Strange Famous Records

Interview/Tribute I did with TwistandShout.com: Bruce Springsteen

Little interview/piece I did for their blog. If you don’t know, Twist & Shout is a dope record store in Denver. Check em out if you’re in the mountains.

“You know, this Michael Jackson thing got us to thinking. Why don’t we ever pay tribute to our heroes when they are alive? I mean, why do these great people have to die before we wax poetic about them? Well, here’s your chance. Pick an living artist that you love and answer the following questions about them.” -Twist And Shout

Artist:

Bruce Springsteen. Say word. I’m takin it there.

How did you get turned on to this artist?

I was turned on to Bruce Springsteen twice in life. First when I was about 10, by my Uncle Jack. That’s not a metaphor for Jack Daniels. I really have an uncle named Jack. And anyhow I didn’t meet Jack Daniels til I was 12.

The second time I found the Boss was almost 20 years later, on tour with Buck 65. He hipped me to the “Nebraska” album, which I’d never really heard, and I fell instantly in love with it. These days it’s never far from my side, and I might even rank it among the greatest albums ever made.

What was the first record you got by this artist?

Uncle Jack gave me a dubbed copy of a concert recording that I’ve never been able to track down since. I used to fast forward through almost all of it, occasionally stopping to listen to the audience lose their minds when “Born in the U.S.A.” happened. Come to think of it this may have been the first real recording of a concert I ever had. I used to lay in bed with headphones and imagine being onstage. All the girls I had crushes on from school were in the crowd. Aye.

Anyhow, I would fast forward through almost all of this tape except for “Born in the U.S.A.” and “The River,” and the latter was the song I really wanted to hear. I used to just rewind that song and play it over and over until I fell asleep. Even at 10 it crushed me. Without having any real adult experiences, I understood what that song was about on some level.

Have you seen the artist live? What was the best show?

I’ve never seen Springsteen live, but I do highly recommend the DVD of his VH1 Storytellers performance. My favorite Springsteen is acoustic, and the Storytellers performance offers some really great insight into Springsteen’s songwriting process. I can say that I’ve learned things from that DVD that I’ve applied directly to the music I’m making now, and that it’s made me a better songwriter for sure.

For real. Check this DVD out.

Have you ever met this artist? What would you tell them if you
were to have dinner with them?

Nah. I met Huey Lewis recently though. Unrelated.

I dunno man. I feel like me and Bruce wouldn’t need to say anything. We’d just sit at the end of the bar and watch the 40 year old woman sway to the jukebox. Every once in awhile we’d look up from our beers at each other and go “Yep.”

What makes this artist different than others?

For me, Springsteen epitomizes a certain kind of American experience better than anyone else. If you’re interested in music about rural blue collar life then I don’t think anyone is fucking with him. At best, he understands and communicates the poetry of that world without ever mucking it up or making it overwrought.

There’s obvious overlap with people like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, but I feel like those two are taking the mundane to somewhere else a lot of the time. Many of the go-to Johnny Cash songs are taking that same experience and turning it into something mythic or archetypal, and a lot of the go-to Dylan songs are dazzling me with language and living very much in the mind, if that makes sense.

Not to take anything away from Cash and Dylan, but I think Springsteen has a very zen way of just leaving it all be, by comparison. I’m generalizing a lot here, but I think that’s the distinction, for me.

“Seen a man standin’ over a dead dog
lyin’ by the highway in a ditch
He’s lookin’ down kinda puzzled
pokin’ that dog with a stick
Got his car door flung open
he’s standin’ out on highway 31
Like if he stood there long enough
that dog’d get up and run”
-Bruce Springsteen, “Reason to Believe”

Why do you think this artist strikes a chord with you? This is a
question about you, not the artist.

Well, as I’ve said, I think Springsteen is the poet of a certain blue collar generation, and my parents and their friends fit squarely into that. Uncle Jack still swears by The Boss and The Stones, and still works in the same warehouse he’s been working in for 20 years with my father.

So, Springsteen is forever tied to nostalgia and sentimental feelings about the place I come from, in that way. It’s music that reminds me of the adults I grew up around, that coincidentally might as well be about the adults I grew up around.

Also, what makes the songs last for me is the lack of romance or re-imagining. Nothing is being smoothed over in these songs. Springsteen gets the simple beauty of that life but he also gets the brutal, soul-emptying sadness. That sadness is something so fundamental I understood it when I was 10 years old, and it’s truer now than it ever was.

“Those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse?”
-Bruce Springsteen, “The River”

Tell em Boss.

