BN: Recently, a lot of gangsta rappers have turned to acting, but most play the role of a street hood. But you have played a diversity of very challenging roles from a homeless man in "Surviving the Game" to a cop in "New Jack City" to a mutant in "Tank Girl"!
ICE: I guess the best way to explain it is, you know, I come from a situation with basically no opportunities. I mean, if you listen to my early music I'm crying about the conditions and the shit I grew up in. Now, if you offer somebody like me an opportunity, it's almost sacrilegious for me to turn it down. You know, all the kids wishing they could do it. So, when I get action at something I'm gonna try my best, that's all it is. You know, I'm not just gonna sit there and complain, "Yo, the white man this and the white man that..." So, if I get offered a movie, I better do good in the f**kin' movie. So all I'm doing is taking advantage of action. I used to always look at rock bands, and I can't f**kin' play no guitar or nothin', but I had a bunch of guys around me that could jam, so I said, 'f**k it, let's make a band' and who the f**k knew that it was gonna sell. I mean, we started out playing at Raji's (a small punk rock dive) and pizza parlors, and then we went out with D.R.I., who are like the kings of O.G. thrash shit, and we were out playing in front of Nazi skin-heads and shit. And I'm thinkin' like, "Damn, if these skinhead mutha f**ka's like us, something must be going on with these guitars". It just kind of developed, but it wasn't like a plot like "Yo, we're gonna go take over this..." Now, we're like the only black rock band left outside of Fishbone.
BN: Today, it's very difficult for a black heavy-rock band to gain success. You take a look at (black rock/metal) bands like Fishbone, Living Color, 24-7 Spyz, Total Eclipse, Bad Brains... They are all great, extremely talented artists, but over the past few years... basically, ever since rap music exploded, these black rock bands never received the justice and respect they deserved in America.
ICE: When we formed BODY COUNT, my whole concept was "Let's play the kind of music we like listening to. I'll write the lyrics so they're gonna come from an ICE-T 'street' perspective, and let's just dress the way we dress, we're not gonna conform to rock." And now when I look at a lot of the white rock bands, I see them come onstage with cackies, beanies, you know, with that 'street look'.
BN: What do you think about the way the music industry is today in respect to what's on the radio and MTV ?
ICE: I mean, it's kind of hard to really say, when you start putting MTV into the format; it's like, you'll get played if you're the flavor of the month. The first year we came out, MTV jumped on us, we were new, we sold like a million records, it was all good. The next year, they were like, 'Naw, this is a Pearl Jam year, we're going to Seattle to find the groups". They didn't play any of the real hard shit, you know, no Slayer....none of the heavy shit. The biggest thing that happened that year was Pantera debuting at #1, yet MTV still didn't play the heavy shit. I look at it like, "Okay, we've all been to Seattle and we grunged for a while." I mean, when you see groups like Suicidal (Tendencies) going through metamorphoses like 'what are we gonna do' - those mutha-f**kin' boys kick ass and I don't give a f**k! It just shows that times have changed, but I still have a firm belief there's always gonna be people who want it hard, aggressive, in your face, f**k the bullshit music.
BN: One of the coolest things I've ever heard any artist say to the public is what you said during a music panel at the Foundations Forum a few years back. The moderator on the panel was an MTV VJ and, while MTV was filming that segment, someone in the audience asked you a question pertaining to MTV and you looked straight into the camera and responded; "f**k MTV! If they don't wanna play my video they can suck my cock!". That really took some balls. So many bands today will tell you how much they despise MTV, but when they have the camera or microphone on them, they'll just kiss MTV's ass till no end!
ICE: (Laughs) I'm gonna be honest. Point blank, if MTV wants to play your video, it's gonna result in a lot of sales...it's great. But I've been in the business long enough to know...I'm not just gonna kiss somebody's ass who ain't givin' me love. It's like, once you decide you're not gonna play my shit, I'm not gonna keep strokin' you. I'm gonna treat you the way you treat me. If they went and started playing my shit...I would apologize (laughs). I mean, let's be honest, MTV just has way too much power. The record labels all depend on them to sell records. The music business is real hard, it's a cold game... I'm just not an ass-kisser, I just can't do it.
BN: Recently, I've noticed the press have really opened fire on ICE-T. They've been putting you down because you haven't conformed to the "politically correct" mainstream market. How do you respond?
