“The underlying theme for the Kottonmouth Kings is personal freedom.” – Daddy X
The Kottonmouth Kings were born from the heart of the punk/hip-hop subculture of Southern California ten years ago, when the term “ballin” still meant basketball and white boys didn’t rap. Rooted in the underground movement that stood for personal freedom and individuality, the Kottonmouth Kings fused revolutionary lyrics with punk-rock attitude, and characterized a lifestyle that would become synonynmous with smoking weed.
The band’s founder, Daddy X, understood from the beginning that Kottonmouth Kings would be misunderstood by the maintream music industry. He masterminded Suburban Noise Records, the band’s personal label, which provided a platform for total autonomy an dfull creative expression. As a result, the fans continued to get pure Kottonmouth music, and pledged their allegiance to the Kings in the millions.
Ten years later, still performing strong, still smoking loud, and still working thier asses off, the Kottonmouth Kings are true freedom fighters in every sense. Front man Daddy X was generous to take time out of his life for an exclusive interview with Cannabis Culture to discuss individual liberty, creating music and the natural law of smoking a plant.
Cannabis Culture: How important is it for you to have your own record label?
Daddy X: When we first started Suburban Noise records I had a history with music through punk rock, an dlearned enough to know that it was very instrumental that we controlled our own destiny and weren’t at the mercy of these record companies that are designed to chew up and spit out artists. So… it’s been completely instrumental in [our]becoming self-empowered and being in control of our own destiny.
What do you feel has been the key ingredient for your success over the past ten years?
We had the blueprint and the vision before we started out to be in control of our own destiny. We’ve survived all kinds of obstacles and trials and tribulations that you endure to be in a band, [and]you really put yourself out there when you do this. Its risky, there’s no safety net, there’s no retirement plan for musicialns, so you have a dream and a passion, and that’s what you ride on.
The Kottonmouth Kings has its roots in the “Underground Movement.” What does that mean to you?
When you say “Underground” it implies that it exists outside of the mainstream. The fact that the Kottonmouth Kings gets ignored by mainstream press, MTV and the radio, and a lot of the mainstream outlets that people get their music from. Yet every city and every country we go to we have legions of dedicated fans that come out and are affected by [us]. Therefore it exists by word of mouth, the internet, and the underground.
Yet, you guys have some songs on a couple of movie soundtracks. That’s pretty mainstream.
Yah we have songs out on movie soundtracks, and occasionally radio stations will play us here and there, but were not a mainstream act, just by the fact that we talk about the issues that we talk about.
Which brings me to the point of your loud public stand for the legalization of marijuana. Why is that so important for the Kottonmouth Kings?
I think that the fiber of it is personal freedom. You have in this country the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to [grow]a plant? The simplest way to put it it that the creator that created all forms of life: the plants, the animals, the Earth, human beings, every species, the ocean, [and]the universe. If there was a creator that created this, then [that plant]was put here for a reason. For anyone to outlaw the creator’s creation is kinda an absurd concept.
But the people who outlaw marijuana are the same people who perpetrate slavery and wars and the oppression [of]people, and it’s kinda in the blueprint of how these people operate. So it comes down to real simple human questions, not whether you smoke weed or don’t smoke weed, but you should have the right to decide if you want to interact with a plant or not, and not have someone make that decision for you.
The relationship that the Kottonmouth Kings have with their fans is more of an intimate one that you find with most bands today.
The bottom line is that we are all human beings, we are all sharing this experience called life together, that’s a fact. We had a fan come up and say, “Hey, man, our friend was a big Kottonmouth Kings fan and he just died in a car accident last week, and they put the lyrics to your guys’ song in his eulogy, and he was buried with a Kottonmouth Kings hat on.” I mean, that’s some heavy stuff. People have Kottonmouth Kings crowns tattooed on them, and then you realize that you’re really touching people’s lives with this. It would be impossible to have intimate connections with every fan… so hopefully through our music people feel the connection and can relate to us, whether it’s throught the lyrics or how we live our lives.
And how you relate to each other as members of the Kottonmouth Kings?
We are definately a brotherhood. We’ve gone through so muxh together growing up. We are griends first and foremost. Obviously there are strains like with any family… but we all have the common dream and we are in this together, so we’re gonna stick together. We actually have a song on the new record called “Stick Together,” it’s the last song, and it’s about how sticking together through all these yours has made us such a strong unit.
I read that you guys were harassed by the cops in Ohio over some weed. What was the deal with that?
