Lets pretend, for a minute, that Carson were to modify his style to make it sound more temperate and healthful -- to update a joke from comedian Tom Smith, think Barbra Streisand or Junior Wells, but without their gangsta edge. Just imagine him trying to pick up a shorty at the club: Yeah, shorty, I just finished a moderate yoga workout and I was thinkin we could, you know, take a ride in my Lincoln Navigator over to the chalet. Yo, today I was flipping through Living Without magazine and I found this great recipe for gluten-free chicken. I was thinking we could cook it and kick back on the chaise longue and feel ourselves. But not too much. And then maybe you could break me off a moderate portion of your booty.
Yeah, uh, anyway. Immoderation (i.e., excess) isnt only a sine qua non for certain pleasurable vices (i.e., sex, drugs, feeling ones self), and the way rappers talk about (i.e., effusively promote) them -- its also the linchpin of a good Calvinist work ethic. Just ask Sam Marshall, the new owner of Oaklands on-again, off-again Elis Mile High Club. Now youd have to be a heady nutcase to buy a venue thats been around for decades, withstood dozens of cosmetic surgeries (a few rhinoplasties and several sets of new boobs), and is still derided for being in a bad neighborhood. And yes, Marshall is, indeed, a nutcase -- in the most honorable sense of the word. The former Mr. Natural Universe (according to his Web bio) says that when hes not trying to resuscitate Elis, hes busy managing a warehouse in Hayward, moonlighting in the Marshall Law Band, or adhering to his strict, self-punishing workout regime (six days a week, he says). On average, he sleeps two to three hours a night; he talks a mile a minute -- youd think he was a speed addict rather than a mere workaholic. But hey, Elis looks promising.
So is there a symbiotic way of combining excessive work and excessive leisure so that one actually provides material for the other? Welcome to the wonderful world of spoken-word poetry. Specifically, welcome to the ungainly, tempestuous, sordid world of the Suicide Kings. Poets Geoff Trenchard and Jamie DeWolf have cited various unlikely obsessions as founts of inspiration -- they are, in no particular order, acne medication, a fixation with the gangsta antics of Cypress Hill, sex and more of it, Johnny Walker Black with a twist of lemon, apartment life in the parts of Vallejo you might recognize from Hood 2 Hood, working the graveyard shift at Kinkos, finding creative uses for bodily fluids ... the list goes on ad infinitum. By now, many are familiar with the story of how Rupert Estanislao was recruited to their trio by brandishing a snub-nosed pistol at a Starry Plough open mic. These guys may be slight and well-mannered when you meet them in person, but onstage they sound like the kind of people who could chew you up and spit you right back out. And yet, they get shit done; theyre the top spoken-word act in the East Bay.
The moral? Work hard, play hard is the motto for 2006. Do everything intensely and zealously. -- Rachel Swan