Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:59

Future Trippin’ with Twiztid

Written by  Steve Miller
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Twiztid Twiztid COURTESY PHOTO

Twiztid’s Be My Bloody Valentine!
Twiztid w/ Boondox, The R.O.C., G-Mo Skee, MBK, Insane E
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
Feb. 14, 7 p.m.
All ages, $25, $20 adv.

“Grand Rapids is the only place in America that celebrates VD,” blares Monoxide Child, one half of Detroit-based rap duo Twiztid. The rap/rock ensemble is playing the Intersection on Valentine’s Day and he’s using the occasion to play with words, which is his stock-in-trade.

Monoxide and his partner Jamie Madrox are doing a phoner on an icy January afternoon from the headquarters of Majik Ninja Entertainment, a 15,000-square-foot compound tucked behind a series of law offices, eateries and gas stations just off I-96 in Livonia.

The Twiztid saga reads like a steady ride toward the top floor. Started in the early ’90s as a trio called House of Krazees. Broke up but not before they caught the ear of local heroes Insane Clown Posse. After a name change to Twiztid they forged ahead as a duo and signed to ICP’s label, Psychopathic, for $3,000. It was a merge of cultures, with Twiztid mining a love of horror movies to complement ICP’s embrace of wrestling. They toured together and created an underground that should be the envy of any artist, each making uncompromising sounds that, while may not have sent them to Kanye-land in terms of mass popularity, gave ICP and Twiztid undeniable artistic merit.

Nine albums, just as many tours and 15 years later, Twiztid left the Psychopathic nest to do things on their own. They left with the love of Juggalos, the enthusiastic fan base developed by ICP.

It was a bold move, as ICP has sold an estimated 10 million albums in its 20-plus years and while many still recoil at the mere mention of the name, the longevity of the band and the depth of its fan base gives it institutional name recognition.

“Initially people told us we were crazy to leave,” Monoxide said. “But from the inception it was our dream to grow and do what we wanted to do. The only people who ever changed their perception of us were only into us because of our address. We got to a point where we wanted to change our mindset and it was time to take what we had learned and do things on our own.”

Besides, Madrox adds, “I liked Michael Jordan and I didn’t care that he left the Bulls.”

They have since created an enterprise based on the successful Psychopathic model of independence. Majik Ninja is an indie label with a roster of artists, some of whom were once with Psychopathic.

The warehouse and office space holds a radio studio where Twiztid hosts its Web-based show, “Ashtrays & Action Figures,” a recording studio, and a warehouse full of Twiztid gear and that of other acts on the Majik Ninja roster.

Twiztid dropped The Darkness on Majik Ninja in January 2015, their first full-length since departing Psychopathic, and have been touring it ever since.

The future? They think about it all the time. The video from The Darkness bonus track “A Place in the Woods” is a six-minute exercise in horror film production featuring veteran horror film actor Sid Haig.

Someday, they will make a horror movie, Madrox said, “but right now we’re working on crazy shorts and our acting skills and getting more familiar with the camera.”

They did some shows last year with a full band behind them, something that will probably happen again.

Monoxide said the execution was brutal, going from tape to live. The set moved faster than they were used to.

“It was perpetual, it didn’t stop, and we’re still learning about how to reign it in so we don’t want to kill our drummer,” he said.

And finally, there will be mad touring all the time. They want to go to Japan, they want to make more of the increasingly embraced vinyl — the limited edition 7-inch single “Back to Hell” released in December fetches $50 on eBay — and they promise to keep broadening their fan base.

Speaking of which, during an entire 30-minute conversation, the topic of Juggalos never comes up.

“For us, it’s like talking about your nationality,” Madrox said. “I happen to be Polish and Italian and I’m not telling people that.”

“Yeah,” adds Monoxide. “We take it that everyone knows we’re king Juggalos.”

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