Monthly Archives: July 2013

Museum Relevance: Public vs Private Funding

Though this post does not directly address the arts of Africa and African diaspora, it does reflect my working philosophy on arts institutions, as well as, how public and private funding influence the arts.  Below is a question posed by my Museum Practices professor Dr. Robert Connolly and following is my response.

Put yourself in the position of John or Josephine Q. Public. In the current economic chaos, the bank is foreclosing on their home, they have lost their jobs, and the city just reduced their public services. In referring to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the House Budget Committee recently argued that “The activities and content funded by these agencies…are generally enjoyed by people of higher income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” Isn’t your research or the position you aspire to as a museum professional just another example of this wealth transfer? What do John and Josephine Q. Public get for their tax dollars that fund your research/position?

Cultural institutions expand, stimulate, and progress social cohesion through shared symbols, experiences, and quest for meaning of existence, which all people share regardless of income.  These institutions are tools for education, collaboration, and community.  This paper will discuss reasons why a portion of America’s tax money should continue to fund cultural institutions and the paid positions of their employees.  I will look at the work I have done to serve the public as a collections manager and registrar at a national art museum.  Additionally, I will explore the existing political agenda to cut all public services, including the arts, and argue that private funding alone would marginalize the main audience that most cultural institutions strive to reach.  The project description states that paid positions in museums are an example of money being taken from the poor and given to the rich.  This idea leads people to accept the false notion that the rich control art and culture, where in fact we have a much longer tradition of arts as a species than the current commoditization reflects.

As a collections manager and registrar for a national art museum, I passionately worked to uphold the museum’s mission to preserve and advance the creation of fine metalwork.  Community was a crucial part of the museum’s operation; metalworkers are inherently communal people, and the general public was never excluded.  Metalwork is a bridge between art and industry, labor and luxury and is a medium that affects the lives of every living being and has since the first Bronze Age.  Through museum programming we reached an inclusive audience from all backgrounds and income levels; our largest audience was working-class people intrigued by metal arts.  Many people had heard stories of their family members, usually a grandfather, who was a blacksmith, and wanted to know more about the skill and history.  The museum I worked for had a permanent collection, temporary exhibition galleries, an extensive library, and two metalworking facilities.  These areas allowed museum visitors to see fine, well-crafted artworks on display and in the same visit see similar creations made by real metal artists working in the two facilities.  The visitors could then read about histories in the library or ask me, also functioning as the head librarian, questions.  My responsibilities allowed me to assist visiting artists and scholars with their research, as well as teach people of all ages and backgrounds, lessons in metal elements, the history of metal industry and art, and contemporary fine art and craft.  This kind of knowledge is both pragmatic and empowering.  I also worked to preserve the permanent collection, acquire new pieces for the collection, and bring in a variety of exhibitions.  In the six years I worked for the museum, I saw the minds of countless children expand when they saw an artist melt or bend metal into another form, and I understood the empowerment they gained first hand.  I had once visited that museum for the first time and remember well how mind opening and world expanding the experience was for me.  Years later, as an employee, public tax dollars paid my salary, and I worked to give the public everything I could.  Many of the employees who work for non-profit organizations put extra time and energy into a position they are passionate for, thankful to have, and do not necessarily make much money doing.  The employees of cultural institutions deserve the support of the American tax-payer as much as American tax-payers deserve to have control over what cultural arts are available for them and future generations.

When presenting a case to “John Q. Public” on why their tax dollars should fund cultural institutions and programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museums and Library Services, one cannot overlook the existing political agenda to lower or eliminate government funding for many public services and benefits in education, health care, environmental protection, housing, as well as, the arts.  Other countries are experiencing devastated economies similar to America.  Austerity measures currently threatening the general public’s livelihood in France, Spain, Greece, Chile and Canada are the same that threaten America’s public.  It is not far fetched to say that our country is headed in the same direction of economic crises with one major difference being the amount of tax dollars spent on military defense.

The NEA and IMLS are two democratic groups that heavily support and fund cultural institutions by promoting public access to educational materials, preservation of cultural traditions, and advancements in art.  Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, chairs America’s House Budget Committee, which recently approved a budget plan for FY13 to cut all federal funding for the NEA and IMLS.  After which the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to drastically cut funding for public services including the NEA.  It is unlikely that most of the projects funded by NEA and IMLS would happen if it were not for the grants they provide.  In 2012, the NEA awarded grants to the American Alliance of Museums to revise their accreditation process.  They also awarded grants to several institutions for diverse exhibitions and publications, including Asian art, Dina’ina Athabascan culture, black performance art, mixed race Asian American heritage, and artwork by Carrie Mae Weems.  If organizations like the NEA and IMLS were no longer publicly funded, artistic production would dramatically decrease or disappear along with the transparent and democratic process of preservation of cultural heritage and access to information.  Privatizing funding for arts and cultural institutions would narrow the audience and recipients of funding to a tiny demographic, which traditionally excludes minorities, underprivileged and the working poor.

A crucial purpose of NEA, IMLS and other means of publicly financing the arts is to ensure access to art for the broadest segment of the population with the assumption being that culture is a necessary part of life.  “As the old union song goes, “small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.  Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.”  If all public money for culture were removed there would be a contraction of what was available to see and who was allowed to see it and reap the benefits.”*  In justifying my position to “John and Josephine Q. Public” on why their tax dollars should fund my position in a cultural institution, I would first ask Mr. and Mrs. Public to question the political and economic agendas that affect all aspects of their lives.  I would ask them to question their role in the assimilation and gentrification of culture and arts.  Lastly, I would encourage the public to advocate and support their local museums and cultural institutions.

By Leila Hamdan

Memphis, TN

2012

 *John Jester, Memphis, TN, 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under museum relevance, Museums, private funding for the arts, public funding for the arts

Strange Fruit: Meerpol and Holiday

Film Review, Strange Fruit

The interconnectedness between arts and social issues is  embodied in the song, “Strange Fruit”.  A film of the same name documents the history and effects of “Strange Fruit” and opens with Abbey Lincoln, an American jazz vocalist and performer, reading the lyrics.  Billie Holiday popularized the song with her emotive version recorded in 1939.  The song  poetically describes the horror of a lynching of a black man in the South.

A Jewish teacher and activist, Abel Meerpol, originally wrote the song as a poem after seeing a photograph of a lynching.  He set the poem to music and performed it at a teacher’s union meeting in New York where it was brought to the attention of the manager of Café Society, a club where Billie Holiday performed.   Holiday was introduced to Meerpol and agreed to record the song, and after hesitation from her record label, “Strange Fruit” was recorded by Billie Holiday. The song sparked activism for black communities across the country and in Europe.

The film examines the history of lynching.  Dr. Vivian, a Reverend and civil rights leader, speaks of the belief that black people are not human and would be hanged for no reason, killed and mutilated, often times surrounded by cheering crowds.  The film brings to light the savagery and terror of lynching and highlights those who fought against it.  Activists who struggled for racial justice were pared in the film with labor rights activists, anti-Fascist groups, teachers, and unions.  Unions, Leftist organizations, and popular culture were important for the anti-lynching movement helping to gain momentum and reach communities outside of the black experience.

Abel Meerpol wrote thousands of songs and poems, including, “The House I live in.”  Meerpol was very proud of “Strange Fruit”.  The song eventually caused him to be investigated for suspicion of Communist ties.  He was accused of being paid by Communists to write the song.

Strange Fruit has gone on to be performed by a multitude of other artists, including Nina Simone, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley, UB40, Josh White, and The Gun Club.

