STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Darryl McDaniels, the emcee in Run-DMC that wore glasses, is fired up.
Not only are he and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons taking the Sands Steel Stage Aug. 6 for “a typical, good, old-school show,” and uncommon reunion of the surviving members of Run-DMC, but his metal band, Fragile Mortals (which features members of Generation Kill and former Exodus singer Rob Dukes), will also be at Musikfest. That free show is at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks.
“Me and Run, we’ve been sticking to radio shows and festivals. This is probably the seventh show Run and I have done since J (Jason “Jam Master J” Mizell) passed away (in 2002),” he said, likening the Saturday night headlining show to one of those special-treat-for-the-fans “Oh snap! Ringo jumped on stage with Paul McCartney” moments.
Describing Run-DMC as “that Super Bowl team I used to play on,” McDaniels said that after the groundbreaking hip-hop group’s ’80s heyday, and minor successes in the ’90s, “we reached that Beatles moment. I guess a better example would be Cream. They were only around for three albums and Eric Clapton needed to break out. J died (he was murdered by an unknown gunman), I lost my voice and (Simmons) left and became Rev. Run.”
McDaniels’ recovery from spasmodic dysphonia — a condition that contracts and tightens the vocal cords, the alcoholism that aggravated it, anxiety and depression, and embarking on a quest to locate his birth mother after learning at age 35 that he’d been adopted are among the tales in his recently-released memoir, “Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide.”
While Simmons was having a successful run with his reality show, McDaniels found himself frequently being asked: “Yo, D, why you not at Run’s House?” and “What’s up with you?” It’s all in the book, which he called “a DMC record without music.”
After entering rehab and getting sober 14 years ago, and learning in therapy sessions what his triggers were, McDaniels said everything fell into place. “I found out that I was repressing my true feelings and emotions. Once we got a No. 1 record, (the record companies) want another No. 1 record. I didn’t know I had the power to say ‘I’m not comfortable with this.’ People are afraid of of people finding out who you are. I’m not a gang banger or a drug dealer. I’m a Catholic school kid who reads comic books. Your life don’t mean nothing if you don’t feel good about it. You can defeat — totally defeat — whatever is ailing you,” he said.
Speaking of comic books, check out McDaniels’ DMC superhero. “Comic books made me a good student. The fact I was reading every day made me an A-plus-plus-plus student,” he said. “Hip-hop was just comic books coming to life,” he said, mentioning the over-the-top-action lyrical imagery in the song “King of Rock.”
McDaniels is proud of his new DMC rap-rock single “Flames,” with John Moyer of Disturbed and Miles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, that takes on the issue of the “unnecessary bullets.”