BLACK ROCKERS UNITED MEDIA

LORD BISHOP ROCKS

"Lord of Rock 'n Roll"

INTRO | DISCOVERING SELF | ROCK'S ROOTS | CHANGES | BAND HISTORY

LORD BISHOP ROCKS & BLACK-OWNED LABELS

       

INTRODUCTION

NK: #BRUTalk with Nicole Kali here, Black Rockers United and rockin’ guest Lord Bishop is joining us today! Lord Bishop is lead guitarist/vocalist for ‘70’s-style Hendrixian Motör Funk” band, Lord Bishop Rocks!

That is a trio on rock’s timeline with Death, Them Crooked Vultures and a 21st-century sound! Welcome, Lord! How are you?

Lord: I'm good, I'm good. It's hard [laughs]. It's hard everywhere.

NK: Yeah. I guess hard, how so?

Lord: I think the most important thing is for everybody is...we have to focus in on the things, I think, that we weren't able to do while we were so busy. You know, trying to play shows and do everything at once. And for me, it was great because I was able to really sit back and reflect. And really, kind of digest everything that happened to me last year.

I lost my mom. You know, and trying to get some home-ground. Get some concrete home-ground. That's what's really important to me and I found that peace to be actually, very, very wonderful. Like how everything changed so fast.

How people uh, mellowed out! You know, didn't freak out. To me, that was really, really cool to see how it got so calm when things were so un-calm before.

NK: It's not the method that anyone asked for but it's the means that everyone needed. You know? There was so much tension before that something had to happen.

And I feel like now it's kind of forced everyone to be in that state of calm, and introspective, and to think about how we're connected to each other. You're right. And I'm sorry about your mother.

DISCOVERING SELF

Lord: Yeah, that's true. So I think it can also, I mean for me? There's certain things I did: doing the 'Spoonful' track, you know, this cover, this tune. I was kind of, for years I was runnin' away from the blues because I've been so dead-set on not being stuck in any traditional music industry box.

NK: I get that.

Lord: And because I'm a gigantic Black dude, people would immediately think "Oh, that guy does blues". You know? And I realized I ran right back into it [laughs], because I started thinking about the depth of why I was running away from the blues. And then I started to realize, it was way deeper than me just not wanting to be in a box.

But it's very interesting because I went to a Harriet Tubman party last night. It was kind of a party celebrating Harriet Tubman. And I found out a lot of things about her, that I didn't really know.

And one of the main things that we got out of this meeting was that you know, the situation with how Black people feel about each other, it's very deep. And it's maybe even deeper than what starts in 1619, when slavery's kickin' in.

We have a very difficult time with each other. And we don't really find our way to connect. And unless we're in the same...whether it's like we're sports stars and we're on the same team or we're on the same league, or we're comedians and we're famous.

Or we're musicians or we're politicians and we're famous. We still don't connect enough with "the real people". And I think that's a big problem of mine, but it goes deeper than that. I think it's the fact that we've been going through certain self-hate for years!

You know, during the time of slavery, you know the slave master, they're creating a light-skinned child and that light-skinned child becomes a child that works inside the house, while the other slaves work outside the house.

You know, this light-skinned person starts to get preferential treatment and of course it makes you feel bad. Of course the light-skinned person has "easier", "manageable" hair and you can go on and on!

NK: Colorism! Yeah.

Lord: You know? That's continued, worldwide! Whether that's, I have a huge following in Brazil and white Italian, German Brazilians are not treated like the Afro- (-centric) or -Caribbean Brazilians.

NK: Absolutely not, no.

Lord: And I got that a little bit, out of this meeting last night. I realized that, how I wanna be a champion, to be a person that tries to work on changing that. And try and work on empowering and EMBRACING who we are, what we are, why we are. And that brings back the blues because everything comes from the blues.

Why am I running away from my music ancestors? Playing a sound that is the reason I'm playing rock and roll now. Didn't make any sense.

Lord: So I might as well embrace this music, and understand this music. And investigate and educate myself on this music, and then take that inspiration and turn it into what I did with 'Spoonful'.

My version of 'Spoonful', it's not like anyone else's because that's coming from me! And that's not just saying it's a different band. Of course it's a different band. No, it's a different approach to the song.

NK: If you haven't heard, Willie Dixon, everyone, please go listen and check out Lord Bishop Rocks on YouTube! And what you have done, Lord, is weave those origins, the origins of rock and that is blues. You know? That's great!

Lord: Right, right. Embracing it is key. And that's what I'm trying to do now. We're actually getting ready, on September 1st we're recording another classic blues song. I will not say the name, try to keep it as a surprise.

NK: I'm excited, ah! I can't wait. Awesome! So what I'm hearing from you is that you've kind of been trying to find your roots in music, but you've always been very definitive about your sound.

ROCK'S ROOTS AND APPROPRIATION

And when I was listening to Dirty Jams and "Rock 'n Roll Revolution" on that album, I realized that you have always been very versatile and you had always been saying real things. It's just that now you're proud of mixing together these genres. And now you're making a statement that way. That's REALLY cool.

Lord: Yeah, I went from "I don't give a fuck" to " I really give a fuck", to "I really give a fuck, but I don't give a fuck". You know?

NK: Yeah [Laughs].

Lord: And I really went through these stages. And now I'm at the stage where I really give a fuck, but I really wanna be me, you know? I don't really wanna fall into any this or that. But I know what I'm doing, is cool and KNOW what I'm doing is unique. And yeah, there's nobody like me! You know, I'm proud of that! I'm very proud of that.

And I see even by your platform, Black Rockers United, so many unique genres of musicians and artists that are really spectacular. Not to jump into another topic but I just really wanna say, something we talked about briefly.

I'm a firm believer in that we need to empower ourselves as Black people in general, but with the music community and rock and roll. And so we need some high-powered people to make some changes!

NK: We do! We do.

Lord: Until we get there, and when we get there, there'll be people like me who will be continuously making the changes. As long as we limit ourselves to the white record company slave masters 'cause that's what they are...as long as we limit ourselves and we're not empowering ourselves and each other?

It's going to be very difficult for us to be able to take back our throne. Our throne is rock and roll. We created rock 'n roll. We ARE rock 'n roll. I don't give a shit what you say! We are the originators, you know, but we've been pushed aside, these blues guys I've been talking about! Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly...

You know, and you have bands like The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones and whatever, taking directly (Led Zeppelin), taking the SONGS.

NK: It's ancestral theft.

Lord: And making them into monster hits!

NK: Yeah.

Lord: Because you've got them twisting it and turning it into a hard rock song by guys who have long hair. And again, that's nothing against Led Zeppelin. I'm saying the way it is, the way it is. That's just the way it is. "That's All Right , Mama" was not Elvis' song. That was a Black woman's song!

NK: "Hound Dog"?

Lord: There you go!

NK: And I just found out that "When the Levees Break" was by Kansas McCoy and Memphis Minnie, I JUST found out.

NK: I heard Led Zeppelin years before.

Lord: It's crazy!

NK: Speaking that truth because we ARE the originators and it's wild to me that there is such a disconnect of the history. So many of the people that made it [blues], the pioneers that we put on the timeline, are forgotten!

The only people that know about them are Black people, and I think it's important to champion them and remember them...and put them in everything that we do. Absolutely.

Lord: For example, Buddy Guy. You have Buddy Guy who's the last pioneer of the blues, of that generation. He was the baby underneath Muddy Waters, whatever. After Buddy, it's gonna be Robert Cray. People in Europe, for example, worship Joe Bonamassa. And they don't even know who Buddy Guy is!

NK: Wow.

MAKING CHANGES

Lord: It goes for everything. It goes from pop to rock, the blues, everything else. I think we need to come together and make a change. I wanna be a catalyst to do that, not only musically but in a business sense.

