HENRY ROLLINS / ICE-T...
NO SELL-OUT: UNCENSORED
The following is a complete, unexpurgated transcript of the interview
used in the Axcess
article "No Sell Out" (Volume 3, No. 4). This
conversation took place at the Virgin Records offices in L.A. in May
1995. The participants are Ice-T, Henry Rollins, Axcess music editors
Leah Lin Jones and J.R. Griffin, and photographer Kevin Estrada.
ICE-T: You got to start your child off separate, away from the
ROLLINS: I got a Social Security Card when I was, I don't know,
ten. Before I knew what it was: "Don't lose this." "Okay." And [snapping
his fingers] I was in. I only realized this last night watching this that
it was all voluntary.
LEAH: You can't get a job without a social security card.
ROLLINS: You can't get paid if you do a gig. Let's say you speak
on Leno or do the Grammies or whatever... you can't get paid without that
social security number. They cannot pay you a penny.
ICE-T: So it's a lot of games. It's like America's a country,
right? And to live here they cut crap, so to speak. So you have to give
them a certain amount of your money to be in the system, but to beat that
you have to be totally away from all systems. You have to make illegal
money, you just can't play the game. That's why the problem is with drug
dealers and hustlers and people who don't pay. That's why in Nevada you
can gamble... they've figured a way they can tax it. Prostitution's legal
because they can tax it. They got to make it legal so they can get paid.
This country has to make it so it can get paid in some kind of way. The
I.R.S. is a private collection agency, they're not the government.
ROLLINS: Woodrow Wilson signed the bill that gave the Federal
Reserve Bank their juice, and in this quote that is in this documentary,
he said "I've unwittingly destroyed my own country." He totally regretted
it. Then they have all of these Thomas Jefferson quotes before that,
saying that when all the money's in the hands of the few, that's when
you're fucked. It's over with. America is all about everyone having an
equal say in it, but if the money gets all tied up-- big amounts to a
small amount of people-- then it's over with. And that's exactly what
ICE-T: You don't really feel them [the I.R.S.] until you are
making real money. Because I remember when I was little I used to hear
people screaming about taxes. You know, you got a job, they take some
taxes out, it's not really effecting you. But if you ever got into a
movie or something, then that's when you feel it. It's like "damn!" Like
"whomp!" they just hit you for like 45 percent-- so much money.
LEAH: The middle class gets the biggest chunk of money taken out
of their paychecks.
ICE-T: It's incredible.
LEAH: It's not fair. You can't live, you can't buy a house. You
can't afford to send your kids to private school. They have to go to
ICE-T: No, not a private school. See, that private school...
you'll need a social security number to get in. You have to home teach
your children. You have to not use anything.
KEVIN: Little House On The Prairie special.
ROLLINS: Yeah, but they'll find a way. It's like the whole David
Koresh thing and what happened to him. You're not playing the game, so
we'll save your kids and burn them up.
ICE-T: Here comes the ATF.
ROLLINS: This is what I feel about the whole Koresh thing, I don't
have all the facts but, the vibe I got was that "Oh, you're not gonna
come out and talk to us, we'll smoke you out." "You're on our property,
this is our shit." "Fuck you, man, you're gonna come talk to us one way
or the other. Oh, you won't, fine." Snap, crackle, pop.
GRIFFIN: It just came down to the guys with the most guns.
ROLLINS: They played the Koresh guys like cops in L.A. play you.
You look at them and they go, "Did you call me a motherfucker?" And you
say, "No, sir, no I didn't." Then they beat your ass up, take you away
and you say, "Your honor, the cop beat me up and dragged me in." And the
cop goes "He took a swing at me." They want it so bad, you even go like
that [jerks forward] and it's like, "He was moving at me in an aggressive
manner" when all you were doing is getting your keys out of the ignition.
They do what they want, basically.
LEAH: Just yesterday, I found out that you can deny them the
right to search your car.
ICE-T: But they can hold you.
LEAH: This is totally ridiculous.
ICE-T: What, are you looking for rights someplace? [laughs]
LEAH: Then why even grow up here in L.A.?
ICE-T: They just enforce the law different here. I'll give you an
example. My boy Shawny Shawn, he was on parole and they were raiding a
spot in an apartment building. They're not even at his place, and he's
looking out the window and they're going through his truck outside.
Stupid, he says, "Hey, what are you doing?" And they ask, "This your car?
Come here asshole!" "Well, um...what are you going through my truck for?"
"Where you live?" And they had a legal search because he had driven into
an apartment building and they were rushing somebody who was selling weed
in one of the buildings, they got a warrant for the whole building. So
they go into his girl's house and go in her closet, go up in the top and
find a small pistol. He's on parole and he's not supposed to be in a room
with a gun. Didn't even know it was there, it wasn't his gun-- I'd tell
you if it was his gun-- but he gets a year for that.
ROLLINS: Shawny Shawn's gone?
ICE-T: No, this happened before. But a parole violation. This is
the kind of stuff.... And I told him, "You know why you're in trouble?
Because you though you had rights, man." When they're fucking with your
truck you just let them fuck with your truck, because you don't have any
rights. You step up on them, "Hey, what are you doing?" "What am I doing?
How dare you ask me what I'm doing, let me put you in jail. Nobody tells
me who the fuck I am." I always fuck with 'em, though.
GRIFFIN: Well, when you got money to defend yourself in court
it's a different story.
ICE-T: It's not money with me, they know I have a big mouth and
they know I can get media attention. They know I'm outspoken. They know
that right now I can call CNN and get a press conference right now,
because of that last shit. At this moment right now I can say, "Yo, CNN,
I want to talk." And then fucking satellites will pop up here. And I'll
just be kidding and say, "Yo, Henry just won in Techno-Bowl" or some shit
like that, we just playing. Or he just beat me in Mortal Kombat. But I
can get everybody waiting, because you know, you gotta go live! It's
gotta be live, I wanna go live!. Live! Live! Live! Coming in, you know,
they'll be pre-empting the O.J. Simpson Trial, because they think I'll be
saying something. So when you get to that kind of position of power, it
just gets crazy. You know once, we were doing a photo shoot over in the
hood and we had a bunch of guns, right. And we looked and there was this
car down the street and they were watching us. So my buddies, they were
waving these pistols around and we were like on a side street and there
were no cops. And then the next thing you know, like ten units just
rolled up out of nowhere. We were like "Oh, shit" so we stuffed all the
guns in the car. One cop gets out and says, "Hold up, I know who this
is." He knows we weren't doing anything wrong. The guns were all legit.
He knows we weren't gang-bangers, we were just taking photos. And this
one asshole lady cop, she was just going by the book. Once the other cops
determined that we weren't just some gang members high signin' they were
like, it's okay. So they went into my trunk and I had one pistol and I
was like "It's mine, it's legit. It's not loaded, it's legit." And they
said, you know you can't be doing this. And I said, "I know, I know, I
know, I'm sorry." And it was cool. But she was like, "Hey, you can't have
this, you didn't check those guys' car." And the sergeant was like,
"Look, it's over." And he took me over to the side and he was like,
"Homegirl's a prick, just let me handle this shit." And he went to her
and said, "Look, if you want to be the officer that took Ice-T in for
some fucking bullshit gun charge, you do it, we're leaving." It was
basically like, "If we're going to take him in we have to take him in for
something. Don't make a fool out of yourself." So, they like stay the
fuck away from me until they find a body in my trunk or I do something
real, they just don't fuck with me. At this point, a lot of police are
coming up to me trying to be cool. They like come to me and they're like
"You know, we're cool." They do, I mean I got to give them that. Some of
them do, they want to identify themselves as not being the evil ones.
ROLLINS: Some cops really try and want to do the right thing. You
find that outside of California, in New York or in East Coast cities.
There are bad cops everywhere-- just the vibe is really different from
here to New York. If you're not like murdering someone, if you have a
joint, they'll just look out of the window of the car and say, "Hey, go
home with that." It's a joint! It's not a hatchet you're putting through
some woman's head. They know the difference between crime and some guy
sitting on the corner with a roach. They know the difference.
KEVIN: If you're drinking on the street in New York, it's cool.
But if you're doing it out here, then you get totally hassled.
ROLLINS: Well, in New York and other places, they have real crime.
In L.A. they don't try and stop the crime, they just try to contain it.
If blacks are killing blacks, great. If they do it on Barbara Streisand's
front lawn, we have problems. If they're doing down near the airport, whe
was like "It's mine, it's legitre all of those little animals live, fine.
It's like a self-cleaning oven. Fine. Do our job for us, we only have to
do the paperwork. But if you do it in Westwood or on the pier near
Venice, that's it.
ICE-T: In New York, and different places, the cops have to
co-exist with human beings, they walk the streets. They're in there, so
they just can't be wild. They stand there and talk to you. L.A.P.D., you
never see them until they are in motion, because they live in those cars.
Whenever you see them moving at you, you know it's not to say "Hi." So
people here become defensive. It's like when you see a cop in your
rear-view mirror, you're not happy at all, you're fucking paranoid. You
don't know what the fuck is going to happen. But the way it's written,
you're supposed to be "Oh, it's a cop, I'm safe." But it's not like that.
But there are different types. In Atlanta, it's so cold, because after I
did "Cop Killer" Atlanta wrote me a letter. And I was like, you know, I
dedicate that shit to L.A., Atlanta gave me a key to the city. The
fucking police chief picked me up, I went to the school with him. The
whole force was real cool. They were like, "That ain't us, Ice, I thought
we were cool." I'm like, "No, no... I was talking about these fools out
here. These fools out here lost their minds." They've been watching too
much T.V. cop shows.
ROLLINS: To keep a community happy you do need some reference
point, as in laws. Like, "Okay when you hi-jack a plane, we don't like
that," you know? When you abduct my daughter we have problems. But out
here it's Hollywood, the whole California thing. It really is a police
state. And they really run it differently. Me and Ice, we travel America
for a living, we see it a lot, and in our line of work there are always
police close by.
ICE-T: It's kind of like they register what you know they can do.
And if you say okay, search my car....
LEAH: If they ask to search my car, I'm like okay.
ICE-T: But you said no.
LEAH: The person that we were with knew and said, "No." And they
let us go. And he said, "Well, all right."
GRIFFIN: But then you're guilty.
ICE-T: What they do, they let you go.
LEAH: We had a driver with long hair [and] sun glasses. We were
tired from snowboarding all day. So they pulled us over for seatbelts.
