Big B: I Never Really Left OPM, I Just Stopped Showing Up

Categories: Interview, Q&A

Big B finds value in Fool's Gold
Big B is the sharp rhythmic voice attached to your favorite songs. Whether the name rings a bell or not, his voice and his musical influence has been present in collaborations with everybody from P!nk and the Dirty Heads,to Unwritten Law, Pennywise and NoFX. No genre is safe when the Vegas-based lyricist opens the door into his mind full of dope beats and a complex rhymes.

Since 2004, Big B has been a staple musician on Suburban Noize Records--both as a solo artist and a vocalist for OPM. Lately, though, he's has been driven to offer fans a different sampling of his already eclectic music with the new album Fool's Gold. It's his own anti-establishment spot that calls out the business side of the music industry while simultaneously adding a new chapter to his legacy.

"When it's done and I'm finished," says Big B, "I want people to look back at me like, 'that dude wrote good music.'"

Music is not the only realm in which Big B operates. In 2012 he won an Emmy for his voice-over work in the summer campaign commercials for Madison Square Garden. The musician can also be found inside his regular hang-out at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas; the Hart & Huntington Tattoo shop with Carey Hart, which was also the set of the A&E reality television show Inked featuring Hart and Big B.

This Tuesday, December 10, Big B brings his live act to Red Owl in Tempe. Prior to his performance, Up on the Sun spoke with Big B about the aim with his new album, not playing by the rules, his group of musical friends and how much an Emmy might fetch at a pawn shop.

Tell me about your new album Fool's Gold. I have read that it was meant to be a jab at the music industry?
It's a really different record. The last few years I've been trying to go in a different direction. I think critics are surprised about the record, and some fans are too. Some people are going to love it some people are going to scratch their head over it. All in all, I think we're moving forward with the plan of changing the music up and keeping it going for a long time.

The music industry is like a giant clique and a gang. So what happens is there are guys like me who don't play by the rules and won't kiss so much ass, and it gets to be a little hard on us. The other thing is that everyone is just so fake in that industry. Don't get me wrong, you meet some great people along the way, but with the majority of them it's one of those things where they won't do anything for you unless they know you can do something for them. That's not how it should work. If you're doing something that is good music, then it should be based on the music and not relationships and profit. It's always been a weird place to me, and I never spend a lot of time in Hollywood and places like that. I know it's hurt my career over the years, because I just refuse to do it.

You're in Vegas right?
Yeah, I'm in Vegas. I spend a lot of time in Irvine, too. We have a recording studio there. The reason I'm here is because, for one, my daughters are here. I've lived here a long time. This is where I started. Vegas just treats me well. It's a hub, so if I need to fly out anywhere, it's a super easy spot. We're five hours from Phoenix and four hours from L.A.

It's a 24 hour city, so if you need to get something done, you can always do it. I don't know about the glitz and the glamour of the strip and all that stuff though. Also, I work with Carey Hart. We have the Hart & Huntington tattoo shops, including one inside the Hard Rock, so you'll see me down there all the time.

I wanted to ask you about your experiences on the A&E reality show Inked. Did it propel your music career?
I don't know if it propelled my music. I think a lot of old ladies knew who I was in the airport after the show [laughs]. As far as helping my music career, I'm sure everything does a little bit.

It was scripted reality. I played a shop helper on the show, which really isn't my title. I was Carey's assistant or whatever, which was cool, but it was kind of farfetched from the truth of what we do over there. It was great, even though I had to dumb down my role to make it fun and entertaining. Reality is not that exciting, but scripted reality is obviously as entertaining as you want it to be.

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