Hung Like a Genius
Roger Nusic's Wild, Wacky, One-Man World
When in the course of human events, over the long span of a man's life, one encounters a million liars and a thousand would-be poets, but only two or three geniuses.
Roger Nusic is a musical genius. And he's hung like an elephant. Who could ask for anything more?
I could count on one hand the number of modern musicians whom I respect. Roger Nusic is a proud little finger on that hand. Wearing his gold cape over his shoulders and styling his black hair in a Prince Valiant 'do, he has brought joy…and love…and a HUGE package…to the Portland music scene since the early 1990s.
Most geniuses aren't sexy. Not like Roger's sexy. Like all sexy men, Nusic exudes a thick, ashy cloud of mystery. It's hard to find reliable information about him. Some say he's in his fifties; others say he isn't a day over thirty-five. Some say he's never been laid; others say he's a mack daddy diggity-dong supah-dupa freak. Some say he's cold, obsessive, and controlling. Others say he's warm and generous. I don't listen to the rumors. I don't pay any mind to the scuttlebutt.
He is the only modern musician who matters. Plain and simple. And the huge package doesn't hurt, either.
GENIUS IS NEVER MORE ENJOYABLE than when it's stumbled upon accidentally, and that's how I found Roger Nusic. It was during a magazine deadline, and I ran downstairs into a Portland club called Dante's. For reasons that have much more to do with a generally barren musical landscape than any defects with the club (besides certain bartenders), a million shitty bands have played at Dante's. That's an actual, verifiable fact—over one million shitty bands have played at Dante's.
But I hadn't entered the club with the intention of beholding a performer of astronomical talents. Frankly, I wanted a slice of pizza and a Red Bull.
But as I walked in, there was this little man in a gold cape, happy as a Mississippi mud bird, singing and playing guitar and flipping his hair around in front of a delighted couple sitting at a table. I looked around. Everyone in the club was laughing and smiling. I started smiling, too, as I beheld this odd little Bird Child of Ceylon, this middle-aged Mowgli, this Mayan fertility god as he pounded out his guitar-driven space music. I didn't stop smiling until well after the show was over. I knew I was watching something that would forever change me, even if I didn't want to be changed.
I was so enraptured by Nusic's fearsome talents, so eager to spread his gospel, that I ran upstairs and urged a coworker who called himself “Darkstar” to come downstairs and witness what would undoubtedly be one of the finest musical performances his Hillsboro-raised eyes had ever seen. He initially balked.
I returned five minutes later, after five more minutes of bathing in the golden, caramelly goodness of transcendental Nusic music, and INSISTED that Darkstar come and witness this musical titan, the type of titan that comes across once in a lifetime… or once in a blue moon, whichever's longer.
Within fifteen seconds of beholding Nusic in the flesh, watching him pound out a jiggly guitar solo while wagging his head, cavorting through the audience, and spewing out a Niagara Falls' worth of rhymes, Darkstar agreed that Roger Nusic was an entertainer of rare talent and range.
“He was breathtaking,” Darkstar said breathlessly after the show. “It was an exquisite performance from a tremendous artist. It was overwhelming. I never knew when he was going to come right up to me and play a solo right in my face. He's a master tunesman and an accomplished craftsman. He's nice—so nice, I'll say it twice.”
ROGER'S WEBSITE, ROGERNUSIC.COM, describes his first CD, Hello Lovers, Roger Nusic Here For You Only, as “Alternative Rock 2 Keep U Rockin' Dancin' & Ravin'.” I haven't heard the album, so I can't verify whether or not this is true. It allegedly features songs such as “Electric Boy,” “Can I Come in and See You,” and “We are the Lost Children.”
Roger claims that shortly after recording Hello Lovers, he grew disenchanted with what passed for “alternative music” and sought to provide "a refreshing alternative 2 the alternative.”
His next CD, L L L L L (Lovers Loving Lovers Loving Love) showcased a new style Roger calls “Rap, Hip Hop with violin solos.” (He claims the only radio station he listens to is Jammin' 95, a channel which plays Urban Mating Songs almost exclusively.) L L L L L features a song about jail rape. A song about being a girl and then turning into a boy. A song about drug addiction. A song about how Roger loves Jesus. And the hypnotic title track, which Roger spices up during live shows with a sultry belly dance, the only male belly dance I've ever witnessed.
ROGER NUSIC, LIKE RECLUSIVE MINNEAPOLIS MUSICAL NUTJOB PRINCE, is short. Like Prince, Roger uses annoying abbreviations for words just 2 let U know what he stands 4. Like Prince, Roger sings about sex but is constantly thanking God. But the same things I don't like about Prince, I like about Roger Nusic. “Purr Blue” is a better song than “Purple Rain.” Nusic plays a meaner guitar than Prince. He is naturally more weird and psychedelic than the self-consciously outré Prince. And I'm sure his nuts hang lower. I've seen the pictures.
A better pop-culture reference would be Lorenzo S. DuBois (L.S.D.), the groovy hippie who played Hitler in Mel Brooks's The Producers (1968), easily the most perfect cinematic comedy ever. Roger Nusic radiates the same mix of understated menace and goodhearted beatnik bliss embodied in the L.S.D. character played by Dick Shawn, who later died onstage during a standup routine.
Not that I'm saying Roger Nusic is anything like Hitler or that he's going to die onstage. I'm not saying that at all.
HE ARRIVES FOR THE INTERVIEW fifteen minutes early. He is a small man, with the vaguely chimpanzee-like visage of a South American aborigine. He seems guarded, not nearly as open and happy as he does onstage. But he remains ever-so-sexy. You can almost smell the sensuality as if floats off his diminutive frame like a fine seasoned curry.
I sit respectfully on the carpet like a young Hindu gazing adoringly up at my yogi. With his gentle brown bony hands folded thoughtfully on his lap, musical wizard Roger Nusic sits on a chair in the back room of the office and expounds on his philosophy and career.
“The measure of a man is what hangs between his legs,” he says, waving his hand toward his legendary package.
As we talk, I sense a good man, a kind man, a caring man, a spiritual man. He is a gentle man, but yet, I sense he's a stern man, too. A man composed of entirely different yam fibers than I am.
Although he seemed extremely wary about giving me his lyrics, Roger told me that his primary message is one of love. He doesn't sing about hate. He has hate in him, he's felt hate, but why give it the power? His music is all about love.
Some people live in an entirely different universe than mine. One of those people is Roger Nusic. He lives in Tualatin, Oregon.
Those who would mock him are those who have no appreciation for genius and beauty. I feel protective of Roger Nusic and am even willing to resort to physical violence to preserve his honor.
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Fun Facts 'bout Roger Nusic
• “Nusic” isn't his real name. It's a contraction of “New Music .”
• He was born in England to a British father and a Sri Lankan mother.
• He once opened for Nirvana.
• He's a computer genius and was instrumental in saving us all from the Y2K bug.
• For some reason, he's huge in Idaho.
• He is a featured performer in the movie X-Ray Visions.
• He once told a reporter that he likes pockets “Because you can put things in them.”
• He has a reputation as a very bad driver.
• He claims he wears a gold cape onstage because “I had a lot of hip movement and wanted a fabric that would accentuate my hip movement because I didn't have a spotlight to accentuate my hip movement.”
• He stopped performing religious music “because I wanted to get a broader audience.”
• His first two CD releases feature the word “Lovers” in the title: Hello Lovers Roger Nusic Here For You Only (1993) and L L L L L [Lovers Loving Lovers Loving Love] (1997).
• Before he went solo, his backup bands had names such as the Vague Sunshine Orchestra and the Conceptual Balls .