Hey folks, I know I’ve been kind of dodgy on posting on my site. I’ve been busy with my band Jenny Hates Techno and other projects. Anyway, I just got rapper McNastee’s new album “Runaway Train of Thought.” You probably remember McNastee working with Never So Deep records off of Donnie Darko “Loser Pt. 6.” Actually I remember when he was featured on Faygoluvers.net. Well, McNastee has a new release off of Never So Deep Records. With production from DJ Bless, you have six songs that focus on post-hardcore samples and hard rock sample. On “Runaway Train of Mind” McNastee lyrically focuses on more introspective themes to more universal themes such as isolation and loneliness.
Not Your Fault
This track kicks off the album with a post-hardcore sample laced track that supports McNastee’s lyrical lament about his climb back up from the bottom.
Y’know, any song that kicks off with a Danzig reference automatically captures my attention.
Band of Brothers
This is a song about loyalty, betrayal and gaining trust.
In closing, if you’re into underground rap, post-hardcore then you would probably enjoy “Runaway Train of Thought.”
On Februrary 24th 2012, DeWayne Carter better known Lil Wayne signed rap rock group Limp Bizkit to Cash Money Records. A “collabo” track between Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne titled “Ready to Go” is set to be released next week. Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was great…but so was America Online. I don’t hate Limp Bizkit, in fact I’m still fond of their albums “Chocolate Starfish and Hot Dog Flavored Water”, “Three Dollar Bill, Y’all” and “Significant Other” was cool too. In fact, I respect how Fred Durst supported file sharing program Napster when the music industry was against file sharing.
This all started earlier on 3/1/2012 where I tweeted out “Limp Bizkit with Lil Wayne…talk about mixing “shit” and “vomit.” The response was varied, from “Say what you mean” to people agreeing with me. To clarify, I also stated “Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was cool…until you discovered Bio-Hazard, Orange 9mm etc.”
Honestly, my inner 16 year old is hoping that this will be something great. But I can think of five good reasons why it shouldn’t be done.
Those reasons being…
“Red Light Green Light” feat. Snoop Dogg
Turn Me Loose feat. Eminem
Rollin (Urban Assault Vehicle remix) feat. Method Man, Redman, DMX and Swizz Beatz on production.
Getcha Groove On Feat. Xzibit
N 2 Gether Now feat. Method Man
Lil Wayne…where do I start with the only dude off of Cash Money that actually made something of himself? Okay, it’s a known fact that Wayne’sa Nirvana fan…well he likes that song Smells Like Teen Spirit…well he liked the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That’s all well and good but Jason Aldean admitted to liking some Snoop Dogg growing up, that doesn’t exactly make him a hip-hopper.
With proclaiming his fondness for Nirvana for the sake of rocker credibility, notice that Lil Wayne has rapped over rock tinged or rock tracks in the past.
Knockout feat. Nicki Minaj.
Best Rapper Alive
I’m Not a Human Being
In closing, maybe both acts can have enough chemistry to create something that I and others would find noteworthy…but it’s up for you to decide.
The Never So Deep crew of Sutter Kain, Donnie Darko and now New Jersey rapper Naymez comes to the listener full throttle with the song “Traitors.” Well, the song title is self-explanatory. It’s pretty much a warning track with the theme of calling out chicanery.
In this case, it’s more of a traditional hip-hop sound production wise.
New Jersey rapper Naymez opens the track with an impressive verse although there’s some word play, it’s very to the point.
Darko’s verse doesn’t disappoint lyrically. Interesting enough, I noticed the use of less metaphors in his verse. For him, it’s a change of pace.
Sutter Kain takes it home with an infuriated, raspy delivery. Kain’s usually passionate, but this is a side I haven’t heard from him in a minute.
Overall, I feel that it’s a solid effort from Sutter Kain, Naymez and Donnie Darko. If you enjoy Sutter Kain’s more hip-hop based production rather than his hardcore/metal productions. I recommend this for you.
On December 11th, 2011 BlankTV uploaded Sutter Kain and Darko’s video for “UFO Transmissions.”
