Alive & Unedited: Charles Erickson

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When he came to Columbus, Charles Erickson wanted to go to a dance party that showcased rock music. He couldn't find what he was looking for, so he founded his own. The city's had The Clampdown, turning five years old this month, ever since.


I'm originally from Minneapolis. I moved here six and a half years ago for a job. I was a regional rep for some record labels.

Before I came to Ohio, everyone called me Charlie. Growing up, it was important to distinguish me, because I was Charles Erickson III. I was Charlie, my father was Chuck and my grandfather was Charles.

I was a radio DJ for five years in the Twin Cities. KUOM, Radio K. It was a University of Minnesota radio station. It was actually a really strong, really well-known station throughout the city.

I've completely fallen in love with Minneapolis. It's that saying: You never know what you've got until it's gone. But within the last year, I've really started to think of Columbus as a home - not just a home away from home. I could stay here the rest of my life and be happy.

My favorite thing about Columbus is the sense of community. There's so many initiatives to foster community here. Living in the heart of the city, there's a feeling that you know people everywhere you go.

When I moved here, I found that there weren't a lot of events that catered to the kind of music I really liked. There was an amazing opportunity to have a really successful rock dance night. I came to this realization: This is the kind of party I wanted to go to, so I might as well do it myself.

The Clampdown wasn't so much a great idea. It was a total no-brainer. This was what people wanted, and I knew how to get it done. I didn't create dancing. I didn't create rock music. At least in recent years, I just seemed to be the only person who decided to bring these elements together.

Now that we've hit the five-year mark, I've finally decided to take the first few steps to building the brand. I'm going to be licensing it to people in different cities. In October will be the unveiling of Clampdown Cleveland. The plan would be to have three more cities in 2010.

What makes a great rock DJ is your ability to pick the right music, knowing which songs to play and when.

The most CDs I've ever had at one time is about 6,500. The amount of space my collection took up was insane. When I was single, I had an entire room dedicated to my music collection.

One thing I always remember is that there's nothing more dependable than the apathy of others. There's a lot of great things that people talk about doing, and there's not a lot of people out there doing them.

Three things I can't live without are my wife, music and my friends.

Age: 31

Day job: Freelance consultant, DJ

Alma mater: University of Minnesota

Neighborhood: Italian Village

Hometown: Minneapolis

Playing Favorites

Favorite artist: Nat King Cole

Favorite album: Foxbase Alpha by Saint Etienne

Favorite movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Favorite TV show: Dexter

Favorite food: Thai red curry

Favorite drink: Blueberry lemonade

What: The Clampdown

When: 10 p.m. the second Saturday of every month

Where: Ravari Room, North Campus


Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at