Profile
Search
Register
Log in
Interview with a Swedish fanzine 1/30/04
View previous topic | View next topic >

Post new topic Reply to topic
Strange Famous Forum > Press/Interviews/reviews

Author Message
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21533
Interview with a Swedish fanzine 1/30/04  Reply with quote  

Performing live - Sage Francis
-------------------------------------------------------------
To me you are a great entertainer and one of the best performers I have seen. So I thought that this interview was going to be all about performing and how to deliver an entertaining show. So let´s start this off by tell us about when did you do your first performance. Where was it at and how old were you? How was it?

"I guess I was 12 years old and it was at this all ages club called Vibes in Johnston, RI. They had a rap contest and I won. I was given a shirt with some DJ's signature on it. When I went to bed last night I held it and stared at the ceiling, still feeling exhilarated. I thought to myself, 'This is what I am going to do. It's really going to happen.' It sounds like I am romanticizing it, but that's really how it happened. I can remember it in detail."


How many shows have you done so far?

"That is incalculable. I have built my career on shows, and I perform even when its not a show. I really couldn't say. I never pay attention to numbers though. Certainly over a thousand."


Once in a while you get so see this crazy performances that really blow your mind. Not to be kissing your ass, but your show at the Hultsfreds festival 2000 was one of those times. What was the first and last performance you saw that really blew your mind?

"Well, thanks. Hmmm. The first performance I saw that really blew my mind may have been a spoken word performance by Patricia Smith in 1996. That's where I got my start in spoken word poetry. The last performance that really blew my mind may have been Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival, but that's just because I am a die hard fan. He played for 2 hours, did all the classics, it was a sunny day and out in the open. he had a wig and fake facial hair, he rocked out like a man 30 years younger than him and he didn't address the crowd a single time."


What do you think is a good live show? I think that it should contain some form of involvement from the audience and some form of connection between the performer and the people who watch. What do you think?

"I think a good performance takes the crowd on a ride through different emotional and mental states. Just like a good film. Interaction is not necessary, but this is what makes a great performance better than a great film...the immediacy of the art and the personal interaction."

Are you nervous before a show?

"Not normally. I get some nerves, but mainly I am just itching to get on stage and get everything out of my system. I do get nervous with crowds over 1000, but the minute I step on stage and the words come out I am fine."

A good old trick that you probably have heard of is to trying to picture the audience naked when you´re nervous. What do you think about this technique? Have you tried it?

"Well, quite honestly, I am the one who gets naked and somehow that works for me."

What do you do before a show? How do you "get ready"? Do you have any special secret routine? Or are you superstitious so you have to wear your special socks to do a good show?

"I go to the bathroom and have a good session. I am not superstitious whatsoever. Being superstition is like being religious. It's a bunch of hooey. Fuck all that. I like to wear a lot of clothes and end up naked. The more layers I take off the more comfortable I get."

And what is the first thing you do after the show?

"Drink a bottle of water. Then I step into the crowd and hug some people before I make my way to the merch table so I can relieve whoever was working it for me during my performance."

When you are on tour and do many shows in a row I guess that performing can become a little boring and just a routine after a while. Do you agree? What do you do to retain the spontaneity?

"Well, I really don't mind doing the same thing over and over. I kind of like it. It's cathartic. At the beginning of my career I used to cut and fold thousands of CD and tape covers. No problem. I check my email about 100 times a day and once I record a song I listen to it and fix it until I am positive that it is the way I like it. But during shows, in between the songs, I let my mouth run at will and it keeps me amused because a lot of the time I don't know what's gonna come out or where it will lead."


Give some hints on how to make an audience to love you! A good trick I guess is to change some lyrics and add the name of the town you´re playing in? Have you used that trick?

"Give up ANY notion of being cool. Being cool is boring. Once you lose your inhibitions your vulnerability can become endearing. I guess. I have no idea, man. I get on stage and do things that I would do in my bathroom mirror and it seems to work. Fat man in a little jacket kind of stuff."


