Dirge for a beloved DJ, Daniel Osterhoff

By Nick Miller

Pioneering local deejay, artist and music-scene ambassador Daniel Osterhoff passed away unexpectedly this past weekend, and the Sacramento music scene is devastated.

“I look at Sacramento and I see a loss whose magnitude cannot even be possibly calculated,” wrote Terra Lopez of Rituals of Mine. “The streets are filled with his energy, with his art and with his love for the culture here. He is undeniably one of the reasons I ever felt confident enough to start creating electronic music, and I know I’m just one of the many who feel this way.”

Osterhoff performed under the moniker DJ Whores, which he adopted as a dig at groupies who jock club deejays. In 2010, he founded Grimey, a bass-music series on Tuesdays at Townhouse in Midtown, which exploded as the city’s most popular dance night. Grimey captured the spirit of Bay Area warehouse parties, and it became a haven and safe space for Sacramento’s underground and LGBTQ-plus communities.

But Osterhoff was about more than just electronic beats; he was versatile, a deejay also at home mixing funk, soul, hip-hop, ‘80s pop and R&B, thanks to his mom’s influence.

He inspired and charmed his peers with his irrepressible passion for music and his drive to make Sacramento a thrilling live-music town. “I owe a lot of what I am as a deejay to Dan, for making me work harder and stretch further,” wrote DJ Shaun Slaughter, a longstanding contemporary, friend and collaborator. “Any DJ who’s been in town long enough will tell you the same.”

Osterhoff, 37, was also a prominent sign artist, a craft he learned from his father. He is responsible for numerous murals and business signs in the city, including Anthony’s Barbershop and B-Side.

“He’s done so much to push our music community forward and that effort, and its impact, often goes unnoticed,” wrote Clay Nutting, local music promoter and restaurateur. “As a person, he was such a solid dude, loved his daughter so much. He was a treasure.”

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.