Ever find yourself fantasizing about receiving an extreme haircut on stage at The Fillmore while Aesop Rock performs a song? Well, that's precisely what's going down this Sunday when Aesop performs "Racing Stripes," a song about getting a bad trim, from his new Skelethon album. During the performance, one brave audience member will be invited on stage to get their locks clipped by support act Dark Time Sunshine (who have their own new ANX album to promote). Given that this isn't exactly normal behavior, we checked in with Aesop Rock and Dark Time Sunshine's Onry Ozzborn and Zavala to find out what they're doing and talk hip-hop haircuts.
How did the idea to give fans haircuts on stage come about?
Aesop Rock: I wrote a song called "Racing Stripes" on my latest record and it's all about getting your hair cut -- partly about the liberating feeling that comes with giving yourself an effed-up haircut, and partly about a friend of mine that used to give himself terrible cuts in order to keep himself in the house so he wouldn't procrastinate on his work. During rehearsal I said it might be funny to give someone a cut, but I think we all weren't quite sure if it would actually work. We figured we'd give it a shot, and so far every show has had a lot of people signing up. It's become a really fun part of the show that both the audience and the victim seem to get a kick out of.
Did you have any reservations about the idea?
Onry Ozzborn: No reservations at all -- it sounded pretty fun.
Who actually gives out the haircuts?
Zavala: Me and Onry do all the haircuts. Aesop doesn't do any haircuts. He's doing the song about someone getting a haircut. He's performing while we're doing the haircuts.
How do you decide who gets the haircut?
Zavala: At the beginning of the show they have a sign-up table near the merch and then we bring the list up stage. It's usually like 20 people, so right before the song comes in, Rob Sonic goes through the list and picks one. It's kinda random.
Do any of you guys have any formal training in cutting hair?
Zavala: Ah, man, I'm bald, so I shave my head like every four days, so I'm pretty good at it.
What's the trickiest part about cutting someone's hair live on stage?
Aesop Rock: Well, luckily for me, I just rap. But I'd say the trickiest part is just getting the person to the stage: you never really know what you're gonna get, or how intoxicated the person might be. We've had really good luck, with a couple [of] minor exceptions. Once everyone is situated it's been going pretty damn smooth, I must say, all things considered.
Onry Ozzborn: The trickiest part is them moving during the song and lip-synching all the lyrics when I'm trying to do my line-work. It nearly always messes it up.