Fake Four artist and indie rap favorite Louis Logic had to have emergency throat surgery Monday night. Despite this, he hasn’t missed a day of his Rhymin’ Gosling Tour in support of his new album Look on the Blight Side. We spoke to Louis about his Wolverine-esqe recovery, and how he balances touring with owning/managing a Brooklyn apartment building during one of New York’s most hellacious winters.
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Your tour started in Pittsburgh last Friday. Was there any premonition or foreshadowing for the tour’s issues that would follow?
It was business as usual. We actually had the honor of opening up the AVA Lounge with regard to their live show calendar. It was the first time since they moved locations that they had a touring act pass through. It was an honor for me, I’ve been a part of the AVA Lounge / Shadow Lounge scene since their inception at their first location. I think I’m the only non-Pittsburgher who played their going-away party at the Shadow Lounge.
You’re also a landlord in Brooklyn.
Yeah, I bought a house with my ex-girlfriend with a big chunk of rap money from touring a lot. I’ve been a landlord since 2005 and I’ve have everybody from Travis McCoy to Jonny Oktober as tenants. It’s been a little rap commune at my house.
But, before the throat situation, your building had a heating issue.
Yes. As everybody knows, it’s been th emost brutal winter New York has had in 20 years. Something happened and my oil burner decided it didn’t understand when it say “that’s enough heat.” It just burned itself out and emptied the tank. It’s supposed to turn off and it didn’t do that, burning through the oil faster than it was supposed to. It broke a component on the oil burner and the heat went out. We had no oil. I was two days into tour and woke up to a ridiculous amount of text messages and phone calls about how the house had gone completely cold. Everybody was in a panic because we were about to be in a major snowstorm. I hate being away from the house on tour because, every time I go something happens. This was a uniquely ridiculously timed situation. I had just left two days before that and there was a snowstorm coming on Monday. It’s really hard to get somebody to come over and deliver oil to you last minute on a Saturday, especially during a cold season and especially hard to get someone to repair an oil burner and triply hard to do that when you’re not actually there. So, I spent two or three hours on the phone sweet-talking this really leathery blue collar Italian New Yorker into rushing an oil delivery to my house [by] agreeing to a bunch of wacky contract terms. I found the classic old school Italian, and my family’s all like that, so I know how to talk to those guys. We spoke the same language and after 45 minutes of “Fuggheitabout it” I had an oil delivery on the way to the house and a technician. I thought “Man, I haven’t had a start to tour this dramatic in years!” So, by the time Monday arrived, I thought I was in the clear and was so excited. I arrived in Iowa City feeling confident and refreshed. I even decided to take the week off drinking, and just perform clean and happy.
Then what happened?
I arrived in Iowa City with a freshly cooked deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s, which is THE Chicago deep dish pizza. After I rocked a set, I put the deep dish pizza into an oven so it was crispy again. I retreated into my room with my laptop and put on Drag Me to Hell, eating my pizza and unexpected;y sealing my fate for the rest of the night. I have a congenital condition known as an esophageal web. It’s a weird narrowing of my esophagus that just happens over time. Every three-to-five years, my esophagus becomes so narrow, I end up having a throat surgery to repair it so I can eat. In the interim, when it becomes narrow, I end up having blockages of food down there in the same way hair would stick in the drain in the bathroom. A lot of times, I don’t even realize it’s happening and then, five or ten minutes into a meal, slowly the food starts to collect until it becomes an actual blockage. I’ll go to have a drink with my meal and it will hit the blockage and that’s when I’ll have to run to the bathroom to clear the blockage in ways you probably won’t want to print. It’s unpleasant. On this particular occasion, I ended up with a blockage so severe, I couldn’t clear it no matter what I tried to do. I thought I should go lay down and let it cool down for the night in hopes by morning the swelling would go down and I could try again. Unfortunately, the blockage was so bad, I couldn’t even swallow my own saliva. I started falling asleep, and I woke up gurgling on my own spit. I realized if I actually fell asleep, I would end up choking in my sleep. I didn’t know what else to do, so I woke my buddy up and drove myself to the emergency room. I explained what was going on to them, and they performed an emergency throat surgery on me to remove the blockage. I had to be fully anesthetized, and my poor buddy who was with me for five hours until 4:00 AM stood by me. By the time I was discharged, my buddy had sobered up and drove me back to his place.
At this point, you probably felt that the next show on the concert would have to be cancelled.
I told the promoter in Kansas City that I wasn’t going to be able to make that night’s show. They made an announcement, and my tourmate Ecid and close friend Trackmaster Tom who was accompanying us for a week of dates, were cool enough to carry this torch on without me. My friends Trina and Brandon gave me a place to sleep at their place. I went to sleep at maybe 9:30 AM and woke up at 5:00 PM or so. I felt OK, not great. Surprisingly energetic. I called Ceschi, the owner of the label that I’m on Fake Four because I needed a pep talk in general. We had a long talk about my career, the surgery and everything. The conversation was just so inspiring and I just felt so full of life and energy that I felt I needed to go. Something happened, I became driven like I was on a mission. I showered, packed up my stuff, and sweet-talked Brandon into letting me leave because the doctor said I wasn’t supposed to drive for 24 hours. I got in my car and did a 5 1/2 hour drive in 4 hours. I got there at 11:00 PM and played a 40 minutes set on adrenaline. I can’t believe it happened.
How did you feel the next day?
Pretty normal. Outside of only being able to eat pudding and mashed potatoes for the last three days, which has impacted my energy levels, somehow someway the rap gods have brought be back from the dead and I’ve played two really great shows despite having throat surgery less than 48 hours ago.
So, you plan to finish out the tour without missing any dates?
Yeah. But, I have a month ahead of me of eating like an astronaut. I guess you could say I’m in good company as astronauts are pretty badass.