As his professional name suggests, DJ Joe “Pleasuremaker” McGuire is a devoted fan of fun.
“I do take pleasure seriously because without it, life is drab and colorless,” the Vallejo resident said.
McGuire is a founding member of Afrolicious, an Afro-fusion dance collective that’s a fixture on the multicultural San Francisco music scene.
On Saturday evening, Afrolicious will headline the 24th annual Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire in Grover Beach, rounding out a lineup that includes bluegrass, flamenco and reggae groups. Other highlights of the weekend-long event include the Dune Run-Run race, the Mardi Paws Dog Parade, a model train display and a community-wide art project.
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McGuire, who grew up in Kansas City, Mo., inherited a deep-seated love of music from his father.
“When we were really young, he sat us down in front of the record player and told us stories” about the music as well as the artists and their lives, he said, exposing McGuire and his siblings to the likes of rock legends Ray Charles, The Beatles and The Doors, as well as bluesmen Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf and jazz greats John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
“Looking back on it, I realize that was the spark beyond the music itself,” McGuire said. “The whole thing was kind of a road map to how life could be.”
McGuire developed some of his more “international tastes” while working as a college radio DJ at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.
In 2006, he followed his older brother and fellow DJ Oz “Señor Oz” McGuire west to San Francisco, convinced the city would offer a fertile atmosphere for his unique sound.
“It was kind of a childhood dream to move to California,” recalled Joe McGuire, who was 24 at the time. “It’s always been in my mind as long as I could remember.”
Started as a weekly dance party at San Francisco’s Elbo Room, Afrolicious gradually expanded to become a full-fledged band featuring DJs, horn players, percussionists and other instrumentalists. The band has performed alongside artists including Jimmy Cliff and Thievery Corporation, releasing its debut album, “California Dreaming,” in May 2013.
“My brother and I are really good about getting people, creating a scene,” McGuire explained, so the group’s growth didn’t come as a surprise. “It was really organic. It was really natural.”
According to McGuire, Afrolicious currently boasts a rotating cast of about 20 musicians that “we’re trying to keep in good communication with.”Depending on the occasion, the ensemble might feature as few as four people on stage or as many as 12.
“The idea is, how can we help each other to reach our dreams … and how can we make other people’s lives better with our music,” he said.
The DJ said he and his bandmates pride themselves on their ability to bring a “super-energetic” live show that pairs rump-shaking rhythms with a positive, socially conscious message.
“You can party your ass off and have a blast, but you don’t have to do it mindlessly,” he explained.
Specifically, Afrolicious is dedicated to exploring the legacy of the African diaspora, McGuire said, noting that the spread of African peoples through the globe resulted in the creation of such diverse genres as calypso, jazz, gospel and the blues.
“The effects of the diaspora are so deep and so far reaching,” the DJ said. “One of the worst things in the past centuries resulted in some of the most mind-blowing music imaginable.”
“We’re trying to spotlight (that) and connect it musically to … the philosophical beliefs of Pan-Africanism,” he added.
In addition to celebrating that soundscape, McGuire, who sees himself as a cultural historian, strives to introduce listeners to the lesser known artists who inspired more famous acts.
“We’re trying to highlight a lot of this wonderful music that a lot of times gets overlooked,” he explained, by promoting the likes of Latin pianist Eddie Palmieri, reggae star Peter Tosh and hiphop icon DJ Grandmaster Flash.
Looking back on his own childhood, “I just remember thinking how grateful I was that these poets came and made musical recordings,” McGuire said. “There were times when I would have been way more lost if not for those songs.”
If you go
Stone Soup Music Festival and Street Faire
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Ramona Garden Park, 10th Street and Ramona Ave., Grover Beach
489-1488 or aggbchamber.com