It was 10 years ago. It was something outside of music—like a hobby for me; something else to keep my mind going.
Just hanging around the [Zulu] club I thought one day I wanted to join—Rebirth played Zulu beaucoup times—playing at the parade, the club and parties. We started playing for Zulu’s Mardi Gras parade sometime in the 1980s.
Why did you run for Governor this year?
The Governor’s krewe—they like having a lot of fun. I was unopposed. I didn’t campaign, but I like campaigning because I don’t want to take things for granted—so I was in a limo van and my krewe was walking on the ground at the [Zulu’s annual anniversary] parade before the elections.
What are the Governor’s duties?
To be a face of the club.
It’s stated that “If you’re friends with the Governor, you’re friends with the King.” Because you are so well known, what kind of reaction do you get from the crowd?
I go to a lot of activities throughout the year. The crowd gets excited. They treat me like Zulu is Louis Armstrong’s club. There are a lot of musicians in the club, but I’m the most popular one because I won a Grammy. There are a lot of brass band musicians in Zulu like [members of] the Pinstripe Brass Band, but I’m the most popular.
As Governor do you have a special outfit? What do you look forward to the most now that you’re Governor?
Yeah, we have special outfits come ‘round Mardi Gras day. During the year there are a lot of things going on like the Governor’s Ball. The Governor wears a suit with a special sash. When I was a [regular]member, I wore a grass skirt, but I’ll wear the Governor’s outfit this year—the Governor is more distinguished.
I look forward to just enjoying the ride—enjoying my term. Up top of the float [as a member], you don’t hand out coconuts. I’ll be closer to the ground now. And it’s very powerful. Zulu is 108 years old and I’m part of 108.
The Rebirth will play the Lundi Gras Festival. I’ll play, no matter what. I’ll walk around in my Governor’s outfit, too, and I’ll just change my clothes. I know that may sound crazy.