Strange Famous Records

RIP Ikey Owens

1 ikey

The world lost an incredible talent and a genuinely good person today. Point blank. He was also the most badass keyboardist I’ve ever seen perform live. To see Ikey Owens do his thing as part of my own set for 30+ shows on the Li(f)e Tour was a true privilege. Powerful, inspiring, electric…awesome. It was on that tour when I lost my dad actually, and the whole band was not only understanding of my situation but very comforting. As a shit-twist of coincidence would have it, we are very close to the 4 year anniversary of Eyedea’s sudden passing.

It’s stuff like this I dread when I hit the road for extended periods of time. For myself, for others, for everyone…the goal of the road is for it to be tragedy free. It’s a high hope to be sure, but it’s the things you never expect that sock you in the gut while you’re so helpless and far away. I just returned home from a sold out show in Newcastle feeling on top of the world when I opened an email to this awful news. He was found dead in a hotel today while he was touring with Jack White’s band in Mexico. The details of his passing aren’t fully known, but it’s not prudent to speculate or to get hung up on that stuff right now.

One thing I’m grateful for is that we had a chance to hang out last month when he was traveling through RI with Jack White’s band. Although we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, he hit me up to get dinner so we could catch up on old times and discuss our current projects. We had some laughs, we discussed music, and, what was most important, he was really loving life. It’s good for me to be around people with those positive vibes and the fact that he just wanted to hang out with no official business being part of bargain meant a lot to me. That’s a gift I was given and I’m lucky to have it now that I know we’ll never be able to speak again.

All of the people he’s touched, mentored, or worked with through the years are experiencing shock and disbelief at the moment, just as I am, and there’s not much we can do except grieve and share our memories of him. My thoughts are with his friends, family and bandmates. I wanted to share this photo in hopes that it provides at least a smirk. Especially my friends in the Free Moral Agents. They know that Ikey had a rule about performers not wearing shorts on stage. That rule clashed with my rule about wearing my famous yellow swim trunks when the moment called for it (usually when my only pair of pants were being laundered.) He didn’t say anything about it. I know what he was thinking though.

Love you, homie.

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Oct 14

Sage Francis – Australia Tour – Dec 2014

My Australia Tour for 2014 has just been announced!
All details are posted below. There’s also a FB page dedicated to it. So fancy.
New Zealand dates will be announced soon.
COPPER GONE album is AVAILABLE NOW! That’s why I’ve been touring my tail off, don’tcha know? For info on all of my other upcoming shows click HERE.

Dec 3 @ Uni Bar – Adelaide
Dec 4 @ The Corner Hotel – Melbourne
Dec 5 @ The Roller Den – Sydney
Dec 7 @ The Brightside – Brisbane

Many thanks to Pat Jensen for the poster artwork. Below are two other size options for you social networks.

1 oz header official

FB header

1 oz square official


MAKE EM PURR was the last video we released:

GRACE was the first video off of Copper Gone:

First single – “VONNEGUT BUSY”

Follow on: Twitter + Facebook.

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Oct 02

“Make Em Purr” video, lyrics, backstory

Video Director: Wasaru. 
Art Director: Jebedaï Couture
Special thanks to Jim Foltice for help with the treatment.

“Make Em Purr” has been one of the most discussed songs from the Copper Gone album, and since the most popular question I get asked on tour is, “How’s your cat, man?” — I figured it would be a good time to give you the song’s backstory. “Make Em Purr” didn’t even exist until a day before my final recording session. In fact, I considered the whole album to be finished save for one legal issue I had with “Thank You.” Out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to use the original music, I harassed a bunch of producers to see if they could come up with something totally new. Buck 65 is the main superhero who leapt into action to save the Francis in distress, bless his kind Canadian heart. He sent me several great beats, but none of them worked quite right for “Thank You”. The last beat he sent me was too somber sounding for for it — but the sad piano, pulsating low notes, sparse percussion and stripped-down feel of the music…it all hit me in a very particular way. It inspired me to write. I told Buck that I’d have a new song for him to hear the next day.