Leila Hamdan

Memphis, TN

2013

3 Comments

Filed under Arts of Africa and African Diaspora

Dutchman by Leroi Jones

Leroi Jones’s involvement in the Black Power movement of the 1960’s was darkened by black male’s experience of being accused of having uncontrolled impulses to rape white women.  This gross stereotype is connected to the false accusations made by white men and women, primarily in the south that led to thousands castrations and lynchings of black males.  The film, Dutchman, based on a play, by Leroi Jones echoes this history.   For the purposes of this essay, I write my immediate, honest response to the film.  First, the music hits me, opening with an instrumental, fast paced and intense.  The darkness of the underground station alludes to an ominous story.  A white woman wearing a tightly fit dress elicits the glance of a well-dressed black man sitting on the train.  She joins him.  The camera angled from below the seats generates a dark intensity.  The female character, Lula, frightens the man, Clay.  She immediately sexualizes him then insults him and his blackness.  Her insults offend me.  Lula carries an apple; her role as an eve character becomes clear.  She seduces him with the apple.  Lula acts crazy, intentionally excites Clay then yells.  As she moves, he follows her and the lights go dark, an allusion to the “Fall.”  I am annoyed by her behavior.  “What right do you have to wear a three button suit and striped tie?  Your grandfather was a slave.”  She calls him a nigger.  Clay calls her a Jew.  I am pleased by his retort.  He is offended, but he follows along, having been sold on the idea of having sex with her.  Clay looses himself, as if intoxicated; he is captivated by her behavior and psychological game.  Lula calls clay a ghost and a murderer.  I am reminded of Invisible Man.  At some point in the middle of the film, they look around them and the train car is filled with passengers.  Lula’s hysteria is over the top.  She begs him to have sex with her- to “rub bellies.”  I am reminded of lynching history, and the white woman’s fantasy and engagement in sex with black men.  The black man always being the one accused of assault.  Lula attacks Clay and attacks the passengers on the train.  They ignore her.  No-one stands up to her, nor do they stand up for Clay.  I am disappointed.  Lula calls Clay an Uncle Tom repeatedly and he slaps her.  The film climaxes.  Clay looses his temper, pushes her around and threatens to kill her.  Clay shows his anger.  His dialect changes.  His monologue is intense, but it pleases me.  I am proud of him.  Clay talks about the black musicians Bessie Smith and Charlie Parker and how they put messages like, “Kiss my black ass,” in their songs.  This is their release, their revolt against the way they and other blacks have been treated throughout American history.   I am amused by his honesty and reminded of reasons the New Negro Movement and Black Power Movement existed.  Clay proclaims that murder would make all black people sane.  He tells Lula to stop preaching rationalism, to let blacks speak curses to whites in code.  I am reminded of the repressive black experience.  Lula stabs Clay and finally people on the train respond by helping her.  Four white men carry his body away.  This again reminds me of lynching history.  The film becomes silent and a new scene begins.  Lula eats an apple and approaches another black man sitting alone on the train.  The final scene returns to the underground with the same menacing music that opened the film. The title, Dutchman, becomes clear.  I am overwhelmed by the symbolism, saddened by Clay’s murder, and moved by the powerful and artistic approach Leroi Jones uses to represent and comment on an aspect of the black experience in America.

Follow this link to view this film in its entirety: http://www.colorfultimes.com/2009/11/culture/film/dutchman-the-movie-55-mins/

Leila Hamdan

Memphis, TN

2013

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts of Africa and African Diaspora

Memphis Art Brigade: The Blacklist

MumiaAbu-Jamal-e1323340443706

Mumia Abu-Jamal (1954– )

I was able to connect with my friend and comrade on his/her affiliation with Memphis Art Brigade and the Blacklist.  As an active member and participant in the blacklist project,  he/she offers a bit of insight into the purpose, intention and direction of the project itself.  2012

The blacklist is an urban education project, it works within the same vain as Memphis Art Brigade as a whole, the idea of reclaiming public space in general and reclaiming education in particular.  The blacklist aims to take political discourse and dialectics from the sterile environment of academia and begin these conversations on the streets of Memphis, as to build a critical attitude toward our realities within the community.  The idea is simple, each poster is dedicated to an author, theorist, musician, poet, etc which gives a summary of their work and selected bibliography. The idea is to keep ablaze the flame of dissent and protest while simultaneously educating ourselves as to the history of struggles and providing the means to construct a new way forward.

