Return of Flying Spiders

As you may have noticed, Flying Spiders was on creative sabbatical from late October through December 31, 2013. We reconvened on New Year’s Day with important conversations and made some major decisions…such as the unanimous vote to stay together, and the decision to learn and play all NEW material. We have since been writing and learning new songs.

It took me a long time to get used to being in a Spider room without Som. I kept looking at the door subconsciously wondering who was outside smoking a cigarette. Every time, I’d count heads and realize that we were missing no one, that this was the roomful of people we were now, and that we had to learn to “fill” our room (spiritually) to the degree that it felt before. It’s full now.

We have new songs to share. Please join us on May 16th at the Red Room for our Return of Flying Spiders show, with our esteemed guests/friends Real Life Rockaz, Smiles Davis and Paper Cutout Crew.


Saturday Oct. 12 show announcement, other updates

Flying Spiders are playing tomorrow (Saturday) October 12 at the Rocket Market at 726 E. 43rd, as part of an all-ages fundraiser show and silent auction for Som’s family. There will be beer and wine tasting, a silent auction, and 7 bands…Darin Hildebrand, Lyle Morse, Sidhe, Mark Ward, Kari Marguerite, Sam Endress, Flying Spiders. 4 p.m. is when everything starts and we’re on sometime after 7 p.m.

$5 gets you in on the beer and wine tasting. If you haven’t been to Rocket Market, we must have you know that there is an incredible wall of craft beers in addition to local and organic delicious awesomeness.

This event will be both indoors and outdoors, so please dress accordingly. Come hang out with us, enjoy some music, support a good cause, and stock up on your favorite things – 10 percent of sales will go to the Jordan family.

So…. We’ve been playing music lately. We’ve run into a lot of people who would ask us what happens next, or whether Spiders would keep playing (or at least I have been asked that question a lot). For weeks following Som’s departure, I didn’t have a good answer to that question. For a while, it was simply too early to talk about it, and I suspect a very scary topic for everybody. We would still discuss what we needed to do short-term, such as for an upcoming event, i.e. how we would go about performing at the fundraiser for Som’s birthday, but we didn’t really have “The talk” until this week. As in, “Where is this relationship going”. We opened up discussion on reallocating Som’s long-term duties, talked about moving forward, etc.

Som always talked about us being in constant evolution, describing us as a “polymorphic evolution” that is synesthetic and in the present tense – in which Flying Spiders exists as an independent and constantly evolving entity, in which we will always be Flying Spiders even if we have to be different. His departure pits us against the most radical identity crisis possible, a position of having to truly live up to that belief about our “polymorphic evolution”. We have to take that next step.

Yes, we’re going to continue playing music. Thank you for listening.


In gratitude to Som Jordan, hip hop prophet

It has been about a week and a half since the passing of our beloved emcee Isamu “Som” Jordan. This has been an indescribable loss of our dearest friend, mentor, and hip hop prophet. I am reminded that everyone is borrowed…Today we celebrated his life and, as Rev. Happy Watkins said, Som has gone home.

As a band, we are infinitely grateful for having shared nearly three full years of such profound creative experiences with Som.

He formed us into a team and assigned us new identities. Our stage names turned us into archetypes or became alter-egos, selves that are no less authentic than the skins in which we walk around every day. We’d bond at rehearsals, learn together and make grand plans that begin in his Gregg rule notebooks and manifest as extended play. Night would come, and we would plaster ourselves in red-black-white to bring music machines to ear-filled rooms. Finally, our human bodies move in the same cosmic dance. As our stage personas, we entertained hundreds of strangers together.

It never ceases to amaze me that I am living on a planet where music is possible, a habitable planet with sound waves and meaning.
(Andrew Holman photos taken at Someday Lounge in Portland, Ore., April 20, 2012)

Our band spent this past week grieving together. Our grief has been difficult to describe because the bond we share is a wordless, intimate power we experienced together as musicians. I realize that “wordless” and “intimate” might seem strange for describing a hip hop orchestra. Hip hop has words, and and we have not been a quiet, intimate experience. We pipe our giant noisemakers through speakers and subwoofers, blast the bejeezus out of your eardrums and make your heart swell. We have humans throwing lightning bolts and soundwaves into microphones. There’s nothing quiet and intimate about Flying Spiders, but we shared an unspoken magic onstage. In private, we are a close-knit family.

It’s hard for me to talk about Som in past tense. He’s still a tangible part of our music and has been part of my life for 7 years in multiple capacities… we were coworkers in journalism, collaborators in fiction, co-conspirators in hip hop, and friends for life. Sometimes I turn around and think I’ll see him standing there. Sometimes I’ll want to tell him something cool, grab my phone to speed-dial him and realize I can’t do that anymore.

Technology has transformed death. Appropriately, Som has essentially digitized himself into a TRON world. We have his music, voicemails, radio recordings, numerous beloved family photos, videos of Som rapping and dancing and slamming poetry at Empyrean, etc… It would be really easy to pretend that he exists in this digital dimension forever.

(Rajah Bose photo, taken at People w/ Instruments music festival in Carnation, Wash., Aug 25, 2013)

A lot of people have asked, “Did you know Som’s dark side?” In many ways, we did know his dark side, but in a theatrical way. He channeled his fears and personal storytelling into powerful lyrics and a sparkling stage persona.

Flying Spiders is not the same without the spectacular writing talent and stage presence of Isamu Jordan. We’re all musicians independently of him, but Flying Spiders stayed together because of his message – about community-building, peace, racial and economic equality, political consciousness… We’ve had discussions about how to handle upcoming shows. But what we haven’t talked about very much is the unspoken elephant – the direction in which this band relationship is going. He left us an elaborate road map, but this is still a scary topic and we have no good answers yet.

What we do know is that we’ve all been infused with a super-Som-power that isn’t going away anytime soon. He helped us grow as artists by challenging us to redo, rewrite, replay, and live up to the selves that he saw. He challenged us to greater commitment as people. He reminded us that love, words, and music could change the community… and from there, the world. His passing reminds us to love one another more. Thank you, Som. We love you and miss you every day.

The Queen Bee/Black Widow/Silent Assassin

Isamu Jordan and his wife have two wonderful boys for whom the family has set up an education fund accessible HERE. Please share and contribute if you can.

Beautiful words about Isamu Jordan: Shawn Vestal | Jess Walter | S-R

Upcoming show in Seattle area

Flying Spiders will be playing at the People With Instruments Festival (PWI Fest) on the Sunday of August 25, 2013. The festival goes on the whole weekend at Cook’s Farm in Carnation, Wash. For more information and tickets, please check out the festival announcement here, or the tickets information.


When the clock strikes…

20130419-110857.jpgposter by adam crowell