Top 10 types of people I meet at shows.

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I’m heading out for three quick dates in the northwest tomorrow (vancouver, seattle and portland, what’s up!?!) and that got me thinking about all the types of people I come across when I tour. A veritable shmorgasbord of folks. I’d say 90-95% of them are cool. I have genuinely nice chats with people. They’re pleasant , gracious and sometimes very cool. So, this is in no way taking shots at my fans. I’m lucky to have any of you motherfuckers. That said, I can’t front…there are patterns in behaviour I can’t ignore. No matter where I play, what part of the world, what time in the year, every show brings out certain specific types of people. If you read this blog, you know I’m a fan of sweeping generalizations. Hell, it’s in the header. So, I figured it would be fun to list the top ten types of people I meet at shows. Perhaps you’ve seen these people at other shows (This list surely isn’t just applicable to my fanbase at all) or maybe you’ve been one of these people at some point in your life? Either way…trust me when I tell you that on any given night AT LEAST 6 of these people are at every show I’ve done in the last 5 years. Let’s get into it, in no specific order.
(also it should be noted that none of the pics I used below are people i’ve met or known Just random shit I found via google image searches)

1)Local mover and shaker/promoter
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By far the most common person I come across is this guy. He’s got his feet barely planted in whatever city I’m in’s local music scene. He didn’t promote the show I’m currently playing but he has big ideas for the future. Typically, they involve bringing me back to this city in the near future and playing in some sort of tiny lounge he works at for a small amount of money. Now, there is nothing wrong with these dudes (cause, without promoters , I don’t play anywhere) but it is telling when I tell them to holler at my booking agent, they recoil. That’s a bad sign. Any promoter who tries to book shows “on the side” is never a good look. That’s like a girl trying to bone you and then when you tell them “sounds good but I gotta go get some condoms” and they’re like “oh, really? hmm…lemme get back to you about that then…”.
The funny thing about these dudes is they’re everywhere, no matter how small the scene. It could be some backwoods town in eastern europe or in L.A., it doesn’t matter. They’re always the same guy. That said, I’m sure this guy eventually becomes a “real” promoter at some point and this is just his larva stage. Turns out, larva can be pretty annoying.

2)Random old person
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To be clear, I’d consider myself a random old person at one of my own shows…but I digress.
At every show there is someone I meet who I’m shocked to see out. Not cause they shouldn’t be out but simply cause I can’t fathom going to the kinda show I do when I’m in my 40’s/50’s. It’s actually kinda awesome to see someone like that at one of my shows cause I know they’ll get a ton of the references I play during my set that flies over the heads of the typical 20-something. These people are always super nice and have a relaxed air about them. Sometimes, there is a definite cougar aspect to the ladies as I’ve found that the most brash sexual advances I’ve ever had thrown at me have been from women in their late 40’s/early 50’s. On some “Honey, you need an woman with experience…” type shit accompanied by some flirty eyes that were probably the shit in the 80’s. I won’t lie, it kinda grosses me out but it’s never not flattering. Imagine how a dude like Tom Jones must feel…

3)girl on molly who wants a million hugs
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Molly wasn’t a thing at my shows until the last five years. Now it’s pretty much a staple. It’s not hard to spot the people that are rolling. Aside from a clenched jaw, the clothes are a dead giveaway. You’re wearing a furry animal hat indoors but also wearing what looks like a cave woman bikini? You’re on molly. I know this. Throw in a hula hoop over your shoulder and you might as well walk around with a sign. Now, as someone who did Molly recently, i get it. It makes you feel great. Touching is awesome. So, it’s no surprise when I’m chilling at the merch booth and I am asked to give hugs to girls on Molly. Typically they’re super festive (duh, they’re rolling their brains out), kinda sweaty (they’ve been dancing) and a little manic. The thing about working my own merch booth is that I’m pretty much a sitting duck. If someone decides they wanna hang out by me all night, they can do that if they so desire. So, Molly girls do what molly girls do. The happily float around the room spreading love. This means, they do a lap, get a hug, go dance, do another lap, get another hug and so on and so on. There’s nothing wrong with it but watching the pattern is always entertaining to me.

