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...it's booming. It rocks, it bustles, it's a hell-hole and it's paradise

Spinner

Chuck Prophet Faced Swine Flu Fears in Mexico City

Music is universal, we know that much. But when Chuck Prophet rolled up his sleeves for his newest album, `Let Freedom Ring!,' he decided to travel outside of America and cut the tracks in Mexico City. A few days into the process, swine flu started to spread—both as a virus and as a media hot topic—with Mexico City at the epicenter.

"I should say that Mexico City is an ancient and ailing metropolis, but at the same time it's booming. It rocks, it bustles, it's a hell-hole and it's paradise," Prophet tells Spinner. "Yes, it's also the capital of the second or third world, our own urban future—almost sci-fi. It's not the place you want to be when the black plague comes down."

Neither Prophet nor anyone in his band or crew caught the illness but they did seem to be afflicted, at points, by another viral scare—hype. "If you turn up the heat on the hype high enough, everyone starts feeling a little off," says Prophet. "You can't help but to take your own pulse every 10 minutes."

That kind of nervous energy can fuel an entire album. So with co-producer Greg Leisz (Wilco, John Fogerty) behind the knobs, Prophet braved exposure to H1N1 for the sake of art. "The amazing thing about Mexico City is that beyond the bustle, the grime and the chaos, everything gets done," he says. "There are commuter train lines that bring half a million people in and out of the city every day. Think about it. So I think ultimately that all the extraneous BS we went through just to get to the studio everyday and to get a take when the power didn't go out brought us all together and made a band out of us."

That may be so, but Yep Roc Records will still release `Let Freedom Ring!' as a Chuck Prophet solo album when it drops on Oct. 27.

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by Benjy Eisen on October 7, 2009 COMMENTS • Filed under Interviews (¡Let Freedom Ring!)