Kelly Busby, the former drummer of The Fireants, recently released his long awaited debut CD entitled KELLY B HIMSELF!! The 15 track CD exemplifies Kelly B as a thought provoking lyricist by writing about his difficult childhood,suicide, denouncing gang violence, hate and racism, and even adds humor to love gone bad situations.
One example of his strong writing capabilities is with the poignant song "I Can't Live" (track 3). This track expresses the loss and anger felt by Kelly when his close friend, Armin Flores, was defeated by Schizophrenia and committed suicide. The feeling of hopelessness and isolation felt by his friend is culminated by uncontrollable hysteria, intense chords, concluding with a gun shot and a final breath.Kelly B and Armin (E Smoove) were on their way to develop an alternative and positive rap CD as opposed to the cliche rap currently heard on the radio encouraging gang violence. Unfortunately after just four tracks Armin ended his battle with Schizophrenia. Kelly continued on and three years after the tragic death of his friend, Kelly B released "Kelly B Himself" and dedicated it in the loving memory of his best friend Armin Romeo Flores.
Friday, March 5, 2004
Kelly B, formerly of the Fireants, tackles serious subjects on his new rap CD.
THE TURNAROUND: Rapper Kelly B credits his discovery of music at age 16 with putting him on the right path.
Listen to "I Can't Live"
By ROBERT KINSLER
Special to the Register
It's not particularly unusual for a musical artist to embark on a solo career after leaving the band where he got his start. But for a musician to make the kind of radical shift that is displayed on Kelly Busby's new solo disc is especially dramatic.
"It has been a nine-year process," Busby said of the completion of his solo disc, "Kelly B Himself," released last month by Anaheim-based Tru-One Records.
Busby was a seminal part of the Fireants, a Fountain Valley-based performance-art rock trio, from the mid-1990s until last year, when founding members bassist-singer Skie Bender and her husband, guitarist Kevin Jacobs, decided to relocate to Washington state. Now, Busby - who goes by the moniker Kelly B - has released a rap disc that displays accessible hooks, as well as intelligent and socially minded storytelling.
The 15-song collection is dedicated to Armin Flores, who had been working with Kelly B on developing an alternative, positive rap sound when he died in 2000.
"'I Can't Live' is about a friend of mine who killed himself, and some of the stuff we talked about on the phone," he said. "More or less, it's him telling the story. At the end is a suicide note that I had Robert (producer-bassist Robert Trujillo of Wirebox fame) read.
"That song took me a long time to write. I wrote that one 20 different times; I knew when I (finally) got that one."
Kelly B fully captures the feeling of hopelessness and isolation Flores undoubtedly experienced leading up to his death. Flores' backing vocals are featured on four of the tracks on "Kelly B Himself."
Kelly B says there is no thriving urban-music scene in Orange County, and his tales rallying against urban violence ("Dying Young," "Senseless Killings") are at odds with the genre's most successful artists. He also tackles topics such as racism and a troubled childhood on his release.
"A long time ago, I hung out with the wrong people," said the South Gate native, who now lives in Anaheim. "I got into trouble and stuff like that; I knew I could have gone to jail."
However, at age 16, Kelly B took up playing drums, and music became the positive force that he credits with saving him from a possible negative path. He adds that his wife, Jenny Busby, has had an equally positive influence on his life and music.
"Since I've been playing drums, that kept me in focus a little bit," said Kelly B, noting his early percussion heroes were Kiss' Peter Criss and Echo & the Bunnymen's Pete de Freitas. "I always liked Run-D.M.C. and N.W.A and some of the stuff they wrote," he said of his rap-music influences.
Kelly B's blend of hard-core rap and heavy, bass-driven beats and his use of some heavy rock riffs draws comparisons with some of his mentors' musical goods, if not their celebrations of violence and a criminal lifestyle.
Many of the greatest recordings are built out of loss and authentic emotions, and "Kelly B Himself" has been forged out of that tradition.
"Armin and I were starting out to do something more positive. "He came down with schizophrenia, and he ended up losing the battle."
For more information, visit www.cdbaby.com/kellyb.
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