2K15: what a weird year. They are all weird years, no doubt, but 2015 had its own funky rhythm that I’m still processing and will probably continue to process deep into 2K16. Lets start with the stupid elephant in the room. Anyone who has been paying even the smallest amount of attention to my freaked out “career” as a musician and mogul probably knows about “the book.” Yeah, I’m talking about a thing called The Next Next Level, which is a real book that is in essence about Juiceboxxx (its complicated) written by a man called Leon.
I don’t know where to begin or end with this one, but it came out and got some press and I talked to some people and said some shit that was stupid and some shit that was slightly less stupid and honestly? I don’t know. I really don’t know, my guy. The Fader called me The Great American Rap-Rocker You’re Missing Out On and other publications said far less nice things. At certain points in this process, I felt siked that in some small weird way the music and the message was getting across. I also often felt like a cultural curio whose story wasn’t fully told, and in fact was modified to meet the needs of the author. But because I am a mentally ill person with a compulsion to write songs and jump around like a jackass, I’m still here. None of this shit really matters all that much. The only thing that matters is the music. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve quit this insanity a long time ago. Check it out, I did something with Rolling Stone magazine that is kind of about “all of the above.”
So what else happened? Winter saw me put out a 28 track mixtape called HIGHWAY TO THE HEARTLAND which featured collaborations with Issue, Dan Deacon, Sweet Valley, White Rainbow, Vice Cooler, Fat Tony, D/P/I, TV Girl, DJ Lucas, 333 Boyz, Shawn Kemp, Schwarz, DJ Douggpound and more. It also featured a 30+ minute sound collage/noise track called THUNDER ZONE INFINITY. The tape is super sloppy and fucked and long and weird, but it was something I felt like I needed to get off of my chest in order to move on.
Right around the same time as “the book,” my newest record HEARTLAND 99 was released digitally (it will be coming out on vinyl, on the label Vinyl International Records, in early March). The record is ten songs and just another notch in my fucked up belt. I was thinking about The Modern Lovers, Public Enemy, Springsteen, Beastie Boys, Primal Scream and a lot more when I was making this. After you cycle through so many “waves” the desire to make something that cuts through time and trends gets stronger than ever. This shit is a work in progress, but I’m always excited to be making music and performing. I also made some videos for the record. Three of them are below, fucking check it.
This year I also kept grinding away on my no-rules label/lifestyle proposition/attempt to find meaning in the madness THUNDER ZONE. I put out more shirts with the legendary LIL UGLY MANE (final run of these going live on the webstore for pre-order next week then the era is over for real). I made two new, professionally-pressed VHS tapes with esteemed freakout producers DOUGGPOUND and MOLLY SODA. Also, two full length tapes/digital releases that I am really proud of: Milwaukee synth grunge mavericks DOGS IN ECSTASY and a collaborative record from the Western Mass rap/new music/punks DJ LUCAS and GODS WISDOM called GODS LUCAS. You think that’s it? That’s not it. Screenplay with NICK DEMARCO. THE THUNDER ZONE MUSIC ACADEMY. THE THUNDER ZONE KICKBACK. The beat goes on. Fuck all the boring bullshit clogging up the pipes, this is Thunder Zone USA and we are here for you.
(Don’t forget about THE BOXXX REPORT.)
Also this year I played some gigs (highlights: playing a show with the legendary Malcom Mooney from Can as part of the NADA art fair in Miami, a summer US tour and a fest in Detroit with ANDREW WK. lowlights: slicing my face open at a punk bar in Cleveland in front of 6 people) and of course have been writing a ton of music that I am siked about. I’m working on two records at the same time: a punk rap rager called FREAKED OUT AMERICAN LOSER and an anthemic American pop record called RUSTBELT NIGHTS. I have no goddamn clue or idea. Just follow your stupid dreams and try to stay alive. Growing up is wild. Stay positive. Fuck it man. Enter The Thunder Zone.