photo courtesy of Mischa Richter Gil Scott-Heron
This week, Steve Almond talks with legendary poet / spoken-word artist / musician / proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron, who granted us a rare interview to discuss his latest album, I'm New Here. Here's an excerpt of the chat:
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It's not hard to find recent evidence of those demons in Scott-Heron's biography. Twice in the past decade he's done time in Rikers Island, once for cocaine possession, once for a parole violation. In fact, the very conception of I'm New Here began behind bars. "Richard Russell came to see me in jail," Scott-Heron explains by phone from his Harlem apartment. "I didn't know him, but... he told me what he had in mind, and I said, 'Congratulations. I'm glad to meet somebody who has something in mind.'"
At this, Scott-Heron lets out a burst of muddy laughter. For a man who was imprisoned for possessing a small amount of cocaine, he sounds surprisingly unbitter. "We all do things that we shouldn't, that society disapproves of," he observes matter-of-factly. "Hell, that's a fine American tradition at this point."
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After that, we've got John Hood's weekly DJ spotlight, this time on Tom Laroc, who's been making waves all over town with his live video mixes. Click here to check it out.
Finally, we've got the paper's Live Wire page of short concert previews on a few different shows this week: Suenalo at the Vagabond tomorrow night; the Cat Daddies and Iko-Iko at Q American Barbeque on Friday and Saturday, respectively; Alukard at Tobacco Road on Saturday; and Paul McCartney at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday.