Interview: Monoxide of Twiztid

A&E talks to a performer of the oft-derided Juggalo music scene.

by Conrad Schoenleber

Twiztid WHEN: Thursday, April 1 WHERE: First Avenue, 701 First Ave. N. What can you expect before a Twiztid show? A bunch of self-described âÄúfreaksâÄù and âÄúweirdosâÄù will convene, as one yells their family cry, âÄúWhoop, Whoop!âÄù and the rest echo. Another kid will be dumping the off-brand soft drink, Faygo, on another. Together they will be practicing the rituals of one of the most controversial subcultures: the Juggalos. Invented by the band Insane Clown Posse in the late âÄô80s, Juggalos share a culture of violent rap/metal called âÄúhorrorcore.âÄù Performers wear face paint and have elaborate, theatrical stage shows. Their leaders make music that speaks to a subset of alienated and depressed youth, oftentimes encouraging violent impulses and misogynistic beliefs. Twiztid visited Minneapolis recently to play a show at First Avenue. A&E got a chance to talk to Twiztid member Monoxide to discuss Juggalo culture, musicâÄôs influence and the problems of representation. HowâÄôs the tour going? This tour has been the best tour weâÄôve ever done headlining, as far as that goes. Like the draws, the amount of people coming is unbelievable. We just came off a record tour, and this one is putting that one to shame. Just to know that you still havenâÄôt peaked, at 10 years itâÄôs still growing. ItâÄôs insane. Where did the names Monoxide and Jamie Madrox come from? Is there any significance to them? There is. HeâÄôs a man of multiple personalities. I wouldnâÄôt really call it a disorder, but a pain in the ass. ThatâÄôs where that comes from, and heâÄôs a huge fan of comic books and toys and stuff like that. Me, really simple, I love to smoke. IâÄôve been watching your videos and sometimes youâÄôre wearing makeup, sometimes not. Are Monoxide and Madrox alternate identities? Do you become someone else when the makeup comes off? ItâÄôs to show people that itâÄôs the same people with it on or with it off, you know what I mean? ItâÄôs just part of the entertainment. Throw some reality to the whole situation, so it doesnâÄôt get out of control. It just kind of shows that, yeah, weâÄôre human beings, weâÄôre not real monsters. It is entertainment. ItâÄôs just a show, donâÄôt go out and kill anybody after this. Is that an issue? ItâÄôs an issue with anything. I believe you have to be careful when you have a following of any sort. Anyone can be steered the wrong way, anybody âĦ But we deal with it. ThatâÄôs what weâÄôre here for. Just to defend the kids, they donâÄôt have a voice. WeâÄôre their voice. It seems like there are a lot of preconceived notions as to what it means to be a Juggalo. What does being a Juggalo mean to you? A Juggalo is the ability to be yourself and not have to change for anybody and just be the real you. We give them an outlet for that, because for some reason or another they canâÄôt get that through the school or the friends theyâÄôre hanging around with. Maybe they feel alienated from their family, whatever the case may be. We take them, we love them. We keep them from probably bringing the true terror to the world âÄî weâÄôre an outlet. If you feel like you want to go do something wrong to somebody, put on our music and let us do it through music. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnâÄôt. Your music seems to inspire two reactions: Either people love it or they hate it. What about it do you think inspires such a difference in opinion? Either you understand it or you donâÄôt understand it. And thereâÄôs people who take time to understand it, and from that, you make an opinion of liking or loving or hating. But, if you donâÄôt understand it and you donâÄôt take the time, itâÄôs kind of an unfair judgment. What does it take to understand? It just takes time, just look at it through open eyes and donâÄôt come in with any expectations. Just look at it, the whole thing. DonâÄôt just look at the band; look at the kids, look at the reactions, look at the family, the camaraderie. I could put you on with 60 kids in a parking lot right now whoâÄôve been here before we got here. They have their barbecues going, itâÄôs like a family reunion in every city. Who knows what these kids would be doing right now if we werenâÄôt here? What would you say to critics who call what you call the Juggalo family, a gang? Again, thatâÄôs another form of not understanding; only concentrating on one aspect of it. IâÄôd challenge anyone to a debate about it. IâÄôd accept anyoneâÄôs opinion if they honestly knew what was going on. Your music can be really repressive or degrading to women, yet you have female fans. Girls love dirty music. The filthier it is, the more they love it. ItâÄôs crazy; itâÄôs with anybody. Look at Lil Jon, âÄúâÄôTil the sweat drips down my balls.âÄù You look in a club and there are 500 chicks dancing to that [expletive]. ItâÄôs just a feeling they get. For some reason the filthier it is, the more they like it. But is that a good message to send, like the violent nature of horrorcore lyrics in general, especially to kids who are having issues? If youâÄôre getting your life lessons from horrorcore music, you have a problem as a person. WeâÄôre just here for the entertainment. I think that where people get hung-up is that you say that youâÄôre pure entertainment, but at the same time these kids are really impressionable and they hear the violent lyrics and act upon them. You donâÄôt think you should be held accountable for that? No more than Elvis Presley. No more than any other, you know what I mean. No more than Black Sabbath. This has been going on for years. Parents canâÄôt control their kids and need a scapegoat. We canâÄôt change our music, because this is whatâÄôs in our heart.