DJ Premier Speaks On Guru’s Passing and Solar Situation | aboveGround Magazine
Video in this thread The Truth Behind Guru (RIP), Dj Premier, & Solar did Guru ever say to you about why he had broken off so many relationships with former . give up total control to a manager whom they trust and that manager then. I would come to see [Guru's trust in Solar] as his artistic death over time He also detailed Solar's technique for “turning” Guru: isolate him from his self esteem issues that kept in this deplorable and unhealthy relationship. 'I looked at him as a brother,' Solar says; denies rumors of romantic relationship.
By the time we left, the reasons were piled so high that leaving was the only thing left to do. Solar had created so toxic a work environment for us Berating, belittling and chastising him I'd never seen a man disrespect another man like that.
I'm disturbed now when I read accounts of Solar claiming Guru as a best friend and brother. My understanding is that you were in fear of Solar for some time. What sort of occurrences happened to put you in that position? Was his behavior directed at everyone around him, or just certain people? Did Guru catch the grunt of it? To be honest, I didn't feel any fear about Solar until I actually saw him punch Guru in the face.
Solar didn't know I had seen this go down. It happened in a back alley behind a club after a gig in Europe.
- DJ Premier Speaks On Guru’s Passing and Solar Situation
I was heading back to the hotel post-gig, cutting through the backalley of the club as a shortcut. After a gig Guru and Solar often stayed behind, and the rest of the group would head back to the hotel. So I'm walking down the alley heading to the hotel, and suddenly the back door of the club flies open and Guru comes stumbling out like he had been shoved, Solar right on his heels yelling at him like a little boy.
By now, this was a fairly common occurrence for me to see, but what happened next left me paralyzed. Guru seemed to be quietly arguing back.
Clearly he felt that whatever had happened didn't merit such a response from Solar, and it seemed like he was trying to explain himself. Solar - who was already knee-deep into the habit of cutting off Guru and not letting him complete full sentences - asked him: Shut up right now! But let me just explain Solar swung on him And then again in the head. Far enough away that they couldn't see me, but frozen in my tracks.
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I took a step forward, but I didn't know what to do. And then Guru seemed to sort of shrug it off. Until that last year of his life, he was a tough, well-built guy, but I did think it was weird he didn't fight back.
And I'm pretty much a peace-loving pacifist I was hired as the Jazzmatazz trumpet player, not as the Jazzmatazz judge and jury - so I swallowed hard and left, disturbed by what I'd seen. The next day, in a moment when Guru and I were alone, I quietly asked him, "hey G He looked me right in the eye and said "aw, I dropped some weights in the gym. I gotta be more careful, right son? He then winked at me and walked away But instead I felt sick.
Sick that this man - one of my heros - had been abused It was then that I started feeling fear Because I knew that if push came to shove, Solar was capable of much greater violence. I started recognizing it in his eyes. In the early days I would express my opinions freely But when the violence started coming out from behind closed doors, that's when I started getting fearful While on tour in Brazil, after some girl he'd decided was "his" started talking to me for "too long" post-show, he shoved me screaming how I was "disrespectful".
It was the first time he ever put his hands on me. I have no doubt in my mind that if Marcelo the promoter didn't come to see what all the ruckus was all about, I would've been hospitalized. That promoter and I still talk about that incident to this day, and I consider him a real friend for having put me in a separate vehicle, away from Solar and taking care of me that night I was so shook by the whole incident.
Guru called me, apologized which he rarely doesand said he'd talk to Solar about it. Told me he "needed me there", and that I was an "important part of Guru's Jazzmatazz". Guru tells you he needs you - of course you stay. But, in retrospect, I don't think he ever did talk to Solar. Later on, as I continued to defy Solar's insipid military style "rules and regulations" they were such an afront to every fiber of my artistic beinghe would continue to threaten me I didn't know what to do with that kind of information I would just stay silent and wonder how far he was willing to go.
Coming home from tour dates with them was always rough. And when I'd write Guru about my concerns I was convinced Solar hated me, and wondered why I hadn't been fired long ago, considering how much he was always upset with me.
In speaking about it with DooWop, he once said to me "Brown, who else is this psycho Solar going to get? Do you think Roy Hargrove or Randy Brecker is gonna put up with his crap? And they can't call someone who can't play - cuz you've already established the trumpet soloist HAS to be strong Finally though, saturation was reached for me in Jan '10, and I had to leave the band I was then calling Spazzmatazz behind closed doors Wop and I left together.
But finally the cost was too high He should NOT have even been on that last tour in Nov - he looked so haggard and decrepit. He should have been in a hospital bed in America, not running around on stages in Europe, exacerbating whatever was compromising his health which the world would find out later was cancer.
But Solar made him When Wop and I left, to us, we were leaving Solar - not Guru But it mattered more to be rid of this man, than to try and collect that dough not for lack of trying.
Solar, had taken over ALL the finances by that point, and withheld Wop's and my money after that final tour Nov' To this day, both Wop and I have yet to be paid in full for that last tour. Up until mid I had always dealt with Guru one-on-one for finances. As SOON as tour dates were over, he'd wire cash directly into my bank account. Wop also tells a similar story - that Guru always took care of him. Thus I never felt I needed a contract. But the second Solar took over the books - that's when the problems started.
