First, let me say that this was a very cool interview. I really didn’t think that I was going to be able to the interview…let alone it turn out like it did. I had met V-ICE several times in the past, at shows and meet and greets but we never had time to really sit down and talk.
Recently, I was invited to the sound check before his sold out show at Cardo’s in Chillicothe, Ohio with the understanding that if there was any time after the sound check we could talk. For days before the show, I thought about the questions that I wanted to ask him. Since 1990 he has been in the media for one reason or another both good and bad and I didn’t want to rehash old news.
So for nearly two hours I watched as V-ICE turned knobs at the sound board…run back and forth to and from the stage…tweaking a little more here and there making sure that everything from his vocals to the drums, bass, lights and the turn tables all meshed together forming a gigantic sensory overload machine.
Then, it was my turn. Rob (his real name) motioned for me to follow him and we sat down and started the interview. The more we talked…the more he opened up to me about his life…always looking me in the eye when answering my questions. That’s when you know it’s real and not the same cookie cutter answers that everyone else gets. Rob has been through and experienced great deal in his life including having an “over the top” image during the early nineties and while talking with him it’s easy to realize that he is like a multifaceted diamond that you can see into…but just too hard to break.
T.E.N. - So, what have you been up to these days?
Vanilla Ice- These days, I’ve been getting crazy like Prozac! Na, man, I’ve just been workin bro. I’ve been giggin…tourin, we play a hundred shows a year! This year, we’ve done even more. It’s been really good.
T.E.N. - When does your new cd drop?
VI- Well, I just finished up one which is all remakes. I signed a deal with Cleopatra Records and its all remakes. I got to pick the remakes. I’ve got Bob Marley on there; I got House Of Pain on there…Cypress Hill…a lot of my favorites. It’s gonna be a cool deal because we’re throwin in a whole bunch of dj mixes for each song. That’s gonna be cool! I’m also workin on my personal record and I should have it finished by Halloween.
T.E.N. - You’re birthday!
VI- Yeah! It’s right around the corner. But, the cd probably won’t be out till sometime in February.
T.E.N. - In the past few years, you’ve been all over T.V. How did you become involved in the “Reality World?”
VI- Just being the jackass that I am! (Laughs) I just have fun, man. I create a lot of excitement when I get on there. I tear up the set. I throw drums and get crazy and people love it man. The ratings go through the roof when I go crazy so that kinda encourages me to get on there and do my “jackass thing” ya know. But, I’m a good guy and I’m really not like what people see on T.V. Reality shows are kind of like an open door to just kinda get out there and be crazy.
And, that’s what I do. It creates more excitement and ratings plus I get to hang out with Ron Jeremy and the rest of the casts. We have a good time, man.
My favorite one was the celebrity bull ridin one. Bro…what a rush! Snot blowin, shittin, fartin bull, man! (Laughs) It was a good time!
T.E.N. - What most have you taken from those experiences?
VI- I’d probably say it was that one, man. It was great hangin out in “Surreal Life” and doin the whole thing. I know that’s a big deal to see that side of people and have the different staged events for us to go through. But, I’m an adrenalin junkie so the bull riding show was it. I race motocross and I’ve never had anything in my life match the intensity level of the motocross until I rode the bulls. When I rode those bulls, bro, the sweat was comin down and you just get in their and you’re actually sittin on this thing goin; “Wait a minute. I’m a rapper…I’m a musician…I’m not a fuckin bull rider what am I doin?” I thought I was tough. I watched it on T.V. and I was one of those guys that thought “Shit, I can hang on for eight seconds. Ya know 1, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 how hard can it be? It’s just a bunch of drunken cowboys.” I found out really quick that it’s not! I got out there on those fuckin bulls and bro, they’re very intense and they don’t know “time out.”
There ain’t no “time out” they come right at ya blowin snot on ya…fart on ya and stomp ya in the crap. If you don’t get to the fence quick enough…they’ll run ya over. It was a good time. The adrenalin was amazing. It beat parachuting; hang gliding and it just about tied motocross.
T.E.N. - How did it feel kickin ass on NBC’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time?” You just completely nailed it.
VI- Ya know, I was jacked up on a lot of Mountain Dew that day. (Laughs) And I had a great time. It was cool to go back to the “old school” for a minute and have people appreciate that. It fueled me up and I was pumped for that event. I had goose bumps doin that whole thing cause I haven’t danced like that in years.
I didn’t even know myself if I still had it. But, after watching it, I was like; “Shit, I still got it man!” I was amazed.
