About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Artist Of The Week - Coolzey
Monday, December 21, 2009

Hailing from the small town of Dallas Center, Iowa, Coolzey’s life story is an interesting one. How else would you describe a life that has involved a headlock on MC Paul Barman, a tour with Vanilla Ice, and a friendship with Sadat X? Over the past few years Coolzey’s work has been showing up on my desk pretty regularly. This is due, in large part, to his love of the EP format. It’s a love that stems from a dream that he’ll one day be able to release all of his work on vinyl. This week I caught up with Coolzey to find out more about his wild ride, what went into the making of his upcoming EP, The Honey, and where you can find him with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.

Adam Bernard: First question - What makes Coolzey cool?
Coolzey: In fourth grade I needed a rap name, because I knew I was going to be a rapper. My friends and I formed a group called Shot Guns and Dandelions and we did a rap parody of “Welcome to the Jungle” called “Welcome to the Restroom” using a Casio SK-1 and a keyboard. I thought Kool Rock from the Fat Boys was the coolest name. I'm also a minimalist and I'm super into vagueness, so I called myself Cool Z. At the turn of the millennium I changed the spelling to Coolzey. It used to be an ironic thing to me, I never really thought I was that cool. Really, until people started asking me questions like this, I never even thought of the fact that using this name implied my coolness, but really, what makes me cool is my minty fresh breath.

Adam Bernard: Nice. Now hit me with the rest of the Coolzey story.  How did you get into music? 
Coolzey: I was really into Weird Al Yankovic. I used to ride my Huffy around and play Weird Al tapes on my handheld tape recorder and eat candy. We recorded freestyle sessions about girls and Garbage Pail Kids in the 80’s onto boomboxes. Cassettes cassettes cassettes. I loved making mix tapes. When our small town started getting cable television, which to me meant Nickelodeon (Nick Rocks) and MTV, I got to see the video for “Night of the Living Baseheads” by Public Enemy. That was it. I started writing letters to Chuck D, that I never mailed, and changing my rhymes from parodies to actual storytelling and descriptive rhymes. Then I went to college in Iowa City and started getting into rock and roll. I joined a group called The Sucka MCs in the late 90’s. We were really fucked up. Signed to indie rock label Ace Fu out of NYC (Pinback, the Ex-Models, Manman) we toured the country opening up for Vanilla Ice, Paul Barman, the Arsonists, The Frogs, Wesley Willis. We were, apparently, a novelty act; white guys from Iowa rapping. We kept getting messed up and ruining shows. One member put Paul Barman in a headlock at the Middle East in Boston. We also got the cops called on us in Champaign, Illinois for trying to steal beer at a Vanilla Ice show we were playing. The group broke up and I went solo.  

Adam Bernard: Based on those stories alone I think there should be a book on your life. In addition to all that, you’ve also worked with a fairly impressive roster of artists. Who have been some of your favorite people to collaborate with, and has any artist brought something out of you that you never knew you had in you?
Coolzey: To me, collaborating with and becoming friends with Sadat X of Brand Nubian has been such a great landmark. I used to be concerned about how racist rappers that I grew up listening to were, and Sadat was notoriously one of the worst, up there with Da Lench Mob and Ice Cube, but (it turns out) Sadat is one of the most relaxed and adventurous people I know. He's comfortable anywhere, we even got him drinking PBR when he comes to the midwest now! Good man. As far as bringing something new out in me, that's the name of the game for me when it comes to recording. I love collaborating with my friends, the local artists, and heroes of mine. It's how I relate to people the best, I think, making music with them. I am really into letting other people shape the tracks, the sessions, the sound. Then I get alone with my engineer and chop it all up and mix it nice. I love producing. I'm super into post-production.

Adam Bernard: Your upcoming EP, The Honey, is due out on January 29th.  What are you hoping people get out of this effort?
Coolzey: I try to make albums that will initially allow people to relax, get loose, get stoopid, laugh, all the things that help you live longer, and the more that you listen to them, and you hear the lyrics, you can follow threads of references and thoughts and get deeper into the songs.

Adam Bernard: You have some really heavy content on The Honey. What was going on in your life when you were putting it together?
Coolzey: I went through some heavy stuff recently. My father nearly passed away from bone marrow cancer, I've had some friends and relatives die, I broke my leg, I got ripped off for a lot of money, I was arrested, had to go to court, but I just remained active and tried to keep a positive attitude and remember to say "Thank You" to life, to everything, all the time. This helps you see all of the awesome things that are always around you on a daily basis. The Honey is the good stuff in life, it's the reason we come back and choose to be reincarnated, to get The Honey, the love, experiences, relationships, see the colors, smell the smells, kiss the cheeks, hug the moms. The Honey is focusing on positivity.

Adam Bernard: Outside of music, on a typical day, if you have downtime how are you spending it?
Coolzey: I love seeing movies in the theater, even not very good movies. I love the outdoors, trees, I really dig graveyards, walking through them.  I think about death a lot. I write short stories. I’m working on a couple screenplays. I like to draw pictures of animals and people with charcoal. I love drawing with ink pens. I like taking pictures, driving, getting coffee. I'm doing a complete gut rehabilitation on a house, tearing it apart and putting it back together all nice and new. I am working reception at a youth center in Iowa City as we do this. I play guitar a lot  I like spinning records in the basement. Basketball when I can, swimming, BRUNCH! I'm all about brunch and lots of beverages at brunch.

Adam Bernard. I’m glad you lead that off with movies because there is a Coolzey on IMDB with two movies to his name. Is this you?
Coolzey: Yes. This is mainly from a series of really bad Troma style horror movies called Resist Evil that I was in. I think they are editing it down to one film, but there are a bunch of awesome B movie stars in them, like Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Ed O’Neill and Tiffany Shepis. It was pretty fun, and I'm looking to do some more acting soon. It’s one of the most cathartic things to do for me. 

Adam Bernard: Finally, you can say it, guys with glasses are fucking awesome, right?
Coolzey: Funny you should say that, I actually was thinking about getting Lasik surgery, but everybody talked me out of it. I think they are a great prop, but sometimes I get tired of looking through glass all the time. Plus, I'm rowdy and I always break them. About every six months I need a new pair cuz they get so scratched and busted. There’s usually tape on my glasses. However, even when I'm rich and famous I think I'll stick with the glasses, because I think I'm going to try to heal my eyes by solar gazing.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/coolzey
Public School Records: psrecords.net


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:20 AM  
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