Published Sep 01, 2001Antibalas musician and DJ Paul Ballman Jr. currently resides in Brooklyn NY. Their band's debut CD is called Liberation Afrobeat Vol. 1.
Listening to James Black/Smokey Johnson/Zigaboo and dreaming of funk beats.
Mind-altering work of art:
Vodun ceremonies in Port-au-Prince.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Truly too numerous to list.
What has been your career high and low?
High: right now playing with Antibalas.
Low: when I sucked but played in public anyway (no obvious wisecracks from the peanut gallery, ok?)
What should everyone shut up about?
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Brooklyn Afrobeat Musicians Survival Assoc.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
My inability to come up with witty responses to silly PR questions.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Takes but don't give... and I don't kiss and tell.
When I think of Canada I think:
Neil Young, Gil Evans, maple syrup, long winters.
What is your vital daily ritual?
How do you spoil yourself?
A black -n- white milkshake at my favourite joint on Ave. A.
What was your most memorable day job?
Working for the Knitting Factory in Amsterdam. Memorable for reasons good and bad.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
Writing, or opening a restaurant, or both.
What is your greatest fear?
Being pushed into the path of an oncoming subway train.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Flight, of course.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Oh, lots of things. Mmm... take it off... mmm... get it on... (drifts into reverie...)
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Anyone who doesn't already know the answer to this question won't benefit from me tellin' em.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
Seeing Ornette Coleman standing on the corner of Hudson/Walker. I was too awestruck to say anything to him. Second runner-up: playing with a samba bateria group at a private party on Long Island and having Roy Scheider come up and tell us he really dug the music.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Why just one person? Can't I have a party? Ok, if I had to choose right now, it'd be either John Cage (I'd serve matsutake mushrooms) or Ishmael Reed (fried fish, mac/cheese, greens, cornbread). If I had to choose tomorrow it may be someone else.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
I think she'd like me to be making money. but she's proud of me anyway.