Friday the 13th may have been unlucky for some but for me, I was blessed with the opportunity to once again speak to the legend himself, one half of the Demented Duo known as TWIZTID, Jamie Spaniolo (aka Jamie Madrox.) We spoke about their upcoming album The Continuous Evilution of Life’s ?’s (pronounced “question marks”), their plans for 2017, his love for horror and more! Check out the resulting interview below!
BearlySinister: Your new album The Continuous Evilution of Life’s ?’s seems to contain a lot of darker subject matter, much like you had in your previous album The Darkness. What inspired the title and the lyrics on this album?
Jamie: The title? The title and I don’t necessarily wanna say… well, I guess it’s all-encompassing. First and foremost the title… The Continuous Evilution of Life’s Question Marks (?’s). We are life’s question marks! We’re tired of having titles and names slapped upon us and you’re this derogatory term or you’re fat, you’re a piece of shit, you’re this or that or if you like this kinda music, you have to be this. We’re really not sure what we are anymore because I think we just wanna be ourselves and I think that’s what the record is about and as you go through the songs, the songs are like personalities. Each one is onto its own and like The Darkness was more of a darker record, this record was more like for Jamie and Paul. We went in there and we recorded the songs that we were feelin’ that day! If a song was weird and we were like “well… I don’t know if this will be well-received” we were like “this is for US, it’s amazing, it will BE well-received!” It’s all about us, we are life’s question marks. We’re tired of having labels stamped on us and… and this is the vision. This is the evolution of Jamie and Paul. Are you a question mark, you listening, you motherfuckin’ people out there listening and taking the time to listen or read this article? Are you… one of life’s question marks? You probably are, you’re probably tired of having labels branded on your ass, too! If so, give the record a listen.
BearlySinister: Is there a track on the album that was particularly difficult to write?
Jamie: Not necessarily ever a situation of something being difficult to write. I think this time around with everything with the record, things were more comfortable, things in the studio were more comfortable. We usually have a good time when we do what we do, consistently, but these songs seemed to write themselves or like a beat would come on and we’d just be like “holy shit, man, this is great!” We’d already have part of our raps written and we got choruses goin’ on and things just seemed to jive and come together better than ever before. I don’t know if that’s an attestment to us becoming better at the crafts that we participate in or if that’s just… it was a meant to be thing. I like to attribute it to both.
BearlySinister: Who took the album cover photo and what’s the story behind it?
Jamie: The album cover photo… okay, first of all the story behind it is Monoxide (my brother), seen and was following this amazing artist named Kay Pike. She is a cosplay, she does some of the most amazing body painting under the sun and probably this universe. I’ll give her that, I mean she is fucking amazing. He contacted her and, lo and behold, she was into it! She flew out, she came to us and painted us up and when I tell you that it took 9 hours just to paint me, another 9 hours to paint Monoxide and when it was all said and done, we hadn’t DONE anything at that point except just kinda sit and stand around for 9 hours. So, we were like “oh, god!” Then we did the video, we did a photoshoot and it was just amazing. I think what’s really cool about it, and a real credit to her work, is that everybody who sees us on the cover believes that it’s a drawing! They believe that it’s some kind of computer-imposed, simulation… some bullshit because Eric, Insane E who does our graphics and everything they were all saying great job on the artwork. He did move us around and put other things, I mean he did a wonderful job on the cover but he even said “dude, I’m not gonna steal her heat she painted them, don’t think by any means necessary that I drew them.” It was a big misconception and it’s a very captivating cover, to say the absolute least. She fucking knocked it out of the hemipshere!
BearlySinister: The album release party is January 27th at the Whisky A Go Go. Do you have anything special planned for that performance?
Jamie: Oh, yeah! Every time we play the Whisky it’s a good time. I’m sure we’ll kick into some good shit, some new shit, some old shit. It’s always just.. man, the Whisky A Go Go is just legendary and the fact that we get to do the release party there, man. *sings* “The sky is the limit” *laughs* I’m feelin’ great man, that’s awesome!
BearlySinister: Let’s talk about Majik Ninja Entertainment for a little bit. It seems to be doing great but, obviously, we’ve only just begun, so what can you say is in store for the MNE roster and can we expect to see or hear about new signings?
