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3/11/03 Interview for the Santa Fe Independent
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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3/11/03 Interview for the Santa Fe Independent  Reply with quote  

1. This last summer you attended the Newport Folk Festival and saw Bob Dylan
perform 37 years after his infamous original show. Now in similar times how
has seeing Dylan affected your performances, your touring since?

1) Well...his approach to a live show is almost a "what not to do" for an artist in my position. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The tension was thick, because 36 years earlier he was booed off stage by this highly critical folk audience who rejected his introduction of electric guitars to their cipher. Hahaa. He came out...didn't say anything...started the first song and the crowd went nuts. There was no banter whatsoever in between songs. He rocked every popular song of his, but he did it in such a way that people couldn't even sing along. he changed up the cadence and the melody just enough to throw people off. I was LOVING it and hating it at the same time. I can't say I really learned much from his performance, but certain beliefs I have about my own presentation were affirmed in subtle ways. His performance was top notch and it was sad to think how limited my time was to actually witness him perform the songs that mean so much to me. It was a great moment in my life to inch my way to the 3rd row and disturb the comfortable seating arrangement of a bourgeois family who were sprawled out on a blanket behind me.

2. Do you relate to him?

2) I read an extensive biography on his life and related to a lot of it. I don't think Bob Dylan and I would have gotten along if we grew up in the same music scene, but from a distance I can say I love him and his approach.

3. “Makeshift Patriot,” “Hey Bobby” (Dylan?) Were two very intense pieces
at your show, has your writing been more influenced by world events in the
recent two years or so?

3) Things need to be dealt with. There are points in an artists career when they have an obligation to the public they feed off of. My responsibility is to strike when necessary and offer the inspiration that could help change a very unfortunate circumstance. If I don't see an artist with a potential to do something like that, I threaten their career. To give examples at this point in time would be counterproductive. heh. First and foremost, it is my intention to entertain people and have them enjoy what I present to them...sometimes you have to risk that safety of easy approval and do what's right.

4. Do you feel the need to inform your audience of what is happening in this
world (globalism, commercialism)?

4) No. I think my audience knows what is happening in this world as much as I do. I feel the need to comment on it in ways that will instigate thought and discussion. Maybe I am just theme music for however they choose to act and change things.

5. You have a degree in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island,
you’ve been performing hip hop since you were 12. How does poetry fit into
your life?

5) How does it fit into my life? Well...I don't know. My writing continues to improve and they way I express my observations has been regarded as "poetic." I like thoughtful pieces. I like thoughtful people. Poetry is more than an intellectual pays special attention to human emotion. I truly feel that people will find how poetry fits in their life no matter what they do. It's inescapable. I think that's why some of my favorite poets come out of a working class, blue collar background.

6. Is current commercial hip hop, underground hip hop for that matter still
what rock is not, when a media hated and celebrated king of rap blatantly
tells me to kill my mother?

6) Well...when I delivered the poem that you are alluding to (Mullet 1998), the point isn't sacred. I came to the conclusion that hiphop is not the exception to the "evils" that faltered rock, blues, jazz, etc...
If you are a celebrated king of rap even though the media hates you...I would have to say that's very rock and roll.

7. Many “Indy” hip hoppers recently have adopted a more punk rock
ethic/lifestyle, including yourself. Do you see this as a progression in
hip hop or rebellion?

7) Drastic times call for drastic measures. It was time for all of us to grab the bull by its horns and take care of ourselves. This is not a life of glitter and need to fake like it is. It is definitely a progression as far as the welfare of its artists is concerned. Autonomy is a beautiful thing.

8. In your opinion what was the high point in hip hop history, what era of
say 5 years?

8) Definitely 1987 until 1992. That was the peak. PE ran shit then. Political and conscious hiphop was making an impact on its listeners and the fun, light hearted nature of the Native Tongues balanced shit out. Hiphop gave me everything I needed from music at that time.

9. How does that compare to what is currently happening in hip hop?

9) Too many lines have been drawn within the hundreds of sub-genres that have emerged within hiphop. People are limiting themselves in so many respects. They're afraid to branch out beyond the style and content their audience defines the artist by. Back in the 87-91 era the audience wasn't so subdivided...and the rappers had a broader range of subject matter as well as approach. It seemed like there was more freedom without much fear of their being backlash by any particular audience. Diversity was the key. We knit-pick so much now. We criticize each artist with a fine comb, and the artist seems to be overly aware of that fact. I want to see Ice Cube call white people "devils" while he does a video with the Chile Peppers again. That was the shit. Confusion is the key.

10. How do you fit into this era?

10) I fit into that particular era by being a sponge and devoted fan of anything that was considered hiphop. I fit into this current era by presenting my thoughts and ideas in a format that I feel are true to what I know hiphop to be. However that comes across and gets defined by the media and masses is beyond my concerns or control. In the end, I am sure everyone will fit in their own category of what will be considered "music." That will also be a point in time when people will have the ability to juggle more than five objects inside of their mind without drooling all over themselves.
Post Tue Mar 11, 2003 6:53 pm
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Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 4669
Location: jerk city
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Those were good questions. The Independent is the shit. Check this rag if you live in the area.
Post Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:19 pm
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Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Portland, Oregon
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"That will also be a point in time when people will have the ability to juggle more than five objects inside of their mind without drooling all over themselves."

I wish I had faith that day would come. Thoughtful answers.
Post Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:14 pm
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