Dumperfoo's 40th Birthday feat. Drunken Immortals at Club Red, 1/18/13
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman Camille Sledge (left) performs onstage with Mic Cause (center) and Brad B. of Drunken Immortals last night at Club Red in Tempe.
Dumperfoo's 40th Birthday feat. Drunken Immortals @ Club Red | 1/18/13
Once upon a time, catching a wild gig by the Drunken Immortals was an easy thang to do. A decade ago, the local hip-hop ensemble of phenomenal talent and great renown was throwing weekly joints at Tempe bars like the old Arizona Roadhouse Brewery attracting in the urban art and party crowds by the hundreds with their lyrical antics.
These days, however, a DI show is about as rare as common sense at an Tea Party gathering since the swagger-filled septet went through a major jag of internal drama more than two years ago and went their separate ways like Tony Stark and company at the end of The Avengers.
Then came last night, when Drunken Immortals reunited onstage at Club Red for a very special occasion: Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper's 40th birthday.
-Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper on His B-Boy Days, Working at Wet Paint, and the Thrill of Live Art
- Dumperfoo on Impressing Vanilla Ice, Hanging With Snoop Dogg, and Other Hip-Hop Hijinks
- Dumperfoo Quietly Galvanizes the Phoenix Hip-Hop Scene
Jeremy "Sqworm" Dana, who performs as the band's bassist, told us about how the painter's big 4-0 united Drunken's dispora, who literally have scattered around the globe (as keyboardist Chris Hill currently calls Spain his home).
Drunken Immortals vocalist Brad B.
"Lightning striking tonight in honor of Dumperfoo," Hill says.
What sent them on their separate ways? According to drummer Jonah "Foundation" Hurst, it was due to each of the members doing their own thing and working on the wealth of side projects that have spun off from the Drunken Immortals mothership (such as The Insects, D3f Star, and Discombobulator).
According to Dana, however, there was also a bit of a melee involved. Back in May 2010, the band was holding the CD release show for their newest disc, The Artist Lives, at the Sail Inn. While he wouldn't name any names, Dana says that kerfuffle over money ensued between bandmates, resulting in a scuffle.
"Someone got really sauced up that night and was really free-wheeling with the cash and Drunken had a real specific agenda for the money," Dana says. "So another person called him out on it, a little scuffle broke out, Jonas and I broke it up, and that sort of iced the groove for a minute. Money. Its the root of all evil and all that. It was crazy."
Tempers cooled and the band did a few concerts up in Colorado but split up. It wasn't officially dubbed as a breakup, Dana says, but there hasn't a Drunken performance since.
"That was the end of the shows right there," he says. "Chris moved to Spain to study flamenco and everyone else had other things. I tried to put together a show about a year ago and I couldn't get everyone lined up to do it. It wasn't the right time."
The stars aligned for "Uncle Dumps," however.
"Being Dumper's birthday, it was enough leverage to get everyone onboard to do the show. Chris flew into town and everyone was on board," Dana says. "So -- once again -- dumperfoo galvanizes the hip-hop scene and galvanizing the Drunken Immortals back together. It's good that a lot of people are here and can witness it."
Taking a night off from slinging coffee and beer.
And there were plenty on hand to catch the reunion, as more than 250 cats and kittens crowded into the Tempe music venue. Amongst the throng were a slew of such local hip-hop performers as RoQ'y TyRaiD and Joey Baggs from Society of Invisibles, art scene heavyweights like Phil Freedom of Mob Action, and even the entire crew from WTFunk? Fridays (who put their night on a one-week hiatus in honor of Dumper's par-tay). Heck, it seemed like the entirety of Downtown Phoenix's Fifth Street culture scene - including Jobot's John Sagasta and The Lost Leaf's Eric Dahl and Tato Caraveo - were in the house.
So did any of Drunken's previous drama spill over into its performance?