If you happen to attend Adam Dumper's big 40th birthday bash tonight at Club Red in Tempe, don't be afraid to call him Uncle Dumps. Yes, we're well aware that the renowned Blunt Club promoter and urban art impresario usually goes by his famous nom de guerre, Dumperfoo, but referring to his lesser-known moniker is cool. After all, he's sorta like a cool uncle -- if not a godfather -- to the Valley hip-hop scene.
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As we documented in the feature story of this week's music section, Dumper's been more than a little proficient at lending his support or paintbrush to countless local hip-hop endeavors. Just ask his longtime collaborator and fellow Drunken Immortals member Michael "Mic Cause" Cosentino.
"The thing about Dumper, even if he's not involved directly with promoting it or making any money on it, he still promotes it. Anything that anybody sends to him that has to do with Arizona hip-hop, he'll promote it, in every capacity he can," Cosentino says. "That's why we call him Uncle Dumps, because he's always looking out for other people. Even if he doesn't know anything about it. He's like, 'Oh, it's Arizona hip-hop? Well, you gotta go and check it out!'"
Dumper spoke about some of the many nights and events that he's been a part of over the years during our recent interview with him, as well as some juicy yarns about the time he hung out and created art for both infamous rappers Snoop Dogg and Vanilla Ice. For reals.
Up on the Sun: There's a photo of you and Snoop Dogg on your website. What's the story behind that?
My buddy was a fabricator for this show Man Caves and he was making this couch out of the back end of a '57 Cadillac and it had these lift-up wings with spaces for Snoop Dogg to hide his bongs in. And he called me saying he was making this couch for Snoop Dogg and asked if I wanted to come out to deliver it, 'cause he was going to Diamond Bar [California] the next day. They'd seen my artwork and would love for me to come along and do a live art painting of Snoop. I'm, like, all right. So I come to his shop and help build the couch, strapped it in the back of his truck with the canvas and drove down to Snoop Dogg's house.
We hung out there all day, all night until 3 a.m. and filmed these episodes of Man Caves and Snoop Dogg's Father Hood. I did a painting. Snoop Dogg's walking around with flip-flops on, with his socks on, smoking a joint all day. They were like, "Yo, Snoop, you can't smoke on television!" And he's like, "This ain't smell-o-vision!" He kept smoking and we were laughing. We got to play basketball with his kid and his whole football team. It was really cool. Snoop Dogg is a very nice guy.
Tell us about the time you toured with Vanilla Ice.
Dumperfoo: DisGo was like, "Dude, need a new poster for The Nile, we have a show with Vanilla Ice." I was laughing, like "Ha-ha, Vanilla Ice." So I drew some shit, some silly drawing of him choking this dude saying "I'm back," around the time his rock album came out. Just making fun of people making fun of him.
And later on that night, DisGo called me and said, "Vanilla Ice is here. He wants you to come down to the tour bus, wants to meet you and put that shit on some T-shirts." So I'm like, "Yeah, right, dude. Fuck that." It was true. I went down to The Nile with my brother and the next day I'm printing up T-shirts with the shit on there. Went to San Diego with him and did a show with him and DJ Hurricane and toured around with him for a little bit. It was pretty crazy.
The first two albums I bought was Egyptian Lover and Kraftwerk at Tower Records when they were downstairs at MetroCenter in the mall. Those were albums I just had to get. -- Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper
Were you into his music back in the day?
What else were you into growing up?
Me and my friend Tyrone Robinson listened to New Jack Swing stuff at that time, because that's when we were going to all the clubs and dancing like Kid 'n Play-looking shit from that era. We were getting our New Jack Swing on. Me and Tyrone danced at the Cactus [High School] talent show and competed against MC Puma [Walker], who was with this guy Boo. He was a DJ and Puma was a rapper back and they won that shit. I really didn't see Puma too much after that. I got into being a gang-banger.
Did you sport coveralls and the other bad fashion from around then?
Yup, had the goofy-ass pants on and all that shit. I might have worn one strap down even. It was a pretty bad era of music and clothing and fashion. Z Cavariccis and Girbaud [jeans]. Just all this horrible, horrible fashion.
What were the first records you ever purchased as a kid?
The first two albums I bought was Egyptian Lover and Kraftwerk at Tower Records when they were downstairs at MetroCenter in the mall. Those were albums I just had to get.
So you weren't only on the hip-hop tip?
No. I wasn't always into hip-hop. It kinda fizzled out around , a lot of our friends had died, so I moved to Phoenix and started working in bars like The Grind and did some DJing, spinning Nine Inch Nails and all that crap. It was on 24th [Street] and Camelback. That's where they had Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Belly -- every huge band during that time in the '90s grunge era -- all first played there before Lollapalooza kicked off. They were some of the best shows I'd ever seen at that place. I was working there from day one to the day they got shut down in, like, 1992. Then I worked for Randall [Goodwin] at The Atomic Café.
What was that like?
