I was going to say I had a chance to “sit down” with Chase Freeman the other day, but in reality, he’s the kind of guy you have to “catch up” with.
When I first met Chase a few years back, ironically, he was sitting comfortably on Terminill’s sofa, discussing the release party for the then upcoming Cut Em or Pay Em album that Term and Young Sonny were putting out under the name of North’n Lights.* In all fairness though, it was barely 15 minutes before he was up on his feet, pacing, engaging, and talking with his hands. Since then, I’ve maybe seen him sit down 3 times. Simply put, Chase is not a sit-down dude.
So when I met up with the slender Chicago kid with the low-key Atlanta drawl to talk about his upcoming 3 Kings party this Saturday at the Crown Room, I was not at all surprised when he asked if we could walk and talk so he could pick up a key from another venue. Naturally, I accepted. I can certainly enjoy a good stroll on a picture perfect 80-degree day. It’s not like we get too many of them, right? “But first…” Chase said as a huge grin grew across his face, “Let me show you where I work.” Three walls, a large desk and hi-speed internet access in a trendy SE Portland low-rise – and no dress code. Not bad for a guy who was unceremoniously fired from the Beauty Bar in April.
As we walked across the Burnside Bridge toward downtown, I couldn’t help but ask about the aftermath of that debacle. Further removed now from the situation, Chase was a bit more candid about the ordeal. He shared how after two years of creating an audience in what started as a failing venue, a meeting between the bar’s management and the police resulted in the latter telling the owner that if they kept Chase, they would put an OLCC agent in their club to rack up violations. He discussed how the police went out of their way to tell other club owners to stay away from him, calling him a “gang sympathizer” and even telling them that he was under investigation. (He later clarified, “Ain’t no investigation!”) He also spoke about how a DJ friend of his was pressured into banning him from East, only to be barred from DJing there himself later.
He wasn’t mad at all though. Coordinating crackin’ parties at a small bar was fun work, but Chase has a good habit of landing on his feet and is currently employed by an advertising firm where he coordinates events for corporations like Adidas Original and Red Bull. He did convey some disappointment in the friends who and co-workers who didn’t stand up for him (“I’m like, c’mon, y’all know me. You know I’m not that guy!”) when the police came knocking.
If there’s one thing we know about Chase though, he doesn’t take anything sitting down. As we jay-walked and avoided motorists in downtown Portland’s wonderful one-way labyrinth, I finally got to ask about the party. There has been some major buzz about this one, and I was eager to hear about it. “This party is basically a big ‘fuck you’ to the folks that thought we’d just lay down.” Chase exclaimed. Partnering with heavy-hitters DJ Evil One & celebrity DJ Mick Boogie (who just finished DJing at the London Olympics), 3 Kings is a throwback to a few years back. Party people remember how we used to get down in Old Town, and Chase and Co.’s goal is to bring that feeling back. “People are going to be out at this party who haven’t been out in a minute!”
Asked if this was going to be a recurring thing, Chase said it was not; however, he did not rule out the possibility of future events, noting that there is a definitely a demand for an urban party scene. “They want to keep us on the East side, but we want to party downtown… and they can’t stop us. The urban community in this city is growing every day… They can’t tell us how to party! We can do whatever we want, as long as it’s within reason. People work all week, and we’re gonna get loose on a Saturday night.” I, for one, am very interested to see how this party goes down.
Our conversation came to a natural close as we entered the venue for a future Red Bull event. The owner showed us both around and we discussed window frosting, lighting, drywall and strategies for hanging decorations. A few minutes later, Chase had the key, and it was back across the bridge for him, and back to the MAX for me. Soon enough, I was sitting down, watching Chase trek back up Burnside towards the bridge.
I wonder if he ever gets tired…
*Note: I also wish that Sonny and Terminill would resume making music together. They had slaps!