I met with Cristin last week for the interview for her upcoming book on slam and, after nearly three hours, we’d only gotten up to the 1999 Nationals! Hadn’t thought in-depth about the early days in ages but sitting with Cristin, one thing led to another, one story uncovering another uncovering yet another, and I was both surprised at how much I remembered and, even moreso, at how integral a part of my life the whole scene had become in such a short time. The first two years in particular were some heady times, from my first slam in July 1997 to NYC-Union Square’s debut at Nationals in August 1999. Some of the stuff we covered will surely ruffle some feathers as I was pretty honest about my feelings around the whole Nuyorican drama.
Since then, though, I’ve been thinking about a lot of the people that were on the scene back in my early days and wondering what’s become of them. Candace, the Goodes, Laverne Williams and Surge Frost immediately come to mind. I actually saw a guy the other day that reminded me of Surge. Big Viking-looking guy, he was an odd one, but at the same time, was one of the nicest people on the scene. He actually made Salomé and I a video for our wedding, with him reading a love poem he’d written in Polish, I think, and the English translation. There was also a 10-minute scene of him playing with some Godzilla dolls. Like I said, he was a bit odd.
Anyway, out of the blue the other day, I get a call from Jay Ward, another one-time friend, and simultaneuous nemesis, from back then. He was working on a documentary at one point and has apparently jumped back into it, now focusing on my mentor/nemesis originale: keith roach. Says I was always a “dramatic motherfucker” and wants to interview me and shoot me performing. Was kind of unclear on what he wanted me to talk about exactly but I get the impression I’m being cast as the one of the bad guys. That’s cool, though. It’s usually the best role!