Zach Deputy on Knock N' Roll: "I Grew Up Fighting in South Carolina"
Zach Deputy is a beat-boxing, guitar-playing, Puerto Rican, Saint Crucian, Irish, South Cackalackee cracker, one-man looping band experience.
He makes good-time island music mixed with funk, soul, R&B, bluegrass, and even some Spanish classical guitar. And he does it all while sampling himself live.
Tomorrow, he plays Knock N' Roll: A Night of BBQ, Boxing, and Music at Tobacco Road alongside Thump Fight Gym fighters and bands including the Lee Boys and Juke. Here's what he has to say about his first show at a boxing match, the craziest fight he ever saw, and the importance of violence.
Crossfade: What's the weirdest shit you've seen lately?
Zach Deputy: Oh, gosh. Lately, I saw Wee Man at my show a couple of days ago up in North Carolina. I was like, "I know that guy," like, "Oh, shit."
I once saw him at a Mystikal concert in Texas wearing a Batman suit.
One time, I was in a real bad argument with my girlfriend, and I saw Da Brat in the parking lot. I told my girl to just get her ass in the damned car, and Da Brat came by and said, "Daaaaaaaamn." And I didn't even stop or hesitate, I just said, "Wassup, Da Brat."
Your background is Puerto Rican, Saint Crucian, Irish?
Yeah, I'm all over the place like a crazy man. My mom is from Puerto Rico and Saint Croix, her mom is straight from Spain, my dad is Irish Cherokee. So all over the place. And I always meet people who are Puerto Rican Scottish.
You speak Spanish?
No. But if you piss off my grandma, she does.
How does that influence you?
Latin music has those polyrhythms that make your body move. I grew up listening to it. I have to have sauce on my music. Even my funk has a lot of Latin ideas in the rhythm.
What do you think about the Knock N' Roll party? There's gonna be fighting and shit.
I'm excited about it, man! I like when they match me up for an event I can have fun and watch and then get down.
Any fights at your shows?
Oh yeah, not professional, but I seen a lot of fights happen at my shows. Not as much now as back in the day, but we've gotten in some big rumbles. One time, we saw this guy hit a chick in the face. Hit her like a man and laid her out. Me and Paul who used to play with me, we hopped offstage, and Paul elbowed him in the head, and I picked him up above my head and was getting ready to toss him. He was like, "I'm cool. I'm not fighting." I set him down. He was like six foot, eight inches, but a bean pole.
I seen this one fight, the craziest fight at a show. The black dudes from Bluffton were rivals with the black guys from Hilton Head. Anytime they got together, it was a guaranteed fight. So there were about 60 people in the room, and it was like 20 versus 20.
My good black friend from back home is funny. He's like six-foot, five-inches, 375 pounds of steel, always wears a Superman shirt, and has a Rebel flag on back of his truck. He's hilarious. He shacked up with a white woman, and he's good.
He came and picked up this guy with one hand and was punching him. Someone came from behind, and he knocked them out. And that one dude took on 40 guys. It made waves when he jumped in. I saw him get hit in the back of the head and turned around with his finger like, "No, no, no, you don't," like Matumbo.
I'm a big guy. I grew up in the slums, and we were, like, the only white kids. I was always getting in fights. I'm not scared to fight. But when I see him, [my friend], I don't think I could take him. If he came after me, I'd have to grab a weapon.
What's the relationship between fighting and music?
Some people don't like it, but I love it. It's like freedom of expression. I see a fighter in the ring as freeing his body to do whatever he can do to protect himself and showing that art. My dad was a Golden Gloves fighter, a serious fighter in the military. He was supposed to fight Leon Spinks, and so he grew me up fighting. He grew me up teaching me how to hurt people.
He said, "Let me show you what to do." I think it's an awesome thing. If only the bad knew how to do violence, the world would be a worse place.
Two people in a ring duking it out is the freest form of competition there is. Two guys putting it all down on the line and only one walks out the winner.
Like that Van Damme movie Bloodsport?
I love that movie. When he knocks out the kneecap... Good movie.
Why you like Florida so much?
Sunshine, the people, the fact it's flat. I love Florida from the bottom to the top. One of my favorite states to tour. They picked up on me quicker than the rest of the nation here. I always got a warm spot in my heart for it.
Zach Deputy. As part of Knock N' Roll: A Night of BBQ, Boxing, and Music. With Thump Fight Gym fighters and bands including Lee Boys and Juke. Saturday, July 27. Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 4 p.m., and tickets cost $10 via brownpapertickets.com. Call 305-374-1198, or visit tobacco-road.com.
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