Clarence Reid penned hit songs for such acts as KC and the Sunshine Band, Gwen McCrae, and Sam & Dave in the 1960s and '70s. But it was his after-hours forays into funk and parody records that led to the creation of Blowfly, Reid's alter ego. Blowfly's music — mostly filthy raps about pussies and dicks and fucking — has overshadowed his more straight-laced R&B records. Now a septuagenarian, Blowfly has been rediscovered by a younger generation of hip-hop fans (as well as some punk and metal kids). He's still touring and showing no signs of approaching the pearly gates with anything less than a freaked-out funky party in tow. The Pitch recently had a chance to speak to the Fly and his drummer, "Uncle" Tom Bowker. This is how it went.
The Pitch: When I was in college in the late '90s, I went black a couple of times. Since that time, I've gone back. Can you posit any theories on the fallacies of my way?
Blowfly: I was singing to a girl, not to a male freak like you. But if you ever get some sugar in your tank and need some dick, I'll bet you go black again!
It is 2013. How does Blowfly feel about modern technology?
Blowfly: You can't get funky with machines. Machines may show up on time. They don't do coke off strippers' asses or wreck the van we tour in. But they ain't gonna sound like my band. All kinds of rappers sample me, but does anyone sample them? No! If they were smart, they'd hire me and my guitarist Billy the Kid for funk lessons. Someone needs to consult these fools on the funk, 'cause they sure ain't doing it right!
Black in the Sack is the new album. What was the decision process behind releasing a teaser "collectors" cassette tape for it? Has the 'Fly finally embraced a "hipster" status of sorts?
Uncle Tom: Our friend "Mom" in California hipped us to her label, Burger Records, who immediately were up for the tape, and PATAC, our label for the CD/LP was cool with it. I came up on cassettes as a kid. If the hipsters want to discover Blowfly the way I did in the '80s via tape hiss, more power to them.
After all is said and done, what is the collective feeling from the players involved after The Weird World of Blowfly documentary [released in 2010]?
Blowfly: Being a movie star is great. I love the movie.
UT: For me, it's twofold. On one hand, I'm glad the film is out there and spreading the gospel of Blowfly. Having "Blowfly" be a searchable term on Netflix and Hulu opens doors and means a lot less explaining to the uninitiated. The film looks good, and as entertainment, it is better than most music documentaries. On the other hand, the film was recut after the premiere at SXSW in 2010, and the end result is that a small minority think that the Fly and I don't get along.
That is dead-wrong. We are enthusiastic partners in musical perversion. Some self-declared critics think that Clarence should be in a nursing home and not doing what he loves, which is performing and being funky. To them, it is somehow "sad" to be vital and able to rock the mic with authority into your 70s. To me, the guys in the band and Blowfly fans all over the globe, it's heroic and inspiring.
Do you feel that, all these decades later, America is ready for your brand of humor?
Blowfly: I want you to go to the beach. Pick up a handful of sand. That's the dirty stuff you know. Then look at the rest of the sand on the beach. That's the nasty stuff Blowfly knows.
But if you want to see some real freaky shit, watch a soap opera. The dad fucks the baby-sitter, the mom fucks her brother, and her brother kills the nephew to cover it up — and they show that at 3 o'clock in the afternoon!
What are your thoughts on our president?
Blowfly: All the guys are screaming/All the bitches are creaming/There's a nigga in the White House again!
Do you feel that Obama has lived up to or exceeded his expectations?
Blowfly: No. Jesus himself couldn't do that. Obama is helping everyone who is righteous, which is good. However, he ain't the first black president — I did that in 1988! [See: Blowfly's 1988 album, For President.]