Thursday, October 3, 2013

Me and Lisa Shaw were both Blown Away by our South African trip.

South Africa

Sep. 24th 5:25pm 2013

Already I've experienced some crazy things on this trip. But I'll spare you the agony of reading fart and bathroom stories. 
OK. Just one. So, I'm in London at Heathrow airport, sleepy. I have a 12 hour layover before my connecting flight boards. I went to the lounge and they charge for every 3 hours. My 3 hours was up so now I'm in the waiting area where everyone waits for their flight info to show on the big display board. There's an African man sitting maybe 3 chairs down from me. While I just so happened to turn my head to look in his direction, he farts a low frequency, machine gun like fart. He would have been safe had I not already turned my head. But my eyes were on him as the fart began. As a matter of fact, his reaction was turning his head to see me looking at him. And he was acting like I farted! Yea! He looked at me as though I did it! I'm thinking "Bro you got caught farting! Accept it." I'm a total believer in a fart play off, but if you're caught, you're caught. Ya know what I mean? Have some dignity. He should have just given me a friendly wave. I would have accepted that as a "pardon me."
But you can't rip out a cheese bullet and play me like I did it!! I should have said something. Then he gets up and leaves, as though he's disgusted!!!! Yea. Ain't that nothing? The nerve. It wasn't like people saw this whole scenario. It was me and the African guy. Sure the room was packed. But it was loud and no one else noticed. Even I would not have known it was him. But like I said, I just so happen to be looking his way. Some people will deny the truth to the grave. Anyway...... I'm headed to South Africa!!!!!!!  Yay!! 

5:46pm. 

I just saw a guy with a Freddie Krueger outfit on. Lawd help me. The risk that I take for you guys to see this stuff. LOL. He could have turned around and beat me to death for snapping this picture. 

7:10pm

My feet are swollen beyond belief.  Well I suppose my ankles are swollen. 
Talk about unsexy. Sheesh. Age, when it's ready, it will show itself. I remember dancing all night at the Zanzibar while Tony played his head off. There was this dance I was good at(I was only good at two dances). And they didn't require any athletic skills. Remember way back when all the fellas were rockin polka dots, baseball caps, and patent leather "security guard" shoes? There was a dance we did. Kind of like a hop, skip and small kick. I was the king of that!! LOL. I never was good enough to get in those dance circles. But I held it down. If you saw my ankle right now, you'd never believe that story. I'm going to soak these puppies in cold water as soon as I get to the hotel. Getting swollen ankles and feet when flying is quite normal, but when one is already over weight, it can be worse than it would have been had that person left the slab of ribs where they found them. Just sharing. 

9:29pm

I've boarded the plane. And guess what?!? I've been upgraded to "Club Class"!!! WoooHooooo!!!!!
I'm going to enjoy this good sleep. 
Ya know, for some reason I keep thinking about this last gig at the Coffee Cave. Something about it is sticking to me. I'm not sure if it was the love that I received or the energy of the crowd, or both. But it felt so good to feel that at home. Most DJ's will tell you that it's rough being home and doing your thing in front of your own people. The bible even speaks about how hard it is for a prophet to be embraced by his home people. 

Sep. 25 9:47am

We arrived!! The flight was good. I see Lisa and she's really sweet.  We get our bags and meet Sizwe the Promotor. And to my surprise, he's a kid! He looks like he's in his late 20's. I'm impressed. Such a young guy doing this. It's a lot of work. He seems a little nervous. LOL. For some reason the airport security guard is walking us to the car. The security guard had to be in his 60's. Something about him walking us didn't feel right. We really didn't need him. We get to the car. Sizwe goes to pay for the parking, and the security guard makes his move. "Hey. I'm really hungry. Can you buy me something to drink. Some Coke and some bread." I knew it. Security. Great. Now I feel really safe. 
We get going and Sizwe can't find his way out of the parking area. So he drives up a ramp, thinking it'll lead to an exit.  The ramp is too short for the height of the van we're in. LOL. So he scraped the roof of the van. Yes! Scraped the crap out if it. Accidents happen. OK. We back out and go through a different entrance. Now we're in a garage looking for the exit. The exit, again, looks too short. So Sizwe backs up and.......  BANG!!!! He slams into a car behind him!!! What The........???? 
The thing is, Sizwe is such a nice kid. He's just a little nervous. Security comes and they handle things and we finally get going. But now I'm worried. Sizwe is texting while driving. LOL. I'm noticing how the brothers here are definitely hard workers. A lot of people walk to work. Some guys pack in the back of these small trucks. And their wages aren't much. And we complain about working at McDonalds. We just don't know. 

6:14pm

I was sleeping in my hotel room but I'm suddenly awakened by deafening silence. I slept with the TV and lights on but the lights, TV, everything went black. What's going on?
I open the door and I smell smoke. And the hallway lights are completely out. I do what any black person would do. I pack up get dressed and I start for the steps. There's a couple who, at first, was making their way to their room. I ask them, "So you two see nothing wrong with this scenario? Lights out, smell of smoke and all?"  Clearly something has gone terribly wrong here. 
And I'm just not willing to wait and find out what it is. That's just me. 

6:26pm

Still no explanation as to what happened. But everything is back to normal. This is one exciting trip so far. 

Sep. 26th 10:20am

We did an interview and now are headed out to do a radio interview. This is very much part of what we do as artist. I must do these things to let people know who I am and what I do. 
This is our Promotor Sizwe, and the young journalist that interviewed us at the newspaper place. She was sweet.
This is the part I dislike the most. Don't get me wrong, I can run my mouth. But it's so narcissistic, at least it feels that way. 

10:39pm

I have to get up at 4am to be ready at 5am. We're doing a "Morning Show" for one of the News stations here. It's going to be a long day. I think there is a radio interview afterwards. Then there is a very long drive to where the venue is. I'm thinking "maybe I shouldn't have had that chocolate cake before going to bed."
LOL!!!!!!!!!

11:59pm

Yes I'm still awake. I found out two things within 24 hours that discouraged the crap outta me. And to me they're both major. I'm hurt. I have some music that's coming out. I gave the song to a trusted few. And to make a long story very short, now the song is in a lot of people's hands. 
And at first I was hurt and disappointed with the friends that were giving the song out. Why would you assist in the exploitation of my music knowing it isn't released? 
This is a battle that record labels and artist will never win. Some DJ's are willing to sacrifice relationships for exclusive records. 
I've learned my lesson folks. This will never happen again. It's totally my fault for giving it to to a trusted few. Sometimes when your friends and peers hurt you, they don't realize the level of hurt they've caused. But the name of the aforementioned record is "Smile" and I'm choosing to do just that. I spoke with my biggest music brother Joaquin about it and he told me to say this prayer "Surround me oh lord. Get all around me until people see no more me. Surround me oh lord. Let all my enemies see they can't harm me cause I'm surrounded."
OK. I'm done ranting. 

Sep. 27th 7:14am

We arrived at the TV Station an hour late. But they're professionals. So it seems that they'll get us in and out. 
I am to perform outside.  No audience. Nothing. Just me and the camera. Weird. But whatever. This is how they do things. Go with the flow. 

2:12pm

So we did radio, newspaper and a live television performance. It was amazing how they did things. So professional. But as we're listening to the news, we hear the reporter say that a woman was attacked by a Hyena!! WHAT?!?!?
And where?!?!?
She apparently lost an eye and got hurt badly. We Americans see Hyena's on TV. And on tv they look like dogs to us. But they are actually more like miniature ponies. Way bigger than the largest Great Dane! And in some parts of the country they roam. I believe this woman was in Zimbabwe. Can you imagine shopping downtown and a Hyena is loose?

8:49pm

We're at the next hotel finally. Been driving all day long. We did the sound check and we're going to our rooms. The hotel is a casino and there are loads of drunken people here. 
I had my first South African racial hatred experience!!!!!
One guy(white rugby looking dude) approached me as if he needed help and suddenly faked as though he was going to punch me in the face. And when I jumped back I looked in his eyes and saw pure hatred. He said "what's wrong?" And he said it again  while putting his hands up as though he was inviting me to fight him. Now don't get me wrong folks. I'm no punk. But one has to know when to fold them. I just turned around and walked to my room. Nobody got hurt and it all happened in less than 20 seconds. The man was built like a rock. His "fake" punch was kinda professional looking in terms of his form, I'm thousands of miles away from home, and he looked as though he was either high or drunk. Wasn't worth it. I still have all of my teeth and he's still angry. :-)
But it made me extremely uncomfortable. Crazy right? I know what hatred looks like folks. And this man had so much evil in him. Come to think of it he very much looked like a member of the aryan nation. Bald head, tattoos and all. I knew immediately that I wouldn't be trying to fight. Momma always said don't talk to strangers. 

Sep. 28th 1:27am

I'm at the gig. I'm about to go on. I have such a migraine. OMG. It's like my head is about to bust. There's hardly anyone here. Sizwe looks terribly disappointed. I'll let you know how it goes. 

3:36am

The show was ok. There were very few people here. But we were anticipating this show to be light because the majority of the people are talking about coming to Soweto(Zone 6), tomorrow's show. 
I don't think anyone anticipated the show to be this light. 

3:00pm

I'm in my room watching SowetoTV. They're showing African music videos. A lot of the artist hold on to they're traditional African values, and customs. For instance, this video I'm watching now shows the background singers in they're traditional African clothes and exposed breast. Yes. You heard me. Melons, Fun bags, the girls, tata's, whatever you call them, they were out on prime time television. I'm thinking "why don't we do this in the states?"
These women are young too. 
I know some of you are thinking that the video took place in the "bush" or countryside. But noooooooo. This was a city area. As a matter of fact, there's a scene that shows one of the topless women hopping in a drop top BMW! I know right!!

6:10pm

My contact/Promotor for this gig is very young. And a very good young man. He's trying to do something good for the love of music. But I'm annoyed because his youth is showing in his business savvy. There are some things he didn't think through. And his inexperience is costing him a lot of money and me a lot of patience. In his defense, he was very good about paying. He paid up front. But money isn't everything. When booking an artist, one should consider the itinerary of the artist. Promotor's shouldn't ask the artist to take errands with him/her, picking people up and such. The artist should land, go to the hotel, be picked up for the performance and taken back to the hotel. And of course taken back to the airport. It's a common courtesy that the Promotor provide dinner for the artist. Sometimes it's contractual. I'm paying for all of my food here. So artist that are reading this, never go anywhere without money. I've actually done that in the past. Never again. Now please don't misunderstand me. This Promotor is very young and has a bright future. I admire his ambition. But he has a lot to learn about hosting an artist. I'm a little frustrated. 

10:31pm

We're now in Soweto. I'm at the next gig. The place is huge. I like! It has a really big sound. Feels like The Palladium in NYC from way back.  But why are we here so early? I'm not going on till 1:30! Another thing that I don't like is the area I'm sitting in(VIP) is right here in front of the crowd. An artist needs a room or someplace where they can collect themselves alone and a little less noise. If I wanted to do some vocal warm ups I can't. And I don't want to be sitting right here in front of the people when I haven't sang yet. I have to preserve my voice. And that can be mistaken for me being uppity. Ya know what I mean? So when I'm done singing I can take pictures, talk or whatever. 

11:51pm

So I decide to go to the bathroom while in this club. And people are recognizing me. Cool. The police officer/security guy escorts me to the bathroom. Cool. The stall is built against the wall. So it's like one long stall with constant running water. There's no flushing. And no privacy I might add. I'm in there taking a whizz and a guy walks in there and says "I can't believe it!!! Josh Milan!" And then it happened. He pulls out his camera phone and says "I hev to tek a pikcha". I said "Bro. Are you out of your mind?" And all the while he is trying to aim at me to take a picture. I swiftly move toward him to take the camera. My junk was halfway hanging out!! I was trying to shake, tuck it in, and zip. But the guy was so quick that I halfway tucked. And I'm wearing button fly jeans. I know right!! The police officer walked in and put a stop to the whole thing. I guess he heard me yelling at the guy. But can you believe that? I'm taking a piss!!! Is there anything sacred? 
Anyway, Lisa looks great. She's really a cool person. The club isn't really packed. But we have a nice crowd. I'm not sure what happened. I was led to believe this would be a sold out event. The people are here but not dancing. The DJ's music is up and down. His music is boomy. The energy is off. I'm nervous. 

Sep. 29th 12:11am

There is a local band opening for us. They're very good. They're about to start the show. But the people don't seem interested. Maybe I'm paranoid. But usually when the artist gets on stage to set up, the people come closer to the stage, at least. 

12:17am

The band started and there is a low hum in the speakers. It's not stopping. Now I'm wondering if there's a sound person. Oh lawd. 
Well I'm here to do my absolute best.

12:46am

The band is AMAZING. They played beautifully. They had a combination of house, smooth jazz, and South African music. I loved it. And they were really humble. And young. 

1:43am

I just got off the stage and we jammed! I think I like playing keys when I perform. :-)
I thought I would open for Lisa this time. She performed before me on the last gig. 
She's on now and she has total crowd participation. Even though I know she can't hear herself. 
Overall we had an awesome time. Always something to learn in this business. 

3:00pm

It's Sunday afternoon. I thought, maybe I can find some church on TV. Ya know? So I found this "Prophet" on TV. And every time he said something to a member in the audience, he would end it by yelling out "Can I Prophesy?!?!?"
And the crowd would respond with a hearty "Prophesy!!!!!"
It was the funniest thing. He had assistants that were like background singers. It reminded me of James Brown. You remember when James would say "Can I get into it?!?" And the band would say "Yea!"
And then he'd say it again "CAN I GET INTO IT?" And they'd say even louder "YEA!"
This man on TV was doing the same thing. He wore a black jacket with gold lapels and gold pocket flaps. And the entire jacket had sparkles on it. Yes! Sparkles!!
His name is Prophet Shephard Bushiri. Maybe he's on YouTube. I don't know. Then they sang a song. "Prophesy Prophesy Prophesy. God is speaking today." One line to it. And the whole song is maybe 7 seconds. And they would stop the song abruptly. It was the weirdest thing. And what made me feel weird was that when he "Prophesied" to the person in the audience they would all respond the same exact way "No, Man of God" or "Yes, Man of God." One lady said "Yes Man of God. What you sey is dey tduth." It's so programmed. 
Ahhhhh well. It's just so sad. I have to show you guys what this brother looks like. It's just something to see. This is a different video clip than the outfit I described earlier. 
I thank God for sense. 

7:51pm

I love a good meal. This is called Chicken Liver Peri Peri!!!  Mmmmmmmmmm. Amazing South African food. Washed down with some South African local beer!!!!

Oct 2 5:44am

I'm reflecting on this trip and overall I feel blessed to do what I do. I feel a little bad that the promotion wasn't better. A lot of South Africans weren't aware of my presence. We'll make sure we advertise better next time. Anyway. Back to the studio I go.