I'm working on trying to find investors for the band so that I can achieve and strengthen my platform. And once I strengthen my platform, then I'm going to call people out! THen I'm going to be able to knock on the door.

Then I'm going to be able to say to someone like Jay-Z or whoever else: "Man, hey, what are we doing here?" You know, let's take over the world! We're here! There's great, great music. Great music and we just can't get it out.

We can create our radio stations for Black rock music. We can create our own touring services, etc., rent the venues. Just do it! We just gotta do it.

NK: Yeah. It's freedom.

Lord: But we have a problem connecting.

Your earlier New York City musician career included the band Total Sexual Freedom! Wanna share that connection to Lord Bishop Rocks?

Lord: T.M. Stevens for example, who's very ill right now, made his whole career in Europe, coming over and playing. He actually gave me a lot of opportunities to open up for him. And so did the Living Colour guys when they came to Europe.

They gave me opportunities to open up for King's X, another completely underrated, overlooked, gigantic group with an amazing Black frontman! Sevendust too, why is Sevendust not bigger than they should be?

NK: It's people like you and me, it's groups like PUNK BLACK and Black Rockers United that will be the vanguard of this representation and not just that: actually centering ourselves and being there, being vocal and being very upfront about Black rockers and being united. This is our livelihood so we should be able to do it. Absolutely.

Lord: This has been tried twice and I hope that what you're doing and this whole movement can be the catalyst.

NK: So we're talking about 2020 and 2021. But I wanna talk about your earlier career with the band Total Sexual Freedom in New York City. How does that connect to LBR, and how did you get your musical start?

TOTAL SEXUAL FREEDOM/LORD BISHOP ROCKS

Lord: I was a promoter, and I was booking bands in the late '80's, early '90's but basically I decided from the one day to the next, to switch the sides of the curtain. Instead of being behind the stage, I would be in front of the stage. And I had always been writing music my whole life. Always loved music.

But I just decided to be in a band, front the band and use all my professional/business sense, my marketing sense, management sense to get it started.

The first line-up was terrible, the second line-up was not SO bad. We got kind of cool and the third line-up was the bomb. You know and I played with a very great New York City guitar player. His name is Wayne Livingston, and Anthony Geathers, he was the bass player!

And a white dude, the drummer named Jeff McManus. And we were just killin' it! And when Jeff left the band, I had an amazing drummer (his name was Rich Kulsar), he jumped in. We were kind of like Black Sabbath-meets-Bad-Brains-meets-Funkadelic, with a sprinkle of Living Colour. It was, it was ridiculous!

NK: That is SO cool!

Lord: I'll share some videos with you of us in the '90's when I could jump like a rabbit [laughs]! When we came to Europe in 1998, we did one tour. And when I went back home, I talked with the guys about possibly moving to Europe. And none of them really seemed to want to go in that direction.

So I basically had to just disband the band, and split. And then I came to Europe, and that's when I'm kind of restarting everything!

And TSF, Total Sexual Freedom was so heavy that I wanted to go in a different direction. I went "Okay, back to blues" and pop-blues kinda funky music.

NK: Okay.

Lord: After a little while of doing that, I found that that SUCKED. And I hated it. So I started gradually moving back: getting heavier and heavier! The thing is in Total Sexual Freedom, I was only the singer. I played guitar, but not in the band.

So when I came to Europe, my idea was to reboot a trio AND play guitar. The problem is, I didn't really know how to play guitar that well. So I had to learn how to play the guitar and sing, and front the band. And entertain and keep my eye on all the guys and everything else. It took a while.

NK: All these different elements.

Lord: And that's why I played so much. I always had this opinion like "Let's just keep playing because we're building the name and every time we play, we're gonna get better".

So at some point, there were a lot of live rehearsals where we got better and better, and better. That's how I end up now with over 4,000 concerts in 30 countries! Which is inconceivable.

NK: Inconceivable.

Lord: And I cannot believe because even then I was doing that and you have to realize, I'm playing in the band, managing the band. Promoting the band, booking the band. Doing the tour management of the band, I'm not driving, I'm sitting up front with the driver as co-pilot. So I'm doing ALL this. I'm also changing band members constantly, just because I was an animal.

And nobody wanted to be on the road with me because I just wanted to play, play, play.

NK: Yeah.

Lord: Never spent any time with my daughters, I have five, didn't spend any time with them because I'm on the road!

NK: Yeah.

Lord: I was drinkin' Jack Daniels like hell, I was nicknamed "Blemmy" because I was the Black Lemmy (Kilmister). I was just a complete road hog/animal: kick-ass, spittin'-in-your-face, loud-ass, Bush hatin' guy.

NK: [Laughs] Wow! (It's a mood.)

Lord: So now I'm a little bit more tempered and a little bit more calm. And I don't break as many guitars because I can't afford to replace them anymore. But I'm still me and I'm still fired-up. I'm more mature. And the best thing about it: now I can actually play the guitar! [Laughs]

LORD BISHOP ROCKS AT THE CORE

NK: Exactly! Now you can shred the way you wanted, Lord. That's what I'm talkin' about, my friend. Drummer Duda and bassist Rodrigo Lanceloti are great artists and they're your solid bandmates. And that synchronicity can make or break a group like you said. How did everyone meet and what is it like now, playing over 4,000 shows, 200 a year before?

Lord: I met Duda five years ago. He was a fan of mine in Brazil, he's from Brazil. And I was on tour. And the bass player at the time was my very good friend, Caleb. He had hired a drummer called Paulo.

Paulo was supposed to be doing the whole Brazilian tour for me. And we had a couple of rehearsals. Paulo was okay. I'm really hard on drummers.

Because I just gotta hear it, I gotta feel it. The first show we did, we played at a town called Ribeirão Preto which is near where Duda lives. Duda came to this show. And he was there with a couple of his friends, watching the band. And Paulo was terrible, he was TERRIBLE.

So at the end of the set, I got so angry that I turned around and threw my guitar. I just missed his head by inches, threw it over his head, had to apologize because we had to continue the tour. So we went to a whole other city.

And we did one more date. He [Paulo] was a little bit better. But then we came to the third date, he played and again, horrible!

I go to the fourth date, and Paulo is playing like shit basically and after 3/4 of the gig, I'm starting to get this feeling again like I'm gonna break something. So I just out of the blue—Duda's in the audience—said "Yeah, Duda, come up to the stage! Play some drums, man! Paulo, please take a break."

Paulo gets off the stage and Duda gets on. And he's like, totally scared, freaked-out, doesn't know what's going to happen. But I knew the kid could hit the drums like a motherfucker. I knew the kid could play. Then we just kicked into the easiest, heaviest, craziest riff: "Whole Lotta Love"!

[Imitates guitar riff] And when he came into the drums, he went [energetic drum sounds]!" And the whole place erupted. I can't-

NK: Went wild!

Lord: It was like a mosh-pit from a Bad Brains show, he went from zero to hero. High adrenaline, just like that.

NK: Oh, wow.

Lord: And so the bass player looks at me. He goes "That's our guy!" [Laughs] After the show was over, I went to him. I said "Man, why don't you finish the tour with us? And I'll talk to Paulo, whatever, send him home".

He [Duda] said "Yeah, I gotta check it out, we got a few things to do" but he was interested. I said but don't tell anybody. Let me tell Paulo myself. I'm gonna be a man and tell Paulo." So somehow it got to Paulo...so he had split. He had just went right back to Sao Paulo.

And so at that point, we didn't have a drummer! We continued to tour but Duda found out he could do it. And then he just jumped in! You know, at the time, he didn't really have correct cymbals and used a beat-up snare drum.

He just jumped in, didn't know the songs. We just threw him into the pit and somehow he survived. And it all was cool somehow.

