20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | Features: They Call Him ToTs Pt. 2


familiar thoughts about life and relation­ships, sexual innuendos, political statements and pop culture references.

ToTs has two albums under his belt. His second, The Coup de Tots, was released in 2008 and he is preparing to release the third, Au No You Didn’t, this year. ToTs’ “tuber tunes” incorporate eclectic, fun, catchy beats inspired by all kinds of music, from the old­ies to rock, and especially hip-hop.

John Heagerty, his father, remembers the musical influence he was on ToTs during his childhood. “I always listened to the oldies radio station when he was younger until he knew the words to all the songs,” he says. Tracks like “Cheese Potaydahs” imitates Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” and “96 ToTs” samples Question Mark and The Mysterians’ “96 Tears.”

But the music he hopes to emulate is hip-hop. His biggest influences include A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5 and Gorillaz.

“It’s like an unquenchable thirst,” ToTs says about a hardcore hip-hop fan’s loyalty to the genre. A real Jay-Z fan, he says, doesn’t just know the hits. A real Jay-Z fan knows every single song, every mix and ev­ery demo. “That kind of intensity is the way I’ve always felt about this style of hip-hop that I try to pay homage to.”

And though rock has always played a small role in his music (his former producer was part of rock ’n’ roll band Long Since Forgotten), he explores the “Run DMC-Aerosmith rap-rock fusion” further on Au No You Didn’t. Which means traces of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, two other bands he loves, will be heard on the new album as well.

All his music – making boils down to one thing – being able to perform it in front of a live audience. He loves challenging whatever preconceived notions people come to the show with. Sometimes changing people’s minds involves rapping in his potato suit, a Frylock (Yes, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force character) french-fry-box-shaped costume he purchased one day at Spencer’s for 30 bucks. But mainly it’s performing with a confidence he thinks is inherent to any rapper – a confi­dence he carries with him throughout every day life. “ToTs is more a part of me than I’d like to admit,” he says. If he doesn’t believe his music is worthwhile who will? So he tries to emit positive energy with each perfor­mance



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