ICE-T catches flack from the right-wing and "politically correct" (PC) liberals alike. At the top of the PMRC 'get list,' T says of the 90's, "white kids will continue to get hipper to Black culture...this is rock & roll all over again, everybody chillin' together."
"I have a sticker on my record that says 'Parental Guidance Is Suggested.' In my book parental guidance is ALWAYS suggested. If you need a sticker to tell you that you need to guide your child, you're a dumb fuckin' parent anyhow."
"The war that's coming up is an intellectual war. Those with superior intellects are on the move." And with these comments intact, thee Ice gave an excellent performance this day telling the people what's really going on in the real world. Now, here's my interview with ICE-T on THE ROC.....
MH: How do you feel about the Lollapalooza tour?
I-T: The tour's cool. You know it's one of those kind of tours that when it started people didn't know. You know it sounds good but will it fly. Now it's really working. All the groups are getting along real cool and I think it's a good mix. You know it's like a festival atmosphere so you're not like trapped in a room where you don't want to hear something you can leave. You heard me tell the audience, 'if you don't want it just go, but don't try to bring the rest of the people down.' It's a good thing. I think people are gonna talk about this tour for a long time.
MH: It seems like they're trying to take some of the stuff from the '60's like the Woodstock thing with artists and activists and give it a '90's hard edge with Punk and Rap.
I-T: Well, back in Woodstock, if Rap was around we would have been there too. But in them days there wasn't any Rap you know. Rap is Rock & Roll too. For me its the alternative groups. It's like I'm alternative Rap. You got mainstream Rap and you got what I do. If you don't like the other Rap you can listen to me.
MH: I think your stuff like your lyrics is like classic Rock & Roll lyrics.
I-T: That's why it transforms into BODY COUNT so easily. When we do BODY COUNT it's really just the same lyrics I would put into Rap except I sing and I add a little melody to em. About as much melody as Metallica or Slayer, you know how it is. As long as you can carry a note from here to the end of the street you can get away with it. It's more about feelings you know. We get out there and we're gonna prove something. I think you're going to see a lot more BODY COUNT'S pop up.
MH: We hope so. Any plans for an album by BODY COUNT?
I-T: BODY COUNT has an album that should be out in '92. It'll be called CLOSED CASKET. It'll be produced by Gary from Exodus. He's going to work on it. Even Duff and some of the guys from Roses want to work on it. They are real strong on it. And then I got Kirk from Metallica, Dave Mustaine and a lot of good musicians. They're jumping at it because it's like I was talking with Scott from Anthrax and he was saying that hard-core metal has still yet to cross the board. And this is just abstract enough and new & different that it can just blow it across the board, you know to the masses. So I'm with it. I really don't have much room for pop shit.
MH: How do you feel about Public Enemy and Anthrax teaming up? Do you feel this will help break down racial barriers between music genres?
I-T: Well, I mean I don't really look at it as breaking down racial barriers. I just look at it as people jamming. The first big barrier has to be broken down by the artists. Some white artists might not want to jam with a black. That's a barrier that's got to be broken. If you show that unity amongst the groups like me and Jane's or you know I've done records with everybody. But that's a step. The music is just music and you just hope that people will understand that, Yo! we're just trying to get things together, we're not trying to separate it. And most of the intelligent musicians they'll sit up and say, 'hey man, I ain't got no problem with Rap, I ain't got no problem with Rock.' The ignorant musicians will sit up and they got chips on their shoulders about every other form of music. Even tonight when I question the audience about the rock groups, I mean I listen to Bon Jovi and I don't have any problem with Poison, but I just know that the audiences are looking for something different. And I think that one of the things that hurts those groups is that certain media just pushes them at you as all you got. If they would give everybody a fair shot there wouldn't be an alternative music. There would just be music. It's alternative to what they jam down your throat.
MH: Are you into any of the other bands on this tour?
