Interview with Maris the Great in Denver!!
This year is the tenth anniversary of the shock rock icon Maris The Great coming to be on this planet. Over the last decade he has “slayed” over a hundred major bands, been on national television several times, been featured in dozens of magazines. He has become a national fixture in the extreme music world, as well as Denvers premiere ambassador to Halloween. The reason Maris The Great has “killed” so many bands is to remove the competition from his own band, “Maris The Great and The Faggots of Death” (by the way, Maris is an openly gay zombie overlord), so that they can rule the world. But it is Maris that has risen to the top of the rock n roll media world through his viscously brutal and disturbingly awesome photo artwork – murder, mayhem, brains, gore, weapons, blood. What he does is unmatched anywhere in the world. It is not for the weak at heart. I cant warn you enough that if you dont have the stomach and the macabre sense of humor to go with it dont visit the Maris the Great website.
Now, all that being said. It is extremely rare for Maris The Great to speak out of character to the press or anyone for that matter. Here is the most candid interview with the man behind the MTG mask that has ever taken place:
A2: How did you develop your art?
MTG: It happened very naturally. I discovered the local music scene, here in Denver and it really transformed my life. I was blown away by the fact I could go out any day of the week and see any kind of band I wanted to. I wanted to get the word out, because I thought the average person deserved to know these groups existed. I already was dressing up at the shows. It just happened. It was a celebration of my love for theatrical bands and my love for horror. By the time I erected my site, the character of Maris The Great was an actualized individual. It really just grew from there. I never really sat down and thought about it. Some of the incredibly fucked up images on my site came over a period of time, where I either had a dream or read about something that happened to someone in the world. In fact, I just saw a documentary about a 70s serial killer named Dean Corll. The footage and descriptions of what he did just really disturbs me. Its really gotten under my skin. I know its just a matter of time until it shows up on my site (laughs). I really do believe that we all have demons; that we all have a dark side. I think the fact I poured mine into art is wonderful. Art is an amazing vehicle for working issues out.
A2: Do you consider yourself more a performance artist or visual artist?
MTG: I always referred to myself as a “promotional, performance artist.” The whole idea was to create something that people couldnt take their eyes off of, or at the very least, something they couldnt help but talk about. It was always with the intent to give publicity to the band I was working with. I never planned for the character to overshadow some of the groups Ive worked with, but in some cases, that certainly has happened.
A2: How do you go about choosing the bands you kill?
MTG: I still have a love for local bands, here in Denver. Ill do features on them, but only if it is sandwiched between features on national bands, who I also love. Theyll receive a lot more attention that way, too. That being said, a large part of what I do is organic. Ill go see a band and love their music, or the kids will turn me on to a really cool group and it naturally goes from there. It just happened last week. I went and saw a cool band named IWRESTLEDABEARONCE. I had never heard of them before. Great band. Theyll definitely die. Once I interact with the group, Ill know if were destined to work together. If theres a Punk rock kid inside of them, theyll usually “get” what I do and well ultimately work together. If they take life or themselves too seriously, we wont.
A2: Any you wish you hadnt?
MTG: In the past, I would have answered “yes” to that question, but over time, Ive let it all go. Theres really never a shortage to groups that have a bit of an ego, or homophobic viewpoint, but in the end, I really dont care. I only really care that I made someones decapitation look as real as possible.
A2: What bands are you on the hunt for right now?
MTG: Too many to list. Ill tell you who Id love to kill. Id love to slay Andrew W.K. His music is so different.
A2: Are their any pop or mainstream bands you would like to kill?
MTG: I love Pop bands, but my art is so dark, Im not sure if it would translate well to some of those groups. I did kill a poppy group recently called Skyfox. That went well. Its also a dream of mine to kill Green Day.
A2: What music do you listen to that might surprise your fans?
MTG: Feng Shui music. Meditation is a big part of my world. That music centers me.
A2: Have you ever thought about going after actors?
MTG: Hmmm…No I havent. You might have given me an idea (laughs)
A2: Who in Hollywood would you hunt?
MTG: I dont know. Id say Brad Pitt or Matt Damon, but that might be more because theyre so damn hot.
A2: What are your top 5 favorite horror films?
MTG: Seven, Nekromantic 1 and 2, the orginal Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and Salo.
A2: What are your favorite non-horror films?
MTG: The Color Purple, Schindlers List, Crash. I love comedies…etc, but Im always a sure thing for a deep movie about life or the human condition. In fact, if you look at my horror movie list, that theme is certainly present there.
A2: What book is resting on your undead headboard right now?
MTG: The Tao Te Ching
A2: What other books have you enjoyed?
MTG: Usually spiritual books of one nature or another. Im not one to read, just to read. A book usually comes into my life that has something to teach me about myself or the world around me. I tend to gravitate towards those kinds of books. I like heavy shit.
A2: Have you ever considered going after politicians?
MTG: No. I couldnt care less.
A2: Are there any political agendas you support?
MTG: No. I mean, I dont really have any viewpoints that would necessarily surprise people, but Im not an easily activated person, when it comes to politics. I dont care who you voted for. I care about the world through the people I meet, one at a time.
A2: What about humanitarian causes?
MTG: Theres so many great ones. However, I tend not to follow trends. I cant save the world or really worry about other peoples integrity. However, I can clean up my OWN world and work on MY OWN integrity. I would much rather work on being the sun and warm those around me, rather than marching in a parade or out protesting the government, because other people are doing it. Things like that are wonderful for some, but its not really my groove. And even if it was, Id probably remain quiet about it and just do it.
A2: What scares Maris The Great?
MTG: The character of Maris The Great is frightened by vagina. Personally, I am frightened by death. A lot of my art is me working through that fear.
A2: Any regrets in your career so far?
MTG: Yes and No. There are times where I think it would be more fun just to have kept things within certain boundaries and followed along with what everyone thinks is acceptable. But by the end of the day, I know I wouldnt be happy, if I had. I wouldnt change anything. Im very proud of what Ive done. I still get the chills looking at some of my murder features.
A2: Any words of wisdom for a human looking into the zombie career path?
MTG: Dont feel you have to follow what everyone else thinks a zombie has to be. You can have fun with it and be creative. I think theres plenty of room for re-invention and interpretation.
Maris The Great currently has 2 murder features in the can that are ready to post on his website as well as a secret slaying scheduled for October 20th. On October 22nd he will be hosting the Gothic Theater for the 3rd annual Raven Eggs and Kegs Halloween show. On October 29th, Maris The Great will be the special guest at the Vampires Ball at Sugar House. That sounds exactly as extreme as it will be. October 31st Maris will be hosting the Benders Tavern Halloween bash.