The Interview: FreeDarko
By Sarah Dahnke in Miscellaneous on Oct 26, 2006 7:37PM
The masked men of FreeDarko have been becoming a hot commodity among sports blogs over the past year. Regular visitors to McSweeny's Web site may have read a weekly feature by one of the three FreeDarko founders (Dr. Lawyer IndianChief, Brown Recluse, Esq., and Bethlehem Shoals), and those who read Deadspin may have noticed some FreeDarko-authored posts this week. When Chicagoist noticed few fans sporting FreeDarko attire at this summer's Pitchfork Music Festival, we knew that this silly little blog, well, wasn't a silly little blog anymore. You may be asking, "What exactly is FreeDarko? Does this have anything to do with Donnie Darko? I hated that movie."
The short answer is no. FreeDarko started as a tribute to the Orlando Magic's Darko Milicic, who hails from Serbia and spent most of his first season in the NBA on the bench. And Donnie Darko was a fine movie. You have horrible taste.
FreeDarko is semi-headquartered in Chicago, with two-thirds of the founding bloggers living here. (Chicagoist cannot reveal their exact location, but we hear it rhymes with Slide Lark.) While they refused to reveal their identities to us in person, they did agree to hold one of their famous group instant message conversations with Chicagoist. We know this may be a bit of an unconventional format for an interview, so those who cannot stand reading sentences that do not begin with capital letters or other glaring punctuation errors should probably stop reading right now.
Chicagoist: Rumor has it that Free Darko began as an extension of hip hop tape trading in the 90s. Give me a brief rundown of how you transition from Big Daddy Kane to Eastern European basketball advocacy.
Dr. Lawyer IndianChief: well, that's not entirely true … i knew bethlehem shoals more through channels surrounding names such as spoon iodine and radioinactive … and then we met years later at first an aesop rock concert and then at an antibalas concert
Brown Recluse, Esq.: are antibalas Freedarko? i'm thinking … no.
DLIC: definitely not
Bethlehem Shoals: not anymore.
DLIC: Fela's keyboardist was playing with them that night though, and that dude is Freedarko.
BS: i met the recluse when i was in high school on a basketball court in front of the cat's cradle in carborro, ironically
DLIC: so, in short, the transition from big daddy kane to eastern euro ballers was seamless
BS: we hate euros, i still don't know any kane songs
Chicagoist: Do people ever tell you that they don't know anything about basketball, but they love your blog for the funny pictures?
BS: girls. i date one of them. actually, i've been schooling her
DLIC: didn't she get upset about gerald wallace's injury?
Chicagoist: You often pay mention to a general decline in the NBA these days. If given the chance, how would FreeDarko improve the inner workings of the NBA?
BS: i'm fine with the league.
DLIC: i'm not
BS: i'm a total nba narcissist
DLIC: the new ESPN NBA commercials pimp Elton Brand
BS: but i kind of think we're victims of our own rep
BS: like we don't really want untested bench players to run for office
BS: i don't watch games with an agenda
BS: but i do use an agenda to figure out what i can miss
DLIC: well, let's put it this way…bobcats vs. hawks or heat vs. mavericks rematch. what are you watching?
BS: bobcats hawks if it's during the regular season. good teams only matter in the playoffs…i mean i can see them REALLY matter then
BS: we should probably admit how we're all music critics/snobs
BR: yeah, that's a good point
DLIC: shoals used to be a jazz critic
BS: that's the real link with indie hip-hop, or the indie rock that brought the recluse and i together
Chicagoist: I know you are often asked about the meaning of FreeDarko and tend to sidestep the question. That being said, can you use FreeDarko as an adjective in a sentence?
BS: jewish wedding in new orleans zoo with dixieland band playing klezmer = totally Freedarko
DLIC: Freedarko to me symbolizes simultaneously unrealized and unfulfilled potential … lots of wild animals are freedarko
Chicagoist: Two words: Neil Pollack.
BS: To any bloggers out there: never write several drafts of a 2500 word piece for a "magazine" unless they've sent a contract - even if they approached you in the first place.
DLIC: basically, cracked magazine asked us to write an article on darko. we gave them solid gold, and they told us "no thanks." and now they write shit about robot chickens and old people doing lap dances
Chicagoist: How did you guys get involved with McSweeney's? Have you learned the secret McSweeney's handshake yet?
BS: We accidentally linked neal pollack to them in a sentence…they wanted to make sure we had things straight.
Chicagoist: What about Deadspin? How did you hook up with them?
BR: will, the editor, helped us out a lot in the beginning.
DLIC: then he won our freedarko t-shirt contest inadvertently
BR: He did bring his FD shirt ON HIS HONEYMOON
Chicagoist: I also heard the possibility may arise where there is a FreeDarko trifecta in Chicago. If you all become based here, will you have to become Bulls fans?
DLIC: we're already all bulls fans. the recluse and i are currently stationed here right now, though.
BS: i might move there just so i don't get cut out of any important, impromptu decisions about office decor
BS: as long the bulls and wizards fight often, i can't get behind them
DLIC: yes you can
BS: ever since larry hughes punked hinirch. . .
DLIC: tyson chandler punked everybody
BS: THEY TRADED AWAY J.R. SMITH
DLIC: they have khryapa, the last FD euro
BR: isn't this the time when shoals talks about how he famously isn't a fan of "teams"?
DLIC: Shoals is FD South
BS: FD gulf coast