And he's all, "Get out of the car" and Mark's all, "Why?" And he said,
"You look lethargic. What are you on?" Lethargic! We've been snowbaording
all day. And he put him through the drunk test and asked to search the
car and Mark said, "You can't do that without my permission." And I
thought, "Oh my god, he's arguing with a cop." I'd get out of the car and
do whatever. So he asked again if he was giving him permission. And Mark
said no, so he wrote us a ticket for seatbelts and let us go. We got
lucky. He should have kept his mouth shut, at least that what I think.
And he's all, "No. Why should I? I'm driving home."
ICE-T: Try that at three o'clock in the morning, four black
ROLLINS: Yeah. [laughs]
ICE-T: It's a different game.
ROLLINS: If you look more intense.
ICE-T: They do all kinds of stuff... like one time we were
getting ready to go to a show and the whole crew showed up at my house.
We had like fifteen people and it got wild. Somebody called the cops, so
they come and they knock on the door and they said there were complaints,
blah, blah, blah. They told everybody to come out of the house, lined
them out in the hallway and searched everybody in the hallway. Then they
told everybody to leave. And I just wouldn't leave, "Where we going to
go?" Know what I'm saying? I live here too. Leave? Like that. And then
they just left. So they're going to try to do what they can until you
stop them. If they say lay on the ground and you lay, then you'll be
laying there. If they say, you know, kiss my ass, you'll be doing it. You
have to stop 'em. It's like Moslems. They won't sit on the curb. They
won't. Period. When they get out, they get in their little position and
they look you straight in the eye. And you know, I'm under arrest, ...
I'm not going to put my hands on that hood. And they know it, and they
just go "Okay, these are some Moslems." And they know that these brothers
have these suits on and they're not going to sit on no curb. They'll do
me and Henry and they'll go "Sit on the curb!" You know, you're so scared
you just go to the pavement, like bam!
ROLLINS: I'll never stand up to another cop. They've called me so
many names, it's like "Yes sir." It's like "Hello, faggot." "Yes sir,
whatever you say." You should have seen when the Cop Killer thing was
happening on Lollapalooza. Dallas, Texas, I'll never forget that. Lines
of cops just walking through the backstage complex, just these little
militia lines seeing anybody they could find from the Body Count crew,
and just vibing them. Moose Man, bass player, big dude, knocks on our
door and asks [whispers] "Can I come in and stay in here?" We're like
"Yeah, of course. What's the matter?" Me and our guitar player looked out
and these guys were around Ice's bus, everywhere. They were just vibing
the shit out of anyone with the Syndicate jacket on. It's like wow, they
really want you guys out of here. We sat in there for I think two bands'
sets. It think we all snuck out of there to see Jane's Addiction. But
it's... wow, they're real fuckers.
ICE-T: I'm used to them now. In Chicago they were on the roof,
the whole shit, the S.W.A.T. team. We were making jokes after a while. We
were like, "What do you call a cop in Chicago out at 2 a.m., picketing a
Ice-T show?" "A Cop-cicle." [Rollins laughs] You know, because they were
freezing their asses off. It just got so stupid and stuff. One night they
gave me this thing that said not to play the ["Cop Killer"] song. I read
it and I took my pants down and I wiped my ass with it. And what happens
is, once they found out I was just totally disobedient, they just say,
"Well, fuck him. Just fuck him." Because I'm not going to break the
law--I'll break one of those little bullshit laws, but I'm not doing
But I had one really good incident with a policeman in San Diego. We're
riding, we're coming out of this spot and we're coming out of this club
and, you know-- the worst thing they hate is for people to love you-- so
I'm coming out and I'm kissing babies and shit and girls are like
screaming, people are like "Hey, Ice-T." And the cops are watching and I
got this Rolls [Royce], right, so we jump in. And one of the reasons I
bought it is because I went in to see how dope they were and the dude was
like, "You got to get this car." And I was like, "Why?" And he said
"Because they can't have one. You've got to buy one. Put your boys in it
with hats and play rap music, and just fuck with them." And I'm like,
"Yeah, fuck that, this might be the only chance my buddies get to ride in
one of these." So this cop is standing on the corner and he's looking at
us. So I rolled the window down and I said, "Yo, man you got a problem or
something?" And he's like, "Yeah I got a problem with you." And I asked
"Are you cop?" And he said "Yeah, I'm a cop."
ROLLINS: Were they out of uniform?
ICE-T: Yeah, like two plain clothes guys. So I'm like, "Fuck you,
you piece of shit pig. You ain't shit" And I just cursed him out. I told
him I was fucking his wife and I said, "Doesn't this kill you, four black
kids in a fucking Rolls? You'll never, ever have anything, you underpaid
piece of shit." I called him everything. And he's like, "Eeehh, asshole."
We drove off and his buddy looks at him like "You told them, right?." And
my buddies were all sitting in the car like totally frozen, like "Ice,
it's the police outside!" It's like, fuck you. It's like fuck it. I used
to watch all of those James Cagney movies. Henry is more like, 'be cool.'
I'm more like 'fuck it.' I remember when I was watching James Cagney and
the cops came up to him and he's like, "Look, you ain't got nothing on
me, get the fuck out of my face, pig." And just roll off on them. The
fact that I'm not doing anything illegal, it's like "What the fuck." They
ask "You know why I stopped you?" "Yeah I know why you stopped me,
because you see me rolling in a nice car that you can't afford. Now can
we move on to the next question?"
ROLLINS: I would never say that, boy. Just because the idea of
jail just blows me away.
LEAH: Have you ever been to jail?
ROLLINS: Nope. Not arrested, I've been taken in places , you know,
they've kept me ove night and stuff, but not in jail. I don't really
break laws. To get me in jail it would have to be a cop that was trying
to fuck with me. And that I don't have a weapon, I just don't really do
anything that could get me all that busted, unless a cop had a real
ICE-T: But the scary thing is that you really don't have to do
ROLLINS: See, that's what scares me. That's scary. I had one cop
put his gun in my eye socket.
ROLLINS: Yeah, it was a young cop and I was looking up and I'm
like "Wow, it's silver..." I was just checking it out, his hand was
shaking. It was pretty scary, you know. It was a while ago and he came
into this tiny little tool shed I was living in-- I was living on the
floor-- and all of the sudden I heard this "freeze!" And I was typing at
this little typewriter and I was like "Okay," I turn around and I see
this guy and I thought I was hallucinating. I was like, "That's funny,
because I thought I just saw a cop." And I go back to typing and the guy
goes "Hey!" And I went "It really is a cop!" Because I did think I was
hallucinating. You really think a cop's going to be in your tiny tool
shed in the back yard at two in the morning? And he comes right over and
he's like "You live here?" And I'm like "Yeah. Unfortunately, yeah I do."
And he's like "Okay." Then he walked out. And this girl I was going out
with lived in the main house and I said "Did that happen? Did a cop just
come out here?" And she said "Yeah, that happened." Because I did think I
imagined it. But it was kind of scary in that I didn't do dick. I didn't
do anything and this cop has his gun in my face. Cops know who I am,
because I'll go on T.V. and use any chance I get to talk about police.
Especially when I do an L.A. talk show. Dennis Miller or Jay Leno, or
whatever, I'll always mention names-- Stacy Coon, whatever I can. And
I'll talk about cops and say the word pig. I've been doing this in the
media for many years. Black Flag-- a band I was in many years ago-- we
were dedicated to fucking with Darryl Gates' life via radio commercials
on KROQ, big interviews, Rhona Barret, any media we could get. We were
talking about Darryl Gates before I heard anybody ripping on him.
ROLLINS: They knew who Black Flag was and they would bust me every
other day on the way back from band practice. I'd be walking and the same
car pulls over: "Hey, faggot." "Good afternoon officer." It was our
normal thing. They would frisk me and they would put the finger way back
on me like this and they would go, "Okay, what's in your gym bag?" And I
had like a sweaty pair of shorts, and I would go "Here, I'll show ya."
"Don't move!" And I'm like okay. They'd say "Open the bag slowly." I'd
laugh because if this cop knew how lightweight I am, this starving
vegetarian guy who can't even afford to get laid. I can't even afford to
have a date, I'm so poor at this point. I'm like, "Okay, here's the
contraband." And it's like this really rancid piece of clothing and this
sandwich with like sprouts and tofu. "There it is," you know, and they
would have to let me go. Anyway, what else did you want to ask us?
GRIFFIN: But you do have to find some sort of common ground with
the law, you do have to work with them at some point.
ROLLINS: A guy like Ice can never depend on the law. He has to
bring his own.
ICE-T: Yeah, I bring my friends. I don't really have problem with
people. I never really had no fear of nothing happening.
ROLLINS: You don't have any real enemies.
ICE-T: You know, I don't have no real enemies. I'm more afraid of
making the people an enemy. Even when I had the drama, it wasn't so much
a fear of the police, but a fear of the police sympathizers that would
say "Oh you think you're so tough" blah, blah, blah, like that. Not the
fact that he would hurt me, but that he would cause me to hurt him.
Because if somebody made a move on me and I acted-- whether he hurt me or
I hurt him-- then I'm in jail. So I just like, you know, I try to avoid
heavy confrontations. And I'm a cool person, really, I'm not out looking
for it. And I don't have bodyguards or nothing, I just have a lot of good
friends. Which is much better than anybody you could pay, because they
are more concerned with you because they love you, you know. I keep
little guys with me, you don't need no big monsters. They're never there
when the shit goes down, they're looking the other way trying to get
something to eat. So, you know, just keep your friends. I feel safer
sometimes with a girl, just somebody who gives a fuck about you when
something's getting ready to go down. Me knowing people... there could be
any situation. Something could come totally out of the blue, then at that
point what could protect you? If somebody's really going to move on you
in that capacity? Nothing. It's going to come right out of the sky, right
between the eyes. It's over. So it's not an issue .It's like I become
numb to situations after awhile. It's like they're there, go about your
business. I have other things to do. I'm just trying to stay employed at
this point. That's all I'm trying to do. I look at my life, okay, at the
age I am if I fucking tomorrow stop making money, I'd be broke real
quick. I have to keep working, I got a kid, I got people who count on me,
so I try to stay employed, that's it.
GRIFFIN: And lately, both of you have been reinventing yourselves
to do just that. Stay employed.
ROLLINS: If you're stage oriented, performance oriented, say with
music, acting is not the same thing, but accustomed to it. As in if you
got a guy who can play guitar, you hand him a banjo and in two minutes he
can crank out a tune, because it's strings and notes. Acting is a
different level of performance and discipline and concentration that
music takes.... Two days into a movie, you're like "Oh, acting, it's what
I usually do, only it's in little tinier bites and there's tape on the
floor. I can hang with this." It's delivering. If you have to be mad, get
there and go with it. You're using someone else's words a lot of the
time, sometimes you get to write your own stuff. I don't see why more
people in bands don't do more stuff. I always wondered why a guy would be
in a band and just do that and then just sit around and smoke dope all
day when they could be doing all this cool stuff. And writing, for me, I
figured went along with being a singer in a band. You are a thinking
person, therefore you must process your thoughts on paper otherwise how
good are your lyrics going to be? Me favorite lyricists were people like
Dylan, someone who had something to say, and wouldn't just keep repeating
the same chorus. They'd take the chorus opportunity to flex more ideas.
Like those early Dylan records are loaded. There's a lot of good
lyricists out there, but to me the written word was always, like, right
there. You should write books, you should be thinking. I don't know, I do
a lot of different stuff. Ice does books, he does movies, he does all
that stuff, too. None of it was ever a real huge leap for me. I was like
"Oh movies, yeah." And I started doing films here and there and I hang
with it fine, like no problem.
ICE-T: It's all like entertainment, you know. And, to me, a life
of entertaining is like a dream. You make records and make money and
perform, that's dream shit. So people keep adding to your dreams and
you're like, fuck yeah. Everybody looks at T.V. and you're like "yeah
man, that's cool." You know rock bands, you look at videos, you want to
do that shit. Than all of the sudden you're doing it. Rap was something I
didn't know I could really do. You know, I just talked. And I did it. I
was like, "shit." I had a group of guys around me who could play
instruments and I was like "damn, guys, we need a place to play, let's
try this, fuck it" And we did it! Somebody said you want to be in a
movie? "Fuck yeah, I want to try to be in a movie!" I'm not turning down
any opportunities. I'll keep that up. You give me something that I want
to do, and I'll try it. I'll try to interview people, I'll try to shoot
that goddamn camera. It's not a thing with me, and it's fun. It's like
"Well, why would you want to act?" What? Are you an idiot? Everybody
wants to act, you know what I'm saying. And you're offered an
opportunity, you bust your ass. And you come out and you do it, and when
people like it, it's like super shit. It's super shit. When I was in
London, they were asking "Are you thinking about getting into the
Guinness Book of World's Records for having the most show business
occupations? You have a management company, record label, acting, rock,
rap, movies, books." I'm like, "I don't know-- is there a category? Tell
me what else I have to do to get in there. Do I got to stand on my head
and gargle peanut butter?" I'm down. I'm down, and I'm always looking for
new collaborations, like now I'm creating another group. Just for the
fuck of it. It's going to be another rap group, but it's going to be
called 0-Positive, which is going to be a totally negative rap group. We
are going to be a satirical hard-core group that just says nothing
positive. That's what it's called: 0-Positive. Like we're doing one like
"Flipping Like O.J." The wildest, the worst shit you could imagine. And
we are using all professional rappers, but they're all rapping under
aliases. Like one kid called Kool Keith, his name is Shit. "Take the
mike, Shit!" And Shit just takes the mike and, it's the worst... it's
ROLLINS: I hate it when every once in awhile I'll do something,
I'll branch off into some shit and I'll get letters, [in a whining voice]
"you're selling out, how could you do this?" It's like man, don't be so
jealous. Don't you get it? I worked for a living and then some guy wants
me to be in a movie? In three weeks-- I have one more day on this movie
I'm doing. I have a fight scene with Al Pacino coming up. Scarface. Me
and Scarface are going at it. For sixteen hours we are going to like
fight each other. If anyone gives me a drop of shit about that, I just go
fuck you, first off.
ROLLINS: Second off, you are so full of shit, because if you
could, you would. And you probably can't, so instead of giving me shit,
get up earlier than you do, stop smoking the dope, and go for it. But
don't fuck with me since I at least have the balls to go for it. And if I
don't cut it, they'll fire me. If I go up and audition for the part and I
don't get it, I don't get it. But don't fuck with me for going for it. I
really hate that.
GRIFFIN: You both come from a judgmental fan base, punk rock and
ICE-T: First off, they're fans, right? So, they're watching us,
right? So that means one thing, that we're leading. What I'm doing with
my people is, I'm redefining what hardcore is. Okay, if they're looking
at me as hardcore, then they're not necessarily hardcore. They're looking
at me. So I'm going to define what hardcore is. Hardcore, to me, is doing
what the fuck you want to do. That's what it is. If I fucking want to
play a fucking kangaroo, I can do that! Because fuck you, I can be
hardcore enough to tell them, fuck you! I didn't let them send me down
their lane. And at this point, that is where Ice-T is. People have to
come to the conclusion that Ice is going to do whatever the fuck he wants
to do. That motherfucker don't give a fuck about us, he's that hardcore.
So you have to redefine it. Henry redefined it. Also the word "sell-out,"
people confuse sell-out with aspiring to be something. That's not selling
out. That's treating yourself right because you're a human being you
deserve every-fucking thing. You know, what makes us different from
anybody. Selling is when you lose contact with your own agendas, it's
when you give in your real true feelings for a job. Henry ain't every
gonna do that, and I ain't every gonna do that. I still talk about "fuck
the police." I still care about my community. And that's why I'm doing
everything, so I can get some money so I can help my friends! When I give
that up...Just let me elaborate real quick on this sell-out shit because
I got story and this is it. When I was at Warner Brothers, okay, I was in
the position to make like $20 million a year. Right now Quincy Jones is
the man over there. What has Quincy Jones done lately? Nothing. So why is
Quincy Jones over there in a position of power? It's because he's black.
They need a black person in a company like that to be in a power position
so whenever somebody says something, they can say, "we got Quincy..." So
they were looking at me. "Ice-T does rap, rock, he does all of this
stuff, he can pretty make a phone call to anyone in the industry and get
things done, we'll prime him for this position. Give him a multilateral
game where he has movies, TV, everything, does all that shit. Let's try,
let's give him a Maverick [Madonna's record label], give him some shit."
I'm sitting on all of this shit, I had a comic book, I had "New Jack City
II," I had a TV show, Ice-TV, I had my record and a Body Count record. I
had all that shit. They told me, "could you just tone it down?" And I
said no. I left all that shit. Started my own label from scratch and
people said I sold out. Do you understand? A sell out was right there! It
was right there, and I didn't, but I still get called a sell out because
people are so fucking confused. So at this point, I just go "fuck all of
y'all. You're not even qualified to comment on this shit, because you're
not even fighting the battles we fight." Ain't in no position. You're
just a fucking kid sitting in your room saying, "Rollins sold out, he did
a movie." Suck a dick, you know.
ROLLINS: They don't know what it take to even make a record. They
don't know and they don't care. Because it's mommy's condo politics, they
sit around with their baggy clothes and there're living off of mommy's
refrigerator, and they can say these things. But when they go out in the
real world-- when an 18-year-old boy goes out and meets 1995 America--
that person better be smart because it's rough. For me, the whole sell
out thing--let's say I got offered to do a movie I really wanted to do.
If I didn't do it, that would be selling out-- selling out to your fear.
Selling out to the powers of weakness that jump up in your life. You
know, you just have to go "God damn it, life is so short. I've got to go
for it." You feel you've got to go for it. What these people don't
understand is-- and please don't take this the wrong way-- if there
weren't people like me and Ice, really taking a lot of chances, their
world would be smaller and their opportunities coming out would be
smaller. A guy like me, able to make the rent on what I do, which is a
zero compromise, single-minded vision. I have record labels, I sign who I
want. I put out the writers I want. I write the books I want. I
compromise not one iota on anybody's anything. We make the writers on the
label approve the typeset, so it's just what the artist envisioned, sound
wise, reading wise, whatever. And the fact that I'm living in a building
I own because of all of this-- instead of calling me sell out, get the
lesson, kids. You can do this. Because I come from middle class. I am not
exceptionally smart. I have sense. I have business sense. But learned it
from working $3.25 an hour retail jobs. And I learned how to fight by
getting my ass kicked and going, "Okay, that's never going to happen
again, how can I scheme my way out of this?" You're lucky enough to get
some hard knocks that teach you some lessons. And the fact that Ice has
even survived his fucking youth and is not like some guy-- like many of
his friends who are away for many years-- the fact that he is not like
that, because he's an American Black, he comes from a whole other politic
than I do. I'm a white guy, my role is way different. And the fact that
either of us came through at all, should be a cool lesson to other
people. Like kids give me shit. It's like, "Don't you get it, kid? I'm on
your side. Don't you see, I'm your boy in the trenches. I'm your point
man, don't you get it? I like you more than you will ever know and I
don't even know your name. Don't you see it? There are other people who
are selling you out, not us. So call the dogs off."
ICE-T: I learned by watching other people in the business. You
can do it and not compromise your integrity, you just have to work that
much harder. They'll come up and say, "Ice-T is mainstream." But I'm not
mainstream, I just peaked the underground out. I'm not mainstream. If I
was mainstream, I would be doing Nike commercials, I'd be doing Coke
commercials. I'd be out there on the top of that fucking shit riding on
that, but I'm not. I've just figured a way to push the limit, to get the
underground heard. Mainstream is a whole other realm, another zone.
LEAH: Say Nike came to you and offered you $150,000 to do
something. How do you know when to take it?
ICE-T: They do. I don't have anything against Nike, personally.
If I had something against Nike, then it would be an issue. What I'm
trying to say is that, at this point, if I was mainstream, you'd see us
in a whole other realm of things.
ROLLINS: And the lyrics wouldn't be the same, the approach, the
look. the style. The way you see it, the public would not be the same.
Because if you work for MCA, and they're grooming you to be Michael
Bolton-- you never see that guy cuss in public. Have you ever seen all of
these people who are really big, big and you happen to see them on Jay
Leno and they're like "oh, yes" and nice. Then you run into them in a
restaurant and they're like "motherfucker!" These people are like night
and day. Because they have to play the game. Barbara Streisand hanging
out with the President is one thing. Barbara Streisand bitching out some
guy in the parking lot is another thing. She's probably one hellacious
woman to deal with. These people have to do a lot of tying their little
dicks in knots for the fact that they are rewarded by kudos from higher
political offices, obscene amounts of money which they will never spend
in their lifetime and a double life: the public life and the dirty shit
they get into with their friends. Look at them: drug addicts, suicidal,
millionaires blowing their brains out on their $3,000 teak desk. Why?
Because they know they sold out. There are so many overpaid, under
talented actors who just look at their castles going, "Jesus, what a
scam." Fuck. And that's why they're so self-abusive. That's the
mainstream evil. Like with Black Flag, that band I came up with, our idea
was to take the underground overground. Like all the people who were
mainstream, we were like "get the fuck out of here. It's right here
motherfucker!" We used to advertise our gigs by spray painting the date
and times on the buildings. We used to totally destroy the shit. Like oh
yeah we're playing a gig [pretending to spray paint] "we are playing
here." And you could read it on the side of the Arby's. We would just
ruin. And we wanted in, but our way. And a guy like Ice, he has a real
movie profile. And me, I have profiles here and there, but there's no
compromise. A woman like Sheryl Crow is doing it their way. She's having
the song writers come in, they give her the music. You ever hear that
song "All I Want To Do Is Have Some Fun"? Four people wrote that music.
Big leap: "All I want to do is have some fun/I can't believe I'm the only
one." Four people to do that. How many people does it take to screw in a
light bulb? How many people does it take to write a Sheryl Crow song?
Four. What an idiot. And she goes staggering out with her Grammies. When
I was at the Grammies I saw her get all of that and heard the song,
watched her kick it live-- which was putrid-- heard the record--
brainless-- and saw the kudos, I went, "Now I got it: play the game, get
that." You do it our way, you take all the knocks, you get all the glory,
you come out with the charisma, the cool scars, the great stories and no
weird bitterness at age 55.
ICE-T: Somebody like Nike, unless I had something personally
against them and they did it my way, but what they do it is they say,
"oh, we have to delve into this particular realm of hardcore individual,
let's let Ice do it." But I know why they're coming at me, because they
want to get a certain market. I did a Japanese Nike commercial, which was
cool. I played with some of the Clippers and we had these Japanese kids
out there and we were talking shit. The shit came off kinda phat. But I
didn't get no money for it, I got a few thousand dollars, I didn't get
paid. But it's like if I got something personally against you I won't do
it. I got a good example: they want me to do beer commercials. A lot of
rappers do beer commercials. I don't drink beer. So St. Ides came to me
and said, "Ice, would you do a beer commercial?" I'm like, "I don't drink
beer. My boys drink beer. Could you do a commercial where I don't drink,
but my boys are drinking?" I'm not going to drink it to make people think
ROLLINS: You get offered a lot of money for alcohol ads.
ICE-T: But that ain't what I do. We could do it another way. But
they just like...I passed it. So that's where your integrity is. I'll
give you another example: K Swiss. You know K Swiss. And I was on
Arsenio, so I had them on. I walked on the stage, blah, blah, blah. The
fucking next day, like boom, kids just went for it. So K Swiss were like
"could you do a poster? We'll do this, we'll do that." I was like, "okay,
cool, I've been wearin' this shit since high school, I'll wear it." So I
was like, cool. A week later, they called me back and said they didn't
want to do it. So they sent me a pair of shoes.
LEAH: What did you do with those shoes?
ICE-T: I wear them. I'm not mad at them. I like the shoe. You
know, fuck their politics, but it ain't the shoes fault. But it's like
Henry says, "You take the knots. You make a bed, you lay in it."
ROLLINS: Yeah, and Sheryl's gonna lay in hers too. When she's up
in the castle next year she'll know what it's about. No one can escape
GRIFFIN: You've been in a lot of movies-- are you as serious
about those or do you just have fun with it?
ICE-T: Yeah, but it's selective. My prerequisite is "Would I go
ROLLINS: Same here. Would I tell my friends to go see me in that
movie? If I can't I don't take the part. I'm blowing off a part today
that I was offered near half a mil to do the film. And I'm blowing if off
because of who's in it and what it's about.
ICE-T: What is it, man, give me some.
ROLLINS: I'll tell you later.
LEAH: Come on, we won't print it.
ROLLINS: Yeah, right. But all I could say it that it doesn't
matter who or what. All I know is that I couldn't call my friend Ian
MacKaye and tell to go check me out in this film. That's why I won't do
KEVIN: Would he laugh about it?
ROLLINS: No, he would just go, "That's not the guy I grew up
with." And if I can't be the guy he met when he was eleven years old,
then I don't want the part. And I wouldn't want it anyway, but I sure did
give it some thought, the money, I could sure do a lot with that dough.
But my luxury in life is that I get to look at myself in the mirror and
go "You're all right."
Yeah. Yeah, that's the cool thing when you get shit and you had achieved
some shit and you know you did it the right way. You
know you bust your ass, that's why I'm like not apologizing for shit.
Fuck you. I'm not apologizing for this is shit. The only movie I've done
that might be out there is the movie that's coming out, Tank Girl.
But I wanted to wear make-up. See, I grew up reading Fangoria and
when they called me up to play the movie they said they wanted me to play
a Ripper in Arizona. For a minute I though they said stripper.
Immediately in my mind was pictures of people putting shit in my G-string
and that's kind of phat. I'm like damn, man. Because I got my own reasons
too, but I got to be real. I said "fuck yeah!" And then they said, "No, a
Ripper." And I said "A Ripper? A Kangaroo?" So what's the name of the
movie? Tank Girl ? I thought it was a joke. I was like, "This is
bullshit. Is my career going that down?" And they said, "No, it's cool.
It's a comic book." And they said that the Rippers are cool and Stan
Winston is doing the make-up. And I know Stan Winston, I'm like yeah,
"Jurassic Park." I'm like okay, "get me some of those comic books out to
L.A." And I read some of those comic books and I was like, yeah these
comic books are cool, this shit is cool. So I was like yeah, I'll do it,
I want to wear make-up. Little ICE could get to see me in that outfit.
Later on in life-- movies are forever--y ou can look back at them. And
this is a chance for him to go, "look that's my daddy." I kinda did it
for my kid, I did it so I could wear the make-up. I don't know if I could
really tell the homies to go see that particular movie. But my homies are
going to go see it just because they're down, just to bug off. They're
the kind that'll come out there, "the movie was whack, but you was dope."
That's how they go. I had this one guy last night in Las Vegas. We did a
show in Vegas. And this one dude walked up to me at a McDonald's and
said, "yeah I seen that commercial for your Tank Girl and that's not
ROLLINS: Of course not, it's a kangaroo.
ICE-T: I know. I said, "naw, man, I mean, it's a movie--
ROLLINS: It's called acting, fuckface.
ICE-T: Right. I got more pissed off because I was like "your kid
will probably like it." And he was like, "naw, man, no way." So then I
was like, [whispers] "You know, got paid a million dollars." And he was
like "You go paid that much?" And I was like "yeah." And I just walked
off. And he's standing there waiting on his large fries. And I didn't
even get a million dollars, I just said it just to fuck with him. You
know, I didn't get that. And his kid was just looking at him like "what
about my Bigwheel you can't afford, you fuck-ass. Leave Ice alone, he's
rich." And I just walked off. People get in your ass, and you know, I'll
just take a screwdriver to the side of their head. I knew that is what
was going to get him, somebody else I might have said something
different. But I have fun. I hated making that movie. It was the worst
shit, too. One day in the make-up, it's like, "Hey, look at me." Second
day, third day, fourth day, I was like suicidal. I was like "God damn, I
got to get a way out of this." And then they would say, "Ice, you're our
strongest Ripper, if you break down, everybody will break down. You have
ROLLINS: How many days was it?
ICE-T: Twenty-eight days.
ROLLINS: How many pounds was all of that gear?
ICE-T: Six pieces of application on my face, with a helmet with
moving ears, and a rubber suit. We shot in Arizona: one-hundred and ten
at night. And everybody else was like, "Break for lunch!" And you're
still in a rubber suit walking around, and you got a tail sticking out
your ass, you had to sit on.
ROLLINS: Don't step on my tail.
ICE-T: And the cold thing about it is that usually, you're on the
set, you can get on the phone, you know, talk to people or shit. Usually
on the set, you know, they got all kinds of groupies running around. It
was like no groupies. And I was like in my room, like, "Nobody can see me
like this." You couldn't run off the set there the middle. You couldn't
do nothing. People would call and say, "Wo, whatssup, whatssup?" It was
like, "Don't come, just chill. I'll be finished in a little while. I'm in
a warp zone." You've seen the movie--[Lori] Petty goes off, though. She's
cool. Whatever. Johnny Mnemonic is going to be phat.
ROLLINS: I saw a version of It a few weeks ago, it was cool. I
read it, I loved the script. Then I went, "so, who's in it?" And they
said, "Well, Ice-T's in it." And I said, "Oh, great! That's so cool,
ICE-T: We get to do a movie.
ROLLINS: Yeah, to do a movie together, great. No scenes with him.
I never saw him once on the set. And I only saw him the other day in the
movie. It was such a drag.
ICE-T: Yeah, and in the movie I talk about him and he talks about
me. And it's like we never see each other.
ROLLINS: It's weird. It's like working on a fraction. A fraction
of a big picture. This thing I'm doing now, the director makes you, you
know, you do six hours of walking thorough a door, four hours sitting
down-- a very demanding director. I can't wait to see this movie.
ICE-T: What's it called?
ROLLINS: Heat. It's DeNiro, Pacino, Val Kilmer. It's
KEVIN: Did you get to work with DeNiro?
ROLLINS: No, me and Pacino have a scene coming up. And I met him
the other day, sitting next to him. On the outside, I'm like, "How do you
do sir? Good to meet you." And on the inside I'm like, "This is
Scarface!" Because I grew up loving that guy's work so much. And it's
like I'm a fan, I'm a fan. Outside I'm cool. Like, "I meet guys like you
everyday." But on the inside I'm like, "Boy, this is so cool!"
ICE-T: You got to realize that this shit is fun. It's like a
ROLLINS: It is fun.
ICE-T: It's dream world. And don't front and act like it's not.
Because then you're a sucker. I'm a fan of music, I'm a fan of the whole
shit. Henry, when we go on tour, we watch everybody. You got to realize
that. Because if you lose that and start acting like your shit is
something else, you're fucking bullshit. Because then, you're losing half
of the fun. Half of the fun is you're there. So if you can learn to enjoy
it and do it at the same time, then you're really getting the full charge
of the show business life.
ROLLINS: And hopefully it inspires, I always try to inspire.
Anyone who buys a record of mine or goes to a gig, I hope to be somehow
inspiring and if they get anything from it, they should get, "I can do
this. Look at that guy, he can't hit a note to save his life. I can be in
a fucking band." I thought that's what the whole thing was about. And
with all of this if you're not having any fun, well, you're screwing up.
And hopefully people will go, "Wow, I'll go for that, instead of going
for that McDonald's job that my dad's intimidating me to go into. Or like
go into the army like my dad keep saying." That's what my dad told me,
"You're going to go into the Navy!" You know when I was young, he used to
scare me. I used to go, "Wow, I guess I'm going to go into the Navy." And
then my stepmother, who's never nice to me, and this one time she was
nice to me, she pulled me over to the curb and said, "You're not going
into the fucking Navy, okay. You're going to go do whatever you want.
Don't listen to him." And I said, "Oh, thanks." I never occurred to me. I
thought I was going into the Navy. And maybe these kids can see someone
going for it, that's the whole thing. I've always been inspired by
ICE-T: Me too.
ROLLINS: Because she just came from the Midwest, went out to New
York and said fuck it. And went for it. And any dollar she has in her
bank, she deserves.
ICE-T: And there ain't nobody calling the shots for Madonna. You
know every move she's fucking making, I don't see anybody behind her
saying, "try this." She's definitely calling the shots.
ROLLINS: She does it her way.
ICE-T: I met Madonna back in the day when she first had her
record and she came in a club. She was just the shit, just to watch her
blow up. And she's also somebody who supposedly has no talent, you know,
that people say. She's making such cold moves and shit. I like her, and I
like Don King. Because Don King is an ex-con, comes out of the
penitentiary, everybody hates him, but none of the boxers are going to
say nothing bad about him, because he's getting 'em paid. He wraps
himself in America so, like, being so like, I don't know the word,
telling America where to kiss his ass and wraps himself in the flag. Only
in America, only in America! If they hated him he'd be in jail right now.
They do, but he fucking does it all with his hair combed up in the air.
And that right there says to me, and says to everybody, that you do not
have to adapt to the format, just be the fucking man-- to have a $20
million kingdom. And you have to understand Don King's personality, he's
just rubbing it in the face of everybody, just saying "fuck you" in his
own way. "Oh, yeah I love America!" Everything. Whenever he goes on a
television shows, it's always about whatever the fuck he wants, you know.
I've seen him take Arsenio from a question about his mother to the fight.
It's like, "What about your mother?" "My mom's going to be at the fight!"
The fight! He's out of control. He can promote anything! He's the best at
what he does and he taught me that excellence is the best weapon against
racism. If you're excellent, nothing can stop you. If you're a mediocre
cameraman, you're going to get a mediocre job. If you're the best, they
don't give fuck if you walk in this room in diapers, they'll deal with
you. But you have to be the best. Once you're the best, you start writing
your own shit. Everything else is a cop-out. "Well, I want to get a
computer job." That's because you're not the best in computers.
ROLLINS: Yeah, get up earlier, go to bed later.
ICE-T: I seen some interview you did where you told some fucking
dude to do some push ups and try to be Henry Rollins in my movie.
[laughing] You told some dude to get up, do some push ups, get a life,
learn to sing and get a, what did you say, a harder jawbone or some shit
and try to play Henry Rollins in my movie. This motherfucker went off.
ROLLINS: Well, I hate these guys that are like, "You know what you
need to do..."
ICE-T: You know what you need to do?
ROLLINS: Why don't you come work out with me? You can't! Why don't
you do what I do for five days? You can't! Because your DNA would fucking
break down on you. The truth is you can't even hang at my altitude, so
GRIFFIN: So when is the Rollins movie coming out? Jim Carrol's
ICE-T: Nobody wants a movie about them. I don't want some
narcissistic bullshit like that. I don't even put my pictures on the
ROLLINS: Yeah, I'm over that. Ice is right on. See, everyone
thinks that you really go for all of this stuff, that you're some
egotistic maniac, when you're just a go-for-it-aholic. Well I can do
that. I'm in a position where I can give that a shot. Man, if I don't go
for it, I'm going against everything I think I stand for. So you see all
of these people who are really trying to go for it. Every once in awhile,
you meet a movie star or some rock star who's some big shit and some of
them are fucked up in the head. And then you meet someone who's pretty
major and they're like so straight up. And you're like, "wow, that person
reminds me of me." That person is really approachable. They just get up
at six in the morning and they apply themselves. Like, "what did you do
Saturday?" "I worked." "What did you do Sunday?" "Oh, I read for two
hours and then I worked." That's why you are where you are.
ICE-T: Exactly. Exactly. What really motivates me is that chance
at the opportunity. When I first got a chance to rap and make real money
and records and shit, they said, "Ice, you need to try this, man. You got
a chance." And the word chance is what pushed my in every sense. They
said, "you have a chance to get on the other side, you can do it." And
now that I can do it, I got to take care of them. I've got friends on
Death Row. And when you get a call from Death Row and as soon as you hang
that fucking phone up, you're busting your ass to work. I know what my
other alternative was, so I'm working. And things I wanted when I was
young, I still want those things. I want the chains, I want the gold
chains. I want 'em man. Fuck that. That's me. I bust my ass, I've worked
for them, and I also take care of my friends. And I get up early, just
like Henry. I get up a 7 a.m., I work out, I go to the gym. I go from
there back to the crib, because I got a couple of businesses, I check on
them. Then it's rehearsal in the afternoon, and into the recording studio
until like one or two in the morning with a group or something, every
fucking day. And I can't meet people who can't catch on. If you want to
hook up with me, you'll usually be coming to me, moving with me. Because
I got things to do. And my girl's like, "damn, you're overworked." But I
can't stay still. I'm more uncomfortable when I'm not working, because I
feel like I'm missing something. I go out on vacation, I'm sitting up
there thinking about this shit that's not getting done.
ROLLINS: I couldn't do it. Vacation, I'd go nuts. Why don't you
take a week off. Are you out of your mind? You're fired! Get the fuck out
of here. Don't even think like that around here. You can't do it. Also,
doing what he does and what I do, is so much fucking fun. It's like what
are you going to do, go on vacation or get to go record this band? What
do you think I'm going to do? You know, I just finished editing an Iggy
Pop book, which was hours every day, editing every word, being very
careful. It's editing Iggy Pop, which to me is a really big figure in my
musical upbringing. I get to edit this guy. Editing is about as fun as
watching paint dry. But it's hard, like taking an exam. It's really hard.
You've got to be careful. But every day, there's nothing I'd rather be
doing. I get to edit Iggy Pop, get out of here, I'm the first in line. It
was an honor. It was a little scary, because you don't want to fuck it
up, because you don't want to have the guy go, "hey, what about that."
It's like, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." But I get to do all this
stuff. I wake up at five to do it. I do it Sunday. It's these people I
get to work with.
ICE-T: The key is cutting your fun in with the work
ROLLINS: Exactly. To me the work's the funniest. Practicing, you
want to write good songs, so you got to go to band practice. Playing one
song for eight hours isn't the greatest thing, but... like my sound man
says, "you gotta love it." Anyone in the band every starts complaining
and he says, "you gotta love it." And you're like, "yeah, you're right, I
do love this shit."
ICE-T: You gotta love it.
GRIFFIN: The working person's mentality who doesn't like his job
is to work, hate it, then wait for the weekend.
ROLLINS: For me the work is fun, you know.
ICE-T: We don't have weekends. It's like three in the morning is
like three in the afternoon. I, at this point, am trying to get on a
regular schedule. When I come to L.A., I push myself. I wasn't going to
the gym recently because I was working too late and night and I was
trying to get up early and I was really killing myself doing it. So I
just try to keep working a little bit at home and stay in shape. I'm not
trying to become the Incredible Hulk, I just don't like the feeling of
walking out on stage and not wanting to take my shirt off. I'm sweating,
get a little gut buster. But I'm just chilling. But you know, touring is
the ultimate work out. You walk on stage and you burn calories. I went
out on a tour and lost twenty five pounds. You rip up all of the sudden
and start seein' new shit. Then when you're at home recording, it gets to
be a different story. This guy, he's like, the first time when I'd ever
seen him, I said "he's crazy, look at this motherfucker. That's Henry
Rollins." Then I saw that other thing you had on T.V. where you were
like, "this is my..." What was that thing you have in your house?
ROLLINS: The Battle Cage.
ICE-T: [imitating Rollins] "This is the Battle Cage! This is
where it all begins!"
ROLLINS: It's for power lifting, so you can just load on the heavy
weight. Now I work out at my place four days a week.
ICE-T: I work out with Shawny and them, they got that
ROLLINS: That shit's intense.
ICE-T: They're like, "No, you don't need that machine, take this
dumbbell over your head." You know in the jail they work out, it's like
murder and shit. You're like okay, "I'll do my back". And they're like,
"no, you'll do your eyeballs!" That's some shit that'll kill you.
ROLLINS: It's because they don't have any time. You got twenty
five minutes to work out. All of these guys in jail know how to work out,
and are ripped because they know how to work out. It's really intense
when you try their workout, because you got like half an hour a day,
"there's your weights, kid, go!" They have to get the most amount of
destruction done in this little amount of time. And these guys are into
some really intense shit.
ICE-T: You've got nothing else to do all day. Now they're taking
the weights away.
ROLLINS: Yeah, I hate that shit.
ICE-T: Now I got to get this magazine, this inmate magazine. They
got all the different workouts you can do in a cell.
GRIFFIN: Why are they're taking the weights away?
ROLLINS: Because when the guys come out they're better criminals.
Well, you know, physically, they're more intimidating. In my old
neighborhood in Venice, you'd see the Venice Shoreline Crips. You'd see
some guy come out, he's on the street in his tank top and you're like,
"Oh shit." You know to totally avoid contact with them. They're so huge.
Then you like see the same guy like six weeks later and it's just going
away. And you're like, "Oh, he must have just come out." Then you talk to
some people and it's like yeah, that's the County Body. You come out of
L.A. County just like looking like gigantic.
ICE-T: You got to also remember, it's survival. You want to get
big immediately. In jail you want to have size. If you go in there
little, you start looking around, saying, "I better start taking care of
myself." Then there's a point where you don't want to become too big,
because then you become what they call a target. It's like you want to
get enough size to protect yourself if somebody moves on you. But, you
know, they go after the big guy first. So... some of this shit. How did
we get way over to penitentiary workout?
GRIFFIN: Okay, let's talk about Johnny Mnemonic.
