When did you realize you were a fiend for Heavy Metal and Hip Hop? Did you have an older family member who got you hooked on both of these underground genres?
Good question, I don’t think I’ve analyzed the certain year I became a total musical robot and maniac about it Haa…probably ever since I could remember music was always in the house, but I think around three or four I got into it and I was super hooked. Just music in general at the time, stuff like Blondie, who was probably one of my first favorite artists, that I went out and bought on my own or at least begged my mom to buy me. KISS also. It’s hard to talk about anything from the late 70s without mentioning them also…My dad, before he split, I guess he left a bunch of records and tapes, and like an animal, I digested everything. He had stuff like Syd Barrett and a resin-infested copy of Paranoid by Sabbath. Stuff like Arthur Brown. Blue Cheer. That kind of stuff was always around since I can remember, but I think I appreciated the deep psychedelic and progressive stuff a little after I digested the metal stuff.
For people from Long Beach, in New York where I grew up, metal and punk and counterculture was always around. I remember when John Lennon got shot, it was almost like the next day everybody had a denim or a leather jacket with his face on it. It was really weird. Like hundreds of people the next day. I also remember my dad left us the copy of Lennon and Yoko Two Virgins, which was pretty horrifying…ha ha…and people offering my mom like three grand at the time for that record, it was really strange.
I have a weird distinct memory of getting on a bus with my mom, near the front… And seeing some dude, maybe 16, with a huge mohawk, or at least I thought so, and tens and boots, was definitely heavy to me. I looked on his pants, and it said THE KINKS. It was strange, because I think I was probably eight, but even back then it was strange to me because I knew that The Kinks weren’t punk, or at least I thought they weren’t. That was like old-time music to me at the time, sort of like, the Beatles. Back then, I think I was sort of an extrovert, which changed. I didn’t really mind talking to people, or even starting a conversation. I was a kid, but I was like, “Hey, are The Kinks and The Doors punk”? He lifted his head and looked at me, and he goes, “of course, The Kinks started punk.” It’s strange how many things in my life, probably things I should’ve remembered that I’ve forgotten, but I always remember that, and for some reason it was life-changing in the way I looked at things musically, and bands from that era. So I think sometimes when people talk about influences and inspirations and stuff, sometimes people only think in musical terms, but for some reason memories are what pops up. I remember a very random situation sometimes, and it’s more influential than a particular record. Like, I was in Zig Zag Records in Brooklyn, probably around ’84, and some dude walks over and puts the first WASP album in my hand and tells me to check it out, says it’s “really evil speed metal.”
I got to ask – did you have an old family member that got you hooked on both of these underground genres?
I think when I went to summer camp, a friend of mine – Anthony DeBari, rest in peace, he’s no longer with us – he was bringing his boombox blasting the new Priest and Maiden stuff. So probably at the time, it was probably British Steel, and Killers respectively. There was something so aggressive and raw about those particular records that just sounded very modern, also. We would have to take a bus in camp for about 45 minutes to Huntington, so we would just sit in the back, act evil, and listen to The Number of the Beast 40 times in a row. At the time, I started collecting magazines, stuff like Circus and Hit Parader. The good underground magazines came a couple of years later, but there was no Internet, these were the only lifelines to anything happening as far as metal, there were some radio stations, but not many. Definitely around that area, it was normal for me to listen to about eight hours of music a day. Became more than an obsession, and unhealthy.
Around the same time, perhaps a year before that, there was always a hip-hop influence, mostly due to my cousin who was a few years older than me, and at the time he put me onto a lot of records, even stuff pre-break dancing. He was a DJ; he had a couple of Techniques –they weren’t 1200s, but very dope – plus a collection of boomboxes and sneakers. I think he was the first person I ever saw with fat laces in designs. He also had a couple of James Brown records, which had a lot of very heavy grooves on them, and that I wasn’t really allowed to touch. I didn’t quite understand sampling back then, I was just enamored with the covers and heavy drumming. The first time I heard “Funky Drummer” I didn’t quite understand what I was hearing. It’s still a horrifying break beat.
