2 Skinnee J’s
One Special J: Make Us Middle Class!
Get off the road. “We’ve only had the tour bus for a week and a half. I usually stick my head out the window for a breath of fresh air,” says an overly caffeinated Special J. Then he proceeds to explain that they are now playing “old” sports such as shuffleboard between the bunks. “So when you’re playing lawn darts, do you use the bus driver as the target?” “Yeah, sometimes he gets a little irritated.” I’d be pissed, but probably too dazed since I would be hanging half-way out the windshield due to extreme excitement on the shuffleboard “court.” Thus, you’ve got to stay off the highways. You never know when that unfortunate “accident” will happen.
2 Skinnee J’s are one of this year’s best “newcomers,” though they have self-financed several releases in the past. With Supermercado!, 2SJ’s bring forth the best fusion of rap, boogie down funk, punk, and the best sense of humor imaginable. I can’t help but smile from beginning to end. The flair that is truly unique is the solid work behind playing it all live rather than relying on the stylings of turntable madness. It just amazes me that it wasn’t until June this year (the album hit the streets in April) that I was fortunate enough to grace my ears with their rising presence. Immediately, I set out to talk with someone behind the music. It became, by far, the weirdest experience ever. Lots of phone tag started it out, but sure enough, the phone ACTUALLY rang on Thursday (I’m not all that social).
Hello, is drew there?
Speaking to you.
This is J from 2 Skinny J’s. They’re about to do sound check. Can I call you back in twenty minutes?
I totally wasn’t expecting it, and ran all over looking for the press I had on them as well as my list of questions scrawled on scraps of paper all over the place (us stupid writers). When he called back, I had just put the CD in the player and had decided to Press My Luck since “it’s the whammy y’all!”
They’re in Austin, TX today, and I personally hate Texas, but I don’t let on to my fear of the “Texan Insanity Syndrome” coming over the phone lines to me. “We’ve been touring since January, and it’s going well,” says a J.
So which J are you?
Ah, the white guy.
Now today, this world is filled with the nastiness of racial discrimination, and the music industry is not left untouched. In order to subtly attack the issue, I chose the “ugly American” route, but I think he caught on: “Yeah, I guess I’m the more nasally voice.” I’d crossed the line, but his response was a speech for racial harmony in this world. Of course, the flip side is that I was an “ugly American.” Quickly I re-gathered my thoughts as Special J described the end-all be-all at the end of every show.
“We have an as close to death each night with the other bands. We usually win. We are the karate masters, the others are street fighters. They usually fight it out with each others for the best street fighter, then who ever is left is too tired to get us.”
The 2 Skinnee J’s seem to be no strangers to tour antics. “We’ve been doing it [2 Skinnee J’s] for six and a half years, but full-time for four and a half. Yeah, Ramen Noodles are my friends. But we’re eating everyday, so our manager is taking good care for us.”
“So he’s like your pimp?” Can we say digging a grave? “When did the word pimp become cool to use?” asks J. “A word used to describe a man whose job is selling women. He’s much cleaner than a pimp. He takes good care of us.” Oops, but it says a lot about Special J. He’s not afraid to stick up for the wrongs in society. “Actually we have a non-profit organization called ‘Make Us Middle Class in Ninety-Eight’.” Ah he’s got a sense of humor! “It’s not looking too good. We might have to try again in ’99.”
So do you have any hopes, dreams, or aspirations?
I dream to be an international beauty queen.
That would explain the insane press photos.
The first one was kind of lame. Just a band on a couch.
So you’re stuck on a deserted island. I’ll give you food, but what one thing do you have to have? You aren’t allowed other people. I’m making you totally alone.
A good solitaire game, so I guess a champion set of Tiddily Winks.
We’re talking about the rest of your life man, and you want Tidily Winks? That’s the most absurd think I’ve ever heard!
Sounds good to me.
You’re a bore. Well, you’ve got to read?
Yeah. I love Catch 22, but J Guevara reads more than I do.
Ah, so if you had to give up a body part what part would it be?
Ouch! What’s the cut off point? Like a finger, or are we talking about an entire hand?
The whole hand.
Well, I’d have to say lose an ear. Van Gogh style.
From there we started joking and kidding around. It was obvious by the end that we were on the level with each other. It was a “special” moment as Special J said, “If you don’t have humor, what do you have?” We decided money, because we don’t know anyone rich with a sense of humor. The least we can do is make these guys “Middle Class in Ninety-Eight.” Anything else just wouldn’t be civilized!