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Epic Mazur of Crazy Town

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* 1/08/ San Francisco CRAZYTOWN

.....Crazy Town's Epic Mazur, who along with fellow lyricist/vocalist/producer Shifty Shellshock founded the aptly named LA band Crazy Town, has a simple explanation of the music they make: ""We're some hip-hop kids that needed to rock, rather than some rock kids who needed to rap." Shifty and Epic grew up listening to N.W.A, Cypress Hill and Ice-T as well as alternative rock bands like The Cure and Nirvana. But for Shifty, it was the Beastie Boy's "Licensed To Ill" that inspired him to make his own demos Epic, whose family came from New York, went to high school in So Cal with Ice Cube, Divine Styler and Everlast. He started making beats and cutting tracks early on, eventually providing music for MC Serch's (3rd Bass) solo record. But it wasn't until Eric and Shifty hooked up that they felt they could really pursue careers as professional musicians. They formed the Brimstone Sluggers six years ago and recorded, but never finished an album because they kept getting sidetracked with other hip-hoppers' projects. Eventually they decided to concentrate on their own project: a hip-hop band with a full instrumental line-up. Crazy Town became populated by Epic, Shifty, Faydoedeelay (bass), Rust Epique (guitar), Trouble Valli (guitar), DJ AM (turntables) and JBJ (drums). Crazy Town built on that foundation one block at a time, from formation to recording its debut album "The Gift of Game" to lots of touring in the States and Europe. "The Gift of Game," originally released in 1999, took awhile to get heard, although it sold over 100,000 copies almost solely by word of mouth. But with the third single release "Butterfly" now floating all over the charts and radio, Crazy Town is an urban center to be reckoned with.

