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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 - Foul Mouth Jerk
Monday, December 27, 2010

I gotta admit, I was late to the game when it comes to finding out about Foul Mouth Jerk. A buddy of mine who’s the saxophone player for Deep Banana Blackout hipped me to Foul Mouth Jerk’s music when Jerk and TopR were playing a show by me at the Acoustic Cafe. I was blown away by how great their live show was. All of the call and response moments were honest, rather than contrived, they were fantastic lyrically, and, most importantly, they were having fun on stage. Cracking jokes with the crowd, and each, other in-between songs, and even accidentally inspiring a young woman to expose some skin, they gave the crowd serious hip-hop, but didn’t necessarily take themselves too seriously. I loved the vibe they created and caught up with Foul Mouth Jerk after a return performance a few months later that was a celebration of the release of his new album, The Oldest Trick In The Book. During our conversation we discussed the new album, as well as the culture shock of moving from New Jersey to North Carolina, and his linking up with one of Jersey’s most celebrated underground hip-hop duos.

Adam Bernard: You are originally from New Jersey, which is home to some of the most legendary acts in the history of hip-hop. Were any of those acts your original influences to start rhyming, or was there something else that led you to music?
Foul Mouth Jerk: As far as influencing me to “start” rhyming there weren't really any NJ artists out at the time. We're talking the mid 80s, so it was stuff like Run DMC and The Furious Five that originally made me want to start, but once I did start I was listening to a lot of NJ artists like (Queen) Latifah, PRT (Poor Righteous Teachers), the Artifacts, Naughty (by Nature), and all of them had an effect on me. But undoubtedly the one who influenced me the most was Redman.

Adam Bernard: Did you experience any sort of a culture shock, or musical shock, when you moved from Jersey to Asheville, NC?
Foul Mouth Jerk: Moving from the tri-state area to anywhere in the South will always be a huge culture shock to anyone, but that move from NJ to NC was during the start of my long-standing nomadic musician lifestyle, where I would spend as much time on the road all over the US as I would at home. My outlook on that has always been to incorporate the best parts of what I find in each area and sub-culture into what I do, so I enjoy that culture shock.

Adam Bernard: How’d you end up with the name Foul Mouth Jerk? Does it have anything to do with your travels?
Foul Mouth Jerk: Actually Foul Mouth Jerk is kind of a standard insult my mother used to use in reference to any loud, obnoxious asshole. At some point I realized that was possibly the most befitting stage name for a person of my dubious moral character.

Adam Bernard: You are launching something called Gurp City South. You told me a fantastic story about this at the show. Tell me again about the creation of Gurp City South, both the company and the name.
Foul Mouth Jerk: The term Gurp means to get wasted to the point of retardation, and the central home of Gurp City is San Francisco, CA. The crew based there are known as the Gurp City All Stars; acts like Grand Invincible, Eddie K & Brandon B (aka Trunk Drank), TopR, Zman, Conceit, Fist Fam, etc. A few years back some of the GC cats came to Asheville for shows and we got them so torn up they dubbed it Gurp City South. TopR and I have been working as a team from across the country for several years and once he moved to Asheville we decided to set up the business end of it and the website as a central hub to tie together this crew of people that are connected between SF and Asheville, and any ventures they’re involved in.

Adam Bernard: One of the first Gurp City South releases is your new album, The Oldest Trick in the Book. The album has a classic rap feel to it. Was that the goal going in? What were/are you hoping to accomplish with The Oldest Trick in the Book?
Foul Mouth Jerk: The “classic rap feel” is kind of a default setting for me. I'm in my 30s and the stuff I grew up on is from the 80s and early 90s, and that old school style is just in my blood. It's how I dress, how I talk, and how I approach my music. It's not that I don't like any of this new shit that's coming out, but I'm not a kid doing the new hip shit that these younger cats are doing. I'm grown and I tell the stories of what I'm doing and going through for people that can relate to that. As far as what I was trying to accomplish with The Oldest Trick In The Book album, my only real goal was to make quality, timeless, music that would stand up over the years; songwriting that would have substance and some depth, as well as humor and a voice of its own.

Adam Bernard:You have a song with the Artifacts on the album. How’d that come together? Was it a Jersey thing?
Foul Mouth Jerk: I've known both Tame (One) and El (Da Sensei) separately for about eight or nine years now through touring, doing shows, and recording with different people, and have always stayed in touch. Recently Tame had told me that he and El had been speaking again about a possible reunion of the Artifacts, so I asked him if they might be interested in doing a guest spot on the album I was finishing up. They were into the idea so we went to a studio that a friend of mine owns in Brooklyn and recorded the song. It came out so well we decided to shoot a video for it, so we booked a few shows in North Carolina and South Carolina and shot the video in Asheville.

Adam Bernard: In your estimation what IS the oldest trick in the book?
Foul Mouth Jerk: Actually the point of the title The Oldest Trick in The Book is just the way that no matter what bullshit you fall for somebody's gonna tell you “you just feel for the oldest trick in the book.” I just like the ubiquitous dickishness of that expression and felt like my material kind of had that overarching vibe to it.

Adam Bernard: You are also a part of the Granola Funk Express. How different are your musical personalities when it comes to your work as Foul Mouth Jerk and your work as a member of GFE?
Foul Mouth Jerk: All my music is as Foul Mouth Jerk, so it all comes from the same place, but the difference in doing music with GFE is that I’m a part of a team effort in the song writing process. Every member of that team is an incredibly talented musician, so we have to find the way that all those pieces fit together. In any solo effort you are more or less the singular voice of that project, and as the most cynical member of the group, you hear a bit more of that in my solo songs, but it's just one piece of the puzzle in any of GFE's music.

Adam Bernard:Finally, if people could only know one thing about you what would you want it to be?
Foul Mouth Jerk: If there's one thing I would tell people right now, it's that TopR and I also host an internet radio program on ashevillefm.org every Thursday from 10pm-Midnight called the Worst Case Scenario. It's a talk/music/comedy program and it's some funny shit. It's a drunken, nerdy, rowdy mess, so check it out, and if you miss it live you can go to the website every week and check the archives.

Related Links

BandCamp: foulmouthjerk.bandcamp.com
Gurp City South: gurpcitysouth.com
Granola Funk Express: granolafunk.com
Asheville FM: ashevillefm.org
YouTube: Back Up On The Scene


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:34 AM  
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