For nearly 30 years the Detroit Demented Duo known worldwide as Twiztid have been conquering the underground hip-hop world with their lyrically dark subject matter that could quite possibly cause Clive Barker to jump out of his own flesh. Recently Twiztid have yet again unleashed another single unexpectedly and its the industrial-tinged banger “Rose Petal”! Twiztid are never afraid to push their music towards fresh new territory as “Rose Petal” embraces the more experimental rocker side of Twiztid with its crushing drum pattern (brought forth by LD Drayven Davidson) meshed with Jamie Madrox’s and Monoxides unique aggressive hard rock vocals created a Leviathan monster of a track that’s guaranteed to have fans moshing all night long at a venue near you.
This 2020 Halloween season also marks the 20th anniversary behind Twiztid’s iconic underground breakthrough record “Freek Show”. A record that boldly embraced teenage angst, sex, serial killers, gore, nerd life, the afterlife, marijuana, and wasn’t afraid to speak on the controversial topics behind mental illness and suicide. As first time listeners first hit play on their own copy of “Freek Show”, the opening track “Mutant X” may cause immediate terror, but by the the final seconds of the closing track “I’m Alright” Twiztid’s music promises to latch onto an individuals musical soul for life! With that being said, Freek Show’s courageous lyrical direction proved Twiztid was destined to be on microphone for decades upon decades and we here at Underground Nation Magazine are beyond proud to be able to honor and celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Freek Show”! Now please enjoy this in-depth interview with Jamie Madrox below! Reminder the 20th Anniversary ” Welcome to the Freek Show” Digital Experience is tonight 7P.M. EST! Don’t forget to scoop up your access here: https://store.livefrom.events/collections/twitzid
Hypothetically speaking. If you were given a chance to live in a specific video game world for a full week, which video game would you choose and why?
Jamie Madrox: Oooo. I am probably going to show my age and I will say Pac-Man because he had a hot chick and he was always about eating up all the, playing field and he was about getting ghosts. I do not know, I am so not the video game guy, like I know that makes me sound not cool because everybody is so pro video games but I have always been a fan of Pac-Man and it was either going to be that answer or a Donkey Kong but I love Pac-Man!
There is nothing wrong with being retro.
Jamie: Hell, yeah. Thank you for that. Truth be told, my favorite game is Defenders but the Pac-Man is more of a, everybody knows that one.
Since your first group House of Krazees you have been creating raw underground hip-hop for nearly 30 years. How precisely do the fans motivate you to keep pushing towards new bold creative heights after all this time?
Jamie: I want to say a lot. As far as like to measure it, it is a lot. Its always been since day one. The mission was to be heard and then after being heard it was to continue to be heard and to build the platform and to try to push the envelope and to realize when you reach the people that enjoy your music, it’s a driving force, it is a driving force dude. You set your game up, I mean provided that you want it, you know what I mean, and you are in it to win it. You step your game up and you get a confidence about you and it’s a good feeling because its a full circle feeling.
Looking back at freestyling during high school, what about Proof of D-12’s unique flow inspired Twiztid to step up your very own hip hop skills?
Jamie: Okay, well here, first of all let me clarify that. That’s a rumor that went around that we used to freestyle, we never freestyled. Proof was friends with Paul and I, we had a brief friendship with him and Paul’s ties to Eminem obviously and Paul and Brian from House of Krazees went to Osborne where Proof went as well, so that’s the connection. But it was this whole hip-hop shop thing where they say we went and we freestyled, we never went there, we never freestyled. But Proof as an influence, as a rapper, as a person was probably one of the best people, the world will ever see. Proof was a real good guy and his need to try to find peace in situations to try to understand and teach everybody, like the coolest thing he ever told me was like, oh god what did he say, he was like, just how he showed up to the situation with this fucking briefcase full of raps, pre-written raps and then he heard the beat and he was like, “Oh fuck that, I am going to write something off the dome for this shit”. It was just like that mentality showed me that he was a genuine dude, like he wanted to see how we would react or what kind of people we were. He was just a really good dude.
It’s common knowledge that Eminem used to open for House of Krazees and Monoxide has spoke on him, being the closest to him out of everyone. But if Twiztid and Eminem were able to do a track together in the near future, what would you want the subject matter to focus on and why?
Jamie: I would, to be honest with you, I would just be down to do any type of track. I wouldn’t want, to be truthful with you, I wouldn’t want to squander the opportunity by being, “it has to be this or it has to be that”. Like I would just like the opportunity to just rock with the dude, you know what I mean, he has done a great many things in this entire industry and in a short period of time and I just think that that’s amazing. So, It wouldn’t have to be about any specific thing, I would be down to get down on any type of topic. Ya know?! I respect the dude. He is an extreme talent and he doesn’t stop and I love that and I think he just comes out every now and again just to reassure everybody he’s still the bomb and I think that’s killer, dude, like I cannot do nothing but respect that.
