Odds & Ends: Future, Negativland

Future finally found a place to rap in Los Angeles last night after fans crowding the streets resulted in not one but two cancellations of his surprise show … Negativland’s Don Joyce passes.

Photo: John Davisson
SXSW, Stubb's Bar-B-Q, Austin, TX

The plan was simple enough.  Future spent the week playing free surprise gigs in select markets with the rap star tweeting each location hours before show time. Evidently someone underestimated just how popular he is in Los Angeles.

At around 9:30 a.m. July 23 Future tweeted “The Roxy” as his venue of choice for that evening’s freebie, according to Los Angeles Times blog Pop & Hiss.  By noon, 700 fans had arrived at the club in hopes of snagging wristbands granting entry to the 500-seat club.

The Roxy tried to distribute the wristbands at approximately 1 p.m. but the sheer size of the crowd massing around the venue’s doors began causing problems.

“They told us to be cooperative, but then the line started getting crazier,” 19-year-old Joshua Villegas said, according to the Times/Pop & Hiss.  “People who were standing on the sidewalk, they all just rushed into the line.”

A call went out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to assist in handling the crowd.  By 3 p.m. Sunset Boulevard from Doheny Drive to San Vincente Boulevard was shut down.  Within 30 minutes the show was reportedly canceled because “people who didn’t get wristbands were refusing to leave the premises.”

It wasn’t long before Future promised fans that he’d find another place to play that evening.  A half-hour later he announced he would perform at West Hollywood’s House Of Blues.

The crowd traveled the mile or so from the Roxy to HOB and the club handed out 800 wristbands at 8 p.m.

But more problems arose at 10 p.m. when the club opened its doors and the ensuing chaos as people tried to enter the building resulted in the setting off of two fire extinguishers. Unruly fans inside and outside of the venue reportedly caused yet another cancellation.

“More than a dozen police vehicles and police in riot gear again blocked of stretches of Sunset Boulevard, this time from Kings Road to La Cienga Boulevard, as the crowd dispersed,” reported the Times.

Future finally found a place to play – Hollywood’s Supper Club – where he began his performance at 2 a.m. while police and fire department personnel kept watch outside.  Sometimes the third time really is the charm.

Don Joyce, a member of pioneering sound-sampling group Negativland, died of heart failure in Oakland, Calif., July 22.  He was 71.

Joyce was a DJ at Berkeley public radio station KPFA when he first got involved with Negativland and inserted fragments of spoken word recordings into the band’s songs. The band attributes Joyce as originating the phrase “cultural jamming,” reports Rolling Stone.

The band famously took on U2 when the latter’s Island Records label filed a lawsuit over Negativland’s 1991 U2 EP  The cover included the title prominently displayed while “Negativland” occupied a much smaller space.  The disc featured a parody of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” along with samplings from the original U2 hit.  Another song sampled a famous off-air rant by “American Top 40” host Casey Kasem.

In an interview with magazine Mondo 2000, U2’s The Edge suddenly found that the two people asking him questions were Negativland’s Joyce and Mark Hosler.  The Edge quickly disassociated U2 from the label’s lawsuit.

“I think we would have reacted in a different way, but the lawsuit was not our lawsuit,” The Edge told Joyce and Hosler.  “Although we have some influence, we weren’t in a position to tell Island Records what to do.”

Photo: KPFA / Derk Richardson
in an undated photo.

You can read more about the life and times of Donald Joyce at the official Negativland website.