Date: October 2009 | Location: Baltimore, MD
A tall, handsome musician with a PhD is discussing hip hop and go-go and asks his colleague, “You ever heard of Gotta See Us? Like, GOD-IS-HE-US?”
“I saw something about them on TMOTTGoGo… may have been an ad,” his colleague responded. “They good?”
“Oh yeah,” said the doc. “You’d love ‘em. They for real.”
Date: June 2012 | Location: Washington, DC
During a photo shoot, a model expresses disappointment that she won’t be able to get a good shot wearing an extra-large t-shirt she wanted to be photographed in. The photographer steps to her to help, and notices the big ‘Head-Roc’ label on the front.
“No,” says the model. “I heard him say he had a band.”
“Look ‘em up online,” instructs the photographer. “They good. Their songs off da chain.”
Date: July 2012 | Location: Washington, DC
I overhear a conversation about how many instruments Dwayne Lee plays.
“He doesn’t seem very friendly,” I interject.
“What he gotta be friendly for?” says an annoyed musician. “He a beast on guitar, drums, [insert whatever the hell else he plays]. Look up GODISHEUS at the Wammies and you’ll be kissing his ass.”
I looked up GODISHEUS at the Wammies, and the musician was right. I immediately took to the TMOTTGoGo page on Facebook to ask Dwayne Lee about his musicianship and how he ended up working with other go-go musicians and a hip hop artist to form a rock band.
Date: July 2012 | Location: My hooptie
Shortly after my interview with Dwayne Lee, during which he provided links to numerous videos of GODISHEUS, Head-Roc offered me a CD of their 2009 performance at Asylum. I picked it up from him in Mount Pleasant, put it in my CD player, and listened all the way through, over and over again, for about three weeks straight. I haven’t done that with a CD in years. GODISHEUS had me, and I wasn’t able to just sit and wait for their next performance; I had to be a part of making it happen. I wanted everyone I knew to know about GODISHEUS. Go-Go musicians formed a funk rock band??? Come on, son!!
Date: August 10, 2012 | Location: The Tap & Parlour at Bohemian Caverns
While researching arts advocacy in DC, I met many of DC’s artists and artsy types who would always say, “I love go-go!” or “I read TMOTT all the time!” They likely hadn’t attended a go-go in years, but could still speak about their favorite bands, their first PA tape, or what it was about go-go music that connected with them.
The idea for the “ART of Go-Go” was born in order to celebrate the diversity of artists in DC who have been influenced and inspired by go-go and its brilliant musicians. Celebrity Bartender (with a media production background) Dwayne Sawyer offered to host us at his most regular spot, the Tap & Parlour at Bohemian Caverns on U Street.
Dwayne Lee and Head-Roc of GODISHEUS both came out to support the first “A.R.T. of Go-Go”, along with DC superstars Christylez Bacon, Reesa Renee, artist Mary Jennings, and Yolanda Coppedge of Z-GoGo. Dwayne Lee, wearing a GODISHEUS t-shirt, got on the mic and talked about using his music to advocate for artists in DC. It was apparent that the next “A.R.T. of Go-Go” would have to feature them.
The song GODISHEUS performed at the 26th Annual Washington Area Music Awards is called “Robert Foore” and it underscores the frustrations of many musicians in the DC area who have been poorly compensated for their work when performing at certain venues in DC.
Have you ever been Robert Foore [robbed before]
as an indie musician by a crook at the door?
Don’t be afraid, call out their names
so we can boycott them out the game.
The songs hit hard—from the outstanding, hard rocking instrumentation to the outstanding, hard-rocking lyrics with a DC accent. In addition to producing impressive songs that inspire artists to keep pushing and advocating for themselves, the band covers topics that are difficult to discuss such as racism and human rights. But each one is a mountain of fun, and their fan base is one of the most diverse (race and age) in DC. They are supported, and this year marks the 3rd year in a row that they have won the award for Best Hip Hop Group/Duo at the Wammies (even though they are a funk rock band).
Have you caught the great race debate this week on the TMOTTGoGo Facebook page? Yikes. Un-fucking-comfortable. There are many who are staying out of it, even though they have an opinion or a peacemaking sentiment to offer, because they’d rather not be caught in the hail of typed bullets on a screen.
But it’s a lesson that Real Life is the new “behind the scenes”. Behind the “scene” of insult throwing and frustration on the internet are Real Life meetings of Black, White, and Latino musicians and artists (including the one-man army Head-Roc) working to make sure that the unfair—and yes, many times racist—practices of DC business owners, venue operators, and art purveyors are stopped. It’s an uncomfortable job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Date: March 9, 2013 | Location: Adinkra Cultural Arts Studio, Mount Rainier, MD
Visual artists are stepping in to support DC’s indie-indigenous music scene by donating works of art as door prizes for the second “A.R.T. of Go-Go”. mARY jENNINGS aRT, The Urban 30 Superheroes, Kevin Brown Art and Design, and Serendipities by Shannadora will be partying with us, along with other types of talent companies such as SimplyRaye and Regg Photo.
The A.R.T of Go-Go celebrates All Related Talent, like our rock star turntablist DJ TDAWG, who has been rocking parties in DC’s hip hop, go-go and metal scenes for many years. (P.S. – He could open his own museum with his collection of DC music history.)
I invite you to come rock the funk out, in unity, with artsy advocates who know how to party. BYOB.