BLOWFLY with Brownman & the Electryc TRIO at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas West), Wednesday (March 29). $20, advance $15. 416-588-0307. Rating: NNNNN
While arguments have been made on behalf of a number of different artists for being the first rapper - from vouty-spitting hipster Slim Gaillard and jive-talking radio jock Al "Jazzbo" Collins through fire-breathing poet Amiri Baraka and even Bob Dylan, who spat some ill shit on Subterranean Homesick Blues - the sentimental favourite of many of hiphop's prime movers is legendary Miami R&B songwriter/producer Clarence Reid, aka Blowfly.
Just ask Snoop Dogg, Devin the Dude, Ice Cube, Kool Keith or Oaktown's Too $hort and they'll all recount childhood tales of sneaking spins of their parents' X-rated Blowfly party records and yukking it up to Reid's filthy talk-sung parodies of soul hits of the 60s (Shittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, Spermy Night In Georgia) as well as the pop, disco and even country crossover tunes that followed in the 70s. Snoop's favourite is Blowfly's Convoy.
"Oh yeah," chuckles Reid over a late breakfast at an International House of Pancakes on I-35 in Austin. "Every time I meet one of those rappers, they always got some story about finding their folks' Blowfly records hidden under the turntable. A lot of them have sampled my music, too, but not many of them ever gave me credit or a cheque. I got $6,000 from Ice Cube, so I can't be mad with him."
From there, Reid goes on a stream-of-consciousness trip back through the origins of the term "motherfucker," the Isley Brothers hit It's Your Thing (which bears a strong resemblance to Reid's own Nobody But You Babe, released five years earlier), his start making fun of Ernest Tubb songs for redneck audiences in Klan country, how he invented disco so "white people would have something to dance to" and his 1965 recording Rapp Dirty which was re-released 14 years later on TK when the Sugarhill Gang hit with Rapper's Delight in 1979.
For the next two decades after that, Blowfly fell off the radar. In 2003, Reid did an interview with Miami-based journalist and drummer Tom Bowker that led to a Blowfly appearance at Bowker's bachelor party. Since then, he's been back in action, confounding new audiences with his scatological rhymes set to freaked-out funk jams.
"Before I met Tom, I would just play the odd gig here and there with Fishbone or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as long as the money was right. If it wasn't, I wouldn't work. I had all these promoters calling, saying, "Clarence, we're trying to do you a favour by getting you this show.' Man, you ain't doing me no favours. I like sitting on my butt watching TV."
Blowfly hooked up with long-time fan Jello Biafra in 2004 to record Fahrenheit 69 for Alternative Tentacles, with guest cameos from Atmosphere MC Slug, Afroman and members of Gravy Train!!! It seemed inevitable that he'd go on to conquer punk rock as well.
Reid and his crew will be previewing material from the nasty forthcoming opus Blowfly's Punk Rock Party when Blowfly takes over the Lula Lounge Wednesday night. Evidently, Reid didn't have enough fun at R. Kelly's expense with the nutty I Believe My Dick Can Fly on his Fahrenheit 69 disc.
"We've got a new one about R. Kelly. This one's called R. Kelly In Cambodia [singing to the tune of the Dead Kennedys' Holiday In Cambodia]: R. Kelly in Cambodia, you're twisted and you're sick. R. Kelly in Cambodia, somebody shoulda shot off your dick!
"We're doing VD Party [based on Black Flag's TV Party], I Wanna Be A Sex Toy [to the tune of the Dead Boys' I Wanna Be A Dead Boy] and one of my own songs, Scumbag Fucker. And Jello wanted me to do this song I Wanna Be Your Dog [by Iggy & the Stooges], which I turned into Now I Wanna Fuck Your Dog, about sneaking into the White House to screw the president's pooch while the CIA guys were beatin' their meat.
"I love this punk rock. In fact, I love every kind of music there is. It's all good to me."