Aside from music, one of Sutter Kain’s other avenues of interest include film. So, it’s not surprising that Kain directs his own videos. In this case, the video consists of black and white shots of a long winding road with Darko rapping and Sutter Kain on the chorus, the red splashes gives the video a more sinister feel.
Production wise, it‘s a fusion of emotionally charged rapping—well more like “emotional recitation” and Donnie Darko over chugging, down tuned guitars. In this case DJ Bless’s aggressive chanting compliments Darko’s venting. After repeated listens, I noticed that”U.F.O Transmissions” is kind of reminiscent of another rap song with an intergalactic theme…Kanye West’s waltz timed “Spaceship.” I mean, aside from concept of space travel, the similar theme of both songs is hoping for a better present than the one that they’re experiencing at the time being. In closing, I feel that DJ Bless use of djent (…metalcore maybe) band “I The Breather” compliments the delivery of Darko’s delivery.
In closing, for a no frills video that compliments the song and sets a mood, Check out “UFO Transmissions”
Hey folks I know I haven’t updated much as of late. I’m not going to divulge in details at the moment but I’ll explain more over time. Anyway, my bandmate Danielle got me into this band called “The Memorials.” I was familiar with them before but didn’t sit down and really listen though until the first initial band practice and she had some songs by them on her phone. What I heard was amazing and even said “I don’t consider them rock though…they’re too damn good to be considered rock!” I want to do a full fledged article on them when I get the chance and when things settle down on my end. Until then, check out “We Go to War” featuring a cameo by Kreyshawn.
On November 19th, 2011, I released “The Jester” album that I’ve been promoting for half a year. Honestly, this album was made after a long writer’s block and a few things that I was going through. Around that same time, I drowned my sorrows in bands and artists such as Kyuss, Biohazard, Prong, Helmet, Fugazi, early Nirvana, Big Black, Bad Brains, Electric Wizard, The Meters, Flipper, Alice in Chains and Hank III. I recorded the album on a Tascam 4-track for that lo-fi feel.
In this case, I feel like I grew from the “Urbandustrial” sound of the “Treacherous Cretins” album and wanted to delve into more melodic ideas but still have the songs be heavy.
The underlying theme of the album is some days you might feel like a joke…other days you get the last laugh.
Check out my music page
Where do I start with what happened on the night of 11/16/2011 and how it was a month in the making? Okay, I’ve been on this country music kick for almost a year…well actually since I started playing guitar in ‘99. Even when I was 8 year old, I would try to imitate Randy Travis’s vocal. I’ve always had a respect for Hank III and Hank Sr. In fact, my granddad enjoyed Hank Sr. and Willie Nelson in his younger years. So you can say I’m carrying on a “Family Tradition.” …Don’t worry folks; the puns get worse throughout the story. A fellow writer by the name “Brad Meathook” I knew from the social network Twitter brought to my attention that Hank III is going to be playing Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore, MD and asked if I was going. I realized that if I used my networking skills I can make a deal to review Hank III’s albums and get some tickets to the show. Wasn’t an easy feat but it was worth it. So, out of the albums they sent I reviewed “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown.”
Okay folks, rumors can help make or break an artist’s career. To put this in a diplomatic way, some imagery such as a rebel flag that Hank III uses to represent his southern heritage can attract an element of fans that can misconstrue such iconography for supporting bigotry. One thing that made me kind of leery was the fact that you couldn’t find that many interviews with Hank III that gave you a better clue on who he was. Persona wise, a cloud of mystery can be good and bad for an artist’s image but depending what it is, it could also fuel negative rumors. Okay, that being said, I was kind of nervous to go…especially the missus. The missus is from the southwest and spent 10 years south of Dallas, Texas in a small town where they still have dial-up and not a lot of black people. She had to deal with a LOT of people that how I can put this eloquently…made the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” a success. Well, me too…I like Ron White and consider him an influence on my writing. The day of the show the missus was nervous and uttering phrases “We’re going to be the only black people there!”, “I’ve dealt with these kinds of people!”, and “We’re going to be out in the middle of nowhere!” I replied. “Uh, babe…it’s going to be in Baltimore city proper. Now if it was in Westminster or Fredrick, MD…I’d understand but it’s in Baltimore at a mainstream venue and not some shack in the woods.” She was still nervous…but somewhat relieved though.