Check out:

Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEkyaoPdar8

Bruce Springsteen – “The River”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAB4vOkL6cE

Aug 27

Full Count

Hello You All,

Here’s a collection of thoughts I’d like to share for no good reason I can think of:

- I barfed last week for the first time in my life (sea sickness).

- This week I’m recording vocals for my next album, which I’m hoping will come out as early next year as possible. But who knows? I don’t have a title yet, but I thought “Tickled Pink” would be funny and super-gross. Does anyone care about albums anymore?

- I have a regular job now. Life is good.

- Saw Tetro the other night. Thought it was beautiful.

- I mostly listen to African music these days. What does that mean? I’ve also been rocking the shit out of ‘Wild Boys’ by Duran Duran.

- Lately I’ve been wondering if I’ve played a roll in inspiring lots and lots of terrible music. Is that egotistical?

- Last night I re-watched ‘Trapped In The Closet’ so I could re-connect with Omar from The Wire.

- In case you’re wondering what the deal is with the Shutterbuggin’ video, it was inspired by an incredible cinematic achievement called “The Beaver Trilogy” which was directed by Trent Harris. The second part of the trilogy stars a very young Sean Penn and the third part stars a very young and very amazing Crispin Glover. It’s very hard to find, but if you have the chance, don’t pass it up.

- I think Van Gogh was a really smart guy.

- I don’t know what to eat anymore. Most exercise seems to hurt my body more than it helps it now.

- I’m going to try to keep things more fresh and interesting on my website. It’s my new resolution. buck65.com

- The Sebutones performance at Scribble Jam back in… what was it? ’99? Somewhere around there? …that’s one of the highlights of my whole life.

- Every time I think of something to say, I run a test: I ask myself, “does anyone care?” I can never bring myself to answer yes. I miss the 1980′s.

- I think Sage is one of the greatest rappers of all time. I have him on a very short list.

- “Pink Flag” by Wire. Now there’s a great album.

- Current mood: gruntled.

- What happened to that Juice Crew movie they were supposed to be making?

- I hate when people say “…hip hop as it was originally intended.”

- Is Sixtoo dead?

- Most of these ‘thoughts’ are questions.

- Alain de Botton

- I will get some new music out there before this year ends (before the next “album” comes out – the one I allude to above).

- Gotta run.

Buck

Aug 25

Let me start from the beginning…

…at the top of the list – nawmean, have situation like this…

Whatever the time of day, it’s never a bad time to throw some Mobb Deep in the mix. That much I’ve learned.

Tuesday 18th August, 2009.


With the release of my Strange Famous-branded debut album ‘Late Model Sedan’, I wanted to write down some thoughts and historicals for you, on myself and some of the projects I’ve been involved in over the years. Who I am. All that mess. I know there are a lot of people who will know most of this already, close friends and acquaintances and listeners of all description, but it’s also plainly obvious to me that I’m not hugely well known and I’ve never assumed myself to be. I must stress that! I’m easily flattered for the most part but mostly I’m just extremely grateful for any kind or positive words that I’ve received over the years. I’ve been involved in music for a lot of years now and hopefully this will continue into the distant future (As long as I can do it I will), so I thought it’d be a good time to fill you in what’s been happening round these parts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 18

PFA Austin tour date MOVED to Aug 19th!

PFA Austin tour date MOVED to Aug 19th!

The folks putting on our Austin show have a large event going on the day before and have asked us to join the two. We will now be kicking the PFA set at the official Grand Opening of the Austin Poetry Slam at its new home: The Independent@501 Studios (same place we were already booked just a day earlier). There will local bands, emcees, and multi-voice performance pieces from four Texas national poetry slam teams. The Independent is a kick ass Rock venue and the organizers of the event are expecting a packed house; they’ll also be filming our entire set in HD for live webcast! We apologize for the last minute switch but this really feels like the right move in terms of having the best show possible and we’re excited by the opportunity. Hope to see you there!

Prayers For Atheists in Austin!!
Wednesday, August 19th
The Independent@501 Studios
8pm/$5 – E. 5th & Brushy

Aug 16

Tour starts off with a bang – SLC, Boise, Seattle up next!!

The record release show in Providence was off the chain! Approximately 200 people showed up, all the bands on the bill kicked ass, and the crowd grew in intensity as the night went on. By the time we hit the stage they were all riled up and ready for the Victory Riot thrashing and singing that followed. Folks danced and screamed along the words and Alan and I actually had to step back from the front of the stage as people from the pit spilled over the monitors and passed the mic stands! We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night. Thank you to everyone who came, and everyone who helped make it such an amazing show.

