Archive for the Music Category

10 Questions For Freestyle of the Arsonists

Posted in Archives, Interviews, Music, NY/NJ, Print, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 5, 2017 by Lupa

(I have a lot of material at other blogs and sites.  Some of it is gone forever, some I just need to move over.  This is one of them.  I’m guessing this is from circa 2009.)

10 Questions for Freestyle of the Arsonists

“I love the smell of danger, hearin the word Arsonist ain’t hard to figure yet / Gotta stop smokin MCs, somebody pass me the Nicorette”

If what passes for hip hop nowadays is store bought milk, then the Arsonists are that straight out of the udder, unpasteurized, unhomogenized thick milk i.e. the real shit. It’s not made for strip clubs and it’s not made for the ladies, point blank it’s made for people in the struggle to color their lives.

The Arsonists formed in 1993 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which then was a prime example of urban blight; the streets were awash with drugs and gunplay was common. It is those conditions in which hip hop itself was born. No other type of environment could have breathed life into such a radical art form.

By the mid 90’s the Arsonists had gained local prominence with their single, “The Session.” This paved the way for their debut album, “As The World Burns” (Matador). It’s one of those albums that bumps all the way through in my opinion, just put the disc in and press play, one of those I have to clean the house discs and can’t be bothered to flip through tracks. Bottom line, if you want to listen to real hip hop, the essence type shit, the Arsonists’ music is as good as any place to start. Could they really call themselves the Arsonists if their shit wasn’t fire? Nuff said.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask Freestyle, a founding member of the Arsonists, some questions. Free has rocked the mic with the Arsonists and as a solo performer all over the globe with the likes of many hip hop heavyweights. He also is dedicated and appreciative of his fans, personally responding to every piece of fan mail he receives. He has a solo album due to drop this year.

Lupa: Can you compare and contrast hip hop from when you first started listening to it, to when the Arsonists were first putting out records, to today? What has changed and what has remained constant from your perspective?

Free: OK, that’s a 30 yr span broken into 3. It started out as an all about fun thing, in the streets and at parties, etc. Then when the Arsonists got to it, it was starting to expand worldwide and independent minded people got into it. Now there’s a big divide between commercial and underground, with underground not getting much light & respect at all. At the same time, it’s a lot easier for people to release stuff on their own, but its made things a bit over saturated. Now that anybody can release music, it doeskin take much skill or intelligence to put something out.

To me, probably the only thing that has remained consistent is the fact that hiphop will never die. Everything else has changed and is constantly changing.

Lupa: Do you think there will be a day that Bushwick will become gentrified to the extent other neighborhoods in Brooklyn have, like Williamsburg or Fort Greene?

Free: Of course, no question about that, its just a matter of time. Bushwick wasn’t always what it is now. It changed into what it is now and it’s changing again.

Lupa: What track would you choose to play for someone who has never heard the Arsonists music?

Free: It would be hard for me to play one track being that our songs all came from different angles. You can’t play one song from us that would completely show what we’re about, so I’d play the whole first album, AS THE WORLD BURNS. That would pretty much sum it up.

Lupa: What was it like when you guys signed with Matador? (Matador was and is known for its indie rock, but the Arsonists were the first hip hop group signed to the label.) Was there any apprehension or disagreement amongst the group for that decision instead of going with an established hip hop label?

Free: It was great being signed to Matador, I wish we still were. It was a perfect fit if you ask me. Matador is looked at as obscure and so were we. There were no disagreements or anything. It was all about who could put the music in the fans’ ears and hands.

Lupa: In my experience, music heads almost always have another creative outlet or art form they enjoy as much, if not more, than music. Is that the case for you?

Free: Yep. COMPUTERS! I’ve been into computers since I was a kid and that will never change. I love em both, but music comes first.

Lupa: What are some of your musical influences? What is the shit you bump today? In your opinion, who is the greatest MC and producer of all time?

Free: Soul singers, movies, and my mom. What I bump today? R&B, soul, alternative, and some reggae and Spanish music as well. Alicia Keys is one of my faves at the moment. Greatest MC of all time = Rakim. Producer = DJ Premier.

Lupa: What would someone who is very familiar with your music might be surprised to learn about you?

Free: That I’m so into computers and computer gaming. I do maintenance and fix computers. I’m big on the great outdoors & travel as well.

