Geto Boys' Willie D on Fighting Authority and FBI: "We Had Doors Kicked In, Been Set Up"
Willie D: Going in, we always said we didn't want to make training music, we wanted to make timeless music. We wanted to make sure that what we speak on today is still relevant 25, 30, 50 years from now. And that's 'cause we were inspired by artists who made timeless music. We were inspired by musicians like the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, people like Sting, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Marvin Gaye. We were inspired by all these types of people and one thing that they all had in common was that their music was timeless. It spoke to the people of their generation, but it also spoke to the new generation, it spoke to our generation.
So we wanted to make that kind of music and make sure we didn't get caught up in the traps of being trendy. We wanted to make sure that we just spoke for the block and that we were conscious that the world is a ghetto, that struggle is struggle and pain is pain, it doesn't matter what your race is, how old you are, or what region of the world you're from -- struggle is struggle, pain is pain, love is love, abuse is abuse, injustice is injustice. And we knew were a voice for those that were voiceless for a long time. We just wanted to be the type of group that stuck our necks out there for the people.
Well, for what it's worth, that seems to have gone beyond simply being something you wanted -- it's been a very strong part of the group's nature. As you said, perhaps a great deal of people don't understand it at the surface level, but for those who sit down and really digest the music and the lyrics, that intent and that ideal comes through very strongly.
It's like when I was younger, there was a song I would listen to called "Bring the Boys Home". I was maybe six or seven years old when this song came out and we would sing it in my grandma's garage with broomsticks as microphones and the song would go: Fathers are pleading, Lovers are all alone, Mothers are praying, Send our sons back home, You marched them away - yes, you did - on ships and planes... So it was describing the emotions that people go through during wartime, but we didn't even know there was a war going on. That was the Vietnam War going on at the time and we were totally removed from what was going on. Grown folks didn't talk about it, we didn't know about it, and back then they didn't put everything on television like they do now. So it was only years later, around when I got out of high school, that I realized, 'Oh, wait a minute, that song came out during the Vietnam War. I didn't know there was a war going on.' A lot of the time, people don't get it when they first hear it, when they hear it, they hear it in the entertainment form. And then years later, they hear it and they say, 'O Hell, that's what they were talking about!' When they first hear a song like "City Under Siege" and we were saying, "Reagan and Bush were cutting tough on Noriega", for a person that was not politically astute, they might say 'ahaha that's dope, they calling Reagan out, they trying to slap Noriega!' A lot of those people might not have even known who Noriega was. They know now. Most of the people who didn't know then, they know now. Some times it just takes longer for some of us to get it than it does others, but eventually, you get it.
Now, you said you were inspired by timeless music when you were starting out. What do you listen to nowadays?
Today it's hard to find solid music that talks about something socially. Most of the best real good songs today are about love and they're coming from pop artists. People like Taylor Swift and I know that's unpopular to say Taylor Swift, but it's real. You listen to what she's talking about and it's real. I just like real music, I don't care much about what the topic is. If it's real and it makes a lot of sense - and love is on the table every day - so if you can talk about it and sing about it in a way that makes sense, then I don't give a damn what genre of music you're from, I've got to respect it and I respect what she does...I think right now, the Pop artists are making the best music. If I was a kid all over again, listening to music in the 5th ward, I'd be listening to John Mayer, you know, that type of stuff. I'm not the type of dude that wants to just listen to sexually charged music all day. And I don't want to hear music that's about heartbreak all day. I want to hear music that tells me about my situation and lets me know you can relate and give me some hope at the end of the day. Real music, real life, real lyrics, first and foremost.
Before we wrap up, is there anything developing on the horizon for the Geto Boys or for yourself that you could tell us about?
I'm just putting in work right now, about to make some moves in Hollywood, you know. Besides that, we've been talking about a new Geto Boys record, we don't have a start date yet, but I think we're pretty close to doing it. Normally, before we start a Geto Boys project, we have to talk about it for about five years and it's been about eight years, so it's a bit overdue. Right now, we're really focusing on doing shows and getting out there and also going into markets we've never been into. We've done a lot of first time markets in the last three months. I like the idea of coming into a city or a town that we've never been to and do a show and let people see us live and in the flesh where some people have been waiting decades to see us live. I met a guy a couple of months ago, can't remember what city it was, he said he had been waiting 25 years to see us. I asked him how old he was and he said 'I'm 25.' So to see the look on their faces when they finally see us on stage together, it's really special.
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