Let’s face it. Most of us have to work for a living. And, as far as jobs go, Paul Lamberty thinks he has it figured out. His job, which he calls a “customer service” position, involves shining lights on naked women and choosing which songs to play as soundtracks to their stripteasing. Lamberty, 43, is the head DJ at City Limits Showgirls and its sister nightclub, Rick’s. A former Seattleite who played bass guitar in metal bands during the heyday of that city’s grunge scene, Lamberty has been working in strip clubs for 13 years. He’s spent the past 12 in Sacramento. SN&R ran into Lamberty at City Limits on Auburn Boulevard on a recent weekday afternoon, where he was showing a new employee—seven DJs work under him—the ins and outs of the club’s DJ setup.
So, how did you get into this line of work?
Totally by accident. I was working at a home-security company … and got laid off ‘cause the numbers were dropping. And I was going through a divorce at the same time, and so a buddy of mine took me to a club—you know, he was like, “I know what you need. Let’s go to a club.”
Turned out I knew the door guy, and they said they needed another security guy, and that’s how I kinda got into the business. I started as a door guy. The DJ that was working day shifts there was just perpetually late, and, you know, I played in bands and stuff. … I had sound and light experience, too. It was kinda just a natural fit.
When I think of strip-club music, I think of metal and hip-hop.
It’s kind of a mixture of both. You kinda have to keep—'cause we do kind of have a philosophy where we wanna have the music conducive to table dances and so on and so forth. Nightshifts are a little wilder. You want a lot of high-energy music and stuff. You know, a lot of girls have ideas of what they want to dance to. Some of it’s fine; sometimes you kind of have to steer them in different directions to, you know, remind them that this is a business, and we’re about customer service.
Can you actually track which songs increase the number of table dances?
Typically, you know, it’s weird. I look at it like fishing. Some days are just great fishing days, and some days aren’t. You know what I mean? But you can definitely help set the mood with music. And you can, you know, a good DJ can direct and encourage people, you know … if they’re havin’ fun in here, then they’re much looser and more apt to party with the girls.
What makes a good strip-club DJ?
You gotta get out of the DJ booth and listen, you know. You can kind of see what’s workin’ and what’s not with certain crowds, you know.
And just, you gotta bring a little electricity to it. I’ve been through so many DJs here in the last 12 years. Some people just bring a real exciting time, and some guys are just kinda like—who was it? Venus Flytrap on WKRP. Just zzzzzzz, you know.
Is this what you want to be doing for the rest of your life?
For the time being, yeah. I mean, it’s pretty rewarding financially. I do pretty well here. And it’s a lot of fun. I work 26 hours per week, you know, at night. I play golf during the day. I got time for my kid. Yeah. It could be a whole lot worse.
After 13 years of working around naked women, do you even care anymore?
You know, it’s like, I love pizza. You know what I mean? I mean, I love pizza. But if I ate pizza every day, it would just be another pizza. We’ve got some girls here that can still turn my head. But I mean, honestly, I been doin’ it for a long time, and it doesn’t faze me that much anymore. And every once in a while, I’ll take a step back and go, “Damn, this is the greatest job in the world.”
Does working here teach you anything about people? Men?
I think a lot of guys come in, and they’re—they seem scared, you know? They seem a little scared. That’s why we just really try just to let people know, “Hey, we’re here to have fun right along next to you. Hey, this is a fun time.”
It’s funny, because the female customers that come in—woooooo! They’re screaming and yelling, and I’m like, “Guys: The girls are out-partying you.” You know. And really, just really trying to break that ice with them. That’s the challenge: to get guys to relax and enjoy themselves.
Anything else people should know about your job?
I know this industry gets a lot of speculation and a lot of—there’s a stigma to it and everything else. But, I mean, honestly … at least, speaking for myself, this is not who I am; this is what I do.
So, then, who are you?
I’m a great friend and a good father, and … I live my life honestly. And that’s who I am. You know, I try to be a positive force around here.