ICE: The thing is, they wanted my success to go on to this other level, which I never really wanted it to do. What I've done was peak out through the underground. I'm not doing sneaker ads, I'm not doing Pepsi commercials... I'm still hated by the mainstream, I just peaked from the underground to the point where everybody knows me. I mean, I'm alright, I'm not like Eddie Van Halen or nothin' but I'm not broke. They got it confused, and I get so mad hearing "f**k ICE-T, he's been making records for 14 years, this guy won't go away. But then, he hasn't blown up, he's no supershit"... you know, f**k them. I'll be around like Frank Zappa, making records for 20 years. I figured the way to dig myself in, I got my own studio, I got my own labels... If you were to compare me with anybody, I would say my closest parallel would be Henry Rollins. He comes from the hardest punk band - Black Flag, and he's also at the point where he's not afraid to do a movie. What me and Henry do is, you don't sell-out, you just work harder. You write a book, whatever... There's nothing wrong with wanting a swimming pool and nice shit, you just have to know how much of your integrity you want to give in, if any. I got no time to listen to these sucka's! Personally, and I'm not saying this about you, but writers, I really don't have any respect for them because writing about what other people have done, that's gotta be the easiest thing. Chuck D (Public Enemy) told me once, 'I could cut off both your legs, your arms, and sew your eyes and mouth shut and you can always be a critic'. That's the easy shit; to get up on that stage and spill your guts and bust your ass, and take a chance at getting booed, that's the risk, man! Whether or not you win or lose, you were up there. The dude sitting in the audience writing about ya....f**k him!
BN: That's basically how music journalism in the '90's has become...it's a matter of kissing whoever's ass is at the top of the charts. What SHOCKWAVES does is gear everything more toward the underground and tell it from a fan's perspective.
ICE: You gotta teach the kids what the f**k the underground is. They don't respect the underground because, like you said... they say "uh, well you guys didn't sell 10 million records and shit". I'm into bands who sell 500 records! Do you know what it takes to sell a million records??...you gotta be on MTV. You need a vehicle to get you to those millions and millions of people. What I do, we go in and make a record, and we just hope everybody digs it. That's really where it's at. I get off on reading the fan mail.... "Yo, this shit is slamming" or "Yo, I want you to be harder..." That's kind of how we make records. I don't really read the reviews unless it's from somebody who I respect. We were doing this interview with this cat the other day and he was like, "You know, we're doing you this favor..." and I'm like, "Favor ?...Do I look like I need press mutha-f**ka!? I can clap my hands and have CNN trucks in front of my house... "Ice addresses the f**kin' nation!" I don't need that shit. I like the young kids that come backstage who work for a small paper, I'll give them an interview.
BN: Let's talk about some of your projects outside music...I hear you've completed a couple new movies....
ICE: One is called "Below Utopia" with Alyssa Milano, a million dollar flick - a small movie. It's got me and Tiny Lister, and is about these rich people and we do a home invasion and murder the whole family. And then I did a movie called "Mean Guns" which is another small independent film. I have fun with the small films because they kind of let me go off more.
BN: What's this "variety" T.V. show you were doing in England?
ICE: It's called "Bad-Ass T.V." It went for two seasons and then they stopped it. It's like this show where I come on and say "Welcome to Bad-Ass Television, today we're gonna take a look at some wild stuff in the black culture... we got Long Dong Silver and the guy who made the song 'Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting'..." just weird shit. In order to get on my show you had to, like, stand on your head and gargle peanut butter, with a candle up your ass! Stuff like that would get on my show (laughs). Wild shit!
BN: I heard you mention that you were getting involved in the porno business as well; even I found that shocking!
Back to SHOCKWAVES ONLINE
ICE: What happened was, we went to the porno convention in Vegas, people kept saying "You guys play adult music, let's take it into films." But what I ended up doing was getting a porno web-site. If you have Earthlink and Netscape, you can get it at: www.icet.com. I got buck-naked bitches you can talk to, you can tell them to spank each other... these live girls are in this room going buck crazy. The web site is still being built and it will be fully blown next month. I also did a pay-per-view called "Ice-T's Extreme Babes" which is on Action pay-per-view right now. I go out and hunt down all these women in the streets and they get on T.V. and they strip naked and you vote for them. (Laughs) Some wild porno shit!
Back to SHOCKWAVES ONLINE