As far as hip-hop, musically he would probably be my first influence. He lived in Long Beach and hung out at a place called the Emerald K center. Guys like MF Doom, back when he was Zev Love X, would hang out there, and a lot of neighborhood dudes. That was a couple of years before my time. However, I was cool with MF Doom, rest in peace. We did get to work together years later, he came to our studio out in Canarsie. I moved to Brooklyn around ’83 or so, but the next year if I didn’t move I would’ve been in school with MF Doom, at Lindel.
I think even before that, I was taking a trip to the mall with my mom, probably Green Acres, and we’re sitting near the back, and in front of us, some hippie chick with one of those big flowery hats, sitting by herself and looking kind of shady, she turns around and just pulls out a huge marker, I couldn’t see what she was doing she was trying to cover herself and just play it off. I can tell she was tagging on the window, which I was also obsessed with. She got up to get off the bus and when I looked at the window – it was the sickest, gnarliest tag I had ever seen in my life. It said, Sugarhill gang. Life changing.
Long Beach was extremely influential. Around 1980, probably a year before summer camp, I was playing in my backyard. I was a fan of Joan Jett, not just because she was local and certain people would talk about it in my class, but I liked the music; I wasn’t even aware of The Runaways at that time. One day I’m playing with my friend, and I guess Joan lived in the apartment building right behind my house, on the boardwalk. So I see her and three dudes from her band walk out of her apartment building holding their instruments and getting into a limousine. This was only about 125 feet in front of me, and it totally melted my world. I knew at that point music was something I definitely wanted to do, and I didn’t know whether it would be playing in the band, making beats. or rapping, but that was it for me.
Your art flips the script on society’s perception of evil. You drop mad jewels on what’s really happening to humanity, and the powers that be would label your lyrics as evil when in reality the real evil is happening in Congress, on Wall Street, in Privatized Prisons, and in the Vatican. Talk us to about how you view the false reality pumped through corporate media?
I’m not sure I would label my lyrics as evil, although there is definitely an occult influence. And then that doesn’t necessarily mean evil, anyway, it just means hidden. Sometimes it’s just braggadocio stuff, and violent like a Kool G Rap, ha ha, but generally I usually keep it a little more esoteric.
If you’re talking about media, society has never been more brainwashed and put to sleep in history’s existence. This is by far the most dangerous and horrifying time in human history as it unwinds on a daily basis. The concept of their twisted politics has really nothing to do with our life or our well-being; it’s a party we’re not invited to, so technically in one sense it really doesn’t affect us. Most of this stuff was written in books verbatim as it’s happening over 30 years ago. From 911 to the vaccine, when you put the dots together and connect them properly everything has been planned correctly, and everything is going according to plan. Of course, we can get into a million different policies, but that’s almost irrelevant at this point. We’ve been scammed, and this was the biggest swindle ever in the history of the earth.
How did the concept for your song “Live from Mexico” come about? While you are at it, tell us your favorite Sepultura album?
My dad is Mexican, he’s been out there for years, but I started going there when I was about nine. My mom just sort of threw me on the plane and told me to take a hike for the summer, ha ha, probably just to get me out of her hair. I probably started getting into trouble, I started growing my hair, and just not really giving a shit about anything, breaking things, fighting etc. So I was going to Mexico pretty much every summer for years, he lives about six hours from Cancun in Merida, Yucatán. He doesn’t live in the drug area as represented by the song, that’s more northern Mexico where the cartels are. All that stuff was just fun to write about and conceptualize, ha ha. My favorite Sepultura album, hands-down, is Schizophrenia. My head was spinning at the musical change they made from Morbid Visions to that record. I’ve asked Iggor about that record many times; I’ve definitely tortured him about it. After that, Beneath the Remains is my second favorite.
I have mad ideas about how Hip Hop, Punk, Metal, and Skateboarding are all connected on some level. From your NYC State of Mind, how have these subcultures impacted your life, and do you see them as interlinked?