And some hints on how to make an audience hate you. Is "GG Allin-style" the way to go, perhaps?

"I've seen the most horrid performers get love from a crowd who will eat shit on a stick (speaking of GG Allin.) So, I don't really know any sure shot way of making an audience hate you. Perhaps reading an entire novel when they expect a comedy show is a good way of doing that."


Do you think that you or the audience have the most fun at your shows?

"I am often told by people that my show is one that they put on the top of their list, but I don't know where I register on the fun meter. Personally, I have a lot more fun at shows where I have no responsibility."


Tell me about you worst show!

"It was in Massachusetts. And once I had a serious bout with depression in Missoula, Montana. That's all I'll say."


What is the strangest/weirdest thing that ever happened at one of your shows?

"Woah. These are memories that are difficult for me conjure upon command. Let's see...ahhhhh. Ok. Anyone familiar with my Still Sick CD knows about the KFC song. It was a song some kid named N8ball sent me as a demo back in 1998. It is so bad in all the right ways that song is actually great, so I put it on my CD. I never met the kid. In 2002 I did the Personal Journey's Tour and our last date was in Boston. Well, BY CHANCE, a member of my tour had the instrumental that this kid N8ball used for the KFC song and I decided to use it during my set. Well...when that instrumental came on I saw a beam of light come through the ceiling and it landed on a kid in the crowd. He was pulled up by the beam of light and with one big step he went over the heads of those in front of him and he landed on stage. He snatched the mic out of my hand and proceeded to sing the KFC song. It was fucking N8ball! I looked at my DJ and we both were bug eyed. We hugged each other and started jumping up and down while N8ball dropped the science. It really went like that. It sounds silly to talk about it now, but anyone who was at that Boston show will attest to this. It was insane."


Both times that I have seen you perform you have used a wig as stage prop. Why do you use that? If you had lots and lots of money to spend - what stage prop would you use?

"Mmmmm...I do have a lot of money. haha. At least enough money to buy better props if I wanted to. I wear a wig like a hat. It has the same purpose as a hat. I wonder why people don't wear them more often. I take it off when I get hot. I have no desire to use an elaborate stage plot, but I am currently incorporating a film projector."


You have toured with both live band and a DJ, but what you prefer most? Why? And last time you toured Europe you did it all alone. I know that you mostly work alone but don´t you feel lonely touring Europe all alone?

"I prefer to be by myself. I toured Europe on my own out of convenience and preference. It was necessary at the time. The next time I tour Europe I will have a band. I prefer having a band because it gives me more freedom. A DJ can't do much more for me than I can do on my own."


Do you like spending time on the road? Or do you get home sick?


"I get very homesick, especially because I have a partner living at home with me now. I love my home."

In the intro of the Non prophets song Tolerance level there´s this part where you hit a guy, not once but twice, during a show. Can you tell us what happened that night? What was the fight all about?

"I saw things flying by my face while I was performing. Someone was throwing shit. This show was full of tension. It was in San Francisco, it sold out with pre-sales, and a bunch of industry type were in the crowd which always weirds me out. Well when the song ended I asked who the hell was throwing shit. As you hear in the recording some kid in the crowd admits to it and when I ask him why he said, 'I felt obligate.' I don't know what the hell that was supposed to mean but I took it as an insult. I don't like when people think I am an easy target to bully around so I turned into the bully. I felt bad about it afterwards but what the hell am I supposed to do in that situation? I guess I could have handled it better but I was so caught up in the moment and no one fucked with me after that. Heh."

Do you change set list if you´re going to play somewhere where you haven´t performed before?

"If I played in one place before, I definitely try to remember what I did last time and do different stuff. But if I never performed in a place I am about to perform in I try to do my favorite stuff."

And do make up a play list that you use for a whole tour or do you change often?

"I don't like to change the setlist too much during a tour."

Thanks! Do you have any other knowledge you would like to share with us?

