By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
With the ink on his contract still drying, Z-Trip secured his spot on the Projekt Revolution tour, DJing before and between sets by Adema, Cypress Hill, and nu-metal rap hotshots Linkin Park. Of the latter, Z-Trip says, "I think they kinda get the hip-hop and rock mix, they really get it. That's why it works well having me on here; the crowd's open to what I'm doing. They're good because they ride the line really well, the fine line. When I very first heard their record I didn't give it as much of a chance as I should have, and the more I listen to it the more I'm like, 'It is good.' I have such a fuckin' filter on hating half the shit that comes out just for the mere fact that it's . . . the companies, the record labels are just pumping the fuckin' airwaves full of shit. Every so often you get a good band or whatever that breaks through like these guys. They broke through, and that's a good thing."
The stadium tour has taken him through America's nether regions, towns like Madison, Wisconsin, and Colorado Springs, towns like Wichita, Kansas. Rocking a Linkin Park crowd in Wichita would be daunting for most any turntablist, but Z-Trip's not on that list. "Because of the crowd I've made it a little more rock based -- rock anthems," he explains. "Big fuckin' rock-style show. If people are comin' to see me play shit like I usually play at my own shows, it's not gonna be the same thing. I'm taking it a different route. The cool thing about this tour is it's opened doors that wouldn't ordinarily be open. Playing in Wichita or wherever, playing to these kids, selling my CDs to them. If I can open up 30 people in each venue to my thing and they spread it on, that opens up more doors.
"A lot of these kids have no fuckin' idea what I'm doing, at all, and I kind of like it like that. I'm almost more down for the challenge of rocking this kind of crowd and pulling it off than I am to do a hip-hop crowd where I know I can pull it off, 'cause I've done it. I don't think anyone's ever heard this kind of flavor, this direct, in places like this. So it's really fun to see reactions of people and hit people over the head that wouldn't normally expect to see a guy mixing Green Day and Dead Prez together."
In a matter of days, Z-Trip will be playing for his hometown crowd, for his friends and his mom and his sister and nephews and niece, which he is, to borrow a phrase, fucking ecstatic about; and you can expect a little nut-grabbing.
"I'm so stoked to be playing back in Phoenix. You know who I want to see that shit? All the fuckin' dickhead managers that I used to work for when I used to work at places like Bobby McGee's and Jets and Stixx; I want them to see me over here, 'cause there's some of those fools that had no clue. I want to sock it to them, a big fat 'fuck you' for holding me down, making me tuck my shirt in, and having to wear a fuckin' tie. I can't wait to just get on the mike and be like, 'Yo, Phoenix, say my name,' whatever. Comin' home is one of the best things."
After the tour concludes, shortly after the Phoenix date, preparations for the new albums begin, and soon Z-Trip will hit the road again with a collection of many of the greatest hip-hop turntablists in America in support of the Doug Pray documentary Scratch, in which he's featured. It's but another notch in the headboard of his career, another accomplishment worth writing home about. For now, his assessment of his relocation is unabashedly emphatic.
"Moving to L.A. is the best move I ever could have made. I'm fuckin' really happy that Phoenix was the birthplace of a lot of shit for me. But growing into what I guess you would call manhood or whatever, it's the best thing I could possibly have done. There are all these people there who are doing shit and would be doing shit regardless, so to get into a bigger pool of people who are doing shit got my juices flowing. It feels like I just fuckin' walked right up into it like, 'Hey guys,' 'Yeah, come on in.'