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pre-feature article interview with Providence Phoenix.
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21596
pre-feature article interview with Providence Phoenix.  Reply with quote  

Q: How's the tour going? What kind of reception are you getting? Do you
feel that your rep's building?

A: The tour is very strong. I'm traveling with a very talented crew. The crowds have been ravenous. We played a couple new spots on this tour and it's as if they have all this pent up excitement for all the years we never came through. The DC crowd acted like a hose was finally untangled and all the screams came out at once. Albuquerque was so loud I had to cover my ears. That made the 12 hour drive the night before totally worth it. I don't know if this means that my personal rep is growing, but my reputation for putting on good shows has spread far and wide. The podunk towns are really showing the big cities up. Maybe there's a kinship there? hahaaaa ahhh.

Q: Are your performances changing? Is there much freestyle goin' on or
have you had to stay with kind of the same set each night?

A: The show right now is different than when we first started out in Boston. I have a full band behind me and we're finally at a comfortable arrangement. The improv goes into my banter. Some nights I feel very talkative and I'll go off on some strange tangents. Luckily they usually end up making a good segue into the next song. I like going off the cuff and finding some fresh material to address while having no idea where it's going to end up. That's fun. We have the ability to change up the songs in our set since there are times when we play two nights in the same city, but our main set is very tight and comfortable. It's the banter that matters, as long as I'm in a good mood. Bad moods can walk the line between crowd-pandering and alienating.


Q: What frame of mind do you have to be in to approach a gig every
night? Is it difficult to get to that headspace?

A: My frame of mind is constant. Is there an opposite of stage fright? If so, I have that. The only time I get nerves is when I'm about to perform in front of 10,000 people if I feel like they don't know me at all and expect a certain kind of performance. But tonight I'll be performing at the Henry Fonda Theater in LA and it has a capacity of 1400. That will probably be the biggest crowd so far, and it's a very comfortable size. I'll probably be a bit nervous for the Rock the Bells shows, but maybe not. Depends if I feel like my legs are sexy or not.


Q: What have you learned lately about what it takes to put on a good
show? You've accumulated some serious road-dog days on tour. How has
that helped you understand what constitutes a good show?

A: You have to stay aware of the energy in the crowd and work with the moment. You can't perform as if no one else is in the room. The people are a part of the show. And I'm not talking about doing some cliche call-response stuff in order to keep the crowd involved. I'm talking about feeling their energy out and working with it to bring everyone along for the ride. Or take them down with the ship. Whichever you decide is best at the moment. It's essential to stay spiritually limber. It's not wise to step into a show with an unchangeable concrete plan. A bad show is when someone pats me on the shoulder and says, "That was a pretty good show, man. I had a good time." A good show is when the people approach you after a show with a frozen look on their face and say something completely out of the ordinary. That's good stuff.


Q: Can you tell me about some of the people you've met on the road?
Have you had some good times? Any gigs in particular you can tell me
about that something funny happened?

A: Ani DiFranco attended our show in New Orleans. She sang during Buddy Wakefield's set and then did a spoken word poem. That was completely out of the blue. Buddy had toured with her a few months ago, but it was such a treat to have her be a part of our show. A few outrageous things have happened so far. What could sound like bad times were actually good times. Drunk people need to travel with sober friends who can take them aside when they're being especially stupid. Like...in Chapel Hill, North Carolina there was a guy in the crowd who insisted on yelling about KFC. I said, "OK, OK...KFC...I got it! You done now?" After I was done my next song he was still yelling about how good KFC is. And then he was yelling about how he is Polish and how he is poor...because he's Polish. But here he was in a $20 show, wearing nice fratboy clothes and drinking enough $8 drinks to get drunk. So once it was clear that he didn't intend on shutting up I reached down and knocked the drink out of his hand. That prompted him to jump on stage at which point I launched him back into the crowd by his face. The crowd went bananas. There have been a few moments like that on tour.


Q: How about some highlights/thrills ...

A: Some more? Hmmm. One of the towns we performed at had a carnival that we attended after the show. Bernard Dolan was dressed up as Bombzo the Clown (a pro-war clown with blood all over him) and a woman who was running one of the gaming booths nearly shit her pants. If she has a clown phobia, this one took her over the top. A personal highlight for me was when we passed by a waterfall and decided to jump in the water on some spontaneous shit. This was a treat because our air conditioning doesn't work. Driving 7 hours through the Arizona desert while it's 109 degrees outside is as fun as it sounds. Oh, and completely losing our breaks while on the highway was a lot of fun too. Yes, the van I purchased has proven to be a complete lemon (thanks Herb Connolly Motors in Framingham, MA.)