Up until that point I thought that I had said everything that needed to be said on the album. I was very wrong about that, and I’m grateful I figured this out before it was too late. Although many parts of Copper Gone touch upon the grief, depression, solitude, and disappointment that I’ve experienced in the past few years, along with the efforts being made to push forward, I had yet to speak about what I was dealing with in a plain manner. I’ve become very guarded as a person and as an artist over the past 15 years (and, in my own defense, with good reason.) Although that shit can protect you from the wolves, it can also hinder your relationships as well as your art and well being. The goal was not to write about cats, illness, being an introvert or anything in particular. I simply played the beat on a continuous loop, put my pen to the paper and transcribed an inner-debate I was having. I started the song off with a stark naked truth and let the rest of it fold out from there:

“I was a lot more comfortable being vulnerable and open,
When I was younger and it wasn’t clear if I was or wasn’t joking.
But so much has broken…I’m just like fuck it, the fix is in.
If I can’t hide in plain site anymore, I’ll just stay hidden.”

At that point in the writing process the entire spirit of the song basically took shape, and I kept writing until I landed on the final four lines of the song: “My 20’s were a roar. My 30’s were a blur. My 40’s, I’m not so sure… but I’m a make em purr.” That was that. Though there wasn’t any time to make revisions, there wasn’t really any need. It encapsulated everything I was feeling and thinking at that very moment, which was at the tail end of shitty period in my life. I stepped into my studio, recorded the vocals, sent it over to Buck and let him put the finishing touches on the arrangement. I can hardly believe that Copper Gone was almost released without this song on it. I believe it elucidates the meaning of so many other lyrics on the album, and without this song I wouldn’t feel as proud as I am of the entire project. So, again, many thanks to Buck for helping make this happen and a major salute to my lucky stars.

Lastly, contrary to what some reviewers have ascertained, this song is not *about* cats. However, if the main thing you get out of it is that I almost gave up all hope due to a dying pet, and you can relate to that situation on some level, that’s good enough for me.

The cat is doing great, btw.

1 sagefrancis_makeempurr_mens_tshirt_closeup

shirt image by Pat Jensen

“Make Em Purr” shirts are now available (men’s and women’s) at:


I was a lot more comfortable being vulnerable and open when I was younger and it wasn’t clear if I was or wasn’t joking. But so much has broken I’m just like, “Fuck it…the fix is in.” If I can’t hide in plain sight anymore, I’ll just stay hidden. It’s been a minute since I left this domicile. No need to change my outfit. I rock it like it’s going out of style. It’s out of style? Ain’t no one here to tell me otherwise. It gets more difficult to stay inside during the summertime. But most of the time it’s just like any other time… Avoid personal interaction and human touch. Shut the blinds. It’s been a while since I left this bachelor pad. I’ll need to go to the market soon because the food is going bad. The food is bad. I’ve found it’s difficult to just cook for one. With healthy recipes. Well, depending on what book they’re from. If you want to eat healthy you’ve got to dirty some dishes. But this frozen dinner is quickly ready to serve… and it’s so delicious. It’s not delicious. It’s disgusting. But it satiates the hunger with a quickness, and hey… at least it’s something. At least it’s something. At most it’s nothing. Fuck’s wrong with me? I don’t know. I’m just adjusting. It’s been a month since I left this cabin. The doctor was worried about a fever and other difficulties I’ve been having. She called me on Christmas. That was my gift. She was worried I might die. I said, “I might die? Well…no shit.” It’s been forever since I’ve said something I can’t wiggle free from. If there’s anything I cherish in this self-inflicted prison…it’s freedom. It comes at a cost so I’m private to a fault, ’til I default on the loan for a home. It’s actually more like a vault. No one knows the combo but little old me. The head honcho. The holder of the key. Alone but never lonely. It’s been a millennia since I left this dominion or been in the company of any women… At least I’ve got my kittens. Spent more cash on my cat than I did myself. When he stopped eating I took him to the vet so they could check his health. They put a feeding tube into his neck. I said, “Please let this work because if it doesn’t…I’ve got nothing left.” I didn’t say that. But they saw that. Cat had my tongue. I didn’t speak at all. They just told me to call back. What, it wasn’t weird that I did nothing but stand right there? With a “FIX this…money’s no object” type stare? It’s been a year since I’ve stepped into anyone else’s private quarters. I’ve been busy self-diagnosing disorders. First world problems. Yeah… USA #1. Top of the world. I’m in a tux and cumber-bun. Welcome, everyone…to the party of the century. It’s sure to be one for the books, no doubt. Medical ones especially. My 20’s were a roar. My 30’s were a blur. My 40’s…I’m not so sure. But I’m a make ’em purr.

