MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 30, 2013

Firefighter withstood heat, climbed career ladder

From green recruit to assistant chief in 33 years

(Continued)

— The evolution

of music formats

While in high school, Perkins got a gig that continues to this day: He’s a disc jockey for special events.

He began back when a DJ actually spun records.

“When I was in high school we had nothing to do, so a friend and I got together to give parties on weekends at the Civic Center,” he said. “We called ourselves We Funk. And people are still talking about We Funk.”

He said the group started with his brothers and some of his football buddies. They’d charge $1 admission.

“We didn’t make much money, just enough to pay for the room,” Perkins said. “We had a turntable and we played a lot of rhythm and blues, soul music. We called it funk. We also played a little bit of the Commodores and the O’Jays.”

He said the parties got so popular on the weekends, people would call wanting to know when they were. Even parents would call wanting to know when they could take their kids, he said.

Eventually, the albums gave way to CDs. Then the CDs gave way to downloads on a laptop.

This makes the shows a lot easier, Perkins said.

“We used to have to pack crates and crates of music,” he said. “Now, with the laptop, we have thousands and thousands of songs on the laptop. That’s easier and better.”

Perkins said he now does music for weddings and family reunions.

Great high school

football memories

Perkins spent part of his childhood wanting to be a pro football player. He started in elementary school, playing in the Paul Young Football League. He later played at Alice Robertson Junior High. He said his ninth-grade football coach, J.W. Salmon, had a big impact on his life.

“He used to talk to us every day, relating football to the game of life,” Perkins said. “He’d talk about how in football you got to just hang in there, keep trying. He’d work us hard, but he’d always relate it to life.”

Perkins played high school varsity football, starting as a fullback and strong safety under Ray Grandstaff.

“He came up from Checotah and coached a few years,” Perkins said. “When he came up, it was my sophomore year and a lot of kids quit. We ended up having mostly 10th- graders starting on varsity.”

By the time Perkins was a senior, the MHS Roughers had matured.

“My sophomore and junior year, we had 4-6 records,” he said. “But, then in my senior year, we won our conference and were ranked No. 1 in the state going into the playoffs. We beat Memorial. They were the strongest team in the state. They hadn’t been beaten in two years. They came to Muskogee, and we beat them by a couple of touchdowns. They were the state champions the year before.”

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