Q: Have you encountered some good talent on the road? Can you tell me
what you're listening to? I wanna get a sense of where your head is at
musically.

A: Hahaha. Ahh. ha. Ummm. Talent on the road. Lets seee....demos usually get tossed out the window after the first couple songs (they're called floaters.) One guy was ingenious and he lampooned my Death Dance album cover. I got the biggest kick out of that. Everyone was very excited to listen to that demo. Him and his friends rapped over the instrumentals to my album and they did a fair job. The highest talent came from an 18 year old girl in Phoenix who did a drawing of me that was so detailed it looked like a photo print. It was really freaky. As far as what we're listening to, I'm a radio head. I like flipping around stations and listening to hits. Other than that, it's classic rock mix CDs and folky shit. Everyone plugs their ipod into the tapedeck converter and we get a good mix of music. The only hip-hop we've listened to so far is NWA, Kool Keith and Too Short.


Q: Do you feel your skillz are changing, increasing, transforming,
backsliding? If so, can you explain?

A: I find myself focusing on other things. I used to hoard verses. I'd build them up in a mental dungeon and torture them until they broke down and did exactly what I wanted them to do. Now I'm more about riding them bareback and feeling my chest hair wave in the wind.

Q: As you get more established, do you think your messages are changing?
Or do you feel like you focus on the same themes, just in different
ways?

A: I don't know. My messages probably change with the more I learn, but I feel like there's enough of a constant for me to say that I've been consistent. My themes are broad, but my broads ain't themed....if ya know whaddumsayin. Hyuck hyuck hyuck!!! Really though. I'll be here all week.

Q: Can you tell me who's doing the beats these days? How's it working
out? Have you been tooling with beats too?

A: My new album has a lot of beat makers and musicians on it. I reached far and wide. Alias is the main guy, followed by Mark Isham, Buck 65, Tom Inhaler, Reanimator, Ant, Odd Nosdam, Sixtoo, Mr Cooper, Miles Bonny, DJ Orator, Laura Escude, and Big Cats! I involved myself a fair amount in each beat that appears on this record, but I'm not at a place in life where I can sit down and create something from scratch. I'm a good producer in the traditional sense of the word, but I've never wanted to rap over my own beats. Perhaps I will someday.

Q: Do you miss bein' home? Have you made any decisions about relocating
or are you happy to hang in RI?

A: I miss being home, sure. But I also enjoy moving around and being active. The company on this tour is great. Buck 65, Alias, Dilly Dilly, Tom Inhaler, Buddy Wakefield and Big Delicious...lots of laughs and good times. The only thing I'm really missing is my girlfriend and my two little kitties. Thankfully my gal gets to fly out and meet us in various cities. I do need to get home and take care of business matters though. My indie label, Strange Famous Records, will be releasing Buck 65's "Situation" album in September as well as Prolyphic & Reanimator's "The Ugly Truth" shortly after. That's a tall order for the biggest tiny label in the biggest tiny state.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:13 pm
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kese



Joined: 16 Mar 2003
Posts: 5454
Re: pre-feature article interview with Providence Phoenix.  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
That's a tall order for the biggest tiny label in the biggest tiny state.


good interview.
Isn't life crazy when you need to get back from working to get work done?

keep it movin' Sage you're a major reason why RI is becoming RecognIzed.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:38 pm
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Dyss



Joined: 05 Sep 2002
Posts: 1517
Location: SWE
Re: pre-feature article interview with Providence Phoenix.  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
Yes, the van I purchased has proven to be a complete lemon (thanks Herb Connolly Motors in Framingham, MA.)


They sure deserve to be gas-faced. Nice to see that you guys are having a good tour otherwise.
Post Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:57 pm
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LotusReign



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 184
Location: Downtown Phoenix.
Re: pre-feature article interview with Providence Phoenix.  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
The highest talent came from an 18 year old girl in Phoenix who did a drawing of me that was so detailed it looked like a photo print. It was really freaky.



haha! this made me laugh!
:o)
Post Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:56 am
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