remembering Kristopher ‘DJ Metal’ Chupp, Longtime Valley Nightlife Fixture


Youngsters typically have little, if any, concept what they will do after they develop up. Not so with Kristopher Chupp.

The late Valley resident determined in his early adolescence he needed to turn into a DJ. As Chupp advised Phoenix New Occasions in a 2010 interview, he made this life-altering resolution throughout his a go to to now-defunct native rink Skate World within the early ‘90s.

“From the primary time I went to [that] curler rink, all I ever needed to be was a DJ,” he stated.

After choosing the stage identify DJ Metal (“It certain sounded good to a 13-year-old me”), Chupp started following his goals. It led to a lot success within the native DJ/dance scene and have become his lifelong pursuit virtually as much as his death on July 12 attributable to issues from COVID-19. He was 42.

Chupp was a longtime staple of Valley nightlife. He amassed a prolonged resume of residencies at Tempe and Scottsdale golf equipment – previous and current – over the previous twenty years, together with such bygone joints because the Crown Room, Pussycat Lounge, and American Junkie. He additionally traveled to Las Vegas for gigs on the outdated CatHouse nightclub at The Luxor and different Sin Metropolis spots.

Chupp beloved to carry out, significantly at Scottsdale golf equipment. “As a DJ, you feed off the vitality of the group,” he stated throughout his 2010 interview with New Occasions. “There’s nothing like a particular occasion in Outdated City; it is one thing that I’m fortunate sufficient to be a part of and am grateful for each evening I work.”

For the previous few years, Chupp was working in any respect three Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row places within the Valley as a resident DJ and leisure director for the chain of nation bars. (He additionally carried out at its Nashville location.) Chupp constructed a following within the native nation dance group together with his weekly classes spinning nation and rock tunes on the Whiskey Row in Gilbert.

Lengthy earlier than he was getting folks scooting boots on the dance flooring, although, Chupp was reducing his tooth at events through the ‘90s heyday of Phoenix’s rave scene.

Jonathan Valdez, higher referred to as DJ Akshen, remembers interacting with Chupp in these days and the way he had a willingness to study the finer factors of working a turntable.

“He was only a teen again then, however he had lots of ambition,” Valdez says. “I bear in mind he came to visit my home and I used to be displaying him some reducing and scratching and he would bug out and attempt to soak up as a lot as he may.”

Chupp threw events of his personal, too, together with reserving rave pioneer Frankie Bones and native legends Z-Journey and Emile of the Bombshelter DJs in 1999 on the Nile Theater in Mesa. Valdez additionally carried out at that rave.

“Man, that was one hell of a celebration,” Valdez says. “[Kris] was actually hands-on at that factor. He did his finest and made certain everybody was having a very good time and took care of all of the DJs.”

That was Chupp’s factor, and never simply together with his fellow selectors. Native DJs and longtime buddies all communicate of his generosity, kindness, and unselfish nature.

Joe Valiente, who performs as DJ Soulman and in native rap-rock band Phunk Junkeez, says Chupp “was a talented mashup cat, not afraid to genre-hop, good on tables and CDJs and that’s uncommon as of late.” “He [was] a DJ’s DJ and likewise a crowd-pleaser [who] knew his craft effectively. I might see him in Outdated City or Nashville smiling ear to ear. Generally, [he’d] let you know what you didn’t wanna hear.”

“It’s loopy how susceptible life is,” Valiente says. “Artists have like him shine shiny for many individuals on many darkish nights, and when that mild goes out and the present’s over, you’ll be able to solely hope you’ve gotten folks bear in mind you.”
Valdez says Chupp was at all times pleasant and at all times upping his recreation as a DJ.

“Because the years glided by, we’d see one another at completely different bars, golf equipment, and occasions in Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale, and he would at all times present me respect and I at all times appreciated that,” Valdez says. “He was forward of his time when it got here to developments. Who knew nation could be a factor? He did, and he cornered that market. I’ve at all times revered him for that.”

Chupp’s affect wasn’t restricted to DJs. Hip-hop/R&B artist Kyle Collins, who performs as Sincerely Collins, described on Facebook on July 13 how Chupp helped launch his profession.

