Friday, April 15, 2011

Nacao Zumbi & Arctic Monkeys new video "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair"

The new video for the Arctic Monkeys' "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair", the second release from the forthcoming album "Suck It & See", is out.

You can see it here:

It's certainly one of the more visually interesting videos we've seen lately.

I like the song. It rocks. Basically nonsense lyrics about things you shouldn't do ("break a mirror, run with scissors, go into business with a grizzly bear" - always a bad idea if you ask me), but can if you want to, as long as you don't sit down, 'cause i've moved your chair. And you will fall. And that would be bad.

Ouch. I have to confess that I am guilty of said offense. Jeez, I guess it was at CBGB's. The guys were warming up for a show. When the drummer stood up, I moved his stool and when he sat down, he feel flat on his ass. Everyone laughed, except him, and I felt like a jerk. The drummer played it off, but I still felt like a jerk.

The band was Nacao Zumbi, Brazilian rock hip hop experimental collective (with traditional Brazilian drums) that came together to continue making music after the unfortunate death (car crash) of leader Chico Science. I was working for Central Park SummerStage and picked the guys up at the airport. We hung out for several days for rehearsals, the show (which was cancelled due to rain), other shows, and a couple more trips to several airports for flights to Portugal, then back to Brazil. One day we went to both Newark Airport and JFK. The road manager just assumed it was the same airport but when we got to Newark and couldn't find the gate, I asked to look at the tickets and discovered we were at the wrong airport. I had to drive them back to New York, out to JFK, go back to the hotel in Manhattan and pick up the other guys and equipment (including tribal drums and a bow string on a special stick), and make it back to JFK, go through ticketing and security, clear customs, do passport control, and check in all their obscure gear in odd shapes and sizes and containers. Somehow we managed to do that in time for the flight. The guys even got into a discussion, in the middle of all this, with one of the folks at the counter about Zulu Nation and how they were the Brazilian branch.

One night I was driving one of them back downtown and we passed through Times Square. We saw the full moon rising over the skyscrapers and started doing a reggae-ska jam in sing-songy English, Spanglish, and Portuguese:

(I See the Moon Over Babylon)

I see La Luna sobre Babylonia!
I see La Luna sobre Babylonia!

Mas brilla (brighter) than the lights of Times Square!
Mas alta (higher) than the tallest sky-raper!
Mas poderosa (More powerful) than Wall Street!

I see La Luna sobre Babylonia!

Wonder if they ever did anything if that?

They were very political. Some of them were from the city and were kids into rock and hip hop. Some of them were from the slums, with roots in Recife, up north, where they play those tall drums (worn strapped to waist) with a profound bass sound (feat in Paul Simon's "Rhythm of the Saints" and countless Brazilian traditional songs). Those drummers, combined with the rock-reggae-hip hop of the other members, made for a unique sound.

Everyone said Chico Science was awesome. He died before his time. He sought to be a modern Brazilian rock/hip hop version of Bob Marley, speaking truth to power. His tragic premature death weighed heavily on the band... some of them didn't speak or go out for months afterward. But this new band gave them the strength to soldier on.

One of their rehearsals was with Arto Lindsay (who grew up in Brazil) and DJ Spooky in some random rehearsal space way uptown. Joints were passed and the most amazing experimental music emerged. I was truly impressed. It was magical. We were all transported to some other place far from New York and probably close to Recife.

Boys, wherever you are, I wish you well. You guys are awesome.

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