Body Count Biography
Last updated: 10/19/2009 12:00:00 PM
"They did everything they could to take us out, but like any good monster, that just made us stronger," says Ice-T. The Body Count saga began in South Central LA where Ice-T and guitarist Ernie-C met while attending Crenshaw High School. Ernie was listening to the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and eventually formed his own speed-metal band.
Meanwhile, Ice-T was making his mark as a controversial rapper / actor / label head, utilizing Ernie-C's talent when an aggressive rock riff was called for. In 1989, culling guitarist D-Roc, bassist Mooseman and drummer Beatmaster V from the Crenshaw days, Body Count was born. Before song one was cut for their debut record, the band was shattering eardrums and preconceptions on the first Lollapalooza tour. Their self-titled debut, featuring the breakthrough single and video 'There Goes the Neighborhood' hit the streets in early '92, and a hundred-show tour with Exodus, DRI and ProPain, not to mention dates with Metallica and Guns N' Roses, immediately established Body Count as a barrier-breaking force in metal in more ways than one.
For "Born Dead" Body Count tested their tunes on American and European ears before committing the songs to tape. In 1993, the quintet toured Europe, including Budapest, Finland and Germany, plus Australia, New Zealand and Japan. "While the audience was watching us, we were watching the audience. Some of the songs that we were touring with never made it to the record 'cause it didn't translate" relates Ice-T. "That's why I feel confident about this album. because every one of these songs we played and the audience responded." "Born Dead" was even more of a group effort than "Body Count," with all members sharing in the musical inception.
Ice-T wrote all the words except for 'Necessary Evil,' which was penned by behemoth bass player Mooseman. "'Born Dead' is intentionally an addition to the Body Count saga," explains Ice-T of their sophomore effort. "It's meant to compliment the other album. So when people are saying, 'you don't have another 'Cop Killer', well, I think 'Cop Killer' is the epitome of that form of song. It was done, we'll always have that song, we'll always play it, so let's find some other things." And that they did. "Born Dead" is topical without being preachy, unrelenting without alienating. And there's one of Ice-T's trademark, often-missed, tongue-in-cheek lyricism... or is there? If real-life is controversial, then you might find "Born Dead" raising the ire of a few misguided fold, though Ice-T doesn't foresee any ruckus being raised.
Not even over 'Shallow Grave'? "It's an anti-war song, and they'll say we're anti-patriotic, and I'll say noooo," he explains. "It's just based on the fact that people go to war and they get nothing, get shit on when they come home. That's equivalent to a shallow grave." Though clearly not shying away from writing about what he sees as societal ills, Ice-T will be happy if Body Count's handsome mugs aren't plastered at the top of the nightly news. "We would much rather have people say, 'yo, this is a good, slammin' record.' I think with controversy, after a while, people think that's how you sell records, and you look cheesy. I don't think you need that extra boost. If you're a new group trying to come out, maybe... but not me. I really don't think our record is more controversial that any other rock group," he concedes. "We're just black."