Oh! The Horror is the latest Majik Ninja Entertainment artist. How did their talents impress your own musical mind to give the band a chance at furthering their own career through your label?
Jamie: I think that there’s a diversity there and a different sound and I also think that there are a lot of different ideas and concepts that aren’t being utilized enough in our music scene and they’re extremely talented. They’re hungry, they have a passion, they want it and when you see someone who has all of those attributes, all in one, and you are of ability to give a chance and you don’t?! Then shame on you! And I was and I did, so props for them.
Yeah, man. They got some heavy shit, so thanks for looking out.
Jamie: Absolutely. They do and they’re great people and their love for the music and just they really want it man and it’s like, I see a lot of Jamie and Paul in people like that, just kids with big dreams and really and not just all fucking hot air. Actually the will and the means to get the fuck up off their ass and make their dreams reality. I got nothing but oodles of respect for that so like, yeah man, when we see it, we try to help it out.
The latest Twiztid single “Rose Petal” has been kicking ass on FM radio lately. How does that make you feel?
Jamie: It makes me feel good. It makes me feel that we are not flailing, we are not just throwing random darts at the wall in hopes that something will stick. It’s that more times than not. We have a mission and we have an idea and its good to know that it’s not falling on deaf ears and that the channels and the things that we’re doing are not going unheard and it just leads me to believe bigger better things are on the horizon as we go forward.
Briefly let’s dive into your latest record “Songs Of Samhain” embracing the spirit of Halloween. Is that cool?
Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. For sure. The record itself is amazing. We’ve always loved Halloween and we wanted to do something dope and kind of have it be; It’s presented by Twiztid obviously because its of our doing and we reached out to everybody and trying to kind of orchestrated the whole record, but it’s a cool idea to be able to showcase everybody from our label (MNE wise) and to show everybody, to give everybody a like because people tend to kind of be standoffish and not everybody wants to do Halloween songs because then if they don’t do them every year and miss any other, so I feel it was kind of an introduction, like for Lex the Hex Master or people like that, that would be able to get in on it better or whatever. Halloween has been the jam forever, its like Christmas to us man.
Now, your classic underground hit “Freek Show” turns 20 years old at the end of this month on Halloween, how does this make you feel?
Jamie: Really awesome, because in my mind, obviously “Mostasteless” the hoodies cover, the not so much the concept of the baby’s cover but the hoodies cover that really came out with that big circle lime green sticker that said featuring ICP. In my mind, that was the first real opportunity at being real and giving a platform and then “Freek Show” was the second. Obviously I am not silly, I understand the reissue and all those but “Freek Show”, considering all of the ideas of “Mostasteless” all being one record and “Freek Show” was the next step. “Freek Show” was the first chance for Jamie and Paul to step away from everybody and be like, “We think we have learned enough, let us show you guys what we can do!” and then we step behind the production board, we sat down with Fritz the Cat, we sat down with Gary Arnett and E Wolf talked about the cover and the production of the record and we really, really piloted that whole ship and I think it makes me feel great because it was the introduction to what I stand here today in my own office doing which is handling my motherfucking business. That’s real shit!! It’s what I like to call on the job training, sir. You know what I mean? Its just like what we said about Oh! The Horror wanting it, you could tell we wanted it. We still do, like we haven’t lost a beat, dude! like it’s the same, it’s the same energy, it’s the same magic, it’s the same want. We wake up every day to do this shit like when we reach out to people and people reach back to us and looks on their face and the happiness and the whatever we can provide to get people through their day, I think it is a cool feeling, I think that is something that I never want to stop. Ya know?!
Is there a deeper hidden metaphor behind the album art of “Freek Show” in regards to the sewn faces and the angel with wings and halo?
Jamie: Oh, the artwork. The idea in the concept was the perfect balance. that’s what is written under the poster. It is the perfect balance of good and evil, like the idea of without light there can be no dark, without dark there could be no light like everybody likes to say (Obviously one is good and one is bad). But the actual idea that you need both of them to achieve the other and I think that is what we were trying to show everybody and the concept of the record going through, a person who’s on the edge and they’re basically like we’re the freak shows in the carnival wagons that were taking city to city with broken wings and going through this whole thing and coming to grips with the record, if you listen to the progression of the record, we get over those things and we find out that our imperfections are okay.