Jamie: Well, first of all, 2017 for MNE… just in general, we have 11 releases that are scheduled and slotted and planned out for fuckin’ 2017. So, already right off the bat 2017 is gonna be a big, big, exciting year for us as a company where we’re taking bold steps and we’re doing big things. We’re trying to show and prove that we’ve been doing this for awhile and now it’s time to step up the game. We have a roster, we have a great team of artists. We have storytellers, lyricists, we have young cats, legends.. you name it! I mean, we have a fucking all-star team of amazingness. Each one of those artists and groups and what have you are putting out the best product that they’ve ever put out before and we’re honored to put ’em out! Everybody gets the care and concern the same, quality is through the roof and I can’t sing the praises enough for our entire staff and everyone that is a part of Majik Ninja Entertainment, from the secretary on up to the guy who prints the CDs and manufacture and plastic and vinyl and you name it! Everybody works together as a team and I think it’s that unity, that shared common goal is what makes us awesome. I think that’s what makes our plan very attainable when we say that we want to be the #1 underground record label… *low evil tone* in the world!
BearlySinister: Hell yeah! Team work makes the dream work!
Jamie: You know this! It’s one thing to be passionate about something in your own right, whatever it is you do, it’s something that you’re passionate about but when other people share your passion or believe in you and your passion and get you to a point where you’re successful and get what you needed to have done… it’s a feeling that words cannot describe. I just love it, man. It’s a really good vibe in our office and I’m really thankful for that.
BearlySinister: Walk us through the process of picking out tracks for your setlist and how you decide what does (or doesn’t) make the cut.
Jamie: Hmm… Usually, and this is crazy, but usually Monoxide will make the show tapes because I am a procrastinator. I’m a dirty, son-of-a-bitch, bastard. I don’t think about things until the last minute and I’m usually late and he’s like “if we wait for you to make the fuckin’ show tapes, we won’t have any time to know what the fuck we’re playin’!” Nah, I’m just kiddin’ but more times than not, we’ll have a list of songs and then we’ll ask our crew, we’ll ask people who are with us and sometimes we’ll reach out on social media and be like “Hey, what’s a rare or obscure Twiztid track that you’ve always been jonesin’ to hear live?” to get the feelers from the people as well because we have our favorites. There’s no mistaking that, we have our favorites but it’s nice to know what other people would think is fresh too and just because people think it’s fresh, doesn’t mean it works. I’ll tell ya that! There’s a time or two where Monoxide and I thought a song or two would just be off the chain and tried to play it live and it just didn’t work well, at all. You live and learn! That’s part of doing this and the process of 20 years of doing Twiztid. We’re still learning, that’s a good thing though. The day you stop learning, that means you’re dead! *laughs* So learning is a fucking great thing! I think it’s cool though that we’re not afraid to try… we’re not afraid to try because you don’t know unless you try. So it’s good to know that we go and we try the songs but if they don’t work and people are like “why don’t you ever play that song, this particular song or MY favorite song?!” It’s like… we tried it and it was either like nobody knew what we were doin’ or we didn’t know what we were doin’, it didn’t work… it didn’t gel, bro! Trying to explain that to somebody about their favorite song is like “Ah, yeah… we hate your favorite song” NO! We don’t hate it, it just didn’t work! *laughs* Oh, God, it’s great!
BearlySinister: For fans who might be afraid to approach you, in any setting, what is your advice to them?
Jamie: Time and place, time and place. For example… my brother Paul will say I’m probably one of the most approachable people ever. You could probably catch me wherever, I could be fucking shopping in Kroger or in the mall or whatever with a pretzel in my hand. If you see me and you’re like “holy shit, Jamie Madrox! Can I get a picture?” I’m gonna say yeah, that’s usually me but again, time and place. If you see me sitting at a restaurant, eating food and you reach over the food and the first thing you lead off with is “I don’t mean to bother you but…” it’s like “I’m so gonna fucking bother you!” It’s like there’s a time and a place! Don’t be a dick, though, that’s my biggest thing. I don’t wanna ever have that bad vibe where a person tried to meet me and I was a dick but just keep in mind we are human beings. More times than not, I am the most approachable person in the world but we all have our bad days. If you have met me and I was a dick, chances are I was having a bad day. Most of you motherfuckers out there who have met me know that I’m a cool motherfucker, man. You know, Barrett! Come on, damn it! Life is too short to be a dick all the time.
BearlySinister: Twiztid and the entire MNE family are known for doing tour exclusive items, most of which are entirely new releases. Do you feel these are an incentive to get out to a show and what goes into planning what items you’ll bring on tour?
Jamie: I think all of those type of things… exclusives, pre-order bundles, I think absolutely they’re incentives because I believe we’re living in a society where people are becoming more shut-in. They don’t want to go out and about. It’s like… why go out to the movie theater and see the movie when I can download it and watch it in my living room? Why go to the library and read a book because I have a Kindle? You see what I mean? This is my M.O. bro! I think these kind of things are breaking down the fabrics of society. So, when you see a person now, most of the time it’s awkward to try to have a one-on-one conversation with a person in real life because you’re so used to just tweeting or texting and just not having that contact. I’m gonna bring you back full circle, I didn’t stray too far off but the reason I wanna bring you full circle is because I think it’s healthy for a motherfucker to get up out the crib and come check the show out! Yeah, if it takes an incentive to get your ass up off the couch and come out and have a good time and at the end of the night you’re all like “man, I’m really glad I did that. That was really fuckin’ fun, that was the shit! It was really good seein’ everyone again, I’m gonna do that again.” Yeah, if that be the catalyst to get your ass out of the house and live a little bit… life is too short to be cooped up! See what I’m sayin’? The process for some of these incentives and CD’s and whatnot is part of the think tank that is MNE. We sit there and we try to come up with ideas for things that we think are cool because, at the end of the day, me and Monoxide are probably the biggest Twiztid fans in the world so if we see something for Twiztid and we think “goddamn, that’s really fuckin’ cool, man!” If we see something that’s cool and we want it, we have a feeling that (being the biggest Twiztid fans in the world) we’re like “yeah, man, we should really do something like that. I think people would really enjoy that, I would.” It’s more of an idea like that, where everybody will bring on… there are ideas and things in production as we speak, as people are re-listening to or re-reading this later in life, there are actually going to be things that are being manufactured right now for future pre-orders, exclusives and all-around cool things. That’s a great part of what we do. We like to put the fun back into stuff. We’ve got a brand new, 2-disc, vinyl LP set that’s comin’ out for The Continuous Evilution of Life’s ?’s. It’s got like clear, white and blue marbling to the vinyl. It’s shit like that… just trying to put the fun back in it, man. We know that vinyl is really cool, it’s hip now and everybody likes to collect it, I like to collect it. It’s cool to be able to have my own shit to collect too. We think “how can we raise the bar? This plain old record looks lame, how about if it was blood-red or splattered.” It’s that kind of idea and that kind of concept… to have everybody sit around and gel on it and everybody throw in their ideas and, when it’s done, we have a really cool, solid idea and we’re like “yeah, let’s put this into production!” More times than not, that’s exactly how it happens.
BearlySinister: It’s awesome that you put that kind of attention to detail into things.
Jamie: We do because we are the first shit-talkers to be like “oh, well, we thought that was really cool but it ended up being really weak.” We want our products to be solid. Even if you hate us… even if you’re like “goddammit, I hate Twiztid… but that fucking record is amazing!” Even if you’re like “I hate Majik Ninja Entertainment… but did you see that brand new leather jacket with the sleeves and the twill and the double stitching on the back and did it have an inside tag?! I hate ’em but that’s a fucking amazing jacket!” You hate… but at the same time you can’t hate. The only way you’re gonna hate us is if you hate one of these products and you hate rap music. You have a reason to hate it! You don’t hate that kinda shit? Well, then… we’ve got a lot of cool shit to show you! *imitates Hellraiser* We have such sights to show you! Fuck yeah, I went straight Doug Bradley on you! Sorry about that! *both laugh*
BearlySinister: It’s been quite awhile since we’ve heard anything from you or Monoxide on a solo front. Can we expect that to change anytime soon?
Jamie: I don’t know. Maybe there will be some… and this is purely speculation but maybe there will be some solo joints from him and I on one of the 11 releases for 2017. It’s going to be a compilation, MNE compilation record featuring the entire team. It’s gonna be a really cool project and that I’m looking forward to. There are tracks recorded for it but in the sense that.. it’s kinda skeletal and starting to take shape and has no real direction yet… it’s just one of the releases that has some songs and I have been toying around the idea of like “why don’t you hook us up with a couple of those new Chainsmoker joints” I can’t really give you… well maybe it would be Phatso, I’ll be Vincent Price. We’re gonna figure something out but I’m thinkin’, if anything, just to try to answer your question… that would probably be the closest possibility to where, if you’re looking for that, that would probably be where you would find it.
BearlySinister: Let’s talk about your love for horror movies real quick. If you were to write a horror movie, what would it be about and who would you want to be in it?