After riding up to Baltimore, we headed over to will call to pick up the tickets. Fans are starting to come in, and I think see somebody I recognize…As I’m about to say hello, the missus yelps out “John! Don’t leave me!” Understanding what she went through, I said “babe, you’re going to be fine. I’m here.” So, we get our tickets, and get in line. The guy taking the tickets was surprised by my appearance…mainly because I cut my mohawk and wear glasses now. So, we get inside…the audience was a mix of metal heads, country fans, punks, greasers and NO HIPSTERS! I saw some dude in overalls that had on a Misfits band tee and a ton of guys that looked like they could be related to Hillbilly Jim from WWF (old school)…and some dude that looked like Danny “Boone” Alexander from country-rap band Rehab. Realizing it’s a standing room, we found a place to sit near the bar. I asked the security guy that I’ll refer to as “Bull” if the booth was for bar patrons or anybody? Surprisingly friendly, he said “it’s for anybody.” I rarely if ever drink so we just got a chicken and fry basket with a root beer.
While sitting at the bar, I saw the guy earlier that who I thought was Brad Meathook…I wasn’t sure if it was him earlier so I asked and he replied “Sketch of Maryland right?” I noticed that his voice kind of sounds like wrestler Chris Jericho. In the last story about Fishbone, I mentioned a guy by the name of Kaibutsu, since he’s out in Baltimore I realized he might want to check this out too…here’s the problem. The cell reception in Ram’s Head Live is spotty at best and my phone has a short or something in it, so when I called him my phone crapped out mid sentence. I’ll try to meet up with him at Katsucon. Later, the opening act came out so the missus and I walked closer and stood there watching the band. I didn’t know who they were but they reminded me of Black Sabbath…well their first four albums at least, Kyuss and Sleep. I saw the lead singer’s shirt and it said “Spirit Caravan.” It then dawned on me that the band was “Earthride.” This is actually interesting in the fact that back in 2010; Hank III didn’t use any opening bands. But in this case, it made sense that Earthride would be opening for Hank III since Dave Sherman did vocals on the title track to “Ghost to a Ghost” and Earthride is based in Maryland. So, after an hour of doom and stoner metal, there was a brief intermission. We got closer and found a wall to lean on and watch the show from.
Then Hank III comes out with a four piece backing band that featured most of the personnel from the Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown album. For the record, I noticed in some YouTube videos that when he performs the traditional country set that he uses acoustic instruments that are amplified with some effects like phaser. So, the overdriven guitar of “Ghost to a Ghost” is missing. Hank III took the stage with a kind of “happy to be here” demeanor and with a voice that sounds surprisingly similar to his grandfather Hank Sr. but of course the material is quite different. The precision and intensity of the band was amazing.
The crowd was lively to say the least; in fact half of the fun of the show was there was this one dude that looked like Billy Gibbons with a septum piercing and a Harley Davidson vest, one dude had a pentagram and the band “Gorgoroth” logo scribbled on his denim vest and a mullet. Another guy that was near us was a really nice Asian guy in a wheel chair who asked if he was in our way to be accommodating. Interesting enough, there was another black guy there that I’ll refer to as “Greg” was really into the show and when Hank slipped into a few zydeco numbers, “Greg” really got into it. Not surprisingly, a lot of people were drinking. It might be a misnomer that I mention that they were drinking but it comes into play later. As cliché as this might sound, this show was like a heavy metal hoedown that focused on the albums “Rebel Within”, “Damn Right, Rebel Proud”, “Straight to Hell”, the controversial “Hillbilly Joker” album and of course the “Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown” albums. “Ghost to a Ghost” was a duet with Dave Sherman that had fans either drunkenly doing the tango…or seriously attempting to tango to the shifting blast beats. Then when he went into “Day by Day” a dude in a rebel flag shirt started doing an ironic hillbilly jig that was quite amusing to witness. Also some dude on crutches waved one of his crutches during “Outlaw Convention.” The atmosphere at the show was quite the contrary to what some would’ve expected.