When I moved to the projects – after meeting The Decepticons (violent Brooklyn and Manhattan gang), cons, weed dealers, and crazy kids – I started skating. The guys I skated with, some of them just do it for fun, but a couple of them were absolutely amazing and definitely way ahead of their time… Guys like BAST, who became a super influential artist, and my boy Sley as well. Rest in peace, both of those guys were great skaters and graffiti writers. It was a plethora of different cultures. Sometimes it was just a very strange scene I didn’t think of the time many people could relate. People would be getting robbed and slashed and all kinds of shit and we would just be riding our skateboards through total chaos. Shit happens; you get jumped, you learn how to take a beating, that’s part of life I guess. But back then, things were a lot more grim. As far as skating now, I fuck around, I was never like amazing, doing kick flips and 360s off of ramps and judo airs, I skated for fun I was an enthusiast, and still am.
Unholy hell, the song “The Neighborhood” has the illest scratch hook! Talk to us about how scratch hooks can take songs to another universe.
It depends, sometimes it can be overdone if it’s not used the right way. Sometimes it takes something to another level. Sometimes it’s magic, but I think lately it’s a little overdone. DJ TMB is definitely a cool dude and we both vibed with the song, he didn’t just throw anything on it, that wouldn’t work.
Step back in time with us, Lord Goat, and lace us with one of your stories about navigating the streets of NYC as a youth.
It’s like, where do I start? ha ha…I think at some point I have to contemplate if I’m going to write a book of some kind, because between the adversity and the psychedelic effect that my life has been touched with, ha ha, it should be documented somehow.
I remember Uncle Howie, rest in peace… I met him many years ago in Glenwood projects, I was probably around 12 1/2, he was Bill’s uncle, of course as everybody knows, and the first time I met him, me and Bill were discussing the beautiful parts of the new Slayer album that just came out, Reign In Blood. In the middle of myself probably doing some air drumming, Howie, he got up from a couch, looked at us, and just fell backwards through a glass table, ha ha…Not sure why that comes to mind so vividly, but I could tell he was already a legend from our first meeting.
Good times around then. You can get on the bus and go to Kings Plaza, which was the shopping mall, you would walk into Macy’s and see about 50 Decepticons and Lo-Lifes running out with about 10 grand worth of stuff, punching people in the face and breaking windows – so that violence was always a great influence on me and seeing that kind of theft was certainly an influence. Ultimately, I’m not a fan of random violence on people, but at the time, the city was a very, very dangerous place where you would see a lot of really fucked up shit. It literally was kill or be killed, all those 80s movies that you might see with the subway system, in New York, all of that shit was very real, they captured the atmosphere 1000% if you ever want to know what Manhattan was like or Brooklyn in the 70s or 80s. It wouldn’t go down like that today; today is a lot more safe in a lot of ways. Of course, if you go into Manhattan now, the dream is dead. It’s a PR nightmare; everything has been drained, you can’t even find a good record or video store. The only record store in New York City is Generation Records, there’s nothing there otherwise, there’s no counterculture anything, it’ one of the saddest things you can imagine.
If you could put three of your songs in a time capsule to be opened in 2060, what songs would you put in there, and why?
It’s interesting, because I feel that’s the only way my music will be really understood. I never really thought it was for this time or even the 90s or now, whatsoever. I’m not sure why I’ve always felt that it would be much more appreciated and understood in the future, so it’s hard for me to pick any songs in particular for a time capsule, because I feel everything is a time capsule, at least pertaining to myself. I am one giant time capsule.
How did you link up with Stu Bangas, and what was your creative process for Final Expenses?
Stu has been going pretty crazy the last few years, he’s been extremely active. I’ve known him a couple of years. He worked with some mutual friends and we just kind of thought it would be really cool to do something extremely heavy. I know he’s done some pretty heavy stuff in the past, but I wanted to take it to another level with him. He’s definitely one of my favorite producers. Extremely consistent, and knows how to make elements of his beats sound amazing, and pop out. He’s very three-dimensional to me.