"In 1000 years the word hiphop is not going to apply much to what a lot of people are doing right now."
Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:23 am
 View user's profile Send private message
Niggamortis



Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 172
Location: Berkeley
 Reply with quote  

Its weird how much attention you have gotten for slaping that kid, i was at the show, and at the time it seemed so kind of incidental, like it didnt even matter, but there were a couple of posts about it on this board and it was on the Hope album and now this guy is talking about it. The fact that there were "industry types" in the crowd does make it so much more interesteing though. Im looking forward to seeing you agian at the end of February, but i''ve been having a hard month, maybe I'll slap somebody.

BTW is there any new gear you'll be selling at the show, I know about the CD's, but what about shirts and that type of stuff, the new graphic on the intro page would make a pretty dope tour shirt, just aksin?
Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:39 am
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21533
 Reply with quote  

helllllllllllllll yeah!!!

We have new shirt designs. I love em. Especially the tour shirt. check the front splash page of www.non-prophets.com

that is the back of the tour shirt

the front is ill

and new zip up sweatshirts. a new "Fuck Clear Channel" design all thanks to Uncle Pete
Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:42 am
 View user's profile Send private message
infrared_roses



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 49
Location: north hollywood
Re: Interview with a Swedish fanzine 1/30/04  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:

What is the strangest/weirdest thing that ever happened at one of your shows?

"Woah. These are memories that are difficult for me conjure upon command. Let's see...ahhhhh. Ok. Anyone familiar with my Still Sick CD knows about the KFC song. It was a song some kid named N8ball sent me as a demo back in 1998. It is so bad in all the right ways that song is actually great, so I put it on my CD. I never met the kid. In 2002 I did the Personal Journey's Tour and our last date was in Boston. Well, BY CHANCE, a member of my tour had the instrumental that this kid N8ball used for the KFC song and I decided to use it during my set. Well...when that instrumental came on I saw a beam of light come through the ceiling and it landed on a kid in the crowd. He was pulled up by the beam of light and with one big step he went over the heads of those in front of him and he landed on stage. He snatched the mic out of my hand and proceeded to sing the KFC song. It was fucking N8ball! I looked at my DJ and we both were bug eyed. We hugged each other and started jumping up and down while N8ball dropped the science. It really went like that. It sounds silly to talk about it now, but anyone who was at that Boston show will attest to this. It was insane."


WHAT?!?!
Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:21 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21533
 Reply with quote  

whoever went to this Boston show please back me up on this.
Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:28 pm
 View user's profile Send private message
JOEYBEATS
Guest




 Reply with quote  

Everyone,

I was there and saw it with my own two eyes. N8ball from out of the crowd. The funniest part about was how Sage and Shalem practically hugged becasue they were so souped. I was crying.

HAHAHA...one of the best performances by Sage I'd ever seen.



Joe.
Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:23 am
 
futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19356
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
 Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
helllllllllllllll yeah!!!

We have new shirt designs. I love em. Especially the tour shirt. check the front splash page of www.non-prophets.com

that is the back of the tour shirt

the front is ill

and new zip up sweatshirts. a new "Fuck Clear Channel" design all thanks to Uncle Pete


You have no idea how badly I need a new zip up sweatshirt. My current one I think has mange.

And why do you keep going with the dark scary t-shirt designs? Family Members think I'm into heavy metal.
Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 3:54 am
 View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
Embryo



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
Posts: 6359
Location: http://www.myspace.com/pogopark
 Reply with quote  

Aw Sage, you forgot some of the best parts of the slapping story. I really like how Gavin wrote it on the Gruvis Malt tour diaries:


Quote:


