Grandmaster Flash: My life in travel

'In Atlanta, I take off my Grandmaster Flash cape and become Joseph Saddler'

Grandmaster Flash releases "The Grandmaster Flash Collection" on 18 August through Sony Music (grandmasterflash.com).

First holiday memory?

Jamaica. There's this place in Ocho Rios called Dunn's River Falls. I'm not a swimmer, but I climbed up, a long way up, on these slippery rocks. There were maybe 30 of us, who had to hold hands and pull each other up this thing for about an hour. There were some areas where the falls were extremely fast. You didn't know where you were stepping and if you slipped on a rock ... boom! You went under. It was a pretty memorable occasion – it scared the life out of me.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

London. I've been coming for 20 years and I've found it pretty cultural, pretty cool. There's something on every corner, like New York.

Best holiday?

My holiday starts when I'm finished touring. My friends look at my job as if it's one big holiday, but it's hard work. My off-time is when I go to Atlanta, Georgia, and do nothing. I take off my Grandmaster Flash cape, put it in the closet and I put on Joseph Saddler. I like Atlanta because it's slow and I have a house out there. Most of the places where I play are really fast and I'm put into a situation where I have to entertain and make people crazy. So, once my flight touches down in Atlanta, I walk slower and sleep longer.

Grandmaster Flash Grandmaster Flash (Getty) What have you learnt from your travels?

There's no one song that's a hit around the world. It might be a hit in London, but I might play it in China and they could hate it. It was a huge lesson for me, that I had to really pay attention to. Now I do massive playlist changes almost every other day.

Ideal travelling companion?

My portable recording studio. If I didn't have that, I wouldn't tour. Back in the day, in the Seventies and Eighties, you had to carry around pianos and other instruments, but now these things come as applications that you install on a laptop, so I can work on tracks when I'm away. I also carry this little teeny, tiny piano, that I plug in to make piano sounds. When I pull it out on the plane, people go: "Aww, look at that little toy!" And I'm like: "No, this thing cost a lot of money, dude. This is not a toy!"

Holiday reading?

I'm into authors such as Deepak Chopra, Dr Wayne Dyer and Pema Chödrön. Chopra has this one book, The Seven Laws of Success, which gives you an idea how to approach and prepare for the things that you do, or don't, want in life. Dr Wayne Dyer is similar and Pema Chödrön is into accepting uncertainty. Sometimes we freak out because we don't know what's next. But why worry, when you can't do anything about it? It took me a long time to really understand that.

Best meal abroad?

I eat the same thing all the time: chicken, rice and vegetables. That's it. I'm blessed with some of the most incredible menus, but I don't move from that dish. I'm very particular about how I eat, so it's just chicken-rice-vegetables-London, chicken-rice-vegetables-Russia, chicken-rice-vegetables-Japan.

Where has seduced you?

A lot of things don't wow me because I've seen them so many times. I don't mean that in a negative way, just that it has become a part of my life. What might be considered amazing to some people is normal. It's just how I fly.

Worst travel experience?

In Latvia, marinated reindeer tongue was on the menu. That kind of freaked me out. The poor, defenceless reindeer, he didn't even see it coming. I didn't eat that thing. I wouldn't eat it.

Best hotel?

The Ritz-Carlton in Moscow. It's all marble and gold. Almost everywhere. It was really wonderful. Top-of-the-line service, the way this thing was built, everything was totally impeccable. I felt like I was in a palace. I was looking at this paint and asked a guy, "Is that gold?" and he was like, "Sure it is".

Favourite drive?

From New York to Boston. I do it whenever I can. I'm not really looking for anything – it just clears my head.

Favourite city?

To be my favourite, I'd have to have seen it and walked around, but I don't get that pleasure. I think the most satisfying places for me are the countries where they don't speak English. If I walk up to them and say "Hello, how are you doing?" they go "Huh!?". But if I get on the turntables and jam, they get me. If I can get them going, I'm really happy.

Where next?

Ibiza. I've played there quite a few times and liked it a lot. The people are pure party heads, they're the ultimate. If you're going to fly all the way there, you're getting with the DJ.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Restaurant Manager / Sommelier

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Seasonal Placement

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Hotel Receptionists...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn