Sage Francis Talks Early Retirement From Hip-Hop
"I don't really intend on maintaining this kinda hustle or grind - putting three years into one project and spending the next year performing and promoting it and leaving my home - for too much longer," Francis says. "It's almost like I wanted to give this one last go and I wanted to go really hard for one last year. Maybe after this is over, I'd like to focus on other things. I don't really know what those are yet. My home life, maybe jumping into some other crafts, and trying to apply my creative side in different areas."
In 2004, Francis became the first rap artist to sign to punk label Epitaph Records and its offshoot Anti-, a contract that has run out with the completion and release of L(i)fe. At the same time, Francis has maintained his imprint, Strange Famous Records, overseeing a roster of artists, including B. Dolan, Buck 65, Buddy Peace, and Prayers for Atheists, among others.
"To be honest, running a record label in 2010 is a nightmare," Francis admits. "It occupies the majority of my days and nights, all week long, all month long, and all year long. It's very disheartening to see how things just become more and more difficult for artists on my label. Here I am trying to juggle their careers and it's not often that I'm able to give them good news. It's really frustrating and I've given the majority of my adult life and obviously all of my childhood to this craft and I have done my best, worked incredibly hard, and now I kinda need to decompress for a little while and let the music industry figure itself out somehow without me having to risk everything. I don't even know why I do it; I fell into this trap of me being a workaholic and ignoring other aspects of my existence.
"I'm 33 years old now and, in the grand scheme of things, that's not old. In the rap sense, it is though. It's not gonna be retirement. I am gonna evolve in other ways and I want to give myself the breathing room in order for that to happen. If it doesn't, that's okay. I'm very happy with how things have turned out. I'm happy with my accomplishments and happy to have the fan base that I have, who have stuck with me for all these years. I don't mean to leave people high and dry. If they want more material, I promise to produce more in one way or another. I just don't know that it's gonna have the push or availability that my music has right now."
So fans debating seeing Sage Francis live on his current tour might have an easy decision to make; if you don't see him now, you may never get another chance.
5/14 Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
5/15 Ottawa, ON - Ritual Nightclub
5/16 Toronto, ON - The Opera House
5/18 Detroit, MI - Alvin's
5/19 Chicago, IL - The Bottom Lounge
5/20 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
5/21 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
5/22 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note
5/24 Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
5/25 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
5/26 Missoula, MT - Badlander
5/28 Edmonton, AB - The Starlite Room
5/29 Calgary, AB - Distillery
5/31 Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
6/1 Seattle, WA - Showbox Market (not sodo)
6/2 Portland, OR - Berbati's Pan
6/4 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
6/5 Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
6/6 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
6/7 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
6/9 Pomona, CA - The Glass House
6/10 Tempe, AZ - The Clubhouse
6/11 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
6/12 Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
6/14 Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
6/15 Austin, TX - Mohawk
6/16 Houston, TX - House Of Blues
6/18 Orlando, FL - Club at Firestone
6/19 Atlanta, GA - The Loft
6/21 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
6/22 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
6/23 Baltimore, MD - The Ottobar
6/24 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
6/25 New York, NY - Webster Hall
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