Since then we’ve played Manhattan, the New London Punk Festival, Oswego-NY, Lansing-MI, Chicago, and back to back shows in Minneapolis! Sage paid us a surprise visit in Chicago at the Weiser House, he grabbed the mic during Patriarchy Presents and Hard Core wind mills/floor punching ensued. In Minneap we got to play at the legendary 7th Street Entry and webcasted live from the St. Paul Opera Collective. It’s a great feeling to finally take these songs on the road and sharpen the set; the overall sound feels tighter and more powerful with each passing show.

Salt Lake City, Boise, Seattle, and Portland are up next! Then down the west coast to Eureka, Sacramento, San Fran, and L.A. Thanks for stickin’ with us, and if you’re anywhere near a city we’re hitting up – for the love of Pete, come on out and dance with us!!

(Here are a few pics from the Providence show! It’s been hard to compile stuff from the road, so unfortunately, these are just of me but we’ve got full band pics from all the shows on the way!)

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Aug 01

Prayers for Atheists article in the Providence Phoenix!

http://thephoenix.com/Providence/Music/86774-Psalms-For-The-Deaf/

Psalms For The Deaf
Jared Paul Unleashes Prayers For Atheists
By CHRIS CONTI | July 21, 2009

Jared Paul & Alan Hague are PRAYERS FOR ATHEISTS

Jared Paul & Alan Hague are PRAYERS FOR ATHEISTS

Sage Francis addressed the densely-populated crowd at Rock the Bells at Comcast Center last weekend: “This song helped get a friend of mine out of jail. Thank you to all who donated. This song is called ‘Conspiracy to Riot.’ Strange Famous fucking Records, Providence.”

The crowd erupted when the beat dropped, as Sage and fellow Providence emcee B.Dolan saluted their friend and labelmate Jared Paul, a vicious spoken-word specialist who was arrested in St. Paul, Minneapolis, last summer for protesting outside the Republican National Convention. Paul was initially charged with felony riot, which got knocked down to a misdemeanor, but Paul refused to plead guilty and ConspiracyToRiot.com, a Web page to raise funds to fight the charge, was born.

“I’m thankful to Sage and Slug [from the hip-hop group Atmosphere] for posting my bond and getting it all rolling,” he said. “Folks heeded the call from all across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. It was fantastic.”

The story is now captured on wax as Jared Paul and Alan Hague have teamed up to form Prayers For Atheists, and just released a politically-charged self-titled EP ($10 at StrangeFamousRecords.com) they call their “25-minute victory chant.” The leadoff single “Psalm for St. Paul” deftly documents Paul’s experience, powered by Hague’s chugging guitar riff. Sage Francis sent an email the day before his set at Rock the Bells:

“If you read Jared’s account of what took place at the RNC with all the arrests and his time in jail, then you know he was put through hell. The amount of coverage it received was incredible, and the donations were helpful. When Jared told me he was doing a song called ‘Psalm for St. Paul,’ I was expecting a shitstorm of vitriol. Instead, Alan and Jared deliver a dancey and positive anthem. That song made me realize that this material was going to be well-beyond what anyone was expecting.”

There’s plenty of raging against the machine on Prayers for Atheists, but Paul and Hague subtly fill your gullet with knowledge while crafting straight-up indie rock as opposed to maniacal rap-rock stuff. Paul tips his hat to Chuck D. on the outstanding “Coathangar 18″ and keeps his cool on the slow-burner “Lot’s Wife,” but makes his opinion abundantly clear on the 80-second thrasher “Tom Delay.” PFA added a drummer and bassist for their nationwide tour, which starts today (the 23rd) in New York and ends on August 26 at Firehouse 13. Paul recently returned from an inspiring performance art tour with B. Dolan.

“I’ve never seen people as hopeful and motivated as they are right now,” Paul said. “President Obama has an unprecedented popularity with the American people, but we really need to keep the fire to his feet and hold him accountable just as we would any other politician.”

A mention of our governor gets Paul going.

“Don Carcieri is probably the most destructive and anti-worker governor in Rhode Island history,” he said. “I worked as a direct care counselor in group homes for many years — I was there when he managed to pull off the $10 million budget cut to the RI DCYF. That move put over 100 18- and 19-year-old group home graduates out on the street with nowhere to go. He is a despicable person.

“We’re due for a big shakeup. I gotta believe it’s coming soon.”

I asked what he would say to those who may believe protesting, particularly here in our corrupt little vacuum, is an effort in futility. “First of all, protesting is a good time. Everybody’s pissed about the way things are going down with the war and a million other things, so why not come out and give the Man a little hell for a couple hours and then go out for coffee after?”