There were some tense moments where the show stopped. Hank III said to the guy “bad move…” or “wrong night…” something to the effect. Next thing I know security has this guy restrained… he was literally being carried off by security but his struggles for freedom had him moving in my direction. Well, I learned this golden rule from years of watching wrestling,”if you ever see a flying chair coming at you…duck.” So, I first moved the missus out of harm’s way because he was getting too close for comfort for us. After the dude got booted, I asked Bull “Did you see the guy that got thrown out?” He replied “Which one?” We both chuckled at that. “Well, I mean what did he do?” He legit didn’t know.
So, after the matter was settled the band went back into “Six Pack of Beer.” The whole night wasn’t all bad; in fact there was also an opportunity to slow dance, so the missus and I watched the drunken couples sway to “Not Everybody Likes Us.” Yeah, we were one of them…the difference being was sobriety was an ally in our case. Around 10:40 pm, he started his Hellbilly set. The Hellbilly set which focused more on “Hillbilly Joker” album was enjoyable…even though I was kind of disappointed that he didn’t do “I’m Drunk Again” but he’s been doing that song for years so I don’t blame him for “sobering up for the night.” Then, around 11:00 he switched it up so his other backing band “Attention Deficit Domination” took the stage and this was more focused on the albums “3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’” and “Attention Deficit Domination.” Out of the albums I got, I didn’t focus on “Attention Deficit Domination.” I listened but didn’t go through the usual analyzing process. So, the albums were fresh to me still. The set included theatrics such as this weird green lighting, a projector screen that included a montage of B-Movies, war footage and this vocal effect that was similar to Ozzy’s use of a Leslie speaker on Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album. Half of the Country/Hellbilly fans left by this time for a smoke break and some just left. I ran back into Brad and he noticed the crowd left and we pretty much agreed “Attention Deficit Domination” sounded like Black Sabbath produced by Yanni or Brian Eno stubbing his toe and venting his frustrations musically.
By this time the alcohol everyone consumed kicked in and almost everybody was stumbling drunk and some patrons were ejected due to their behavior. Remember, the missus and I am leaning against a wall and kind of out of dodge. A guy walked up to me and started talking, he noticed that I was taking notes and wondered what I was doing. To say he was inebriated would be an understatement, to keep his anonymity I’ll refer to him as “Shawn.” Shawn was a traditional country fan who stayed around because his friend was still there and he was in no shape whatsoever to drive. In this case, he actually lost his CDL license due to a DUI. He felt awful because he realized that a stupid mistake cost him his career and tarnished his spotless criminal record. I told him “Was anybody hurt in this?” He said “No” and I said “That’s why you got that DUI. The universe was keeping you from harming you or anybody else.” Remember, Attention Deficit Domination was LOUD and at points the band would change dynamics so they would be even louder, so I heard half of what Shawn said. Honestly, it was reminiscent of the cone of silence bit from Get Smart. The “Cattle Call” and “Attention Deficit Domination” set were more like a test of endurance than performance. Most couldn’t handle the brutality of it so they bolted…or were ejected because they were drunk and were causing somewhat of a stir. In fact, I started making a tally of drunks that got tossed out.
I got a photo with Hank III, autograph and gave him my card so hopefully I can get an interview with him for the site. The night was over. The missus and I headed back home.
Also if you’re wondering, yes, somebody did yell “Freebird” at the show.
Check out Hank III’s official website
Distant Family Reunion: When Fishbone Played Lincoln by John M. Ellison IV
On Friday 11, 2011 (or 11/11/11) Fishbone played the historical Lincoln Theater. In some ways, this wasn’t just a concert; this was like an extended family reunion.
On November 3rd, 2011 I checked my Facebook page and saw that I was tagged in a message from a fairly new member of the Afropunk site named CaliforniaAfrican. With that, I was made aware of a screening of the Fishbone documentary “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone.” I was tagged in along with some O.G. Afropunk comrades. One of them includes a longtime friend of mine that we’ll refer to as Nadira. Nadira is somebody I’ve corresponded with since 2004 and actually it was a surprise because she lived in the area. But due to circumstances on my end, it wasn’t like we could just meet up at any time. But we did meet back in ‘05 and again back in ‘06 in New York at CBGB’s. Needless to say, she’s somebody that I’ve always kept tabs on and is a very dear friend of mine. W.M. helped me realize that even though this was a free event I needed tickets for entry. They gave out two tickets per person for free…Kind of like WCW (World Championship Wrestling) did back in the day. Needless to say, I bolted over to the Lincoln Theater like the Bad Brains song…you know “With the Quickness.”
