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The definitive New Year’s fitness resolution guide.

Discipline is the bridge between goals and success.

Every year at this time, many people make a resolution to finally get their health and fitness in check. Every year the majority of them fail. This is usually not due to laziness, nor lack of will. It is due to lack of information, and or proper education of how to do so.
This final post of the decade is my humble attempt to help any and everyone who has this desire to finally break the cycle.

If you find yourself, or someone you care about in this category, please read on?

Gyms make a huge amount of their profits from a couple things. First of which is selling memberships to people they know will never utilize them. Especially in the U.S. where places like Planet Fitness and the like offer rock bottom prices. They can do this because they lock you into paying for a year knowing that 90% of the people who do this will give up and quit after a month.

Un-flexed, relaxed position. You can tell because my abs are not all bunched up, but long and loose.

How and why can they be so sure of this you might ask…
It is because most people have no clue of what they’re doing in the gym, or why they do it. There is a saying that goes “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” This is absolutely correct

I see many people in the gym in the gym doing things that will NEVER help them achieve their fitness goals. They use horrible form doing useless movements that don’t target any particular muscle or muscle group. They simply try to move the most weight, versus actually working the muscle.

Useless exercises……

Take a simple dumbbell hammer curl for example. You see people with weights that are too heavy. They start the movement with their hips and lower back to get the weight moving, rocking their entire bodies as they lean to the side to bring the dumbbell up to their chin.
However proper form would be to stand completely still and flex the bicep. Slowly bringing the weight up to the nipple then slowly back down. Controlling the weight the entire time. THIS is how you train your bicep. The other way is more of a lower back and oblique exercise than anything. And a very poor one at that.
The goal is to work the muscle. NOT to simply move weight.

Speaking of oblique training, anyone who is doing side bends with weights or a machine is likely trying to slim their “love handle” region. However, the only thing training the obliques does is make your waist, and love handle region thicker. It is completely counterintuitive. A total waste of time. Especially since the obliques are a diagonal muscle. To train them properly one would do the “wood chopper” movement .Which is bending downwards diagonally.

Abs are made in the kitchen. Not the gym.

Since we are on the topic of a slimmer and more defined waist area, I have to address the fact that anyone who is not a Boxer, MMA fighter, or a Martial Artist in general is totally wasting their time training abs directly. There is zero need to do so. We train our abs indirectly with every exercise we do in the gym.
Once again, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. We all have well developed abs. They are just covered by a layer of adipose tissue.
Facts!

You can’t out train a bad diet……

This is as true as any truth ever spoken. No matter how good your training program is, if you eat a bunch of empty, non-nutritious calories, you will never achieve your fitness goals. We are what we eat, so when one feeds their body calories that it does not even recognize as food, the body is forced to do the only thing it can. That is to convert these extra calories to fat so that they can at least be utilized in some way.

Doing Cardio To Lose Weight Is A Total Waste Of Time….

On any given day, in any given gym, one will notice that the majority of the people therein are utilizing the useless cardio machines. There are several reasons for this. They go as follows…..
Most people are trying to change their physique and improve their health. Simple to understand. And a very noble goal. However I feel so bad for them because they are totally wasting their time.

Why? You ask. Because doing cardio is the worst and most inefficient way to shed extra fat and get more lean. Here’s a bit of math. engaging in elliptical training for an entire hour would burn only 360 calories.
One could simply NOT ingest three of the following to get the very same result. A can of soda, a small bag of potato chips/crisps, a large banana, two medium cookies/biscuits, or a glass of orange juice.
Each of these is approximately 120-160 calories.

Better yet, one less Mac Donald’s Cheeseburger 300 calories, and a small french fry/chips/pomme frites 230 calories. Add a small drink 140 calories, and we are now up to 740 calories. But who eats just a small anything?
At 740 calories we are now at half the daily caloric allowance to maintain and not gain weight for the average woman. This is a third of the caloric allowance for the average man.
What’s worse is that eating these so called “foods” that are so low on nutrition will have a person hungry again in a couple hours or less.

So why do gyms even have this cardio equipment?????
Business. They are not in the business of helping people get more fit, lean, and or healthy. They are in the business of selling. Selling what? Dreams, memberships, and useless supplements. That’s what.
If people quit training after a month or two (like these gyms know they will), they still have you locked in for 10 more months of membership dues.

No one is there to teach people how to train, or how to eat more importantly; to benefit from proper training. Add to this the billion dollar (needless) supplement industry hoax, and you have a lucrative industry based on lies, shadows, and mis/dis-information.
They get rich off the ignorance of well meaning people who are trying to do the right thing.

Just Because We Can Eat It, That Doesn’t Mean That We Should….

Most of what is sold as food today is not at all food. It is “edible foodstuffs”.
Heavily processed, chemically engineered, and highly addictive poisons that are low on actual nutrients, and easily available at very low prices.
If it does not look like what it did when it came out of the ground, off the tree, out of the water, or when it was (humanely) butchered, it is NOT food. And is slowly killing you.

These items are engineered to be highly addictive by teams of scientists who work tirelessly to refine the ultimate “pleasure factor” in these products. This is done by the perfect ratios if fats for mouth-feel, savory salts, and addictive pleasure causing sugars.

It was a difficult question for obesity researchers: do some people overeat because they find eating more pleasurable or gratifying than others? Logically, that makes a lot of sense–it’s a time-tested principle of psychology: if a behavior feels good, we’ll keep doing it. But a new study published today in the journal Science adds to a growing body of research suggesting the opposite: that women who derive less pleasure from eating may eat more to compensate, putting them at higher risk for weight gain and obesity. The research also discovered a particular genetic trait that, when present, is associated with an even stronger relationship between low sense of reward and overeating.

“If you ask overweight individuals if they crave food, I really think they are legitimately thinking it’s more rewarding,” says study author Eric Stice, a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute. “They’ll say they’re really sensitive to the rewards. But when you look at the brain scans you get a different picture.”

Previous brain imaging studies have looked at what happens when we look at pictures of food. In those cases, obese individuals tend to anticipate a higher level of satisfaction of eating the pictured food than lean individuals do, supporting the idea that the people who overeat are the ones who find it more rewarding. But the Science study was the first to do those same fMRI scans while participants were actually eating–or, in this case, drinking a chocolate milkshake. “Nobody had ever administered food to people in a brain scanner and looked at what happens in the brain while you’re eating,” says Stice. “Now we have evidence that, when you give an obese individual a chocolate milkshake, there’s less of a response going on.”

* “The Pleasure Factor: Why Food Is So Addicting?”
By Newsweek, Newsweek11/17/2008 05:12am EST | Updated November 17, 2011

Sugar……

The nation of my birth is the U.S.A. Commonly known as the most obese country on earth. Coming up second on this list is the UK. Per captita, they are poised to surpass the U.S. in just a few years. There is also Ireland, Qatar, and so on. What these countries all have in common is the amount of sugar consumed.

Sugar is a highly addictive drug. One that fires up the brain’s pleasure centers just as much as any narcotic. If not more. Like heroin, it re-wires the brain and causes the person who ingests it regularly to need it. Or they suffer very un-pleasurable withdrawal symptoms. And even depression.

There are two forms of sugar. Glucose, and fructose. The body converts all carbohydrates into glucose to feed our calorie hogging brains, and for glycogen that our muscles need to do their work.
Fructose is not even recognized as food by the brain. When eaten, it goes directly to the liver, which induces an insulin spike that tells the body to store the empty calories as fat so the body can actually utilize them.

This over time can cause type 2 diabetes as the body becomes more and more insulin resistant due to spiking it so much so often. 100 years ago, type 2 diabetes and cancer were unheard of. These are modern, man-made diseases brought on solely by poor dietary practices.
We are literally eating ourselves to death.

Liquid calories…..

This horrible chain of circumstances is compounded by the fact that many in westernized society consume 25-30% of their daily caloric intake by drinking them.
The body/brain does not register these liquid calories as food. Therefore, one could easily drink half of their entire daily caloric requirement in one sitting and still be hungry enough to eat the other half at the same sitting by having a basic fast food meal.

In fact, the basic fast food meal is easily 50-200% of our calorie requirements.

So with upwards of 100 grams of sugar, starchy white flour, way too much sodium (which leaves us bloated and holding excess water), and unhealthy man-made fats, we get an epidemic of overweight, yet malnourished individuals and families.

Fat is good…

In fact, natural fats are vital and healthy. Olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, butter, eggs, and even animal fats are vital to good health, brain function, and the endocrine system.
Our brains are comprised mostly of cholesterol, i.e. fat.
The real culprit is sugars, and starches. These things are what raise bad cholesterol. Not fat.

Fat does not make people fat. Eating more calories than you burn makes a person fat. And when we eat things that constantly raise our insulin, it sends a signal from our liver to the brain to store these calories as fat.
I will not get into why these things are allowed to happen in this blog post, as it is already too long, and there is so much to cover with this regard.
If I see a good response, and or high interest in this type of information, I will elaborate in detail in future posts.

Overweight and Dopamine….

There is no denying that some people are born with a natural, genetic predisposition to struggle with weight. Yet they are a rare exception and NOT the rule.
For most, the problem is self induced. Mostly by lack of education. Followed by the ubiquitous availability of cheap, convenient, non-nutritious, highly subsidized, and highly addictive products that are sold as food.
So once a person becomes overweight they become trapped in a vicious cycle triggered by becoming overweight which goes as follows.
A person who is over weight has diminished their capacity for dopamine released when eating food between 20-50%. This means that they must eat more to derive the same amount of pleasure from a tasty treat.
Since many who find themselves in this unfortunate category are “pleasure eaters” due to having fallen prey to the scientifically manufactured addictive properties of these “foods”, they seek pleasure in eating.
This is a very vicious cycle indeed.

On top of that, if a person is actually able to become more lean and take the excess fat off, they can only eat 80% of what a person of the same weight who was never heavy can.
Unfair? Yes, but it is a sad reality.

Fitness is a lifestyle….

Any dietary practices that cannot be sustained for life will inevitably fail. Just ask anyone who is overweight and has been a victim of “yo yo dieting”.
These drastic fad diets, pills, and magazine articles do not address the root cause.
Lifestyle got you there, and it is ONLY lifestyle that can get out out and keep you from ever going back.
Facts!

Consistency Over Time…..

Getting the desired results from any fitness program, and or diet/nutritional plan requires a daily commitment. Consistency over a long period of time is the only way.
Many go into the new year highly motivated, and usually committed to improve their health and physiques. But after spending so much time, effort, and sometimes money with no results, they become disillusioned and give up.

The entire fitness industry makes it’s money on this fact. They function like the “medical industrial complex”. Which is to treat symptoms, but NEVER offer a true cure.
As a personal fitness trainer, it is bad business for me to tell you that no one really needs regular training for more than 16 weeks. That it unless they are a bodybuilder prepping for a show, or some other extreme case.
Money is made in this industry long term by never telling people what they need to know to succeed.
Or by never telling them what they really need to know in order to set realistic goals and stick to them.

But I actually want to help people. I do this by telling you the truth.
If I can help anyone improve their health, looks, and self esteem by taking control of their fitness, I am more than happy to do so.
Of course I seek clients for personal fitness coaching, and or nutritional planning. BUT my goal is to help you to not need me as soon as possible by helping people develop a new, and sustainable lifestyle.
THIS is what any personal fitness trainer worth the money will seek to do.

Cook your own Food….

Preparing inexpensive, nutritionally sound, healthy meals at home is very easy when you have the will and proper education with which to do so.
Anyone claiming otherwise is either lying, misinformed, and or have never tried.
I am living proof. I live way out in the countryside with only a bike and a backpack to transport my groceries.
I have lived on a starving artist’s budget for a few years now, but never have I had to resort to eating fast food as my primary source of sustenance.
If I can do it, anyone can, as I have literally been living in third world conditions for some time now.
Facts!

Track Your Macros…

A key component of a sustainable fitness lifestyle is learning how to, and getting into the habit of tracking your macronutrient intake.
Macros are Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates.
Proteins and fats are necessary for sustaining life, but carbs are not. When getting lean, it is carbs one should cut. NEVER fats, in fact, some people employ a ketogenic diet to help lean out. This diet is up to 80% fat.
More on this diet in a future installment….

I track every single thing I eat, every singe day down to the gram. I typically know exactly what I will eat for the entire day before I even have breakfast. This is “nutritional planning”, and whether we are trying to become more lean, or to simply maintain a healthy and ideal weight, it behooves us all to make this practice a habit.
There are many apps and websites that make doing so extremely easy. So there is simply no excuse for not doing so. With the exception of not knowing how to read. But if you couldn’t read, you would not be reading this right now LOL!
Myfitnesspal.com is my go to website/app for this purpose. Consider it a facebook for fitness. In that you can interact socially, but it also has free tools to help you calculate and track for proper macros. Along with calculators to help you lose, gain, or maintain your weight.
Please check it out?
You can even add me if you want.
https://www.myfitnesspal.com/

True Story….

Happy New Year! May 2020 be the beginning of an amazing new chapter in your lives.
With the utmost love and respect.
Yours Truly,
Amir Alexander xx

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Fear and Loathing in Jax Beach (Day trip gone bad)

“black empty eyes, teenage runaway jail bait, and the police”

Three Fountains

In the days before I began engaging in club “libational activities”, I was a Jazz Man. Double Bass Viol was my axe. As we say in the biz, “Upright Bass”. Bebop was my scene and it was all about building up my chops. At this time I shared a low rent 2 bedroom apartment with one of my two besties from high school in a Complex called Three Fountains.

Well past it’s glory days in the mid 1950’s the namesake three fountains now languished. Dry and filled with that grey Florida sand/soil, pebbles, an old shoe, and a few crack vials. One could imagine the way they stood quite regal in that old Florida art-deco style. Once upper middle class, the majority of the residents were now lower income families, students, and social outcasts.

picked up hella strays, init

Mike and I were on the lease. We both had full music scholarships, book allowance, and Pell Grants, etc. Mike also had a job at Subway sandwiches. His assistant manager was also named Mike. Somehow other Mike began to sleep over. Then live there. Then came his homie Afa Grant. The best (meaning worst) con-man I have ever met. He had a knack of finding and befriending drug dealers. He would eventually set them up to get robbed. Over time he and I became so close people thought we were brothers.
More on that in the future.

Other Mike had this very creepy ex-girlfriend who had some kind of weird sex thing in the past with Afa. She came to live with us when other Mike went to jail for a statutory rape charge. Apparently he was dating a 16 year old who lived in a trailer park.
Other Mike also had a sister who was around 25 at the time making her the hot older woman of the group. She came with a boyfriend who had just returned from living on a Navy ship. He wore the PopEye suit and all. Then there was the dude we called Mr. Wendal.

Mr. Wendal (after the song by the group Arrested Development) because he was a homeless dude who worked with the Mikes at subway. Bro would steal subway meat and eat it by the pound. His sandwiches were 30 slices of roast beef on both sides with 50 slices of turkey, and 25 slices of cheese in between. No bread. No veggies. Zero fiber. Dude would spend an hour on the toilet and shut it down for another two.

what the friggin hell

Perplexed, I found myself wondering “How did all these extra people end up living for free in our apartment? What is going on here?” After what seemed like forever, but was maybe only 2 months, they leave.

My friend Adam is a senior in high school and comes up to visit every weekend so he can be reckless with us two college freshmen. This year he has been selected to represent our Alma matter at Tri-State Honor Band as I had done the year prior.
I decide to take the trip up to Tallahassee with him to visit my ex girlfriend who attends classes at the university the event will be held.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I’ve got a couple few trips under my belt at this point. The first was trip dope. It was with my ex girlfriend Amy at Florida State University. She was now a sophomore in the Marching Chiefs Band. She like me, played tuba, Or in her case sousaphone. It was amazing. She was an excellent vibe guru.
The second time was NUTS!!!! It most definitely needs it’s own episode. In fact, we’ll explore it next time.

So so, this particular weekend Afa and Mike will be gone on Saturday and Adam isn’t coming up. I’ve decided to do my first solo trip. A day trip of peaceful reflection, poetry, philosophy, and listening to the wild ways in which music mutates. What could go wrong?
Famous last words.

black empty eye holes

It’s cool, the dudes leave and I drop. Just as the trip begins to kick in, this one super sketchy dude Afa knows comes over looking for him. He’s with this one slutty girl from round the way who’s cool, but mad easy. Their eye holes are empty and black. He asks if he can take her up to my room so they can have sex. “FUCK NO!” I think to myself. They look at me startled as I realize I had actually screamed it aloud. Opps. My bad.

I tell him that I can take him a few places he might be, if he can run me over to see my man raver Russ, aka “Kid Nitrous”. He got that name because he used to suck whip-it gas straight from the huge tank in between filling balloons of laughing gas being sold at parties. Dude would go all blue lip and pass out humping the tank. One time he froze his mouth to it.

More on nitrous Russ later, as he most certainly needs his own chapter. Right now he’s just the roommate of my acid man and sometimes weed bro when my main, Jessie isn’t holding. Wow! I’ll most certainly have to do a few episodes on Jessie and his homie (Curious) George. Hilarious. This series is going to be so much fun!
But I digress….

gun play

We go a few places Afa and I would cruise, looking for him to no avail. Then we ride up into the hood where the Raiders have their trap house. There are 2 major gangs at the time. the Sox, and the Raiders. they wore the corresponding black baseball caps. Goofy and lame when you think about it, but they were lowkey feared in the streets.
At any rate, the dude I’m in the car with begins to chase this Raider kid in a Honda Civic. We pull up beside him and this fool pulls out a nickel plated Smith and Wesson 45 caliber cannon. He then proceeds to cock it and tell me that he and that dude fight on sight.
We chase this dude for miles. He eventually pulled into a neighborhood and started circling the block. I noticed that he would honk his horn every time he passed a certain house.

tables turn (for the worse)

After about three passes the dudes in the house catch on to what’s going on. They then start to pile up in their cars. All strapped up with their guns, they begin to chase us. I, at this point am a bit concerned for our safety. Yet, I don’t want to begin to have a bad trip so I remain calm.
We eventually pull into the police parking lot and act like we’re going in to shake off the heat. It works. “Holy crap! What just happened?” I think to myself. Next, I tell him to drop me off at friggin Russ’s place because Afa will be there later tonite. I can ride home with him. Somehow I’ve lost about three hours.

the cops raid?

As luck would have it, Afa had just called Russ from a payphone saying he was coming over right before I got there. The dude stayed, and they linked up do do whatever deal they had set up. Afterward, Mr. Soulless eyes and his crusty broad were off to get busy once they found a place to do so.

Russ had a cool apartment he shared with Chris and Cuff. It was a wild place. Chris was on house arrest from a prior drug bust. Needless to say, homie was hot. They had a couple very young girls over. Apparently the girls were living there now. We smoked some gravity bong hits and vibed out to the little mermaid. Which I had never seen.

“You ain’t never seen the little mermaid on acid?” asked Russ. “Nah man” I replied. “Well, you need to get on that” Right then, little mermaid it is.

A good two hours pass by and we’re all just talking and chilling. One of the girls is even cooking for us. Then suddenly there is a “Cop Knock” at the door.
We all freeze, startled. Russ asks who it is. “Police. We need to…..” That’s all anyone heard before everyone but Chris made a bee line for the backdoor running for dear life. We pour out into the back courtyard screaming and laughing wildly. Maniacally, even. There was a little old lady outside hanging up her laundry. We almost gave the poor lady a heart attack running up on her like that.

About 5 highly inebriated youth make a frenzied hundred meter dash to the other side of the courtyard. There was an 6 foot tall concrete wall. We run up, start throwing the girls over, then we shimmied up it ourselves and ran around the block. This way we could watch Chris’s place from the cut. By the time we got around front they were leaving.
We met Chris smiling at the door looking carefree. Heads was like “what the fuq?”

I’m done yo

Apparently the girls were indeed underage and the cops had been tipped off that they had been spotted there. Afa was going out to The Edge that night with Russ. Chris was chilling with the young ladies, but I was ready to blow that scene and go home.
“You comin’ out with us tonight, or are you all tripped out?” Afa asked. “I’m done yo. Take me home”

dwelt among the dregs

In the following months, occurrences like this seemed to become common place. I found myself hanging with a very “base” element. True losers who were headed nowhere fast. I would often think to myself,
“I do not belong here around these people. I actually have goals and dreams. If I continue down this path things will not end very well.”

I got deeper and deeper into the street life. Catching cases, dodging police, and becoming a very good criminal. Then one day I got a flyer for a rave. The rest is history.