And when I came back to Europe, I said to my man at the time, "Man, we gotta get this kid over to Europe, give him a chance." So I invited him in 2015 fall to come over to Europe, be with us for three months. And we did 78 concerts! And the first concert he did, he played in front of 4,500 people in the Czech Republic.

So this guy lands in Germany, no rehearsals, no nothing and I put him on a stage in front of 4,500 people in the Czech Republic. And he just killed it, he just killed it! In all, it's just been a developmental thing and we've been together since then. He's the main drummer.

Rodrigo Lanceloti: worldwide, magnificent guitarist! He also plays bass. So when he comes here and does tours with me once every other year or so, he plays bass and guitar. But Rodrigo's generally a guitarist, I would ask everybody to look him up. Amazing. The core of the group is myself and Duda.

Eventually we will have a permanent bass player, but for now it's not an issue. We have a lot of guys who are fantastic. And it also helps us because when you use different guys, the flavor of the music is always changing.

So that's how it all connects with Total Sexual Freedom! I tried to get TSF back over here for a reunion tour.

But I just can't seem to get the guys together. We did do a reunion in New York, we did three songs. We got off the stage and it was just the same TSF from 1995. And we just killed everybody. And THAT'S what we're talking about: bands that have that thing.

And that's why a band like Led Zeppelin, Plant is right. Even though they could tour without Bonham, it's not...they are not The Who without Keith Mooney and John Entwistle. It's just not The Who.

Nirvana, they could've gotten another frontman and continued to play the music. And it would've made money. But they're [Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic] were like "No! Kurt's dead, that's it. Done. End of story." But some bands have to go on, you know?

NK: Your vision, it can take you beyond death. You lose a member, you keep going in their memory because you know that's what they would want. Other bands, when you lose somebody or when you hit the rocks, sometimes you just gotta pack it up and make a new project. It depends.

But I do appreciate that input because shit gets heavy and it's a matter of how you handle it.

Lord: Right.

NK: So you absolutely do rock, and do you have any further advice on working together through heavy times and supporting you? Arts, human-wise?

Lord: I just wanna say, whatever you guys wanna do with your platform, and I hope that/what I would like to offer is specifically in Europe: to help build up the European side of it. You know, I would like to show my support in any way possible.

And when we get back to the actual performing and organizing, you know, let's talk about having an event or two here and promoting the BRU platform!

And we have to speak to people. We have to step around a lot of the management and a lot of the lawyers, and the accountants and the bullshit. Get right to the meat and potatoes.

People have to get paid of course. But let's just stop the bullshit. We gonna make this happen or we gonna make this happen? That's the endgame, endgame.

And so that's what I think. I would love to help. 2021, we kinda bring it up. I'm coming to America on tour. I'll put the logo on, you know and we'll try to promote the shows, bring bands together. I'm mostly going to look at the other artists that are on the platform and try to offer them tours, because I also have a booking agency.

So I will try and book three or four tours a year from these great groups.

NK: First of all, thank you SO MUCH, Lord. I would love to collaborate with you, everyone at Black Rockers United. We can reach over virtually to Europe and connect! Why not? You know? This is an international group!

Lord: I also want to give away, this is a Motörfunk [album]. So first five people that say "I want a Motörfunk" when you release this, they get a Motörfunk! MOTORFUNK!

NK: Motörfunk! I was listenin' to it yesterday, I was jammin'!

Lord: But that's me. I'm gonna make a change. I'm dedicated. As long as I breathe and my fingers are working, and my voice is still all right, I'm gonna kill it! Nobody like me, nobody [laughs].

NK: There will never be another quite like Lord Bishop Rocks! This has been an amazing #BRUTalk. Thank you so much for coming, Lord. We're appreciative for every minute that you rock and spend with us.

Lord: Thank you. Thank you.

NK: Black Rockers United!

Lord: God bless. Rock and roll, yeah!

Lord Bishop Rocks! wherever they go!

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