Sunday, May 10, 2009
On the bright, warm Sunday afternoon of Mother’s Day, two massive tour buses sit side-by-side in the parking lot behind Salinas’ Fox Theater. They are wrapped with vivid graphics, including a spoof of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, renamed Killer. They herald the arrival of Kansas City hip-hop MC Tech N9ne, currently on tour with California MC, MURS, of Living Legends fame.
At noon, the two performers attended a pre-show, meet-n-greet with fans; afterwards they casually hung out on and around their respective buses and even came out and talked with general admission fans waiting outside the box office of the Fox for the 3pm show. (MURS is slated to take the stage at about 4pm; Tech N9ne at about 5:30pm.) Both rappers indulged some questions about themselves and the imminent show.
“This is the 22nd show on this tour,” said Tech from the plush confines of his tour bus. “There are 32 more [dates]. Then we join the Rock the Bells tour, like, late June, early July. We’ll do the States first, then go overseas in November.” (MURS is also signed on with the Rock the Bells tour, alongside KRS-One, Common, Nas, Talib Kweli and a roster of other high-powered hip-hop performers.)
“I just did the Sprite Liquid Mix tour with Jay-Z, Nappy Roots, Hoobastank,” he said. “I would like to do the WARP tour because Tech’s got that rock energy.”
Regarding his elaborate face-paint, reminiscent of Insane Clown Posse but more tribal than clownish, Tech said it’s more than just for looks: “I’ve been the clown for years. [Now I’m] the clown, the king, and the G. I like the mystique. I used to be scared of clowns as a kid.”
“We’re doing something from every album,” he said of the Fox show. “Never been to Salinas, but I got fans waiting for [me]; they want to hear ‘Caribou Lou.’ It’s a blessing to have people who want your signature.” During the interview he signed copies of his CD jacket to hand out to the fans outside the theater by way of cultivating the fan base and showing his appreciation.
Tech shares his fan base with MURS, who was found in the adjacent tour bus.
“I don’t really do interviews,” MURS said. When asked for 10 minutes, he relented, saying, “How about five?”
“I did the Paid Dues tour with Tech and Gorilla Union,” said MURS of their own union on this tour. “[Tech] and his partner Travis O’Guin invited me to see their facility in Kansas City. We can share fan bases on this tour. We’re both independent [artists], we have the same energy.”
Touring is not new to MURS either: “I’ve done Rock the Bells before, been on the WARP tour, Coachella.”
For the Fox show, just two hours away from the time of this interview, he promised to go “high-energy.”
Outside of the box office, Victor Casteel and Marcella Hidalgo wait for the doors to open. Their faces are painted in homage to Tech’s stylistic “war paint.” They drove three hours, from Stockton, to see this show.
“I first heard [Tech] in ’98,” said Casteel. “Then I saw one of his shows and I was like, ‘That’s a rap show?’” Tech mixes elements of goth and punk in his appearance and performance, but, said Casteel, “it’s about having fun, too.”
“He doesn’t stop [onstage]. He just—boom—starts up a song and doesn’t stop. You get your money’s worth.”