A Conversation with Kamal Soliman of Lance Herbstrong, Weed’s Favorite Party Band

Lance Herbstrong (Kamal Soliman, Bill Sarver and Peter DiStefano) started in 2010 as a hobby and has progressively developed into the impressive band it is today.

They’re known for throwing backstage ragers, performing music industry insider events, and creating cool music by blending two or more pre-recorded songs together.

You can check out the party band’s funky head-bobbing beats by downloading their attention grabbing albums -- The Knobturner's Guild, Meth Breakfast and TOKE-lahoma -- on their website for free. Recently, Lance Herbstrong teamed up with Grammy award winning hip-hop lyricist Big Daddy Kane for their first original song “Ripped.” Written for the new stoner flick by the same name, Ripped stars comedians Russell Peters (Last Comic Standing, The Jungle Book) and Faizon Love (Black-ish, Friday, Elf). VIRIDE spoke with Kamal Soliman about performing with Lance Armstrong, meeting President Obama, and writing “Ripped” with Big Daddy Kane.

VIRIDE: Kamal, when you worked at C3 to produce both of former President Obama’s inaugurals, which was an awesome opportunity for you and your company, were you able to speak with Mr. Obama personally?
KAMAL SOLIMAN: I did get to meet the former President when he was just a Senator first starting his campaign. He held a rally in Austin and I was stage managing the event. This was two years before he would become President, so there was no secret service protection or anything. At the time, he was still smoking and both of us were sharing a cigarette on stage, waiting for the band to come offstage. We shared a few words while waiting, and as the band played its last note, I said ‘It’s time,’ and we both flicked the cigarettes off the stage and he thanked me as I handed him the microphone and out he went to give his speech. I ended up producing three more campaign rallies for them in the Democratic primary and was instrumental in helping the campaign choose Grant Park as the election night venue, after inviting them all to Lollapalooza to see the mass crowds.

V: Your band name is a variant of seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. The former champion once sat and played drums with the band. What does he think of the band’s name? What was it like working with Lance Armstrong?

KS: I first met Lance years before the Herbstrong project began while working at C3, which was originally called Capital Sports and Entertainment. It had a music side and a sports side. On the sports side, Lance was their biggest client. At the time, it was just me and Bill and we were doing this as a hobby. C3 told us we needed a name for the band. We messed around with different cannabis pun names. Having met Lance, we thought it would be cool to go with Lance Herbstrong. He thought the name was great and even liked the logo we created. Playing with him at the 20th anniversary of Austin's reggae festival was amazing. He didn’t have any formal drum experience, but he played along on stage for four songs and did really well.

V: Aside from music, are there any other projects you are working on that you’d like your fans to know about?

KS: The movie Ripped just came out and we produced a song by the same name with Big Daddy Kane for the film.

V: What was it like to create a song with Big Daddy Kane?

KS: It was fun. Bill created three different beats we were thinking of sending over to him, so I went back to a lot of the old BDK stuff and listened for a while before deciding which beat was the one. It has a retro vibe to it that works really well with his vocal, and we loved the song even more once it came together in the film.

V: Several of your songs including “Dragon Attack” and “Get Bendy” sound like they’d make great names for cannabis strains. How do you come up with these catchy titles? Do you think there might one day be a Lance Herbstrong strain?

KS: Our song titles are cannabis themed mashups of famous songs. We don’t use them without crediting the original writer/singer. As far as our own strain goes, that would be amazing. There isn’t anything in the works right now, but maybe in the future you might see a Lance Herbstrong original strain.

V: Your last album dropped in 2015. Can we expect anything from Lance Herbstrong in the near future?

KS: We are a little more than halfway through our newest album. I live in Costa Rica with the family and the rest of the band is in the United States, so that makes it a little difficult to get the album done quickly. We are hoping to have it done by the end of the year, though.

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