By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"We're a little upset at the industry for how we got done," says Merg, puffin' a loosey in one hand, rockin' a black-and-white Allen Iverson lid and a silk, Hawaiian-style shirt with a gold lion on a black background. "But we're working on a new album right now called Passion Over Politics. We're about to sign a new deal, everything is good, and we'll be going back out on the road in June."
"So Merg, you got to tell us about Eminem: What's he like?"
"He's a cool cat. It's like touring with Michael Jackson, knowwhatI'msayin'? They be wheeling him out in an ambulance every night like Elvis Presley. Like somebody was hurtin', that's how they had to get him out. The guy even had a stand-in, a double."
"Like in his video?" asks Jett.
"Yeah, then he would go to the after-party with the chicks, instead of Eminem. We used to call him 'Partial Mathers,' or 'Partial Marshall.'"
"Nice job, layin' pipe for Slim Shady," says Jett, grinning and rubbing her chin.
"Naw," Merg shakes his head. "Thing is, the double was under contract, so he couldn't fuck with no women. You know? Then they could say, 'It was Eminem!' because the females didn't know the difference.
"Yeah, Bionic Jive, we had the party bus. We were the envy of the tour. The Girls Gone Wild camera crew was following the caravan and they were like, 'Yo, I wanna hang out with y'all because Marshall can't do nothing [with the ladies]; he's too large.'"
"I reckon those are the blue balls of fame," I say.
"Huh!" says Jett, not familiar with the condition. "Hey, check it, that's Jules Demetrius, the other host of Blunt."
There, indeed, was Jules, alias "Luke Warm, the metaphysically wrinkle-free," as he likes to call himself. (Actually, Jules wasn't hosting that night, just repping his own art.) Jules is so cool, penguins winter in Phoenix to take lessons from him. His friends say he pees crushed ice. Thin, with close-cropped hair, and smoking like a chimney, he's wearing a jacket I've got to get for myself if they have it in XXL: It's a blue windbreaker with a gas-station-style red-and-white Hustler patch over the heart, a product of Larry Flynt's Hustler Hollywood.
"Larry Flynt is my hero," he says. "Larry is the man."
"Yeah, Larry Flynt is God," says Jett. "I love that section -- what do they call it? Asshole of the month? We should nominate you, Kreme."
"Droll, Ellen Degenerate. Very droll," I smirk. Jules shows us some of his art -- a green, cartoonish masterpiece featuring himself as a lime-green projector with a super-high forehead. He lets drop that he's lived in D.C. and Philly, but says he thinks Phoenix is one of the least prejudiced places he's ever lived in.
"Phoenix?" I ask. "Land of Sheriff Jerk-Off? The city where a black kid was recently arrested for cocking his baseball cap to one side?"
"I've never been accepted like I have been out here," says Jules. "You see, I'm light-skinned and educated. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying certain [black] people aren't educated, but I call it 'disgrace-ism' when my own race says about me, 'He uses big words, reads thick books, fuck him. Fuck him.' But here, they hear my poetry, they see my artwork, and I don't get that attitude."
"That's weird to me," I say, "because I always think of Phoenix as having this really small African-American community."
"Maybe that's why it's different here for me," he says. "To be honest, when I first moved here, all I saw were white people, and I was nervous. If I saw two black people talking, I'd jump out of the car and ask them if I missed something or if there was a meeting I didn't know about."
Now, that's an eye-opening P.O.V. Always impatient, the Ritalin-riddled Jett tugs at my shoulder and whispers: "Kreme, you've got to peep this piece of eye candy."
I turn around, and there's a gorgeous Latina 21-year-old, with eyes as large as one of those Margaret Keane paintings. Jett's nearly licking her chops, and I'm with her on this one, 'cept conversation proves to be somewhat difficult. The girl's name is Christina. She's got long, silky black hair, and seems mostly preoccupied with spinning a blue New York Yankees hat on her index finger, which she keeps dropping.
"I'm Spanish and Italian," she tells us. "I'm from Manhattan. I've been in Phoenix about four years."
"So, uh, how do you like it versus New York?"
"It can be lame. But people do like to get fucked up a lot here."
"You mean, tweaking?" I ask.
"Nah, we keep it natural," she says, smiling that chronic-induced smile. She adds that she goes to Mesa Community College.
"Me too, sorta. I teach Phys Ed." Right (heh) a 300-pound gym teacher.
"Really?" she asks. "Wow!"
God, I feel like I'm in that Dave Chappelle flick Half Baked.
"Hey Kreme," nudges Jett. "Let's go."
"Sorry," I explain to Christina. "My, um, wife's calling."
See you at the next Phish concert, Christina. You bring the good ganja, and I'll bring the bong.