T.E.N. - Let’s talk about music for a minute. How much has rap and hip hop changed since you released “To The Extreme?”
VI- Shit man, not only has rap and hip hop changed but music in general has changed. Of course everybody knows the changing from cds to downloading and stuff like that. Musically, the change is that it’s gotten a lot more artificial with “American Idol” and havin other people produce and other people write the songs…other people choreograph it and tell you how to dress and shit. It has a lot of people out there thinkin that “All I got to do to make it in the music industry is look good.” That’s not what it’s about. Music is not about gimmicks…it’s not about image and I’ve always said this; “It’s about the fuckin music.” It’s drawn out a big illusion to people out there so everybody even with no talent at all, if they think they got the look they can make it. It’s not about that at all. A hit song is a hit song and you gotta have talent.
T.E.N. - Didn’t Alanis Morrisette open for you back in the day? What do you remember about her?
VI- She was really young and I was really young. (Laughs) I remember some people comin up to me talking some really young high school stuff like; “She’s got a crush on you.” It was cute and it was cool. Now to see her years later to come out and be what she is. She really came into her own. I think the experience helped her. Ya know, “We are who we are because of who we were.” She started out with this big hair do with all the hair spray. Nobody really remembers because she didn’t do much in those days. But, when she came back out with her whole deal she had really absorbed somethin and came back with a right hook and had created her own thing! I gotta give her credit for that.
T.E.N. – What impact do you think MTV had on your career?
VI - MTV has an impact on everyone’s careers but don't get it twisted, the artist's are the one's who made MTV… I made them hundreds of millions of dollars.
It is sad that MTV changed music. Music was never made to watch on T.V. unless it was a live performance. Music is made up for your imagination, like painting a picture or movie or personal experiences through the music. I think music should be without gimmicks and image. Look at how artificial the music industry has become, music should simply be about the music.
T.E.N. –In the mid and late 90’s you kind of reinvented yourself first with “Mind Blowin” and then “Hard To Swallow.” Both releases were different types of music not only from each other but “To The Extreme” as well. Were those releases your way of showing the world that you had evolved and adapted to the changing ways in music?
VI- I really wouldn’t say that I had adapted to the changing styles of music. I would say that my music is more like a diary. I don’t plan it. It’s not somethin that I had thought about and said “Let me change an image or somethin.” Even though it’s different, I was bein me at that time and I captured the moment. To the pubic, it looks like a change of image or whatever. No man, when I did “Mind Blowin” I was smoking a lot of dope. I had the friggin dread locks and I had a great time vibin and makin music and sittin back makin it a musical adventure. That’s what it was and that’s how I continue to make my music. I don’t plan things or try to keep up with the times…follow anybody or trends…nothing like that. I just do it my way and hopefully people will appreciate it. Ya know when I did the heavy record “Hard To Swallow” I thought that it was gonna be a huge flop and it turned out to sell millions of copies. I was amazed.
When I met Ross Robinson I told him; “This is kinda depressing music…let me rethink this. Music is supposed to make people happy.” He was like; “No way, bro. Get in the studio that’s awesome!”
I was in tears and shit and I was like “People are gonna hate this. It’s too depressing.” Then I saw what kind of effect it had on people after it was out. It created like a subculture. I got this guy Joe in New York that has tattoos of Vanilla Ice all over his whole body. I thought “This is a little weird” at first and this guy says:
“I owe you my whole life.” I asked him “How?” and he said “By your song “Scars” you saved my life bro. To see that you made it through helped pull me through.
I’m suicidal, I’ve had issues, I’m a manic depressant and bi-polar.” I was like “Wow, I didn’t know that my music had such an impact that deep on people.” To me…that’s unbelievable therapy for me. I got to actually vent myself on a record and people really got it. They got the whole thing. They really saw the real side of me.
T.E.N. - What artists today do you think that you had an influence on?
VI- Well I’ve influenced a lot. I don’t like to take credit for it; I don’t have much of an ego. It got ripped away from me a long time ago. I can sit back and watch and go “Well that’s cool. I can see Puff Daddy sampling music and bein accepted for it even though I’m the one who broke all those barriers down and took all the heat for it.” I can see Eminem. I paved the way for him, everybody knows that. I don’t look for credit for it. I’m happy that he’s doin his thing and I’m happy for everybody that makes it successfully musically. It’s not a competition.
