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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Aesop Rock and Dark Time Sunshine Will Give You a Haircut You'll Regret at the Fillmore

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM

A voluntary victim gets a haircut onstage in San Diego
  • A voluntary victim gets a haircut onstage in San Diego

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.

The San Diego victim afterward
  • The San Diego victim afterward

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.

  • Dark Time Sunshine

How do you decide what sort of haircut someone receives?

Zavala: That's kinda like a last minute thing. It's really freestyled!

So which fan has been on the end of the most extreme haircut?

Zavala: Man, I think almost all of them are really extreme. I can't say.

Onry Ozzborn: Yeah, they're all pretty extreme!

Aesop Rock: They started with some basic mohawks, some lines and stripes, then graduated to the Friar Tuck style and some male pattern baldness. We've had a couple [of] females lose a good two feet of hair, which is always pretty fun. The Dark Time Sunshine guys are really just trying to outdo themselves at this point, and once you've cut as many heads as they have, the question is -- what next? We may also have a guest cutter in San Francisco. We shall see...

Do you ever feel bad about the haircut someone ends up with?

Onry Ozzborn: Not really. I mean, you step on stage, you know what you're getting into.

Does the person getting the haircut ever seem like they regret their decision?

Onry Ozzborn: Oh, yeah, always -- even when their name gets called. They didn't even think their name was going to get called so you see the regret in their faces straight away.

If you could give Aesop Rock a new haircut, what would it be?

Onry Ozzborn: Probably a mullet with like three lines on each side.

Zavala: I'd do a friar's cut, like to have that like bowl would be kinda cool.

What's the worst haircut you've ever had yourself?

Zavala: I haven't had a decent haircut in over 12 years because I lost my hair.

Onry Ozzborn: The one I have right now is the worst; I just have this weird strip of hair above my head.

Aesop Rock: My mom used to give me some terrible cuts as a kid, like bowl cuts. Then for about a decade I just cut my own hair and I've pretty much done it all at one point or another. Now I kinda embrace it all, because hair is funny and weird haircuts make me laugh.

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