Lupa: Kennedy, Crown, what’s the difference or neither?

Free: haha! No difference!

Lupa: What’s the last movie you saw in the theaters and what did you think about it?

Free: Avatar, in 2D and 3D, English and French (although I had NO IDEA what they were saying). OFF THE HOOK!

Lupa: When does the new album drop and what are your thoughts on it?

Free: Not sure when, but it will be this year for sure. So far so good, I’m lovin it. I just hope the fans do too.

Many thanks to Freestyle for the interview and you can check out his music at the links below:

(*I updated the links which were non functional at the artist’s request)





What Do Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly & Glenn Beck Have In Common and Why? Lady Gaga Because…

Posted in Hollywood, Music, NY/NJ, Politics, Print, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by Lupa



Poke Her Face

Poke Her Face

A number of well known conservative men have an affection for Lady Gaga. How do I know?  Let’s skip the appetizer and head to dessert, shall we?

On Don Imus’ website is a listing of guests who have provided them with a list of their 5 favorite songs of all time.

Can’t say I’m a fan of the I-Man, but his indelible radio legacy is undisputed.  In any event, assuming this information is accurate, the selections of the individuals are fascinating and ultimately very telling. You can tell a lot by what a person listens to.

Music preference is the number one medium or artform from which some derive their entire identification.  You aren’t what you eat, you’re what you listen to.  Punks, hip hop heads, ravers, jazz heads etc are all collectives based on music preference elevated to a lifestyle.Lady Gaga

I thought it interesting then when going through the list that I saw a song by Lady Gaga among the selections of Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

What is a person who is perhaps the gay community’s favorite artist and advocate doing on the list of the all time favorite songs by some stuffy, older conservative guys?  For context, lets look at these individuals self described 5 favorite songs. (Links source to the Imus lists)

 Donald Trump 

For someone like the Donald, it’s hard to know if he ever does anything sincerely, unless sincerity is what is needed for self aggrandizement.  If this is an honest list I think the most noteworthy thing is that all the songs attempt to express an emotion.  For someone who seems robotic and alien, it puts a human touch on Trump.  You’d think he’d listen to John Cage experimental music or to white noise, but to him it would sound like the Beatles.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill will get you the O, with apparently less

Bill O’Reilly

Bill in contrast to Donald we can say with confidence is a terrestrial human being.  Most of his choices are feel good and upbeat, with the exception of the Elvis song, though it’s not like Kentucky Rain is Seasons In The Sun.  I’m thinking he arrived at this by figuring out what he bumps on his ear buds after hitting the sack drunk on a Saturday while his producer – I mean wife – sleeps next to him.


Guess what I’m gonna do with this finger?

Glenn Beck

Not that I particularly enjoy his picks, but Beck clearly is the biggest music fan of the bunch.  His list is entirely contemporary which might indicate he believes music is getting better as time goes by and that possibly if he were asked in ten years what his favorite tracks are they could be all different.  I think the exclusion of a single song from his youth indicates a bit of fraud however.  Even Trump included a song from the 60’s, which I guess is the farthest back he’s comfortable with being nostalgic, probably because he was still a relative peon then.

What does it all mean?

It certainly is a tad ironic Lady Gaga would show up on these guys’ lists. It’s almost like if Ted Nugent showed up on Rachel Maddow’s list.  I think they genuinely like the songs, but I believe there is a psychological explanation.

The brain can connect the senses with a memory that coincides with when the song was heard.  This can produce vivid memories and intense feelings associated with the song.  It’s why whenever I hear Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue I’m transported in my mind to a random strip club.  I believe all these men use Lady Gaga in the same way, to conjure up a pleasant memory.

They say men are only as faithful as their options, and these guys have a lot of options.  For one they are filthy rich and two they are famous and work in entertainment.  Those two qualities ensure these men’s options will be as prolific as spheres in a ball pit – worldwide day or night; a gold digger can smell money on other planets.

My theory is that Lady Gaga is the favorite artist of these men’s side pieces, aka goomars aka mistresses and as a result they associate Lady Gaga with being knee deep in a 23 year old that without the money and fame would feel awkward shaking hands with them.  Every time they hear these Lady Gaga songs, in their mind they are laying pipe in an exclusive neighborhood when under normal circumstances they would be on Tinder with their college photo talking about their great personality.  Or chilling with wifey, assuming they’d still be married.  Keep in mind the subjects we’re dealing with.

Of course that’s just conjecture as I’m not a mind reader (and I don’t need another day in court).  Occam’s Razor would tell us that removing all assumptions we should take them at their word though that is technically assuming they were being forthright about their favorite songs.  I don’t trust a razor I can’t shave with anyway.

In all fairness these guys distort the truth to millions to the tune (wink) of millions every day for self enrichment and involuntary notoriety interpreted as sanctimony to some, verity to others.  What’s a little marital infidelity in comparison?

While there was no lack of interesting tidbits from Imus’ page, here are a select few:

Chris Christie picked 5 Bruce Springsteen songs.  Ultra fan boy CC couldn’t bring himself to even consider another artist having better songs than Bruce.  I never understood the phenomenon of  getting intensely attached to one group and seeing them play over and over again.  In fairness, he could have done a lot worse.  A lot.  This essentially reveals however that Christie is loyal to what he wants to be, not necessarily what he should be.  I mean, he didn’t even throw in a Southside Johnny song.  Nope.  Every New Year’s Eve Christie cries himself to sleep playing Glory Days.

Cesar MilanDavid Patterson, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace all had Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys.  Andrea Tantaros, Jeanine Pirro and Mike Tyson also listed Jay Z songs.

Hulk Hogan picked three songs by his daughter Brooke.  Yeah OK Hulkster.

One of former Governor Mike Huckabee’s favorite songs is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.  Mike buddy, you DO understand it’s about drugs right?


I Used To Make Music

Posted in Anatomy Of A Beat, I Used To Make Music, It's A Rap!, Music, Print on March 14, 2014 by Lupa

Music was my first love and to some extent will always remain the medium in which I get the most satisfaction.  If I had to choose being blind or deaf, you might see me with dark shades, a stick and an obedient dog, mainly because of music.  Thankfully I’m not aware of any person who was tasked with choosing their own disability, though I am a firm supporter of choice in most situations.  And at least I’d never hand you a card saying I was deaf and needed money…blind and needed money maybe.

Many people I’ve met after I stopped making music are surprised I have the ability to not only produce music, but I can play a few instruments with varying degrees of mediocrity.  Many people who did know me while making  music might be surprised how much effort I had to put in.  As much as I loved music, in comparison with others that I felt were equally or superior skilled than I, it just seemed easier for them.  After that realization, and of course the reality of the music industry being a shady, cutthroat place where style is often and usually valued over and rewarded handsomer than substance, I knew I would never want to be in an arena in which I didn’t feel that my supremacy and domination of others would be hindered by something as trite as inferiority, or rather perhaps an inferiority complex.  As if.

Everything is more enjoyable when you are good at it and it comes easy.  All the talk of practice makes perfect is great, but limitations are limitations and getting to a professional level is highly and deceptively laborious unless you have natural talent, with no assurances that reaching that level will even get you paid.  Also worth noting is that in today’s music world those limitations are often dictated by your music budget.  The reality is many people make it in music simply because someone else realized they could make money off them and in order to attract that you need to move in ways I find anathema.  You’ve got to play a role, whether thats you or not.  There’s a reason a lot of musicians get into acting, its because they ARE actors.

Still I managed to make a lot stuff I really like to this day, stuff that I would objectively listen to had another person made it, even if some of the quality is a bit low fi (cough, shitty).  I’m going to take this moment to post some of my favorite compositions with a little story on each.  It’ll be an ongoing thing…

I Have The Power

I Have The Power

This track has samples many will recognize, mainly from He-Man and Heathcliff.  “Blankito’s Way” was like my trademark on something.  Most of these were made after I moved to the Bronx, and that’s where Blankito was born.  This isn’t like some Eminem/Slim Shady thing though where I consider him an alter ego/different person; more mainly one of my split personalities.

I pitched one of the Heathcliff samples up a couple octaves and layered it on top of the original in the second verse, though it appears in the first.  This technique of pitching samples up I’ve heard started with Prince Paul, but it was the RZA who popularized it.  Kanye West used this technique numerous times earlier in his career.

For those not music compositionally inclined, an octave is like any given note’s sibling, it is the same note simply at its next chronological place on the scale.  In Western music, there are many tones but only 12 notes (including sharps and flats) which repeat endlessly, though we are limited to our own hearing (20-20K Hz).  This is because the Western scale is based in semi tones; I understand much Eastern music is based in quarter tones and those instruments have notes a guitar or piano can’t go without manipulating one of the 12 notes it does have.

To hear an octave go to any keyboard and hit a white key.  Count 8 times going consecutively and exclusively on white keys in either direction and you have that note’s octave.  If  you were to count all the keys you passed (including the black sharps and flats) you’d have 12 keys.  Each octave is double or half the the original frequency, e.g. middle C = 260 Hz, the next C up is 520 HZ, down 130Hz.  Octave relationships are perhaps the easiest to audibly recognize.

The drum/sample sequencing was done in Reason, but I cut the samples in Cubase.  Most of these samples I found on you tube and put a mic to the speaker to get.  When I sat down I just wanted to make a hot breakbeat type instrumental only with samples.  It was kind of like a test to see if I could make something I thought I might hear someone I liked trying to do the same thing.  I think it came out well.

A Moment Like This

A Moment Like This

This is another one where I had a goal in mind going in which usually I didn’t: mix samples with midi.  The main samples are from an acapella version of Kelly Clarkson’s song of the same name, when she singed it on American Idol in rehearsal before she won.  I also use a vocal sample from This Old Heart of Mine by the Isley Brothers.  The rest are synths I played in real time (as you can hear).

Killin MCs

Killin MCs

I didn’t think much of this one when I made it, I had actually planned to give it away to someone as charity.  As any halfway decent producer will tell you, when  you can make beats, rappers come out of the woodwork like roaches in the spring.  Not that I blame them, but from a producer’s perspective we want to get paid.  We understand you, the rapper/artist, believes you are the best.  That’s probably how you need to operate in that realm.  Unfortunately there’s a reason some guys bum for beats and others that producers will seek out to really do their work justice.  Just because a producer isn’t referred to as “the artist”, the producer is an artist every bit as much as the performer, at times more so.

It ended up getting recorded, which I did, as well as mixed, in our 4th floor walkup with what I had available.  I had WAVS of the other two I only have an MP3 of this, I wish I could find a non compressed version which has to be somewhere.  While it’s in Spanish, I recommend you learn or get your Spanish speaking friend to tell you it’s hot.  There’s also some backstory to all these people which I’ll omit, but I’ll say everyone was trying to outdo each other.  This is straight South BX Rican street shit, I’m not surprised at all by the direction they took it.  The beat is much like the atmosphere of where we were: dark, repetitive, sparse, dissonant.  These simple two bar loops can be a dream for a MC though, DJ Premier has a boatload of two bar riffs which are deceptively simple but allow an MC to really get in, not that I am comparing this or anything I’ve done to his work.

Burn It Up Remix

Burn It Up Remix

Last one for now…

This is a remix of the R. Kelly, Wisin & Yandel song.  I sampled La Bamba by Jose Feliciano and slowed down the tempo.


Curtis Sliwa On Loving EDM, NYC Clubs of the 70’s and Raving in 80’s London

Posted in Curtis Sliwa, Interview, Interviews, Law & Order, Legends of NYC, Music, NY/NJ, Print, Radio, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Lupa
You heard it here first...

You heard it here first…

Curtis Sliwa, former night manager of a Bronx McDonald’s turned founder of the crime patrol group The Guardian Angels, longtime conservative radio host and victim of a botched Gambino crime family hit allegedly on the orders of John Gotti Jr, has decided to come out of the closet to the Lupa Cartel as a full fledged member of… dance culture????

In an exclusive interview Curtis recounts his love of music, specifically dance music, which endures to this day.  Directly following the interview is a playlist made by Curtis with some of his favorite tracks.

Curtis’ detractors will no doubt be inclined to view these surprising, hard to believe admissions as some sort of scheme to stay relevant and believe it to be a figment of what many say is Curtis’ wild imagination (like Curtis has ever made something up).   To that I can confidently call BS and I offer this as evidence pointing to his early progressive nature.

As recounted by former Sopranos actor Carl Capotorto (Little Paulie), whom Curtis managed when he worked at the McDonald’s in the Fordham section of the Bronx, Curtis officiated what was possibly New York’s first gay marriage ceremony in the Soundview projects including his account of Curtis’ rather animated disco dancing during the reception.  In 2014 it’s questionable if you can do a gay marriage ceremony in a Bronx project without some issue.  In 1977 I imagine it very well could have gotten someone killed.

Curtis at the party following the gay wedding he officiated in the BX

Curtis at the party following the gay wedding he officiated in the BX.  Either Curtis just stepped out of a sauna or he was bustin moves on the floor.  For the record, Bronx projects don’t have saunas,  unless you count lack of AC.

Keeping that third party account in mind, it should compel any cynic to take the following at face value: Curtis was a dance machine before it had acceptance in Canarsie, the heavily guido neighborhood in Brooklyn he grew up in.  I’m not talking about Snookie, Paulie D, Jersey Shore guido either.  I’m talking O.G., original guido; a time when a man simply dancing could be interpreted as a homosexual act, or in their parlance being “half a fag.”

Lupa:  What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

Curtis: When I was a young little huckleberry naturally radio – the old style radio – was the only kind of music to listen to.  I listened to WWRL which is R&B on the AM dial, sampled WMCA which was breaking Top 40, WINS which is all news now would also break a little Top 40.  Never listened to WABC because it only played the Top 40, but I loved R&B and WWRL was the place to go.

Lupa:  And this was in the 60’s…

Curtis:  This was in the 60’s and naturally everything from Sinatra to Dean Martin, which I didn’t like, but it was part of the Italian culture growing up, and then all other songs in between from The Monkees to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones.  The Stones caught my attention and then eventually when it came to hard rock The Who and Led Zeppelin.  But it was really R&B that always held sway, so Sly Sylvester Stewart and the Family Stone was my all time favorite at the time but there were other groups.  I would listen to War, Tower of Power, groups that weren’t necessarily at the top of the charts, but when given the choice to watch Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and Don Cornelius’ Sooooooouuuuuullllll Train, it was Soul Train that I watched over and over and over again and I would dis and dismiss Dick Clark and American Bandstand.

Curtis as a teenage meeting the biggest Dick to ever occupy the Whitehouse.  This was after being selected Newpaper Boy of the Year for his part in rescuing a family from a burning building while on his route for the NY Daily News

Curtis as a teenager meeting the biggest Dick to ever occupy the Whitehouse. This was after being selected Newspaper Boy of the Year for his part in rescuing a family from a burning building while on his route for the NY Daily News.  Look at that jacket!

Lupa:  So when disco came along, the dance music of the 70’s, were you into that also?

Curtis:  I was totally into disco, but I didn’t just discard like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which was my favorite rock/folk music group, cause I like that genre too.  But when given the choice I much preferred to go dancing late at night because that’s what the ladies liked and when you grew up in Canarsie, or you went to East New York or Brownsville or places like that most guys were gavones. They didn’t want to get up and dance.

There were three types of guys A. the sitters, the guys who would sit or stand and stand and glare, B. the guys who were waiting for the slow jams so they could grind on the dance floor and cop a feel.  That didn’t require any great skill level.  C. the guys who liked to step out and do the hustle.  So if you had any kind of fluid motion, if you could churn and turn a young lady on the dance floor, if you could twist and just bend, the ladies were queuing up to dance with you because all the gavones, all the Italian stallions, were sitting on the sidelines thinking that was totally unmacho.  And this was before Saturday Night Fever and John Travolta so I got into the dance mode very early in my growth period.

Lupa:  How accurate would you say Saturday Night Fever was in representing that time, place and culture?

Curtis:  Oh yeah, Saturday Night Fever was very, very accurate at sort of bringing together the street and the culture because Travolta wasn’t a hitter, he wasn’t a member of organized crime, he was a pretender, a poser as a tough guy.  You punch Travolta in the face and he would have had an immediate mental collapse because remember, it was all about his look.  It was all about him primping up like he was a peacock.  But his ability on the dance floor was what I would always seek to achieve but then again remember, there were other dance styles incorporated by blacks and Hispanics.  So you had the robot that blacks loved to do at the time, the Patty Duke, the bus stop, the hustle obviously which was more in line with what you saw in Saturday Night Fever, but then salsa and merengue.  So I dabbled in a little bit of everything.  Often times I just created my own dance steps.  I would go when I was a night manager at Mickey D’s in the Bronx and close at 2 in the morning and go to the late night red light clubs, the illegal clubs.

Whoever photoshops a picture of Curtis' head onto Travolta from Saturday Night Fever wins a special prize... free access to this website!

Whoever photoshops a picture of Curtis’ head onto Tony Manero wins a special prize… free access to this website!

Lupa:  What were the names of some of them?

Curtis:  There were no names!  They were illegal joints.  Sometimes they would move from place to place.  They didn’t have liquor licenses.  Everything was supposed to be closed by 2, they were open til 6, 7 in the morning.  It was an eclectic mix of people on the fringes of society.  Drug dealers, gangbangers, heterosexual couples who had already been at regular clubs.  A tremendous eclectic mix.

A lot of times they were frequented by these big bull dagger lesbian women with their… females who were – the best way to describe them at that time – is that they were young ladies who were intimidated by men, they had had bad experiences with men, but they loved music, they loved dancing, they were there with the bull daggers – clearly lesbians – but they hadn’t sort of lost the attraction to guys.  So I would be there to try to pick off what they called at the time “fag hags.”  These were young ladies intimidated by heterosexual men, probably because they had been battered, bruised and taken advantage of.  Because I could dance so well often times I would attract them out to the dance floor, have great conversations with them, until all of a sudden a woman would step in between wearing construction boots and telling me to mind my P’s and Q’s and I knew it was time to do the bird.

Lupa:  What about the mainstream clubs like Studio 54?

Curtis:  No, I would have never have been chosen because I smelled like a McDonald’s french fry and hamburgers at 2 in the morning.  I was low budget.  These were clubs where there was a lot of illegal activity going on, illegal drugs, it wasn’t part of my thing.  Guns.  All kinds of vices going on in the back rooms.  I was there to DANCE.  I mean, I was like a Whirling Dervish.  From the time that I got in there at 3 in the morning till the break of dawn at 6 in the morning, that’s all I was doing, dancing.  Not with guys.  Just looking for females to dance with and there were lots, cause again, a lot of women would show up, they would be good dancers, hardcore lesbians, but they would see I was the only one out there on the dance floor.  They didn’t mind doing the boogaloo, the bump, all kinds of dances they probably wouldn’t have normally engaged a heterosexual male in.

Lupa:  In the 80’s came the rise of techno, house music, rave parties.  I understand you went to a rave in England?

Curtis:  I was over in England to bring the concept of the Guardian Angels to the West Indian Caribbean community of which most lived in council estates.  I was over in the Wandsworth section of South London, and I had gotten stabbed up while making a presentation to their youth by their youth supervisors all of whom were working what they call the dole.  20 hours of work as counselors, then they would get put on the dole and they were all working off the books at The Fridge which was a club in the south end of London, a notorious club, very rough.  After I got stabbed up and I was recovering from multiple wounds to my mouth I was still trying to develop the Guardian Angels and people said “if you want a lot of young people, you gotta to go to a rave.”

Lupa:  What year was this?

Curtis:  I’d say ’87, ’88, ’89 somewhere in that time period.  So I said “what’s a rave?”  They’d say it’s a collection of young people, they get together usually in warehouses or community rooms in council estates and they just play music nonstop.  There’ll be sweating and the atmosphere will be almost putrid because of all the body smells, but the music is great, the lights are dimmed and it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced over in the States.

So I walked in one time to what had originally been a factory of some type, I think spinning wool, all the machinery was down and off in the corner there were like hundreds of these people sweating. You could smell the body odor because they had obviously been out on the dance floor for hours but they were like in a trance.  They were like Whirling Dervishes.  I loved the pulsating sound of the music.  I loved the way they would segue way from song to song after long periods of time.  This isn’t like disco where you’d have a three minute song and then they would try and merge into a different song.  Some of these songs would go on for a half hour!   The beats would change but it would still pretty much be the same song.  Then it would have the urge to merge with another song and I fell in love with what was rave music.  There was nothing like it back in the States.  Nothing I could find on the radio, certainly nothing like this I could find in the underground.

Curtis and The Guardian Angels outside the Bronx McDonald's Curtis worked at in the 70's and started The Guardian Angels

Curtis and The Guardian Angels outside the Bronx McDonald’s where Curtis worked at in the 70’s and started The Guardian Angels

Lupa: Didn’t you have a responsibility to try and shut them down or call the cops?

Curtis:  Well actually I felt an identification with the ravers because they were ostracized, they were like nomads, Bedouins, they had to move from place to place.  They had to squat on property.  The bobbies, if they knew of their existence, would have put them out of existence but they were curmudgeons, crabby crumb cakes.  They were out of it.  So I really identified with all the rave people.

Now a lot of them they were in a drug induced psychosis.  Special K, ecstasy they were all emerging and they were taking drugs to enhance the experience.  To me it was like a natural mood elevator.  To this day when I need extra energy I’ll put on techno music, house music, rave music, play it over and over.  People here at WABC where I’m broadcasting once again will tell you about times where they would come in at 3, 4 in the morning when I was doing the morning show and they would be blasted off the foundations listening to this rave music coming from the office and that would be the way I would pump up before the show cause I had only had 2, 3 hours sleep.

Lupa:  Have you ever heard of PLUR?  Peace, love, unity, respect?  It’s like a rave mantra.

Curtis:  No, and in fact if you were to ask me the names of my favorite songs or the DJ’s who were actually responsible for putting together the music and the groups, I would be able to identify them by the sound of the songs but not by acronyms or terminology or groups that would get together.  I’m very much what you could call a free agent.  I love all this music and I think it surprises people, as I approach 60 years old, that I would be into techno, rave, dance music of this type that goes on and on and on till the break of dawn.  In fact, there have been periods where people have left me, come back two, three hours later and they say “are you still playing that same song?”  Cause all I would do is play it over and over again.  I would have it on rewound (sic) and that would be the only song cause I would like completely bug out to it.

Lupa:  What’s the final thing you’d like to say to anyone that had no idea you were into this kind of music?

Curtis:  Not only was I so into it and still am, but I remember this past summer when they were conducting the Electrical (sic) Daisy Carnival on Randall’s Island (*I had previously misinformed Curtis it was EDC when it was Electric Zoo) that was supposed to go three days but they had to cut it short, that when I was coming over the Triborough Bridge going from Manhattan, Harlem to Queens and I heard the music and I saw the lights pulsating down there on Randall’s Island and the bodies just moving in tandem.  I told the Guardian Angels “PULL OVER TO THE SIDE!  PULL OVER!  I NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS!”  I must have been there for a half hour just grooving.  And it was European DJ’s that were dominating, there’s no doubt. As much as I want America to be #1, second to none, when it comes to rave, house, techno, dance music, the Europeans dominate.

Curtis & Kuby

Below you will find a playlist Curtis made of some of his favorite techno, EDM, whatever you call it songs, with some commentary on each track. Make sure and listen to Curtis back on the air with acclaimed attorney Ron Kuby 12-3P Mon-Fri on 77 WABC in NYC and you can find the stream at WABC or the I Heart Radio app.  Besides having a great show with great chemistry, Ron also happens to be The Dude Jeff Lebowski’s legal counsel of choice!

Above & Beyond ft Richard Bedford – Sun & Moon 

Curtis:  This is so appropriate to house/techno music cause you could start when there was sun shining out and play this song till the moon was shining and then until the sun came out again.  Ohhhh, then it just gets into that nice little slow move and then just breaks wild again.

BT & Andrew Bayer – The Emergency

Curtis:  Emergency.  It’s my entire life, emergency, one big 9-1-1 call responding.  I love the flow of the music here because it has the urge to merge.  So if you’re on the dance floor this is where you get up tight, close and like really, really personal.

Ercola – Every Word

Curtis:  These… songs… are the bomb!  It’s OK when a guy sings it but when you hear that female voice vibrate through both your ears.  Then you start listening to the strains and pains in her voice and the anguish of the song.  You just melt, and you imagine she’s melting right into your arms.

Freemasons ft Wynter Gordon – Believer

Curtis:  One of my all time favorite techno/house songs because I fancy myself as a true believer and people who would be out on the dance floor after 4, 5 hours they’re true believers in the music cause it requires the flow to just pump through every vein and artery in your body.  When this song comes on, knock out the lights.

Kaskade – Angel On My Shoulder

Curtis:  Ohhhh, it’s like you’re just floating, from the subways to the streets, and the name of the song definitely attracted me.  Angel On My Shoulder.  Since I created the Guardian Angels it is so appropriate that music like this would be pulsating through my cerebellum and medulla when I would board that number 4 train, that mugger’s express.

Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas (Manhattan Clique Remix)

Curtis:  Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.  I go with the Gaga goo goo girl except when it comes to this song Waking Up In Las Vegas.  Anyone who has ever been to that town where the former mayor said “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” knows why her pitch and rhythm fits this city like a finely tuned glove.

Kim Sozzi – Secret Love

Curtis:  Listen to how Kim Sozzi’s voice just jumps from octave to octave and it’s almost like you can imagine yourself chasing her out on the dance floor.  And this is live and local.  She’s a Long Island girl, so she’s got everything the 5 boroughs is comprised of.  She could have been on the BQE heading in to a club in Brooklyn or Queens to sing this very song.

Maniacalm ft LALA – Never Forget You

Curtis:  THIS.  IS.  THE.  BOMB!  This is dedicated to every girl that I had to be extricated from on the dance floor.  Either because, feet don’t fail me now, I gotta get outta here before her boyfriend gives me a beatdown and his friends gather round.  Or it was just getting too hot, too heavy and either the woman knew it was time to turn off the faucet or I’d recognize it was time to take a coooooooold shower.

Happy Courtney Love Day!

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on April 5, 2011 by Lupa

17 years ago today Courtney Love got away with murder, though in retrospect it really isn’t that hard to pin suicide on someone so whiny. 

For those of you who believe in heaven, Kurt is there shooting junk, smoking cigarettes, never taking showers and complaining about something.

I personally think his best work was ahead of him, but we’ll never know, and this is why today is Courtney Love Day.

Gay DJ Just Play This Song…

Posted in Music, NY/NJ, Society with tags , , , , on April 5, 2011 by Lupa


So apparently the rumor of Mr. Cee doing a Vito Spatafore is true.

Makes you wonder what Biggie REALLY had to do to get his demo heard. 

New nicknames for Mr. Cee?

Mr Ceemen, Mr Cock (obviously, derrrr), Mr (Boy) Copulation, Mr. Cum, Mr. Cee Me Naked Nigga… 

Could this be anymore precious though.  In the Village?  I mean, that’s like hanging out at the precinct to avoid being labeled a snitch.

Maybe this will embolden Kanye to come out of the closest because I don’t believe for a second his fruity ass has never had his back blown out.

The “Born This Way” Defense

Posted in Hollywood, Music, NY/NJ, Society with tags , , , on February 14, 2011 by Lupa

Besides being the current song of choice to kickstart meth fueled gay orgies from the Village to San Fransisco, the new Lady Gaga single Born This Way also has dramatic legal implications.

It could not have been anticipated by even the dregs who live and breathe Lady Gaga, but it seems a new legal defense strategy has been pioneered inspired by Lady Gaga called the Born This Way Defense.

It’s beauty and effectiveness is it’s simplicity.  A defendant at the start of trial invokes the Born This Way defense.  That’s at.  Why does it work?

Have you heard the lyrics?

I’m beautiful in my way
Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way

That’s right.  God makes no mistakes.  Lady Gaga said it.  Case dismissed, defendant was Born This Way

The words themselves are a generic pile of shit, but somehow when Lady Gaga sings them they become ultrapowerful and transcendent. 

Clearly not any attempt to pander at her gay base, the cutting edge Lady Gaga is clearly on the right track.  It’s not like her music hasn’t been done before and really is nothing special at all. 

The fact is, she’s just too real.  Living in the gentrified Lower East Side can really change a little monster.  That’s her power.  There are no smoke and mirrors tricks in which you believe her music to be anything new by wearing meat dresses or trash bag panties.  Lady Gaga’s music really is substantially and inherently better than Britney Spears’ music. 

My personal favorite is Alejandro because I think it’s a song about me.  In fact, I happen to know I am that Alejandro.  “Hot like Mexico.”  That’s me.  That’s my name and that’s where I was born.  Call it a wrap.

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