Kirk Johnson, also known as Captain Kirk, KJ the singing DJ, is setting out to break records as the 'world's oldest DJ' at 94 years old. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports. 

He may not have any turntables, but one look at the man behind the speakers in the recreation room of the Spangle Drive Senior Center in North Babylon, and there’s no doubt Kirk Johnson is the one commanding the dance floor.

Now the 94-year old is hoping to prove his DJ status to the Guinness World Records and claim the title of oldest disc jockey.

Known as “Captain Kirk,” the Farmingdale resident dons a shirt with music notes and piano keys splashed across it, along with a nautical captain’s hat perched on his head for full effect, every Wednesday afternoon at the center. There, with a bingo board on the wall behind him and light machines propped on speakers, Johnson turns the recreation room into a nightclub, playing a variety of music genres from a laptop that keeps dozens of seniors moving and grooving.

“I love to see people out there having fun, enjoying themselves and it’s all because of me,” said the former West Babylon school bus driver, who retired at age 90.

Johnson began his DJ career a year after retirement at the prodding of the center’s director, Carolyn Epifane.

Epifane said after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions began to lift in spring 2021, patrons were eager to gather and hear music again. She brought in a small karaoke machine and asked Johnson to run it. But karaoke wasn’t for him and after awhile Johnson decided he wanted to DJ. So he asked for a hand from his son Kerry, who helped him purchase a laptop, speakers, a mixing board and other equipment.

“I didn’t even know what a laptop looked like,” Kirk Johnson said.

Kerry Johnson, 54, of West Babylon, said it didn’t surprise him that his dad wanted to DJ.

“He’s always been a person who wants everyone to have a good time,” Kerry Johnson said.

Kirk Johnson’s wife, Paula Scalise, 81, said she, too, was unfazed when hearing of Johnson’s DJing goals.

“He’s the type of man who always has to be doing something,” she said.

Before being a bus driver for 28 years, Johnson drove a tractor trailer and owned a bottled water delivery franchise. In his spare time he participated in professional roller-skating competitions across the tristate and even taught roller dancing for a time.

“I’m a very active person and I didn’t like just hanging around after retiring,” said the Korean War veteran, who served in the Army Air Corps and then Air Force from 1946 to 1958.

“He brought life back to the center after the pandemic,” Epifane said. “People can’t get enough of him.”

Johnson has twice beaten non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Months of chemotherapy left him so weak, he once had to be taken out of the center in an ambulance in the middle of a music set.

“Captain Kirk” plays the center for free but he offers his paid services to anyone having an event. He has one standing paying gig playing happy hour at the Knights of Columbus hall in Seaford. Johnson dubs the event a “real wing dinger” that can draw more than 100 people.

“If I didn’t have this, I’d be staying at home like a little old lady,” said center patron Dottie McCormick, 83 of East Islip. “He keeps us going.”

Johnson prides himself on meeting any song request and plays everything from rock and roll and disco to salsa and country.

“I’m just having such a ball,” Johnson said recently while at the DJ table.

Just then, Bruce Young, 88, of Smithtown, approached to ask Johnson to play “Flowers,” the hit Miley Cyrus song.

“He’s my hero,” Young said of Johnson. “I want to be like him when I grow up.”

Johnson, who rode a motorcycle until just a few years ago, has even developed his own set of “groupies” who follow him from gig to gig.

Connie Altadonna, 88, of Deer Park, proudly counts herself among that crowd. She calls Johnson a “lifesaver” who got older adults “out of our bubble” after the pandemic.

“I come here faithfully for him,” she said. “Wherever he goes, I go.”

Johnson has submitted an application to the Guinness World Records, which has been accepted, his son Kerry said. He must now provide supporting evidence, including video testimonials and medical certification of Johnson’s age. According to the records, the current title for oldest DJ appears to be an 89-year-old woman in Japan.

He said he had no doubt that his father, who turns 95 in August, would achieve his goal.

“If I know him, he’ll make sure he gets it,” his son said with a laugh. “Once he gets an idea, he doesn’t let it go.”

He may not have any turntables, but one look at the man behind the speakers in the recreation room of the Spangle Drive Senior Center in North Babylon, and there’s no doubt Kirk Johnson is the one commanding the dance floor.

Now the 94-year old is hoping to prove his DJ status to the Guinness World Records and claim the title of oldest disc jockey.

