One of the truly legendary figures in Chicago house music and nightlife history has died.
Teri Bristol, who held down residencies in Chicago nightclubs and on Chicago radio for more than 30 years, including some genuinely iconic nights at Medusa’s and Crobar, passed away on September 25, 2023. She had been fighting kidney failure for the last several years.
Teri Bristol was a music pioneer, a Chicago DJ who paved the way for a new generation of female DJs in a scene that was incredibly male-dominated. In a Facebook post today, DJ Lady D described Teri as a friend and mentor and an idol. “The importance of this woman to Chicago and the greater house community at large cannot be overstated.”
In a 2015 interview with 5 Mag’s Czarina Mirani, Psycho-Bitch said she met Teri Bristol when the latter was working at a gay bar near O’Hare called Celebrity Club. “To this day I tease Teri because Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ was huge back then and the first line in the song is ‘I was working as a waitress in a COCKTAIL BAR when I met you,'” she said. “That is exactly how I met Teri. She was the waitress, but ended up playing records because the DJ there got fired.”
The two became residents at Crobar. “When Teri and I took over, one of my personal tasks for the night was to not only increase the crowd but to increase the early arrivals. Within the first year I had 800 coming before midnight and between 2000-3000 coming all night. Our birthday, anniversary and six turntable shows were absolutely insane there. By 10pm the line would wrap a whole city block. We were so devoted and committed to this night that we turned down all out-of-town guest spots to be there for our loyal fans who came and supported every single Saturday.”
It is hard to name a club — then or now — that Teri didn’t play at. As a DJ she was deeply influential. As a person, she was beloved.
A note from Teri’s family reads: