Brand Nubian

LORD JAMAR of Brand Nubian is interviewed by Todd E. Jones aka The New Jeru Poet

'€œDo the knowledge'€, was something that Brand Nubian would say often. The socio-political hip-hop group from New Rochelle was both influential and innovative. Throughout the years, Brand Nubian have expressed their love of knowledge and tried to teach and uplift the community. Brand Nubian have been innovators in conscious hip-hop since the late 80'€™s and they have always managed to keep their street credibility in tact. Their first LP, '€œOne For All'€ included Brand Puba, Sadat X, and Lord Jamar. With a pro-Black attitude and an energy to uplift the culture, songs like '€œSlow Down'€ and '€œOne For All'€ became hip-hop classics. Grand Puba left the group to go solo. He had a hit with '€œ360 (What Goes Around)'€ but never scored big again with his follow up solo albums. At the time, Brand Nubian consisted of Lord Jamar and Sadat X. With the classic album '€œIn God We Trust'€, Brand Nubian developed with a much harder sound. Songs like '€œPunks Jump Up To Get Beat Down'€, '€œSteal Ya Ho'€, and '€œLove Me Or Leave Me Alone'€ also became classics. Eventually, Brand Nubian released their last album on Electra Records, '€œEverything Is Everything'€. The themes and sentiments were much more intense and angry. They incorporated live instrumentation and somewhat of a West Coast gangsta sound to their music. Even though the album did not sell well, some true fans (like myself) consider it brilliant. Sadat X'€™s '€œAlladat'€ with Busta Rhymes is mind-blowing. '€œDown For The Real'€ is eerie and aggressive while '€œStraight Off Da Head'€ shows their freestyle skills. Sadat X recorded a solo LP '€œWild Cowboys'€ that spawned the hit '€œThe Lump Lump'€. Years later, he also released a tight EP. People always wanted Grand Puba to come back to the group. In the late 90'€™s, the original Brand Nubian were back together and they signed to Arista. '€œFoundation'€ was a tight, mature album with production by DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Alamo, and others. They earned their respect and more exposure. Lord Jamar began producing for other artists. He produced beats for Buckshot of Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah, Artifacts, and some classic work on '€œLet'€™s Get Free'€ by Dead Prez. Still, Lord Jamar was the only Brand Nubian member to never put out a solo album. He was the only one to land many acting jobs. He landed a role as Supreme Allah on the HBO prison drama '€˜Oz'€™. Lasting longer than any other rapper on the show, Jamar was eventually killed off but his character made a huge impact. Fast forward to 2004. Brand Nubian (as Grand Puba, Lord Jamar, and Sadat X) signed to Babygrande Records and released '€œFire In The Hole'€. Babygrande (home of Jedi Mind Tricks, Canibus, and others) is an independent label that gave the group more space and creative freedom. '€œFire In The Hole'€ is another mature work of thought-provoking songs that uplifts the listener and carries them through a rough day. Lord Jamar practically produced the entire album with some help from Alamo, Sadat X, and Grand Puba. '€œYoung Son'€ imbues intelligent advice from a father to a son. '€œStill Living In The Ghetto'€ displays the hardships of the struggle. '€œSoldier'€™s Story'€™ is about the violence in impoverished areas. '€œWhere Are You Now?'€ is about loyalty. The themes are universal and profound. On a warm Autumn evening in 2004, I had a long conversation with Lord Jamar. While some people thought Brand Nubian were racist towards white people or homophobic, others reveled in their anger and found it justified. As a group, Brand Nubian feel that their anger is directed towards people who oppress others. Spiritual, intellectual, and emotional, Lord Jamar had an honest and intelligent conversation with this white man. With mutual respect, we shed some light on hip-hop, racism, the music business, acting, and much more. If knowledge is the foundation to everything, Brand Nubian'€™s foundation is incredibly strong. Lord Jamar is ready build a brand '€œNu'€ hip-hop nation.

T.JONES: '€œI'€™ve been a fan since '€˜One For All'€™ but I must say that I love the album '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThank you very much, man! I don'€™t know. The initial reaction to that album was that they didn'€™t understand it. There is a small segment of the population that tells me that they think that is the best album we ever did. They really love that puppy. We were just trying to experiment with styles and a lot of live sh*t too.'€

T.JONES: '€œYour new album is called '€˜Fire In The Hole'€™. Tell us about it.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThe title was something that Grand Puba came up with. That was kind of like a warning. When that grenade comes in the foxhole, people say '€˜Fire in the hole!'€™ and people get out of the way. It is kind of like a metaphor for what is going on in the world as well as the music we are putting out.'€

T.JONES: '€œLike the album '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™ and '€˜One For All'€™, the album '€˜Fire In The Hole'€™ is mainly produced by you. '€˜Foundation'€™ you had other producers. What made you handle most of the production for '€˜Fire In The Hole'€™?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œWell, I guess we were just trying to get back to basics. On the first album '€˜One For All'€™, we all produced it but we were not hands on. Some people were telling us what to do and blah blah blah. Then, on the second album, '€˜In God We Trust'€™, I really got hands on in terms of production. Most of our albums, I did the production.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite drum machine?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThe MPC 3000.'€

T.JONES: '€œIf you had to choose between rhyming and making beats, what would you choose?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œWheew! That'€™s a good question. I don'€™t know. I am kind of semi-vein in nature. The emcee thing is what puts you out there for people to see and all that type of sh*t. The producer of beats is more background, which I don'€™t have a problem with. I don'€™t know. That'€™s a hard choice. I love both.'€

T.JONES: '€œGrand Puba and Sadat X all came out with more than one solo album. What about your solo album?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI'€™m doing one on Babygrande. I'€™m just waiting for the right time. I don'€™t want to waste my chances. I have some sh*t done already.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou are now signed to Babygrande Records. How did you and Brand Nubian hook up with them?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œSh*t, I have 2 brothers and my middle brother is wise and young. He knew this guy Chris, who worked at Koch. They put out Grand Puba'€™s '€˜Understand This'€™ album. My brother knew this guy from growing up in New Rochelle. That is where we grew up. This guy knew Chuck Wilson at Babygrande. My brother and him were kicking it. One thing led to another and they started talking. At the time, we were looking to do something but we didn'€™t want to do it unless it was going to be done right. We liked his enthusiasm. He was another guy who thought that '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™ was his favorite album. Everybody usually likes the first one. That album was just so new for the time. Whether it is Snoop or someone else, the first time you heard a hot emcee, you can never capture that again.'€

T.JONES: Can you explain the term or title '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThat was a phrase we were saying at the time amongst ourselves. Especially Sadat X said it. '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™ kind of meant that it'€™s all good. Everything in the world is everything. Exactly. It'€™s kind of ambiguous in a way.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite album?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI kind of love them all. They are like my children. They all have a distinct thing about them that makes you love them. I think '€˜In God We Trust'€™ was a milestone because Sadat X and I had to learn how to do a show on our own without Grand Puba.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen Grand Puba left, how hard was it? How did you adapt?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œWe adapted. We tailored the show to two people since it was originally supposed to be three people. We had to chop it up. We did a lot of scotch tape sh*t with the first album. Puba kind of left us at the end of the first album. The new album wasn'€™t out yet. Once we got '€˜In God We Trust'€™ out, we had more material with just Sadat X and me. It was a little struggle at first. We would go to shows and people would shout out '€˜Where'€™s Grand Puba?'€™. By the time we finished the show, they loved it and everyone forgot about it. Also, at the time of the first record, people were trying to take advantage of us. This guy did some production on the first album. He'€™s still my man so I don'€™t want to bring his name up. He did a song on the first album and was always cool with us. He thought that he was going to be the producer and he was going to try to exploit us. He did a beat and the price was crazy higher than it should have been. For that price of one beat, we could buy equipment and make all our beats at home. I know for a fact that my beats are hotter than these dudes. He was trying to get us for money and I wasn'€™t going for that. Sadat X and I went half on equipment and we did it on our own. We had mad records.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen you do a song, do you come into the studio with pre-written lyrics or a theme in mind, or do you hear the beat first and write then and there, in the studio, from the beat?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI usually write from the beat but sometimes, I have a concept of what I want to do before I do it. Most of the time, I write from the beat. Most of the time, the beat will tell you what the song should be about. On '€˜Claiming I'€™m A Criminal'€™, there is a part that is looped where it says '€˜Been thrown in jail more than a 100 times'€™. Right there, that led me to what the song was about.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite song on '€˜Fire In The Hole'€™ LP?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI have a few. One of my favorite songs on the LP is '€˜Soldier'€™s Story'€™. I'€™m not sure about the response to that song yet but I love that song right there. '€˜Still Living In The Ghetto'€™ and '€˜Young Son'€™ I like. '€˜Where Are You Now?'€™ is another one I like too.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe song '€˜Claiming I'€™m A Criminal'€™ shows the realism of jail and being arrested. Do you have cases pending or issues with the court now?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œNah. I'€™m good. Sometimes, I do write in a character.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you get involved with the show '€˜Oz'€™?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThat was beautiful. That was like getting paid to go to acting school. My main Dean Winters, who plays Ryan O'€™Reilly, introduced me to the creator of '€˜Oz'€™. I used to talk to Dean on the phone here and there and one day, he said, '€˜Tom wants to meet you'€™. I went down there and we started talking. He said, '€˜You'€™re definitely going to be on the show. We'€™ll have a character for you and figure out a way to get you into jail'€™. I told him about the 5% Nation and he was intrigued by that. I basically came up with my own character, my own scenarios and how I got in there. He just took it from there.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow has '€˜Oz'€™ helped your career?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œIt definitely introduced me to people I would have never have known. There are some 50 or 60 year old white women who see me in Manhattan who say '€˜Supreme Allah!'€™. They don'€™t know anything about Brand Nubian but they know me from '€˜Oz'€™. If I did a bad job, they would have killed me off earlier. I lasted a season and a half. It was more than any other rap dude.'€

T.JONES: '€œActually, Method Man was only in a couple of episodes of '€˜Oz'€™, right?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œYeah, he was in there, kind of, because of me. His character was there because of what my character did. My character, Supreme Allah, killed Method Man'€™s character'€™s brother.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat other acting have you done since '€˜Oz'€™?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œSince then, I did some independent films. My man Mums The Poet and I did a film called Morning Breath. It is kind of an artsy film. There isn'€™t any dialogue but the whole thing is one of his poems. We'€™re basically acting out one of his poems.

T.JONES: '€œDid you cut your dreads? What has the response been to that?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œYes, I did. I cut my dreadlocks. At first, people were like '€˜Ah, why did you cut them? You should have never done that!'€™ Then, some people were like '€˜Yo! You look 10 or 15 years younger!'€™ Now people are just used to it. I had them for 12 years. I tell people with dreads, '€˜When you have your dreads for 12 years, come back to me and we'€™ll talk about it.'€™ So many things go on in your life and honestly, certain energies can get locked up in that sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow old were you when you got involved in the 5% Nation?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI was about 14 years old.

T.JONES: '€œIn '€˜Everything Is Everything'€™, there is an intense anger. I consider it an angry album. Some may feel that the anger is directed towards white people. Do you still have anger towards white people?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThe anger was not just towards the white race. It was towards the oppressors. Whoever is into oppressing anybody, I get angry about that. I do not go for the oppression of women or anybody. There are poor people who get oppressed all over the world. I have been to Nigeria and I saw Black on Black oppression. We have to keep it real. Did you ever read the book Stupid White Men by Michael Moore? If you keep it real and look around the planet Earth, the ones who are doing the most oppression towards people are white men. I didn'€™t tell them to do that. As far as dealing with the average white person on a daily basis, I know that the average white person is being lied to and oppressed the same way that Black people are being lied to and oppressed. It is really about the haves against the have-nots. I see the poverty levels and I see how we really have not risen over the years. We are pretty much in the same place we have been in for a long time. You look on the TV and you see the fabulous life this one or that one. They see all the money that people have. Bill Gates has billions of dollars and all of that. That is obscene!'€

T.JONES: '€œIn Africa, some people are getting their hands chopped off for diamonds.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œExactly!!! Babies!!! We are helping to facilitate that! That angers me as far as oppression, and lying and hiding of information in order to control people.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou and Brand Nubian have always been considered a conscious group. You are for the forward movement of the Black race. What are the 3 main things that the Black race or the Black culture needs to do as a people?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œAs a culture and as a people, the main things we need are knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. We need the knowledge in order to uplift our condition and so that nobody can pull the wool over our eyes. Then, we can have the wisdom, which is the act of putting that knowledge into motion. Understanding is a product that comes from that wisdom. We need knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. All those other things like unity that comes under that umbrella. Knowledge is the foundation of all things.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the last incident of racism that you experienced?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œWhen I was looking for a house, we went to some realtors. When we told them what we were looking for but they tried to steer us into certain neighborhoods where they thought we should go. We told them what we wanted. It was like a very subtle form or racism. My credit is good and all that. We want to live somewhere where our kids do not have to deal with stray bullets coming through the window. The realtors were acting like they weren'€™t hearing us.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you during September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI was living in Brooklyn at the time and I just finished taking my son to school. I live in downtown Brooklyn. You could see the Twin Towers as clear as day. I was walking through my courtyard and I see my superintendent on the roof. I couldn'€™t understand him because he is from Ecuador. He yelled '€˜The Twin Towers are on fire!'€™ I looked and said, '€˜Oh sh*t!'€™ It looked bad. I knew people were dead. I didn'€™t know anything about planes or anything. I keep looking and all of the sudden, the second plane hit and I saw the biggest explosion I ever saw in my life! I knew it was some terrorist stuff. I am not the type to automatically think it is Bin Laden. I'€™m more like Jadakiss asking '€˜Why did Bush knock down the Towers?'€™ So, that happens and I went to the crib to watch the news. They showed the footage. I was mesmerized. When the 2nd tower got hit, after the explosion, I saw it leaning. Sure enough, that was the first one to go down. When the other one came down, I got scared. I ran across the street to my daughter'€™s school and got her. I went to my son'€™s school and got him. His school was right by the water. They had a perfect view of what was going on. I'€™m sure it was crazy for them. I took them back to the crib and all the smoke came towards us. People walking across the bridge were dazed. They had soot all over them. Right after they fell down, on the news they showed Afghanistan. There was mad bombing over there. You don'€™t hear about it anymore. It almost seemed like it was a response to what happened but they never talk about it. I know a girl who lost her fiancée in there.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow has being a father affected your approach to hip-hop?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œYou know, I guess it changed it as far as it gave me another degree of knowledge when I'€™m writing and sh*t like that. It is not necessarily that I will not say a certain something just because I have a child. If I feel that it is not appropriate for my child to hear, I'€™m not going to let him hear it. My son knew I was on '€˜Oz'€™ but he never saw me on there because he didn'€™t see the show. He had to go by people'€™s word.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat have been in your CD player or on your tape deck recently?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThe new Brand Nubian album. When I put something out, most of the time, I am listening to what I do. Know what I mean? Whether it is out or not, I am listening to artists that may not be out or that I know. I don'€™t really but people'€™s albums too much because most albums are so disappointing. It is hard to get an album where you can play it all the way through.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe '€˜Fire In The Hole'€™ is not a very long album, like most hip-hop albums released these days. Was this done intentionally?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThose long albums, sometimes, it is overkill. Technically, back in the days, an album used to be only 8 songs. That is what an album is supposed to be. Somewhere along the lines, it got crazy. I think De La Soul came with 20 something joints on one LP. Some of them were little skits. After De La Soul did that, people started doing around 14 tracks on an LP. We came with 12 on this joint. The number 12 has certain significance. When I am telling you about knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, those are numbers as well. 1 is knowledge. 2 is wisdom. 3 is understanding. So, we put knowledge and wisdom together, you add 1 and 2. That makes 3.'€

T.JONES: '€œOutside of Brand Nubian, you produced many songs for other artists. You did '€˜Ladies N Gentlemen'€™ for Buckshot. You did '€˜Collaboration Of Mics'€™ for Artifacts. What production collaboration are you most proud of?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI would say '€˜Propaganda'€™ by Dead Prez.'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association'€¦I'€™m going to say an emcee or name of a group and you tell me the first word that pops in your head'€¦.So, if I say '€˜Chuck D'€™, you may say '€˜revolutionary'€™. Ok?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œOk, I got you.'€

T.JONES: '€œJedi Mind Tricks.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œI don'€™t know too much about them.'€

T.JONES: '€œKool G Rap.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThe father of gangsta.'€

T.JONES: '€œJay-Z.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œOne of the best doing it right now.'€

T.JONES: '€œDead Prez.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œKeeping within the tradition.'€

T.JONES: '€œGil Scott Heron.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œClassic.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œStupid white man.'€

T.JONES: '€œEminem.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œOne of the best doing it right now. Does that sound crazy coming from Brand Nubian?'€

T.JONES: '€œNo. He has skills. You have to respect skills.'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œExactly! And, I'€™m not like '€˜He'€™s a white boy!'€™. He'€™s more creative that half the motherf*ckers out here! Y'€™all can learn something from this guy!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the biggest misconception of you, Lord Jamar, or Brand Nubian as a whole?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThat we hate white people. Some people think we hate white people as a whole and that we are homophobic or something like that. It'€™s those 2 things right there. We had a problem with G.L.A.A.D. for '€˜Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down'€™. When we were writing that song, we weren'€™t thinking of it as an anti-gay song. When we said the word '€˜faggot'€™, we were saying it in a street way. It'€™s like if you are around any person you have a problem with, whether they are a heterosexual or not, you are going to call them a '€˜faggot'€™ or a '€˜bitch'€™. It doesn'€™t mean that that person is an actual female dog or an actual homosexual. You just call them a '€˜faggot'€™ because that is a derogatory name. We used the word '€˜faggot'€™ in a couple of songs a couple of times. Even though we did say '€˜Don'€™t understand their ways, and I ain'€™t down with gays'€™, that is different than telling people to go beat up homosexuals. '€˜Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down'€™ was against people who come against us.'€

T.JONES: '€œBrand Nubian was a group where the music always got me through a tough day. Was that an intention?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThat is what we are trying to do. We are trying to make intelligent music that you can use in your everyday life. Some of the music I make, is for the future. If some revolution type sh*t ever goes down, there will be certain music that you will need to sustain yourself with. You will need a certain motivation. That is when a lot of our music will come in handy. That is when people are going to understand what '€˜Soldier'€™s Story'€™ or '€˜Pass The Gat'€™ or '€˜Down For The Real'€™ is all about. A lot of those angry type of songs are going to be greater later.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œBreaking up so early and not taking advantage of everything that we could have taken advantage of right at that time.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is in the future of Lord Jamar and Brand Nubian?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œWe just did a video for '€˜Still Living In The Ghetto'€™. We did that on Sunday. We are getting ready to start this tour tomorrow. Then, I'€™ll be doing an album on Babygrande. We will put out more Brand Nubian joints. You'€™ll probably see me doing more acting. I did the show '€˜Law & Order'€™ too besides '€˜Oz'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words for the people who are reading this?'€
LORD JAMAR: '€œThank you, Todd Jones, for supporting us through the years and also, for this interview. Thank you, to the real fans. That'€™s who we are really doing this for. Those are the first people we think about when we make the records. We do not think '€˜Let'€™s try to get Puff Daddy'€™s fans'€™. We have our fans already. Maybe we do not have a million all at once. I don'€™t know. Maybe the potential is there. I do know that we do have fans and I do not want to alienate them. If we can get other fans too, that'€™s great. First, we think about the fans we already have. We try not to let them down. We try to give them what they expect from us.'€

Thank you LORD JAMAR and BRAND NUBIAN!!!

Brand Nubian : Official Website
http://www.brandnubian.tv/




AUDIO:
'€œWho Wanna Be A Star?'€
http://www.babygrande.com/BrandNubianTrack.mp3
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Roger

Roger Is Here To Save Your Fonkless Ass - Todd E Jones interviews Roger, the new funk spacemen.

Roger is here to save your funkless ass! Roger is not just a man. Roger is an entity. Roger is a mystery. Roger is the brand new funk band that is blending glam rock and deep, booty shaking funk. Their songs consist of long, spaced out guitar solos, thick rhythms, sexy female background singers, and stadium sized hooks. While Roger, is a collective of many people, the main leaders are Astley Le Jasper (on Fuzzbass and lead vocals) along with Randy Apostle (on lead guitar and vocals too). Another member, J. Edgar Hoova (who plays guitar and sings too) has been corrupted by the dark side and is starting his own band, J. Edgar Hoova & The Body Removers. Other members of Roger include The General, The Docktor, Leonard Matrix, Jesse Delicious, Sindy-X, Shona Apostle and many others. Randy Apostle actually grew up in Philadelphia as part of a racially mixed family. As a band, Roger even performed on army bases. Eventually, through Julian Cope (the funky Drude), Roger encountered the opportunity they deserved. Their debut album, "This Is The Sh*t" was released on Julian Cope's Head Heritage label. Since there are little to no pictures of the members of Roger, some actually speculate that Julian Cope is Roger or a member of the band. While Cope did help with the CD booklet and release the LP on his label, Roger is an entity in itself and Saint Julian is not in the band. 9 songs deep, '€œThis Is The Sh*t'€ is an epic debut album. More than 10 minutes long, the song '€œRamm It Home'€ features Montecore, the white tiger of Seigfried and Roy. (Yeah, right'€¦.) Other incredible tracks include '€œHot Fudge'€, '€œRoger Loves U'€, '€œFonk Hammer'€, '€œFonk Wars'€, and the '€œOverture'€. The band uses the influences of the past to create something new, innovative, and futuristic. On a hot summer day in 2004, I had the rare chance to talk to both Astley Le Jasper and Randy Apostle of Roger. They have enlightened me with the '€œfonk'€ and I shall spread the '€œfonk'€ like a prostitute spreads diseases. Aliens and time travel are now apart of our lives. Enter a new dimension. Join the Roger-lution since it will not be televised. Be proud to be a freak! You should thank Roger. Thank Roger for saving your fonkless ass!

T.JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€
ASTLEY LE JASPER: '€œWhat goes on is, and what goes off isn'€™t, although if I were to choose one, I'€™d definitely say I was on. Mmmmmm!'€

T.JONES: '€œThe brand new debut album by Roger is called '€˜This Is The Shit'€™. Tell us about it.'€
ASTLEY: '€œIt'€™s the kind of thing that has been lacking in music recently, unashamed pure fonk n'€™ roll opera of the highest order. Badass beats, guitar solos so sharp you'€™ll cut ya face on '€˜em, and fuzz bass so fat it could feed an overweight family of five for two years, BRING THE DRUMMS!'€

T.JONES: '€œHow long did it take to make?'€
ASTLEY: '€œ4 Days, this is the gods honest truth.
RANDY APOSTLE: '€œHmm. It felt longer. Maybe six. Some people were crying to go home after the third day because the craziness was too much, but there'€™s no escape once the fonk takes hold.'€
ASTLEY: '€œYou have to understand that there are other forces at work here that the Unhumanoids cannot comprehend and neither would I expect them too. This is why we are here, as a fonk filter for all the beautiful freaks out there. Todd, are you a freak? Tell us more of this poetry!'€

T.JONES: '€œIs there a deeper meaning to the title besides the obvious?'€
ASTLEY: '€œI suppose '€˜the shit'€™ could be interpreted in many different ways, but to me '€˜the shit'€™, and by shit I mean good shit, not bad shit, as it'€™s very important to make the distinction between different types of shit. Where was I? Oh yeah, '€˜the shit'€™ to me means the fonk fertilizer, so we'€™re laying down the shit so that the fonk might grow and spread like some badass plant. WHAT!'€
RANDY: '€œFonky vegetation to feed the nation.'€

T.JONES: '€œFavorite song on '€˜This Is The Sh*t'€™?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThey are all badass, but if there were two tunes that summed up what the Roger band is all about then I guess they would have to be '€˜Fonk Wars'€™ and '€˜Roger Loves U'€™, crazy fonk opera and badass disco sex music, with Fuzz Bass, Ah BANG BANG!
RANDY: '€œYeah, I agree '€“ '€œFonk Wars'€™ is the total package, although there are some badass jams that got left off. You might have noticed we'€™re always referring to other jams that aren'€™t on the album, like '€œThis Is Serious'€ at the end of '€œRamm It Home'€. Now THAT is serious!'€
ASTLEY: '€œSerious.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat song took the longest to do?'€
ASTLEY: '€œWe allow ourselves fifteen minutes for each track, from conception to completion and if it isn'€™t finished by then, it gets erased. You know!'€
RANDY: '€œOnce again, the Roger time space continuum comes into play. Is that 15 earth minutes or 15 Uranus minutes? '€˜Fonk Wars'€™ took the longest. Have you got any idea how long it takes to organize recording napalm strikes in the UK during, umm'€¦ '€˜peacetime'€™?'€

