Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Ralph Darden, also known as DJ Major Taylor, who played in the bands Random Children, Franklin, AM/FM, Jai Alai Savant and more. While Ralph now lives in both Chicago and Los Angeles, he grew up in Philadelphia and spent much of his youth in the racially-mixed Mt. Airy neighborhood. In this long and frank interview, Ralph talks about the racial divide in Philadelphia, growing up in a world where he didn’t quite fit in with either while or black folks, discovering punk through BMX bikes (RAD!), playing in early bands and seeing shows in Philly, playing one of the greatest Philly punk shows of all time when Random Children played with Fugazi at Drexel, and much more. The discussion of race may be the most provocative parts of this wide-ranging conversation. Ralph talks about what it was like to have a song sung about him that called him “fucking disgusting” and how that made him feel as scores of people sang along to the lyrics yet never knew him personally. Ralph works with at-risk kids, DJs high-end parties and events, and may be engaging in a special project in Africa that is best explained by him in the interview. He also appears in the recent Afropunk documentary. For as long as this interview runs, the pace never flags as it rides on Ralph’s good humor, hilariously spot-on impersonations, and heartfelt and passionate insights. I trust listeners will find this to be one of the best interviews in the L!F!P! project. Plus: his mother pretty much invented voicemail.
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