I once thought all music that wasn't performed by three-to-five angry dudes with guitars and a drum kit was stupid. I realized one night in 2003 that it was me, in fact, who was stupid. After sniffing up a few of my college roommate's little blue Adderalls and booting up the NES for a few rounds of Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wackyland, I whimsically threw on an unfamiliar CD — Tight by Mindless Self Indulgence. Shortly thereafter, my rockist dogma died a glorious death.
WOBBLEROCKED "Ten-years later, all these pieces make sense to kids," says MSI's Jimmy Urine (second from left, with guitarist Steve, Righ?, drummer Kitty, and bassist LynZ).
I had heard MSI in high school, but like many, I failed to "get" the multi-gender Atari-punk foursome upon first exposure. (Early MSI's casual and frequent use of the N-bomb probably threw me as much as my own electrophobia. Except for their version of "Big Poppa" by the Notorious B.I.G., newer MSI material shuns racially-loaded slang in favor of more creative obnoxiousness.) Inexplicably, the combination of an 8-bit Hampton J. Pig tackling giant rats, a gentle amphetamine buzz, and foreboding yet capricious digital wallops such as "Pussy All Night," "Molly," and a jock-jam from Bizarro World called "Bite Your Rhymes" shifted my psyche. Looking back, I wonder if I would still be narrow-minded if, let's say, I opted to drink battery-acid vodka and play Soulcalibur that night.
After Tight came out in 1999, it took about five years before a snowballing cult of weirdoes turned MSI into a marquee name. Their notoriously unpredictable presence envelops the Palladium in Worcester on Saturday, but back then, confused promoters would saddle MSI with unenviable tasks like opening for then-profitable nu-metal acts. The DVD supplement of 2011's deluxe reissue of Tight, rechristened Tighter, captures the outrage of those audiences.
"When you look at those videos, we look like we're from the future, like we fucking went back in time to the Paleozoic era, and a bunch of cavemen are looking at us saying 'What the fuck is this?' " observes master-of-all-vocal-ranges Jimmy Urine, via phone from Los Angeles.
On the DVD, one outdoor mob breaks into a chant of "You suck!" So Urine prompts a call-and-response of "When I say 'we,' you say 'suck!' " On another occasion, guitarist Steve, Righ? — that's his name — snaps at a homophobic heckler, "I could suck cock all day and all night and you'd still be a bigger fag than me!"
Although a frenzied grumble about Urine's bi-sexuality cramping his style stands as one of the best known MSI songs ("Faggot"), all four members have since wed members of the opposite sex. Bassist LynZ even locked down My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way. It seems MSI have become less gay bashy and less gay over the years.
Today, partly thanks to total indifference to all those dumbasses, Urine plans to wrap MSI's first new studio album since 2008 after he finishes some contributions to a video game soundtrack. It seems that being a decade ahead of your time is only a problem if you're too much of a wuss to hang. "Ten years later, all these pieces make sense to kids," says Urine. "They understand our glitchy-ness because of all the dubstep. They get synthesizers because everybody has synthesizers.