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CLEVELAND SCENE EMAIL INTERVIEW 2/24/04
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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CLEVELAND SCENE EMAIL INTERVIEW 2/24/04  Reply with quote  

How's the "Emo Rap Revolution" workin' out for you?

"Heh...it is revolting."


Where do most musicians go wrong?

"MOST musicians go wrong by not taking the bull by the horns. They wait around for other people to make things happen for them. But musicians go wrong in many steps of the game, because even when they do take the bull by the horns some of them get too caught up in the business of things instead of letting their art flow. It's a tricky game, and only a very few make it out alive."

Where do most music writers go wrong?

"I am not much of a music writer, I am a lyric writer. Most lyric writers go wrong by thinking that they have a poetic license to say anything even if it is unoriginal and trite. Those who are original often go wrong by focusing too much energy on being different instead of just writing about morning breakfast. What the hell? I need to write a song about breakfast. It's the best."

I read something recently in which someone defended Sly Stone against his
late-career falling-off, saying that once someone has accomplished what he
has, the rest doesn't matter. Can you really blame artists for falling off?
Is it the kind of thing that should even be debated?

"If they are great ONCE and then never return to greatness in any other form then they are ruled by a shadow. Those people don't live happily, they are banking off something they were able to do at one point before they lost it all. Nas should go back to...oh wait. Sly Stalone should work with better producers and then maybe he can fight Mike Tyson in the ring again."

The trumpet on "The Cure" do you play that?

"Joe plays it. He played it once and then looped it over and over. He did that with every single instrument on the album. Unbelievable."

I'm from Pittsburgh. Been into Grand Buffet since '98. Great to see them get
respect. Why do you like them? What do they have to offer?


"Grand Buffet are the greatest act to come along in a long time. They get me energetic and laughing every single night. It's insane. Jack and Grunge are two of the most unique, humorous and intelligent folks I have had the pleasure to be around. I just love them and I'll stand by them til the end. This is the second tour I have had them on with me."


On the new record, you drop the line about people thinking that hip-hop has
died. Do you distinguish between eras of hip-hop? How do you break it down?

"Old school is 76-85. The golden age is 86-94. The D-Generation is from 95-2000. The indie-uprisal has begun."

Has hip-hop, like punk, become a germ of an idea that can spread to other
forms of music? How much an influence is your punk background? What are some
your punk/HC influences?

"Hiphop has infiltrated every single culture, music, artform it has touched. There's no doubt about that. They only reason hardcore appealed to me was because of the hiphop elements. The slang, the attitude, the gear, and the lyrics. My punk background probably had a big influence on my DIY ethic of how I do things. How I run shows and put out material. I could name a bunch of punk groups but I don't really think any of them influenced me."


Do you really have journalism degree? How does that inform what you do?

"I have a Bachelor's degree in journalism from URI. It cost a lot of money and it doesn't do shit for me."

Any comment on your move from Anticon to Epitaph? Strictly in the sense of
the leap from indie to major, the shit people talk always brings to mind
Henry Rollins's comments about his move from underground to major
label: He never had to call his major labels begging for money they owed
him. And Atmosphere's new disc is much easier to find in stores than
Personal Journals.

"Henry Rollins makes a lot of sense sometimes. The fact is, why is signing to anticon and different than signing to Epitaph? When I signed to anticon people could have bitched about how I signed to label rather than just putting out my own shit. I signed to them because they wanted to put out an album of mine because we were friends and they knew the album would sell well. After anticon, I signed to Lex/Warp Records for the Non-Prophets album. I signed to them because I wanted to see how a label with more financial backing could handle a record like mine. After that I signed to Epitaph because they are an even bigger label and they kick ass. The people on the staff are great to me and we worked out an awesome deal. I had no obligations to stay with any label I worked with AND I still put out all my independent releases whenever I want. How's that for having your cake and eating it too?"


What's some underrated/under-recognized hip-hop?

"This list is way too looooooong."

What's the last album you really enjoyed?

"Plastic Ono Band"

This tour -- you're performing both with a band and the Joe Beats, correct?
Two sets?

"Yes. The first set with the band consists of very obscure songs of mine backed by acoustic guitars and 808 drums. I follow that up with a more traditional sound for the sake of balance and also so I don't get lynched."

What led to working with a live band? Was there a single moment?

"I love live music. I love instruments. When they are played well, they offer a lot of freedom with the music and it just brings more life to the stage. I have worked with a live band since 1996. It is interesting working with musicians who aren't into hiphop because they don't come into the game playing like the Roots or anything. They bring their own flavor into the mix."

"Fuck Clear Channel" -- that's a bold statement that not many artists would
make in public. What are your specific objections? While you're going there,
any thoughts on Ticketmaster?

