September 26, 2021
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Jason Webber (former Psychopathic Records Publicist) “Purple Bananas” Interview

Jason Webber (former Psychopathic Records publicist) is a bonafide journalistic professional master when it comes to writing, especially when it involves the music industry, underground or mainstream! His words are capable of moving your reading soul through his detailed emotional verbiage while keeping your mind thrilled all the way towards the very last sentence of any content the man writes! Right now, Mr. Webber is promoting the hell out of latest underground favorite book “Purple Bananas: How Prince Saved Me and Other Selections from the Soundtrack 2 My Life” that dives deep into his own personal life, his influential journalism career, how the music of Prince saved his life, w0rking for the Insane Clown Posse, among many other life events. And this Faygoluvers.net exclusive with Jason Webber gets in-depth with the juicy details in regards to writing “Purple Bananas”, his back history as a journalist, why he chose to leave Psychopathic Records, and much, much more! Please enjoy!

Chad Thomas Carsten: Let’s dive into your childhood as an adoptive child and when you knew being a journalist/writer was your true destiny?

Jason Webber: Well, I grew up a stutterer, and that made me focus on writing and the written word. On the page, I discovered I could speak perfectly. I know writing is my destiny because it’s the one skill I have that I can do better than most people. Simple as that. As a kid, I tried writing various novels, including a James Bond one and a modern horror vampire story called “Dracula Reborn”–I cared not for intellectual property rights back then. I grew up a very scared, timid, bullied kid. There was dysfunction at home, teasing at school, and I spent many lonely days on the playground by myself. But in high school, I started to discover that not only could I write better than most of my peers, but people actually liked what I wrote. That was a thrill. It’s STILL a thrill to this day. I love it when someone compliments my work.

*Jason Webber Interviewing Renown  R&B Vocalist Judith Hill*

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CTC: Can you recall a short story you wrote from your past and how it shaped your writing skills presently?

JW: In the ’90s I was a film critic for my hometown newspaper The Daily News in Longview, Washington. That was a great gig because I literally got paid to watch and write about movies. That column helped my writing immensely. I also am lucky to have worked with a lot of great writing mentors and teachers throughout my education and career. It all made a difference in my writing–everything from my senior thesis to book reports. My advice to anyone wanting to live a life they can be proud of: Find your skill, what you’re naturally good at, and develop it until you’re the expert in your field. Then no one can fuck with you.

CTC: Can you name three novels that you’ve read recently that motivated you to try new things within your own writings?

JW: Oh, man. A few books changed my life, but this wasn’t recently–this is going back to when I was a kid. As far as recent books, I’m a big Stephen King fan. King is simply the best storyteller in the world and I’m forever in his debt. As far as writings that shaped my own work, that’s easy–“Naked Lunch” by William Burroughs, “The Way You Wear Your Hat” by Bill Zehme, and “Neuromancer” by William Gibson. “Naked Lunch” should be read by anyone who wants to take psychedelic drugs without actually getting high. Burroughs is my Shakespeare. “The Way You Wear Your Hat” is a book all about the life of Frank Sinatra. It’s written by Bill Zehme, who completely changed the way I write nonfiction. He’s simply my favorite writer in the game. He also happens to be the best writer, too. And “Neuromancer” is just good, streetwise, gritty science fiction and in my own work I try to replicate Gibson’s sense of grittiness. I like my work to make you feel scuzzy. “Neuromancer” is like that.

CTC: Which professional journalist from the past influenced your career greatly?

JW: Bill Zehme has already been named as an influence, but I really can’t overemphasize how important his magazine writing has been to my career. When I read “The Way You Wear Your Hat,” I totally said to myself “I want to write like that.” I’m really lucky though because I got to work with professional journalists at a young age and that totally sent me on my original career path as a journalist. In the very early 90s I contributed to a section in The Daily News that was a page written by and for teens. I wrote some film reviews, some features, and generally got bit by the writing bug. I had a lot of great mentors at that Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper and I’d like to name them directly: Cathy Zimmerman, Linda Wilson, and Tom Paulu. They changed my life and gave me my first break. I can’t thank them enough.

CTC: Do you have a specific brain storming technique you continuously use to help develop your own articles?

JW: Whenever I write a profile about a person, I first ask myself the simple question like “Why is this person interesting?” And is there a way that I can analyze or focus on that factor in such a way that is new, surprising, or different?” From there, I just ask questions that branch out from the initial query. People are a lot more interesting than you really think they are. Just ask questions. Be curious. Find out something interesting about the person and just go from there.

CTC: Out of all the many interviews you’ve conducted in the past, which one do you think challenged your writing abilities the most and how so?

Photo Credit: Joshua Ball

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JW: Definitely the Danny “K”AE story I did for the Metro Times in 2012. It was a hard sell to convince the editors that they should gamble a cover story on the likes of a rapper like Danny “K”AE. Literally, no one in the Metro Times office at the time had heard of Danny. But, anyway, Danny is a really eccentric person and like all eccentrics, it was tough to get to the real person behind their public image. When I interviewed people who worked with Danny, they were all laughing at the fact that I was doing a story on him. They weren’t laughing at Danny, they were just laughing with fond nostalgia at the brief moment in time their paths crossed with Danny. Because you never forget Danny “K”AE once you’ve met him or heard his music. So yeah, that story was probably the toughest one for me, but it was totally worth it because it got me the attention of ICP. And I also met one of my best friends, Champtown, through the research on that story. So, thank you, Metro Times for giving me the opportunity to do the Danny “K”AE story.

CTC: It’s known that you used to write speeches for city mayors. What was that like in general?

JW: Ugh. I actually cover this extensively in my book “Purple Bananas.” Working in politics was an exercise in mindfuckery. I worked with one mayor who was quite literally out of his mind, and I worked with another mayor who turned out to be the best boss I ever worked for. So it was a very yin-yang experience. I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t get involved in politics again.

CTC: How did you first cross paths within the “Juggalo Culture” within your own journalism career?

JW: Actually, I’m planning on merging my career with Juggalo culture for my third book. I’m hoping my third book will be called “Fuck the World: On the Road and Off the Record with Insane Clown Posse”. I want to join the Clowns on their next tour and just report the tour as I would if I were writing for Rolling Stone or SPIN. But I want to turn it into a book. It could be a really great experiment in long-form journalism. I know that kind of music journalism doesn’t get much play these days, but what can I say? I’m old school. Oh, and please get it on the record that I have not ASKED Psychopathic about this yet. The book is just an idea at this point. But as far as first crossing paths with Juggalos in a work-related way? I wrote about the second Gathering for The South End, the student newspaper of Wayne State University. It felt so amazing to be able to write about my Juggalo family. I’m passionate about writing and passionate about Juggalo culture. If I can marry the two, I’ll be a happy man.

*Jason Webber Cameo Within Escape Driver’s Music Video For “Run”*

CTC: Do you have a favorite Insane Clown Posse track that you still bump to this day?

JW: Oh, man. I have dozens. But here are my top 10 favorite ICP songs in no particular order: 1. “Take Me Away” 2. “Shugston Brooks” 3. “Love Song” 4. “Halls of Illusions” 5. “Chicken Huntin” (Slaughterhouse Mix) 6. “Hey Vato” 7. “Crystal Ball” 8. “Thy Unveiling” 9. “State of Shock” 10. “Leck Mich Im Arsch” featuring Jack White of the White Stripes.

CTC: What was it like working for Psychopathic Records and the Insane Clown Posse?

JW: Well, it’s in the book. But the short answer is it was an honor and a pleasure to work for Psychopathic Records and ICP. Seriously. Nothing but love and respect for those guys.

CTC: As the former Psychopathic Records publicist, what’s your side of the story on why you decided to leave the label that runs beneath the streets?

JW: It was fine, and frankly at the time they let me go, I needed a break. I was really burned out, I never saw my kid, I had a benzo addiction that was getting out of control. The truth is, I got let go right after the Juggalo March. But, man, I’ll tell you what. It was actually perfect timing for leaving the label when I did because I had just gotten ICP front page news coverage all over the world. I worked my ass off to make sure that the media took the March seriously. I got them on Howard Stern, I got them on Sway’s radio show. Time magazine. Rolling Stone. I almost got them the cover for the Washington Post magazine. The coverage we received on the Juggalo March was everything I had worked towards the last five years I was with the company. We made history that day. But, to answer your question–sorry for the self-aggrandizing tangent–after the March, there just wasn’t much for me to do, frankly. I mean, the whole point of having an in-house publicist was to do what we did at the March. So I understand why they let me go. I still work for Psychopathic on occasion when they need Chuck BareAss or anything like that.

CTC: You’re a big Prince fan. How did the music of Prince help you artistically as a journalist?

JW: Well, I started writing about Prince for my high school newspaper back in the early ’90s. And it’s just something I love to write about. I love writing about Prince. I do, man. I just love it. So Prince’s music has helped me artistically by helping me inject all that love and passion I feel in his music right into my writing. Prince never gave a half-assed performance, and I never turn in half-assed work. Of course, Prince was a genius and I am most certainly not. But I try to be like him when it comes to work ethic. Big time.

CTC: What was the most challenging moment you faced upon writing your popular book “Purple Bananas: How Prince Saved Me and Other Selections from the Soundtrack 2 My Life”?

JW: Popular? Oh, my dear man. We’re not quite there yet. Truthfully, the most challenging thing was trying to tone down the stuff in there about my parents. By the way, my parents have actually not read the book, nor do I think they ever will. I didn’t want to write “Mommie Dearest 2: Electric Boogaloo.” I love my parents very much. Were they perfect? No. Do I write about their parental shortcomings? Yes. But everyone messes their kids up somehow. The other tough thing that happened with the book was I accidentally hurt someone I really cared about. I used this person’s real first name in the book, describing something this person didn’t want to remember. So when the next edition of the book comes out, I’m changing a few names. I felt like a real asshole because the last thing I wanted to do was hurt this person. Word of advice, homies: Change the names. All of them.

CTC: How close are you securing a movie deal for your book “Purple Bananas: How Prince Saved Me and Other Selections from the Soundtrack 2 My Life”?

JW: Not very. That’s still a long way off, but I will sell them. “Purple Bananas” is a story that works and I just know in my heart that someday there will be a movie. I don’t know when. But it will happen.

CTC: How satisfied are you with your journalism career as a whole?

JW: I’ve written some good stories, but I still haven’t peaked as a journalist or writer. At least I hope to God I haven’t. There’s still so much to do.

CTC: Any advice you’d like to give to authors/journalists/bloggers on how to stay motivated and succeed at writing?

JW: Writing is just a skill that some people possess. If you’re talking about making a career out it, that’s tough. But that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I don’t really have any advice to give. I just know that I was born to be a writer, just like Violent J was born to be a rapper and a songwriter. I stay motivated every day because I know if I just keep at it, I will manifest all of my dreams. Yep. All of ’em.

CTC: What do you hope to accomplish within your journalism career in the next decade?

JW: Oh boy. There’s just so much I want to do while I’m alive, you know? In the next decade, I want to do everything. I want to profile Katie Holmes for the Toledo City Paper. I want to sell the film rights for “Purple Bananas” and assist in developing the screenplay. I want to do a review of Jerry Lewis’ “The Day The Clown Cried.” I want to self-publish two more books. I want to write a story about my daughter, because she is, in fact, quite awesome. As my friend Kevin Gill is always saying, “I’m all about that PMA. Positive mental attitude.” And I live with depression and anxiety, so PMA is not my natural setting, you know what I mean? But I just know that great things are ahead and I just want to go the distance.

 

*Jason Webber laying down a rap at Anybody Killa’s studio. Photo courtesy of Rachelette*

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Interviewer: Chad Thomas Carsten

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