(inserts Method Man's Tical...servin' 'em up, word 'em up)
Travelling like mad these days. Or at least it seems. Despite all of my travels, I've yet to get that one summer tour under my belt and my chance would arise this weekend in the form of the Paid Dues Tour in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Check out this bill. Just nod your head like you recognize some of the names. Not mentioned, but also included in the price of admission is Blueprint. Dope.
After Danny saw the set, he was an automatic. Which I had no doubt he would be. That's why I invite him. He's a trooper, understand. It came down to Paid Dues or Rock the Bells (Wu Tang and friends) in Dallas. Smirnoff. Hot as hell. Miserable. Although to see Wu Tang, Nas, Talib, Pharoahe and more could have been worth it, but I've never left Smirnoff saying, "Wow, I had such a great time. And I don't want my money back" I mean, it has to be one of the very worst venues to see a show. So Paid Dues in Santa Fe, it is.
Left the Yellow for the Land of Disenchantment around noon on Thursday. Enough time (with the gained hour) to make it to Santa Fe, grub and have a couple of beers before the show. Important to have your beers before you go because they don't serve at the venue. It's some sort of indian school/school for the deaf ampitheater or something. So it's basically school grounds. Of course, while you couldn't drink, apparently security would have very little problem with the recreational marijuana use. Whatever. Pretty typical of shows.
We make our way to Tucumcari. Tucumcari is probably as close as you can get to hell without eternal damnation. Drive through the town and look at the expressions of its townspeople. It's one of desperation, loneliness, long-suffered sadness.*
*Dropping knowledge: "Tucumcari" is derived from the Comanche word "tukanukaru" which means to wait for something. Perhaps the grim reaper. And, about Tucumcari Mountain (molehill), from Wikipedia: "Legend has it that Apache Chief Wautonomah was nearing the end of his time on earth and was troubled by the question of who would succeed him as ruler of the tribe. In a classic portrait of love and competition, his two finest braves, Tonopah and Tocom, were not only rivals and sworn enemies of one another, but were both vying for the hand of Kari, Chief Wantonomah's daughter. Kari knew her heart belonged to Tocom. Chief Wautonomah beckened Tonopah and Tocom to his side and announced, "Soon I must die and one of you must succeed me as chief. Tonight you must take your long knives and meet in combat to settle the matter between you. He who survives shall be the Chief and have for his squaw, Kari, my daughter." As ordered, the two braves met, with knives outstretched, in mortal combat. Unknown to either brave was the fact that Kari was hiding nearby. When Tonopah's knife found the heart of Tocom, the young squaw rushed from her hiding place and used a knife to take Tonopah's life, as well as her own. When Chief Wautonomah was shown this tragic scene, heartbreak enveloped him and he buried his daughter's knife deep into his own heart, crying out in agony, "Tocom-Kari"! A slight variation of the Chief's dying words live on today as "Tucumcari," and the mountain which bares this name stands as a stark reminder of unfulfilled love." Awesome. Waiting. Unfulfilled love. This must be the utopia I've been searching for. I'm going to plant a trailer in the pasture and die there.
We bust a stop at the local Sonic after driving through the harshest representation of a "metropolis" I've ever seen. Now I know why I never pull off in Tucumcari. The town is best seen at about 80 miles an hour...to the left...just over hell, I mean, the hill. My burger, though, was tight. Proceed to Clines Corner and then turn northward to Santa Fe.
Pretty uneventful trip into Santa Fe except for some much-welcomed rain. We get to the Sage Inn just off of St. Francis Avenue. No relation to Sage Francis who would be performing that night.
Danny and I decide to drive up the way to get our grub on at Taco Bell. Perfect road food. A man with Arturo with an afro of chest hair flowing from his open collar insisted that Danny get a drink with his meal. "J'you not wanna drink?" Nah, dukes. Get an undershirt, homie. I suggested to Danny that the make chest hair nets for cats like that. Glad he was taking the orders and not making them.
Three soft tacos and a seven layer burrito. For those scoring at home, that's a total of 16 layers.
It's about 6:30 when I finish eating and I told Danny that we should be leaving at about 7:45 for the show. Set orders that I had viewed online had most of the acts we wanted to see going on fourth or fifth. We chill, watch "Lobstermen," and take pictures of ourselves because we're narcissists. I was looking illy in my "Crunk Ain't Dead!" shirt that I received from TVT about a year and a half ago around the new Lil Jon release. A year and a half later, still no Lil Jon album. Oh, the irony!
7:45 arrives and Danny and I head down to the venue. After dropping $5 to park my car (ripoff), we walk through this overgrown, run-down school ground to the nearing thud of bass just off in the distance. Word from David is De La once rocked this place. We keep walking.
As we grow closer, Danny and I can clearly recognize the voice of Sage Francis performing "Sea Lion." Danny looks at me in incredible anger and frustration. Obviously, my time estimates were a little off. We rush inside to see a wide hole dug into the ground brimmed with humans--all with their hands in the air while Sage performed and ran from stage right to stage left to stage right. We find a place to chill on stage right. Sage then says, "Good night, Santa Fe." Danny whips around to me again. At this point, I have nothing to say. Apologies are not well received by Danny. And he's taking jiu-jitsu again. This could get ugly.
I lean back to assess where we are, exactly, in the order of the program. "Who has gone on already?" Dude says, "Uh, Cage, Blueprint, Brother Ali, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik. Pretty much everyone except for Felt and Living Legends." That'd be pretty much everyone that Danny and I wanted to see. I mean, Felt (Slug and Murs), we knew, would be an entertaining set, but neither of us really had any interest in Living Legends. It was 8:00.
"What time did it start?"
"They started at 5:00."
Awesome. I mean, I've always been the first dude at the show. I'm never late. I'll end up watching a dude mic test and play old Boogie Down Production records for three hours before anything happens. And, the one night I decide to show up on time really (three hours late for hip hop), they start at 5:00. I explain to Danny that, considering our history with always being the first ones there, this was an easy mistake to make. He agrees. I buy him a tour shirt to make up for it. We were on the guest list so, up to this point, the concert experience had only cost us $5 for parking.
Felt comes on. Slug and Murs were entertaining as always. Danny met Ant from Atmosphere somewhere in the crowd. Living Legends went on. I guess there's now something like 15 dudes in Living Legends. It rained near the end of their set. Blueprint, Slug and Brother Ali came out for a cipher at the end. It would be little concilation for missing their entire respective sets, but whatever, I'll take it on my shoulders. My fault.
I'm walking through the crowd and some dude walking towards me thumps me on the shirt and says, "Crunk is dead, dude!" Ah, elitist underground heads. They're just too good for some varieties of rap. These are the dudes that still have the "rap versus hip hop" discussions late into the evening just to hear themselves talk. Young bucks need to grow up and recognize. I should've sonned him in front of his friends--just slap him on the back of the head and walk away.
Uncerimoniously, we retreat like N2Deep. Have a few more Sammies and then go to bed.
Felt awesome the next morning, maybe because we were back at the hotel at about 11:30. Found out later that the school has a restriction on shows that you have to be out by midnight. That doesn't mean done with your show, it means done, cleaned up and loaded out. That's why they started at 5:00. Might be helpful for them to put on their website so people will know that shows start during rush hour. Got about a gallon of coffee in my belly and watched the tourists in the lobby of the hotel. There's a lot of tourists in Santa Fe and I've always known this to be true, but going to the town, I can't really see why it's the destination most say it is. Anyhow, lots of socks being worn with sandals in the tourist groups. Oh, and tons of fanny packs in the front.
We venture down to Albuquerque that next day to visit the heads at LA Underground. Maybe pick up some vinyl. We arrive and I find Ken working on the computer in the corner and they've done some major work on the place to expand into the back portion. They've added quite a number of shirts, graffiti goods and such to their offering. The place looked nice and knew they'd need the financials to keep it up. Danny paid for his room by picking me up some Madlib, Joey Beats and Peanut Butter Wolf.
In a conversation with Ken, he asked me if I was going to the Santa Fe Muzik Festival. I asked who was playing. He said that today (Friday) was all the hip hop and it included Wu Tang, Public Enemy, Hieroglyphics and others.
How am I going to be anywhere within 500 miles of a Public Enemy show and not know about it? And Wu Tang? This was my perfect opportunity to make up for the botched concert experience the night before. Unfortunately, I'm not a hippie and I have responsibilities. Danny as well. We committed to getting back to the Yellow on Friday. It just sucks. How are you going to have that kinda line up and not let anyone know. I explained to Ken that I can't imagine how I heard nothing of that at all. Other performers during the weekend included George Clinton and War. Dope. Not dope enough though to sweat for three straight days. Ken told me too that Sole from Anticon moved from Oakland to Spain and is now an organic farmer in Flagstaff. And Sage is on Epitaph and touring the world. Interesting.
On the way back, Danny and I thumbed through the iPod for samples to be set aside for the new City Fence record. We're thinking about two separate EPs. One called "Love" and the other "Hate." Notable recordings we tabbed for sampling: Robert Jay's "Alcohol," Threshold's "Oats and Barley," Mighty Imperials' "Jody's Walk" and LAPD's "LAPD." Yeah, already started work on the first track. Looking to put together about four or five beats for the November studio session down at Duke's in Austin.
We arrived back in the Yellow at 7:30. Called up some pizza. Apparently, there are cats in the Yellow that haven't seen a H2 Hummer before. We drive up to Hungry Howie's Pizza on the corner and the girls line up at the window and twirl their hair like we're Motley Crue in 1982. Then this young bloke walks up to the window and asks, "What kinda gas mileage does that get?" I smartly reply, "About two miles to the gallon."
Last night, we had a get-together for some friends and my lovely wife served up a batch of Sangria that's been fermenting for about six weeks. Apparently, I was misquoted somewhere saying that it had been fermenting for four years. Don't know if you wanna drink that batch. A whole gang of kiddies came over. Had a good time. Finished the evening drinking a Dos Equis on the back porch listening to MC Shan. Today was a good day.
So where in the world is Richard Marx now? Well, he's hanging with Prince William, of course. Oh wait, that's actually hockey great Wayne Gretsky. Boy, these cats are chummy, ain't they?
Well, that about does it for me. Gotta get to some other business today before heading back to the mill tomorrow. Working on a breakdown of the seven known species left at the typical independent hip hop experience. Hopefully have that up by tomorrow evening.