Somewhere between performing on stage, signing autographs, doing a nationwide tour and ogling over Blue Russian cats, Super Water Sympathy’s guitarist Clyde Hargrove had time to talk to me about recording their album in England, space exploration and the bands affinity with cilantro and lime juice. Bottoms up.
How was the English experience?
CH: England was awesome. We tracked 12 songs with Cam Blackwood (Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, Morrissey) and we were really happy with the way it turned out and just really excited about releasing the album. I think it made our music more well rounded.
Every group or band has a wide ranging dynamic, who would you say is the most responsible person in the band for you guys while on tour?
CH: The most responsible person is Billy.
Why is that?
CH: He’s like the organizer and the administrator. He pays attention to the small stuff that nobody wants to do like calendar dates and times. You know, stuff that artist usually don’t pay attention to.
If Super Water Sympathy had fragrance, what would it smell like?
CH: Cilantro and lime juice.
That’s really specific.
CH: I believe, so does the rest of the band, that cilantro and limes awakens the senses and brings out the more universal approach to life.
Late-night band story that you hope never gets out
CH: Probably when we were in some town in Indiana and Billy had too much to drink and he went swimming in a freezing pond.
CH: I like to look at Blue Russian cats a lot before I play. I am obsessed with Blue Russians. I think Ryan believes in chain smoking, Ansley believes in tequila, and Billy has a cat named Molly and that’s his go-to person. It’s kind of strange, but you develop weird habits on the road.
What should your fans in Dallas expect from the concert?
CH: That we believe in space exploration and that we are here to make music to make you feel like you are exploring space.
True comedy doesn’t exist in your comfort zone. It resides in places that are often too taboo to speak of or too sensitive to touch. You have to be imaginative, immutable, and possess a flawless pair of shiny brass ones that give you the strength to make people laugh about subjects that most won’t even talk about. Real comedy is for the fearless. 23-year-old John “Spoken Reasons” Baker has a disposition. Being off-the-cuff and genuine has placed this young in age entertainer on the brink of greatness in 2013 and gotten him wedged in a the middle of a Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy sandwich in Paul Feig’s new cop comedy The Heat. However, his ascent wasn’t via elevator. He climbed the ranks by amassing close to 200 million views on YouTube with his satirical assertions on everyday life situations (and some not so everyday life situations), as well as, his spoken word poetry week-after-week mastering his timing and delivery. His respect was earned not given. So now the future comedic giant with the work ethic of an Egyptian putting the finishing touches on the pyramids, who wears his heart on his sleeve has found himself one step away from being the next great actor, comedian, poet, speaker, thinker, everything. Listen up world. Spoken Reasons has something to say.
What was it like when you first got the phone call saying you got the part in the movie?
SR: It wasn’t surprising. It was more of a next level challenge. I signed with my agent [UTA] on a Wednesday in May and about two or three days later I went to New York and then to Orlando and they told me I had a casting call for Sandra Bullock in The Heat and they told me to put myself on tape. I told them no I didn’t want to put myself on tape so I paid $1500 for two tickets flew overnight to LA. I went to a friend of mine named Page Kennedy (Blue Mountain State) and he showed me how to strengthen myself [for the audition] and the next day I went in an killed it. So it was more of a challenging feeling than an exciting one.
If you had to choose out of acting, stand-up comedy, your YouTube videos or poetry, what brings you the biggest sense of satisfaction from your audience?
SR: That’s a hard one. I really can’t pick and say which one gives me my biggest satisfaction because when you say videos, spoken word, or comedy they all go hand-in-hand. I always use them together. Say for instance I am doing my YouTube videos – I may also being doing spoken word or if I am doing stand-up comedy…when I’m on stage I’m not just doing comedy. I am also doing spoken word and playing piano. So all of them together bring me a sense of satisfaction because I am able to incorporate my different talents into one. I can’t see myself doing one without the other because I feel like it would take away from who I am.
Normally everyone will ask what’s some of the best advice you were ever given, but what was the worst?
SR: Hmmm. I want to say that the worst advice that I have ever received was “stop doing videos, you’re wasting time.” That was the worst, but I wouldn’t say that was advice [laughing]. Or maybe it was advice, it just was advice from someone who didn’t believe in me. Now I pretty much surround myself with a good, solid circle. But if I had to say who has given me some good advice it would be Roy [Wood, Jr.]. He gave me a lot of advice as far as staying levelheaded and to stay true to my own road in this industry.
One thing for 2013 to knock off your bucket list
SR: I want to get a starring role in a movie. I have a medium role in The Heat so my goal for 2013 is to land a starring role in a movie with an A-List actor. On my bucket list in life I want to be a starring role with Will Smith
Biggest blessing in the past year
SR: It’s pretty much crazy. I have had 13 jobs since I was 13 years old and I always have a goal every single year. My goal in 2011 was to quit my 9-to-5 and in 2012 I wanted to be able to support not only myself but my family and my team members financially by becoming my own boss and land a movie role. I didn’t know how I was going to be in a movie. I didn’t know I was going to sign with an agent. It just kind of happened out of nowhere. But the biggest blessing has been spreading the message because that’s all in my name Spoken Reasons. So I got everything that I wanted this past year. My whole goal in the first place was to create a large audience that would accept me and allow me to say whatever I wanted to say, when I want to say it and how I want to say it. Getting people to listen to you instead of avoiding you is the greatest blessing you can ever have.
Yep, there’s no doubt about it the Lakers have hit a definite pothole on the road to success. Suddenly the yellow in their uniforms isn’t as bright, the purple not as deep – teams seem not to fear seeing them on the schedule. Forget the NBA and nevermind the Western Conference; it appears that the Lakers are no longer even the best team in their own zip code. And all of this has transpired while under the watchful eye of Kobe Bean Bryant. For the moment at, the Black Mamba appears to have been snake charmed.
The rough start to the season could be just what we need to see one of the league’s all-time great players reemerge with a vengeance of sorts. A last hoorah so to speak. Wouldn’t that be a story for the books, the battle ravaged warrior with more past behind him than future in front of him rallying the troops to victory? Stories that good are normally reserved for the etchings of pyramid walls. If any man could do it, Kobe can. But the odds are indeed stacked against him. His team at this point lacks focus and cohesion. Newcomers struggle to find purpose and veterans grow anxious of the location of the guillotine’s next plummet. Throw the fans longing for Phil Jackson into the mix and you have what may resemble a hopeless situation.
New head coach Mike D’Antoni has inherited the best job in sports and staying above water will consist of more than just staying above .500. He has to summon the energies of Lakers past to control his L.A. future. D’Antoni must be able to ignite their passion for play like Riley and calm their minds like Jackson all while maintaining a sense of self and make his own mark. But it can’t be done without Kobe. The 14-time All- Star has to buy into D’Antoni’s system, as well as, his personality 100 percent. As the Mamba goes, so go the Lakers. That purple and gold bravado is all hinged on Bryant believing in his coach. Gasol’s fear that he would be shipped off to some distant land before the trade deadline will diminish. Nash’s pace will steady and he will perfect his role. Howard will again become a force to be reckoned with instead of GM Mitch Kupchak’s most expensive Christmas ornament and Metta Wold Peace will out rebound the rest of the league. Unfortunately, they are a long way from believing.
Upcoming games against the practice squads of the NBA (Cavs, Wizards, Sixers) should give them just what they need to gel and rebuild their confidence win-by-win – either that or this tidal wave of calamity will wash them so far out to sea that they will have drifted past the horizon never to be seen again. It inevitably comes down to decisions. Who will D’Antoni be in the locker room? Will they choose to trust each other?
A foolish gambler would count them out magnify their shortcomings and dismiss their advantages – a large one being a leader who has amassed 30,000 points and counting, five World Championships and has an insatiable hunger to win. Beaten, battered, but not broken and shaken, startled, but not sunk. The Lakers should heed this as an S.O.S. moment (Save Our Season) sound the alarm and awaken the survival instincts within or risk being dragged down to the depths below by a Kraken of their own creation and find themselves in Davy Jones’ locker of lost seasons.