ICE-T: Do you know what mnemonic means?
ROLLINS: A mnemonic device. It's like, when you say, how do you
spell friend? F-R-I-E-N-D. If you fri your friend, your friendship will
end. F-R-I-E-N-D. So stationery, paper as opposed to a stationary object.
Stationery, paper, e-r-y, that's a mnemonic device.
ICE-T: It's used to enhance memory. Every good boy deserves
fudge. Little things, little tricks.
ROLLINS: I don't know exactly what that has to do with the title.
I don't know where the mnemonic device is in the story. I tried to figure
ICE-T: It has to do with memory, though.
ROLLINS: I guess so. That's it, because the guy has artificial
memory. He has a chip that holds some gigabytes of information. He's
uploaded with information then his mission is to go from A to B,
download, he gets paid. And Johnny Mnemonic, Johnny is the messenger. And
he is uploaded with information, he has to fly to Tokyo to download it.
This is how he makes his money. This time he gets uploaded with way more
gigabytes of information than his hard drive can hold. He starts getting
seepage, which makes him see stuff, and it's going to kill him. So at the
same time the stuff that he's holding in his head, it happens to be a
cure for a very intense virus with is like taking out the world. And all
of these pharmaceutical companies are trying to kill him, take his head
off, take it back to Saigon and download it so they can have the cure.
And basically there's all of these hitmen coming after him. And he comes
to me through this girl who becomes his love interest, who was my love
interest. And I'm a good guy, I am to be trusted. Meanwhile, one of the
bad guys who is after him, I throw myself in the way of the bad guys so
he can get himself to Ice, who runs an operation called Heaven. And Ice
basically saves the day with his porpoise, like Jonas.
ICE-T: Yeah, we're rebels. We're rebels and we're coming in on
T.V. channels, calling confusion, letting people know. Kind of like what
rap records do, we use their circuit to yell back at the people. We're
like, "look at what they're doing to you." Because television is one
dimensional. It's like, "buy Coke." It doesn't let you yell back at it.
But we come in and say, "Coke sucks!" Then we're off.
ROLLINS: They're like pirates, like pirate T.V. They break in on
main channels. And all through the movie, Ice is breaking in on these
guys' video screen-- they're talking to each other-- all of the sudden
Ice is like, "allright motherfuckers, it's time for you to get your shit
together! We're coming after you motherfuckers!" Then he's out of there.
ICE-T: Then Spider [played by Rollins], he does his part, but
then he ends up coming to me. And we have like the porpoise who was made
by the army intelligence. He's like a genius porpoise. It's some ill
shit. Anyhow, we end up downloading the information out of his head with
some other tricks and stuff. But it's some dope shit. What was the
ROLLINS: William Gibson.
ICE-T: It's an interesting movie.
ROLLINS: It was fun to do.
GRIFFIN: Do you see technology empowering people in the future or
widening the gap between the haves and the have nots?
ICE-T: I'll tell you the reality. Right now I'm working with a
computer company on some CDs and trying to make the computer world more
available to the lower classes, make it hip, and let kids know about the
Internet and stuff like that. It's the kind of thing I have to be
involved with early, because it will bypass. Like right now, the Internet
is wide open.
ROLLINS: For now.
ICE-T: Kids in the 'hood have no idea what's going on. And this
is a kind of a thing, there's like this ten-year gap that moves down for
the kids on the bottom to know about the super highway and all this shit.
So they want to make software that makes it attractive and hip to do.
Com'n, man don't ask us about the future. Gee, the future.
ROLLINS: My company, right now we are building our own Web site.
It will be up in about two weeks. We've been building it since November.
And I'm on AOL [American On-Line], because I have to get information to
people, upload, download information. And we are working on our World
Wide Web site. And the thing, I've noticed, every time technology takes a
leap, The Man gets in on it. As in Compact Disc is a logo, someone owns
the technology. And now there petitions going on in AOL, because the
government wants control, they want to be able to sensor and read
people's e-mail. So here's another great idea for freedom-- you can
e-mail anyone-- and now they want a piece of the action. They want to be
able to read your mail. And with the Internet the potential to be able to
get and send out information... put it this way, I have a mailing list of
like 35,000 people on my label. If all of those people were all
e-mailable, they could access into my Web site for like eight cents, they
could download my band's touring schedule, catalog, a price list, a
newsletter I could write that morning. They could download it from Cairo,
Egypt from dialing an 800 number. You think The Man is going to let
people have that much power? What if black kids could access information
that easily, that is exactly what The Man has been fighting for four
hundred years. Soon as Black Male America gets a hold of the Internet,
you watch, the powers that be will just go, "Oh, I don't think so."
ICE-T: We're doing it right now. Right now myself and Public
Enemy put our fan mail together. Exactly what he's trying to do, we're
trying to do the same thing. We're taking our fan club and we're hooking
them up with other kids, Guru from Gang Starr, we have a big base, right.
Then what we're doing, we're going to go up, just like him and we're
telling the kids get on-line. Get on-line. Through the mail first, but
get on-line. This is what we're going to do. So we could put bulletins
out, so we could talk, we could talk to them all night. And I'm going to
turn it even deeper, where I envision having an interactive fanclub where
not only I'm on it, I have other artists available. What happens is you
say, "tonight such-and-such is going to be on-line." You can talk to your
artists. Then the point as far as making money from it, you could just
start charging the artists. You could say, "yo, we have half a million
people here. Do you want to be down? Do you want to get on this live?
We'll put you on." Stuff like that. But we're going to start it out the
same way. Because, mailing 30,000 letters, that's a lot of money, man.
And it's a lot of work, filling envelopes and stuff. Basically you could
have your own shopping network, it's going down.
ROLLINS: Nobody knows everything that's going on. And it's amazing
that there's that much freedom. I just don't see it lasting, because
every time there's been a major jump in technology, a technological
advance that helps out the home user, don't you notice that all of the
sudden it's governed. DAT players-- if you buy a home DAT player at The
Whiz, or whatever, it's copy controlled. You can't dub from DAT. Because
those people who own the logo, D-A-T, don't want you to have that. You
need to get a professional, a Pro-Deck, which you can barely find if you
are a home consumer, and you have to pay out the nose. I have nothing but
Pro Decks. I have two. Because I need the copy code switch to go off.
People take control. And the Internet is so juicy. Put it this way, the
Beastie Boys are up on the 'net, they have a great site. They get 80,000
inquiries a week. American Records has their own site and they get 10,000
inquiries a day. Kids from Arkansas, where you don't have any say-- Bruce
Springstein had trouble getting "Born In the U.S.A." out because they
thought he was disrespecting the flag in Arkansas. You can't get any
information down there. A kid can now dial a local server and in seconds,
say, if you get into the Ice Web site you can hear thirty seconds of the
new single. You will be able to see the video. You will get ordering
information, any currency. You can even have it so when the rates go up,
the prices go up and down. You could order, you could add to the order.
You could unsend it. You have total freedom of communication. You could
even ask the guy in the band a question. And he can answer you, if he
wants. He can tell you the tour dates. He can give you directions to the
gig. He can give you the set time the tickets go on sale.
ICE-T: You can tell all the kids on the United States at one time
to flush their toilets. You can make things happen.
LEAH: If someone like Afrika got hold of that, it could be a very
powerful medium for his message.
ICE-T: What he's saying the problem is, is that all of the
underclass and the black kids, when it's all hooked in, it's not really a
problem until it starts getting to the people who aren't supposed to be
informed. When you start getting it out now and computers start dropping
down in price over the next few years, kids can hook up and bam, bam, bam
all of the sudden you're talking to thousands of people. Man it gets
heavy. And then the Feds step in and say, "Naw, naw, naw."
ROLLINS: Imagine if Chuck D. could talk to like half a million
kids in a minute. See you later, this country would change. He's as deep
as it gets. Ice is deep. The shit these guys could tell these kids, the
stuff that I would have to say, man it's all a very loaded gun. Because
this government works on the divide and conquer theory. You make blacks
and whites scared of each other, it works great. I can't go in his
neighborhood because they're going to hurt me. They won't go into my
neighborhood because the cops will beat their ass. If you break that down
and all of the sudden I could go to South Central and some guy could go
to Beverly Hills and we all get together, The Man is dead. And the real
America goes into effect, which is the voice of the people. The bank no
longer gets to dominate your ass, and with the computer thing it's so
bloody quick. Something's going to happen within the next three years.
ICE-T: And then the neighborhoods can connect real quick. Henry
got his Web set up and I have mine set up, like blam, we can connect
ROLLINS: You can have a something on my site that says, "you want
to get to Ice-T?" Boom, it goes right in. What if the Crips went nation
wide with a Web site? It's do-able. They just need somebody who can make
a Web site. My guy can make them a Web site. The potential, what if the
ICE-T: The mob's already on there.
ROLLINS: What if the drug cartels got on there. The government
needs to find a way to regulate this, because real freedom is something
they can't handle. It's too good to last. When this guy explained how the
Internet worked, I was like, "Oh, we got about twenty minutes until this
is over." This is too good.
ICE-T: I know some people on the inside that were going to help
up set up a lot of stuff, too. I don't want to even talk about it. When I
say the inside, I mean the other side, the people who want to regulate.
For you, I might be able to hook it up where we are able to take it to
another channel, where they can't get to that part. Like 32 chambers of
entry to go to... If you really want to get into the heavy shit.
LEAH: They're called firewalls.
ROLLINS: Or you can do stuff where as you read it, it dissolves.
Like as soon as you advance a page, you can't download it, it's gone.
ICE-T: What's it called?
LEAH: They're firewalls. Like firewall doors, so when you go
through one and it closes, nothing can get back through.
ICE-T: That's deep, deep. I'm on it right now, we're trying to
hook ours up. We are going to start out basic and what I'm going to do is
expand our regular Internet soon. And then I've got a kid who's like a
computer genius and I'm going to sit in front of it 24 hours a day, just
feeding him food, just learn the shit. Learn everything there is to it to
know. Just get in, get it going, because with me it's like take my music.
My music is like me yelling out and I don't hear nothing back. When I
read the letters, when I start getting the e-mail-- it's so quick and
cheap and fresh-- and the theory of getting it to where everybody can
have one, that's going to happen really quick.
GRIFFIN: It's going to give you the power to speak directly to
tens of thousands of your fans at any given time.
ROLLINS: For eight cents. I used to fax in my articles to
magazines I write for, I've been e-mailing them. Now some guy doesn't
have to type it, I just e-mailed my thing I did for Raygun the other day.
It's like, wow, it just cost me about three cents. And they can download
it as a Microsoft Word file on their computer. Dowonload and edit, they
don't have to hire the guy to retype the 3300 words, we all get the
profit. I got to send you this interview I did with Isaac Hayes a couple
weeks ago. It's great. I sent a copy of it to Chuck [D.] the other day.
Ike was so cool, so articulate, so sharp, so on top of the shit he says.
I got him talking about politics, drugs, how it's destroyed America. He
was all over it, like all of the pages of stuff I've transcribed.
GRIFFIN: The power of the Internet goes back to what we were
talking about before, getting information to people at large.
ROLLINS: This country basically runs on the fact that they keep
the walls of fear up. Crime is good business for the government. It lets
them take the worst guy, like Darryl Gates, and makes somebody, somewhere
think that we really need a person like that. And the way he ran the
police force is like, "We really need to contain these animals." How do
you do that? By making a situation where a kid either has to work at
McDonald's or sling crack. He cannot aspire to be an astronaut, the
president doesn't speak to him. He can't aspire to have an intellect or
have any hope or be anything that's awesome. He just better be like
fucking Jesse James with the guns. And the cops go, "See, they're
animals. You need us." Just pump the fear and they keep the crime
business going. Now the cops are smart enough to get a rake off on the
drug revenue. So the more people that get to communicate... you know, so
many kids would love to meet Ice-T, but they don't know, maybe because
they're white kids. And he was going to Lollapalooza and he was trying to
break this shit down. I really thought that was a really big part of the
whole Lollapalooza thing, was when Ice was explaining to kids, "You don't
have to worry, we're black, we're in a rock band. You're white and you
can be into rap. It doesn't matter. Get over it." He started getting
people in that mindset. I come from Washington, D.C. which is a tiny
little diamond of a town. You have the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast,
Southwest, most of D.C., I've lived there for 20 years, I've never seen
it. I've never seen most of Washington D.C., because I'm white. When I
used to hang out with the guys in Bad Brains in the Southeast, I'd have
to have an escort. I'd have to be walking with or driving with one of the
Bad Brains, or a negro, so no one would take me out of my car, beat my
ass and take my car. When all of that is over, like I said, when the
neighborhoods can cross in and out, and you can get hardcore kids from
Compton into the Rollins Band, all of the sudden, you're not going to be
able to pump people so full of fear. "All of those blacks..." No! No, not
all of those blacks. I know some black guys, you can't scare me with that
stereotype anymore. Fuck you. And when that shit goes away, a lot of
questions are going to come up that have never come up before and all of
you parent's shit will be wrong. And all of the post-Kennedy shit will be
wrong. And then there will be some pretty intense governmental force
making you scared again. And it's all of these means of incredible
communication that break down all of this stuff and break down the fear.
Fear is how this country is run. So much money is made out of fear. Life
insurance. Crime, everybody in every neighborhood outside of Compton has
an alarm system. There are signs on every lawn, there's a Club on every
steering wheel. God, think of the money people are making off of your
ICE-T: There's this movie from back in the day, right. There's
this church and this guy and this other guy running a strip club. And
they worked together. It was like the church said we are going to go
fight against you. You create the sin and we'll be rich. They create the
sin, the people fall for it and they both just roll. That stuff goes on.
There's more money spent on the war on drugs then is made by drugs. Trip
on that. It's like they have a hundred billions dollar crime law bill. I
mean I could take that and stop crime. Just give everybody $100,000,
motherfuckers would quit. "I'm rich. I'm out!" "Hey, you thinkin' of
stealing something? Here's a hundred G's." "Wow, I'm rich." They'd quit
and go to school. I mean, it's stupid to take all of that money and
there's still crime. But they take it and put it into the business of
crime which is the penitentiaries and things like that. I always tell
people even the theory of it is ridiculous when you realize that they
spend $70,000 per inmate a year.
ROLLINS: It's incredible. It's more money then I live on.
ICE-T: Live! You could send three kids to Harvard. So why not
send them to college? Why are we spending it there instead of prevention.
It's money. It's all money, fear, keep everybody separate. This country
has taught racism so much, it bleeds into outside. If you go to Japan,
and you're black, they kiss you ass. They love you. But you see, most
black kids never travel the world. You're Michael Jordan, they fucking
kiss your ass! I mean, I went to Australia... that's a weird place. White
people were treating us cool. I'm like, "Wow man, this is different."
What I didn't understand is that I couldn't move there. They were like
studying me. Then I'm riding with this dude and I say, "Oh, man I want to
go outback." And he says, "You can't go out there, you might run into a
bunk." I'm like, "What's a bunk?"
LEAH: An Aborigine.
ICE-T: Yeah, that's what they sound like when you hit them with
you jeep... I say that if they want to set off a war, let's at least
figure out who's on whose side. Let's side up, let's find out. And
mostly, like Henry says, it's the people who are being oppressed, whether
it's white, black, whatever. And people say, the System. And to me The
System in not a group of ten men sitting in a hotel or in a big office in
Washington. It's the people who say, you don't need welfare ,and look at
those savages. And anybody who falls into this mindset or everything's
great, the President's right on, these people, that's The System. It
could be your best friend, they are The System. The System needs them to
operate. And there are people who use words like "tradition," "the good
old days." You ain't going to say good old days to me. The good old days
to me is when you used to own me, right? The good old days? That's when
you could whip our ass. Traditional? And for me being black, like I'll go
and play Louisiana or in The South, and go into hotels and they have maps
with points of interests. You know, like you go to Hawaii and they have
points like Hawaiian villages and gardens. But you go down South-- check
it out next time you go down there-- and open up the book, and the points
of interest are like slave quarters and whipping posts. And this is where
people go. They go on a bus and they go, "I want to go to this
plantation." This is the fucking points of interest down here? And I'm
looking at this and there are people standing in the lobby ready to go.
"Where we going?" "Oh, we're going to go to this other plantation and see
the good old days." And they are going to tell you how many slaves they
owned. The thing about America is that, I know that when I travel they
treat me different, but the shit happened here. So it's different here.
The bruise is here. This country where it went down. When you go to
Britain, they're different. They might not like me, but it didn't happen
there. And the closer you go to The South, the shit is different. You got
people down there that really used to own black people. You got to
remember that 30 years ago we were still on the back of the bus. Thirty
years, it's not that long ago. And they run this big thing like it's
over. But it's not. And when you get the white kids, like Henry said,
when the music went into the white kids, and the white kids became in
tune with the injustices-- whether it's black or white-- that's where the
shit started. The shit got scared, they had to shut it down. Because it's
one thing for me to be bad, that's no problem. Americans are used to
that. But when they sit in their house and the parents say, "Oh, they're
rioting in L.A., those niggers." And the kid says, "They're not niggers,
mom." And they go, "What do you mean?" "They're not niggers, okay. You're
a fucking asshole." This is bullshit. This is not supposed to happen.
Because an enemy outside of the fort is no problem. An enemy within is a
big problem. And the kids are shifting. And that's where I get my hope
from. I don't believe people want to hate. It's like a baton passing.
It's like we have the country club, we have this. He has tattoos, we
don't want him in. Well, I don't have a problem with tattoos. And the
power's starting to shift. There's a fear, at this point, there's going
to be a kid sitting on the Supreme Court with a Too Short t-shirt on. You
got it going down, because music is whipping through the shit. It's going
to happen. And I also believe that there's going to be a convict state
coming down. By the year 2000, 20 percent of America would have either
been to prison or know somebody in prison. So people coming out of jail
and somebody sitting down in front of you at a bank and try to get a loan
and they might say, "I'm a convict." And say, "My brother's in jail."
There will be a little bit of compassion. Because the shit is starting to
shift because they're fucking over so many people that the oppressed will
start becoming the majority. And a different kind of vibe is going on.
Now add that to the information highway. You know, when rap first came
out, you know the information we gave to people was that Elizabeth Taylor
wasn't Cleopatra. Cleopatra was black. Do you understand that a black kid
doesn't even know that he built the pyramids? He doesn't know that.
Because you don't learn that. You open up a history book in the United
States and those fucking Egyptians are white. And they're not. And until
you give somebody something to be proud of, then they feel "I can't do
anything so I have to do wrong. I have no chance." You've got a chance.
And when you start getting knowledge of self. Mexico would have been a
rich country if it hadn't been for the Alamo. The way they stole Texas
with the oil. There's a lot of fucking shit that went down. What made
John Wayne such a great guy? Didn't he kill the fucking indigenous people
of this country? What happened to the fucking Indians? When we play in
Canada that's some of the saddest shit. You just look at them... you know
every treaty we made we broke. We broke every treaty. And then here's
America and they have the nerve to have this thing called the law?
LEAH: They still do it.
ICE-T: But check this out. You being a white young lady in
America, your mother could be in power. If we could inject you with the
feeling, because you have a heart, you can work to change things. Because
the Indians have no power. The Indians don't really have an information
line to reach out to somebody who gives a fuck whose father might be a
senator. I tell the black kids, "We ain't got no fucking juice." We have
got to work with those who can be in power who want to help. It's going
to be all right. Shit's going to be all right. There are good people.
First off, you got to understand that this country is the most scandalous
country every made. It's built on stolen land. It's ruthless. And then
you walk around looking for rights and looking for justice, good luck.
Good fucking luck. Henry knows that cop can pull him out of that car and
shoot him dead. There will be a few people upset, but he will still be
fucking dead. Now this kind of conversation, you can put it in your
magazine, it's a great thing.
ROLLINS: Put it on the Internet.
GRIFFIN: It will be on the Interent. We plan to post the entire
thing on our Web site.
ICE-T: It's deep. It's deep man. People always ask me, "Then, why
you living here?" First off, it's a nice piece of real estate. It's nice,
we got beaches. It's a great place. And we got some good people here.
There's come real people here. It's like we live in this apartment, but
the manager's a dick. The manager's a fucking dick. We live here, it's a
nice apartment, but the manager's a fucking dick. It doesn't mean we have
to like the manager, we just have to get rid of him. People ask me about
the President. Don't ask me about politics. My theory is let them do what
the fuck they want to do. We got to do what we want to do our way. It has
nothing to do with votes.
LEAH: If people can start small, get involved in their local
government, then they can move on. The president isn't going to do
anything for you anyway. You have to vote for the people that can effect
you. And make a change.
