DJ Elvis Duran. (Photo Credit: Robert Milazzo)

“Where Do I Begin? Stories (I Sort of Remember) from a Life Lived Out Loud”
by Elvis Duran
©2019, Atria
288 pages

Would you turn that up, please?

You ask because that’s your favorite song, the one that makes you sing along as you seat-dance in the car. It’s the one that reminds you of the good times, of meeting your beloved, fun with friends or One Special Night. Turn that up, please, it’s the perfect background music by which to read “Where Do I Begin?” by Elvis Duran.

Nearly every child of the last century who owned a tape recorder spent time pretending to be a radio DJ, but Elvis Duran took it to another level: eight-year-old Duran had not only turntables and records, he also had a kit-transmitter that let him broadcast to the widow next door in his McKinney, Texas, neighborhood.

As a teenager, Duran’s dream of being a radio DJ was finally fulfilled at a tiny McKinney radio station, which led to a gig at a larger station some distance away from the Dallas area, which led to another job and another, cross-state, cross-country, and back. He and his boyfriend — who’d patiently city-hopped with Duran — sometimes had no time to unpack before Duran was fired from one job and hired at another in a different city, something that was common in radio then. At one point, Duran lost not just a job, but he lost the boyfriend, too.

That was regretful, but he moved on quickly. There was always another radio station, just as there were other men. He also sampled different formats in various cities before landing at the Holy Grail for Radio DJs: New York City, at Z100, then the Big Apple’s Number One station. There, he learned and grew, and honed his craft.

But like everything that’s good, radio evolved and Duran became itchy to move — right down the road, to the competition. His program director, however, had other thoughts: Duran had a contract and though he begged for release, he was given the morning slot at Z100.

Little did he know then that it was a gig he’d have for more than two decades…

These days, it seems like there are a dozen ways to get your tunes, but radio still rules. After all, as author Elvis Duran points out in “Where Do I Begin?” with radio, you feel as though you’re spending time with a friend.

That’s also the general feeling you’ll take away from this book, too. Over and over again, Duran stresses his goal of authenticity for his syndicated show and that’s what fans get here, with the same freneticism of a radio show, the same wackiness. That means you get the good, including behind-the-scenes peeks, both in-studio and onstage, and the kind of stories that can only come from behind a mic. It also means you’ll get the bad, including the ubiquitous name-dropping, tired tales of partying, and several urine bits.

And yet, if you grew up listening to a local DJ and imagining his (or her!) life, you shouldn’t even try to resist this book. Funny, fast-paced, and fun, “Where Do I Begin?” reads at high-volume.