On a personal level, I think its crucial for us to work through the avenue of MAB as anonymous members of the community which add to the dialogue surrounding issues and stand as a _____ of critical thought. This way we can avoid the individualism (self discovery) of much of today’s art, and let the ideas of the work stand for themselves, not a stand in for the artist’s psychological crisis.  Take for example the blacklist- there is no real necessity for the viewer to know where they have come from, not that it comes from some external being, hands have produced the posters as well as the fact that humans alone have produced these ideas and theories.

To us art is a form of production, one in which ideas, and the ways in which we see and interpret our reality are created, deconstructed, and progressed.  The ruing class has long since known this, just as those who fight against them. We are saying that we must reclaim art as another means by which we may construct a new order and one in which the limitations of your knowledge may be tested and altered.  Art can no longer elude what it truly is…. I think John Berger said that (or something like it).

We plan on getting as massive of a distribution as possible- this means establishing a network of distribution which would get posters into all neighborhoods of Memphis whether as pamphlets, posters, zines, etc.

MAB itself is ambiguous in a way.  It is not a formal organization.  Anyone who wishes to add to the critical dialogue can put up their art on the walls of the city, tag it MAB and THERE, they are a member of MAB.  http://memphisartbrigade.blogspot.co.uk/

220px-Zora

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts of Africa and African Diaspora

Fireside: Lamont “Bim” Thomas

Fireside: Interview with Lamont “Bim” Thomas conducted by Leila Hamdan of Memphis, TN, May 2012

Lamont is a significant black American artist and musician based in Cleveland, OH, whose character and career reflects Memphis Art Brigade’s urban education project.  Lamont is a long time visitor of Memphis, who performs multiple times a year with bands like Obnox and Puffy Areolas and collaborates with lots of Memphis musicians. 

  285037_10150338572516528_3000537_n

LH: Bim- I first met you in Columbus at the Gibson Brothers reunion show.  What is your relationship with members of the Gibson Brothers?

LT:  The Gibson Brothers music freaked me out before I actually met them- in the form of their cover of “I Had A Dream” by Nathaniel Mayer.  I guess I met them through being employed at Used Kids by a founding member Dan Dow.  I was always into music and had been in a couple of bands, but working at this store changed my life and still deeply affects me today.  I love those muthafuckas you know…all of em!  But yeah that lead to a close friendship with Don Howland who was also a member of the Gibson Bros and their neighbor at the time.  Howland and I have been making records together for 17 years now.  Our last “And Without a Name” came out on Columbus Discount Records a couple of years ago to good reviews and is considered by some as one of our best.  We have a new one in the can right now.  He’s one of the smartest guys I know and I consider him my brother.  I make it a point to cover his songs with Obnox because they’re great tunes and no one else touches em, not even him in some cases.  I would meet Jeff Evans and Ellen Hoover not long after that.  I never knew them when they were a couple.  I’d never known Evans when he was an Ohioan either.  But I have great respect for Jeff and all the crazy cats he’s worked with over the years.  His father was one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. (Miss ya Mr. Evans!)  Howland and I have toured Europe with Country Jeff a couple of times…the first tour for 3 weeks and second for like 7 and a half weeks.  We were in gnarly spots like Novi Sad, Serbia on that trip.  Not many people play there, but Don and Jeff were not phased.  And what can you say about Ellen…she’s simply beautiful through and through.  She used to lay out our Bassholes covers and has been so supportive over the years that I don’t know what to say…let’s put it this way, Obnox has played Columbus twice and she’s been right there in the mix.  So yeah I know all the Gibson Bros and following them has kinda shaped some of my taste especially when it comes to blues, country, and early rock.  A lot of guys have come up through a relationship with one of the Gibbys…Jay Reatard, Rich Lillash Jack and Greg Oblivian, Alecja Trout, Me, Jeff Novak, Richie Violet and Chris Wilson, Bruce Saltmarsh was down and Dan Brown, George Reyes, Jeff Bouck, some of Darrin Lin Wood’s best work was done standing right next to Jeff.  Jon Spencer got over the Pussy Galore hangover touring and recording with the Gibson Brothers.  Who knows?  Maybe someone will do a proper set and put their legacy in perspective.  Its worth checking out fa sho!

 

LH: When did you first start playing music?  What instruments do you play? and would you list the bands you’ve played in, chronologically?

LT:  I was a late bloomer sort of…I didn’t start playing until I was a junior in high school.  Most of my friends at least played an instrument long before that…they maybe didn’t write songs, but they played.  I started out singing at church and in school.  When it comes to punk, I am a drummer.  That’s what I do best and that’s how I generate a lot of ideas.  I’ve been playing guitar lately, but not very well.  I play good enough to write songs.  Recently people have wanted to hear these songs live so I’ve had to get better real quick.  Luckily when it comes to Obnox I have one of the best drummers out there…I haven’t been in as many bands as some.  The bands I’ve made records with are Flipping Hades, Bassholes, My Uncle Wayne, This Moment in Black History, Deathers, Puffy Areolas, and Obnox…I’ve toured with V-3 once.  Pretty soon, like two weeks from now I’m going to play drums on the new Unholy 2 ep.

LH: What was it that drew you to making music?  What is one or some of your proudest accomplishments/projects you’ve worked on?   And do you have any frustrations with the music industry?

LT:  I was drawn to music because when I was a kid my family had great records that I spent a lot of time listening to. Our church had a great band and choir too, and that was crucial for me.  They were good and a lot my family were members were in the choir so I wanted to rock with em!  I got into making music because I loved records…from my family’s records, to college, to Used Kids and beyond, vinyl records have always knocked me out.  There’s always good stuff.  People get bitter and swear everything sucks, but they’re usually looking in the wrong places for their entertainment.  But yeah, I just wanted to participate…you know, kinda have my own say.  Also, Ohio consistently creates great recorded music history and so I wanted to be a part of that as well…like in my community and Ohio as a whole, I felt if I could make good enough records, I’d be reppin my city and state full on.  I’m proud of all of groups and records and labels I’ve been a part of.  That’s been the best part…meeting all of these wonderful folks within this scene.  You know the party is only as good as its music and I’m real thankful that I’m surrounded by people who only dig the best shit.  I guess the amount of time that Don and I have worked together still amazes me as well, but I can’t nail down any one thing that I’m most proud of…I’m too old to be frustrated with the music industry.  I live in the underground.  I’m sure the industry is aware of a guy like me, but that world really doesn’t include me.  I don’t have much, but I’m thankful for what I’ve got and grateful to still be doing it.  There are some dudes that bite the stuff coming out of the underground and take it to the masses on some Pat Boone shit, and that’s frustrating, but that’s been going on since Tin Pan Alley days so what’s a nigga gon do.  All I can do is try not to make any shitty records…hahahaha!  Maybe after I’m dead someone will care, probably not! Hahahaha!

419779_517105921674992_1942385573_n

LH: I’ve heard you described as ‘punk rock’s Elvin Jones.’ What does that mean to you?

LT:  Ah that Punk Rock Elvin Jones thing…yeah people say that sometimes.  I am into him and Art Blakey and Zig Modeliste and countless others.  I take it as a compliment.  I don’t think I’m heavy like a jazz guy because that’s that black classical music ya know…the last great American art form if you will.  I do wanna make punk records that are important to people like jazz is important to so many.  I do hate to see a drummer doing ordinary shit with no feeling, but making these fuck faces like he or she is gonna bust a nut.  It just seems fake to me.  I try to remain calm and protect the pocket like a jazz cat so yeah the Elvin thing I take as a compliment.

LH: How do you relate to being a strong, engaged and engaging black artist within the underground scene?   

