Grammatical Rules

“You’re a douchebag, that’s the only explanation/ for the same mistakes that you keep on making.”

“Think of it as a public service announcement,” says Casbah bartender Ben Johnson, aka rapper Grammatical B, of “Rules and Laws,” the comedic song and video he created with Michael Pereira (Microphone Mike). “Shot at the Casbah, it’s me speaking — or yelling — at all those obnoxious people who just don’t get the art of ordering a drink.”

“Wait your turn, we know where you are/ that’s why the hell we’re on this side of the bar.”

“This is my first foray into rap, after doing heavy rock and punk for the last 20 years,” says the Golden Hill resident, also known for singing and playing with Hostile Comb-over, the Long and Short of It, and others. “Rules and Laws” appears on the debut Grammatical B CD The Birthinating.

“It ain’t like you see on TV/ we ain’t friends and I ain’t doing therapy. Once you get stupid, you’re out the door/ we got a goon squad, that’s what we’re paying ’em for.”

Despite the common perception that hip-hop events can be dangerous, Johnson says, “So far, it’s been a lot safer [than rock and roll].... I’ve been injured countless times on stage. My old band Tourettes Lautrec used to end each show with the guitarist flying into me behind the drums.” The same group played what he recalls as his “worst gig ever, New York City in 1999. I was too drunk to play and embarrassed the shit out of myself in front of 500 people. That was not incredible.”

He says neither rock nor rap has ever paid well enough to quit bartending. “I’ve had zero cents and owed people money probably a hundred times in my life. In fact, if someone is reading this and I owe you money, I’m sorry, but I’m still pretty thin over here. Someday, though, I promise.”

Grammatical B will lay down his “Rules and Laws” when he appears May 6 at the Whistle Stop.

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