11 Questions: Boris Budd
interview by Brent Cole
I love Boris Budd. He’s the only guy I’ve ever met that a) took me to a Yankees vs. Mariners game and b) caused his beloved Yankees to lose by berating Ichiro after he dropped a fly (Ichiro hit the game winning home run the next inning). While he’s got a dose of east coast badass, Boris’s heart is pure gold – he’s exceptionally nice and cares about the world we’re living in more than most. He’s so cool, he gave my eight-year-old son his baseball glove from when he was growing up… Boris is awesome and our 11 questions this month.
Who are you and where did you come from?
First of all I would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful column. Thank god the hack that used to write this article has drifted off into oblivion. Anywho, I am a protest polemic feather ruffler. I have lived in Bellingham/Vancouver BC since 2001 with my menagerie of animals and lovely daughter. I originally come from the east coast and that is why I consider mostly all of the pizza around here to be less than stellar.
Over a decade ago, you lost a good portion of your sight. How did that affect your music, both in focus and in style?
Music is my refuge from the horrors of blindness, which most people can’t even begin to imagine, the ignorance, and the stigma. The solitude, loss of the ability to read, drive, see peoples faces, having to walk with the stupid white cane, etc. It’s also nice when you can’t see the audience flipping you off during a performance.
Two words: Derek Jeter. Thoughts?
One word: RE2PECT.
Your lyrical focus is primarily political. What often inspires your lyrics?
The Emotional Drone record prevented me from succumbing to my darkest thoughts. My wife had left me and my level of pain was unmatched by anything I had ever felt. My guitar became my salvation, as it was the thing that distracted me from the strife.
I sat in the room with my producer and collaborator Scott Greene, good friend and drummer Phil Carter and amazing talent/diva Heather Bates to create. At the same time they protected me and scooped me up off the floor as they gave their hearts to this record. Truly life altering shit.
The non-political songs on the record like “Demise of a Blind Loser,” “Atrophy” and the tongue in cheek “Occupy my Heart,” are in my opinion the first songs in which I actually lyrically bled. In terms of protest songs the words just seem to happen based upon issues that piss me off. One has to pick his or her spots since every f$#@ing hippie in Bellingham has written a coal train song. It’s a crowded field. Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.
Having originally been from Washington DC, what about Bellingham has kept you here over the years?
Steve Hussein, fixed gear bicycles, unlimited access to the worlds best cannabis, Carey Ross’s music articles, water collection buckets, the same fucking events month after month, year after year, Tee King’s imminent record deal, subsidized public transportation, delicious Mexican grocery stores and taco trucks, The Joe Teehan Show, being banned from the Wild Buffalo stage, the comedy stylings of Stone Jones, 60,000 people in bands, beautiful air, water, trails and mountains, 35-year-old bmx riding hoodlum juggalos with baby carriages, the Ric Smith Bong, being close to Vancouver, Steve Hussein…
It’s Sunday morning, what are you doing?
Well, I like to hang out with my girlfriend and enjoy delicious coffee and talk. If it’s nice out we sit near the garden. It’s quite lovely and has become my favorite time of the week
If you could change one thing in American politics, what would that be?
The repeal of Citizens United, which allows unlimited personal campaign contributions and considers corporations to be people, would be what I would change. If Pepsi or Lockheed Martin for example are able to give their candidate unlimited funds it surely shapes election results. A reasonable contribution limit would fix problem, which is destroying many aspects of fairness and equality in America.
Over the years of playing music, what was your favorite show?
That’s a tough one. I have had the good fortune of playing Seattle Hempfest as a house act for the past five years and really enjoyed Stringband Jamboree. As a young lad I played CBGB’s and The Black Cat in DC and that was thrilling. All in all, I have to say playing at Randy’s Roadhouse here in Bellingham is always my favorite show. It’s all ages, all-inclusive; weed friendly atmosphere of people who really enjoy ordinal music is oftentimes intoxicating.
If you are having a bad day, what is your go-to meal?
The Shakedown’s falafel is the premier sandwich in Bellingham. It is my go to meal when the chips are down. You would be hard pressed to find a better falafel in Cairo. President Obama should use this treat to appease ISIS and all of the other supposed terrorists instead of his army of flying robots. How wouldn’t that make the world a better place?
Can you tell us something about yourself even your closest friends might not know?
I try to let everyone know that I have size 13 feet. Otherwise I think people may be surprised that I have an unbridled passion for following global financial markets and have spent over 60,000 hours following the tape. Also, I was a bond trader on Wall Street when I was 23. I always wore black chuck Taylor’s with my suit when riding the train to the city and changed into shoes before reaching the office.
You’ve long been an advocate for medical marijuana. Can you tell us how it has/currently helps you? What are your thoughts on marijuana becoming legal?
My eye disease and other maladies are caused by an autoimmune component that basically makes my body attack itself. Marijuana is the only medicine I use to control my pain. No drugs, no booze. Marijuana allows me to attack my activities of daily living.
The scientific evidence of the efficacy of this substance is no longer in question. Making sure patients have their medicine is the issue. While I was very pro I-502, which brought us legalization, I have to say the state has totally dropped the ball since then. The roll out of retail stores and the amount of taxation and red tape ensure a burgeoning black market for the foreseeable future. I also find the draconian proposals regarding medical dispensaries, home grows, DUI policy and patient limits to be unacceptable.
The good news is that these things have not yet been hashed out. Cooler heads should certainly prevail, as there is enough weed for everyone.
When you aren’t writing and playing music, what do you do with your days?
I am currently immersed in a series of audio books explaining Chinese Tiger Mom techniques. I also like to pet my dog and encourage my cats to eat moths. I am also working on developing the concept for my cooking show, “Northwest Cooking without Looking.”
If you could meet with any musician OR political figure from the last 20 years, who would it be and why?
I would have to meet President Obama. I would tell him that I have oftentimes been mesmerized by his eloquence. I would also ask him how as a Nobel Peace prize winner he could indefinitely extend the war on terror, cozy up to Monsanto lobbyists and never come close to even attempting to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown. I fear what would happen then would be political speak and word spin, even as I got lost in his big brown eyes.
I would then meet with Paul Westerberg of The Replacements to have things put back into perspective.
Published in the October 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine
Any last thoughts?
No, I’m not dying anytime soon.