House Music saved my life.

true story.
AAxx

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Raver meets His DJ Hero

Christopher Milo aka DJ Three (Hallucination Limited)

DJ Three – live at Robot Heart 10 Year Anniversary (Burning Man 2017) – September 2017

“I’m The DJ”

It’s been a few months now and the boys are beginning to take weekend road trips to rave all over the state. At this time in Florida, all the kids would do likewise. You would see the Orlando kids, Miami kids, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Talahassee, Boca, Daytona, Coco Beach, etc.
After a while we all began to recognize one another, and we all began to clique. If you can imagine, there was a time when every raver in the state knew, or at least knew of one another. Good times.

During the early 90’s Kimball Collins was the most hyped DJ in Florida. The main sound was Progressive House and Trance. Not really my thing. I was quite new to all of this, but I already knew that I liked a more underground sound. A sound that went on to be called Chicago House, and Detroit Techno. Ahhz (Oz) in Orlando was the club to be at. It is where Kimball was a resident. At the time, the raves filled the void, as Ahhz had closed down for a bit.

search mission(s)

By this point, the ritual is to spend a couple hours trying to find acid. LOL to the naivety of these kids looking for “paper” when over 95% of the heads were eating “rolls” (ex/mdma, etc). For the time being, I am too afraid to try it, so we search for acid. A couple hours go by with no luck, then a dude says that his roommate is coming later. COOL! We roll out to the Chevy for a blunt, and then go back inside to wait.

too embarrassed to dance

Back when I first started going out people did not say I like to dance. They said I like to House. We called it “Housing”, and everyone was trying to get good at it. I felt that I would one day be an exceptional Houser, but at this time I am not. I was like the best of the worst, or the best of the newbie housers.

This being the case, I would wait until all the best dancers would go home at around 7 am before I would even go on the floor. As my pride/ego would not allow me to be seen not being as good as I would someday be. Kinda sad.
Glad I worked through those issues. At any rate, the dude came and we copped the cleanest blotter ever. The paper looked like bathroom paper towels, but the trips were clean with no strychnine feeling.
Then it happened. I heard this amazing music and said to myself “this must be the mighty Kimball Collins because this dude is rocking me.” Yet, when I looked up, I see the lasers spelling out DJ Three. Instantly I knew that this dude was likely the best DJ in the state. Despite Kimball’s hype.

fast forward……

It’s like 6 months later and I am feeling like a veteran now. There is a new crop of kids coming in after us and I am wondering were we this annoying also. LOL Backpacks, lollipops, and funny hats. Massaging each other with vap-o-rub, and wearing surgical masks. What a sight!

So by now I have met one of the loves of my life. Marissa. My little rave queen. Together with my buddy Adam, we make the rounds from city to city. It is almost Christmas time and so The Edge in FT. Lauderdale is throwing their annual party. DJ Three is on the bill.

One day I hope to do what you do

It is now morning and people are chilling outside in the back courtyard. I spot DJ Three chilling, so I decide to go walk up to introduce myself. He was quite approachable. We had a very long conversion in which I learned his real name. Where he was from, and that he worked at a record store.
I told him of how I had recently dropped out of music university in hopes of one day being a DJ/producer. To which he replied that his good friend Dave Christopher (Rabbit in The Moon” was also a classically trained musician.
He also encouraged me to stick with it. We parted ways, but kept in touch.

Later Marissa and I would move to Tampa on the strength of knowing many of the same people Chris Milo knew. Brian Busto, Terryn Westbrook, and DJ Jask. It was also here that I would go on to meet Chris Mitchell.
The scene was vibrant and healthy. If you played, you could gig and get paid. Lots of record stores, and cool parties. More on those in the near future.

advice not heeded

In winter of 2006 right after starting Vanguad Sound! I also started a myspace and found DJ Three on there. I was living in the Chicago suburbs and he had recently moved to NYC from Tampa where he held a residency at Twilo. After telling him that I was going to go all out and try music full time he warned me against it. He mentioned the lack of security, retirement, medical benefits, and the overall stress. I think his words were do not ruin your life trying to be a pro DJ. It’s not worth it. The irony is that there have been many times where I thought that perhaps I should have taken his advice.

yet, we are artists

throughout the history of humanity, many of the most lauded artists struggled to survive in their lifetimes. I am no different. the phrase “feast or famine” comes to mind. When it’s good it’s really good, but when it’s bad, the darkness can overwhelm. I am not so cheeky as to compare myself to people like Nina Simone who had similar struggles. Nor Bernie Worrell, or any of the other talented Black Americans who struggled in life, but were celebrated in death.

If I am actually of this lineage, I am more than honored. I do all I can to put myself in this class of artists, but only time will tell. Hopefully I won’t have to die for people to show love.

We shall see.

true story
AAxx

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Oh Sh!t

“we should most definitely have been arrested that night”

box full of blunts

Three young lads, tripping balls, and riding dirty on a Saturday night in the early 90’s. Amir is driving the “Pluto trip mobile”, Adam is riding shotgun, and Jamie is in the back with a box of 50 Tampa nugget blunts, and an ounce of cheeba. Later that night they will attend their first official rave, but for now they’ve decided to chief up a few blunts and ride out listening to the new Pharcyde tape.

“let’s drop now and let it kick in on the way”

Seemed like an excellent idea at the time, so we did just that. The plan is to do the scenic route on the way to the abandoned mall, chief up, and let the acid do it’s work so we hit the party primed and ready to dance.
All is going well as the tracers and body buzz both creep up on us. (By this time I have logged hundreds of hours acid driving. Not proud of it, it just is what it is). Coming out of downtown Jax we are the only car on the highway.

beginning to peak

This tape is DOPE!” Everybody is vibing out as the album unfolds. We had all seen the video for “Passing Me By”, so expectations were high. So far, the 4 Kids from LA have not disappointed.
Then I see them. Out of nowhere come 4 squad cars. The boys in blue. Jacksonville’s finest starting to follow me. Just as I tell the boys what’s up the speakers ring out “Oh Shit!”, then the song of the same name begins to play.

we’re surrounded

Suddenly they fan out and surround us on all 4 sides. Front, left, right, and rear. We ride like this for what seemed like an eternity. “Look normal! Act sober! Don’t look at them!” All these things could be heard as we prepare for the worst. The pressure was on me to not get us caught so “I focused power”, trained my gaze on the rear lights of the car in front of me, and hit cruise control to keep my pace steady.

poof!

After what seemed like forever, but was actually likely only 5 minutes we approached an off ramp/exit. In a flash all 4 po po cars peeled off the highway toward the krispy kreme donut shop that had the “hot donuts now” sign blazing.
For a couple minutes we all sat in silence trying to comprehend what had just happened. Then suddenly we all began to yell, and cheer. No jail for us tonight. “How the hell did they not just pull us over?” I asked. “Who cares as long as they didn’t get us” Adam answered. “Word up” Jamie chimed in.

and so…

We made our way to what would become our first rave ever. Acid heads in search of acid house. Doing unspeakable things. Driving recklessly, breaking the law, and participating in deviant activities.
Us kids with our Adidas suits, and super baggy jeans sleeping all day and staying out all night must have seemed quite strange to our families at the time. We should most definitely have been arrested that night, but it wasn’t meant to be.

over 25 years later

I am now the only one who still actively engages “the culture”, as it were. For the other guys it was a passing phase. For me it was like an orphan finding his tribe. The music has given me the opportunity to live my dreams. To discover myself, and to almost destroy my own life.
I am thankful for it all. As I cannot imagine even being alive right now without such a life giving force underpinning my life for the last three decades.

Once upon a time, a kid could have a dream and pursue it to fruition. A nobody kid from nowhere special. These days, not so much. Time and place (context) are crucial. The luck of the draw must be accounted for. I write these episodes to demonstrate my “universal normalcy”. Meaning, my story is not different than most every other kid in the scene. Except that I totally went for it.
This is something that anyone who believes in themselves can do. Surround yourself with people trying to accomplish similar goals. Support one another, and NEVER GIVE UP!

taking my own advice

So now I find myself returning from hiatus to find the entire climate has changed. And thus, I must rebuild everything from square one. Much of the sector that was home to me and other similar House artists has been decimated and doesn’t exist anymore. So many artists don’t even play out these days. Yet, I choose to remain positive and be optimistic.
This is my career, my business. Built up over the course of almost 3 decades.

So despite the leanness of the land, as it were, I must struggle to find a way. For the culture, the artform, my son, my self, and for those coming after me. Each one, teach one. In the scene many will grow old, but few will become elders. It is a responsibility one must accept.
Looking back on my life in this scene, I am inspired to continue to be that “regular guy who broke out” (even though according to the industry press, I never have. LOL) At any rate, I either let the story end, or I blaze ahead and forge the next chapter.

Any artist who completely dedicates themselves to their craft can begin to feel some kinda way when they feel ignored, or slighted. This is natural. Yet, at some point, dealing with the industry creates the opportunity to truly become the positive and laid back person one claims to be. Because it’s either that, or become a stressed out A-hole no one can deal with.
After having tried on both hats, I’ve settled on the former, not the latter.

grizzled and torn war veteran

“The battles are with oneself. Convenience is the lure.”

I’ve never been connected. Just stating fact. Never had anyone to give advice, etc. Just a regular dude in an extraordinary situation trying to find my path, while making hella mistakes on the way.

Looking back, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. During my implosion I never did or said anything hurtful. I was just an unpleasant areshole who was bringing people down. It takes humility to admit this.
My bad.
Ok then, what’s next?

The struggle continues……

True story
AAx

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Ricky Spitzz! The One Man Gang.

In the Beginning
As a child, Hip Hop was my first love. My first musical love, that is. I was fortunate to be born in a family steeped in the love of Black/African American music. Both Gospel and Secular. My Mother was a Gospel Choir soloist in her youth, and my Father was an avid music collector.
In my parents house I heard R&B, Soul, and Disco daily, but in the early 1980’s I heard rap for the first time.
Like many kids not living in New York City, the first rap I heard was on the radio. Songs like The Double Dutch Bus, and Rappers Delight. This was new music. A new genre entirely, and I loved it. These were but mere shadows of the real rap and hip hop going on in NYC of course, but my interest was piqued. However, it was the mighty Planet Rock that changed my life, and birthed the musician I am now.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The extended version of Planet rock came on the radio in the car. When we got home I asked my Dad to leave the keys in so I could hear it all. I was transformed. It was that day I truly realized how music could stir one’s very soul. 
By this time I was already a little B-Boy and graffiti writer in my small town. I was listening to Jam On it, U.T.F.O, Roxanne Shante, Whodini, The Skinny Boys, and the like, but it was that particular Saturday that I was transformed. Thinking back on it, in the years prior, my ears just weren’t mature enough to really go deep the way I did that day. I came pretty close though, listening to the Skinny Boys tape. My soul really felt those Bros, and could instantly tell that they were the real thing, as opposed to the Fat Boys. I spent hour upon hour listening to that Skinny Boys tape.
Shortly thereafter, we moved to the extreme west side of town with my Dad, as my parents had officially split up by that time. There a dude named David Spells let me dub his Doug E. Fresh tape that had the legendary The Show, and Ladi Dadi by Slick Rick The Ruler.
For those who were fortunate enough to have grown up in Hip Hop’s Golden era, nothing else can, or ever will compare.
I myself embodied all 5 elements of the culture (DJ, Rap, B-Boy (Dancer), Graffiti, and Beat Boxing). Mediocre at first, but as the years progressed I have achieved expert status in most, if not all of them.
I have been fortunate to travel the world performing as a DJ, and have been called a “living legend” by many of my peers and fans of my work. To which I humbly reply, that I am one in training, but I need a few more years to solidify my status among the greats with my contributions to the culture(s), as it were. That brings me to the reason for today’s post.
Rap, my first love. Before I could even pop-lock, or B-Boy, I felt that I had the soul of a rapper, but at the time I was much too shy to even attempt it. In our little crew Junior (Daniel Gibbs) was the natural rapper/MC. Kid had a gift. It was me, him, Charles Pittman (my bestie), Adolph Brown, and later Pompie Drake.
We were all young thugs and petty criminals with long rap sheets even by the ages of 12 and 13 years.
*(Another notable influence with respect to rap was Jamie McLeod. A kid I met in my teens who was known as a dope MC/Freestyler around town. It was my freestyle sessions with him and my crew at the time where I discovered I actually could rap).

Trouble with the law
I was on my way to a very long bid in juvenile prison (Raiford, I believe), when I was just beginning to learn music in 6th grade band. I had been told many times that if I kept it up (my devious unlawful ways, accompanied by my “smart mouth”), that I would not live past the age of 12. They were correct.
Luckily my Grand Parents made me go to church every Sunday and I had a huge sense of right and wrong. All the rest of my homies indeed became cliches. Either dead, or in prison at a very young age. All but me, God, and my music kept me alive.
I had already alienated most of my family who had given up on me as a habitual offender, good for nothing bad seed, yet my Music teacher, Mr. David Vezzetti saw something in me. The potential to become the artist I am today. God bless him.

I found my love of music (which saved my life)
He, along with my high school band director, Mr. James Pignato trained me and set me on the right path. I graduated as the most decorated musician in the history of the town I grew up in. An achievement that will never be eclipsed, as the Arts Education system that birthed me has been decimated. In 6 short years I had completely turned my life around, but I digress…..
Today’s blog is about Rap Music. Specifically my first officially released rap project. I say rap, because Hip Hop as it was is no more. It is a relic. Married to a specific time in history. A time I hold near and dear to my heart. Like every other kid (now in middle age), that was blessed to experience it.

Today
I now do Trap and Drill rap. For adults, and kids who want a message, versus media brainwash, i.e. drugs, sex, and violence. It has taken over three decades for me to refine my craft to a level that I was ready to present it to the world. As I take the “art of rap” quite seriously. I understand it’s transformative power. Be it for good, or for evil.
My first project to be officially released is actually my 4th (hip hop/rap) album. The third I’ve written this year. The first “Chicago Gun Times” is my take of Chicago Drill. From the perspective of an old-school head. Within it, there is “The Trilogy” that chronicles a child becoming radicalized by watching his best friend killed right in front of him on the way to school. Who grows up to be a leader in his gang who eventually gets killed himself. The last part explains the whole “revenge killing” nature of Drill, and what is at the root of all the violence in Chi-City. I close the album with an epilogue. Giving my advice to these talented kids who drop like flies everyday.
Upon it’s completion, I felt that I could in no way contribute to “death culture”, so this album sits in “the vaults”.
The second album was me breaking rule #1 as a male songwriter. Which is “never write a song for a bitch” LOL. I composed 10 songs and dope ass beats for one of the 2 loves of my life. A 42 year old woman whom I have known and loved since she was 14. We in many ways are 2 peas in a pod. However, with almost 30 years of life under the bridge as it were, we live 2 completely different lifestyles. I am a Christian meat eater, she is a pagan vegan. Nuff said.
Yet, our love for one another is as strong as ever. The album is called 17-21.
More on that later.

The new album
This brings us to “Separate Myself”. An ode to the current sound of Chicago. The album is a modern rap Mix-tape of “remixes”. Where a rapper recreates hot songs of the day with their own words and style.
In doing so, the youth of today know undeniably that I am hip to them and the sound of today. Both in the choice of tracks, as well as how lovely I spit over them. I felt that this was my best introduction into today’s rap climate. Again rap, not hip hop. Because Trap and Drill are just that. 2 different sub genres, but not hip hop. Which birthed them all. I am Richard Amir Alexander Junior. My father is Richard Senior. 2 different people. He birthed me. I am his son. Trap and Drill are the sons of hip hop.
So if you’re still with me after all of this, I present to you the first video from the album. Track #9 “One Man Gang”. It’s way slept on at the moment, but crucial in understanding who and what I am as a rapper (my rap persona, as it were).
The intro “Separate Myself” has the most listens, as it is track one as well as the title of the project.
Yet, I felt the need to “push” One Man Gang” as the lead single for the above stated reasons.
I have no favorite track on this album. I think that they are all dope equally. As such, I hope that those of you who rock with me will dig into them all.
The surface “onlookers” will listen to the first (title track) and move on, as I am but a mere curiosity to them. Same as it ever was.

My place in history
However, for those interested in really knowing an artist who has worked over 30 years to become one of the “true greats” of his generation in the entire history of music, here you go.
My “magnum opus”.
Out of all my Chicago House Music contemporaries I am the only one (with the exception of *DJ Taye, perhaps), who makes the “Modern sound of Chicago”. Taye isn’t necessarily a House Head, so I put an asterisk beside his name. He’s also of this current generation and not a student of Chi music going into it’s third decade as far as I can tell.
Since age 13, I have been working to carry on the lineage of great artists, such as Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, John Philip Sousa, Hector Berlioz, Igor Stravinski, Erik Satie, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach. If an artist does not set out with this in mind, it will never happen.
I am like a Monet painting. One must stand back and look at the whole to get the clear picture.
Focusing on a single aspect gives one a blurred impression, at best.
So without further ado.
One Man Gang
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzbOGIUrgg&t=0s

Listen to and download the full album here

 

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Vlog Episode #8 “One Man Gang!”

The struggle is real, and it continues. No gigs. Looking for a fulltime job that is not connected with the music industry. It is what it is. Steady mobbin’, keeping it real, and doing me. Perfecting my bunnyhop technique, and trying to gain height/hang time so that I can begin to learn 360s. Which I hope to have down by my birthday.
We’ll see how it goes though, as meeting basic survival needs living well under the poverty line takes precedence over riding and BMX progression.
At any rate “we out here!” We, meaning me. The one man gang.
Facts!

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BMX Vlog Ep #6 Pinch flats 180’s Exploded bars, and Social Media Experiments!

What a week! So much happened and I didn’t even have to catch a plane. Facebook showed me just how much damage it has done to people’s sense(s) of empathy. It was the catalyst I needed to fully move onto the gram. I am a very friendly and caring person. I try to be the friend I wish to have, but rarely does this go both ways.
So my handlebars broke because I am advancing and progressing so quickly. I bunny hop way too high, and much too often for those Hi-Ten (high tensile) Steel bars to withstand it. I need full chromoly parts from here on out.
So, upon the suggestion of of a friend on facebook (an actual friend), I posted my paypal email to see if there was any love out there. I was hoping for a dollar/euro/quid each from maybe 10 or 20 people. Perhaps 5 bucks tops, but I was good with 10 or 20 cents, a like/comment, and or well wish of acknowledgement.
One person out of over 260 donated $25. My mom. LOL And one person commented that they’re broke, but they feel me. That meant alot. Just acknowledging the struggle would have been good enough, but I got tumbleweeds.
I am not sure why others are on fake-book, but I have my ideas. I was never on there for any of those, and the reason I was on there was voided a couple few years ago.
After the obvious point of negative returns, it is time to make a change. Being that there is no real friendship among fake-book friends, I have shut my Amir Alexander fakebook profile down. I will not delete it, as I have an artist page to maintain. I did however, “seal it up” from outside contact.
If people wish to get up with me, they can do it on the gram.     @dj.amir.alexander
Being a “public figure” destroys one’s ability to have valid relationships with most people you meet through the industry. In the long run, it usually turns out that these people who are your best friends one season can hardly remember your name the next.

Alas, I am not bitter. I accept this as part of “the game”.  As such, I took the necessary steps to prevent feeling bitter or disappointed.
I’ve divested and abandoned ship. Let it sink into the abyss of psychological experimentation it is. People are destroying everything that makes them people. Willingly.
Well……. I ain’t havin’ it. Go along to get along?????? NO!
https://youtu.be/OuLIZuULsgU

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Flux Interview for my new album Dusk Til Dawn!

Amir Alexander’s Flux Interview for the new album!
Shout out Just Jack for sorting the press/promo etc.
Shout out Flux, Dan Heller, and Julia for being so gracious and accommodating.
This music industry is so weird. I get mad love from a very small pocket of clued in/influential heads, but then completely ignored by the majority
of the scene.
I guess this is what it is to be truly underground. The real heads and critics champion you, but “commercial success” eludes.
Either way, the work/discography is there.
Whether I gig and am popular, or whether I disappear into obscurity. Anyone who is really paying attention cannot help but see/hear.
Realest of the real. From Alpha to Omega. xx

An interview with Amir Alexander

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Peep game on “Da Haterz”

Came across this one looking for some brain food to ingest as I fix my bike.
I’m not one to fakebook post things like this anymore, as those who need to see those posts never do.
Fortunately I have my own platform. I can post it here. Whether anyone takes the time to check it or not.

For those who are really hip to the game and rock with me 100, here’s food for thought.
Bless,
//AAxx