Aug 25

The Sage Francis Interview Invasion, 2014

I’ve done a slew of interviews in 2014, all of which surfaced around the same time. Here’s the comprehensive breakdown…

This is an interview I did with BeeShine on the very first day of the Copper Gone Tour. It’s probably my favorite video interview that I’ve done:

Here’s a video interview I did in Pittsburgh on the day of Copper Gone‘s release:

Here are a couple podcasts I participated in recently. It’s a lot of talking. If you’re bored or working around the house, feel free to play them while you shuffle about:

Shots Fired:

Chrome Bills (with Seez Mics):

More recently I conducted a Q&A on my Facebook page just to see how something like that might go. Over the course of 24 hours I answered as many questions as I could. If you have the patience of a monk, you can read all of the interactions HERE.

I love talking. Love it so much. Here’s a photo to express my excitement:

Sage Francis photo by Prentice Danner

If you’re still interested in more interviews for whatever reason, I’ve archived them here.

A couple of my favorites are:
Bonafide Magazine
Colorado Buzz Music

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Jul 31

“To Hell and Back” – Phoenix Cover Story

It’s been a long time since I got any significant coverage from local media. Big thanks to Chris Conti for getting me the cover story:

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Here’s a bit of an aside that I wrote on my Facebook page, June 26th:

It feels a bit heavy handed to call what I’ve gone through “to hell and back,” especially when my situation was largely self-inflicted. In my head. And it’s not something people could help me with. I choose how I live. There many people going through much worse in their daily lives without any say in the matter. That’s not to diminish the serious nature of things like depression, but I have gone through worse and I expect to go through worse. That’s life. The driving force behind Copper Gone was not to shame people for not helping me when I apparently needed assistance of some sort. For instance, I’d hate for my loved ones to read this article and be made to feel like they should have helped me in some way. That just wasn’t an option. I worked through it the way I know to work through it, I’m in a much better place, and life continues to be as confusing as it is interesting. I can’t say I’m officially out of the dark part of the woods yet, but I am definitely glad to be climbing trees again.

Putting focus back into my music and myself is just what the Doctor ordered. I’m good. And I’m in great company.

Thank you

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Jul 17

Sage Francis live performance + interview on “Breaking the Set”

A few months ago I was contacted by Abby Martin to appear on her news show, “Breaking the Set” on RT. As this show is filmed in DC, we decided it would be best to swing through there on the day of my show in DC show which happened to be at the tail-end of my Copper Gone Tour. Unfortunately that also meant that my voice would be incredibly hoarse, but that’s no excuse to skip out on the G that is Miss Martin.

“Vonnegut Busy” + interview

“Dead Man’s Float” (this didn’t make it to air)

Also, as you may notice, I’m being backed up by B. Dolan and Lord Grunge. I asked Lord Grunge to act like he’s doing a lot of turntable trickery even though he’s just pressing play on a CDJ. He came through like a champ on that request.

COPPER GONE is available now in all formats at

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Jul 15

Sage Francis – THANK YOU (Daytrotter) + lyrics

“Thank You” (Daytrotter session)

“Thank You” is off of my Copper Gone album dropping June 3rd. This version of the song was performed at Daytrotter’s SXSW studio last March. Here’s the write up from Sean Moeller at

“We knew what Sage Francis was going to do to us when he came by the studio in Austin a month ago. We knew he was going to destroy us. We just didn’t know he was going to destroy us as much as he wound up destroying us. He’s a rapper unequaled and his new record, ‘COPPER GONE’, is a goddamned blessing, after a four year break between records. This particular song from the full session floored us. We were slack-jawed and stunned by the passionate delivery and sentiment in ‘Thank You’ and we all — Sage included — wanted to get this out into the world in front of the full session, which we will post in June. With music by Anders Parker and drums by Alias, ‘Thank You’ is a song that feels as ponderous as it feels definitive. It’s a song about a long span of time and people who mostly act out of love, though sometimes it’s strangely shown. Francis raps, ‘Thank you for the matches, for the gift of fire, for the wood and axe, for whuppin’ my ass/For the wheel even if you didn’t invent it/For the impact that you had on me/ It’s epic/Thank you for the effort, for teaching me the ABCs, even if I never make my way to Z, even if I never do for someone else exactly what you did for me, I’m gonna do my best while you rest, in peace/Thank you,’ and then we turned the lights off for the night and shut it down.”

This “Thank You” recording is part of a bigger session that they’ll release after Copper Gone drops. There are a couple songs that I did with B. Dolan and another CG song. This was definitely the one saving grace of SXSW for me. Many thanks to Daytrotter for staying on my case all of these years to get something done.


“THANK YOU” lyrics:

You gave me language as a gift.
I turned it against you.
I was stupid, I was young,
I was hanged by my Judas tongue.
You shouldn’t give weapons to kids who don’t know better.
They can’t possibly understand that there’s no such thing as forever.
For every letter in the alphabet…
You said, “Connect em to a happy word
no matter how bad things get.”
I did my best but the pickings got slim,
Once I arrived at “x”
and I had to think of synonyms.
I weighed them against the antonyms.
I was hanging with all the mannequins
Who were on a constant search for a person’s amputated limbs.
Almost offered up my own
by trading in my arms and legs.
You said, “Learn to express yourself
if you’re gonna stand for things.”
I stood up. Without expression.
Stood up against everything.
Including you. I was stupid. I was adolescent.
But I had your lessons to cling on to
and I want you
to know how much it helped
considering everything that I’d gone through.
There was a period without periods.
Run-on sentences were like binges.
I was a comma with no pause.
A rebel with no clause.
Anxiety’s no excuse
once there’s nothing left to separate.
We could have connected, but didn’t.
I was ignorant.
Passed out on the space bar.
The further we drifted apart the closer I came
to realizing just how amazing you are.
Now that you’re gone I’m going to say it to the stars,
Until my words knock worlds off their axis
and the universe collapses.
Thank you for the matches.
For the gift of fire.
For the wood and the axe.
For whoopin’ my ass.
For the wheel. Even if you didn’t invent it.
For the impact that you had on me. It’s epic.
Thank you for the effort.
For teaching me the ABC’s.
Even if I never make my way to Z.
Even if I never do for someone else
exactly what you did for me.
Thank you.
I was a stupid son of a gun with initials carved into me.
I was a stray. A runaway. Afraid some day you’d shoot me.
So I scratched off the letters with a pocket knife.
That’s how I lost my way when I was tossed into the fray.
This is not my life.
Who am I kidding, this is a Thank You note disguised as a written apology,
for everything you taught to me.
So awkwardly I approach…
the open microphone with everything that I wrote.
Clear my throat, adjust the collar on my coat,
As I rock crowds, microphones, and boats.
Then I stroke whatever little ego I have left.
I should have left it at the altar.
But I didn’t because I’m an idiot, self-deprecating author.
With a paperback edition
that isn’t worth a flip through,
If I don’t give you the credit that you deserve.
You edited the words.
From the grave and beyond.
From the first sign of sun rays at dawn,
Until the moonbeams set blaze to my lawn.
The universe collapses on my front steps.
We get to share in that moment.
For just one moment.
And nobody’s upset. And there’s no more anger.
There are no more sunsets
So I crawl back in the chamber.
You can shoot me up. You might as well.
We had great communication before the tower fell.
Thank you for the matches.
For the gift of fire.
For the wood and the axe.
For whoopin’ my ass.
For the wheel. Even if you didn’t invent it.
For the impact that you had on me. It’s epic.
Thank you for the effort.
For teaching me the ABC’s.
Even if I never make my way to Z.
Even if I never do for someone else
exactly what you did for me.
I’ll do my best. While you rest.
In peace.
Thank you.

