There’s something about spitting your best rap bars in front of a live audience. A certain energy the crowd give the room.. The same energy that’s felt at a live sporting event; an atmosphere of electricity shared among a community of people with the intention of having the best experience possible. A celebration of life. Pure joy and happiness.
Few things beat the rush of being on stage. When I rocked stages with Future Primitive, the energy was palpable.. probably even more so than when I perform solo. It was awesome to be part of that. The energy of a full band is so engaging and powerful when all the elements work together.
You’re probably wondering why I left.
Let me tell you the story.
Our 1st gig we smashed it.
Meeto – the drummer – works as a graphic designer in the day. Leading up to our debut, the legend decided to print 500 Future Primitive posters promoting the gig. We went and poster-bombed Inner West Sydney one night for a couple of hours. I think I still have about 200 posters under my bed.
We had about 45 minutes of material for our 1st gig. We had two 45 minute sets to play. When we were rehearsing, the band was playing mainly funk cover songs, as the bass-player and lead guitar knew these tracks and had a history of playing together. Meeto was versatile so he was down for whatever. I didn’t have any tracks released at that time, just a shitload of my best rap bars.
So we’d honed our 1st set. It was pretty tight. The 2nd set we were just like : We’ll wing it and have fun. Looking back it was definitely pushing it to commit to a gig 6 weeks after our 1st practice session.
The night was approaching fast and I had to step up my game. I was hosting the night and organising the bill. My old friend 24K opened the debut night with a dope set. Special mention to Masta Marx and Omni Gravity – 2 of the dopest emcees in Aussie hip hop – who crushed as well.
Our time had arrived. I introduced Future Primitive as ‘the band Sydney didn’t know it needed’
I love hosting.
The 1st set we killed it. The crowd vibed hard. They LOVED us!
What’s not to love about Stevie Wonders’ Superstition instrumental with me spitting my best rap bars over the top right?!
The 2nd set was pretty freestyle and I was just spitting bars off the top of the dome over whatever funk instrumentals the boys were playing. Still dope!
Trouble in paradise
The next couple of months saw us doing shows at Bed Bar, Hustle and Flow Bar and Captain Cook Hotel. We were practicing regularly – twice a week – and averaging 2 shows a month. It was a lot. Lot of fun and a lot of work.
We were writing some originals but we remained – at our core – a covers band. That was something that I never wanted and felt quite conflicted about. My songs, lyrics, structure, the meaning of my tracks.. I felt the happy backdrop of funky bass lines was taking the essence away from my best rap bars. I was so conflicted because I loved being a front man but Primitive was being neglected. I was getting lost in it.
I remember one practice session in Marrickville. It was a Monday and the guitarist had had a particularly big weekend. He rocked up with his eyes hanging out of his head and refused to play solos. He goes:
“I don’t wanna do my good solos in practice. What’s the point? I’ll wait until we play for real.. You know what I mean? Does that make sense?”
“No” Replied Rhett. “Not at all”
Best rap bars - the breakdown
The edges were starting to fray. I needed to get back to Primitive and I was spending too much time with the band. As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, some of the situations I was allowing myself to get into weren’t the healthiest.
I knew something had to give. I also knew what I couldn’t give.
There’s been times in my life when I have had to make difficult choices that I knew were right. This was one of those times.
I made the announcement to leave the band after practice at Rhetts’ place one night. The guys were shocked.
I knew I’d made the right choice because I immediately felt relief.
So to sum it up I left because I needed to focus on myself. The music I was performing wasn’t the music I wanted to perform.
Our last gig saw us at the Captain Cook Hotel in Paddington.
We had a few originals at this point and we smashed it out. The sound engineer at the venue had one of those announcer style mics like from the boxing matches that he let me use for the set. i was in my element spitting my best rap bars through this bad boi.
My girl Angel had been overseas travelling in Japan for 8 weeks and had never seen me perform with Future Primitive. My last gig was her 1st. She goes to me after:
“You don’t need a band babe! It just holds you back.”
I love my girl.
Since the guitarist was rarely at practice anymore, he didn’t realise it was my last gig until we were all saying our goodbyes. The guitarist thought this was a great opportunity to announce his retirement from the band as well.
So that marked the end of the original line up of Future Primitive.
gone but not forgotten
The short-lived career of Future Primitive has receded into something of urban legend in the underground… although you can still hear whispers of its epic name echoed in some niche circles.
No regrets. It was an amazing experience being part of a dope band. I probably would still be in the band if we were playing my backing tracks etc. My best rap bars are heard when spitting over MY tracks. Although it was certainly easier getting gigs – in different venues anyway – with a band compared to getting shows as a lone rapper.
One thing I learnt from that experience was that I need to prioritize Primitive over all else musically. The rest – as fun as it can be – is secondary.