Only Sage Francis, the always outspoken underground hero, would
set out on a nationwide tour under the “Fuck Clear
Channel” banner. As the winner of multiple freestyle
tournaments and poetry slams, Francis has developed a cult
following and furthered his case against the monopolistic media
conglomerate last year with the critically acclaimed Hope.
While on the final leg of his tour, and with a new album due out on
Epitaph this year, 2004 looks to be bright for Francis.

He describes his endeavor as being easier than he expected.
Clear Channel has won its fair share of enemies. “Almost
every single club, promoter and soundman has thanked me for doing
the tour.”

Politics aside, the show was a mix of spoken word, recent
material from Hope, some older material and some brand new
material. Admittedly, his band didn’t show up because it
broke up near the end of the tour, and he didn’t even
remember he had a show that night. But like a true soldier, he put
together a set that was entertaining and energetic, if a bit
scattershot in focus and execution.

With his stream of endless touring, it would seem fair to call
Francis something of a road rat. And while he agrees with the
designation, he sees it more as a necessary evil. “I am a
reluctant vagabond. I do what’s essential. It’s no
secret that the live performances boost the awareness of my music
and who I am. But what I love most about performing is probably
just saying ‘hi’ to everyone and slapping high
fives.”

Tired of secondhand smoke and road life, Francis recently
canceled his European tour to go in-studio to finish his latest
release on Epitaph. After completely switching style between the
introspective Personal Journals and the old school boom of
Hope, there is some wonder as to where Francis will direct
his style for this album.

“I’m leaning in a more surreal direction. I’m
almost compelled to fight it, and let my political side shine, but
the artist in me is at war. I can’t work with Joe Beats to
the degree of Non-Prophets stuff but he will probably be included.
The album is expected in the fall and it’s going to be called
27.”

Whatever the focus, Sage will continue to hold the ear of the
underground.

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