Jamie: Its okay to be not perfect and I think that’s the takeaway by the end of the record with “I’m Alright”, you are all right, because all of the things and all of the hang-ups that you had throughout you’re “Different” and “People Are Strange” and all of these different avenues that we walk you down into all the angels with broken wings, those are the people listening. You’re all angels with broken wings and you just don’t know where to go, or what to do but it is okay to be flawed, it’s okay to learn to try to learn to be better. That’s alright and I think that if there is a hidden meaning, I believe that is what it is.
Are there any lesser known studio session stories you like to share behind creating “Freek Show”?
Jamie: There’s one cool one, that was when Paul and I were working on “Fall Apart” in studio A of the Disc LTD with Fritz and we were sitting there and Violent J came up to listen. And he was like just not necessarily to check up on us but he just happened to be, I don’t know what the hell he was doing in east point at the time, seeing how they were from way in NOVI, but he happened to be there and he stopped into the session and we are like, “Oh shit, what’s going on?!” and he’s like, “Why don’t you play some of the shit that you’re doing.” And we played “Fall Apart” for him and we were building, I want to say at the time, I could be correct, could be wrong but I want to say at the time we were building the bridge, *starts singing* “you fall apart something someone” with that distortion and that kick *makes distortion sound effect* and boom! He was just so blown away by it, he was compelled to go and get on the phone and call Mike Clark, who was about 15 minutes away in Sterling Heights and rush him to the studio to come and listen to this song and just listen to the freshness, that Twiztid’s putting into existence and that was like, I don’t know, that made me stop in my tracks because the guy that was helping me craft my album the first time around is now freaking the fuck out because Paul and I are just so awesome with, like it made me feel good, it made me not feel like a Padawan, it made me feel like a real Jedi, that makes sense?
Yes and wow! For real?!
Jamie: Its fucking real, its real as fuck and Mike E. Clark came there and just like looking at his face and just having him be like, “Man you guys are really killing it!” and then they left and its like we looked at Fritz and Fritz looked at us and we were like, “Did that just happen?!” It was like, “holy fuck man!” I guess if there were any wavering, which there wasn’t, but if there were any wavering of confidence, man that just put it right back on par.
And speaking of “Fall Apart”. When fans tell you in person that, that track specifically has saved their very own lives, how do you approach this response in-person?
Jamie: I think to anyone who says that about any of our music, I say that I’m honored that I could be something for you. Whether it be that to be something for you on the day that you fell down or something, if our music can be that, anything for you, I am honored, and I am beyond honored. I am always honored. I am blown away, like it’s like having someone have you tattooed or your lyrics or your words on their body, it’s amazing, it’s humbling, it’s a beautiful thing and it’s like, I don’t ever want to take that for granted, I am always proud of that and I think that people know that. I know, nowadays, you are supposed to be a cool Johnny badass and you’re not supposed to care what people think but I truly do care about what our listeners think, really I always have.
I know some of these questions are going to catch you off guard a little bit but…
Jamie: I love the realness, man. I love the real shit; that’s what’s up. It ‘s all real, man. It’s good. I love it. No worries, keep it coming.
So, let us dive to being on set for your very first video “We Don’t Die”. What did you learn from being on set during the filming of that video that helped you with your current videos presently?
Jamie: I learned, well with that particular video; that was the first time that we had Island money behind us, funding for it. It was part of a greater deal with “Born Twiztid”, there was to be a video that would also… the director would also: Paul Andresen was the director. He would also be the director for this mockumentary which kind of went hand in hand. So, we got to go to the Universal Movie lot and drive past, like as we were going to the road to where we were going to film, we got to see like the “Addams Family” house and the “Leave It To Beaver” house. And just all of these houses that were like the model houses that like kind of I guess you would call it a graveyard. Its a studio, its a studio set and we would drive down all of that to see this and I mean, as some kids from the hood, as some kid that’s no good, seeing all that it is like these are the shows we grew up on television watching and literally “I could get out of this tour bus right now and walk up to them and knock on the door, this is crazy we are going to film our first video here, holy shit?!”. We learned that it was just amazing to see what a big production, of what it can entail, like that scene. Okay, here is a great example. That scene that you see in the video where its the camera looking out of the grave up, right? To make that scene, it was legitimately a scaffold that was about 12 feet in the air and they had Joe, Joey, me, Paul and Chris up there, standing on what was like these planks of wood and this thing was rickety as fuck. So you don’t see it because the camera is still but we are moving, we are like swaying side to side and you just constantly hear people being like, “Bro this is not safe, this is not safe!” and we’re laughing and we’re all scaring ourselves. So I mean that is a fun memory to know that like, again the production value like since then I have never had that much money to make a 12-foot tall scaffold in the sky and do that kind of shit because its like it’s your first video. So, to say that we got an awesome introduction to making videos, God I can say that. I can go on record just saying that for sure and what it did as far as for future videos, it kind of set the tone to know what you’re doing that this is the visual that pairs with the audio that people feel in their heart, make sure that they pair well and the visual is just as intense or heartfelt as the audio, that’s what I learned.