"I am able to make statements like this and it is an honor to do so. Anyone who doesn't take a stand against the forces working against independence and freedom deserves the fast food culture they are trapped within. Such limited, horrible existences. Clear Channel and Ticketmaster both like to have a strangle hold on aspects of the business that I operate within. I say fuck em both. Because I can. And if it makes it more difficult for me to succeed in a bullshit business because of it, so be it. They will not bank off of my hard work."

From attitude to skills, Joe Beats has a good handle on the hip-hop thing,
right? Discuss.

"He sure the fuck does. Pure bravado. Meat head styles. Sports page reader. Gator Aid drinker. Energy Bar eater. Hiphop listener. Sexual predator. All those things. Hit him up at joeybeats@non-prophets.com and ask him to expound."

I find it mildly ironic that hip-hop world is populated with so many verbal
types who can't do anything but talk a good game and can't/don't actually
write. Do you see a separation between your spoken-word work and hip-hop? Or
do you see the evolution from poetry to beat poetry to hip-hop as the
progression of a single art?

"I don't see much of a difference in content. Spoken word lends itself to different styles of delivery though. I don't think rap really evolved from poetry or beat poetry. it existed completely outside of that world. But they meshed at some points."

You slam people for making "fuck you, faggot" records. A lot of the people
who sling "faggot" around would never drop the N-bomb. Do you see that as a
contradiction? Does it just happen because they know that they can get away
with one, and the other will catch them a beating?

"Yeah, it's cool to be homophobic and sexist. It is encouraged and rewarded even. The trick is to pick on a minority that you are safe from. The big taboo is racism, because as everyone knows they only real injustice in this world is racial injustice. It's pathetic that rappers haven't made the leap out of that ignorance. If they want to act tough through use of bigotry then they need to disrepect everyone equally. Fuck all those bitch faggot niggaz."


On the new disc, you say you're a little embarrassed by some of your early
work, "making pro-black records." And JB address that issue in his later
posting. What was your original target audience, what audience did you find,
and what audience do you hope to reach?

"Fuck, I didn't have an audience. My audience was me. I was making raps in order to hear myself rap. And my main influences were artists like Public Enemy, KRS, Rakim, Paris, X-Clan and groups with pro-black agendas. I'm not really embarassed about that shit, it is just funny that a chubby 12 yr old would get up in front of his white classmates and sing King Sun's 'Be Black' in order to get into the talent show. I was not allowed into the talent show."

You've referred to having ongoing medical problems in the past. If you feel
like discussing, do you care to elaborate? Reason I ask is that emo has had
this cancerous effect on music, in which it's become so popular to
pussy-ache about minor things and act like everyday issues are chronic
problems. And the people that really have a weight to carry around don't
bother crying about it.

"I don't remember what I have mentioned in song form as far as my ailments go. I remember talking about lumps on my body. Which I do have. I have asthma, but so doesn't everyone. Ummm..the biggest issue with me is my throat is in constant pain. It hurts when I talk and it is in excrutiating pain when I perform. Right now I have just done 20 shows in a row and I have 20 more to go. I really never know if I can make it all the way through, but if I don't do it now when the hell else will I get a chance. I haven't been to a doctor since I was 18 or so. Ah fuck you for making me think about this shit."

The issues you address in "Makeshift Patriot"-- do you see them getting
better any time soon? What do you see happening in the next election? Should
Nader throw in the towel, or is it up to concerned citizens to use their
vote as they feel is appropriate?

"No, I don't see them getting better. I see us all being thrown around like rag dolls by the administration and the working class public is so caught up in their daily grind that they can't make sense of it all so they are compelled to wave their flags like zombies. If you had proof there was no such thing as God, people would still believe in God. There's not much you can do about shit like that. We were raised to believe that America is the greatest nation in the world and the President is the great leader of the free world. A lot of people have wisened up and learned that the administration really isn't looking out for WE, THE PEOPLE. As for this upcoming election year, I see a lot of effort to get Bush out of office. It is sickening to think that he will be in office for another 4 years. Nader is really hurting the team if he gets added to the ballot. It is common knowledge that if he wasn't on the bill election that Gore would have won. Not that Gore would have been the best President ever, but the real motive is to get Bush the hell out of office right now. If Nader wants to challenge the 2 party system he could choose a better time than now to do it."
Post Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:36 pm
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MYOWNCLICHE



Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Posts: 3886
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The trumpet on "The Cure" do you play that?

"Joe plays it. He played it once and then looped it over and over. He did that with every single instrument on the album. Unbelievable."

I just love Joey
Post Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:39 pm
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