Derrick Brown
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Derrick Brown

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"Watching Mcdaniel And Brown"

Written by Sage Francis
Thursday, 28 July 2005

Watching Mcdaniel and Brown perform at the Ugly Mug in Orange County, CA This is the first poetry reading I've been to in a long time. Two of my favorite contemporary poets were the main attraction. The open mic was not the attraction. Open mic poets need to keep a small circle and never leave it until they are jeff mcdaniel or derrick brown. There other exceptions, but man...death to open mics. Sitting through an open mic session is similar to sitting through an unending series of commercials while you wait for your favorite tv program to reappear. You sit there and curse your inability to change the channel. Fidget. Fuck a tv commercial poet.

This is the first time I've seen jeff mcdaniel since 2000. I had recently sent a special someone my copy of his "forgiveness parade" book and the god damn post office lost my package. It was a book I had to special order at my local book store, and I somehow managed to keep it through the years even though I lent it to a plethora of friends. So it was a special surprise when I found out he would be performing near by to where I was staying while in cali. And with Derrick Brown? Lawdy.

When Mcdaniel took to the mic, he announced that he would be reading a chapter from a book he is currently writing, to which I grimaced. I grumbled. I kicked the dirt and got all bobblehead about it. Based on all past experiences of mine, when a poet says they are going to read a chapter from their book it turns into 15 minutes of boring delivery and forgettable subject matter. I should have given McDaniel more credit, because his writing was just as punchy, entertaining and potent line for line as any poem I have ever read of his. It was about a guy reasoning with himself over whether he should or shouldn't do extacy while his girlfriend is away. "Even though we agreed to only do drugs while we are together, SHE is the one who went away for the weekend. Not me! You know.....maybe this will make me miss her on a whole other level." That's just from memory, and I'm certainly not doing his writing justice, but the lines got funnier and funnier and by the time he was finished I wanted him to just keep reading.

After McDaniel's performance, Derrick Brown took to take to the stage. This was a "going away" performance for him because he is about to relocate to Tennessee. I can't remember if it is actually Tennessee where he is going, but its some place I never visit. Whatever the case, he is leaving an area that he has been a great contributor to for the past 10 years so emotions were running a little high. Or sideways....and high....diagonal. I think he redirected the emotions a bit. Clever fool.

Brown proceeded to put on one of the most unique spoken word performances I've ever seen, and this is the main reason I always keep him on my radar. He uses a great mix of powerful writing, quirky/silly humor and impressive musicality/choreography. Before doing any poetry he pressed play on the boombox he set up on a table and then gave out gifts to people in the crowd. Parting gifts. The music was some circus/synth-pop hybrid...Rachel Kann told me it is the music Disney World uses upon opening its gates every day. Creepy.

He introduced a woman to the stage who did interpretive dance through his whole set. It was odd and sexy. Surprisingly well choreographed according to his interplay with her, and fun to watch (rather than distracting.) He often had ambient music playing in the background that paralleled his vocal builds really well. I've used instrumentation behind my poetry before but I don't think I've ever planned it well enough where I can execute the piece in a way where I know how to pace myself perfectly in order for the swells and change ups to happen at exactly the right place. That stuff, on top of his actual words (which can often send you from manic to depressive, or vice versa, in just a matter of a few perfectly placed phrasings) charged up my batteries.

His new book is called Born in The Year of the Butterfly Knife. I recommend you check it out. Upon greeting him after his set, he gave me a National Guard medal. Turns out he was giving away all this stuff because he was just too lazy to pack. On a final Derrick Brown note I would like to state that he is older than me, yet he looks the way I did when I was 23. I am gonna make a life change or poison his food with fatty, balding, wrinkly, gray age tablets.