Q: Are first interview is on and is getting a lot of hits and the 
fans really like it. It was a year ago and you were touring with Tommy Lee.
 I wanted to get back with you guys again because your new single 
"Butterfly" is really exploding on the airwaves it.
A: Thank God.
Q: Still touring and working hard, that's dedication !
A: But I've always wanted people to say that. They work hard, they've been out there touring a long time.
Q: I really have a lot of respect for you guys.
A: Yeah, because they'll make us pay our dues, if they think we haven't.
Q: Still the same seven members in your band ?
A: Well, one of our guitar players was Russ To Peak (sp?), but we've parted ways with him and now its Craig the Squirrel Tyler.
Q: What was the concept with the "Butterfly" single that made you explode? How did you get your ideas on that one?
A: Well we had the song before we even signed a record deal and we had most of the songs and we had a formula and basically "Butterfly" being the third single was part of that formula. We came out with it as a single. We released it to radio. We were coming off of "Dark Side," which for whatever reasons, part of us having to leave the Oz Fest. I don't know if you know.
Q: I heard you left the Ozzfest early, why's that ?
A: We did five Oz Fests, and then our management had to pull us off for very real reasons and everything kind of just started slowing down. But there was a lot of people out there, especially in the industry, who knew who we were and respected us and liked our music. And, we did a show in L.A. at the Whiskey in late September or early October and we were getting ready to put out "Butterfly" as a single for radio. At this point, Columbia was not ready to go ahead and do the big video that we needed for "Butterfly," until we saw what the reaction at radio was, and our management agreed and it was only because of our management that I think that we were able to not have lost all the faith of Columbia. That, and our hard work. So, at that point basically we did the show and everybody saw that we were better than ever and everything was basically all good and made everybody want to kind of like make this happen. I think there are a lot of people at Columbia that are great at their job that love to have a record like ours work because there is so much pop and kind of formulaic music there. To get an artist that is more of an entity unto itself and is doing something kind of heavy and more in line to what a lot of these people may listen to when they get in their car, not to mention that they genuinely like it. They want to break it and make it really happen. I mean I hear this story all the time from Columbia - I mean that they love this record. So its cool. We finally gave them the ammunition that they needed to really get all the acceptance of the radio people and everything, because our first two singles were - "Toxic" is heavy and doesn't lend itself to radio. "Dark Side" I think could be a huge radio hit, but you know not as big as it could be after the success of "Butterfly." But we had to have songs out there that support our touring and we wanted to wait until it was the right time to release "Butterfly." So, if we had waited any longer, it probably would have been too late, but timing has always been the thing that was never in our favor, and now I think we got it.
Q: You're not kidding. It's a really big hit for you guys. I understand you're selling quite a few copies?
A: Yeah.
Q: Have you been over to Europe yet?
A: Three times. That was part of our demise and having to leave the Oz Fest. Because I mean, it was so much touring and you can only play little clubs and not feel something growing before you start to lose your mind. You know what I mean. Like sending a football team out there every Sunday to lose.
Q: I noticed that you were paired up with all kinds of different bands. Is there any particular bands that you had a little more fun with, or clashed better with? A: All of it was good, because it was all the first time for us. So, the first tour was with Buck Cherry and to us, it was the best tour ever - well to some of us - I mean definitely we were growing. We had never played out live before got our record deal as a band. So, we knew that we had to do this. That's why we didn't put out "Butterfly" right away.
Q: Good strategy. Does the song "Little Black Cloud have a chance to be a single ?
A: I think so. But, I think that's a more self indulgent Crazy Town song that given us being a household name or really successful, then something like that could really come across huge. Because that's what we want to be able to do. We want to be able to start to define you know, what the sound on radio is.
Q: Describe the song "Butterfly."
A: "Butterfly" is more so about the girl that makes you want to - makes you think about yourself and how you come across. The girl that will always have a piece of your heart. The girl that made you change and made you a better man. You know what I mean.
Q: Then feeling of the song "Revolving Door" is being by yourself?
A: Exactly, which is about having as much fun as you can while you're single.
Q: "Toxic." Was the extreme side of you guys?
A: "Toxic" is more of like a 'Hello world. This is Crazy Town. And we're Toxic and we're not going to go away.' We're Toxic. We'll kill all the fish. You put us in barrels and you drop us into the bottom of the ocean, we're still going to get out and kill all the fish.
Q: Now a lot of your audience is still relatively on the young side? Have you seen a change?
A: We've seen our audience drop in age dramatically. It's like we made the record that we made. Nothing has changed and the fact that this happens we have to just be okay with, because we could be one of those ... we want to be a huge huge successful group because we're not questioning whether or not our integrity will change or we'll start doing things based upon keeping that status. We feel that the only way to be happy is to do what you're doing and we know how to do it in a way that at least there will be group that people will like, or the people that I'm talking about. You know what I mean.
Q: Are you trying to say you might change?
A: Well, that's what the worry is from all our core fans that have been down from the beginning, is that given huge huge success that we will change. I think that a lot of times what happens is that the fans change. The band doesn't change a lot of times, but the fans change. The fan does change. But if you are a fan of the band, you can't expect them to make their first album over and over and over again. And it's really stupid, because there are a lot of great records there by bands and stuff. Like I love the last Cure album. But, there is a lot of hardcore Cure fans that are like 'uhhh,' like naysaying it, because everybody's down with it now. And they just want to holler out loud that they were the first, or they were down from the beginning. It's like who gives a fuck about that. You're doing the Cure an injustice by being closed minded.
Q: Also, the common phrase I hear from bands that made it big is that their "selling out" if they change their style.
A: Yeah. That happens. Believe me, that happens all the time. But there is a way to write huge successful pop songs that are great, that have integrity and are natural and are not forced and contrived. I think that by starting to dictate what the sound on radio is, is the way you can do that. You have to change the system to fit you so that you don't have to change your music to fit the system. Q: Wasn't that happening to you, you were writing songs for other bands and wanted to start up in a band on your own ?
A: Yeah. I was a producer and a writer for years before this, but me and Shifty were always doing this in the studio.
Q: Black Eyed Peas was one of the bands you got going?
A: Yeah. I produced them. They were called the " Atban Klann " at first and we finished an album and it was about to come out on Ruthless Records, but Easy E died and like all this crazy stuff happened and a single had come out, but I don't think ever dropped. It's a classic album. And, then we started working on their new stuff as the "Black Eyed Peas" and Will, who I love and is a great talented person - happened to see him last week, I hadn't seen him in a long time - he really got good at producing and was able to shape it into what it is now. But, I am proud to say that he is like a student of mine.
Q: So one of these days you will be playing at the big amphitheaters, uh ?
A: That's what we want.
Q: But you hope that this doesn't change the band as far the core fans from the beginning.
A: Yeah. We're not going to sit around and be like ultra cool and we just want to stay underground. No. We want to be able to do what we do for as many people as possible and to make as much money as we possibly could given that we're not compromising ourselves.
Q: Do you have a stack of songs on hold for another CD?
A: Yeah. We're home for two months doing that before we go out on the road again, so that we can have a bunch done for the next record and continue working on it while we're on the road and come out with a new record in the fall. And it'll be killer, because the people that are just getting down with Crazy Town for the first time now, they're going to say 'wow, that was so fast to come up with another record.' But our core fans that have been down since last year is going to be right on time for them, because they are already saying they want more Crazy Town.
Q: Do you have a title?
A: We have titles, but who knows which way it may go, so I don't want to say anything, we have songs with titles, but what happens all of sudden you start seeing that and hearing that everywhere.
Q: Do you guys still have meet and greets with the fans after your concerts. I noticed last year you guys actually went out into the audience and met your fans head on.
A: Well, it's kind of hard for me to do that, just because of who I am. I'm really shy actually. Shifty, that's perfect for him. He loves to politic, at the same time that he gets to hang out with the fans, he's sober, so it helps keep his ego for all the good reasons in check. You know keep him feeling good about himself, so he doesn't dwell on what am I going to do now. So, it's all good. And then, by the time I've had my half hour by myself so that I can mellow out, then I go out into the crowd. But I imagine, if everything goes the way we want, that it's really going to start to get too crazy to be able to do that. So, I mean that's why I do do it now, and we have been doing it, because what our hope is, that we better be doing it now, because pretty we won't be able to.

Well, I really appreciate you taking the time out to let your fans know whats going on. Epic.Thank you ,and thank you to our fans for believing in us !

By Randy Cohen

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