Friday, June 11, 2004

Figure This Kids
"Gareth Shute's profile predicts he should look incongruous in this hip-hop setting. Aside from his scruffy preoccupation with popular culture, he is shy, Pakeha, plays bass in the Tokey Tones (a band described as "delicate"), writes poetry, works part-time as a librarian and volunteers at the Auckland City Mission.
He is also the author of new book Hiphop Music in Aotearoa, a comprehensive and beautifully designed homage to the rise of the local scene. He is also likely to bust out a back-spin at parties." Read more here. Real Groovy Auckland has copies instore.

Rest in peace Ray Charles.

If you're up bright and early on Saturday morning, check out my new radio show on BaseFM, 107.3 on your dial - broadcasting around central Auckland. I'm on from 10mm til midday, spinning reggae, downtempo and hiphop. They've getting streaming audio online soon -still testing it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Hello Mcnaughty!
"Never has the piss been taken quite so adroitly and beautifully in New Zealand." - Anita McNaught on Eating Media Lunch, in the Herald. She's the UK correspondent for said tv show.
Did you see the (hoax) slaughtering of Shrek on EML? Outrageously funny. I mean, so TVNZ got 50 complaints, but its a bloody sheep! Who cares? We've got a several million of them! I hear that Shrek's owner has left an abusive message on Jeremey Wells cellphone, blasting the media star for his cavalier attitude towards this national icon. And Paul Holmes may be doing a story on it tonight.
And then there was EML's new reality tv show spoof, Celebrity Dog Bum Stare. You can bet someone in tvland is thinking about turning it into a series right now. If Jackass can fly, why not? Eating Media Lunch repeats tonight (Thursday) TV2 11.30pm.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Death, Taxes and Prozack...
is the brilliant name of album by US hiphop MC Prozack Turner, part of the group Foreign Legion. Thanks to the demise of his label Dreamworks, you will probably never hear it.
When I first came across this album title last year, I had to check out what it sounded like, just on the strength of the genius title. I managed to buy the Restaurant Quality Lemonade EP which was released as a promo for the ill-fated album; it's got some great tunes and rhymes on it, including a tasty Pete Rock production called Wonderful Life, where he rhymes about being a kid and buying his first records - Run DMC and Stray Cats. Prozack Turner's story goes like this...

After being courted by Virgin and DreamWorks, Turner happily signed a four-record deal with the latter in July 2002, and began recording tracks soon after. "I thought, 'This is cool, I'll put all my friends on the album. People are going to know that the Bay Area has really great stuff.'"
To that end, Turner recruited DJ Design and MC Marc Stretch from his group Foreign Legion, and enlisted local producers DJ Ray and Supa Dave West. He also flew to New York to work with legendary beat-maker Pete Rock and headed to Atlanta to collaborate with Organized Noize, best known for its production for OutKast and TLC.

For more, read the article at SFWeekly here.

"Every independent label [Foreign Legion] ever messed with has stole from us," he says. "Every person who had been my manager has fucked me over. I got sued for 10 grand by some manager. It's such a dirty business. I'm a real honest guy. It's a hard, hard business to be in, especially when you get so close to succeeding. I'm having meetings talking about Spike Jonze directing my music video. Six months later, I'm looking for a bartending job."

Still, the recording of his album had some high points...
..."I'm in New York, standing in the glass booth, and Pete Rock is on the other side about to record me," he remembers. "Even if the album never comes out, I made it. All the people who told me not to do it- 'You're not going to make it; you're white; you're from San Jose, the suburbs'- here I am with one of the illest cats. That was an emotional moment in my career."

Along with the label and legal drama, he and Foreign Legion recently parted ways. Just last week, Turner contemplated quitting music altogether and getting a straight job to pay his bills. Then he got a check from one of his Death, Taxes & Prozack distributors for a thousand bucks. And then he got an order from Japan for 400 CDs--an extra 3 grand. The record is also selling in Germany and Australia. This boost, plus working with San Jose production team the Buckle Brothers on new tracks, improved morale and given him incentive to make music." From the San Jose Metro.

Now that Dreamworks has been bought out by Universal, they want $450,000 plus $70,000 in uncleared sample fees before they'll let him release it officially. Just as well 'someone' has bootlegged it for him, aye? (Tip of the hat to Underground post)

If you haven't scored the new issue of Wax Poetics, the best music mag on the planet, then check this interview with DJ Premier over at Pound magazine (premier is in Wax Poetics too). Anyone know where I can get Pound magazine from? Anywhere in NZ? Or online?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Bonzo goes to Simi Valley
"I was sitting in a bar in Chapel Hill last night and every time they said something about it (Reagan's death) on tv people cheered. Just like when Strom Thurman died." Tip of the hat to the underground post for that. Makes a change from all the overblown nonsense getting generated in the press around the globe. Here's some more critical comments from Iran, Russia and elsewhere, collated by the BBC. And here's Christopher Hitchens on The stupidity of Ronald Reagan (tip of the hat to Uroskin).

I watched one report on Reagan on DWTV (via Triangle), which mentioned the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. I tried to remember the last time Simi Valley made the news and then it came to me. It was when an all-white jury from this predominantly white community found the police officers accused of beatng Rodney King not guilty, even with that famous videotape. "Within hours of the jury's verdict, Los Angeles erupted in riots. When it was over, fifty-four people had lost their lives, over 7,000 people had been arrested, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property had been destroyed."

UPDATE US musician Bob Mould lived thru the Reagan years, and has some good insights on his legacy here - scroll down. Mould also links to some strong reaction to Reagan's passing, and a backgrounder on Reagan's inaction over AIDS, which appeared in the US media in 1981 - Reagan didn't mention it in public til 1987...
On April 2, 1987, Reagan said: "How that information is used must be up to schools and parents, not government. But let's be honest with ourselves, AIDS information can not be what some call 'value neutral.' After all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don't medicine and morality teach the same lessons."