Can you recall the excitement level in regards to being able to work with Three-Six Mafia for the collabo track, “Where Itz Going Down”?
Jamie: Oh, absolutely. To be honest, it was “Just Another Crazy Click” that they had reached out; okay they reached out to ICP and were like, “Hey will ya’ll do this song?” and ICP was like, “Well yeah! We’re chilling in the studio with Twiztid!” and they were like, “Whoa, Twiztid is there too?! Well tell them to spit on it too!” And we’re like, “Get the fuck outta here?!” And then next thing you know, we are on this song with them. And then I am like, because let’s be honest, dude I am just a fucking silly ass Juggalo. And I am like “Oh fuck that, ask them if they will be on our record?!” and they were like, “Yeah!” and we were like, “Get the fuck outta here! They said, yeah!?” and it blew our minds dude! And much respect to them, they put our fucking name, our name is on their album, you know what I mean? Like right on the cover, not a sticker tag like legitimately printed on the cover featuring Twiztid and ICP and all this other shit on their cover. As well as many other bands and artists of course but to be included in that, it was kind of like a level of respect, it was kind of like… and to have them back featured on our record not only was a blessing but was like a thank you back to them like, “Thank you for letting us be on your record, it is an honor to have you all on ours” kind of vibe.
Now, which Cheech and Chong film do you feel your track “Bagz” from “Freek Show” would fit perfectly inside its soundtrack?
Jamie: I got to say “Nice Dreams”, man. That’s always been a favorite of mine and I could just see riding in that ice cream truck because *starts singing the hook to “Bagz”* “I hope you brought the papers, you know I brought the trees”, you know what I mean? That is like it almost goes hand in hand. I love that movie. That has got to be it, it has got to be that one. I am definitely not going to pick the “Corsican Brothers”, I will tell you that god damn much. You are going to have to Google that one after this interview, I bet you Google that, you’re gonna be like, “Oh my god, what is this?”
I’m going to have to.
Jamie: You’re gonna have to bro. I promise you and you will be like, “Wow, live and learn, thanks Madrox for that unnecessary useful piece of information.
So, how did your own personal life influence the creation of the track “I’m Alright”?
Jamie: As far as it was supposed to be kind of like the idea of a joker, like the new thing now with Joker is it only takes one bad day to turn you into this maniac or whatever the case may be. “I’m Alright” was more or less like the sign off and then at the same time, the rebirth of a person who is, like I said before, is alright, like what people perceive it to be and what it truly is. It’s like we don’t like to describe a lot of the songs in that regard because they hold such an important meaning to people and again if whatever we can be for you, I want to be that, so I do not want to misconstrue anyone’s perception on what they think it is, but its the idea that all of the things that are going on, its alright. You have time, you’re still here, you have time to fix it or make it right or be okay with it and keep living because a lot of people are like the littlest thing, it becomes the biggest thing to them and if you really just take a breath in a second and you can push through a lot of that shit.
Inside “Freek Show” you cover the legendary Doors track “People Are Strange”. Can you dissect the challenge of this single and do you plan on covering any more Doors singles in the future?
Jamie: “Riders of the Storm” was another one, that was on deck which was one of our favorites that we did want to cover, haven’t done it or whatever. And the challenges of it was just obviously, come on, they’re so highly regarded, you know what I mean? It was just like even with the Duran Duran cover or any cover for that fact, you wanna do it justice, you don’t want it to come off as some sort of pale in comparison but you also want it to have your own flavor. So, it’s not just you re-recording someone else’s shit, you know what I mean? So, that’s always the challenge. I think for what it was, we have grown a lot since then but I like it, I think there’s a raw grittiness about it that is just real and I think people resonate with it.
There’s a lot of people who actually discovered the Doors because of you guys, which is pretty crazy to think about.
Jamie: That is so fucking cool and that right there is the coolest shit I’ve heard all day long. See, I don’t think of shit like that. And it’s like, because how dare I, how dare I think that we introduced somebody to a legacy or something like that. But the fact that you say that, its like, man that is the coolest shit ever and that is just another perk man, you what I mean?
Looking back on “Freek Show” as a whole, how satisfied are you with its final outcome?
Jamie: In hindsight
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Twiztid Photo Credits: E Wolf , Gary Arnett & Mr. 8 Legz