Are you a college student who sits around surfing past war threats on CNN, staring at science textbooks between bouts of Playstation 2, craving a beer, zoning out in la la land? If so, Mixmaster Mike is composing music that parallels your attention deficit existence, cool whipping it with monstrous galactic beats that would baffle Carl Sagan.
Often credited as the unofficial fourth Beastie Boy and a member of the three-time world champion DJ crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz (now dormant), Mike is currently opening for Guns N’ Roses on their Chinese Democracy World Tour. His latest album, Return of the Cyklops, is a scratching medley compiled of two EPs and an out-of-print record that samples Bollywood theme music, Wu-tang Clan, and random snippets of paranoid dialogue like, “The counterattack will begin now.” The result is a booming Fort Bragg-adocios strange enough to bend spoons, but catchy and intricate enough to stay in your sound system for months.
Mike spoke to Life & Art via telephone while en route to New York for a show with Axl and posse at Madison Square Garden. The tour touches down Dec. 14 in West Palm Beach at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre.
Q: Is Axl Rose still rocking cornrows and a football jersey on stage?
MMM: I don’t know, you gotta come and see him. Nah, he is. (laughs)
Q: Were you a fan of Gun N’ Roses before you started touring with them?
MMM: No I wasn’t, I wasn’t at all. I respected them as musicians. I’m familiar with all their songs, but it was nothin’ I was rockin’. I never had a Gun N’ Roses CD, never rocked a t-shirt or a hat.
Q: Do you still feel you are the best DJ in the world and why?
MMM: I’ve never ever felt like I was the best DJ in the world, I mean it’s something the media and everybody portrayed me as. But I figure my responsibility is to spread the art and just be different in what I’m doing – just try to expand and experiment more to push it forward. That’s my responsibility: to push the art forward. There’s no DJs I know of who ever did arenas by themselves, but it’s another stage in my career. Through the works of God, he has put me on this stage every night in front of 20,000 kids who have never seen hip hop on two turntables.
Q: How has the response been from the diehard Guns N’ Roses fans?
MMM: Off the hook. Off-the-hook! Fucking berserk. There’s your handful that sit there and wonder, but as soon as I kick my show off, everybody’s up on their feet.
Q: Explain how ‘shrooms have influenced your music and changed your view of sound.