They look like your basic nightmare.
But members of horrorcore hip-hop duo Twiztid are showing troubled fans that humanity exists under their ghastly white makeup.
Paul Methric, also known as Monoxide Child, said he’s always connecting on social media with alienated kids who need to talk.
Often “they’re at the end of their rope,” and he has to convince them not to give up on life.
“I hear from kids every day, ” said Methric, who performs with fellow Twiztid rapper Jamie Spaniolo (Jamie Madrox) on Monday, April 4 at Wild Bill’s Sports Bar in Red Deer.
On stage the two hip-hop artists look like demented clowns, performing horror-movie inspired rap. But Methric feels he and Spaniolo can relate to misfit kids better than their parents, teachers or councillors can.
“I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all. We’ve lived it. We can tell these kids what’s what and what’s coming,” said Methric, who grew up on the mean streets of Detroit.
His parents divorced. His dad was an unstable alcoholic, his mother brought questionable companions home. “One of my mom’s boyfriends tried to drown me when I was three …
“My childhood was a mess. My home life stank,” he said.
To cope, he made friends with other youths in the neighbourhood. Methric said they weren’t a gang, but “out of 30 of us, 25 are now either dead or in prison for the rest of their lives.”
He met Spaniolo, who’s three years younger, at a Boys and Girls Club when Methric was 10 or 11 years old. Spaniolo lived in the suburbs, and didn’t have a father. Methric discovered they shared a sense of humour and an escapist interest in horror movies — but had divergent tastes in music.
As an inner-city youth, Methric loved hip-hop, while suburban Spaniolo liked rock.
“My mother ruined rock for me. She would be blasting it out of the window of our house in the middle of the ghetto,” recalled Methric. In a place that was “100 per cent old-school rock, funk and R&B, I got into fights over her Bob Seger and Led Zeppelin,” he recalled, with a bitter chuckle.
Spaniolo somehow managed to make Methric appreciate Motley Cru’s music, while he converted his friend to the sounds of Run DMC.
“I’m not a jealous guy,” said Methric, or he might have found it galling that Spaniolo showed far more talent with rhyme schemes when they started rapping 19 years ago. “I was terrible … He made me work harder at it. I had to catch up to him.”
Methric figures he finally did by Twiztid’s ninth album, Abominationz in 2012. “It finally clicked with me.”
But by that time, Twiztid had been clicking with fans and other rap artists for over a decade, getting signed by Insane Clown Posse’s Psychopathic Records in 1997.
This arrangement continued until Twiztid left the label three years ago to form its own recording company, Majik Ninja Entertainment, which has now signed three other artists: Blaze, R.O.C. and Lex the Hex Master.
“They’re also horrorcore, but nothing like us,” said Methric, who continues to wear face make-up on stage because he likes the look — and doesn’t court fame.
He and Spaniolo are now family men. “My kids are excellent students,” said the rapper, who didn’t let his daughter see Twiztid’s live show until she turned 17. Although he believes his act is too intense for younger kids, Methric resents the “mainstream judgment” that’s been heaped upon his group and others, like Insane Clown Posse.
He strongly disputes the FBI’s labelling of horrorcore rap fans as a “gang,” saying, “We do the most hated music for the most hated people …”
But this is why he feels he can connect to kids who feel misunderstood by everyone else.
Strangely, there’s a twisted morality in Twiztid’s world. In the video for A Place in the Woods, from the new album The Darkness, the head murderer gets stabbed himself.
“One of our beliefs is karma,” said Methric. “It’s like, you did this, what did you expect?”
Tickets to the 9:30 p.m. show are $20- $50 from ticketfly.com or the venue.