By day, Joe Sprague is a mild-mannered man with a conspicuous interest in golf. He plays the game well, and he’s also served as director of strategic initiatives for the United States Golf Association. Before that, he was executive director of the Massachusetts Golf Association, and before that, director of the Rhode Island Golf Association for 15 years. In short, the man knows how to run a golf tournament.
But on certain nights, the silver-haired administrator transforms into Greenwood Hi-fi, a turntable DJ with an astonishing range of musical tastes. Sprague has spun tunes at Myrtle, the new bar-slash-music venue in East Providence, since this past fall.
“I’m just having fun with it,” says Sprague, who will turn 62 this month. He owns the necessary equipment and a vast collection of vinyl records, and he has long played the DJ role at friends’ events. Yet, the regular gigs at Myrtle have considerably upped his game. “To have a residency at a place, this is new to me. And I’m fortunate that people like it.”
Sprague grew up in Rhode Island and studied at Providence College. While he did play bass with a couple of different bands, young Sprague was more active as a spectator. “I saw countless bands,” he recalls. “I didn’t have much money, like most college kids. But I’d buy records and play music on the [college] radio [station]. My tastes are pretty wide – everything from soul and garage rock to reggae, reggae dub, early punk rock, post-punk – and I’m still finding new bands.”
Shortly before Myrtle opened, Sprague offered to DJ to owners Tommy Allen and Natalie VanLandingham. He hoped for monthly appearances, but Greenwood Hi-fi now mans the turntable just about every week.
“If people like it,” says Sprague, “I tell them, ‘I’m just playing my record collection. Thanks for enjoying it.’” Learn more on Instagram @GreenwoodHiFi
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