T.JONES: '€œThere are lyrics for '€˜Don'€™t F*ck With Roger'€™ in the booklet but the song is not on the album. Why? What'€™s the story behind it?'€
RANDY: '€œWell, that'€™s a J Edgar jam. People new to the Kingdom Of Roger might not be aware of some of the history, so here goes; J Edgar is the dark nemesis of Roger; he'€™s our brother gone bad, hates the fonk and likes only to rock. He kidnapped the master tapes and made us play this horrible little tour, the '€˜Wherever J Edgar Wants to Play, J Edgar Plays Tour'€™ during which, a number of shows were recorded. He spliced it into to the original master but Copey took it off, as he is as Machiavellian as J Edgar, fortunately usually in your favor.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did Roger come together to form a group?'€
ASTLEY: '€œIn the year 3000 near a far off star, some aliens had a party in a nasty little bar. Well, we met at that party and without even knowing it, the band was formed. I woke up 2,050 years later with a headache, and the first I knew of '€˜This Is The Shit'€™ was when I got a phone call to say it had gone double platinum, I think.'€
RANDY: '€œWhat? Where are my royalties?!'€

T.JONES: '€œWho is Roger?'€
ASTLEY: '€œRoger is the cosmos. He sees all around.'€

T.JONES: '€œI read that you were playing army bases. Is that true? Why? What was that like?'€
ROGER: '€œThe kids in the forces like to tie bandanas to their heads and love to rock and to fonk. Not all postmen are evil, either, you know.'€

T.JONES: '€œYour album was released on Julian Cope'€™s Head Heritage label. How did you hook up with Julian Cope and what was he like?'€
ASTLEY: I could tell you, but Julian would have to kill you.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat happened to J. Edgar Hoova? Is he still in Roger?'€
RANDY: '€œThere'€™s always room at the inn for J Edgar, no-one is all bad. He shows up at most Roger shows as everyone knows!'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite kind of guitar?'€
ASTLEY: '€œAs the Roger band, we indorse flying V guitars and basses but goddamn I make just about any bass sound fonky! If I had to pick one other, then it would have to be my Fender Jazz 69 re-issue. Go Roger!'€
RANDY: '€œThe Flying V and also the Parker Fly, which I play live.'€

T.JONES: '€œWill there be another Roger LP? If so, what sound are you going for? What will it be called? Will it be on the same label?'€
ASTLEY: '€œMost of the next album is recorded and let me tell you it'€™ll blow your goddamn mind. We needed to take it to the next level and it'€™ll be future fonk of the highest order, like Hendrix, Larry Graham, Outkast & Darth Vader f*ckin'€™ on the bonnet of an X Wing Fighter, be afraid.'€
RANDY: '€œIt will destroy all in its path, and if people like this album, they'€™ll love the next. Don'€™t know where or when it'€™s coming out, yet. It'€™s like a nasty dog looking for a home.'€
ASTLEY: '€œWhich is on the new album!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat other artists / bands inspired you?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThere is rich history of fonk which is a constant inspiration, so too many to mention, anything that moves my heart, head and feet. Or feet, head & heart.'€
RANDY: '€œAnd not just the fonk. You gotta have all the flavors to make the sauce!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhy funk? What was it about funk that took control and made you lose control?'€
ASTLEY: '€œFonk is the universal, singular celebration of the drum, a primeval stew guaranteed to appeal to the basic human instincts of dancing, chanting, and making the beast with two backs. I deny anyone not to get high to the sound of Clyde Stubblefield & Bootsy when they'€™re in the pocket.'€

T.JONES: '€œAstley, tell us about your history. What led you to this point?'€
ASTLEY: '€œI was bought up in an unfonky little town in the lost southern counties and my childhood was like that of any other kid unfortunate enough to be blessed with red hair. My school days were perhaps the unfonkiest time in my life, but you know the saying, what doesn'€™t kill you only makes you fonkier. It was the usual thing of escaping the place you were brought up in by playing your ass off. The turning point came when I bought the James Brown '€˜In a Jungle Groove'€™ LP. The single defining moment, which made me see the fonky light, was the breakdown in '€˜Give It Up, Turn It Loose'€™ when Clyde'€™s playing what I consider to be the baddest break ever, and James calls in Bootsy. I jumped five feet in the air at that point. Since then, I'€™ve been constantly striving to reach that level of perfection. Then, I fell in love with the Fuzz Bass and then with Randy Apostle (musically speaking of course). It took us a while to find each other but the creativity he inspires in me cannot be taken for granted. Something truly mystical happens when we get together.'€