Yah, we were. They stopped us and wearched our tour bus and found some paraphernalia and some weed, and ticketed us. We were late for our show, but I try not to dwell on those negative things, ya know. Obviously we still live in a place and a time where it’s considered illegal, as crazy as it is, this plant is still considered illegal… We do wha twe can to try and change [the]laws, but obviously it’s gonna take a big collective effort. Do I think that people should be sitting in cages for growing a plant, absolutely not. Is it a violation of human rights when an individual is harassed for a plant? Absolutely.
When watching the Ten Years Deep DVD, I particularly enjoyed the story about Pakelika walking into the Capital Records building with a blunt and smoking the place out.
We used to have to go into Capital Record when we were working with them and try to get these people that pretty much are foreign to the music we do, and have no concept [of our music], and try to educate and motivate them to do the proper marketing and teh kind of things that [we]needed to succeed as a band. So we’d go in there and have these meetings, and they’b be completely not understanding where we come from and what this band is all about.
So Pakelika, more as a shocker, walked through the whole building smoking a blunt with his mask on and holding up signs, and people pretty much freaked. It was his way of trying to get them motivated to pay attention to this band and get behind it. It’s funnier than shit! We know that it was probably sabatoging our careers, but it was so damn funny that it was worth it.
What is Pakelika’s contribution to the Kottonmouth Kings?
Pakelika’s contribution is in the live show. He doesn’t have anything to do with the making of the albums, but he’s there in the live show and [he]enhances the show. He was a friend I knew through the club business, and he just started showing up and hanging out all the time. We asked him to come up and dance with us and he did, and pretty much never stopped. We call him the Visual Assassin because he doesn’t want to be judged on anything but his actions. [He calls] his dance and performance art “hydromechanics.” He’s a rebel, and a true weed smoker to the bone.
He wears a heavy-weight pot smoking championship belt!
It is a self-appointed belt that he had made, claiming that he is the pot-smoking champion of the world. It’s classic, it’s a great declaration.
One of my favorite Kottonmouth Kings songs is Legalize Freedom. What was the inspiration behind that song?
“Someday, someday, soon will come, legalize freedom…” it’s just about how they say it’s the land of the free here, but why can you put hand-cuffs on me for smoking a joint or growing a plant? I believe that real freedom would [mean to]be able to exercise the laws of nature. I believe that the Native Americans were right on with so many of the ways that they lived, in balance with each other. It doesn’t need to be this complicated, all these organized religions that separate people and divide people, and governments that try to subdue and conquer the Earth. I believe that is mankind’s demise and downfall, and that’s why we have so much pain and war and destruction. The lesson to be learned here in life is to live naturally in balance with the Earth.
What’s next? What’s your vision for the future of the Kottonmouth Kings?
We’ll take one show, one record, one day at a time. We just finished up on this Kottonmouth Kings number seven (full length), and it’s a big body of work. We put a lot of time and energy into it and I think that it’s the most defining work to date. That comes out May 31st. There are twenty-one songs on it, and obviously we’ll tour off that. We’re going to continue to make the best music and put on the best shows we can put on. As far as looking too far into the future, I hope that we just continue to be in the position that we can put our records at Suburban Noise as the Kottonmouth Kings. As long as people keep wanting us to make records and are affected by it and keep coming to our shows, I’m sure we’ll keep doing it.
You guys always put so many tracks on each CD. How do you keep yourself inspired after all these years to keep producing music that is fresh?
Inspiration to write songs in never challenging for me personally. I already have the whole record written for the next Daddy X solo record, called Family and Friends, [and]I’m doing a double CD set with the Humble Gods. For me writing songs, that’s the gift, that’s the easy part. It’s about just having the passion for it, being a human and being a writer and [the]experiences and thoughts [that]are always coming, and it’s just a matter of documenting them.
Do you have a favourite kind of weed?
I personally like organic outdoor-grown weed. I like a lot on Northern Cali bud.
What is your favourite way to smoke?
I like to roll a joint and be with a couple of friends and smoke together. I like the communal thing about smoking a joint. Being outdoors, smoking a joint, talking about life, and sharign that tribal connection. I really enjoy that the best, rather than just getting high just for the sake of getting high. Rolling a joint and shring it with friends is my favourite way.
Is there anything else that you want to communicate to your fans?
Seek truth, observe nature, and educate yourself, and live while you live. Enjoy this life, it’s short.
Pot Pick and Intake Method
Outdoor Northern Cali buds, and he likes smoking joints with his tribe.
Green Krack mixed with a little bit of lemon… Keepin it old skool rollin joints.
Green Krack, in joints.
Green Krack, double chamber bong or vaporizer.
Kush, in a vaporizer.
Green Krack, Original Skunk #1, OG Kush, Super Silver Haze, and The Lemon ? and a vaporizer, The Vaporator.
And what about the babes?
Humboldt Honey, Purple Haze, in a joint.
Humboldt Honey, Purple Haze, in the bong!