Jamie: I think, really and truly, that I would want to do an old-school slasher film. I love the idea of CGI and I love all of the cool things they can make but there’s something to be said about an old, early 80’s, gritty-ass, person chasing people with some sort of weapon and one-by-one, meticulously taking them out. Those kind of movies were the greatest because if you watch ’em again, more times than not, there’s no explanation of what the fuck’s goin’ on! Why the fuck is this guy killing everybody and you’re so enthralled into it and it’s not usually until the sequel or the prequel or somethin’ down the line that you get the back story of why this fuckin’ nutcase is doin’ what he’s doin! You get what I’m sayin? It wasn’t legitimately until Halloween 2, if I’m not mistaken, that you really got the idea and you full-on got the concept of well, Lori Strong was legit adopted by the Strongs and she was legit the sister of Michael Myers! That’s why he wanted to kill her because he feels, in his head, what… what does he feel? Now it’s left open to the viewer again so now I don’t know until later on in part 4 where more shit is revealed and they tell you the reason he has to kill is because he’s part of a Druid cult… actually, I think it might have been 5… 4 or 5, they implicated that he was part of a cult and what have you. Now he’s gonna kill his bloodline so he can stop the pain… but you watch the first movie, there’s none of that, bro. You see what I’m saying? It was merely a babysitter killer, in a fucking Halloween mask, no rhyme, no reason… and it’s Halloween, press play. That’s the kinda movie that I think is cool because I’m blown away by the fact that it didn’t have to explain shit!
BearlySinister: I absolutely understand and I agree. I definitely prefer the older horror movie, slasher, cult films.
Jamie: Think about the first Friday the 13th when it was just Pamela Voorhees… and you didn’t know who she was until the end but there were people just randomly chillin’ at some camp, fucking and then “BAM!” dead! “I’m here to check the generator!” BAM! Dead. What the fuck is going on?! BAM! dead. BAM! dead. It wasn’t until Part 2 where you figure out “oooh, the kid drowned” Well, she actually tells you that at the end but you don’t see that come to full fruition until the sequels and the prequels and that kinda thing. So yeah, that’s my kinda shit! I think that would be the base of the soup pot for a script that I would be interested in if I were to write a horror movie. We have something like that we’ve been kicking around but we couldn’t get everybody on board. That’s how we are, everybody has to be on board for us to move forward on something.
BearlySinister: What is your favorite horror movie and why?
Jamie: I might’ve just said it… but I don’t think it’s just one. It’s probably John Carpenter’s Halloween 1 & 2 because I watch 2, more than I watch 1 because there’s something about 2. I think that I’m intrigued by it because I know that it was done on a shoestring budget. I’ve watched documentaries where I’ve watched John Carpenter say that him and Debra Hill got a 6-pack of beer, a hotel room and a typewriter and they were like “let’s get drunk and write this fuckin’ script!” and sure as fuck they did and I think it’s great. I think that whole entire… I think when you kinda know that Carpenter was kinda snarky about it, he just wanted to do one Halloween movie and be done with it. Then when you know that Debra Hill and Tommy Lee Wallace, who directed part 3, they came up with this idea that Halloween was gonna be this reoccurring movie that would continue to happen and Michael Myers was just one story of the Halloween world and the mask and the cult was another story in the Halloween world but when it came to 3, it was such an unwell-received movie that they were like “No, clearly Myers is the flagship of the company and any movie with Halloween in the title will have him in it.” So… yeah, 1 & 2, bro, I’m sorry I have to. I’m sorry I had to pick two but yeah 1 & 2, man.
BearlySinister: Finally, the Eat Your Heart Out tour starts on February 10th in Cleveland at the Agora. What can we expect from each artist on the tour and why do you feel that people should come check it out?
Jamie: I think I covered why people should come check it out before. Don’t be a shut-in, don’t let the world get you down. Get out, go out, celebrate, have a good time, enjoy yourself. What do we bring? Each and every time we perform, us and our entire roster give 110%, ya leave it all on the stage. Whatever you had from the night before, ya bring with you and you leave that there, too. We rock the fuck out of the crowd and give people a show worth standing in line for, a show worth waiting to see the acts for. A show worth screaming and jumping up and down for. 100%, that’s what we bring, that’s why you come because it’s gonna be fuckin’ awesome. Every time we come to town, it’s always a good time, I mean a legit good time. We fuckin’ have fun rockin’ it for everybody and have fun watchin’ people rock out with us and the smiles and the looks on their faces and the voice of the crowd is more than enough to solidify that, at least in my mind.
BearlySinister: Alright, well that’s all I’ve got for you. Thank you, again, for doing this… it’s been an honor and a pleasure. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the family?
Jamie: I just wanna thank everybody, as always. You know where our heart’s at. We love you mo’fuckas to the E-N-D! From the first to the end and we never, never, never, never, never, ever, ever, ever, ever have, never will stop lovin’ y’all! That’s what’s up, man! My name is Jamie Madrox! Thank you, Barrett, for doin’ this shit with me and thank you for your time, bro!
“Kill Somebody” (Official Music Video)
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