RZA

The Backbeat section of Westword’s June 12 edition is dominated by updates and details about the annual Westword Music Showcase, as well it should be. But strange as it might seem, there are other notable musical happenings taking place around town during the week, including a Saturday, June 14 performance at the Oriental Theater by Robert Diggs, better known as the RZA, the guiding light of the Wu-Tang Clan. (Click here and here for show details.) Rather than appearing in full RZA mode at the concert, he’ll don the guise of his solo alter ego, Bobby Digital, in advance of an upcoming release called Digi Snacks – but he doesn’t limit himself to this topic in the following (and fascinating) Q&A.

The RZA is a man of many interests, including a new website called WuChess.com – the subject of a June 9 National Public Radio report that features comments from the man himself, as well as testimony about his prowess at the game. In the conversation below, he begins by discussing his motivation for resurrecting the Bobby Digital character, detailing his evolution during the decade since the 1998 release Bobby Digital in Stereo, and offering thematic and sonic previews of the new album, which is tentatively scheduled to reach the marketplace in July. From there, he talks about the influence of Parliament’s George Clinton on his current performance style; his work on the soundtrack of Babylon A.D., a new Vin Diesel film due in a few months; his possible participation in a Kill Bill sequel that writer/director Quentin Tarantino may have in the works; his conception and execution of his first film score, for director Jim Jarmusch’s underrated 1999 martial-arts flick Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, starring Forest Whitaker; and several upcoming acting roles, which presented him with the opportunity to share screen time with the likes of Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Stiles and Jude Law. Afterwards, he sheds light on the controversy surrounding the arrival of 8 Diagrams, last year’s attempted Wu-Tang Clan comeback – specifically the criticism leveled at his production of the album by members of the group. The RZA names names and gets specific about his frustration over the Diagrams fallout – and while he emphasizes that he’s ready, willing and able to help his Wu brethren in the future, he also makes it clear how nice it was to cook up Bobby Digital without having to worry about sniping from the rest of the chefs.

Read the Q&A with RZA here.
Sat., June 14, 8 p.m., 2008

 
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