I-T: Well of course we're strong on Rollins because I was into Rollins back in the days of Black Flag. I used to follow the Punk deep like Millions Of Dead Cops, all of the Circle Jerks albums. I listen to Minor Threat, Nomeansno and all the stuff that Jello sends me. I'm into Ministry and we sample them throughout our records. I've been into them for a long time. Nine Inch Nails did like an offspring form of the Ministry sound but more you know industrial. I'm into them a lot but I don't get to see them because I'm usually breaking down during their set. Then Buttholes of course to me they're like the most I don't give a fuck band in America. Like they come out scratching their ass and I think that's real Rock & Roll right there you know. They come out, fuck you, shooting guns off and coughing. I wasn't really hip to Siouxsie & The Banshees but I met her and she was real sweet and nice. I sat in the audience and I really understand what the people get off of Siouxsie. You know she's almost hallucinogenic the way she starts going and it's real mellow. It kind of sounds like something you'd hear out in the desert or something.
MH: Yea, her new song was real Egyptian like, hypnotic.
I-T: Yea, yea. She comes off like that. And then Jane's Addiction is just like so many facets. It gets smooth, it gets hard and stuff. And Living Colour, it's like to me they broke down the barriers. And they spent a lot of time out there struggling. They do lots of different forms of music on the stage. So I've got to respect every band out here for what they do. I don't know if they knew about me when I got out here but I think by now they all respect me because they know I'm out here struggling and trying to make this whole tour a success, not just my show.
MH: A lot of people look at you as a real hardcore, outspoken performer. Have you had any problems with censorship so far?
I-T: You know I don't give a fuck. All they can do is put me in jail. I've been in jail before so that ain't nothing for me. I'm not going to limit my act. As far as the concert goes, the tour people are all, go for it Ice. The only thing I've had a few problems with is like I was over 3 minutes today with my set because I started to get good out there and hung on a riff a little too long. But no, no problems. We've been running into some asshole police in some cities during the tour, like the ones here today. We had some cops raid the Refuse & Resist booth in one city. We understand we're trying to do something positive in a negative environment so we're going to run into that. But nothing yet so bad that I want to leave.
MH: As for the police, when you did New Jack City how did you feel about playing a cop?
I-T: I didn't want to play the part of the cop. But then I wanted to act and coming from a place where you don't have many opportunities like I did, you just don't shun opportunities like that. You don't say, "aaah fuck it." I talked with all my friends and they said, "Ice, you hold your ideals high, do the part, don't miss the opportunity." It's like Rollins. I mean we all know he likes cops about as much as I do. If he got an acting role to play a cop I don't know if he would say, "well damn I want to act," or would it depend on the type of cop they wanted him to play. They might say like, "Yo! play this guy, he's compassionate, he understands, he doesn't even really like being a cop. We want you in the role because we know you can be dynamic on the screen." I took it, I took the chance. I thought my fans were gonna say I sold out, but they didn't. They said like, "Yo Ice, we liked the role you played." But I ain't looking for any more cop roles in the movies, but I think I proved that, well you know, there are kids that look at me and they look at me like, "well Ice was into trouble and now he's a Rapper." Now they're like, "he's an actor too." And every step I take, it gives them a little more inspiration for what they can do. I don't want to just limit myself, so I did it. And I didn't do it for the money. I didn't make no money. I made $20,000 for the movie and that's scale. I can make money with my shows, so it wasn't like I did it for the money.
MH: Do you feel your music has helped toward ending gang violence?
I-T: It's an attempt you know, it's an attempt. That's all you can do as a musician is make an attempt. Unless you actually want to pick up a kid and take him on a tour bus. Right now I have 22 guys out here with me. There is only one Rapper. So everybody I can, I bring them with me giving them jobs. But all you can do is try, you know. I mean if I go out there and sing an anti-drug song it sounds cliche to say that if one person gets the message that's all that matters, but it's really true. You don't want to become so cynical that you just say 'fuck it' and just let it go. You know you've got a voice, you've got a chance and you've been blessed to be up here on stage having people cheering for you. What the fuck you gonna do, be an asshole? I'd be a real sucker if I acted like I didn't care like I said in O.G.
MH: When I first heard your stuff I was impressed by your sincerity and it opened my eyes to other Rappers.
I-T: Some Rappers are sincere and some of them are full of shit. It's like any other music. Just because you're a Rapper don't mean you're sincere. I'm just saying, like any other group you got good Punk groups you got bullshit ones. You got good metal and you've got bullshit. You got people who are into Rock who are assholes that are just trying to get money and spit on people. As a listener you've got to try to judge that and it's hard just from a record.