A bit of a final pick-me-upper before I left was my interaction with Jeff McDaniel while (re)purchasing his Forgiveness Parade book as well as his Alibi School book. He asked if I wanted him to sign it and I said, "sure...write it out to Sage." He then had me spell it. Then he said,"oh....like Sage Francis." He smiled...nodded...went back to writing his message in the book. My face must have done some interesting things while I tried to figure out whether he knew that was me or not. I hesitated and in a moment - SAGE FRANCIS, REVIEW


"Rapper's Delight"

TO READ, FOLLOW THIS LINK:

http://www.brownpoetry.com/webimages/nashvillelifestyles.jpg
- CityScape Magazine


"Radar Culture"

TO READ, FOLLOW THIS LINK:

http://www.brownpoetry.com/webimages/presskit/article_radar.jpg - Riviera Magazine, 2007


"Genius #46"

TO READ, FOLLOW THIS LINK:

http://www.brownpoetry.com/webimages/presskit/article_wordplay.jpg
- Wordplay Magazine


"Warrior Poet"

TO READ, FOLLOW THIS LINK:

http://www.brownpoetry.com/webimages/presskit/article_warriorpoet.jpg - CityLife Newspaper


"QUOTES about Derrick Brown"


“A wit as sharp as Sedaris, a sensibility as poignant as Sexton, Brown manages to blur the lines between cult writer and poet with remarkable ease and grace.”
-Anthem Magazine

“He is probably America's greatest unknown literary talents. Derrick has blown honesty and humor into the darkness and has somehow made poetry cool again.”
-Nylon Magazine

"I love Derrick Brown for the surprise of one word waking up next to another. One moment tender, funny or romantic, the next, visceral, ironic and relevatory--here is the full chaos of life. An amazing talent."
-Janet Fitch, Author of White Oleander

“Derrick Brown is one of the best living poets in America. Death to open mics. I always keep him on my radar.”
-Sage Francis, Hip Hop Artist

“That was an excellent show. Excellent.”
-Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

"Derrick has written one of the greatest love poems ever written. He is one of the top five poets in America, a true artist."
-Marc Smith, author and creator of The National Poetry Slam

“I bought both his books and have seen him perform twice. I love his work.”
-Hilary Duff

"Derrick Brown is one of my biggest inspirations. His writing is like a Christmas present you can't wait to open up. And when you do, there's blood."
-Amber Tamblyn, actress, The Ring, Joan of Arcadia, Author: Free Stallion

"Derrick Brown's work-both vibrant on and off the page--sizzles with jolting images and blasts of humor, yet retains a deep compassion at it's core. He has a heart the size of a Mack truck, but we're not sure who's behind the wheel."
-Jeffrey McDaniel, author of The Splinter Factory and The Forgiveness Parade

"Sincere, twisted and violently romantic. One of the best poets in Southern California." (Formerly lived in Long Beach, CA)
-OC Weekly

"Derrick is… bizarre and funny."
-Chuck Woolery, The Dating Game... said while Brown shook his hand after losing.

- Various


Discography

1)
all black cinema
it's like stars hitting ice
full length released oct 2006

2)
all black cinema
this bitch is rising ep 2004

3)
all distortion all the time
poetry album, released fall 2006

4)
my hands, your neck
poetry album, released, remixed, 2004

5)
the john wilkes kissing booth
a threat in the broadcast

6)
BLACK MARKET MALAYSIA
LAX

Photos

Bio

Derrick Brown, former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, gondolier, magician, and fired weatherman, now travels the world and performs his written work. From Nashville, he is dedicated to bringing American poetry into rock and roll status.

He has consistently been the opening act for Indie rock act, Cold War Kids and has been booked with The White Stripes and performed with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. His work has been featured in books with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Viggo Mortensen, Jeff Buckley and Jim Carrol.

As one of the most original and well-traveled writer/performers in the country, Derrick Brown has gained a cult following for his poetry performances all over the U.S. and through Europe. A poetic terrorism group has taken to sticking and tagging his metaphors across the globe.

To date, Brown has performed at over 1200 venues and universities internationally including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, La Sorbonne in Paris and The Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC.