We were able to catch up with Jamie Madrox, one half of the Detriot rap duo Twiztid, who have put together an absolutely amazing third year of their pop culture convention Astronomicon which takes place on February 7th through the 9th in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
In this interview, we discuss the many ways in which Astronomicon has continued to grow as it enters its’ third year, the guests that are booked, what Madrox “nerds” out over, plans for new music from Twiztid and more.
Q: How excited are you for this third year of Astronomicon?
JAMIE MADROX: I’m super excited. I’ve watched it grow like my children over the years and I’ve seen it starting to become its’ own thing and it’s becoming independent on its’ own. Much like human life, it’s getting bigger as it grows which is a good thing! I don’t have complaints … I’m excited, very excited to say the least.
Q: We truly feel like we have watched this convention grow with bigger and bigger talent and more.
JM: Absolutely! We try not to get too ambitious but at the same time let it be known that our intention is to grow.
Q: Who are you most excited about as a guest this year? We know it can be hard to choose!
JM: You know … I love Bill Moseley, we’ve been blessed to know him for a few years and he’s a solid dude so it’s really no disrespect to any of the guests because they are all special in their own right, but I have to say definitely, Kevin Eastman! I’ve said it a billion times and I won’t stop saying it till people start saying it as well, he is like the Stan Lee of Ninja Turtles. He and co-creator Peter Laird are like the cornerstones next to Spongebob of Nickelodeon. It’s like my man’s dream has come into fruition and in reality, it’s just bigger than life. I cannot wait to meet Kevin Eastman. He and his whole team get what we are doing and they respect it and they really seem excited to be part of all of the festivities and I can’t ask for a better reception than that.
Q: We can only imagine. Growing up, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is what we tuned into! The children of the ’80s and ’90s are all about that!
JM: What’s crazy is, is that it’s kind of like wrestling because even though you as a fan tend to grow out of it, it continues to keep trucking and you can always come back. If you came back in 2005 there was a new Turtles then and if you came back in 2010 there was a new Turtles then … it’s been growing and the different renditions over the years make it a universal topic that all ages and fandom can come together and it’s a melting pot that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird made themselves. That to me is just really, really awesome.
Q: We had a chance to catch up with both Bill Moseley and Brian O’Halloran the other day to discuss Astronomicon as well and they are both incredibly excited.
JM: Great guys! Brian O’ Halloran is a great dude and he has the 25th Anniversary of Clerks professional photo-op happening. Oh my gosh, that one is going to be shutting the club down! I have so many people from the metropolitan Detroit area buzzing about that and it’s actually refreshing to see how many people are excited and intrigued for other artists or stars or entertainment guests, so there really is something for everyone.
Q: They could not have said enough wonderful things about the way that you guys have put everything together. They said the fans were amazing and even at one point still came out to the convention despite 10 inches of snowfall. They said it was incredible what you guys have done. We came out and covered Astronomicon last year and ran so smoothly and everyone had such a good time.
JM: The snow! That was year one! That’s so awesome! That makes me so happy to hear … I’m so used to hearing people talk bad about Twiztid that it’s refreshing to hear people talk wonders about Astronomicon. It’s good to know that Paul [Monoxide Child] and I are able to make something else aside from or not just pigeon-holing everything we do. It’s cool that we’ve been able to capture and delve into this fandom of ours and this pop culture love of ours and throw our hats in the game and do something cool too man! I’m really excited about it because three years ago I was on YouTube Live with Mike and Dustin, two other guys who pretty much help facilitate most of Astronomicon the last two years and I made a joke saying I think we should do, like that thing when you get a high school yearbook and they sign the back of your yearbook, but have it more like an autograph book so to speak and could you imagine showing up at Astronomicon in 2029 and having your book with all the autographs with entertainment from the past and he was like “whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down!’ and I’m like ‘hey man, I’m a progressive thinker’ … think positively! 2029 I want to be there and Astro to be strong! I want to be right up there with Wizard World and E2 and all that goodness.
Q: We know you guys did New York Comic Con, and you did San Deigo Comic-Con as well correct?
JM: Yeah, we did San Diego and that was a good time for us and we’ve been to ones in the past as well like when Wizard World used to do sporadic weekends. We did Wizard World Philadelphia and Wizard World Chicago a couple of times, so we’ve been to most of Con scene and not even when it’s just Twiztid. When they come to our area we take our families and they do cosplay and we go and we just go as attendees and soak up all the awesomeness. That’s how we learn a lot from what we see and more important and I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong, but in my own particular opinion and Paul’s particular opinion, in fact, we try to perfect what we personally are putting together and it has been a blessing to us. More people seem to be in agreeance with us because they keep saying that things are smooth and everyone is nice and polite because I’m like ‘If any of you guys are rude to any of these f**king people, well, you’re outta here!’ … this is an experience for them and I want them to have a great memory and I don’t want anything to sour this weekend experience for people who are giving up their time to come and experience what we put on for them. I want everyone to have a smooth, smooth time.
Q: Other than Astronomicon, what else is going on in the world of Twiztid these days?
JM: We are working on music and we kind of got this thing going, and everyone always says the smarta** thing like ‘I missed the memo’ but we kind of got the memo but the new thing is that people aren’t really doing albums anymore. Some of my favorite bands have all announced that they will never do a record again and they will just release singles every three weeks for the rest of their lives because that is what has unspokenly happened in the music industry where the access of digital outlets and just having your phone at your fingernails like ‘bam, click and tap it’ and there is a new song and then after you bring out an album, three days later people are like ‘when are you going to drop some new sh*t?’! It’s because we live in this hot n’ ready, fast food lifestyle where people want everything right now, now now and I binge-watch all seven seasons of Stranger Things, and you get what I’m saying … all in one night, so they immediately want the new one. I’m like ‘Wow, do know how long it took the people to make that?’… maybe you should watch it again! You don’t want to be a d**k, but with that said we’ve been recording songs and we still talk about putting a record together and I sound like a broken record because I’ve said that so much, like literally our only hangup, everything else we have figured out, our only hangup is just whether or not a long play record from Twiztid is usually like the ones that are themed and we think if we were to theme a record would it still have the same end effect if you weren’t able to it from top to tail.
Let’s say you skipped number 3 and you only heard the last two songs you’re like it’s not really my bag, but that would be because you didn’t get the whole rollercoaster ride, you just got the end. I don’t know if you compartmentalize an album and serve it up as singles, would it have the same effect. It will be great if it’s great music, there’s no question of that, I just mean to our fanbase and how we’ve done a lot of things in the past, a lot of things have been very themed. A lot of our albums have a chord and a heartbeat through them and they follow a certain pattern or style or something like that, so that’s been pretty much, if you want to call it that, our hangup! It’s what we’ve been kicking around when we’re not doing Astro 24-7, we talk about these things for Twiztid on the day Astro’s done. We’ll do it February 10th!
Q: It definitely makes sense and we can totally see your point because fans are immediately hungry for the next thing as soon as you drop something.
JM: And that’s a good thing! I’m not saying that’s wrong and that’s a great thing too. We should all be so blessed, that’s great, but what I’m saying is that you just want to please everyone. I’m one of those people who want to please everyone and give them what they want, but at the same time, I have people telling us this is how it has to be done and this is why I want it done properly so we’re structurally putting our music and its’ affairs in order it needs to be in so we can hopefully reach more people. We’ve been on this underground level for such a very long time and it’s like that old saying ‘teach an old dog new tricks’ … it is possible, but it just takes time.
Q: We do not think people give you guys the credit you deserve for all that you have accomplished for being artists primarily on the underground scene.
JM: I appreciate that … I actually appreciate that statement greatly! It breaks my heart when I go looking online, and that’s one of my pet peeves, and you know how everyone has those things they like to do, and I like to go online and get lost and just look and find things and look up people’s names or bands I used to listen to who were such a mega part of my life and just see where they are now and it literally breaks my heart when these people, and I’m not going to say any names because it’s irrelevant, but these people who commanded a moment in time or year in time or even a decade in time pale in comparison to followers to someone who I have no clue who they are such as some sort of Instagram influencer or something and they have 6. 7 million followers, yet someone else who played a great portion of my life has like 25,000 people following them. I’m just like ‘What happened?’ … do people know that they’re on here? And a lot of times I feel bad because maybe it’s not anything malicious, but there are many walls that you run into when you try to promote anything whether it’s a movie or record and you reach those walls and funds become exhausted, it’s like welcome to the underground.
Q: We hear you! We even look at some of these music festival line-ups and realize we have not heard of half of these performers.
JM: But it makes me smile when I do see five or six names that I do recognize and I’m like ‘oh, this is so awesome’ even if they are playing the seventh stage in the woods or whatever and it gives me joy that they are still out there doing it! It makes me feel good because I know these people had a passion for what they did which is what attracted me otherwise I would have never been attracted to it but it makes me feel good that all these years later they are still about the energy they put out. That’s important to me!
Q: What is something that you “nerd” out about in your spare time that we might be surprised to know?
JM: Well, I don’t know if anyone who knows me would really be surprised, but I have OCD really bad from time to time and as I collect comic books and I get them and I trade them and one of my OCD things is I have to everything look uniform so I will legitimately take apart an entire bagged collection of comic books and bag them so they have the continuity with the rest of my stuff. Everyone has their thing and that may be the one thing people don’t know about me because generally, I’m a really public guy. I am forever trying to cross-pollinate the comic nerds with the toy nerds and mix in the non-sports card nerds and just the autograph nerds and I’m just trying to get everyone to understand at the end of the day we all collect something, we all have a passion for something and to me, I’m most intrigued by it because after all these years I still have it. I still have the love for my toys and my comics and the things I’ve sought after and want to obtain, so I love it when I hear other people’s passion whether it be dolls or Beanie Babies or baseball cards or whatever your bag is … I’m not mad at you, I’m actually intrigued by the passion level people have for things. It speaks to me!