Last week, South Florida made national news when programming from Da Streetz 107.1 FM began interfering with two frequencies used by air traffic controllers at MIA. A crack squad of FCC, FAA, and local law enforcement authorities traced the signal to a small Opa-locka warehouse and confiscated a slew of gear, including an antenna, books of CDs, computers, and a mixing board, but no arrests were made, and the station's transmitter was never located (broadcasting without an FCC license is a federal offense). Da Streetz is still on the air, broadcasting hip-hop and Creole music to a small but dedicated listenership as well as a few pilots in private jets. Thankfully, there haven't been any accidents yet. But Outtakes picked up a few unsettling exchanges while scanning the dial:
March 6, 10:44 p.m. "...Be advised of heavy rain and slick conditions on... That pole, and I'm N luv with a stripper, she trippin', she playin', I'm not goin' nowhere girl, I'm... careful as you touch down here. Wait, did we just land a flying strip club?"
March 11, 9:07 p.m. "Roger that, Bravo-Tango-Niner-Niner. Follow vector 44-29-oh-8 and you're ready for... Laffy taffy, shake that laffy! Shake that laffy taffy! That laffy taffy... But watch your speed."
March 13, 9:24 p.m. "This is Jamaica Air flight four-two-oh requesting clearance for... the trees and we'll smoke it yo. It don't make me please so don't provoke it yo/We don't need no speed so we gonna coke it yo/Set we mind at ease we got to take it slow... once we land in Montego Bay. "
March 14, 1:58 a.m. "Lean wit it, rock wit it!/Lean wit it, rock wit it!/Lean wit it, rock wit it!/Lean wit it, rock... With nothing more than a single taillight and two landing gear. Amazing we brought them in, but we... Lean wit it, rock wit it!"
March 19, 12:35 a.m. "This is Captain Unger calling the tower. Be advised that... I gotta say high-i-i-i-i, until I die-i-i-i-i! I gotta say high-i-i-i-i, until I die-i-i-i-i... Uh, did you copy that, Control?"
"Roger, Captain. Maintain your altitude and you'll be fine. We just want to get you on the ground safely." Jonathan Zwickel
Scott Stapp, former lead singer of post-grunge embarrassment Creed, is music's most hated man. That's not harsh: Stapp would admit it himself (given he was drunk enough). It's a Cape of Suck he's ever-conscious of wearing. And perhaps it's because of this fact that he's become rather adept at the art of saying nothing during interviews. But let's back up, shall we?
A few weeks ago, Outtakes sat in on a teleconference with the Percocet-popping Jesus freak and six other suffering "journos," who, like us, had pulled the short straw. Stapp knows he's not a media favorite; in fact, he made several allusions to the fact, even saying, "Hey, you know what? I love every single one of you, and I'll pray for all of you guys tonight whether you don't like me or not" before bidding us adieu. Couple this with a feature in the December issue of Rolling Stone that painted Stapp as a depressed, fall-about drunk who single-handedly isolated the other members of Creed to the point that they were more than eager to jump off a multimillion-dollar juggernaut, and something surprising happened. Outtakes actually began to feel bad for the guy. After all, he is trying even traveling with a sobriety coach on tour, for Christ's sake!
So we're taking it easy on the guy. For instance, you won't see us mention Stapp's February 11 arrest at LAX for public intoxication; his drunken romp on Spike TV's Casino Cinema in which he groped model Beth Ostrosky on-air; his November brawl with 311 in a Baltimore bar; the recently released sex tape that features him staring into the camera and smirking "It's good to be king" while his pole is gleamed by a dirty tramp; his messiah-complex lyrics; his obnoxious, arms-wide-open, foot-propped-on-a-monitor stage presence; or even the fact that during the interview, he actually said, "At the end of the day, I'm still just trying to make it through that great divide, brother." No. All that stuff is off-base, as far as we're concerned.
Instead, we'll get to the heart of the matter and publicize what Stapp really wants people to know: His love of coaching his son's various sports teams. The love he feels for his new wife. What songs he and his new band will play on their current Australian tour. The various charities he's personally funded for victims of Katrina. Stapp's undying commitment to... what's that? We're out of space? Damn.
Maybe next time, choad. Brian McManus
How does one go from being an enthusiastic proponent of inverted crosses, pentagrams, Necronomicon-inspired invocations of Sumerian demons, and blood-soaked onstage self-mutilation to... Deepak Chopra?? That's exactly what Outtakes tried to find out when we sat down with guitarist Trey Azagthoth, leader of exalted death-metal pioneers Morbid Angel. These days, rather than Satan, Azagthoth favors Ayurvedic healing, motivational guru Tony Robbins, the Course in Miracles, and kabbalah as primary inspiration.
Really. Some excerpts from our discussion:
Outtakes: In Albert Mudrian's book Choosing Death, you're quoted as saying, "I wanted Morbid Angel to be about... the idea of spiritualism." You talk about Satanism being positive, about freedom.
Azagthoth: I only used Satanism because people can identify with it, but I don't think of myself as a Satanist because Satan really doesn't mean anything without Christianity, which is just another paradigm. I've studied to find what I think would be considered the divine ordering principles that would empower any kind of religion or belief system to make it effective. I can identify with Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins. They're not really teaching things that are new; it's just the way they put it together. Chopra talks about how there is no meaning to anything other than the meaning you give to it quantum physics; nothing's solid, nothing is real. Christianity, as far as a system, was very cleverly put together, but its purpose was to control people. But the whole idea of having faith, there's a lot of power in that. Maybe you can't prove something will happen, but you'll see stuff when you believe it, as opposed to "I'll believe it when I see it." Whatever your mind really believes in, it's going to show up in your world.
But a lot of people are attracted to Satanic imagery for its amorality and destructive power. In the early days, that seemed to be the band's attraction. You bit yourself onstage.
I never bit myself on stage. I was sucking my blood. [Azagthoth then explains that he kept a razor on the side of the stage to cut himself.] It was about becoming this demon of chaos. But I don't promote it.
If someone tells you they're exploring the occult, what do you warn them of?
I'd tell them to not really worry so much about what's the "true" religion or book. You can make up your own damned book and it would be the superior book. It's useful to understand that there are different levels to these things. There's one level with a bunch of symbols, and there's another where, if those things do anything for you, then why? What's really happening? That's the level to explore. But that's kind of boring for teenagers. Saby Reyes-Kulkarni
Morbid Angel plays with Behemoth and Krisun at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $24.99. Call 954-564-1074.