T.JONES: '€œFavorite drugs?'€
ASTLEY: '€œPalm Grease.'€
RANDY: '€œAPI 550EQ.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat has been in your CD player or on your turntable these days?'€
ASTLEY: '€œSharon Jones & The Dap Kings '€˜Dap Dippin'€™. The album is badass but go and see that band live, they can tear it up!'€
RANDY: '€œThis week, the new Hives, Sly & The Family Stone'€™s '€˜Fresh'€™, the new Beastie Boys album and Funkadelic'€™s '€˜Standing On The Verge'€™ which is permanently on the turntable, either playing or being used as a slipmat so I can play it as quickly as possible after I finish playing whatever I'€™m playing. Oh, and Rose Royce 2 - Norman Whitfield and Sparks '€˜Kimono My House'€™. Mmmm!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere did you meet your sexy female musicians in the group?'€
ASTLEY: '€œEver since we saw Sheila E playing badass double bass drums with Prince wearing high heels it was obviously the way forward. What you need to do is go to your local Laundromat and politely ask the hottest lady in there if she is a conga player / flautist / DJ and odds are she will be. Repeat until band looks and feels right and the fonk quotient is no longer MC Squared!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the creative process like for a typical Roger song?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThe general rule is beats, bass, melody, guitar/fuzz bass, gang vocals. Then just when you think it'€™s finished, ramp it up a notch and sprinkle on some craziness. We write a lot of stuff over the phone by shouting, ranting and abusing each other in a '€˜stream of consciousness'€™ type way. If you ain'€™t worn out by the end of the conversation, then you haven'€™t been working properly!'€

T.JONES: '€œAre the lyrics and the vocal melodies written first or is the music written first?'€
ASTLEY: '€œWhatever comes first, don'€™t fight it, feel it.'€
RANDY: '€œIt'€™s like The General'€™s secret recipe.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat kind of guitar is the one flying around on the cover? What is it about that guitar that you like? Is it symbolic of something?'€
ASTLEY: '€œIt'€™s a Gibson Flying V! It is perhaps one of the ultimate cool 50'€™s American designs. It is part guitar and part spaceship, originally designed for'€¦ country western players. It'€™s obvious inbuilt symbolism and refusal to conform is transcended by the fact it will now be claimed for future fonkateers, once I get Gibson to put a single coil pickup in the front position on my signature model.

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you think of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East?'€
ASTLEY: '€œI love America, but George W. needs a goddamn spanking. An arrogant, unworthy man who thinks he has the right to police the world without sticking to the fundamental Christian values of love, peace and understanding that he so ignorantly thinks he'€™s promoting. You cannot condone what Saddam Hussein did to his people, but war is war and you cannot justify the murdering of foreign civilians or your own people for your own interests and without just reason. For every action there'€™s a reaction, and his failure to realize that he'€™s creating and fueling a circle of fear and hatred of the country he says he loves baffles me.'€
RANDY: '€œPolitics are not fonky, but are important to keep your spare eyeball on, so you know from which direction the f*ckers are going to try to f*ck you.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you on September 11th, the terrorist attack? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected music?'€
RANDY: '€œAt first, you thought it was an accident, then the reality set in as the second plane went down. Obviously, no normal person, be they Muslim, Christian or Fonkapalian wants to see that kind of atrocity done in the name of anything, so instantly felt deep, deep sadness for the people involved, then a creeping fear about what would happen in the world next '€“ that being more of the same violence and also the US reaction, which we'€™ve seen as an excuse for yet more wrongness. On a selfish level, the only plus point is that since now the war on terror is official. We probably won'€™t get blown up by the IRA in London when we are Christmas shopping for bad beats this year as it'€™s not so cool for Norad to fund them anymore. I can'€™t get too drawn into this, as we obviously have a view on how there'€™s a need for the good sh*t lollipop to hit the fan for a change. Music will always probably try to get across the right message, or maybe the idealistic one. We'€™re all about saving the Unhumanoids. We can'€™t possibly do it, or can we? Roger'€™s gonna try!'€

T.JONES: '€œAbortion. Pro-life or pro-choice?'€
ASTLEY: '€œPro-Choice, life'€™s hard and you have to respect everyone'€™s individual rights and beliefs. Freaks make the world go round.'€
RANDY: '€œI'€™ve already had my Bono moment.'€

T.JONES: '€œDeath penalty. For or against?'€
ASTLEY: '€œAgainst, an eye for an eye never got anyone anywhere.'€
RANDY: '€œYou Bono.'€
ASTLEY: '€œF*ck You!'€
RANDY: '€œShut up or I'€™ll stab you in the eye!'€

T.JONES: '€œRandy, what was Philly like?'€
RANDY: '€œEveryone was called Bono. No, it was educational. It was the place I first realized that there was a Black Jesus, found out about soul food and why it existed, heard a lot of good music I never would have, went to a 70'€™s block party in the 70'€™s, realized that most TV is total crap, realized people could hate me when I'€™d never done anything to them, realized that a lot of people never get the chance in life they deserve and are haunted by ghosts, found out drug dealers existed, and that my stepdad'€™s brothers & sisters were beautiful, accepting and didn'€™t give a sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œRandy, can you tell us about this garden?'€
RANDY: '€œThe garden was most unlike the sacred garden of fonk. It was bereft of lakes, greenery, or bits that make you frustratingly have to go back to the start of the maze. An almost forbidden square of dead grass, a solitary grapevine, the domain of alley cats with the house fending off nature through a solitary, dusty screen door.'€

