Converse presented PBW’s 999, Peanut Butter Wolf spinning videos at 9 clubs in the L.A. area, 9 days in a row in 9 area codes.
Day 4: Pasadena at Footwork
Started the day off in LBC cuz I stayed the night there. Got some lunch then drove home in serious traffic that I didn’t anticipate. Then I realized it was cuz of the 3-day weekend. Buzzkill. Got home and was gonna start working on my set for Pasadena when Jank texted me to remind me Strong Arm Steady was coming into the Stones Throw office for a meeting so I decided to go meet up with them all. A few hours later and I went home to work on my set and had to write a quick blog about the day before. Before I knew it, it was time to get to the club and my set wasn’t prepared the way I wanted it to be. (I also had to figure out something 90’s to wear.) I thought to myself it would be fine since it was at a club so it would be more of a dancing vibe. That’s what happened in LBC and it worked out fine. Wrong.
I get to the club and it’s long and narrow and has a high stage. The sound system seems kinda so so and the crowd is hanging out and drinking, but the music seemed to be more in the background even though the DJs were rockin’. Also notice there’s only one bar and there’d be no way for me to get a drink.
So I get to the stage and people give me a great welcome. I tell the people that I live right next to Pasadena, yet have never spun there before, which was the truth. Shout out Soup Plantation on Lake (where I always eat with Mayer when he comes to the office) and jump on the turntables. The turntables are super low and I’m hunched over the whole set. When I start playing, the sound on my side (there were 4 turntables set up) was even worse that the other 2 that the other DJs were playing on. It’s super distorted and not very loud. I try everything I can to get the sound better, but have to just go with it. The croud is as receptive as they can be, given the situation, but I could tell it wasn’t working out as well as the previous 2 nights. I’m bummed about tech problems but try not to let it show and get on the mic here and there and so do the other DJs. I play a variety of stuff and about halfway into my set I hear a voice on the mic that I recognize and look over and it’s Dam-Funk. That helped change my mood. I’m still focusing on the distorted sound though. Even in the headphones, it sounds terrible. I’m tweaking all the knobs on the mixer to see what’s up and finally realize that somebody had both turntables panned all the way to the left. I fix it and immediately it makes a noticeable difference. Still not as good of sound as the last 2 nights, but much better than before. The crowd visibly responds better as well. After the show, a guy asks me if I meant to play that song when the police officers came in and I said “no, what song?” he proceeds to explain that I played “Sound Of The Police” by KRS-One just as 2 uniformed police officers came in. Oops.
Overall, a good night and I’m glad Pasadena actually has a club for this kind of music, but I’d rate it in 3rd place outta the 4 nights so far due to the technical difficulties which weren’t really the venues fault. Just reminded me that there are so many factors that could contribute to how the night turns out.
Day 5: FYF Fest in Los Angeles
I was so exhausted in the morning and didn’t really feel like working on my set, but knew I had to get up early again because day 5 was a festival where I had to get to the grounds by early afternoon. I narrow down my songs for the day to around 60 songs cuz it’s a 45 minute set. When I do festival type gigs, I like to have things a little more planned and not have too much music to choose from whereas with club dates, I like to put a folder together with around 100 songs to have more flexibility. Spent a lot of time on the phone calling and texting and coordinating guys that I needed there at the show. Wildchild from Lootpack was bringing his son Baby Boogaloo, who was gonna dance during my set to BBD “Poison”. Also had film crew, photographers, etc.
I get to the grounds and sure enough it’s a mess getting around. I could only imagine how difficult it was for Tim (my assistant) to get the screen, projector, mixer and other stuff over to my stage from the parking area, which was clear on the other side. I make it over to our stage and my wife Violet and I are super hungry and I also wanna have a drink or 2 before I hit the stage. Meanwhile, I’m getting calls from everyone on my guest list who can’t get in so I tell them to pay and I’ll pay ‘em back cuz I can’t get a hold of anyone from FYF. The screen they had set up on my stage is way too small for a festival, but Tim brought ours just in case which would’ve made for such a better show. Then I find out they won’t let us use ours and I’m reminded why it might have been better to just keep the 9 nights to weeklies. We argue with the stage manager for a minute and no dice. Needless to say, I’m bummed and not looking forward to the gig at all.
It starts getting dark and before you know it, it’s 8PM. Showtime. Seeing Wildchild’s son and daughter made me a little more excited about playing, even though I was stressed out by all the problems throughout the day. I crack a few jokes to the audience and go into my set.
My set went by so fast. I started late to begin with, but it seemed like I didn’t have time to do much before the guy came and told me “5 minutes left”. I planned on starting with a little hip hop and then playing mostly 90’s alternative rock and house, but they seemed to be digging the hip hop so I stuck more to that. The highlight for me was bringing Baby Boogaloo on stage and knew the crowd would dig the surprise too. I also had it planned to throw 90’s clothes to the audience, but forgot. Was bummed about that.
After my set, someone told us that M.I.A. was right next to us backstage and when Wildchild’s teenaged daughter Kiana found out, she wanted a picture with her, so I went and introduced myself and hooked up a quick photo. It was my first time meeting M.I.A. (and her crew) and she was really cool and down to earth. I gave her a copy of my Ladies First CD, which I happened to have on me, and it was a wrap.
Day 6: Lovemade in Costa Mesa
This day started off great. I looked into a last minute flight to San Jose for that morning and went out to see my family who all live out there. It was my mom’s birthday and also, my brother had a baby on Sept 1st that I hadn’t been able to see yet cuz of 999, so I decided that even if it was only for a few hours, would be better than not going at all. It was well worth it. My sister’s husband has been collecting old school upright arcade versions of video games in the garage (Asteroids, Centipede, Mario Brothers, etc) and it brought me back to my childhood with my younger brother, who had now beat me to fatherhood. I showed some of the pics of me in 90’s gear to my sister who showed everyone else and my step-dad said “you look pretty good as a doofus”. He’s quick with the jokes. Got to hold my niece for the first time and she really didn’t cry the whole time I was there. Also shared some stories with the fam over Chinese food and chocolate cake and then was off to the airport for Orange County.
Was super tired when I got off the plane and all of a sudden, the worst heartburn of my life kicked in. I’ve had really bad stomach problems over the past year and had been better for the past 8 months, taking this pill called Protonix and really slowed down on booze (one or 2 drinks on nights where I was on a stage and none otherwise at a club date or off night). I noticed that every time I did a gig with AM this past year, he was ALWAYS sober which helped me deal with the fact that I couldn’t drink during shows any more. I’d have 1 or 2 instead of 3 or 4 like I used to, but he was having 0. I’m REALLY against taking meds too, but 3 different doctors all independently insisted, so I tried it and surprisingly it “cured” me. I just didn’t wanna take it for the rest of my life. I decided to stop taking it cold turkey a few days ago when my prescription ran out. Wrong time to do that. The burning pain and dizziness really affected my mood that day. It reminded me that I’m not well enough to be medicine free yet. I was so sick, I couldn’t imagine even eating a piece of bread or drinking water. I’d only had 2 drinks tops at all of the 5 nights before and mostly just 1, but no drinking tonight! Out of the question. I was a lot more reserved at the club, even though I was dressed pretty crazy with the TLC styled color-block shirt and matching red, black, yellow, and green Cross Colours jacket and green Cross Colours jeans with green chordroy highlights. I never rocked Cross Colours in the 90’s. It would be like rocking Ed Hardy nowadays or Von Dutch a few years ago. None of my favorite rappers were rocking Cross Colours back then. But something about wearing it now just seems so right.
So Rhett, Mayer, and J Rocc were all at the club on stage with me. Rhett tried to introduce me, but couldn’t get the mic working so we just turned the music down and Rhett yelled to the crowd. I played several songs and then he got it working. It was definitely one of the most packed nights and everyone was having a good time and I was trying my hardest not to let my sickness show. The stress of the tour had definitely taken it’s toll on me. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be cuz I really didn’t wanna repeat songs (even though there were very few people who could ever go to all 9 nights even if they wanted to).
Besides my sickness, I was struggling up there cuz the turntables were way higher than usual and the turntables weren’t tracking right. Every time I tried to juggle something, I messed up. I think the videos don’t respond as fast as audio tracks, but not sure. I started just letting the music speak for itself and I made a point to play random stuff too this time. I was glad to play stuff like Alchemist’s first group from the early 90’s. This show probably had one of the best crowds of all the shows, but I just didn’t hook it up the way I wanted to. Rhett and J Rocc did a great job closing it out and I was glad to go home and get my much needed rest!