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Life and times of DJ Butt

Updated August 21, 2014

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DJ Butt is a famous Pakistani Disc Jockey, musician, political activist, environmentalist, stamp-collector, Twitter troll and amateur nuclear physicist.

Butt is also related to two of Pakistan’s leading musclemen and moustache enthusiasts, Gullu Butt and Pomi Butt, and two inner ring leaders of Deepak Chopra’s Smiling Dollar Cult, Mahesh Bhatt and Pojja Bhatt.

DJ Butt (real name DJ Butt) was born in Lahore in 1987 (even though he insists he was born in 1857). Butt koh dj-ing ka bachpan hi sey shouk tha and he built his first dj-ing equipment when he was just 3 years old.

Talking to the Readers Digest in 2013, Butt said:

"Mixing and dj-ing came naturally to me and one night when I was 3, I had a dream in which I saw Imran Khan coming in to bowl to an enemy batsman at Lahore’s Qaddafi Stadium and the whole stadium was filled with some 7.2 million people, all chanting, 'Go, Nawaz, Go! Go, Nawaz Go!' Mujey dj-ing ka bachpan hi sey shouk tha."

On DJ Butt's cousin: Gullu Butt: An Auto-smashing-biography

  DJ Butt’s first music-mixing machine. It could also toast bread.
DJ Butt’s first music-mixing machine. It could also toast bread.

Butt went to the prestigious Aitchison School in Lahore, whereas his cousins, Gullu and Pomi, went to the cinemas to watch violent Punjabi flicks. They used to tease DJ Butt for being a sissy, but one day when DJ Butt was just 7 years old, he blew away both Gullu and Pomi with his mix of Nazia Hassan’s ‘Disco Dewane’.

It is believed that after being blown away by the mix, Gullu and Pomi smashed DJ Butt’s mixing machine with a club (danda) making DJ Butt very sad.

Talking to the National Geographic in 2012, DJ Butt said:

‘It was heart-breaking. Gullu and Pomi arrived at my house on their tri-cycles, armed with clubs and then proceeded to smash my first ever music mixing equipment that I had built with my own two tiny hands. I cried a lot and from that day onwards, I stopped eating porridge.’

  A young Gullu Butt smashing a pumpkin in young DJ Butt’s garden.
A young Gullu Butt smashing a pumpkin in young DJ Butt’s garden.

After completing his O' levels at Aitchison, DJ Butt, who by then had already become famous as a dj at the discothèques in Lahore’s Anarkali and Mochi Gate areas, decided to go abroad to study music.

He had already become disillusioned by the country’s politics which, in those days, was being dominated by Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and Benazir Bhutto’s PPP.

According to Pakistani pop star, politician, revolutionary, electrician and the guy who couldn’t reach Billo’s house — Abrarul Haq — it was DJ Butt who first advised Imran Khan to join politics.

DJ Butt confirmed this while talking to the Discovery Channel in 2010. He said:

"In March 1993, I was dj-ing at a Jirga party thrown by Imran Khan at his Zaman Park resident. During a break I walked up to Khan Saab who was deep in meditation and contemplating his future after his retirement from cricket in 1992.

"I politely introduced myself and he politely took off his dark shades and then not-so-politely smacked me across the face! I was shaken a bit but continued to ask him to listen to what I had to say. He replied, 'dekho, Butt, tum koh nahi pata, sab muj hi koh pata hai…'

"I said, I know that I know nothing and that you know everything, Khan Saab, but all I wanted to say was that you and you alone can save Pakistan from corrupt politicians and turn this country in becoming an Islamic Welfare State of Scandinavia. He seemed pleased and smiled and said, 'mujey politics ka bachpan hi sey shouk tha!'"

Initially Imran was not too enthusiastic when he was first approached by DJ Butt in 1993.
Initially Imran was not too enthusiastic when he was first approached by DJ Butt in 1993.

DJ Butt flew to the United States and joined the Harvard Business School to study music. He studied even more music at the Harvard Law College and afterwards he studied Law and Business at the famous Berklee College of Music in California.

In between, he also picked up a degree in anthropology from the Harvard Medical School and a degree in Chinese Medicine from a Chinese laundrette in China Town, New York City.

It was at the Columbia University that he met Zeenat (nickname Bubbly), a 20-year-old Pakistani student who was studying the history, sociology and politics of techno and trance music at the university. DJ Butt had been invited by the university’s Dean of Economics to deliver a lecture on acupuncture.

Talking to ESPN in 2009, DJ Butt said:

"It was Bubbly who advised me to return to Pakistan and join Imran Khan’s crusade against corruption and political coherence. I said, but I’m not a politician, to which Bubbly politely took off her dark shades and not-so-politely smacked me across the face.

 Bubbly and DJ Butt at the Columbia University where Butt had been invited to deliver a lecture on acupuncture.
Bubbly and DJ Butt at the Columbia University where Butt had been invited to deliver a lecture on acupuncture.

"She told me to use my talents as a dj to bring change, revolution, tabdeeli, inquilaab, azadi, freedom and men with blonde wigs stamping Pakistani passports and men with frowns beating up people with cricket bats! I was inspired and asked Bubbly to marry me. She smacked me across the face again and said no.

"The very next day I returned to Pakistan and joined Imran Khan’s movement. My last words to Bubbly were, ‘frankly, my Bubbly, I don’t give a damn!’"

Since Imran Khan’s party, the PTI, was initially being guided by the right-wing Jamaat-i-Islami, many of its early members were against allowing a dj to join it.

DJ Butt responded by blowing away his detractors with his mix of ‘The Final Countdown’ – a truly awful song originally recorded by that truly awful Swedish hair-metal band, Europe.

  DJ Butt: The Hair Metal years.
DJ Butt: The Hair Metal years.

Khan loved the mix and Butt was in. He became PTI’s official DJ. It was decided that he will play his mixes at PTI rallies after every third sentence that Imran Khan spoke, and that Shireen Mazari will smack him across the face if played the music before the third sentence or after the fifth.

Initially DJ Butt struggled a bit and was regularly punched and kicked by Mazari until he finally got the hang of it. His fame grew and he was also nominated for a Grammy but he refused to attend the ceremony as a protest against US drone strikes in Yemen.

In 2012 he was contacted by one of his estranged cousins, Gullu Butt (who had become a PML-N muscleman and Shahbaz Sharif’s masseur). Gullu offered him to join the PML-N and told him that Shahbaz Sharif will make sure his name becomes part of Gunnies Book of Lahore Records.

Talking to world famous TV anchor, revolutionary, activist, film director and real estate agent, Mubasher Lucman on ARY, DJ Butt said:

"At one point I was seriously contemplating joining PML-N because mujhey Guinness Book of World Records mein aney ka bachpan hi sey shouk tha. But just as I was in a deep meditation over joining PML-N, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door and saw Bubbly standing there. She smacked me across the face and said, no! The rest, as they say, is history."