After a concert that was a rush-o-fun + severe energy, how is commentary adequate? One must really behold the spectacle to truly appreciate the mad, erotic, hilarious performance of Ice Rod. And his three very talented, very handsome male dancers who humped the be-jesus out of inflatable balls, scaffolding, an air mattress, the audience, the microphone stand, the floor, a yoga ball snowman and nothing at all but Ice Rod’s beats.
A few questions for Michael Gaughan and a few answers:
Where did the name Ice Rod come from?
I was mowing my parents lawn and I thought Ice Rod would be a funny name for a rapper. About a year later I was rapping under the name MC Tidal Wave which I had for about a year, but then one night I went to an open mic at the Fifth Element in Minneapolis and you needed to put a name on the list. I thought it would be funny to put Ice Rod on there and when the host called out the name to introduce me, everyone in the room looked up and got excited–before I even got on stage–and I knew that that should be my name. It didn’t sound like a really nerdy name like something with computer lingo in it or something.
Where is Ice Rod going? What’s he going to do?
Ice Rod is going to stay positive and it’s going to continue to try and push boundaries and stay creative, clever and fun–but hopefully not at other people’s expense. I want it to create fun and not make fun of others. That’s what I hope for. I love being able to freestyle in front of other people and saying things that people don’t expect to be said, certain rhymes that people don’t expect to be put together, something that is delightful. I love when people get excited and start dancing, I love that. I want that to continue and grow.
You really embody the term “multi-disciplinary”. As well as being an artist, performer, rapper and 1/2 band member, you also have your teaching degree and you organize city-wide events among other things. How do all these things influence/instruct each other or juxtapose each other, and how do you do it all with such focus and vigor?
I think of it like elementary school, where the kids have math class then they have gym then language art then art then social studies then science then after school they have theater then soccer then homework. There are certain things that I value and certain things that I want to contribute to the world. There are things I want to partake in, and I try and figure out how I can get those things done. I shift my focus around, I’ll go a month where I don’t perform at all and I really try to work on visual art. Then I’ll go and do a series of concerts, so I try and plan what I can be doing now and what I can do in the next couple months. Brother and Sister (his band with his sister, Katie) has a set of definitions and Ice Rod is starting to get that too. Ice Rod is sexual but not sexist, it’s fun but it’s not making fun of rap. I get a lot of, “oh, you’re a white rapper, you’re gimmicky and you use a lot of schitck”, but I can’t help that I’m white, I really like hip-hop and I am coming from an art back-ground, not from a hip-hop culture. My personal, political beliefs have a liberal edge, and I strive for anti-conformity. Brother and Sister has a similar anti-conformist agenda, but no sexual content. It’s about wanting to empower people and send a positive vibe and a really fun experience. It’s wholesome but also defiant and independent. Each project I have is starting to develop a clear definition, but it’s still difficult to create something fresh within those parameters. I’m working on keeping all the projects consistent but also expandable. Growing as artists but creating something that’s recognizable.
Should people come to the scavenger hunt?
YES. It’s going to be really fun, it’s all ages. People will come to this and make new friends by working and solving problems with strangers. I’m hoping to have people utilize the city in a way they normally wouldn’t, interact with it like they haven’t before. They’ll discover different locations, but I hope they’ll also see the same place in a whole new light. I want them to look at the world in a more imaginative way, in a less practical way. You can take a break from looking at the same old environment pragmatically and look at it more imaginatively. You don’t need a new environment, you can use what you’re given and make it different and wonderful. With the music, instead of having to perform in a bar, we can perform in a jail, or on a boat, or inside a swimming pool and I think it’s exciting to change someone’s idea of what’s normal.
Thank you Ice Rod! See everyone at the Scavenger Hunt + the Brother and Sister concert next Sunday, Sept 14th!
–Patricia