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Oakland group Flipsyde's stock has been rising quickly since its song "Someday" was chosen as the theme song to the Winter Olympics. Now the hip-hop/rock hybrid is embarking on its first national U.S. tour - The Honda Civic Tour with Black Eyed Peas and Pussycat Dolls, which kicks off March 23 at Fresno's Save Mart Center.
Flipsyde's DJ D-Sharp, MC Piper, singer/guitarist Steve Knight, and guitarist Dave Lopez spent last weekend in the studio with DJ Quik, and recently performed at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. The group has also appeared on "Soul Train," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight Show."
Famous spoke to Knight a couple of days before the tour launch.
FRESNO FAMOUS: How's it going?
STEVE KNIGHT: Oh, it's going good, I'm sittin' in the sun, so yeah, I feel good.
FF: This is your biggest tour so far, right?
SK: Nah, not really. Last February we opened up for Snoop Dogg in Europe; we were playing Amsterdam and, like, in France we did 18,000 two nights in a row, sold out. We did the Isle Of MTV; that was like 100,000. So it's not like the biggest thing we've done; it's the biggest thing we've done in the States for sure though.
FF: How'd you get hooked up with it?
SK: We were on tour with the Black Eyed Peas in Europe right before Christmas. And we were just having fun and, you know, we're just keepin' the good times rollin' in America. Will (BEP vocalist will.i.am) and everybody has been so cool to us, man. They brought us on the road, you know, we got up on the stage and jammed and rocked with them and, you know, I was singing old Sublime songs to Fergie, and we're just kicking it, getting to know each other.
We did a tour last July in Europe and then we did another tour with them in December so we've already done two tours with them. We've been to pretty much every country in Europe with the Peas so we've gotten to know them pretty well. ... We're gonna go smash on America now.
FF: What was it like having your song chosen as an Olympics theme?
SK: It just opened up doors in America, as far as for the media and radio to start listening to us. You know, we've had a top 10 hit in Germany now for seven weeks and sold like 150,000 singles. European radio, they'll play, you know, the new Trick Trick album or the new Busta Rhymes album and then right after that they'll play a Kelly Clarkson track or a Madonna track. The radio format over there is way easy - I mean, not easy, you gotta have a good song. But we had more pull, so that's why we've been in Europe for eight months.
So, "Someday" being chosen for the Winter Olympics was an honor in itself but it also opened up doors so the program director or Clear Channel people will open up and maybe play some crossover shit - a white dude singing and a black guy rapping.
That's been our biggest struggle in America - there's really no format to play our band. The rap stations don't want to play a white dude singing with acoustic guitars and the alternative rock stations really aren't feelin' an MC - I mean, there's a few, Eminem will do it or the top rappers - but "Someday" brought us more radio play. There were, like, 3,000 freakin' songs submitted to NBC and they picked "Someday," so I felt like we're doing something right to get that honor.
FF: So have you guys been down to Fresno before?
SK: Yeah, we did, I think we were in Fresno and we did, like, a mall show in front of 20 people, dude. (laughs)
FF: Oh, really, was that a while back?
SK: I don't even know when it was, man. It was like in the summer, between tours ... It may have been Bakersfield though. We've played up and down the coast of California before - I'm talkin' like small gigs, by ourselves.
But I'm tellin' you, dude, Fresno, we're gonna rock that shit. Get there early. Are you gonna come see our show?
FF: Um, I don't have tickets ...
SK: Dude, come out, man. Are you into the Black Eyed Peas, do you like 'em, or are you like whatever?
FF: I'm not so into them, I don't know.
SK: What are you into, what kind of music?
FF: A lot of stuff, I don't know, they're kind of like, radio-oriented, you know?
SK: So you're into, like, what, you like hip-hop?
FF: Yeah, as far as hip-hop goes, like Ghostface, uh ...
SK: We just did a track with DJ Quik last night. Fuckin' bangin', dude. Our first producer was whatever 'cause we worked with this drummer from Smashmouth but now that we're with the Interscope family we're about to be working with some real hip-hop producers. Did you listen to the new Damian Marley record?
FF: Yeah, yeah, I have that one.
SK: Dude, "Welcome To Jamrock," that's one of the dopest tracks this year, don't you think?
FF: Yeah, oh, definitely, definitely.
SK: Fuckin' "Road To Zion" - (singing) Got to keep on walkin'! On the road to Zion!
Dude, that album is sick. We opened up for him at the Winter X Games in Aspen. And we're kickin it with Damian, and smokin' ... That was like the biggest moment of my life.
FF: That's awesome.
SK: Yeah, dude, it was heavy.