LT:  There are a lot of black artists that are Uncle Toms, straight up, but I’m not going to pretend to be anything, but what I am, a strong black man, especially in a scene where there aren’t many brothas involved.  Needless to say, the question about race is great because a lot of people tip toe around it like things are super sweet these days, but not much has changed.  There are more brothers locked up now than there were during slavery…Trayvon Martin was just gunned down for no reason.  Its very easy for a nigga to die or go to jail, so I’m not going to sit around and pretend that because people enjoy the records, they also give a shit about what’s going on with my people or me.  If anything, within this underground scene, I want to show people, especially young bruthas and sistas, that we have all types of flavors.  If you wanna rock n roll, skateboard, dress a certain way, don’t let anyone, especially our own, hinder you from expressing yourself because we have influenced so many aspects of popular culture and after all we’ve been through, we should be able to enjoy it too!  Even with all the stigma and stereotypes regarding black folks, I try to be myself and a good ambassador for my people, but I’m not going to pretend to be white or anything else to make someone comfortable just so that they can say they know a couple of cool black people that are “not like the others” or some such shit.  I’m just like the “others”, but unlike most bruhs I enjoy expressing myself in the punk rock community.  That’s my lane and I stay in it.  I could be a rapper, a jazz cat, or a straight church boy, but God made me a drummer in a punk band and the Blackest Punk Rocker in the country so that’s how I roll and the people that know me and respect me, my real friends, ride with me on that!  My friends live with me in the underground and that’s where the heat is…I’ve struggled and been down and made mistakes, but right now, I’m doing what I feel is good for my soul as a representative of the underground scene.  Let the brothas rock n roll! Hahahaha!

 544488_373269156039149_2010789397_n

Memphis Art Brigade: The Blacklist… what do you think about it?

The Blacklist is a great way to turn young heads on to some of the bravest and strongest figures I ever heard of…some of my absolute faves are on the list. And I’m utterly flattered that you can imagine me on a list with such great company. I hope the people of Memphis appreciate this type of outreach because it can really inform people of all ages. It could inspire people you know, to challenge oppression of any sort. These are the type of personalities that influenced me when I was a kid and made me want to do something meaningful with my life…though not as in depth and heady. I was an “Eye’s on the Prize” type of youngen!

Who are some of the artists you relate to the most or whose careers you respect the most?

Most of the artists I relate to the most couldn’t make careers out of their art…as far as music, I tend to champion the best underground stuff from the best music towns like New Orleans, Memphis, Austin, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, San Fran,and LA because its not a good idea to suck in those cities, even if you’re just passing through.  I’m sure there are wonderful people all over the map, but I find myself returning to these places again and again, usually because of the artists that live there, and in most cases, those artists occupy the underground.

Tell me about your bands Obnox and Puffy Areolas.  Elijah Vazquez, who plays with you in Obnox seems to have a very different disposition than the guys in Puffy Areolas.  Having spent a few evenings with you guys over the past couple months, I have to say, you all are enchanting.   Everyone has their own magic, intelligence and insanity.

Obnox came to be in order to make a 7″ while the TMIBH guys got their bearings as new fathers, but after playing around the house for a little while, I had more material than I anticipated, so then I thought to make an ep.  Hey why not a 12″ ep?  How bout some improv and a couple of my favorite Howland tunes.  Just little things I’d always wanted to do…and who would argue with me if I tracked everything myself?  I could do whatever I want which most drummers have no idea what that’s like.  Once people started to dig it a lil, I decided to find a drummer that had a similar style as mine or would be willing to imitate it and that’s when I reached out to Elijah. He’s super talented…he’s always trying to learn more even though he’s a music educator.  He’s got his own solo agenda, makes hip hop beats and is way into punk as well, so we get along great.  Cleveland is the type of place where a small cache of black artists can function right along side say hardcore bands and metal bands.  Its the kind of place that has more brothas at shows than just about anywhere.