People try to make it a competition. I look at it like “An artist is an artist and if you can make it…then you’ve made it. A dope song is a dope song!” People look into it so deeply and that’s not what music should be. Fuck man, any white kid rappin period. Whether he’s white, black, Puerto Rican or Jew, I crossed over and broke down barriers and took a lot of heat from a lot of people. I can see my influence in a lot of people and its great because a lot of my peers who don’t need any respect from me or anything to do with me actually come back and respect me like Wu Tang Clan…Public Enemy…I.C.P. The Insane Clown Posse is one of my favorites. I’m a Juggalo for life! To have your peers come back and respect what you do and what you’ve done is a great honor. That means more to me than anything
T.E.N. - I was going to ask you how you became seduced by I.C.P.’s “The Dark Carnival” and what was it like working with them?
VI- Well number one, I’m the true “Dark Carnival,” man. I’m born on Halloween…I’m an evil sonofabitch. I love life and I live a good life…I’m a good person.
I don’t wish harm on anybody but there’s somethin about clowns and the dark side. I love it! I’m a Scorpio and like I said, I’m born on Halloween so I’m a spook man. That whole thing plus the love that I get from all of the Juggalos from around the country and goin to “The Gathering” and bein one of them and performing and them appreciating what I’m doin is a huge compliment to me. I enjoy it.
T.E.N. – Throughout your life you’ve gone through hard times both in both personal and professional lives. How do you keep it together and keep it real?
VI- What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger, man. I’ve been through hell and back and I’ve got a family that helps my stability and gives me a purpose to live and better myself. I kinda tend to abuse myself. I’m a self abusive person on myself. I don’t get any thrill living for myself. I’ve got a lot of accomplishments and I’ve done a lot of things and most people would be happy with that. I don’t look back on it because I don’t have an ego and be like; “Wow, look what I’ve done!” I’m not cool with that. I’ve gotta keep continuing to do things to make myself happy. It’s not about what I’ve done…it’s about what I’m doin next. I always set goals for myself and I always try to achieve them. And when I achieve them…I’m on to the next one. I have to continue to keep doin that.
T.E.N. - On your latest release "Platinum Underground" the songs "Survivor" & "Dunn Natt" are extremely autobiographical. Is it difficult to reflect back when writing songs like those?
VI- Yea, I have to be in the right mood to tap into some events that have happened in my life and it is not always pleasure. It can be sad, depressing, and angry and that's what makes the music real when you can be yourself and have the balls to do it regardless if you get radio play or not just keep it real.
T.E.N. – On the track “Survivor” there’s a line about Dimebag Darrell. What’s your coolest memory of him?
VI- Dimebag was a great talent and a legend. Bobzilla is my bass player and when our tour was over he was Damage Plan’s bassist. He was on stage that night in Columbus Ohio and still goes to therapy for it and it messed up his head to see all that, but he is getting better. Dime was a fun guy to drink with and an amazing musician to watch. Damage Plan was kick ass as well as Pantera. He will be missed!
T.E.N. -Everybody seems to be putting books about their lives out now. Have you ever thought about releasing an updated autobiography?
VI -I think about writing a book all the time but I have mixed feelings about it because I feel like my music is my book and the chapters are still coming. Ever since I met Ross Robinson I am living a whole new musical adventure, and found out what making music is all about. It's not the fame or the money…it's about using the music to exercise your demons or vibe about good times or say what you mean to say or would not say. It's therapy…its life and most of all it's about expression, so I can't think of a better book than music but maybe someday I will. You never know...
T.E.N. – Tell me something disturbing about yourself that you’ve never told anyone before.
VI- (Busts out laughing) Disturbing about myself… I’ve done some bad things, bro. I was never a role model. I ran with a crew that helped me one time with this fight. These guys came out where we used to have these under aged keg parties, right. These guys came out and shot up my friends’ car because they thought it was my car. I had some friends help me beat the hell out of them. I knew some friends in a gang and I said; “Look, I need some help. These guys are ganging up on me and comin after me.” We caught ‘em and got ‘em and I ended up throwin Molotov Cocktails at their car and burnin it down. So that’s some dirt on me that ya have. But, I also have a lot of satanic people comin from the satanic church of Ireland to try to convince me to be satanic and preach to my people…but I won’t do that. Once in Japan this really fine girl was runnin down the hall butt naked…slidin satanic bibles underneath my door. She followed the whole tour around. It’s crazy things, man. She was everything but twistin her head around spittin green blood. (Laughs)
I want to thank V-ICE for taking the time to do this interview and Chuck Quon for making it happen.
For more information on V-ICE, visit the link in the artists section.