Sunday, October 21, 2007

KOOL KEITH: AUTOPSY, DEF LEPPARD AND SPAZZ??!?

I used to play in a hardcore band called Spazz. We were around from 1993-2000 and put out a ton of records and played a bunch of shows. We recorded our 2nd album, "La Revancha", in 1997 which had a drop by Kool Keith on it. It totally bugged everyone out at the time (including myself) and I'm constantly asked to tell the story how it all came about so I figured I'd write it up here and give you all the real deal.

Spazz was heavily inspired by the underground hip hop explosion of the 90's. Hirax Max (drums) and I were avid listeners of college radio mix shows and I was DJing and collecting hip hop 12 inches and making beats much to the chagrin of some die hard punks. If you check out our lyrics there's tons of references to old hip hop tracks and we even named our 3rd album "Crush Kill Destroy" as an homage to Organized Konfusion homaging the MC's Ultra. I can safely say I was listening to a lot more hip hop than hardcore while we were doing the band.
Our friend Neil was a childhood friend of Dan The Automator and had met Keith with took a trip with Dan out to NY. Neil told of Keith's infamous peep show and video arcade route and told us Keith's pockets were bulging with change ready to begin the trek. He even brought Max back a signed promo poster for the "Four Horsemen" LP. I was jealous. One night, Max calls me up and says Neil had just called him to see if we wanted to meet Kool Keith up in SF. Max had school or something so he called me and said I should call Neil back ASAP. I called Neil, got directions and in my haste grabbed my recently purchased "Basement Tapes" LP that happened to be sitting out Keith was in town recording the Dr. Octagon LP at Dan's parent's house. I drove up to SF, met Neil in front of the house and we ended up chillin' in Dan's room while they were working on "Girl Let Me Touch You", waiting for them to take a break. The finished their take and emerged Keith emerged from the makeshift vocal booth. We chopped it up a bit and I showed him the "Basement Tapes" LP and he got pretty bummed. He asked where I got it and he said Ced was doing all sorts of shit with their material and he had no say in any of it. I told him where I picked it up and he asked Dan if they could go there tomorrow so he could buy one. Then he reached down beside Dan's bed and pulled out this huge blue duffle bag. "Do you like Max Hardcore?" he asked as he unzipped the bag which was stuffed full of VHS porno tapes. He started pulling out different tapes and talking about him. We talked porn for a minute. Somehow we started talking about metal bands (I think Neil told Keith he should check out Spazz or something). "Do you like Gorefest?" he asked. I told him they were alright "Do you like Autopsy?" I told him of course and that I knew one of those dudes. Keith was pumped. I told him I had a tape of the record we were working on and The Automator threw it in so we could check it out. Keith was bugging out on it. He asked if I could do that same guitar sound on the record they were working on. I said no problem and told him I would get in touch with them tomorrow. I asked Keith if he could do a shout out for us and we would put it on the record. Automator flipped the tape over and recorded Keith's drop that you hear on "La Revancha".

The next day I called the phone number Automator had given me to figure out if and when I could go back up to the studio and do some guitar. I never got through and they never called me back. "Andy Boy" is credited as playing guitar on the track and while I cannot confirm or deny it, Neil told me it was Andy from Attitude Adjustment. I was happy enough to chill with Keith and get that drop. To this day, it has to be one of the most bonkers hardcore / hip hop crossovers in the history of music. The Judgement Night soundtrack has nothin' on this!
A few days later Neil called and told us that Keith had mentioned Spazz in one of his new rhymes. What the fuck??? We never thought it would see the light of day until we heard "I'm Destructive". Holy shit! The line taken almost word for word from the conversation Keith and I had that night. And then Dr. Octagon drops and completely blows up, etc, etc. I'm not sure how many people who were listening to Spazz were also listening to Ultramagnetic at the time. but it seemed that EVERYONE was listening to the Dr. Octagon LP. A lot of people were catching the Spazz reference and asking us about it. I'm not sure if Keith ever got a copy of "La Revancha" (I'm still holding one for you, man), but I hope someone has played it for him at some point. It's one of my favorite records we recorded and I'm stoked to have a hip hop legend on it. Yeah, I know that this post is on some fanboy ish, but it's Poppa Large; the one, Rhythm X; KOOL MOTHERFUCKIN' KEITH!!

Dr. Octagon - I'm Destructive (Dreamworks, 1996)

Kool Keith - I'm Fuckin' Flippin' (Tuff City,1994)

Kool Keith & TR Love - Live at the 1990 Zulu Nation Anniversary (taken from Edan's Sound of the Funky Drummer mix)


10 comments:

luke said...

your blog fucking rulez, people need to read this shit

Douglas said...

Awesome! I felt like I was magically transported to the late 90's just by reading that. Now if someone could just clear up the mystery of how Hellnation got Max Hardcore to drop a load on their "Chaos Days" LP...

cullen stalin said...

I have always loved this story! Now who knows the story behind Sick of It All and KRS-One?

Vinnie said...

I always wondered about this. Kool Keith is so sick...I can't remember the song but I remember as a kid having my mind-blown, seeing an Ultramagnetic MC's with who I think was Keith in mirror-plated shades, bound in a straight-jacket. Freaky shit.

smurph said...

Wow, I never knew that before... crazy.

Awesome J said...

word. i remember me asking and you telling me about this one night after a Spazz show in Tennessee.

I was so stoked on meeting you guys and staying up all night talking. I still got one of your old beat tapes you gave me that night.

I think Spazz and Kool Keith were the most important music to me around that time. Matter of fact they still are.

great blog. i will definitely be skatin thru to see whats on your mind dude.

Aesop said...

Thanks for that story.

RyGar said...

Wow, I figured he had just opened up a zine and chosen three names at random. Nice bit of trivia, though I guess meeting Kool Keith is hardly trivial.

Genghis aka Geng-Grizzly said...

Ha! I'm about to do a quick post about your "old band" and I'm linking this...as well as adding your blog to my super fresh links...

purpletapepedigree.blogspot.com

Peace.

Geng

Joao Coleman said...

so rad, this just blew my mind considering i play punk and grind but mainly listen to hip hop. word, love spazz, kool keith! sepcially SEX STYLLLE.