Pigeon John ... Is a Little Crazy
Emcee keeps it fresh—and weird
By Marisa Demarco
Pigeon John's favorite character on "The Office" is Michael Scott. He even thinks he's a little bit like him. "He's just a weird boss guy who's trying to be cool and friendly with everyone, but he can't fit in because he's freaking weird," Pigeon John says. "He cries when he's alone."
Pigeon cries when he's alone too, he says. "Doesn't everyone?"
Critics are eager to join the welcoming committee for his latest effort, Pigeon John ... and the Summertime Pool Party. With his on-point sense of humor ensnared in all the odd details of everyday life, he's being trumpeted as one of the freshest emcees out there. So what makes him different? First off, it's a question he laughs at. "Last night, it was a weird show," he starts. "I was on stage thinking, ‘What makes me different?’ While I was rapping, I was having a conversation with myself, looking at myself with a little smirk like, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ So I was a little distracted."
It's not all about the comedy, though. "There's definitely songs that are of a darker tone on the album," he says. "But I just don't want to tell people that." It's some kind of secret.
He likens his sensibility to Wes Anderson of Life Aquatic fame. On the surface, it seems like good fun, a light-hearted package. "But there's certain parts that, out of the blue, almost make you want to cry," he says. Pigeon's audience is smarter than he is, he says. He doesn't have to beat them over the head with the obvious. You have to leave some surprises in there to keep it interesting. “I know that when you press play and you kind of sit with it for a while, the songs sound happy," he says. "But after a while, maybe you'll notice the lyrics might be describing something very dark. I like that contrast."
So much for the secret.
Children love Pigeon John, he says. He signs CDs for fans' kid brothers and sisters fairly regularly. That makes him feel weird, like he does children's rap, he says. "Moms come up, 'Oh, my kid loves you!' I'm like, 'How old is he?' 'He's 3! He sings your raps!' I'm like, 'Can he talk?'”
Who else listens to PJ? Awesome people, he says. Powerful people. Elf people—the ones with the pokey hair who wear the little pants that go down tight at the ankles. "They look like nice little elves. They look like Santa's helpers." Standard interview questions like these are just fodder for Pigeon John's imagination.
Are you going to make another CD soon?
I'm retiring. That was the last one. I'm at the top of my game. I'm making too much money now. Since Jay-Z is back, someone needs to bow out, and that's me.
Are you going to make music boxes or something in your retirement?
I don't know what I'm going to do. I think there's a Holiday Inn opening as, like, a clerk at the front desk. So I might just start doing that. Which I'm cool with.
That's the next move.
That sounds good. Fans will just have to listen to Pool Party over and over ...
Yeah, or if you want to see me, you can just come to the Holiday Inn in Albuquerque.
Do you think your boss will let you flow?
Without a doubt. I'll be selling out rooms instead of concert halls. People will come to me, and I'll go from room to room. It'll be something new.
Don't wait for Pigeon's career change to catch him live. Check him out Friday, Nov. 3, at the Sunshine Theater with The Grouch and Zion I. It's all-ages. Tickets are $12. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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Sloan Armitage • acoustic, singer-