A Tribute to New York Club Icon Rob Fernandez


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A Tribute to New York Club Icon Rob Fernandez

The legendary club promoter passed away early this morning.

Legendary club promoter and New York City dance music icon Rob Fernandez passed away early this morning. Even yesterday, tributes started pouring in from across the city and the dance music world. VICE's own Paul Raffaele, who knew Fernandez well as a friend and colleague at Pacha, offers this tribute.

Rob gave me my first job, a job I worked ten feet from him every day for eight years. He got me my first DJ gig. He put me in front of 3,000 people one night to close for Benny Benassi on two hours notice, when I had never played for more than ten people. Dozens more came after that. He believed in me before anyone did.


He told me every day I could be better. His words were hard to hear sometimes, but they shot to your core, and you were a better person after hearing them. He taught me everything I know. He bailed me out of a few really bad situations without batting an eyelash or giving an eye roll (alright, maybe one eye roll).

Some of the fondest memories I have are reaching the end of the day, when just the two of us were left in the office. I'd generally go over and make a joke about an old deep house DJ. That would open floodgates, and I'd spend hours there wide-eyed listening to old Sound Factory Bar, Tracks, and Frankie Knuckles stories. He always told me I had the soul of a 45 year old gay, black man. I loved that.

He was equal parts elusive and mysterious as he was approachable and generous with his time. The family that he created, even way before my time, is one that I was immediately welcomed into, and one that I'll always be proud to be apart of. I would have fewer of my very dear friends today if it wasn't for him. I can honestly say I'd be a very different person today if I had never met Rob. He is missed so fucking much. I know he'd cringe if I ever told him I loved him, but I did. His legend will live forever, and his smile through his son, Rian.

Rest in power, Rob.

Paul Raffaele is a designer at VICE and previously designer at Pacha.