T.JONES: '€œRandy, what was it like growing up in a racially mixed family?'€
RANDY: '€œIt was good, and sometimes hard. I had to deal with the whole white people being prejudiced idiots, black people spitting on me doing the same, fighting everyone and being the zebra boy thing, but there were also many, many good things that made me who I am which are not immediately obvious to people looking at my white boy face.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was the last incident of racism you encountered?'€
RANDY: '€œThe scariest was a visit to the deep south where I found out that the Klan still existed and were still up to evil sh*t. Thankfully, we don'€™t have massive problems here in the UK. We do have some. For instance, the whole terror thing has caused tension with the Muslim community in some areas, but people are getting smarter every generation and are generally throwing that kind of sh*t out. People need to travel, meet people, experience different cultures before they can have an opinion other than what they are taught.'€
ASTLEY: '€œAre you after my Bono badge? I'€™m telling J Edgar!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?'€
RANDY: '€œTemporarily losing faith in Rock & Roll.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the biggest misconception about you?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThat we'€™re really the Archdrude.'€
RANDY: '€œThat we'€™re capable of being the subject of misconception.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your live show like?'€
RANDY: '€œCome see us. Of course, you'€™ll have to convince someone to let us do a US tour, and we'€™ll be eternally grateful!'€

T.JONES: '€œHow had your live show evolved?'€
ASTLEY: '€œFirst, there was the Fonk Wars. Then, there was the Rogership. Then, there was Roger'€™s Ark, and then, it all got a bit too crazy with the tiger mauling business. It'€™s back to just being good all round family fun for families of a different kind. Oh, but the J Edgar section ain'€™t too right.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThe part where The General throws J Edgar off my stage!'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association. I am going to say the name of a group, artist, or famous person and you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said '€˜The Beatles'€™, you may say '€˜John Lennon'€™ or '€˜Let It Be'€™. Ok?'€

T.JONES: '€œJulian Cope'€
RANDY: '€œKnows full well that '€˜This Is The Sh*t'€™ is the once and future July 2004 album of the month, and at the end of the day, is a genuine genius and amazing dude.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Clinton.'€
ASTLEY: '€œThe Original.'€
RANDY: '€œWithout whom this program would not have been possible.'€

T.JONES: '€œJamiroqaui.'€
RANDY: '€œProbably has quite high car insurance.'€
ASTLEY: '€œMonkey.'€

T.JONES: '€œGil-Scott Heron.'€
ASTLEY: '€œInspirational.'€
RANDY: '€œYes, the Rogerlution will not be televised!'€

T.JONES: '€œJay-Z.'€
ASTLEY: '€œ99 problems!'€
RANDY: '€œAnd we'€™d gladly take the other one off his hands.'€

T.JONES: '€œEcho & The Bunnymen.'€
ASTLEY: '€œBoing!'€

T.JONES: '€œEminem.'€
RANDY: '€œTake out the brown ones or Dave ain'€™t playing'€™.'€
ASTLEY: '€œThe Poet.'€
RANDY: '€œEh ? Oh yeah, he'€™s good at the game.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Stone Roses.'€
ASTLEY: '€œFools What?'€
RANDY: '€œExactly! John Squire has a lot to answer for.'€

T.JONES: '€œHappy Mondays.'€
RANDY: '€œShaun Ryder is one lyrical genius.'€
ASTLEY: '€œStormy Thursdays!'€

T.JONES: '€œPublic Enemy.'€
RANDY: '€œThe leaders.'€
ASTLEY: '€œYeah, Boy! Bring the f*ckin'€™ noise!'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Rolling Stones.'€
ASTLEY: '€œC*cks out!'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Beatles.'€
ASTLEY: '€œC*cks In!'€
RANDY: '€œI am getting seriously worried about you!'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
ASTLEY: '€œSatan.'€
RANDY: '€œWill lose the election. Again.'€

T.JONES: '€œAre you a fan of Julian Cope'€™s music? What is your favorite song? Favorite album?'€
ASTLEY: '€œHanging Out & Hung Up On The Line.'€
RANDY: '€œThat one'€™s badass. I'€™m a latecomer. I love Brain Donor, and the Rome LP, where Julian wrote some great songs, and the event was amazing. 'Shrine Of The Black Youth'. That'€™s the sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is next for Roger and the members of Roger?'€
ASTLEY: '€œTo take it to the next level creatively and take it to the people. Let'€™s start the dance.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat releases should we look out for? Remixes? New albums?'€
ASTLEY: '€œThe next album '€˜Backing Off Is For The Other Band'€™ will be beamed in from the cosmos sometime soon and we have a whole heap of stuff in the vaults which we want to put out.'€
RANDY: '€œSo there'€™s the most amazing album of the year, plus some rarities making up the second most amazing album of the year, and of course, the J Edgar thing! Oh, and send us your shit. We'€™ll remix it!'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?'€
ASTLEY: '€œHe came, he saw, he brought the bad boy bass.'€
RANDY: '€œI'€™m not dying. I'€™m just going back to space.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words for the people who will be reading this?'€
ASTLEY: '€œROGER LOVES U!'€
RANDY: '€œThanks. We'€™re going to live up to your expectations. Buy the albums. Vote Kerry. Bake a stranger a f*ckin'€™ cake, but don'€™t cut their lawn.'€

Thanks ROGER!!
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