4)The fearless collaborator
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This one is ballsy and at EVERY show. This is the person who also makes music , meets you (me) and figures , fuck it, we should work together. Why? Cause I make music and he makes music. why the fuck not? It’s not like I have specific interests musically and tend to only work with people I know/respect. Fuck all that, right? Nope…this guy is so confidant in his craft that he pretty much assumes he can walk up to the guy who’s show he’s come to see and a musical duo will be formed even though I’ve never heard what he does and we just met. The balls that takes is impressive. Often, I don’t even think it’s balls as much as that person just having no clue how things work. I suppose you could file it under “networking” but that’s kinda like filing rape under “dating”. I simply can’t get into the headspace of someone who does this. I mean, I get WHY they do it, i just can’t fathom ever being that type of person. Just a heads up to these types: in general, no one who’s even a little bit established is trying to collaborate with a stranger. That just doesn’t happen. Sorry. Nothing personal. But the fact that both you and I make music doesn’t automatically mean we’re compatible. it just means we stand under the same , humungous umbrella, along with ,like, millions or other people.

5)drunk guy
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Oh, the drunk guy. Good old drunk guy. There are many variations of this guy at every show but one common theme remains…he’s a fucking mess. He slurs compliments, repeats himself over and over, gives 1000 pounds. He spills beer on your merch table. He interrupts other people you’re talking to under the guise that he’s helping you. He’s a disaster. We’ve all been there. The thing about drunk guy is that there is nothing you can do with him. He’s fragile and unpredictable. Say the wrong thing and he’s mad. politely ask him to chill, he could lose his shit. With these guys, you must be delicate. You kinda just have to let them run their course like a flu. My way is to just nod and say yes until they run out of shit to say and hopefully wander away from the merch table. This can be a long process cause, like I mentioned above, the amount of shit they repeat is truly amazing. I’ve literally had a dude sloppily tell me I “changed his life” about 50 times, each time giving me a pound afterwards. It was like groundhogs day but over the course of 15 minutes. The irony was I’m pretty sure he had heard maybe 3 of my songs ever.
Sufficed to say, these dudes are kinda the worst.

6)Drunk girl
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Not to be out done, the drunk girl is it’s own beast. While they don’t tend to corner you and repeat compliments forever, they do have a sense of entitlement rarely seen in people who aren’t billionaires. This transcends shows but the amount of girls who have come up to me and assumed I would just give them free shit cause they own vaginas is astounding.
In general, I find drunk girls at shows go two ways. Drunk and in love or drunk and angry. The love girls are basically just sloppy flirters who, in reality, don’t even really wanna make shit pop off. They’re just there with drunk googly eyes talking shit. They’re kinda fun and pretty easy to manage. The angry drunk girls though…it’s like getting brief glimpse into what it’s like to be this girls boyfriend. So many feelings. So much confusion. These girls are not as common but then they rear their head, I try and get away as quick as possible. Luckily for me, when they’re drunk and angry, it’s usually cause of something else so they’re easily distracted.

7)The guy who hangs around the merch table, saying he’s gonna buy shit but never does, still he hangs out all night
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This is pretty much either the worst kind of indecisive person or a male groupie. This dude hangs HARD. He asks tons of questions about the merch, picks it up, looks at the back, says he’s gonna find an ATM and then comes back in five minutes to repeat the same cycle. Now, this doesn’t really bother me that much. I get the feeling that most of these dudes are just guys that wanna kick it a little and are nervous just blatantly doing so. Or, they’re dudes in serious financial binds that have them in deep contemplation as to whether spending $20 on a record is gonna put them out on the street. Either way, these guys are generally harmless. And wishy washy. They’re wishy washy as fuck.