What three Hip Hop lyricists had the biggest impact on you? And what Golden Era producers would you like to work with?
Rakim, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD back then was definitely influential. I met those guys two years ago at a festival in Oslo that we were both playing at. I was with Non Phixion. And both of those guys came up to me and told me how important the record was and even quoting lyrics, which pretty much blew my mind.
What 3 films have had the biggest impact on you personally or creatively, and why?
This is probably a three hour conversation, but probably Holy Mountain, The Exorcist, Mask, Bloodsucking Freaks, Goodfellas, Bad Lieutenant, True Romance, The Warriors, Mystics in Bali, The first Suburbia – from ’84, not the shitty mall movie. Probably stuff from Christie Canyon and Tracy Lords at the time. Lots of harsh stuff, the Ultimate Revenge video from ’85, with Venom, Slayer, and Exodus, is still influential.
It’s hard to put into words, but to me, your point of view could only come from NYC. Certain hoods are segregated, but the youth of the city are united by the grimy vibe. Talk to us about how you and your crew represent that unity.
It was a gift and a curse. I always felt like an alien because it wasn’t cool to wear a Venom shirt and cool sneakers. I had a hard time in school because of it, I was always – I hate to say it – fashionably progressive, ha ha. Now it doesn’t matter if you see somebody wearing an Autopsy shirt with $200 Vans, but metal shirts and sneakers didn’t really go – back then it wasn’t really cool to floss. I paid the price for it many times violently, ha ha. To be wearing an Iron Maiden Powerslave concert long sleeve, with a really clean fresh pair of Pumas with fat laces, was a complete opiate for me. I was the OG of Maiden gimmicks at that time. People didn’t understand that at the time. Metal people in school were weird if you had sneakers, but you couldn’t sit with jocks or guidos with an Exodus shirt. Not that I wanted to, trust me. I did have friends in all different groups, and I knew that shit was absolutely retarded, but that’s the way it was.
It seems like the circle you create within has loyalty and respect for one another. Can you talk about the importance of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood between the lyricists and producers in the renaissance of Hip Hop, and how it’s helping the movement flourish?
I’m probably the wrong guy for this question, because I would probably be 1000% honest, which I have been this whole time ha ha. Most of these guys hate each other; they’re using each other, they piggyback each other for stepping stones or for Spotify plays or YouTube gimmicks. There isn’t much loyalty between hip-hop people, especially in the industry. It’s extremely backstabbing and full of negativity, shit talking, an absolute delirium – that’s a whole other conversation. It’s certainly one of the worst industries to be a part of in that regard as far as business.
I have a small crew of people in my circle that I have respect for, and work with. But right now there’s a habit with new artists looking for clout or just latching. There’s like this really obsessive attention-getting thing going on. Of course, social media is a cancer for that…That’s just my view of it. Just a lot of using people for stepping stones. I have friends in the industry, and it’s a complete nightmare, extremely negative, more so than the metal industry, and there’s a lot of garbage there as well. A lot of nepotism on who gets the front cover of a magazine, not a good band, but just somebody you’re friends with kind of thing, that’s been going on for years.
I’m under the radar. I don’t really concern myself with that stuff anyway. I went years without doing press, I’m OK. When people talk about underground, there’s really not that many underground artists left, if you want to look at what the definition really means. I’m definitely one of them, and I’m still technically unrecognized. Well that depends; I mean I have a fan base, so it’s a difficult thing. I am popular, but I’m not popular, if you know what I mean. People are still confused I guess, and some people don’t even know I’m GoreTex. I’ve had some legal issues with that, of course, and that causes a lot of confusion over the years with my name changes. Some people have no idea of my old moniker, so it’s a nice surprise to some of them. I don’t dwell on the past and I definitely don’t live off past laurels. I have no problem with that, like we talked about before, I’m a breathing time capsule for another era.
With that said, there’s a lot of good music that’s coming out over the last couple of years, both genres, and definitely a couple of new artists worth checking out…But there’s also a lot of Swedish funeral doom to listen to. Some of my favorite doom is from Finland.