Music

A Bunch of Dead People Buried in the Backyard

He only ever plays his own music, and he writes songs with the intention of each line being “that one line in the song that you always listen for”.

Story by Teo J. Babini- teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Icarus Blake and Teo.J.Babini Video by CBK

The first time I saw Ruben perform, during Art Pussy: Born Into This, he was shirtless on stage diggin’ into the drums, tattooed and making maniac facial expressions. It was an improvisational duet between him and loopy guitarist Jon Miz. I had a case of déjà vu at Motherly Love, except that DJ T*O*N*Y added a little scratch action. But, it would be some time before we actually hung out.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

I started hearing more and more about this guy… His band Afuche, the Apples and Oranges podcast, and that he was a beast on the blacktop. I even started seeing him around with my boys at bars in Brooklyn. So Thanksgiving blew in with the cold air, and I moseyed over to Ol’ Smoke’s pad for some food, booze, and enlightened conversation, and there was Ruben. We cut it up about controversial Cuban politics, croquettas, and the Miami of old.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Eventually, Cara Bella showed up and we decided it was a good idea to kick around the ol’ pig skin. With tattoos healing on both legs, I’d play universal quarter back while they switched off running routes and coverage. I got my first nip of his mad enthusiasm when he took a tumble to the street real hard, bounced up, and made the catch anyway.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

About a month later it was Christmas, as you all know, and I found myself in the same environs with the same folk playing an impassioned game of trivial pursuit. Ruben and myself lost a little money to Smoke an’ Mo, but the enthusiasm was there none the less. I remember falling asleep to Fela Kuti documentary on his couch that very night while he told me about how he wanted to work fewer days to make more time for music. The man writes songs in his van on his way to work, ‘cause a fruitless hour on the mic makes him miserable.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

You see, that’s the thing about Ruben, no matter what he’s doin’, he does it with the same wild dedication. So, no matter if he’s in your band, on your team, a member of your cast, spinning vinyls at your party, or throwing one of his own (Ex. Mortal Combat Birthday Bash), you can always count on him to pull twice his weight. He’s the type of guy who brings you a gift, just for having him over to hang.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Now, imagine all that unbridled energy in a solo project. He only ever plays his own music, and he writes songs with the intention of each line being “that one line in the song that you always listen for”. Maybe he’s over doing it. Shit, maybe he’s just a complete fuckin’ nut. But one thing is for sure; you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Teo J. Babini

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Citizen Brooklyn – Ruben’s Podcast for CBK by Citizenbrooklyn on Mixcloud

Photo ©Icarus Blake

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