I joined Puffy Areolas as a fill in for a couple of gigs and we’ve been rocking ever since…its really Damon’s thing.  I just rehearse and record and try to make it hot.  I’m only as good as the guys I play with and these dudes are swell.  And it feels good to rock with yet another bruh, not unlike hanging with Rafeeq Washington, Larry Caswell, or Elijah.  Lots of hip hop cats are parallel to us as well as some new young black rock cats like Chubbs and Retro.  What I like about Dame though is he’s interested in putting real raw and wild sounds out in the streets.  I wasn’t hearing that distorted abandon that’s a part of my favorite garage and punk records…everyone wanted to sound like they had it all together whereas he fucking lets it all hang out to the point of near absurdity and/or injury which is perfect for a guy like me whose into really gnarly and fucked up music.  Not just making noise, but a very rhythmical noise that’s peppered with soul, improvisation, and psychedelia.  That’s why he’s right on time and we ride deeper than Atlantis…it also helps that the boy chain smokes weed too, which kinda keeps us locked into the groove, innately, like second nature!

 You all were about the only saving graces of South by Southwest.  That was my first experience.

SXSW has always been good to me.  I have a lot of good friends in Austin, so its just great to see them and sometimes the music is the only way I can get back to them.  The size of the conference has gotten to be a bit much.  It used to be a lot easier to get around from gig to gig, and there wasn’t so much animosity toward showcases and parties unrelated to SXSW.  But yeah, I enjoy playing, and I don’t mind touring.  God gave me this gift and I wanna use it as often as possible.  Being a father, I can’t tour as much as before, so SXSW is a chance for me to play to hundreds of people from all over that would never see me, and that’s good for the bands I’m in and the records I have out at any given time.  Puffies/Nox tour had me doing 18 shows in 10 days, including two shows with Unholy 2.  Most people would consider this a hassle, but this is what I do and I have no problem driving far or sacrificing sleep to be a part of it.  Most people shouldn’t be in bands either, but that’s another story.  I appreciate the fact you enjoyed our performances.  There are some bands that are really shitty out there…we don’t have to name them, because they know it.  In some cases the nation’s better bands don’t even want to participate because of that fact and the size of the fest.  I wish someone would put me on Fun Fun Fun or Chaos in Tejas, but SXSW doesn’t bother me like some.  Maybe growing up near the amusement park Cedar Point had something to do with it.  South by reminds me of that environment, ya know, surrounded by tourists.  That tourism thing is definitely taking its toll on a city that tons of people are destined to live in.  Hell, I even thought about moving there back in the early 90’s when one of my friends moved there.  Needless to say, he lives in Houston now with a little more room to breath I suppose...


I think being a father may be one of your proudest accomplishments.  Do you hope to have more children?  What are your thoughts on love?

My daughter Mia is wonderful…smart, healthy, happy, and damn funny, but I don’t see myself having anymore kids.  If I could afford it maybe…whatever I did for money would leave no time to play any music.  I love my family though…they can tolerate me going off and doing a lil music here and there for a couple of weeks at a time.  If it weren’t for them my music wouldn’t be nearly as interesting for sure…see when you leave your family for any given time, whatever your doing is not more important than they are, so if you’re absent because of recording and touring, those better be your best recordings and best shows because you made great sacrifices to get there.  Yeah that’s love…I got love for everybody in the game too, not just my family…I even got love for the niggas that don’t like me anymore! Hahahahaha!  I’m even trying to articulate that love in song…no one around here sings about love anymore, just these diary entries about themselves and their stupid and ridiculous lives.  So yeah the original L-word is pretty important to me.  If you don’t have any love in your heart I suppose its hard to sing about it huh?  Oh by the way I also love strong reefer as well as strong women! Hahahaha!


Where does ‘Bim’ come from?

My family has called me Bim since I could remember…I don’t ever remember my ma once saying my given name, Lamont!

417593_10150639443703192_504178191_9009951_985145556_n

1 Comment

Filed under Arts of Africa and African Diaspora