By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
First getting on at L.A.’s legendary Good Life Café in the early ’90s, John busted his ass to find his own voice. “The first time I got onstage, I thought I was fresh,” he laughs, “and there was no reaction whatsoever. I went back every week for three years just to get people to pay attention, let alone be impressed.”
Now he’s toured across the country more times than he can count, releasing well-received independent albums (like the affecting emo-hop of Pigeon John Is Dating Your Sister) and creating an audience for his genuinely colorblind brand of boom-bap. He’s now signed with the influential heavyweight indie label Quannum, which will take his show to Europe and Australia after an American tour alongside Busdriver.
“It’s been a sloppy, slow process,” he muses with a grin. “But looking back, it all seems very natural.”
For his new album, John uses that lifetime of experience to create arguably his best work. The rugged “One for the Money” finds him holding his own on the microphone alongside the awesome Rhymesayers rapper Brother Ali (no small feat), but those insistent pop hooks are never far from the fore; Mr. Hansen would be happy to pen something as peppy as “Brand New Day,” while “Money Back Guarantee” taps a sample of the Pixies’ “Hey” to ignite the chorus.
“I listen to all music through a hip-hop mind; everything is loops. But I’ve always loved the Pixies and wanted to do something with that song. My hope,” John stresses, “is to go back to where there are no lines, where it’s just music. Someone like Beck is amazing at it. What he makes is just good music that everybody can enjoy. That’s my goal.”
Pigeon John plays the Temple Bar, Tues., Sept. 12.