Sage Francis

January 11th, 2004

Sage Francis

The crazy poet dude talks mullets, era’s, labels and boxes, his bad AOI, Bob Dylan and the future.

What were the most prolific pieces of art across any genre which inspired and motivated you to the extent that you’re doing what you’re doing today?

“I think you are using the word ‘prolific’ in the wrong context. But as for prolific artists, Bob Dylan impresses me with his body of work.  It is artists like him who let me know that music and creativity does not end with one or two albums.”

Are you content being frequently placed in the box labeled ‘spoken word poet’? Which performance poets (past/present) do you most admire and enjoy hearing?

“Patricia Smith of Boston, Jeffrey McDaniel of CA, Taylor Mali of NYC, Buddy Wakefield of Seattle, Sara Holbrook of Cleveland, Kwesi Davis of Providence, Jared Paul of Providence, Bernard Dolan of Providence, and soooooooooooooooo many more.”

You’ve seemingly mastered poetry for the stage. Have you thought about writing for the page and getting some words into print?

“Certainly. There’s no rush on that.  Even if I die before I get around to it, there will be people who transcribe stuff of mine onto page, which will have me turning in my grave I’m sure. But yeah, I plan on doing that sooner than later.”

What has been the most memorable of moments in your career to date? Can you share a little of that experience with us.

“There have been so many. Some I can’t even share yet, for various reasons. Having some of my favorite artists tell me that they love my stuff really blows my mind. I was on stage with KRS One in 1998 and that kind of fucked with my head a bit. Ummm…playing a show for thousands of screaming fans is something I NEVER EVER would have anticipated while writing or recording my songs. It’s like…people are going nuts over diary entries. heh.”

Could you run us through your rock band AOI? What are your thoughts on the ‘nu-metal’ type bands who have been trying to combine rock and rap and the bands from way back such as Body Count and Anthrax that gave it a go?

“AOI isn’t really a rock band. I just dubbed it that so that people wouldn’t bother checking it out. heheh.  But uhhh…AOI is the group of musicians I convened with in 1997 and we tried recording an album.  The best shit that came from that experience was that it helped me adapt to live instruments (which is god damn difficult when you can’t sing.)  And it also pushed me to become innovative with the live show. I loved playing with AOI. They were great sports. I was probably more difficult than it was worth for them. I don’t know.”

Which scene or era apart from your own would you like to have been a part of and why?

“My girlfriend just asked me that today.  I think I would like to have been born in 195o so I could have experienced the beatnik era and then transcend it in the 60’s. And then in the 70’s I could watch it all go to shit and reminisce about how great shit was back in the day. I would be ignoring the birth of punk and hip-hop of course, but thems the breaks. Every era eventually turns blind to innovation.”

What can fans of your work look out for next and when’s it likely to drop? An exclusive on the records name would be great!

“Well, I just compiled the fourth and final installment of the ‘Sick of Waiting’ CD series called Sickly Business. At the same time I compiled a live CD of mine containing mainly recording from my last tour with a live band.  It is called Dead Poet Live Album. Both CDs are being release on my independent label, Strange Famous Records, and will be available for Feb during my Fuck Clear Channel Tour (Sage Francis, Joe Beats, Grand Buffet, Mac Lethal).  But my main focus is on my next solo album which is to come out on Epitaph records. I don’t have a title yet but there are some very interesting things in the works.”

Did you ever have a mullet?

“I certainly did. 4th and 5th grade.  Maybe 6th grade too. No one ever heard of a mullet back then though.”