Wednesday, June 25, 2008

RZA Interview at the Warwick

Yesterday I was asked to drive one of our camera men over to Seattle to do an artist interview with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. This would be the second interview I have done, and he's a multi-platinum recording artist with one of the most notorious Hip Hop groups in the world. Heck yeah I want to go!

I was aware of the group, but honestly I couldn't pick them out of a crowd even if they were on stage singing "Hey, we're the Wu-Tank Clan" but I was curious to see a true hip hop tour in action. I had worked at an urban label in LA so I was aware of how rap artists can be, and I was not disappointed in this case.

The shoot was scheduled for 5 pm and we were told we only had 15 minutes to interview him. My camera man Motzo wanted to run by a record store to grab their latest album and maybe a poster for him to sign, so we left Bellevue at 3:30 so we would have time to drive over, find parking, get to a record store and then set up the equipment.

Little did I know how much of a fan Motzo was. He had brought from home two old LP's from Wu-Tang, a magazine that had an article with RZA and then went to the record store and purchased three cd's and a t-shirt (which he proceeded to put on in the lobby). I knew this was going to be a long shoot.

We got to the hotel at 4:15 and started calling the tour manager. No answer, straight to voice mail. This is typical with shoots and I wasn't surprised that we still hadn't heard from them, however Motzo was a bit tense...to say the least. He was pacing the lobby, checking and then re-checking equipment, and going over the questions that he wanted to ask RZA. Around 4:50 the tour bus pulled up and a couple people wandered out on to the sidewalk. Motzo jumped up from the couch and stood in the middle of the lobby, looking at these poor people like he was a stalker, wearing his Wu-Tang shirt he looked like a crazed fan. He even helped them with their luggage as they walked in the door.

Finally we get the call from the tour manager who said they would be down in 15 minutes. We search for a nice place to shoot, find one in the bar and proceed to set up our lighting and cameras. An hour goes by, and still no RZA. We call the tour manager, she says he snuck out to do a radio interview and will be back in 20 minutes. By this time we've been there for 2 hours, and have taken up half the bar during happy hour.

The bar manager comes on duty and immediately walks over to where we had set up to ask what we were doing. Of course we hadn't got permission from the hotel to do a shoot, we had only planned on being there for 30 minutes! The director for the hotel was called down and we were told we would have to leave. After some talking the director finally figuring out who was staying in their hotel and that we were interviewing him, so we were given the ok. All this took 30 minutes...still no RZA.

At this point I said to Motzo "I give him till 7 and then I'm out". Sure enough at 6:58, 3 hours late, RZA comes walking in. I mike him up, we get rolling and 8 minutes later it's all over. He gave us some great shout outs, but our audio was having issues and Motzo was so nervous that I think the whole thing was a bust.

After the shoot, Motzo had RZA sign about 14 different things (including his shirt!!) and then with a quick wave he was gone. In all, RZA was a nice guy, very polished and totally Hollywood (although he's from NY, LA always gets you in the end). I'm sure I'll think twice about doing another interview with a hip hop artist!

I wish I had taken pictures, but I was so exhausted by the time he showed up that I didn't even care :) Next interview will be We Are Scientists. A nice little indy band...no more hip hop for me!!

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