MH: Your music gives the listener a chilling view of what it's like to be out there. Songs like "You've Played Yourself" and "Peel Their Caps Back" sound like they are sung to make a person involved with gangs to ask themselves what they are doing and like it's time to wake up.
I-T: Right, Right! And for people who have never been there. It's like a chance for you to go on a drive-by and see what it's like. 'Some people talk while others cry. It's not like everybody was excited. In my throat was a lump and I swallowed it, I ain't no chump.' You know it's peer pressure. There is a lot of things going on in that car. But you know I'm crazy, you know I'm mad, I'm insane because my friend got killed. With me being from that background I'm trying to let you see what it's like. And I try to do it in a way that white kids, black kids and anybody can get if they give it enough time. The problem is people hear the swear words and they think that's all there is because they don't understand that only gives it authenticity.
MH: It's like the Sex Pistols when they would do an interview that's what they were and they weren't going to change for society. That's what I get from listening to you.
I-T: Right! Right! Right! It's all the same, it's all the same. It's just being squeezed out through another hole. I mean you could do political jazz. It just depends on where your head is at. I mean when Henry Rollins breaks that thing down and it gets slow its like jazz. It ain't just one format to this. It's just a matter of people who care and people who don't. And when you figure that out it's all the same. Take Ice-T's album and hold it up to a Megadeth album. It's the same message. Mustaine uses "Shut Up, Be Happy" to open his shows. I didn't ask him to do that. I went to see them in L.A. and it was like, oh shit there's Megadeth coming on stage to that music. People don't understand that artists admire each other. Let's talk about cars. If you were the buyer of a car, you might buy a Toyota because that might be the only car you ever heard about. But if I made the Toyota I would have to study Mercedes, Ford, and all the other cars. So to be a good musician you'd better look into other music. That's where you get your creativeness. I mean all Blues influences and the stuff that comes from other music you can use it. I talked with Danzig and he told me he listened to "Lethal Weapon." He said that once he heard it, it really changed his way of thinking. The whole theory in "Lethal Weapon" is that true danger and true violence is not the man with the gun. It's the man who makes the gun move. It's the mind. It's not an army man, it's Hitler because Hitler did not ever shoot a gun, Manson never pulled a trigger. It's the motherfuckers that can sit back and create it. Not the big guy with the muscle, so therefore, a Lethal Weapon can be the smallest guy in a wheelchair. I guess with Danzig that idea must have gave him power, like ahhhh!
MH: It's like that guy Jeffery Dahmer who killed all those people in Milwaukee. He's not a big guy.
I-T: No, but they mindfucked him into that position. Those are the people to be scared of. It's not the guy flying the Stealth bomber, it's the guy sitting in the Pentagon that ain't gonna throw a rock at a motherfucker. Those are some dangerous diabolical bastards you know. So you know people listen and they get different things. I mean I got my attitude. I remember once I got a lot of attitude from listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers because they would come out and I think it was Anthony who would say, 'I don't do drugs, don't fuck with them, they'll fuck you up, they'll kill you, but this next song's called "Do Drugs Everyday." It's like learn to take this shit with a bit of salt. It's like people will say what are you doing Ice? Well right now I'm spending a lot of time working with a charity for these homeless kids but I got to go now because I'm on my way to a pitbull fight. It's kind of like let's not take the shit too serious.
MH: It seems like the bands that are completely serious end up fucking themselves up. What do you think?
I-T: They're liars! What I said about Vanilla Ice at the start of the show I don't really do that as a way of really cracking on him, it's a way of me saying, THIS IS NOT GONNA BE A VANILLA ICE SHOW! It's really me throwing full contrast at him. But as far as me saying 'fuck him' and all that, I don't really got to say that because I think he's already done put himself in the mix. I don't want nobody to think I'm jealous of him. I couldn't ever be jealous of him because I couldn't ever be like that. But you always got those people sitting in the front looking at you like, "You know I thought this was gonna be Vanilla Ice." No baby, sorry. I don't want anyone to think that I'm out here trying to take cheap shots, I'm just talkin' shit. Now Third Base got off on it. Yea, hit him with that bat. Alright, I gotta go. Peace, take it easy.
R.O.C.: Thanks Ice-T for taking time to grant us this interview. We welcome your comments about it.