By Rob Markman
There’s a slippery slope to climb when handling the posthumous legacy of fallen music icons, but when the organizers of the 2013 Rock the Bells music festival sought to holographically resurrect late Wu-Tang MC Ol Dirty Bastard and N.W.A.’s Eazy-E on their festival stage they consulted those closest to the rappers.
“On behalf of bone thugs n harmony we can’t wait to hit the stage this year for rock the bells with our mentor and the person who started gangsta rap and put us on in the industry to do what we love!” Bone Thugs’ manager Steve Lobel said in a statement to RapFix. “It is going to feel awesome being on stage with eazy-e performing again with him!”
Eazy’s widow Tomica Wright and ODB’s mother, Cherry Jones are also both on board. “This is the perfect setting because it’s nostalgic – it’s bringing back someone that’s opened doors, both ODB and Eazy-E,” Wright told RollingStone on Wednesday (May 15). “It has to be the right place in the right form.”
A holographic depiction of Eazy is slated to be used when his protégés Bone Thugs-N-Harmony take the stage at the traveling Rock the Bells festival. Similarly Wu-Tang will take the stage with an ODB hologram. “This keeps the artists alive. Dirty was a great artist onstage. This is going to be something else, because he was really great onstage,” Jones said of her son. “I just want to see the look on his sister and brother’s face, his children, grandchildren . . . I can’t wait.”
The first of the Rock the Bells shows will take place at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California, on September 7-8 and then on September 7-8, Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, on September 14-15, Festival Grounds @ RFK in Washington, D.C., on September 28-29 and Meadowlands Racetrack in Rutherford, New Jersey, on October 4-5.
The way Tomica Wright sees it the RTB festival is the perfect place to pull off a stunt like this. Guerilla Union and its CEO Chang Weisberg will celebrate 10 years of Rock the Bells this year, adding to the appeal for Wright to give them the green light. “Looking at the professionalism of Chang’s team and how long they sustained and they continue to carry the integrity of this music, the integrity of the artists and keep it moving and viable in a safe atmosphere – it’s going to be a great experience,” she said. “The Coachella crowd, their attachment is awe, but this crowd, we are a product of that environment – we follow it, it’s our life, it’s our lifestyle, and we carry it on day in and day out. To be a part of that experience, it’s motivating. It gives you more dreams and aspirations to carry it on further, so this is a stepping stone to the next level.”