In this week's cover story, “Bud Bundy, Original Gangsta,” I delve into the remarkable hip-hop trajectory of David Faustino, who, while playing Bud Bundy on Married…with Children, threw one of the most influential rap parties the west coast has ever seen.
In the early '90s, along with three of his friends — also white, privileged teens who dressed like thugs — he hosted a party called Balistyx, held at Whisky A Go Go. There, acts like N.W.A., KRS-One, and Above The Law performed, and its night-ending freestyle battles effectively launched the career of will.i.am.
Faustino was also a rapper himself, but his heart wasn't really in it then. Now, however, he's back with songs under the rap name Lil' Gweed, which you can hear on his Soundcloud page. What Faustino is most excited about, however, is the rapper signed to his Old Scratch Records label, Patience Price, an MC out of Portland who helped him run his now-shuttered weed dispensary. Price just released a free mixtape, Adrenaline & Vodka, which is now available as a free download.
If all of this sounds too bizarre to be believable, don't worry — even my executive editor thought it was a hoax. But no, it's all true. (You can learn more about Faustino's story on this Hypemen podcast, which inspired me to write the piece.) And, below, are some excerpts from our interviews that didn't make the story. Topics discussed include will.i.am's early success as a battle-rapper, Faustino's 2007 arrest in Florida, and a story about how Arsenio Hall once hurt Ice Cube's feelings.
On the Hollywood tour buses that drive by his house constantly:
It's a newer phenomenon, it never happened when I first moved in. Sometimes when we're here in the studio playing around and having cocktails we'll go out there and mess with 'em. But now that they decided I'm a friendly guy, they decided it's cool to ask for me anytime.
[One time] I was just having one of those days. And this guy comes out singing the Married…With Children theme to try and get me to come out. But this would happen every day — three or four times a day. So once, he had a van full of people and I asked [them], “Are you all taping this?” I said, “Good, 'bro do me a favor, I don't mind you coming by and saying hello – I appreciate it. But I cant have you singing Married…With Children all the time. My neighbors don't like it they don't want to hear it all day long.” He's never done it since.
On choosing Whisky A Go Go, which was owned by the father of Balistyx co-founder Nic Adler, as the venue for the party:
The Whisky was the perfect place because Lou [Adler] had some special licenses for his establishments that other places don't –like a restaurant license for the Whisky. So we were allowed to have all ages in there. But we didn't want to make it just a teen club, we wanted it to be for everybody.
And hip hop was so young at the time too, relatively speaking, that we had a lot of kids but we'd also have your random older guy. It was like, “Holy shit, whats going on here?” It started off with kids from Beverly Hills, West Side, Westwood, Brentwood…We literally had a line down Sunset from the Whisky stopping past the street and starting again. It was crazy.
On being pals with Ice Cube back in the day:
I was friends with Cube; he was also a fan of mine, and I a fan of him. Even before Balistyx happened I was hanging out with him, taking him to The Arsenio Hall Show for his first time. I was like, “Ice Cube, I've got a +1, you should go,' and I took him. Cube wasn't known at all yet. I knew him but Arsenio didn't. Cube gave him a CD after the show, on the floor. Not to disrespect Arsenio, but he brushed him off a little bit and it hurt Cube's feelings a bit.
On rap battles at Balistyx and the emergence of will.i.am:
We'd have the freestyle battle around 11 o'clock. I would host, and we'd have some acts who were talented, and some who got booed off the stage, which is a part of hip-hop.
And then one night will.i.am — or Will 1X at the time — came up and literally was amazing. He wasn't the will you know now, who's still amazing, but he was completely different. He was a battlist, really charismatic and uber confident.
He already knew his worth then. And he took it every night; he won for weeks in a row, people couldn't beat him. He became a big star at Balistyx, and then Easy E signed him [to Ruthless Records].
On the clothes the girls wore at Balistyx:
It was, you know, revealing and sexy. I can't remember exactly what all the styles were, but there was a lot of eye candy, I know that.
On enlisting Alan “The Alchemist” Maman and Scott Caan to hand out flyers on their bikes.
Alchemist and Scotty were about two years younger, just enough for us to be a little bit cooler than them, but they were the coolest kids in their age group. They would come on their bikes. There was something about them that was very charming and magnetic. They were funny, man, these two wise ass kids.
They wanted to be down at the club and into hip-hop. But eventually they got into their own thing and became their own stars [with their group The Whooliganz]. We didn't even give them money, just access, let them be down with the Balistyx crew and be part of the family.
On getting arrested in Florida in 2007:
I had been at a club and was with my ex-wife, and I had about a gram of marijuana on me. Because I was intoxicated and was being an asshole after hours outside the club, the police decided to search me, and that's how it all happened.
I took on an attitude that I never ever take on with cops. But when I was drinking I thought I was Mr. Big Shot, and they put me in cuffs and that was that. I spent the night in the can, but they gave me my own little cell, my own quiet pathetic little room.
On wishing he was still on a prime-time sitcom:
I mean, I definitely want to do more acting work, no doubt about it. I'm excited for that next great role. I don't know what it will be or when it will be, but I'm definitely open to it. I don't want to do something for the sake of doing it. I want it to be a great role and I want it to be really funny – or dramatic – but I mean I want it to be something really, really special.
On being addicted to fame:
I love the fame, I love the attention, and I love the perks. So I mean, yeah, I've made some pretty decent investments so I feel comfortable financially. But is that enough? No, not really because, you know, I like the attention and the fame. That's part of the whole package.