Incidentally, the last few shows have been great. San Francisco was off the hook. The show was sold out before doors, and we were happy to see a large turnout for Grüvis Malt. The club was so kind to us – very accommodating. We played a very strong 40-minute set to a very cool audience. Sage’s set was more surreal. At some point in the night, someone started throwing things up on stage. They seemed small and not dangerous, but Sage called the assailant out anyway. “Alright, I want to know who threw something at me!” After he asked again, a kid in the middle raised his hands. When Sage asked why he did it, he responded, “I felt obligated.” “Come here!” said papa Francis, egged on by the oohs and ahhs of a school ground showdown. Surprisingly, the kid made his way to the front of the stage, where Sage first held the mic up to his face, and then bitch slapped him so hard that the people in the kitchen came out to see what was up. A sudden “did he just--?” filled the room while everyone tried to figure out where their morals situated them. Thankfully, the mic amplified the slap so that everyone in the back could consider the ramifications of throwing things at papa Francis. All of us just stood there wide-eyed. Was this objectionable behavior? The kid was stunned, backing away while the audience began cheering. “wait, no… come back here… Come here!” Sage called. And the kid actually started coming back. Sage grabbed his sleeve, reeled him in, and slapped him again. The crowd went nuts. The band couldn’t believe it (right after the show, when we asked Sage why he had hit him again, he couldn’t remember. But later in the bus, he recalled the kid spitting on his neck after he slapped him the first time). He signaled us into the next song.
Two songs later, a guy started yelling and throwing CDs at us from the crowd. He eventually made his way to front of the stage, where he was drunkenly refuting all of Sage’s lyrics. It was very obvious that he was no longer a Sage Francis fan. We soon deduced that he was friends with the slapped kid, and was doing the chivalrous thing. Sage taunted him for a song and half from the stage. Key lyrics from those songs all fell into line with Sage’s message: “You ain’t a fairy, you’re just a bitch! You’re just a bitch!” It seemed very staged, even to us. Eventually the guy tried to get on stage, but Sage grabbed him by the forehead and shoved him down into the audience. This was funny.
We ended Can I Kick It? and went straight into a freestyle in which he began to tease the guy even more. Sage invited him to battle and let him up on stage. To everyone’s surprise, the kid very intelligently freestyled his distaste for what Sage had done. Though there were references of growing up in the ghettos of Virginia (which was daunting because this was a white frat guy), his general message was actually very cool. He rhymed about how Sage is supposed to be about nonviolence and people come to his shows for a positive experience, but Sage had turned out to be an a-hole. Sage took the mic back, apologized in couplets, and explained that he had gotten all worked up and shouldn’t have. In a very statesmen-like manner, he ended the session by telling the audience that this guy (with arm around the guy’s shoulder) was obviously about positivity and respect, and that Sage was sorry. The crowd, roars, we finish the set. Most entertaining night on the whole tour.
Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:32 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
infrared_roses



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 49
Location: north hollywood
 Reply with quote  

JOEYBEATS wrote:
Everyone,

I was there and saw it with my own two eyes. N8ball from out of the crowd. The funniest part about was how Sage and Shalem practically hugged becasue they were so souped. I was crying.

HAHAHA...one of the best performances by Sage I'd ever seen.



Joe.


unbelievable, it must be true!

-natalie
Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:38 pm
 View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
Perspective



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Posts: 436
Location: Finland to UK
 Reply with quote  


Quote:

"I saw things flying by my face while I was performing. Someone was throwing shit. This show was full of tension. It was in San Francisco, it sold out with pre-sales, and a bunch of industry type were in the crowd which always weirds me out. Well when the song ended I asked who the hell was throwing shit. As you hear in the recording some kid in the crowd admits to it and when I ask him why he said, 'I felt obligate.' I don't know what the hell that was supposed to mean but I took it as an insult. I don't like when people think I am an easy target to bully around so I turned into the bully. I felt bad about it afterwards but what the hell am I supposed to do in that situation? I guess I could have handled it better but I was so caught up in the moment and no one fucked with me after that. Heh."


Damn, I was just about to post a thread asking about this...
Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 5:30 pm
 View user's profile Send private message

Post new topic Reply to topic
Jump to:  

All times are GMT - 6 Hours.
The time now is Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:25 pm
  Display posts from previous:      


Powered by phpBB: © 2001 phpBB Group
Template created by The Fathom
Based on template of Nick Mahon