Upcoming: Grandmaster Melle Mel at Revival, April 15
The prospect of interviewing hiphop legend Grandmaster Melle Mel is totally exciting. The pioneering MC, best known for his work as part of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, heads to Toronto this week for a celebration of the 1984 film Beat Street , to which he contributed the stellar title track. Mel admits he doesn't hold the movie in the highest regard. "When I finally saw the movie, I didn't like it that much. I thought it didn't represent real hiphop. Wild Style is the best. What was really funny about Beat Street is that two guys from Afrika Bambaata's Soul Sonic Force were in the movie, got recognized for robbing a bank by somebody who was in the audience and wound up going to jail."
Fans can expect to see Furious 5 member Scorpio alongside Mel at the show, and plans are in place to one day bring the crew back together, although Mel stresses that record labels don't show him the respect he deserves. He's a rapper known for demanding his due - he famously grabbed a freestyle battle title belt he felt he'd earned from the declared winner at 1989's New Music Seminar - "The year I won I was supposed to be awarded a belt. They never gave me my belt. The New Music Seminar means nothing compared to me - I'm just gonna take their belts and walk out."
All of which suggests that his reappearance could spell trouble. Let's hope so. Who wouldn't be happy to hear that Melle Mel's punched out a Sony bigwig?
Upcoming: Sho Mo & the Monkey Bunch at Supermarket, April 16
Sick of the inane singalongs of the Blue's Clues gang? Creeped out by Aussie manchildren chirping gaily in the implausibly popular Wiggles posse? Hold up, mama - hilariously fabulous local performer Shoshana Sperling and her partner in crime, the Supers' Maury LaFoy, have done the impossible: created a kids' album that's actually great. The dynamic duo's new Sho Mo & The Monkey Bunch disc is a collection of tunes that range from goofy traditionals like Itsy Bitsy Spider to beautiful original lullabies, all of which you'll want to hear again. And again and again.
Sperling says the project had its roots in pragmatism.
"We're broke, and our brothers all have kids," she sighs. "It's a pain in the ass when everyone else is buying presents for your extended family and you can't. So we figured, 'OK, you frickin' breeders, we'll record a couple songs as a gift. '"
When the burned DIY discs made their nieces and nephews the coolest kids at daycare and e-mail requests started pouring in, they realized they had a winner.
The two rustled up a gaggle of great l0cal musicians, from LaFoy's Supers bandmate Graham Powell to recent mom Mia Sheard, and got Starling's Ian Lefeuvre to help master the finished product. The disc, which is smartly divided in two parts - one for waking up, and one for falling asleep - can be found at Maplemusic.com if you can't make it to the family-friendly launch party at Supermarket Saturday (April 16).
"It's goofy without being embarrassing," enthuses Sperling, "and we try to have double meanings so parents don't want to smack someone. When we performed last week, I screamed out, 'If anyone has a banana, bring it onstage!' and this tiny girl ran up and shyly dropped one at my feet. It was awesome. It's a total rock show for kids."