Although a dreary drizzly day, my mom, sister, my sister’s godson that I call “lil’ dude” and I zipped over to the Lincoln Theater. Mom and sis helped out by picking up some tickets. Since I had extra tickets I thought that it would be cool to invite my other friends. Since most of my other friends are female than male (kind of a 3/2 ratio) I would’ve looked like I had an all girl kung fu army. I said “Babe! Get me a kufi and a loud African print shirt! Dolemite’s back!” The missus and I decided that we wanted to get to know D.C. better and hang around people more akin to our interests. Even though the missus and Nadira knew of each other very well, they hadn’t met each other yet. Originally we were to meet at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Because…well it’s a D.C. institution. Not to eat though, because the food’s kind of greasy. The missus and I walked up and saw Nadira, it was a quick introduction between the two. The missus was a little nervous at first but after some quick banter over the difficulty to cross the street we warmed up to each other. Afterwards, we shuffled into the Lincoln Theater with our tickets in hand. Since I wanted to talk to both of them and I’m used to sitting in the middle of my mom and sister I was next to both of them. The audience was a cross section of young fans who were here to witness the legend that is Fishbone, to the neo-soul crowd who appreciates the eclectic nature of the band and middle age fans who were probably there when Fishbone first appeared at Lollapalooza.
After every one settled in around 7:05 the program started. The curator for Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture was hosting it. After a quick rap to the audience, she mentioned that some project is going to start December 2012. I leaned over to the right and said to the missus “To really fuck with their heads, they should make the start date December 22nd 2012.” She laughed. I told the same joke to Nadira and the same reaction. The movie started…we cheered and some dude in the back kept yelling “Fishbone!” The movie itself was very bittersweet. It was reminiscent of The Wrestler (starring Mickey Rourke) and music documentary “Electric Purgatory: Fate of the Black Rocker.”
If you know the Fishbone story, then you know how in 1979 they were assembled by brothers John Norwood Fisher and Phillip “Fish” Fisher on bass and drums respectively and how everyone met and how the band formed. Honestly, they kind of reminded me and others of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. They also touch on why Kendall Jones (their original guitar player) left the band. Unfortunately, his story isn’t uncommon. It also covered the struggles of the band and how to market them, with a combination of amusing moments to heart wrenching scenes how they inspired a ton of other bands and just an all around token to perseverance and never giving up. After the movie was over, it was a brief Q&A with Directors Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson, Angelo Moore and John Norwood Fisher. The band mentioned how it was an honor to be in D.C. and cited Bad Brains as an inspiration to the band and John Norwood Fisher’s first bass guitar is now in the Smithsonian.
Then a brief intermission, I saw another Afropunk OG, W.M. Dekooning walking to the back and he noticed us. Dekooning and I met a few times but usually talk online. He was there with his girlfriend. We talked. After intermission was over, the concert started…
A strong set of hits and new material that included “Everyday Sunshine”, “Bonin’ in the Boneyard”, “Party at Ground Zero”, “Lemon Meringue”, “Sunless Saturday”, “DUI Friday”, a Go-Go influenced version of “Cholly” and many more. Angelo Moore is an energetic front man with Stevie Wonder influenced vocals that’s reminiscent of a punk rock Sonny Rollins if he was drawn by Tex Avery brought to life. Rocky George of Suicidal Tendencies fame is the current guitar player and brings that punk/metal edge that he had in Suicidal Tendencies to the current Fishbone lineup. George was rocking an Ibanez guitar and a gigantic afro. Aside from playing metal-influenced solos he can play great clean funky guitar as well. John Steward was fantastic on drums; Jay Armant and Dre Gipson provided great brass work as well. Overall, the closest thing to describe their live act is “P-Funk All Stars on speed.”
Some of the most notable moments during the show included an overzealous middle aged fan jumping up onstage and sang with Angelo for half a bar and stage dived off.
The encore included a surprise performance with H.R. of Bad Brains and the band doing “Jah Calling Dub.” H.R. is a lot more subdued now than he was 30 years ago…because it’s 30 years later. I actually ended up behind H.R.’s old bodyguard. I overheard him having a conversation with another fan. He said “Y’know, I’ve known him for 30 years and I still don’t know what he’s saying *laughs*.” The band also went into an “Institutionalized” vamp as Angelo Moore stage dived again.
After the show was over Nadira, the missus and I chilled in the lobby we talked, caught up and Nadira learned the purpose of wearing sensible shoes. I ran into W.M. again he mentioned that I lost some weight…which was the second time I heard this from another AP’er by the name Polari. Apparently, I was fatter than I thought I was the last time they saw me. In fact just recently Ron White sent me “peaches and a light salad.” We also noticed a lot of Rastafarians there. Nadira and the missus noted that they both smelled incense. I off the cuff replied “…yeah and some other smell that I can’t figure out…anybody hungry all of the sudden?”
I walked over to the merchandise table and spoke with John Norwood Fisher. I told him “Dude, the legends are true. You guys are the best live band I’ve seen.” He was gracious but he’s probably heard that fact a billion times. I mentioned that his band, Bad Brains, 24-7 Spyz and Living Colour are all a huge inspiration to my music. Technically, Fishbone was the first band I got into thanks to the movie “Back to the Beach” and “The Mask” soundtrack. I said “Hey, I’m talking to some peeps but I’ll be right back to pick up a CD.” Five or ten minutes later after talking more with Nadira and the missus, I bought a CD and Fisher signed it. I gave him my card and mentioned that I want to do an interview for my site. By this time he seemed more impressed. I said “I was serious *laughs* you guys paved the way for the kind of music that I do!” I got a picture with him.
Then I noticed Angelo Moore sitting next to him wearing a poncho and signing an autograph. I asked him “Two questions: Are you a fan of Frank Zappa?” He replied “Yes” “Okay 2nd question, ‘is that a real poncho or is that a Sears’s poncho?’ He replied with a smile “I got it in Cancun!” I got some contact information on Angelo Moore. I regret not getting a picture with him though.
We headed back out, my mom and sis picked us up due to public transportation being shut down. We shared some laughs on the way to drop Nadira off back at home. Mom, sis, the missus and I went to McDonald’s and went back home settled in. That was truly a perfect ending for a great night.
In closing, if you’re a musician and you feel like you’re in a rut and get a chance to see Fishbone with some longtime friends of yours…take it. You more than likely wouldn’t regret it.
Off of the Peaceful Journey album released in 1991, “Don’t Curse” by Heavy D & the Boyz is an all star cipher track that features influential rappers such as Kool G. Rap, Grand Puba, C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock and Q-Tip in a clever concept that plays with using foul language but in actuality doesn’t.
In the early 90’s, the climate for rap was a fairly tense one because of over sensitive parent groups, vote grubbing politicians looking for red herrings and an ignorant to hip-hop culture public who weren’t familiar with rap as a whole felt that the genre was trash and foul because of the content of certain artists. With that being said a song such as “Don’t Curse” proves that foul language wasn’t a necessity to get your point across lyrically.
Produced by Pete Rock, this is a track with a 12-bar song structure and contains sample of “Hip Hug-Her” by Booker T & the M.G.’s. Interesting enough, the 12 bar song structure is often found in blues and considered an anomaly in rap. To those who are more accustomed to the common structure of 16 bar verse and 8 bar chorus this might be strange to you. With 12 bars each from Heavy D, Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock and Q-Tip, they say more than most rappers who have 16 bars out now.
Most of the current rappers who are worth their salt can easily trace back their lineage to any of the MC’s on this track. To compare and hint who had the best verse on here would be futile and aside from the point. The track has proven itself and this should be a mandatory for young rappers to study and improve upon the blueprint.
In closing, young rappers don’t take the trails blazed for granted and keep the legacy of all the fallen rappers that came before you alive in your music.