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Sage Interview with Canada's "See Magazine"
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Sage Interview with Canada's "See Magazine"  Reply with quote

Rapper Sage Francis feels right at home beside even the most raucous of punk acts
Published November 27, 2008 by Renato Pagnani in Music Preview

Poetry Slam Salute| Sage Francis has learned a lot from spending time with poets like Jeffrey McDaniel.

w/ Rise Against. Wed., Dec. 3 (7pm). Shaw Conference Centre (9797 Jasper Avenue). Tickets: $39.50-$44.50, available through Ticketmaster (451-8000/

I always have this suspicion that when I talk, no one listens, says Sage Francis. This statement might help explain how the Rhode Island native developed into the loudmouth stage presence he is today. I think its an insecurity issue, he says, half-seriously. But its also a big reason why I do things the way I do, especially as a performing artist.

The key words in that quote are the last two: while Francis is known to most as a rapper, he has made a name for himself as part of the contemporary spoken word movement, performing regularly at the famed Bowery Poetry Club in New York.

Francis, who performed along with slam poet Jeffrey McDaniel earlier this year, is quick to point out that the difference between a poet who writes for the page and a poet who writes for the stage, as rappers do, is smaller than one might imagine. When I was performing with Jeffrey, it wasnt a night-and-day thing, he says. I think were more like each other than we are dissimilar the biggest difference between us being that I have more of a passionate delivery, but thats due more to the fact that I get carried away in front of a mic. When Im onstage, Im much more extroverted than I am offstage, but as a rapper you have to be.

All this time spent around poets has rubbed off on Francis, too. I was probably a better presenter of words before I was a wordsmith, he says. Being around all these great poets kind of kicked my ass to work on my writing rather than just worry about how I was going to present my words.

That experience has given Francis a versatility that most rappers simply dont possess. He can keep a crowd entranced whether rapping in front of a live band, backed by a DJ, or performing a cappella. For his upcoming tour his first through Canada, opening for punk rockers Rise Against Francis hopes this skill set will come in handy, especially with crowds who might not be very welcoming of a rapper on a punk bill.

I get it, he says. If I took a punk band out to tour with me, I can see a lot of people at the show standing there with their arms crossed thinking, What the fuck is this shit? And right now is actually a bad time for me because Im trying to record an album. But there were too many signs that pointed towards me doing this tour. Ive owed Canada a tour for many years, and I know that Rise Against have a huge following in Canada, so the possibility of performing in front of a bunch of people who probably havent heard my stuff before is very exciting.
Post Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:24 pm
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