Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence: "People Hear Us and Say, 'Where the Fuck Do They Come From?'"
Bands that mash up several genres can produce some amazingly unique music as well as some unadulterated shit. New York's Mindless Self Indulgence is quite capable of doing both within the same song. For nearly 15 years, Jimmy Urine and crew have created what they like to call industrial jungle pussy punk.
From a tour stop in Los Angeles and in anticipation of Saturday night's show at the Palladium Ballroom, Urine talked about his band's in-your-face performances and how he'd like to be a stuntman.
The band has been labeled synth-punk, electro-punk, digital hardcore and industrial rock. Does that about cover it?
No, there are probably about 10 other genres people have missed over the years.
Was it the original intention to mash together as many genres as possible?
Yes, pretty much it was. I like so many different kinds of music that I didn't want to be limited to just one thing. It was pretty much the same with everyone in the band. I always wondered about those people who had so many different styles of music in their record collections, but then only went to metal shows. It was ridiculous. They went to metal shows, but they also had records by Wu-Tang Clan and The Cure. Why the funk wouldn't you want go at all that at once? That's where the idea for this whole thing came from.
Your real name is James Euringer. It must have been pretty natural to adopt the Jimmy Urine stage name.
Yes, all I had to do is take out one or two letters. I couldn't believe that no one called me Urine in high school. The only person who ever called me Jimmy was my mom and I thought that was funny. I went to a Catholic school and you would think someone would have called me urine at least once.
You've led the band for nearly 15 years. Does that seem possible?
It sure doesn't feel like it has been that long. It wasn't until last year when we took some time off that we realized how long we had been doing this. We've always been either on tour or making a record. We are always moving forward. As soon as we took that break, we were like, "Oh shit, we've been doing this a while."
Seeing that the band is known for wild live performances, what is more important, the music or the show?
I think it's all about entertainment. Entertainment is what is most important. I don't really give a fuck if you want to go see fucking crazy, jazz-type musicianship. You can go see metal bands that can do that or you can find a band that just stands there and does math rock. I have always been a Sammy Davis Jr. song and dance man. I want to be entertained. I want to see a script and I want character action. We just like forward-thinking, bizarre music. Honestly, these last couple of years, music is catching up to the way that we think. Things are getting very glitchy and odd. When we started, no one could even fathom music like that. People hear us and say, "Where the fuck do you come from?"
You've played with bands like Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Korn and Insane Clown Posse. Did those audiences accept what your band does?
Here's the thing: A lot of the members of those bands were fans of our band. They liked our ideas and they thought we were really forward-thinking. They enjoyed us opening for them and being a part of what they did. We became friends with many of them. It was about finding people in the audience who were thinking beyond one dimension. Like with Korn, it was this giant stadium and there were 30,000 people there and many of them didn't get us. They thought we were a metal band, but there were some that we were cool. I just don't go to metal shows. I go to raves and I go to Wu-Tang Clan shows. The people who were slightly cracked appreciated us because we are slightly cracked. It started to look like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. You had the rave kids all dressed in DayGlo. You had a bunch of goth kids and the emo girls in the front. It was a crazy, fun thing.
So, you've never been heckled by anyone in the audience?
Sure, but we feel the hatred and we encourage it. We don't want a bored audience. If they are yelling, "Fuck you, get off the stage," then we pull our pants down and do some whack shit. It was hard to get a large audience suckered into a bad joke. That happened all of the time. It didn't matter what people threw at us. That became part of the act. Then, we would play a smaller venue and headline and the people would love us. We couldn't believe no one was throwing anything at us. We were so used to this Vietnam feeling. It was a weird flip.
You guys seem to come through our area a lot. Do you have a thing for Texas?
I've been to Texas a couple of times and enjoyed it. I got a ticket last time I came to Dallas. Once you get into the cities, things start to look the same, but I like traveling outside of the cities and seeing all that cattle. But Austin and Dallas and Houston have good scenes and you see the same kind of parties that you do in New York or L.A.
Did you pay the ticket?
Yes, I did. They did not want me coming back.
There is a comic book about the band and an upcoming video game and you also run a clothing company. What else is in the works?
It's a really great video game with this chick chasing zombies with a chain saw. And that comic book was all about real things that happened to our band on the road. Me and my wife had a clothing company for a little while. We sold stuff through Hot Topic. We like to do a lot of things outside of music. We got out of the clothing thing because we wanted to get back to our bands. It's fun to do all of that stuff. I would love to do animation. One of the things that I really want to do is stuntman work. I want to do that before I get too old to do it. I am 42, but I look fucking great. I would assume 50 is too old to be a stuntman, so if I get in within the next decade then I am good.
Mindless Self Indulgence perform with Pendulum and Ventana on Saturday, March 24, at the Palladium Ballroom.