Jul 21

Spiders and moths and death, oh my!

Greetings Strange Fam,

I haven’t bloggity-blogged it up in a while because I’ve been up to my bloodshot eyeballs in work.  However, so much is happening in my life and in the world that I need to address it  in one big swoop.

1) RIP to Michael Jackson.

MJ was the biggest star any of us will probably ever know. The reason we’ll hear about him until the day we die is because his impact spanned so many generations. Thriller is the first tape my mom ever bought me. I played that tape front to back more times than I care to admit. I was at my house rehearsing with B. Dolan when the news broke. We were both in shock as we sat in front of the television in a total state of “What…the…fuck.”  I could go on and on about MJ, but I’d rather not get lost in a tangent. There is a song about him that’s been sitting in my notebook for years. Since I never could figure out how to finish the song, I’ll just share the one line that keeps repeating in my head (in reference to his plastic surgery):

“It had less to do with race, and more to do with removing traces of his father from his face.”

I guess that sums up the whole purpose of the song. No need to record it now.

The day after MJ’s death, B. Dolan and I were greeted with Tech N9ne’s tour bus at Chicago’s “Rock the Bells” concert.

promo gone wrong

promo gone wrong

It should be known that this album title and image was created 6 months before MJ’s death. I don’t want people thinking it was a spur of the moment decision to capitalize on a tragedy. Tech N9ne is the homie.

2) RIP to Walter Cronkite.  He raised a bar that journalists should aspire to match rather than just play limbo with. Lets see one of these robotic talking heads we now see on TV every day earn the title of “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

3) RIP to Anne R. D’Antuono.

Not many people know of her as her story isn’t on every news channel (or any news channel for that matter.) She was my 5th grade teacher and she died at the age of 83. Her obituary mentioned the basics of her life;  birth date, death date, relatives, and nothing else. That’s not a proper send off.

Mrs. D’Antuono seemed to come straight out of a black and white movie. She was tall and lanky, often sporting a trench coat and bucket hat. If you were chewing gum in her class she would stick it on your nose. If you weren’t paying attention she would put her nails to the chalk board. To put it plainly, she was a no-nonsense mofo. Mrs. D’Antuono was a stickler for the English language, cramming sentence diagrams down our throats almost every day. In fact, I found myself in accelerated English classes for the rest of my scholastic career because of it. Most of the kids in class, including myself, were scared of her.  There were also sweet and endearing moments throughout the year, all of which stick out in my mind much more than the ruler being slapped against the desk.

Our 5th grade class was the last she would ever teach. When she announced her retirement I wondered if it was because we pushed her over the edge somehow. It’s unlikely, but I do think that we were ushering in a new generation of kids who lacked the discipline and attention span that her particular teaching style required. She wasn’t there to baby sit. She was there to teach. Her retirement must have weighed heavy on my conscience, because on the last day of school I wrote her a poem and slipped it onto her desk without anyone noticing. Just a little show of appreciation for her hard work. She photocopied it, laminated it, and sent it to my mother…so…ya know…I’m pretty awesome. And I’m probably going to heaven.

The only reason I learned of her passing this past weekend is because my Grandmother was her bridge partner. I attended the wake and had the opportunity to tell her family about the lasting impression their mother had on me. I’d post a photo, but none exist online. This is just a heart-felt shout to an unsung hero. You were a bad ass, Mrs. D! May your red pen strike me down whenever I end a sentence with a preposition.

4) SFR’s CD manufacturer is based in Texas. Boxes are delivered to my driveway in Rhode Island. The last large shipment of boxes was Sleep’s “Hesitation Wounds” album. As I was carrying one of the boxes to my van a spider fell out of it. It was large, hairy, and it tumbled down my body onto the ground. I tossed the box I was holding and hyperventilated for a minute while I stared at this nightmare of a bug.

This picture is the best I could take with my phone, but it doesn’t do the traumatic experience any justice.  Listen…I live in RI. I’ve never seen a fucking bug like this ever. It wasn’t as big as the tarantulas that I see in horror movies, but it was hairy and huge. As you can see, it was on its way to eat my cat when I mustered up the courage to take this photo.  I then scooped up my cat and ran into the house. I apologize for introducing this creature into RI’s ecosystem. Good luck with that.

5) In other Stephen King-esque news, I was sitting in my living room tonight when I heard something knocking against my door. I opened up the door and was greeted by a moth that was the size of a baby bird. What the fuck is going on here? It’s the biggest god damn moth I’ve ever seen in my life.

big ass moth

big ass moth

Again, my camera phone is not doing this thing justice.  The picture below includes my finger in order to give perspective.

What is that, a little baby finger next to a regular sized moth? Nope, it’s actually my fat sausage finger next to a monster sized moth.

I picked it up by its wings and tossed it away from my door but it keeps coming back. If I need to save this Jurassic beast in a jar for scientific study I hope someone tells me soon.

6) I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but sometimes I get caught up in superstition. It’s shameful, really. But as I encounter these creatures that belong in the Guinness Book of World Records, I start to wonder if they’re omens.  I haven’t even mentioned the big toads hopping around my lawn, but they’re there.  So I start obsessing over these encounters with strange nature beasts and then I connect them to things that are happening in my life.

The other week I woke up and my eye inexplicably looked like this.

Did someone fart on my pillow? Did that big spider lay eggs in my eyelid? No…it’s a stye. It went away after two days with no treatment. As soon as it went away I had gland pains in my neck. It  hurt to speak and it hurt to turn my head. Once that went away I had so much pain in my right arm, wrist and fingers that I couldn’t sleep. So, OK, my body is going crazy. I’m recording my new album and there’s a spiritual war going on in my arteries. That’s what the doctor told me anyway…after taking my blood and shipping it off to the government for testing.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy, so if you’re looking for an explanation then you’ll need to wait for my autopsy.

“That’s the way it is.”

-Francis

Jul 17

My Tour Dates/Watch Yourself Asher

This is the basic run down of my pre release promo tour. I got the idea of fan poaching with promo stickers/ a cd with one track not on my album rapping outside venues of other artists and it grew on me. I love the idea of it. I talked to Scroobius after hearing he had used similar tactics and he said it worked out really well for him so all that dates that say fan poaching street show are just going to be me doing my set in front of venues with a boom box handing out my promo stickers and info. Also, I will be playing a few actuall shows. Maybe a few more at places I haven’t heard back from yet. I’m too busy to be booking so I thought I’d make the best of it and roll this way til I get a manager or some shit. bookings not my thing.

That said, This entire promo trip is contigent on August 6th. The Jump off point. My friend has an extra ticket for the Asher Roth show in Phillie at the Electric Factory. My plan is to go in and nail him with a Curtis Plum promo cd during his set, not with a case, just a cd buy itself or maybe in a paper sleeve to just graze him on the head and throw him off while he’s rapping, I don’t think I’ll even have to connect to make him fuck up. I have been practicing my cd throwing technique for weeks and I’m super accurate at 15 to 20 feet. Its sort of a metaphor inacted in real life for what all dope hip hop will always do to mainstream watered down bullshit. So if they arrest me on an assualt charge the rest of the tour won’t happen but it will be worth it, I’ve done plenty of time so I’m not stressin, its a win win situation. This is a personal vendetta. I was planning on doing it anyway and I’ve been networking with people I know to do the same thing if there is an Asher Roth show in their area or if they see him at a club or whatever. I just thought it would be a good way to start off my tour. Its kind of a movement I’m trying to get going called the Everyone Nail Asher Roth With An Indie Hip Hop CD Movement. Its something I really believe in and hope others will too. This tour isn’t about me, its about making the world better for everyone by throwing cds at Asher Roth in public when he is trying to look cool.

Initially my trip back east was to visit some old friends and hit Asher Roth with a cd on stage but then I figured I might as well book a few shows and do some promo stuff while seeing the sights and taking it all in. Oh, just joking about the Asher Roth thing, I’m sure hes a really cool guy. I would never do that…….or would I?

Dates(Follow my ass on twitter and myspace as I will most likely add more dates).

august 6th phildelphia pa at the electric factory nailing asher rothe cd throwing show. whenever I get close enough to Asher

aug 8th pittsburg pennsylvania at garfields artworks with jackson from grand buffet actual show on stage. time ?

august 11 chantilly virginia Sullys johnny 3 legs fan poaching show 9pm

august 15th new haven ct toads place de la soul fan poaching street show 8pm

august 18th portland maine at north star cafe open mic plus street show 9pm

august 17th the Brighton Bar long branch new jersey Open mic on stage plus street show 9pm

august 21st Iron Horse street show with the problem addicts and alchemist fan poaching street show 9pm

sept 29th baltimore maryland at zodiac with Hieght actual show on stage. time ?

Sept 6th providence rhode island at stage Strange Famous Block party actual show on stage


You love college. Lets see how much you love my promo CD wizzing at your dome with lighting speed while your on Stage fool.

Jul 17

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