Taboo of Black Eyed Peas Rejects Super Bowl Hate, Says He's OK With Role in Group
By Nicki Gostin Posted Feb 9th 2011 09:04PM
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off his halftime performance at the Super Bowl, Black Eyed Peas member Taboo spoke to PopEater about the controversial show and also about his memoir called 'Fallin' Up,' which details his beginnings in east LA and his rise to superstardom. Amazingly, Taboo's troubles really began as the band became an international success. You guessed it, the usual 'Behind the Music' stuff, lots of drugs and alcohol and the birth of a son when he was just 18. He's been clean and sober for more than three years.
In our chat, Taboo (born Jaime Luis Gómez) brushes off criticism of BEP's much-derided set in Dallas and swears that he's comfortable being a side player in the group. He also opens up about the onslaught of misfortune that nearly sunk him just as the Black Eyed Peas were making it big.
You must be so buzzed right now!
Oh, I am so high off life and everything that has happened in the last 48 hours. It's so amazing how much energy the Super Bowl and the book and everything that has happened right now, I'm blessed. I know that my grandmother is shining down on me right now, and she would be so proud.
The thing about it is there were 100 million viewers. If you get 60 million people who didn't like it and you get 40 million that did like the show, that's a pretty cool thing because you can't please everybody. Everybody who is a critic is going to criticize and annihilate everything you do even if it's a good thing. They just want to bring it down.
The proof is in the pudding, everywhere I'm going, walking in the streets, going through airports, everybody's like, "Great show, we love you." So as many people who are blogging about how disappointed they were, there's a lot of people in the streets who really loved the show.
A lot of people complained about the sound mix.
Yes, there was some trouble. There were technical problems that we had no control over. We had to keep it professional, the show must go on.
People say they have sh**ty jobs, but you really did.
I had the sh**tiest job on earth. During the day I would be part of this thing at Disney called the Electric Parade, and we would be wearing vests that lit up, and we would have to pretend we were part of the parade, and we would be carrying these buckets and picking up the s**t from the Clydesdale horses in the parade. And at night I was performing in the Black Eyed Peas.
It was part of my routine. It was whatever I had to do to take care of my son. I had a 9 to 5 job but was still chasing my dream because I wanted to be able to give my son the best future possible. It was just me and Josh, and thank God my mom helped me out. My main motivation was to take care of Josh.
Are you on your son's case to wear protection?
He knows, "Hey, I'm not trying to do what my dad did. I'm not going to fall into being a teen parent and messing up," because he's a musician as well. He's a DJ. Right now his goal is not girls; he's not into wanting to be in a relationship. He wants to travel and make music. I support that.
You quit without going to rehab.
I credit my son and my now wife for being there for me every step of the way because Josh could have easily been like, "I can't be with my Dad, he's out of it," and my fiancée who is now my wife, she could have been, "You know what I'm not putting up with this s**t, I'm out of here." I wanted to change for them; I needed to change for myself. I remember calling my business manager and saying I need help. I got into this thing called Promeda which took away the cravings. It was just three sessions. I also became more spiritual, started really respecting myself and respecting my blessings. After that I just stayed on this path, and I'm able to speak about it. When I wrote the book, it was therapeutic for me.
What was your rock-bottom moment?
March 27, 2007, was the epiphany. I got arrested at 7 in the morning for driving under the influence. I was so out of it. I'd taken Xanax, ecstasy and done a line of coke. I drove my son to school; luckily, I had dropped him off. I drove off, and I got into an accident. I hit somebody from behind, and six cop cars swooped on me, and I thought I was getting punked on MTV. It seemed so fake, and I was so out of it. The cops came up and looked at my eyes, and they seen that I was kind of out of it. And I was like, "Yo I'm in Black Eyed Peas," and they were like, "We don't care who you are, you're going to jail like everybody else."
Thank God you were arrested.
It was the best thing. Once I sobered up in that dirty, grungy hellhole, I felt like, "Oh my God, this is going to be my life if I continue this lifestyle." The disgust and the hurt and the disappointment I felt in myself and thinking, "What is my family going to think of me, what are my band mates going to think of me and what are the fans going to think of me? I'm letting all these people down because of my destructive behavior. I don't want to let nobody down. Let's change it up. Let's find a different path."
Did you write this book mainly to let people know you're actually not Asian?
(Laughs) Yeah, I let people know I'm a Mexican-American from east LA, and I'm Shoshone Native American, and I represent my Latino culture to the fullest. Everybody always mistakes me for Filipino or Japanese.
I'm also letting people know me as an individual and showing my vulnerable side and that I'm actually a funny dude. I'm not a scary guy with long hair that's a ninja, that's beating up people on stage. There's a perception: Oh, that's the ninja guy, the kung fu guy. All that stuff was me putting up a front because I was high or drunk. I had to pretend I had a hard shell.
Ever feel like grabbing the mic away from Fergie?
No, Black Eyed Peas is a unit of all-stars. We all have our individual parts, whether it's a small part or it's a whole huge part. The fact is we support each other every way, and if my niche is writing a book or designing shoes or doing a solo album, they're very supportive. I think the company I'm in, I don't mind not being the center focus of the Black Eyed Peas. I'm part of a championship team. I don't need to score every time.
What's the future for the band?
We're going to continue growing the Black Eyed Peas legacy. If you look at bands like U2 and the Rolling Stones as prime examples of friends who have stuck together through thick and thin.
What's going on with your solo album?
Right now we have a Black Eyed Peas album and single. I'm working with my good friend Juanes. We just did a song together. Right now there's no set time, hopefully when Black Eyed Peas slows down a little bit, but right now it's full steam ahead.
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