The last tour I did with them was in Nov ' I start emailing them once every 3 days I was like "what the hell are you talking about??? It was all I could do since I had no contract. I cc'ed Solar on it. It was now late Dec and she, nor Solar, nor Guru ever wrote me again. And on Jan 1st, I sent an official resignation letter to all 3 of them officially stating I was resigning from the band, and that any institute that behaves as maliciously, brutally and underhandedly as 7 Grand isn't a company I want to be employed by.
I also mentioned what a laughing hypocrisy Solar's long speeches about "my word is bond" and "i take care of my own" was.
I never heard from any of them again. On Feb 28th,I heard on the news that Guru had a heart attack and was in a coma, and on Apr 19th, Guru was announced as having died I have read rumors that Solar would get jealous when you performed, and one in particular that he put you in a cab after a show once because you killed it with a solo. Can you recall any such experiences? Listen, I dunno if Solar would get "jealous".
I'm not sure that's the right word for it.
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But let me explain what happened slowly, and what started happening over time: Guru - in the early days, because he's a gracious, honourable and magnanimous human being - would walk around to each band member at the end of the show, say a line or two biographically about them and then say their name.
For example, he'd go over to the drummer and yell in the mic, "From London, UK Guru, in the early days, would go round the whole band doing this - and do me second last Guru was always VERY generous with his praise, and there's a YouTube vid of him shouting me out where he says so many kind things you can see me visibly humbled by his words, as I would be every night.
When he finished reciting his introduction of me and conclude with, " And impressed that he - as a bandleader - was so unselfish with his stage.
Jazz musicians, even in the highest ends of the industry, are all like this. We jazz musicians all know that we're part of a collective - so every part of that group consciousness deserves to be acknowledged And to see Guru doing this, made him even more impressive to me - he behaved like a great jazz musician! But here's the thing - he would always intro Solar last I've seen it described in a review as " What did he expect?
On stage he just ran around, a bad hype-man, often shoving Guru out of his way, and then telling him afterwards "Guru - you're getting in my way on stage, you have to open your eyes son" THAT was my role in Jazzmatazz - the soloist.
So I worked hard to bang out bigger and better solos So at the end of the night, sometimes my applause was second loudest, only to Guru's - the man himself. He wouldn't say anything - but he clearly felt that his own applause should be greater than everyone's. So look what he did after that: It was about drawing further attention to himself.
So, slowly - over months - the band intros got smaller and smaller, and Solar's intro got bigger and longer The smaller my intro got, the more determined I was to play my ass off and incite a crowd. After a particularly good gig at Club Planetarium, in Vienna - it's reported that the applause following one of my solos was so loud you couldn't hear Guru rapping.
As soon as that gig ended, Solar told the promoter to put me in a cab and get me back to the hotel immediately. Did I miss something in the schedule? Solar told me that we had a super early flight and we had to leave quickly to pack and get to the airport. Shouldn't I take some gear too?
It's a heavy problem Guru was dealing with certain situations. We started hanging out, hitting the clubs in New York. We needed to lighten it up a little bit.
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I just listened and became a friend. Solar came onboard to work on Guru's last two Jazzmatazz albums and toured with him. They also started the label 7 Grand Records. It was a source of frustration for him and also for myself. According to Solar, in earlyhe started to experience pain in his back, which he at first attributed to vigorous gym workouts.
After the pain carried on for a couple of months, Guru sought medical attention, which resulted in an MRI and a cancer diagnosis. Guru went in for further testing and it was confirmed that he suffered from myeloma, a cancer that affects the white blood cells.
He had an operation in July that was unfortunately unsuccessful. However, despite the setbacks, Solar insisted Guru didn't want to tell his family about his situation, as he was still optimistic that he could overcome the diagnosis. Just watching, over the time that I spent with them, Solar had such a twisted sense of how important [his own role] was to the music game. I think there was an extensive amount of jealousy towards what Premier had already created in the music industry.
I interviewed Premier in December in New York shortly after the break-up was implied. Premier expressed that the group was simply on glorified hiatus.Exclusive: DJ Premier Speaks On The Guru & Solar Situation
In interviews to come, for various outlets, Guru said some harsh things. In your private conversations with Guru, was that [sentiment] really there? There was definitely some distaste.
He was convinced, by Solar, that back in maybe, Guru was held up and mugged in Queens, [New York]. Solar convinced Guru, at that point in time, that Premier had put the hit out on him, and Premier wanted him dead. For the record, you and I spoke privately before this interview.
I spent extreme amounts of time with both Guru and Solar, both individually and altogether. I traveled with them. I, myself, never saw any indication of it being a romantic or sexual relationship. I do have a child with [Solar]. I, however, do not believe he is. I never saw any indication of that. I never saw any type of affection in that way, if you want. I saw Guru interested in women.
Obviously when I was around, Solar was with me at that point in time, but at the same time, I have my feelings that there were probably other women as well. I never got the feeling that it was homosexual. It angers me, the rumors that I hear out there — not from people like Sway. The way he asked, it was absolutely appropriate. He asked as a journalist.
You get somebody, and you distance them from everyone else.