1 Comment »
Apr 21

Buck 65 weighs in on my “Copper Gone” album

Not only was Buck 65 kind enough to help me work on the last song that was recorded for “Copper Gone” (a most important song for the album and something I will explain in full detail soon,) but he was also gracious enough to put together the following write-up for the album. We’ve worked together a lot through the years and, consider how much I look up to him as an artist and a writer, I’m beyond honored:

1 Buck 65 speaks

Sage Francis has a new album. It’s called “Copper Gone” and it’s incredible. It’s the kind of record that smacks you in the face first time you hear it. But what makes the record rare is that the more you listen to it, the deeper it will work its way into your bones. Most records are one or the other: it dazzles at first but then the excitement wears off or it’s what is referred to as a “grower” – it doesn’t grab you right away, but it grows on you over time with close listens. This record does both.

The album kicks off with the perfect opener – a song called “Pressure Cooker”. It immediately answers the question Sage Francis fans have had on their minds: “what took so long?” And it also puts the high expectations to bed the second the beat drops. The song grabs you by the throat and delivers intensity unmatched by any Sage classic. The beat is gigantic. The rapping is nimble and powerful. Sage’s confidence and personality are on full display. It’s the kind of song that gets your heart rate up. It will probably inspire many intense workouts for listeners in the gym.

“Pressure Cooker” is a total blitz of everything you want from a rap song. It comes at you hard and furious. It’s a class ‘A’ headbanger. The intro of the next song, “Grace”, gives you a few seconds to catch your breath, but then the beat drops and the attack starts up again. But what strikes you this time, even as you’re getting the snot kicked out of you, is how beautiful it is. It’s a beautiful song. But the beauty doesn’t inspire a careful, restrained performance from Sage, it inspires him to pry his rib cage open so you can watch his heart burn furiously. It happens again and again on Copper Gone – on songs like “Over Under” (you win a prize if you can get through the song without saying “holy shit!”), “Vonnegut Busy” (which sounds like it was written on the sky) and “Dead Man’s Float” (an instant classic that will be sung by Sage’s congregation for the next 500 years). 

It takes a rare kind of real man to write a song like “Thank You”. Sage is the only rapper in the world who could have done it. Listening to it, it’s easy to imagine him backed up by a full symphony orchestra. For the next 10-30 years, people will approach Sage after shows and say ““The Set Up” saved my life, man.” People will tattoo lyrics from “ID Thieves” on their bodies. And “Make ‘Em Purr” is the most moving thing he’s ever written. Tears will be shed.

The first few listens of “Copper Gone” will dazzle and pulverize you. This is the full-on rap record you’ve been waiting to hear for a long time. It’s skillful, it’s tough, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s beautiful, it’s conflicted… The first thing that occurs to you after the initial shock is that you can’t call this record a return to the form of records like “Personal Journals” or “A Healthy Distrust” because this record is even stronger than anything Sage has done before. Then it occurs to you that no 20 year old kid (not even a 20 year old Sage) could have written this record.

This is the sound of a grown man with grey in his beard and mortgage payments kicking the living crap out of any 20 year old rapper that hasn’t lived enough to know his ass from his elbow. Sage has an amazing (and very appealing) ability to be humble, vulnerable and self-effacing while sounding supremely confident and indomitable at the same time. And it should give us all hope that a rap record that is first and foremost dope as hell can be made by an honest man who’s pushing 40.

Copper Gone matters.
– Buck 65

Copper Gone PRE-SALES *** Copper Gone TOUR DATES

1 Comment »
Apr 11

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From the mind of B. Dolan, The MAKE RACISTS AFRAID AGAIN Hat is meant to express solidarity with those opposing racism, homophobia, and fascism worldwide.  Anywhere they rear their head, we will combat them.  It's that simple.

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