8)Disappointed hippie
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The emergence of hippies at my shows has been a weird one. I realize it’s all an off shoot of the burner crowd. It’s generally fine with me. Hippies are typically nice and accepting. And high. However, every now and then I’ll meet one and we’ll get to talking. A minute or so into it, it will become clear to this guy/girl that I’m not exactly on that same page. I don’t care about crystals , i don’t love going to festivals and I’m not even really a fan of nature. Keep in mind, I’m always nice about it and this convo never gets super awkward but there is something a little heartbreaking about seeing the twinkle in a hippies eye dim as they realize “Oh, this guy is just some city loving asshole…”. It’s a look I’m so very familiar with. So much so that i try and just not let it happen any more. In fact, I’ll treat most rambling hippies like I do drunk guys. Let them run their course. Accept the crystals. Nod approvingly and wait for them to finish. It can be time consuming but that look is crushing and I’d like to avoid it as much as possible.

9)mystery drug guy/girl
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Seeing people at shows I have become hyper aware of what drugs people are on. I can tell a cokey guy from a molly guy from a stoner guy with pin point precision. Every now and then though, I’ll come across someone on some whole other shit. Is it a drunk girl on shrooms? Is it some guy in the midst of a DMT trip trying to speak? I have no idea. The thing about these types is that lack of knowing makes them wild cards. I know how to deal with specific druggy people but these guys? No clue. In general, I find myself on the defense with them just out of safety.
The other day I was at this show and this girl started talking to me. she was slurring her words and doing the “repeat the same sentiment over and over again” thing. At first, I assumed she was just wasted. But she had an edge to her fucked-upness that felt different. Eventually she said “hey, do you want a cut of me?” huh? I thought it was the strangest sexual offer ever but then she repeated herself “Do you want some ketamine?”
Ohhhhhhhhh! Mystery solved.

10)guy who’s never heard me or my music but wants to do business with me
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This fucking guy. Much like the local promoter guy and the fearless collaborator, this dude is just shooting first and asking questions later. This is how it starts:
He comes up to the merch booth with a friend. His friend introduces us and he says “I’ve never heard your stuff before but my friend thinks I’ll like it”. Pleasantries get exchanged and they keep it moving. Then a little later, that guy comes back to the booth to shoot the shit. It’s all good. just casual conversation. At some point in that discussion, the guy decides, even though he literally has no idea what kinda music I even make (it could be bluegrass for all he knows) that he’s ready to bring me into any business plan he’s got going. He runs a website! needs music. He throws warehouse raves! needs a dj. He owns a taco truck! Needs a theme song. It doesn’t matter at all…he just knows that , whatever i do, he wants a piece of it. The beauty of this guy is that, after the show, he’s never around. That might actually mean he hated my shit but, you know what, I’m okay with that. Better that than whatever else he had planned for me.

The soft “a” is crucial

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As a white dude who is a rap fan, I’ve always had a strange relationship with the word “nigga”. Not to be confused with it’s cousin word with a harder “r” sound ,with whom I’ve had a much more defined relationship with. Obviously, we’ve never been close.
But with “nigga” ,I’ve never been one to use it. It just never felt right coming out of my mouth. Aside from the more obvious social reasons, I don’t speak with a particularly affected twang so to say something like “Yo, nigga, could you please pass me the soy sauce” wouldn’t really make sense or benefit anything. Besides, even if i were to harmlessly indulge in saying it, you never know who you’re going to accidentally offend by doing so. It just never seemed worth it.
That said, over the course of my life it has been a word that I’ve heard with great frequency. Both in music and in life. So i figured it would be fun to look back at some funny moments with that word and how it relates to a fairly normal , yet self aware white dude from a city.

