TVD Live:
Race Wars tour at
the Subterranean,
9/15 – Part 4

Your TVD Chicago writers headed over to the Subterranean last Thursday night to see the amazing group of laptop rappers that are currently performing on MC Chris’ latest tour.

Finally, the headliner himself: MC Chris

In the last part of this four-part story, we get a chance to sit down with the one and only MC Chris to discuss the tour, vinyl records, kid’s music, Lil’ Wayne, and rapping about Presidents.

MC Chris, known known for his voice work with Adult Swim as well as his pop-culture inspired raps,  delivers both comedy and hip-hop in his music and performances. Chris’ set included tracks from the newly released Race Wars as well as plenty of older fan favorites from MC Chris is Dead, MC Chris Goes to Hell, and more. He even opened his set with the infamous “I Want Candy” from Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

MP3 or Vinyl?

Well, I don’t have a record player, but I have a lot of records in my home. I have a huge collection, and the only reason I don’t listen to it, is because I don’t have a record player. I know I could easily have one, and I probably will get one soon.

I don’t even listen to music, it’s like I’m so focused on making my own music, and trying not to sound like anything else. Maybe I’ll listen to a little bit of stuff when I tour, but then I go home and I don’t listen to anything really, except for the usual Classic Rock and ‘80s music. Every year, I get rid of a couple of records, but every year I keep an outrageous amount, which is incredible given the fact that I don’t have a record player.

I put out my own albums on record. I like it because it’s a big piece of art, and honestly, they sell great at live shows. It sells better than a CD does. I think kids want to always rebel, so they’re rebelling against the digital age in a way by latching onto some things. I think we are headed towards a universe where we don’t hold anything anymore. We won’t be touching things, and it’s sad, but it’s good to fight it. It’s good to fight the time, because there is a chance you might win.

You mentioned that you also listen to Classic Rock?

I like anything that reminds me of my childhood, circa ’78-’83. Even the simple things like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, 38 Special, and Steve Miller. Those are my favorites. I remember one summer just listening to every Chicago album, and just relishing it. It’s so great.

Then there’s also like some really cheesy ‘80s records, and great covers. There are also so many cool things that I’ve kind of incorporated into my skits. Those things are going the way of the dodo as well, and that’s sad. I try to keep my rap albums kind of comedy albums, we try to keep those things alive in a way.

The skits on your albums, and the comedy during your show, are such a big part of the “MC Chris Experience”. Do you feel like your fans react just as much to the skits and comedy as they do to the music?

I think it’s probably one guy does, and one guy doesn’t. I saw someone today tweeted that they get rid of every skit first thing without even listening to them. My music is definitely an acquired taste, it’s not for everybody. In fact, if you hear it and you don’t like it, it probably just means that you’re stupid or something, and you probably only enjoy things like beer or football. You should probably go and buy that Lil’ Wayne album. Lil’ Wayne is always there – he’s for everybody. I am not for everybody.

Congratulations on Race Wars, which just came out. It was prefaced by your kid’s album, Marshmallow Playground

Yeah, I created like a companion piece to it because George Miller made Mad Max and Happy Feet, and I thought that that was so funny. I wanted to have both of these things come out at the same time and so everyone would be like “Who are you?”.

Did you have any trouble getting in the mindset of going from one to the other?

No, not at all, I could make a million of these records. MC Chris music is all borderline children’s music, it’s definitely infantile, and I sound like a kid. It’s very college-minded. The kid’s music was very fun to do, and it was also very cathartic to do. I kind of spoke in code about a lot of things in my life. My dad’s sick, and he’s been suffering from cancer for the past few years and the song “Lullaby” is all about me dealing with death, and trying to channel that into the fear that a child feels when the lights are off. I feel like it’s the same exact thing. We both just need to like calm down and try to get through it, it’s going to be tough, but we’ll get through it. Before you know it, it will be dawn and everything will be okay.

It was great for me in that regard, and an awesome by-product of me trying to have this kind of cathartic children’s album experience was that it actually worked, and that families love it, and they use it to put their kids to sleep, or wake them up in the morning.

What’s next – musically?

We’re going to do two short runs, they’re four songs long. “Part One”, the last song on Race Wars is kind of a clue as to what that’s all going to be about. They are working in tandem with a movie that comes out next summer. I come from a pop punk universe where we release short runs, and it’s just another one of those things that is dead, and I just keep doing it, because it’s what I grew up with. I release short runs because I don’t have time to commit to a full album, unless I want to give it a year of my life. With Marshmallow [Campground, the upcoming full-length kid’s album], sometimes I do.

After that, besides my eighth record, I’m definitely going to start making raps about Presidents. I’m a real huge history buff, and I’m starting to get in the opinion that I just want to have fun all the time, and I don’t really care what anyone thinks of it. So far, everything I’ve decided to do, everyone has been interested. It doesn’t sell like proverbial hotcakes, but it sells enough that I can pay my 360 Live bill.

It’s been a very difficult year for me, given that my dad is sick as well. I find that life doesn’t slow down for you. It’s not a person, who will try and be considerate. It doesn’t slow things down when you’re having a tough time, it almost piles it on more, cause it’s a jerk. But, I’m getting through it, and when I get up on stage, it feels amazing to me because I’m not thinking about anything but how do I get this crowd to like me right now? How do I get them to laugh? How do I get them to smile? What do I do right now? This is my challenge right now. That’s all I’m thinking about and it’s great, because I have like seven million things going on when I step off stage, so it’s nice to just have that one thing. I’ve jinxed everything; it’s going to be a horrible show tonight.

Do you have anything else going on right now that you’d like to mention?

There’s going to be books coming out, hopefully next year. A lyrics book, no one knows what the hell I’m saying, so I’m going to let everyone know next year. There’s definitely a publisher that wants me to make a book, but they want me to write it, they want me to write like a book-book. Dark Horse wants to make a book, maybe they’ll want to put it out, we’ll see what happens.

Check out MC Chris’ online store to pick up copies of MC Chris Is Dead and MC Chris Goes to Hell on vinyl. You can also get information on all of the remaining tour dates below.

You can also check out MC Chris alongside MF Doom and Todd Barry in Tight Bros – Adult Swim’s newest cartoon, premiering next spring.

MC Chris Official | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Dates:
9/23 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/24 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
9/25 – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
9/26 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
9/27 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour
9/28 – San Luis Obispo, CA @ SLO Brewing Company
9/29 – San Diego, CA @ Ruby Room
9/30 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Martini Ranch
10/2 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
10/3 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
10/4 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s Alternative Lounging
10/6 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada
10/7 – Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
10/8 – Little Rock, AR @ Juanita’s
10/9 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree
10/10 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
10/12 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
10/13 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
10/14 – West Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
10/15 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
10/16 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
10/17 – Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar
10/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
10/21 – Portland, ME @ The Asylum
10/22 – S. Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground- Showcase Lounge
10/24 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
10/26 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
10/27 – Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
10/29 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

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