|Image: Baltimore Sun|
Last week we brought you our interview with YMISB member "Revenge of the Black Prius." Of course within seconds of setting that up we thought, "Man, we should see if we can track down the first guy and see if he'll talk to us." What we didn't know at first was that the creator of the original WFPL video is also a YMISB member. David "DJ Dave" Wittman joined YMISB back in the early days and we were happy to have a chance to catch up with him.
Your Mom is so Berkeley: For starters, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, were you went to school, what you've been doing since you left Berkeley and a little about Fog and Smog?
David Wittman: Okay. I went to UCLA and studied economics, but always played music. I've played music with Sam Dorman who went to BHS, back about 10 years ago, and our families/moms are both from Berkeley and I'm marrying a girl from Berkeley, too. Rebecca.
YMISB: When you were in Berkeley what music projects were you involved with (BHS jazz ensemble, Bay Are Wind Symphony, Souls of Mischief, etc)
DW: BHS Jazz was a big part of my life, Charles Hamilton etc. I also made some friends in the Bay Area Wind Symphony on trips to both Japan and Australia in the early '90s. I think I did a show with "mystic journeymen" back before they were really formed, but I'm not sure. Love Heiro, but have never been affiliated directly. My other music projects (commercial/film work) are mostly on davidwittman.com.
YMISB: What are your favorite spots in Berkeley? Where do you have to go when you visit?
DW: I love Cancun Taqueria. I used to go there back when it was on the OTHER side of the street!!! (Like, '90ish).
YMISB: Can you tell us about your parents? What's your mom like, does she fit the YMISB vibe?
DW: My mom and dad still live in North Berkeley, my mom is the greatest Berkeley mom!!!! She's not really in that category I see on your group so much, although she has rocked Birkenstocks at various points. But she's not like, big on Subaru Outbacks or other stylistically hippie stuff. You can catch her stopping to smell flowers on her way up to the French Hotel to get an extra foamy latte from Angel and being an active member of many communities!!! She's a pillar of the community I do believe and is the greatest Berkeley mom!!! Just dunno if she hits all the "touch points" you guys have, but hey, I think she defines her own category. Oh, and she hates attention...eek! Anyway...
YMISB: Yeah. I hope this doesn’t get you in trouble with mom. I think your description of her highlights an important point, that there’s a lot of ways to be a Berkeley mom. I don’t think any one mom out there really possess all the qualities or quirks we talk about on YMISB but even having just one or two helps people identify with that “Berkeley mom” thing.
OK, back to you. You graduated from BHS in 1992. Were you ever shot down by self proclaimed “drama geek” Rebecca Romijn?
Rebecca R., no. Never shot down, didn't know her, but my sister I think was friends with her sister or something? And I guess she (Rebecca) did date a guy I played in some band in the mid-90's with named Zack...but I don't remember any details. I am going to marry
a girl named Rebecca from BHS however, in November...but she's shy so I'll leave her last name out!
YMISB: Right on. Congratulations on the marriage. It looks like Fog & Smog was put together for the Whole Foods video, is that the case or was it already in the works and this just happened to be the first project?
DW: Fog & Smog as far as the name/website was created around the production and release of the WFPL vid but the group of friends existed before that so, it's sort of hard to say exactly. More like it solidified around that? Yeah.
YMISB: Do you plan on doing more work as Fog & Smog? What can we look forward to?
DW: The follow up. Well, yeah...got a bunch of different material, just trying to feel out the best way to move through the next couple projects.
YMISB: Most musicians I know are doing three or four things at the same time. Advertising and movies keep you in kambucha and Whole Foods made you a YouTube sensation, what else you got going on?
DW: Yes you're right, for me, different irons in the fire. Steady commercial work, may do the score for a new documentary, have done a few movies of the past 2 years...working on more stuff for myself and Fog and Smog, fielding weird offers like casting agents calling from various networks, etc. And of course planning the wedding in November. Actually coming to the bay pretty soon for a visit!
YMISB: What’s up with the offers? You know every knucklehead with a video camera wants to become a hit on YouTube in the hopes of being “discovered.” On the other hand you actually have a pedigree and talent and now that you got the exposure what kinds of offers are you getting?
DW: Yeah, I have thought about that in terms of like, this isn't just some random YouTube vid with somebody tickling a cat. There's part of me that just wants to do more creative fun stuff, another part that's interested in production opportunities for the crew, another part that's excited to be contacted by casting people! Random. I just say, keep the feet moving, keep doing creative work.
YMISB: There was a response video to “Whole Foods Parking Lot” called “Revenge of the Black Prius,” have you seen it? What did you think? Is it flattering to have someone feel inspired to make a response or do you think it’s biting? Do you know Delia Brown at all?
DW: Yes, did see Black Prius. Thought it was okay, def. flattering. Funny that she put old guys in our shot...but then, she's kinda old, so that was weird. I'd give it a B-. Sort of a diss, but also an homage, like, her own version. I'd like to see either a totally different take on it, (own version) or a FULL DISS, like, getting AFTER us. She was sweet. Wrote me on FB, all that. Nice person. We have a mutual friend from Berkeley actually. But I told her you gotta go harder with your disses, and sent her a history of great rap battles to study. :)
YMISB: What’s it like dealing with the kind of notoriety that comes with being internet famous? Do you get recognized at Whole Foods now?
DW: Not as much recognition at WF as you'd think. I think I'd need to wear the clippers hat! But recently I had a really nice check out with some guys who recognized me and were super cool. It's fun, cuz it's where I'm at all the time anyway. So it's like, very honest and feels homegrown. I wanna do a duet with that guy LaeCharles.
(YMISB: Oh hey kids, here it is.)
YMISB: Yeah, what’s up with the Clippers cap? Wasn’t growing up with the Warriors bad enough?
DW: Haha...well, as for the Clippers, hey...you gotta go with a familiar feeling, right?
YMISB: For sure. Right on, well it’s been great chatting with you, it’s always great to see Berkeley, and especially Berkeley High, people doing well. Thanks for taking the time.
DW: Thanks so much for your interest! And thanks for your kind words about the video.
David posted a couple times way back a couple years ago. Here’s what he had to say about you mom:
Your mom is so Berkeley…
…that she still calls "Fatapples" "Fat Alberts."
…she stops and smells flowers sometimes when we walk up Rose street on our way to get an extra foamy Latte from Angel at the French Hotel.
And just in case you haven’t seen it yet here’s the Whole Foods Parking Lot video that inspired a nation:
PS Dave: Your mom is so Berkeley…she stopped Delroy Lindo’s assault in the WFPL with simple shaming.