1)The first time I got called a nigga
Blame my bohemian upbringing or being from a melting pot type city but I literally didn’t hear a white person refer to a black person in a derogatory fashion (in person) until I left New York. It wasn’t till I went to school in Boston that i heard someone refer to a black guy as a “nigger” and mean it. It was done in such a matter of fact way I was just kinda speechless. It was also done in that bitch ass , wink wink, nudge nudge kinda way as if to say “Hey, we’re both white here, right?”.
As clearly as i remember that moment with great disdain, I’ll never forget the first time a black guy called me “nigga” with great fondness.
As a young rap white rap fan in the early 90’s, there wasn’t much happening to make us feel good about ourselves (and rightfully so…after all, we were white). The beastie boys and 3rd bass were the beginning and end of it. Not to mention, it was a time period when a good deal of my favorite rap was highly afrocentric/pro-black. Groups like X-Clan, Poor righteous Teachers, King Sun and even the friendly Native tongue crew all wore africa medallions and spoke of things that I , as a white guy, could only examine from outside the bubble. So suffice to say, I looked at these guys with great admiration but also with an understanding that I’d never truly be like them no matter how hard i tried. I’d like to think most white kids my age during that time had that revelation but judging from how most of the kids I went to high school acted, they didn’t figure it out until they were in their twenties.
So, realizing that I could never really be down, i simply didn’t try too hard. I just listened to the music fiendishly and that was that. Still, that want to be accepted never really died.
One day, I was walking down the street with a basketball , on my way to the park to go shoot around. I was passing by west 4th street (which is a highly populated area in greenwich village). Out of the sea of bodies I heard someone saying “ay yo nigga! Yo…Nigga!”. It sounded like it was aimed at me but, obviously, that wouldn’t make much sense so I kept moving.
“Yo, nigga! Yo, white boy with that basketball!” I turned around.
“Lemme see that ball for a second”.
I was kind of in shock. I hope I didn’t but I may have been making a face like someone being picked as a pageant winner. On some “You mean MEEEEE?!?!?!” shit. He was a slightly bummy looking black dude in his early 30’s who was sitting in a fold out beach chair he had placed on the side of the street. Seemed harmless enough so I tossed him the ball. He stood up, dribbled it for 5 seconds and threw it back to me.
“Good looking out, nigga”
and that was that.
I remember walking towards the courts feeling like I was slightly different. Like i had passed a authenticity test or something. In hindsight, I was far from special as I imagine that guy is the type to call inanimate objects nigga but still, at that time, I was on cloud 9.

2)Mcdonalds
I don’t know if this will translate when written out but I’mma give it a shot.
I was about 19 and high as a person could be. My 4 friends and I had smoked a few blunts and were now floating around the city like the walking dead in search for any food we could stuff in our high mouths. We landed at a McDonalds…which was fine as I was 19 and ate that kinda shit like 4 times a week. High as hell, we all lined up and ordered food the only way high people do. Slowly and like complete fucking idiots. The girl behind the counter was a portly Puerto rican lady in her early 20’s who was obviously amused with the looming group of stoned white guys. We were actually chatting her up a bit and , seemingly, made a new friend. As the order came to a close , all our food was bagged up and ready to go when she said “Oh, Yall niggas want sauce?”
Again, we were SO high. As soon as that sentence came out of her mouth we all just kinda looked at each other like “did she really just refer to us as “niggas”?” That same excitement I felt when that dude in the lawn chair had said it to me was palpable in the room. This was followed by 5 stoned people trying to contain laughter while also trying to procure some of that delicious sauce she was offering. We politely accepted and got out of there as soon as possible so we could guffaw hysterically. To this day, any time I go into a McDonalds or am with any of those friends from that night, that sentence still runs through my head.

3) So puerto ricans can say it?
That was the thought i had the first time I heard a Puerto rican dude say “nigga” without flinching. It was in front of black dudes who didn’t flinch as well. I remember thinking “Why do they get a pass”? It’s safe to so that I was pretty young at the time and didn’t understand a lot of things.
That’s how I learned, in many cases, the people who use it aren’t always about race as they are about location. If you’re black and I’m dominican and we grew up in the same hood with the same friends using that word , it’s just gonna become a part of the vernacular. Teenaged me would have tried to rationalize that it’s wrong of them to say it but, really, who gives a shit? I would never want to take that gift away from the likes of Fat Joe and Beatnuts. And I’d say that same privilege extends to white dudes who grew up around minorities who used the word with great frequency. At least, from what I’ve seen it has.

4)The first time I heard a white dude say “Nigga”.

It’s slightly more common now to hear a white guy say that word. At least in certain circles. But 15 years ago, it wasn’t a thing white guys did. And if they did do it, they did it selectively and with an air of discomfort. Like they so desperately want to be down enough to say it but , deep down, in their hearts they know they probably shouldn’t be saying it.
Around 97/98, I met this dude. I don’t wanna say his real name, as we are still buddies, so let’s call him Bob. Upon first glance, Bob was a wigger of Danny Hoch proportions. Like he was a cartoon version of a wigger. Just being in a room with him, I heard him dropping “Nigga” a dozen times over the course of an hour. But he was doing it amongst a very racially mixed crowd with a comfort level I had never seen before. I had just seen him out a few times , as he was friends with some friends of mine but my initial reaction was that he was a clown.
Flash to a few weeks later and we’re actually hanging out. Turns out, he’s not only an intelligent guy but he’s also hilarious and genuinely good person. This blew my mind. He was a little younger than me but hearing a white guy shamelessly say “nigga” without pulling back was some next level shit. I didn’t really agree with it but I couldn’t help but admire his balls (pause).
Now whether you think it’s right or wrong for any white guy to throw that word around is on you. I certainly understand how that could rub all sorts of people the wrong way. But , much like the girl at McDonalds and the guy in the lawn chair, a lot of how we should accept words is in the intention of how they’re used. Basically, what I’m saying is that it’s okay to be offended by this kinda thing but don’t ever become one of those assholes who overlooks context and intent of how words are used. Bob meant no harm. It was just a word that got engrained in his vocabulary. For better or worse.

5)Overhearing people use the word “nigga” is the best Not to be confused with overhearing people use the word” Nigger” which is the worst…

These are a few things I’ve tweeted in the past after just overhearing people say thing literally like 5 feet from the door of my home:
“I love that I can walk 2 steps out of my building & overhear a guy call his friend an “easy bake oven ass nigga”. New York is the best.”

“Just overheard the sentence “yo, but this nigga DR. Phil got next though”. Trying to imagine a context where that statement makes sense.”

6)”Nigga” is anything
There are different levels of the way people use that word. Obviously WHO is using it is very important so let’s just assume, for these examples, I’m referring to non-whites using this word.
To some, it’s only used to get a point across like “You better give me back my game of thrones box set or there’s gonna be trouble, nigga!”
To others, it’s completely off limits.
But to others, it’s as engrained in their vocabulary as the word “Like” is for valley girls. It can be referring to a table “I banged my knee on that nigga the other day and it still hurts”. It can be referring to a female. Anyone who’s seen porn where the dude is calling the girl he’s fucking “nigga” can attest to that. However, my favorite of all is when it’s referring to animals. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a flock of sheep in europe and heard a dude say “look at all those niggas go…”. As offensive as this word can be to some people, to others it simply means anything. But, more directly, it means a person. I’ve been called a “white nigga” more times than I can count and , in all those situations, it wasn’t used negatively or positively. It was simply a description. As in, we’re playing basketball , I’m the only white guy and a guy on the other team tells his teammate to guard “that white nigga”. 16 year old me would be in heaven over the entire exchange but , in reality, it meant nothing. It’s just a word some people use. The only confusion about it, really, is who can and cannot use it. Clearly, I’m not the judge and jury for that case. No one person is. Thus, I suppose , it’s just on a person to person basis. But, whatever you do, always remember to never drop it with the hard “R”. I’m looking at you Mitt Romney.