Interview: Maggot Twat

Maggot Twat is back! They just rereleased their 2006 album 8 Bit Apocalypse, which we reviewed here. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen now interviews one half of Maggot Twat, Pete Manzella, better known as Pizzer Manwhat. Read it below.

Hello, how are you doing?

Doing well thank you. I am sitting in a library, I am stoned and drinking coffee. It’s a good day so far.

Thanks for the opportunity to question you about Maggot Twat. Can you tell us a bit about Maggot Twat’s birth and its history?

Maggot Twat was born in the suburbs of Chicago in the late 90’s. All my pals were obsessed with death metal and were going to shows and whatnot. I honestly didn’t get it at first. What the hell is this growling cookie monster vocals??? After a while of being around it a lot, it grew on me. I would go to shows and see all the serious, brutal mofos and thought “what if I can play this style of music and make it fuckin hilarious???” Give these people something that’s heavy as fuck and interesting to listen too, but be the most immature jagoff that I can be. At this time, my brother Dan just bought a digital 8 track and small studio setup. I starting writing riffs and gross lyrics, programming drums on his sequencer. Song after song started flyin out of my ass. I was used to writing rock style riffs from previous projects. But this was a whole new game. The first song written was Tard Alarm, followed by Stuffed Animal Orgy. We needed a name fast, so one night me and the dudes were hangin out at Dennys and my friend suggested we name the band Maggot Twat. That was it. We started playing out. Each show getting more and more insane. We always tried to top each show. Everything from beating ourselves in the head with pots and pans, jumping offstage into garbage cans, sawing guitars in half. Then came the projector and the gross videos. Soon after came the addition of our third member. Our puppet drummer Dickpancakes. Yes we have a puppet that plays a tiny puppet drumset at our shows. Everything kinda came together over the years, and now here we are…. A bunch of Jagoffs.

Saying you play a peculiar type of metal would be a gross understatement. You claim you play this to grind against the grain of death metal scene. What is your beef with that scene?

No beef. We’re just way too weird and retarded to try and make a serious band in this genre. We love the metal!!! But for me I am the most creative in my song writing when the element of humor is added. I just cannot be serious. I am like a fuckin clown. So I wanna take that spirit of silly immaturity and bring it into an environment that is not silly, and see what happens. Who’s gonna get it? Who’s gonna walk out the door? Who’s gonna go nuts and love it? Who’s gonna protest that we never play that venue again? (which actually did happen(I’ll tell you later))

When listening to 8 Bit Apocalypse the idea of being in the middle of a video game came to mind more than once. What, if any, is your connection to video games?

Like most suburban kids growing up in the 80’s, all we did was play Nintendo. For hours on end we played the classics. I remember there was a shooting in the neighborhood, and I couldn’t get Dans attention. He had been playing Zelda for 8 hours straight and his brain was sucked into the game. We were brainwashed with repetitive 8 bit music and sounds. Blips and blops of the different sound effects. So naturally when we got older and started a goofball band, it was just inevitable that it would find its way into the music. Not just for the track 8 Bit Apocalypse, but randomly splattered throughout the songs.

I have listened to 8 Bit Apocalypse quite a few times, and it always managed to conjure a wide grin on my face. It’s obvious your music is not intended to be taken too seriously, with all the sounds, speed changes and weird lyrics. There is no doubt you definitely know how to play though. What are your thoughts and ideas on releasing more ‘serious’, less frolicking, less sound-riddled music?

Well.. I have many other side projects that are serious in nature. But nothing in the metal genre. I play the Sitar on the side, I play in a rock band. But when it comes to metal, it just doesn’t come out right if there’s no smart ass approach to it. I can’t make the connection in my brain to let the juices flow if there’s not something lyrically intriguing. And what intrigues me is when I can write something that makes me literally laugh out loud or actually shocks me. Being ashamed that my own brain was responsible for that horrible idea or thought. Hahaha.

I couldn’t help but wonder if you pretty much record whatever pops up in your head at any given time. Can you tell us a bit about the creative process around writing music for Maggot Twat?

Our first album Stuffed Animal Orgy had all the lyrics written first before any music was written. I wrote riffs and beats around the rhythm of the lyric patterns. It was a more freestyle approach to song structure and piecing ideas together. 8 Bit Apocalypse was written the other way around, with the music coming first, and same goes for Imp of the Perverse. That approach had a more traditional structure to it. More chorus’ and sing along type vocals. There’s no right or wrong way to write any music. Unless were talking about stupid ass rap. Whatever good idea comes to you first wins. I’ve written guitar riffs in my head just bangin a stick on a metal pole in the park. Being a not so serious band actually lets us have the freedom to pull any idea out of thin air and make it work.

As you say yourself, there will be two types of metal fans after they have listened to your music. Those that love it and those that will run away screaming. Is that last group a bother to you?

I don’t really give a flying fart if people don’t get it. It’s only when they try to shut us down or interfere with what we’re trying to do. At one point there was a group of people protesting that we never play a particular venue. I’ve seen people rip our flyers down from street poles and bathroom walls. Ha. Cryin and pissin about how this stuff should not be in public. Some people really, really don’t want us to exist. But on the other hand, their hatred for us gets people talking. And that’s always a good thing. There used to be a website that had a chat room discussing local Chicago bands. And Maggot Twat was a hot topic of discussion. People would say the worst things about us and they talked and talked. Pretty soon we were playin in bigger clubs for more people. So let the haters hate. Word.

This release is not new, it’s a re-release of your 2006 album with the addition of a single new song. Why did you choose to do this instead of releasing a completely new album?

We had been split up for a couple years and were throwing the idea around of making a comeback. Only under the conditions that we keep on the same trajectory that we had with 8 Bit Apocalypse. Keep it stupid and heavy. Seeing Red Records suggested that we do the re-release and try to expose it to a broader audience and get it the attention that it should have had from the start. It definitely recharged our retard super powers and got us back on track.

Speaking of releases, despite being around for almost two decades you have unleashed only two releases onto the world. Why is that?

We actually have three studio albums. Doh! Nobody seems to be aware of our album Imp of the Perverse. What happened was I was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome during the writing process. I was having a hard time with work and just doing day to day stuff. This seemed to reflect in the lyrics. Songs about mental disorders like pantaphobia and of course OCD and Tourettes, seemed to make for a more darker album. Of course it has its funny songs like Eating Elvis’ Shit and Turbo Jagoff. A lot of those songs we still play live. But for some reason that album went completely unnoticed. I personally think it’s some of my best song writing, but because it wasn’t funny all the way through, it didn’t work. Or it just wasn’t promoted enough.

Are there any plans of releasing more new material within a short span of time?

Yes. I’ve got silly string flyin outta my bunghole right now.

Do you have touring plans outside Chicago or even the US?

We’re working on taking it to the next level and planning little mini tours. So, yes sir.

Thanks for your time, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Don’t take things too serious. Don’t have a steak and wash it down with dunkin donuts coffee. Don’t walk backwards chewing bubble gum during a parade in the state of Wyoming. Stay away from things of a repetitive nature. You’ll end up with Tourettes. Wash your fucking hands once and awhile. Take your vitamins, try riding a unicycle. Give yourself a fucked up haircut, and never, ever, beat off at work in the bathroom without double checking to make sure the door is locked.

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