Viktor Vazquez has just arrived at a hotel in Seattle and is pining for some noodles. Specifically, he has the hankering for some “fancy ramen noodles.” It’s a caliber of Japanese wheat-noodle that he has not been able to find since leaving his home in New York City to undertake a vehement 30-plus date tour with his band, Das Racist. “I want to get a bowl of ramen noodles, like fancy ramen, not cheap ramen,” he explains. “I can’t find any fancy ramen on tour. You know those spots in the East Village? Those are where you get fancy ramen noodles.”
Along with bandmates Himanshu Suri (who raps as Heems) and Ashok Kondabolu (who hypes up crowds as Dap), Vazquez, who takes on the rap name Kool A.D., has spent the best part of a month and a half touring across the States in support of the album Relax (Greedhead). Tonight the band will finally be back in New York, playing a celebratory sold-out show at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg. Ahead of the homecoming, Vazquez was good enough to briefly snap out of his ramen reverie to reveal Das Racist’s top ten tour memories so far.
1. Houston’s Thor
“We had a dude dressed up like Thor at the Houston show. It looked crazy. He probably had his reasons for dressing up like that; I didn’t want to delve into his psyche much. It was a decent Thor outfit; it was pretty thorough.”
2. Portland’s Titty Bar
“I went to a titty bar with my sister in Portland—that was a first, I guess. Occasionally I like to go to them; I had a pretty fun time in Portland. The titty bars there were low-key casual ones. The fancy ones are uptight, but at the low-key casual ones all the girls are drunk by the end of the night and just hanging out with everyone. If it’s a small city or a smaller club, it’s usually more fun. I don’t think Heems has ever been to a titty bar and I don’t he ever wants to. Dap maybe, but actually, no, I don’t think he’s been.”
3. The Midwest Bar Crawl
“Dap definitely got drunkest in a stretch he had in the Midwest where he was pretty much out for the count. It was basically Chicago and the cities that came after it [Iowa City, Lawrence]. Dap was going in, as they say. He’ll pretty much drink anything. Someone in Louisville gave us a big fancy bottle of bourbon and it disappeared. We didn’t know where it was; it turned out he’d been nipping at it, like he kinda squirrels it away nipping at it at his leisure. That was also around the Chicago area. Basically, if there’s extra bottles of liquor around a venue, Dap will snatch them up. He’s got a real good system set up.”
4. No Socks On The Rider
“No one was really fucking with our rider this time. We ask for socks and we rarely get socks. Portland had socks, Austin, Texas had socks, but alas! I think we asked for black dress socks at one point and then Dap changed it to bright colorful socks and now it’s just regular socks. I think if you get too specific on your sock request they think you’re fuckin’ around. And that’s not the case: we are not fuckin’ around.
“We also had some Gummy Bears on the rider—Dap added those for some reason. It’s usually fresh fruits—like at least get a pear or something—and that’s it. Liquor, fruit and socks. And Gummy Bears. I don’t usually like Gummy Bears but I eat them when they’re around.”
5. Dipset Benn’s iPod Ban
“We don’t have a tour bus, we’ve got a van. When it comes to the music we play, I’d say all of our taste is pretty good. The worst is our tour manager, Benn—we call him Dipset Benn ’cause he’s a big fan of Dipset and no one has a problem with that. Dipset is usually a good choice for a long car ride. But then he starts veering off into electronic rave music and dubstep and that shit gets really old really quick. We had to put the kabosh on him playing music after the first week.
“So then it was usually Juvenile’s CD 400 Degreez, the DMX one where he’s covered in blood, Bone Thugs, Busta Rhymes’ Extinction Level Event, Purple Haze the mixtape, a bunch of other Dipset mixtapes, Stretch and Bobbito shows…”
6. Washington D.C.’s Hangover
“The worst hangover I had? There’s definitely an answer to that one—there’s definitely some terrible mornings—but I can’t quite remember which cities. I know I wasn’t doing so well in Washington D.C., I would say. I was drinking just vodka and grapefruit juice there—it seemed mellow but I just did too much of it. When I get a hangover, I smoke a little weed, drink water, usually kind of like have a greasy breakfast on the road. I hear soup is also good, but I’ve never had it.”
7. Providence’s Oysters
“The best food was in Providence, Rhode Island, where we went to a good ass seafood restaurant. I can’t remember what it’s called though. I got some oysters and some lobster. We had some crazy good fried oysters in New Orleans, too; that was also the best shit. And the worst was probably somewhere like Kansas or something, like north Kansas might have been shitty. Maybe it was burgers or something; it was just wack.”
8. Raleigh Takes Danny Brown’s Shirt
“Danny Brown got pretty ate up somewhere in the South. It was North Carolina, Raleigh. He was drinking too much—when he drinks too much he wiles out and takes his shirt of. Danny Brown is just generally a fun drunk. He doesn’t tell jokes in any sort of formal sense of the word, he’s just a fun drunk.”
9. Iowa City Keeps It Grimy
“The worst toilets in a venue might have to be Iowa City. On the whole, that might be the worst venue. Still, they’re trying! They’re nice enough people but it just seemed like it was not set up for a touring band to play at that venue. It was more like a kinky spot. Who cares, I guess! I did not use the bathroom there probably because I did not want to see what it looked like.
“Actually, in Iowa City we didn’t really have a green room. It was basically about the size of a closet and there was no chairs and just a box with a bottle of liquor on it. That was probably the least followed rider to the letter ever.”
10. Stage Diving Is Boring
“We had some fun stage diving occasionally, as it struck our fancy. There’s never been any bad injuries from it—everyone knows the drill at this point and it’s been solidly codified by our fans. I’m the only one [in the group] that really stage dives. Heems and Dap don’t like to stage dive that much. I don’t know what that is. I mean, there’s not much to it—it’s actually kinda boring really.”
Das Racist play at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and Despot tonight.