ICE-T: Try to make a change. I try to motivate young people into
getting into politics. When I go out on my lectures now I say, "Yo, as
much as it sucks, you can go into politics and do something good. Just
keep your head on straight." I tell them to go be police, we have to get
some out there.
ROLLINS: Yeah, I you could start getting real people who cared
about community, who are community oriented. I could never leave this
country, because in my mind-- this is really weird, probably sounds
really dramatic-- I'm a warrior and the fucking struggle is here. The
wrong has been done here. I grew up in it-- I am not responsible for it,
I didn't do anything-- but it happened here. The wound is here. If I left
this country I would be whimping out. I'd be walking away from the Civil
Rights movement. I'd be saying it's okay to kill Martin Luther King, Jr.
That's what I'd be saying if I moved to Belgium tomorrow. I'd be saying,
"Yep, well, I guess it's cool. And I'm outta here. I can't do it." I'm
staying here and I'm fighting it until I'm done. It's one of the things
that gets me up in the morning. Those motherfuckers, let's kick 'em
today. Let's not move to Australia, let's stay here and let's get it on.
That's why I'm glad it's 1995. I wouldn't want to be in any other time.
And the truth is, it's never been needed more than now, and there's no
place I'd rather be living. I come from here. I know what the fucking
problem is and I'm not fucking bailing on it.
ICE-T: Funny, I was in Maui, laying on the beach. And the shit is
so fly. And I was sitting there drinking my drink and George Benson
walked up and said I should just stay there and relax and drink and lay
there. And I said, "I can't, man. What's going to happen? I can't leave
L.A. man." I wanna, man. I want it. I want to be able to just live
someplace just beautiful and mellow. And you're totally away from
everything, you're still in the United States, but that's like tranquil
and shit. You can run around buck naked there. But I was like, "I can't.
I got to go back to the 'hood. I got to stay in touch." I got a nice
crib-- everybody deserves something nice. But I'm still right there, I
got a phone, I'm calling shots all over L.A. L.A., man, it's a crazy
place. I just look at it like it's my job to indoctrinate these kids with
some kind of responsibility to teach their kids the right way. I want
these kids to tell their kids that-- if somebody tries to tell them some
bullshit, I want them to say, "Naw, I grew up on Ice-T. He taught me
this. And Henry Rollins taught me this." It's got to change. That part
has got to be passed down. I got a little son now, he ain't going to be
on no racial shit. He's Mexican, Black, he got a white girlfriend at
school. He's cool, it's his shit. Ice. People say, "You're radical." Wait
until my kid... My little kid was born an Ice. This little kid is going
to be a motherfucker. Bustin' ass. We had no option. We tried to name him
all of this other shit, Ice. His name is Ice, no shit. I don't know what
he's going to do, but he's definitely a character at this point. And
that's where it's got to go, the children. We're going to die. When me,
Henry, all of us die, this place will still be here.
ROLLINS: I'll tell you though, before we die, this country will
change more than it did for your parents. The next twenty five years are
going to be incredible. Catastrophic, all of that, but there's going to
be big changes.
ICE-T: The shit's going down. Even the Lollapalooza thing, that
was such major shit, Perry Farrel should get some crazy props. I heard
the last shit, he was going to kick Courtney [Love] off of the show,
because she said some whack shit about rap. That's the whole vibe of that
show, for everyone to get along. It ain't for her to approve of Snoop
Dogg or approve of whoever the fuck he wants to put on the show. It's his
show, bitch. If you don't like his show, you get the fuck off.
ROLLINS: And also if you're in the crowd and you don't like the
bands and stuff, that's why they have the tents and stuff and the second
stage? Stuff to do. You think the band sucks? Fine. Go do that other
stuff, go listen to that spoken word gig over there. Perry Farrel, man,
that guy's a fucking genius.
ICE-T: I was kicking it with Siouxsie and the Banshees, I don't
know nothing about Siouxsieand the Banshees. I played with the Violent
Femmes. I don't know nothing about them. But being there and being around
them and kicking it with them, I was learning. The bands were learning
along with the audience. We were learning. Next thing you know Polly
Mack's on stage with the Butthole Surfers. There was some ill shit going
on out there. And that's because Perry was dope enough to something
together like that.
ROLLINS: You should have seen it when Perry and Ice were on stage
together. In Atlanta, I thought that place was going to explode. Perry
came on and said, "we're going to do 'Nigger, Whitey.'" And I said, "Oh,
my God, we're in Atlanta, Georgia, this is going to be insane." And they
walked out there because I had to see this. It blew my fucking mind.
ICE-T: See, I'm a game motherfucker. I'm like whoever wants to
hook up. I'm just down. Unless I can determine if you're some kind of
asshole or something and you're trying to use me.
ROLLINS: You got to keep the door open.
ICE-T: I'm just down. Ernie just produced Black Sabbath's new
album, right. So I just sung on this record, a song called "Illusion of
Power." I'm not really familiar with the new Black Sabbath.
ROLLINS: Who sings with them now?
ICE-T: They got some singer, man.
ROLLINS: Who plays bass? Geezer Butler?
ICE-T: Yeah, yeah, he's on there now. Tony's in there and they
got some other drummer. But Ernie's got it sounding kind of dope. The
were kind of sounding like Whitesnake, but he got them back. There's this
song called "Illusion of Power" where I come on talking all crazy and
shit. And I was meeting with Tony in Europe and it was like, "this is
Black fucking Sabbath."
ROLLINS: It would kill me to meet that guy.
ICE-T: And he was so fucking dope! And I was tripping, and you
know why he wanted me, is because we gave him credit. Everybody was
saying Body Count sounded like Sabbath. It's supposed to sound like them,
man, we like them. Everybody's influenced by shit. So just give up your
influences and stop acting like you created everything.
ROLLINS: Black Sabbath was a huge influence on me, boy. Geezer
Butler and Bill Ward were my favorite rhythm section. Geezer's the best
ICE-T: They got this bag of loops. They just had bags of tapes
and riffs. "Oh, we got riffs, Ice, we got riffs here." And they were
telling me how they just sit up and make those big riffs. It was like a
gold mine. But then they were so cool, because they sat down with us and
said, "we want Ernie to produce our album, our whole album." Us, black
kids, cutting a record, producing for Black Sabbath. And the shit came
out incredible, man.
ROLLINS: When does it come out?
ICE-T: I don't know. They're mixing it and stuff. It's big, it's
fast. They got some feedback coming off the guitars, some crunching. The
one I did was called "Illusion of Power." I come in and say some ill
shit. "Hear the true power, hear me." I say some phat shit, like you're
caught in a complex catacombs of your own insecurities. I say some other
bullshit, "so therefore you live in the reflection side of the mirror."
And then some bullshit that I just made up, "you're afraid, you're
scared! True Power." And then it comes in like, "fear me." And they do
this solo with some guy yelling. It's Black Sabbath, man, turn out the
ROLLINS: That what they needed to do. They needed to connect with
Ernie and you guys, that's a perfect idea. Because Sabbath has always
been cool, I have always thought that they had been mismanaged. Tony
probably has to listen to a lot of people who have no concept about what
Sabbath is about. Sabbath should be on Lollapalooza and kicking
everyone's ass. Talk about a band hitting one and just destroying
everything in sight. Sabbath, to me, you put it on volume four, you're
going to lift some heavy weight that day, boy.
ICE-T: The biggest, heaviest metal group to me. They're the
biggest shit. And when you deal with a group like that, sometimes they
don't know what they are. That's why when I work on my new rap album, I
have to bring in the kids to tell me who I am. They say, "Ice, you do
this." And I go, "is that what I do?"
ROLLINS: Like Iggy, he doesn't know how good he is. I started
working on this book with him and he asked, "do you think anyone will be
into it?" Don't you understand, you wrote the fucking blueprint for half
of the fucking shit these guys are standing on right now? And he says "I
guess." Man, you're one of those guys. Don't you get it? He doesn't. He's
really humble. Man, you're really important. Get it.
ICE-T: We were telling Sabbath, "you don't know what you are."
Because we know what Sabbath is. Like I say, Sabbath is dark lighting,
crosses upside down and shit's scary. It's scary in a evil way, a big,
large monstrous way.
ROLLINS: And it's a cool place to go. For the alienated youth,
man, those places were home. Sanctuary. You put those records on and you
go, "wow, someone knows what I'm feeling." Even as something as far out
as "Iron Man," like some metallic man who's talking about alienation, he
can't deal with these people, they scorn him. That's how you feel when
you're fifteen. I'd see the rawest guys in my town. They're guys who
couldn't get into the house party, they're outside in December, D.C.
drinking Tall Boys outside because they couldn't get in. Sabbath was
their soundtrack. I was like, "man, I got to listen to these guys."
Sabbath and Robin Trower is what they'd listen to.
ICE-T: Robin Trower.
ROLLINS: That's some way out alienated shit too. You want to wrap
this thing up?
ICE-T: Last question.
LEAH: What's something you two haven't done together that you
want to do?
ICE-T: With him, more then a record, I'd like to do a movie. A
real movie where we actually do some fly shit. Movies are cool. Records,
they're over in four minutes.
ROLLINS: I was over at Columbia awhile ago and this guy who did a
movie-- I forget the movie-- said, "well, we're interested in writing a
movie around you and Ice." I said, "Well okay, so write it and call me."
ICE-T: Yeah, but the thing about it is that they don't understand
how cool the movie would have to be. It would have to be so cool. It's
easy to be in ohnny Mnemonic and be these characters. But if it's
going to be the shit, it would have to be so God damn cool, it would have
to be so violent and so scary and so wrong, they would never make it.
They would never make it. It could only be released on home video only.
Chainsaws and shit.
ROLLINS: Maybe. Maybe there's a whole different approach.
ICE-T: It would be wild. It would be definitely some real
ROLLINS: It would be brilliant. If it was right. When you can act
with an actor who is an intense guy or girl, you can go off. Like I did
some acting with some people who are really good and some people who
aren't so good. When they're not so good, you're like, "oh, well, this
was going to be great." Because you can't give it to them because they
don't know how to catch it and pass it back to you.
ICE-T: When I acted with Wesley, it was cool. Because Wesley can
act. When he tells you he killed you mother you believe that shit and you
react to it.
ROLLINS: Some of these guys are corny. Some are actors and some
are deeper than that. I can't wait to do this thing with Pachino.
Apparently, he's amazing.
ICE-T: Whoop his ass. Do you get to whoop his ass?
ROLLINS: No, he whoops mine. But he's going to have to work for