The BCASA (Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America) – TMNT meets Wu-Tang
When The BCASA, (Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America), played 614 Gladstone a few weeks ago I had time to sit down and chat with Nick Raz their guitarist and half the vocal power in the band. We parked ourselves in a couch that people had been standing on to watch the band earlier that night. The basement had quieted down so we were able to have a quick 10-minute chat.
Raz kicked things off by talking about the response to the album, Fuck You Shredder that they dropped earlier this year. “At shows people are buying it,” said Raz. When it comes to store figures he’s less sure “I never check those figures. Once every three years or so I check up with the label and ask if we sold a couple and they are like ‘You sold like 20, over three years.’ We say ‘Wow that’s cool, where’s our money.’ Then they don’t give us anything,” said Raz.
They are known almost exclusively by their acronym, the BCASA because of legal trouble with Bill Cosby himself. Cosby’s people sent a letter to the band asking them not to use his name or likeness in promoting their music. “It was one of the greatest moments of our lives, getting contacted by a person who maybe knew or had met Bill Cosby,” Raz felt.
“It was close. We could feel Bill’s influence in the letter,” he added. The band still channels Cosby’s influence when it comes to their clothing. When I asked what inspiration he took from the man, Raz half-joking gestured toward the sweater he was wearing and said, “I will always rock a cool sweater.”
The BCASA’s latest album is a 14-song concept album written from the perspective of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which they have been lucky enough to avoid legal trouble with. Raz’s own childhood seemed populated by butt-kicking brothers. “As far as I can remember I was born obsessed with ninja turtles. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t watching their movies and surrounded by a bunch of TMNT toys.”
“I don’t remember the first toy I got but I remember the coolest. It was this pizza thrower, it was a tank with a seat for a ninja turtle. You could load up these mini plastic pizzas and shoot them out from the tank. I used to shoot my sister with it. It was fucking awesome,” Raz said.
Sibling torment and Saturday morning cartoons were not the only inspiration for the album, citing their shared love for the Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan. “Out of the 14 songs on that album eight of them have lyrics directly stolen from the Wu-Tang Clan.”
Raz’s favourite adopted line is “If you aint green then bring the ruckus/TMNT ain’t nothin’ to fuck wit” These lyrics represent the non-traditional and experimental places the band is willing to go. “We decided to approach that record in a hip-hop perspective. We wrote from the perspective of the turtles and how badass they are. Like ‘yo don’t fuck around we are the TMNT.’ It is a punk album but it is also a rap album,” said Raz.
Raz and the rest of the band is interested in the dynamic shifts that happen when punk gets smashed into other genres. This mash-up creates a new take on the tried and true formula of party punk. The BCASA are bringing their sounds and maybe even their action figures to Europe for the first time very soon. Raz asked me to leave readers with a message from him “I want to say hi to all the beautiful women in the world, especially my mom.”
Interview and words by Joe Ryan