Cypress Hill Expand Smoke Out Fest, Ready New Album

Deftones, Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Redman invited along for shows.

Cypress Hill will Smoke Out with their hip-hop, punk and rock friends in three cities this year, taking their annual festival beyond its home base in San Bernardino, California, to New York and San Francisco.

Frontman B-Real said the Los Angeles rappers have recruited Deftones to co-headline the shows. They've also invited a number of acts, including Busta Rhymes, Method Man and Redman, NOFX and Fear Factory, to join them.

Eventually, B-Real said, the group wants to expand Smoke Out into a national tour. "We're trying to start small," he explained. "We know we've got something good but we don't want to spread it out too much right now. We're doing three markets this year, and maybe next year we'll do five or 10, and after that maybe a full-blown tour."

Smoke Out is tentatively scheduled to hit San Francisco on September 15, New York on September 29 and San Bernardino on October 6.

Past Smoke Outs have featured Limp Bizkit, System of a Down, 311, Redman and Gang Starr (see "Cypress Hill, Limp Bizkit Satisfy Smoke Out Crowd's Musical Munchies").

Fans who attend this year's shows will probably get a sneak preview of Cypress Hill's follow-up to Skull & Bones. The as-yet-untitled album, due in November, will include cameos by Everlast, Kurupt and Kokane. B-Real said the group is in the process of picking out the best 13 or 14 songs from the 40 they recorded.

Like its predecessor, the album will feature prominent rock elements on some tracks. "We tapped into something that came sorta natural to us last time," B-Real said. "Our focus is hip-hop, but we're still gonna experiment with the band for the live show's sake and see what else we can do. You want to constantly evolve and grow, so we'll keep seeing where we can take it."

Meanwhile, the members of Cypress Hill are still finding time to pursue other projects. DJ Muggs is working on the next Soul Assassins project, while B-Real is producing an album for a group called Serial Rhyme Killers, which will feature him on a few tracks.

The Cypress Hill guys also recently formed a loose-knit supergroup with Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter, Everlast, Methods of Mayhem bassist Marty O'Brien and others (see "Cypress Hill, Jane's, Deftones Rolled Together In Marijuanos"). They called themselves Los Marijuanos for a couple of shows, but that didn't sit too well with a Chicago act of the same name.

"They sent us a cease-and-desist letter and all this other sh--," B-Real said. "So now we're going to call ourselves Mary Jane's Boyfriend. You know, it's just a jam band but we have fun."

Mary Jane's Boyfriend will play shows when the members' schedules permit. Cypress Hill will head to Europe for a promotional run before their own album's release; they plan to spend most of 2002 on the road.