By Danny R. Phillips
At just eighteen, Torrin Myers aka The Dude is a rapper of dedication and driven purpose. He twists and turns meanings, words turned inside out, with an ingeniousness and depth that belies his youth. Where some rappers fall upon the clichés of bitches and hoes, calling out other MCs, making money and having nice cars, Myers tells tales of things he knows well: alienation, the feeling of distain for the exclusionary cliques that populate both the fishbowl world that is high school and the disastrous world at large.
Myers speaks to universal themes. The feeling of isolation that rears its head when one realizes this life is not wine and roses, the feeling of a world crushing you under its corrupt feet and the growing, pushing need to belong. Driving you to fit in, to be part of something, even if that place, your place is on the fringes of what society deems normal and uniform. Myers is blunt yet articulate, experienced yet looking to the world with wide, somewhat jaded eyes.
“I’m basically a communist,” he told me on a gray, dismal day in downtown St. Joe. “We ( The United States) don’t have universal health care or socialized medicine because there is too much money to be made. The poor can’t go to the doctor. The government doesn’t care, it (the government) needs to milk dollars from their cattle.”
While his nom de plume does come from his love of The Big Lebowski (does everyone but me love that movie?), choosing to take the stage as The Dude comes from a more deeply rooted place within himself. “Choosing The Dude is a play on how anonymous the rap game is right now; guys with names like Kyle and Kendrick, people using their first names; then there’s generic ass names like Future; it all seems the same to me so I became The Dude.”
The Dude is soft-spoken but confident in his beliefs and his skill as a musician. “I started playing bass when I was around 8 and started free-styling at 14. I was in a punk band but it didn’t go anywhere. And, I did standup comedy a few times.” A long time fixture around our local music scene, Myers (son of Lucky Tiger & Tiger’s Den owners Brian Myers and Amy Heath) has seen bands come and go, fads ebb and flow, seeing musicians grow strong in their music while others dried up and fading away.
Not only will Saturday November 11 see the public unveiling of The Dude on the storied stage of The Rendezvous, it will also see the return from a hiatus on Venus of one of our city’s most legendary bands, The Ramey Memo. Over two albums (300 Voices at the King Hill Pub and Forget It), the trio crafted songs that have left a mark on St. Joe and on all of us that saw them in the glory days of a packed Vous on an autumn Saturday night.
The Ramey Memo (Tyson Bottoroff, Raye Lynn, Garner Quillon) spent much of the early 2000s crafting songs that are equal parts Weird Al, REM, Nirvana and The Pixies. They raged against “Goddamn Kids,” wished for a “Tom Cruise on The Billy Ocean,” kicked out the best cover of The Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz” this side of Nirvana and penned a little ditty about being a good Jedi.
The Ramey Memo, while addressing themes of a less than serious nature on nearly every occasion, they are a band of topnotch musicians. Quillon’s drum work is steady without being too perfect (a punk rock plus) and Raye is a talented multi-instrumentalist that holds the bassline down with heavy shades of Kim Deal. Tyson Bottoroff is not a man that takes himself seriously but his approach to the guitar makes him one of the scene’s best guitarists. While The Ramey Memo may not be technically “perfect” in the music theory sense, what they bring to the table makes up for it in power and furious determination.
I, for one, am happy to see The Ramey Memo back…. I hope they stay awhile. And as for The Dude, I’m anxious to see what he has to say and in what way he chooses to say it.
Dr. 47 Presents: The Ramey Memo w/ The Dude
Saturday Nov. 11, 2017 @ The Rendezvous (619 Felix, St. Joseph, MO)
10 pm… 21+… $5