Dirty Bombs, Dinosaurs, and Rockstar Wars – The Life and Times of Trace Crutchfield
If you’re like me, and/or any kid that has dabbled in binge-drinking with a hip haircut in the past ten years, you’ve read or stared at a couple issues of VICE magazine. We’re all familiar with the zany shit they produce (from using semen as moisturizer, to launching their own everything channel, VBS), but, as someone that suffers from chronic travel lust, (a sweeter name for intensive commitmentphobia) I was particularly struck by their Guide to Travel. This is where I first saw my now-favorite journalist, Trace Crutchfield, as he avoided getting brutally murdered at a drug lord’s party in Brazil.
Throughout the course of his career, Trace has agreed to purchase a dirty bomb, date Imelda Marcos, eat a human placenta, drink his own urine, quest for a dinosaur in the Congo, do cocaine in the Bolivian presidential palace, live in a Filipino garbage dump, drink cough syrup with the Black Panthers, go to jail in Turkey, crash a Hugo Chavez led government meeting, outsource American apple pies from China, and, as I mentioned, dance his way through a Brazilian drug lord’s party. Now you have a crush on him too, right? With Trace’s corn-fed country boy grin, he’s charmed his way into life-threatening situations that neither you nor I will ever have the guts to participate in. He lives his life, microphone in hand, while following the simple dictum, “You can’t wreck the party if they won’t let you in.”
C: So, Trace, what is your official occupation?
T: I consider myself a producer at large, meaning I’m a freelance content generator. At the moment, I’m working in the main with a Dutch production company, trying to convince National Geographic that I know more about interesting shit in the world than your average TV presenter. I’ve worked for loads of additional media companies, but currently owe no allegiance to any of them.
C: How does one enter that line of work?
T: I grew up, just a punk kid in the Austin scene, who simply gravitated toward traveling and telling stories. Eventually, I fell into doing it on camera with Vice Magazine and the rest, as they say, is a matter for the IRS. My idol had always been Richard Francis Burton, the British explorer, not the Welsh actor, so I had always dreamt of getting lost in the farthest corners of the globe whether I was paid for it or not.
C: What’s the scariest situation you’ve ever found yourself in?
T: The scariest situation? Well, I got shot in the leg once, and that was pretty wicked, but I didn’t really have time to be frightened in advance. Perhaps the most scared is one of the iconic VBS moments, when the Brazilian journalist told me not to take cameras to Baile Funk, because a previous journalist had been “microwaved,” (meaning set on fire inside a tower of car tires) for attempting to infiltrate what is essentially a drug dealer’s sample sale pounding with music and automatic weapons fire. The terror came from knowing that heeding his advice was out of the question. The deal had already struck for me to go to the City of God favela dressed like Bob Barker on LSD. Thank God Brazilians have a sense of humor. Although, last year when a fixer told me I’d have to be blindfolded in route to mexican drug cartel’s poppy field, my bowels did flinch a bit. Also, there was the time a toothless Egyptian man tried to tongue kiss on top of one of the great pyramids in the middle of the night, but that kind of shit is par for the course.
C: In terms of where you haven’t been, what weird places would you like to visit, and why?
T: For some time I’ve been itching to go to Tibet to participate in a Sky Burial. I just think chopping up a body for vultures would make for a pretty wild life experience, but every time I think I have it dialed in, the Chinese government fucks me around. I’d like to go to Mongolia solely because Ghengis Kahn spawned half a percent of the world’s male population and that is nothing to shake a stick at. And as long as we are taking frequent flier miles I’d love to visit Mexico’s Cave of Crystals and the Nazca Lines in Chile.
Trace is currently working to convince TV development executives that American audiences and advertisers would be better served by a show engaging in international hijinx than yet another show featuring close-ups of dudes sampling wacky, notoriously huge sandwiches and waxing orgasmic about some small town’s frozen yogurt. Call your cable provider and ask for Trace. You can also follow him on Twitter – AND PSSST! Here is something Trace made for Discovery channel that didn’t work out so well: http://www.vimeo.com/20628289 THE PASSWORD IS: acapulcogold