Known as “Captain Kirk,” the Farmingdale resident dons a shirt with music notes and piano keys splashed across it, along with a nautical captain’s hat perched on his head for full effect, every Wednesday afternoon at the center. There, with a bingo board on the wall behind him and light machines propped on speakers, Johnson turns the recreation room into a nightclub, playing a variety of music genres from a laptop that keeps dozens of seniors moving and grooving.

“I love to see people out there having fun, enjoying themselves and it’s all because of me,” said the former West Babylon school bus driver, who retired at age 90.

  • “Captain Kirk” Johnson
  • 94 years old
  • Began DJing at age 91
  • Plays at least two gigs every week
  • Hopes to set the Guinness World Record for oldest DJ

Johnson began his DJ career a year after retirement at the prodding of the center’s director, Carolyn Epifane.

Epifane said after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions began to lift in spring 2021, patrons were eager to gather and hear music again. She brought in a small karaoke machine and asked Johnson to run it. But karaoke wasn’t for him and after awhile Johnson decided he wanted to DJ. So he asked for a hand from his son Kerry, who helped him purchase a laptop, speakers, a mixing board and other equipment.

“I didn’t even know what a laptop looked like,” Kirk Johnson said.

Kerry Johnson, 54, of West Babylon, said it didn’t surprise him that his dad wanted to DJ.

“He’s always been a person who wants everyone to have a good time,” Kerry Johnson said.

Kirk Johnson’s wife, Paula Scalise, 81, said she, too, was unfazed when hearing of Johnson’s DJing goals.

“He’s the type of man who always has to be doing something,” she said.

Retired school bus driver

Before being a bus driver for 28 years, Johnson drove a tractor trailer and owned a bottled water delivery franchise. In his spare time he participated in professional roller-skating competitions across the tristate and even taught roller dancing for a time.

“I’m a very active person and I didn’t like just hanging around after retiring,” said the Korean War veteran, who served in the Army Air Corps and then Air Force from 1946 to 1958.

“He brought life back to the center after the pandemic,” Epifane said. “People can’t get enough of him.”

Kirk Johnson, of Farmingdale, is hoping to set the Guinness...

Kirk Johnson, of Farmingdale, is hoping to set the Guinness World Record for the oldest DJ. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Johnson has twice beaten non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Months of chemotherapy left him so weak, he once had to be taken out of the center in an ambulance in the middle of a music set.

Meets any song request

“Captain Kirk” plays the center for free but he offers his paid services to anyone having an event. He has one standing paying gig playing happy hour at the Knights of Columbus hall in Seaford. Johnson dubs the event a “real wing dinger” that can draw more than 100 people.

“If I didn’t have this, I’d be staying at home like a little old lady,” said center patron Dottie McCormick, 83 of East Islip. “He keeps us going.”

Johnson prides himself on meeting any song request and plays everything from rock and roll and disco to salsa and country.

“I’m just having such a ball,” Johnson said recently while at the DJ table.

Just then, Bruce Young, 88, of Smithtown, approached to ask Johnson to play “Flowers,” the hit Miley Cyrus song.

“He’s my hero,” Young said of Johnson. “I want to be like him when I grow up.”

Johnson, who rode a motorcycle until just a few years ago, has even developed his own set of “groupies” who follow him from gig to gig.

Connie Altadonna, 88, of Deer Park, proudly counts herself among that crowd. She calls Johnson a “lifesaver” who got older adults “out of our bubble” after the pandemic.

“I come here faithfully for him,” she said. “Wherever he goes, I go.”

Johnson has submitted an application to the Guinness World Records, which has been accepted, his son Kerry said. He must now provide supporting evidence, including video testimonials and medical certification of Johnson’s age. According to the records, the current title for oldest DJ appears to be an 89-year-old woman in Japan.

He said he had no doubt that his father, who turns 95 in August, would achieve his goal.

“If I know him, he’ll make sure he gets it,” his son said with a laugh. “Once he gets an idea, he doesn’t let it go.”

Memorial Day info  ... Air show preview ... FeedMe: New East End restaurants  Credit: Newsday

Updated 7 minutes ago SBU housing shortage ... Trending ...  Medical Center expansion ... Stunt pilot Ken

Memorial Day info  ... Air show preview ... FeedMe: New East End restaurants  Credit: Newsday

Updated 7 minutes ago SBU housing shortage ... Trending ...  Medical Center expansion ... Stunt pilot Ken

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME