Monday, August 28, 2006

PopMatters Music Interview | Just Like Me: An Interview with DMC

PopMatters Music Interview | Just Like Me: An Interview with DMC

So I didn't want Jay or Joe to be made at me, so I say, I gotta do it(commit suicide) when they're not around, when I get home. So I left Europe after the tour, I get in the car, I turn the radio on. Sarah McLachlan had a record on in '97 called "Angel", off the Surfacing album. So I turn the radio on. Now, friends, family, fortune, and fame, I didn't give a damn about it, but her record made me say, when I first heard "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan, made me go, "It's beautiful to be alive, life is good." So for one whole year, all I would listen to was Sarah McLachlan records. "Angel", and all the stuff she made previously to that. So a year's gone by, I'm trying to figure out: "What's this feeling in me, something is not right, I'm DMC, my brother's Alfred, I grew up in Hollis, I went to high school, I went to Catholic school all my life, I went to St. John's, when I got to St. John's, me and Run and Jay, we made a record, now I'm this famous rap guy, what does it all mean, I'm trying to figure it out." I go into this other world, so my manager says, "Dewey, I don't like you looking and acting like this, you need to get out more, because people love you, you're DMC, and all of this," and I'm like, "Yeah, fuck yeah, it don't mean nothin'."

So he takes me to Clive Davis, the music guy's party, and the Grammy party in LA in '97 where everybody wanna go, they would break their neck to get tickets to Clive Davis' little party. I didn't want to go, but my manager Erik Blam went to all the trouble to get tickets, hotels, and all that, so I said, "alright, Erik, I'll go for you." I get to the Clive Davis party and I'm sittin' there, looking at the paparazzi and the red carpet and all of this, and I'm sittin' in my mind, "This is so fucked up, because all this stuff in this, and Beverly Hills, and people are forgetting about this is all because of the music, the people want to be celebrities and do all this and TV Cribs and bullshit, and what about the music, the music is what kept me alive, and the music is what's influencin' me, and now it's turning into what I hope it ain't turn into," but I'm sittin' there, and I look across the room, and -- and this is all destiny -- and I go, "Oh, shit, that's that lady." Sarah McLachlan! [gasps] "Ohh, that's that lady who made that..." -- because I knew of her, but I ain't know her -- so I'm like, "Oh, shit, I gotta go over there and tell Sarah McLachlan what her record 'Angel' did for me." So I walked across the room, she seen me coming, she did to me what everybody does when they see Run, D, or Jay: "Run, D, Jay! Run-DMC, my favorite group, 'It's Tricky', 'My Adidas', 'Mary, Mary', 'Walk This Way', you're my favorite rap group," Sarah McLachlan tells me.

So that was good for boosting my confidence to keep me from committing suicide, "Wow, Sarah McLachlan likes me, that's really cool." And I say, "Thank you, Miss McLachlan, but I got to tell you something, your record 'Angel', you sound like a angel, people say you are a angel, the name of the record is 'Angel', but you're not angel to me, you are god. Your record saved my life, I was depressed, I was suicidal, I didn't know what was going on, and even now, I'm still at a crazy place, but your record is the crutch that I stand for every day." I hit her with that, she's looking at me like, "Ohh-kayyyy, what?" So she didn't know what to say to fuckin' DMC standin' over there tellin' her this crazy stuff, but she looks at me, this was in '97, she shakes my hand, and she says, "DMC, thank you for telling me that, because that's what music is supposed to do." And she walks away. So that was one of the greatest days of my life.

Three years go by since that meeting. I find out what the hell was inside of me that was the suicidal thing! I found out just because of a phone call to ask my mother and father some information I needed to put in a book about the day I was born, they tell me -- 'cause I called to say, "Yo, Momma, I'm writin' this book, I need to know, how much did I weigh, what hospital, and what time did Darryl McDaniels come into the Earth?" So they told me all of that, hung up the phone, about a hour later they call me back, in the year 2000, and says, "Darryl, we got something else to tell you." [in a high-pitched, mock-happy tone:] "Oh, sure, whatever, Mommy!" "Blah-dee-blah-dah, blah-dee-blah-dah, he was a month old, blah blah blah boom bang, you're adopted."

At the age of 35, I seen my whole life flash before me, and them putting all this together in Hollis and meeting Joe and Jay in St. John's and Rice High School, we taking the bus, PAL, all of that Run-DMC stuff ... I was thinking about all whatever, but then I put the brakes up -- [makes car brake noise] -- that was the thing that had me in the room that day, sitting there, DMC, $75,000 a night, all my great accomplishments, but there's something missing to this fucking story. I realized that whole adoption thing was the thing, but then I realized something greater. Sarah McLachlan's record kept me alive so I could find that out. So I said, "I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna write a record that's gonna help the little foster kid, or that other little adopted baby," or, on a bigger level, adoption is just my situation, no matter what situation you're in you're fortunate enough to be here, you're glad enough to be here, I see for me, if my mother never gave me up for adoption, my mother would have never adopted me, I would have never moved to Hollis, I would have never met Run and Jay, there would be no Run-DMC, the world would be different, hip-hop wouldn't have happened the way it did when it did, that was destiny, and I say, "DMC, he's gonna be alright, but this is about that little adopted kid Darryl." If those things never happened to me, I wouldn't be talking to you, there would be no Grammy rap shit, none of this shit would have happened, so I said, "My thing is this. Yes I'm DMC, but I have a greater meaning to this whole hip-hop shit than just being about me making records, I really represent something."

Just to emanate this record, because I just want to give hope to people, and I get an idea -- [gasp] -- I'm gonna call that lady, who I met three years earlier, whose record saved my life, to help me make a record to give people hope, so I get Sarah McLachlan back on the phone, this is three years after I met her, "Hey, Miss McLachlan, remember me? This is Darryl." She's like, "how could I forget that, it was a pleasure meetin' you. What do you want, my son?" And I'm like, "okay, here we go, she's gon' really think I'm crazy now," but I'm like, "yo, Miss McLachlan, remember when I met you three years ago, and I told you what your record did for me?" "Yes I do." "And you told me that's what music is 'posed to do?" "Yeah." "Well, I just found out I was adopted, blah-dee-blah this, boom bang bang bang, blah-dee-blah this, I want to make a record that's gonna help some people like your record helped me, I'm thinkin' of using Harry Chapin's record 'Cat's in the Cradle' because I'm a big fan of Harry Chapin, and ever since I was a little boy his songs always gave me hope to carry through, now you like 'Cat's in the Cradle', which is a sad record, I'm gonna give that 'Cat's in the Cradle' my adoption story, to give it a happy ending, will you do a record with me?" She goes "yes", real quick and easy, I go, "Whoa, that was quick and easy! Okay, Miss McLachlan, I'll fly you to New York, I'll put you in a first-class plane, I'll put you in a Four Seasons hotel," she says, "Hold up, doc, slow down, slow down, SLOW DOWN!" She says, "You can come to my house to make the record," so I faint.

So, to make a long story short,(me: um, what would a long story be?) I get on a plane, I fly to Canada -- she lives in Vancouver, Canada -- I get to her house, two days we make the record, she brings her band in, we bring a band in, the guitars, we make the record -- two days after we finished the record, we sitting there, getting ready to leave, she says, "Darryl, I gotta tell you something," I go, "What," she tells me, "I was adopted too." And I did not know that. I knew "Lilith Fair", I knew every word to Angel, and this and that when I met her, I knew also that I didn't know her, we from the getgo, this universe had me and Sarah have something in common, it took two or three years go by to get back to her, we make the record and she tells me she was adopted too.

That's when I really knew purpose, destiny, the power of music, that's what music is supposed to do, so when she told me that back in '97, once it was through the relationship that we had something in common, I knew where I need to go with my music right now.


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