“You had been one of many first to speculate your time and vitality into particularly serving to me succeed. You shot my first music video ever when DSLRs first got here out. You had me performing in golf equipment on [Mill Avenue and Old Town Scottsdale] earlier than I used to be 21 years outdated. You even received me on the radio once I was 19,” Collins wrote within the publish, which was devoted to Chupp. “I’ll always remember the influence you had on my life and so many others really feel the identical approach.”

Chris Birkett of Scottsdale was shocked by the information.

“We had been speaking fairly repeatedly, like about when issues had been going to get again to regular. And he was tremendous. He wasn’t sick in any respect,” Birkett says. “Then, per week or so later, I noticed a mutual good friend posted [on Facebook] about how we should always pray for Kris. And I used to be like, ‘What?'”

Quite a few different buddies and native artists have posted tributes to Chupp on social media since phrase broke in early July that he was preventing for his life. (In response to a GoFundMe campaign launched by Chupp’s spouse, Jessica, he was positioned within the ICU on June 26.)

Under, we have collected a few of these reminiscences of Chupp, in addition to phrases about him from authentic interviews.

Remembering Kristopher 'DJ Steel' Chupp, Longtime Valley Nightlife Fixture

Steve Lueder (DJ Slippe)

Co-owner of The Scorching Chick in Scottsdale

I met Kris about 20 years in the past. On the time, digital music was being performed [more] at warehouses and desert events. I met him via that scene. Ultimately, a number of the rave DJs began working their approach up the ladder and received varied gigs on Mill Avenue and I used to be preventing for a number of the identical spots that he was. Kris at all times had open arms about all the pieces. In an trade the place it’s each man for themselves, he at all times operated from a love and abundance perspective. In his eyes, there was sufficient for everybody to achieve success.

I turned very shut with Kris and he [knew] my outdated roommate DJ Earth. All of us labored our approach up the meals chain for a few years collectively till discovering varied jobs within the Scottsdale scene. He at all times helped youthful DJs discover their spot and gave lots of guys their first gig. I bear in mind once I first received employed by the Diamondbacks to DJ, he referred to as me simply to say “Congrats, you deserve this.” When DJ Earth handed on in March, he messaged me and advised me he’d public sale off his private turntables to assist with funeral prices. Selfless. I can’t let you know what number of occasions I took a gig that I wasn’t ready for [musically] and Kris would ship me a folder of music to ensure I used to be at my finest. He was a category act and a stand-up man. His passing is a tragedy. He’ll be missed.

Sean Badger (DJ Senbad)

Co-owner of Bar Smith and Monarch Theatre

Relaxation simple, Kris. I don’t actually have phrases to precise how a lot this sucks. We’ve been DJing collectively since ’97; you had been nonetheless a youngster again then. I do know I’ve at all times given you shit about being industrial and leaping round scenes and shit, however there was by no means a day once I didn’t love you want a bit brother. You had been an incredible individual. I’ll miss you daily till I see you once more. Which goes to be a very long time, as a result of I’ve a lot to do nonetheless, like educate my son to be nearly as good a person as you.

MoniQue Hoffman

Native nation swing dancer and Whiskey Row patron

There are such a lot of good folks on this world. There are additionally many who influence the lives of a whole bunch of individuals. Kris Chupp was considered one of them – one of many good ones. Sadly, he (like many) was taken from us by COVID-19. He was younger, vigorous, enjoyable, influential, and extra importantly, a household man. He beloved his household, which I appreciated very a lot.

He additionally beloved his household of nation dancers, and we beloved him, too. One in every of my fondest reminiscences of my early days in nation swing dancing was being inspired and welcomed by this gem. Belief me – I fought “going nation” for many years, however this group of dancers and folks, particularly Kris, sucked me in. Now, these reminiscences are a number of the ones I’ll bear in mind endlessly.

Chupp behind the decks at Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row in Scottsdale.

Chupp behind the decks at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Scottsdale.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row

Jorge Portillo


I bear in mind our occasions at [the Pussycat Lounge], Martini Ranch, and American Junkie. You had been the staple for being one of many first within the Valley to carry VJing into this trade. Wednesday nights at American Junkie, you rocked the open format, and I loved all of the movies you’ll strategically craft along with your sound.

The final time I noticed you was final yr at Whiskey Row Gilbert the place you held your residency. Earlier than that, I hadn’t seen you in years. Nonetheless, I walked on the dance flooring and I lookup at your goofy ass smile and listen to “Portilloooooooo!!” You invited me as much as the sales space and we danced the evening away. I by no means realized that will be the final time I noticed you. You will be missed brother. Could you relaxation simple.

David Sankey (CIK)

Native DJ

Although we ran in two solely completely different circles, the few occasions I did [cross paths with Chupp] he was at all times the nicest man and really warming and welcoming. We’ve two dozen in widespread buddies and he at all times handled me like I used to be considered one of them, [even] once I was only a good friend of a good friend. His exhibits [were] within the early day of electronica music exhibits right here in Phoenix, in order that they had been nonetheless very underground and he was constructing a future for all of us. He was one of many well-versed DJs; he may throw down something.

Jay Mayer

Longtime good friend

Such a very good man. I met him a very good 20-plus years in the past whereas he was throwing [parties] and DJing at occasions. When my firm Eventvibe first began again in 2001, he was one of many first DJs that DJ’d our occasions, and he used to e book our Eventvibe ladies to bop at completely different promotions and occasions. By no means a difficulty. All the time skilled. All the time optimistic. This can be a unhappy, unhappy day for lots of us within the trade. Particularly the older ones. Kris was the dude. He paved the best way for lots of people.

Corey Eaton (DJ Mr. Eaton)

Native DJ

This man gave me my first REAL begin as a DJ. I will by no means [forget] the decision. “Hey bro, you need to DJ at Margarita Rocks in two weeks?” The remainder is historical past. He gave me my first two upgrades to my DJ system. Did not ask for a dime of cash, simply believed in me. He was at all times the one I would name for recommendation and he was all prepared to inform me the reality, even when I did not like or agree with it. All of the enjoyable occasions with the bike rides, DJ occasions, and [just] hanging out. This man was considered one of my mentors and at all times my good friend via good and unhealthy. He and I’ve gone [through] each. Maintain the occasion going, sir.



Eric Chen

Native Videographer

Due to the shutdown, he wasn’t DJing [and] needed to go dwell on-line [to perform for people and give them] the sensation of going out however staying at house. I had simply purchased some new lights and [a camera]. He needed to know the way he ought to set his up, so I confirmed him how I’d set it up with mine. I stated, “Sit down and I’ll file you speaking and you’ll see the way it appears.” I’m glad I used to be in a position to seize a second of him speaking to a good friend and being himself. He’s nice man and it’s evident with the outpouring assist. He talked about lots of initiatives that he needed to do. I’m simply unhappy he won’t ever get to complete them.

Thomas Grey


Studying all these tales and the influence Kris had on this group is wonderful. He personally did a lot for me. I first met him whereas he was in a motorcycle trip, imagine it or not … and I used to be underneath his wing ever since. He would give, give, give, and assist in any approach doable. He by no means requested for something in return ever. He taught me to face up for what you’re value and don’t take shit from anybody. He was variety, cool, and humorous.

I owe lots to this man and might be endlessly grateful for the moments we had, together with one loopy 24-hour journey to Vegas to open for Weezer; the person hit each shade or quantity on roulette between 9 to 10 casinos that day. Naturally, he took care [of] everybody much more. He was only a dope-ass dude.

Chris Birkett

Native marriage ceremony DJ

Folks would come as much as Kris on a regular basis at Whiskey Row and say, “We wish you to DJ our marriage ceremony.” And he’d flip round, give them my cellphone quantity, and ship them my approach. He is advised so many individuals about me. Simply such a cultured transfer. Very beneficiant. He was at all times up for serving to out a good friend. He had that excellent stability the place in the event you wanted to have enjoyable, he is able to have enjoyable. For those who wanted to sit back out, he was down to sit back out. He was so understanding and accommodating. He by no means had an unkind bone in his physique. I will always remember his face, his spirit, or his vitality. All I do know is that, on the opposite facet, they certain simply received a rad DJ to jam out in any respect their events.