I used to throw punk rock shows and shit at Atomic Cafe. Like I did the UK Subs' 20th anniversary tour with Anti-Flag. I used to tour with a band called FKR. It was like a hardcore band and we went all over the place. I was into all kinds of different shit. I was always into a lot of different shit, but hip-hop always been just -- there. Ever since I was a little kid with dancing and breakdancing. I always listened to punk because of my skateboard roots. My brother and my cousin were punk rockers, so I always had that sort of edge too.
Do you still skate?
Up until a few years ago, when I started trying to skate after The Blunt Club. We'd go 20 or 30 deep and try to sneak into the skate spots and I started falling down and it hurt real bad. I was like, I'm done, dude.
How are your skills as a DJ?
I wouldn't say I'm a great DJ, but I like doing it. I haven't done it in a long time, but I play more funk and soul, I like that sort of stuff. I have so many talented friends that I haven't been called upon to DJ, which is probably a good thing (laughs) I won't even get into it. I like rare funk like crate-digging stuff, the originals. I like reggae and dancehall stuff like that. Like Savande/Samandi . . . weird stuff.
What about rapping?
I can't rap at all. Horrible rapper.
Michael "Mic Cause" Cosentino:
Aw . . . he can rap. If it's real late at night and we're driving home from Albuquerque and everyone's real drunk and no one's paying attention, then you can hear Dumper in the back.
So are we ever going to see you onstage performing with the Drunken Immortals instead of painting?
Um, probably never. Not a good rapper at all.
How did you first become involved with the Drunken Immortals?
I met most of these guys before I got in the band. I used to go to all their shows. That whole kinda era was blurry for me, but I think when I really hung out with them was after moving back from San Diego [in 2001] at The Bash on Ash during this hip-hop night they were doing with Doug Quick. I'd go over there a lot and it was crazy.
It was with [Universatile Music] and they'd have art all over the walls from the Nitty Gritty crew. I think those were the biggest hip-hop shows that were coming to town at the time. Everything and everyone that was huge was going through there: Legends, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Rhymesayers -- you name it.
How did you officially join up?
I used to paint at their gigs, so I was painting onstage with them for a couple shows before that happened and they were like, 'We should bring this as another instrument, a live painting." I'm the visual experience of the band, same with The Insects and Crusher [Sound System].
What are some of your memories of your old night Move '98?
We had Z-Trip play over there but also a bunch of cats like Jimmy the Mantis Claw. I think I first met Pickster [One] over there, but he probably doesn't remember me well from that time. I was working with DisGo promoting event a lot. I think I had Hyder over there, Casper [the Funky DJ]. I remember Jimmy the Mantis Claw would sit on the ground with his legs crossed and DJ sitting down, all hippie-style. We kinda mixed it up, some punk and reggae bands in there as well.
A few years later, it seemed like there were hip-hop nights everywhere in Tempe during the early Aughts, like Kill Mill. You were a part of those as well, right?
Yup. I was just there hanging with these dudes [Drunken Immortals], you know, being a fan of all my boys that went there like Kill Mill. We did Blunt Club at the same place, Rio Salado Brewery for a little bit there. At that same time, they had Ichiban's hip-hop night, which was like the best time for MCs in the Arizona, I thought. There were some really good times for hip-hop with Ichiban and Arizona Roadhouse.
Barry Goldwater III and Morse Code and a bunch of cats also were putting on their Wicka Wicka Wednesday thing, which was awesome. It was nothing but really good shows during that time. And I was hanging out in all that. Being the first dude there and the last one gone.
You've gotten a bad back from painting at so many events, correct?
I got plate scoliosis; my back's like all crazy. So when I paint too many days in a row, my body gets all kinked over. and I can't even walk. Some days, I can't even walk for like a week. I've had it probably the last eight years or so. It's been getting really bad lately. Probably when I was breakdancing or skating as a kid and slouching when I was sitting and shit. Probably from being bent over canvases or sitting in front of a computer.
What music events have you done live painting at lately besides Blunt Club?
Tempe Art A Go-Go at Sail Inn. I've done that a few times. We've also been doing Blunt Club up in Flagstaff. I did First Fridays in Phoenix at that little [pop-up] park that's over on Roosevelt. I've painted with the Sugar Thieves. They're buddies, so I've done stuff with them. I've also done South by Southwest Music Festival.
Yup. I painted with Puma shoes over there. Toured that whole thing with The Insects. Also painted at Coachella too last year. We ran our own graffiti wall in the campgrounds built with 2x4s by some roller skating rink and we were doing graf, me and my buddy from New York. Matt-X rolled out with us, Jess Jordan rolled out with us. Cooked their asses out in the sun. This year, I'll be painting and printing T-shirts at Coachella. That's what me and Mic Cause are going to be doing in the Zia booth.
Did you do live art at Sound Wave Music Festival this year?
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I didn't go. I went the year before. I was supposed to go, and they were supposed to have me paint onstage with Z-Trip [at the Red Bull Thr3estyle Stage]. But the Red Bull guys didn't want me messing up their big stage with paint. I don't know why. I use dropcloths.
Dumperfoo's 40th birthday celebration takes place at 9 p.m. at Club Red in Tempe. Admission is $5.