By Leslie Krouse
While Swollen Members may have enjoyed a successful career as one of the premier groups in underground hip-hop, when it came time to record their sixth studio album, they were forced to confront the skeletons that had been hiding in their closet. During the time the group’s new album “Armed To The Teeth” was taking shape, Swollen Members’ record label had collapsed; Mad Child was struggling with drug addiction and was embroiled in legal battles. His association with motorcycle clubs provoked police to swarm his house in full riot gear. With a desire to consistently raise the bar within the hip-hop genre, Mad Child and Prevail were inspired to beat back personal demons and concentrate on creating the most powerful musical statement of their career.
Vancouver-based Swollen Members have paid their dues and while they’ve tasted success in their homeland where the group is one of the top selling urban acts of all-time, they continue to work their way towards the top of the hip-hop totem pole. Swollen Members are ready to let the industry and fans know they are some of the most lethal MCs spitting in the game with the release of their new studio album “Armed To The Teeth” on October 13, 2009.
I had a chance to chat with Mad Child and find out more about his battle with addiction, and the hopes, and future of the band.
RIS: How did you kick the habit?
MC: It was pretty gnarly. A friend tried to take me to rehab in California last year. I thought it was great that he tried so hard, but I wasn’t ready. So, unfortunately I had to sink a little lower for another 10 months before I really realized that I had to do it. I made a choice after going to LA, that when I got back I was going to kick it. My plan was to get on Suboxone, which is a Treatment for Opioid Dependence. So the doctor prescribed the maximum amount you can legally give a patient. Because of the amount of the oxycotton I was taking. Which by the end of my addiction was 20 80mg per day. You are supposed to wait awhile before you start the Suboxone; to let your body flush out the opioid’s in your system. I waited a few days, so the Dr. ok’d me to take start taking them. I guess I should have waited longer, because I had a bad reaction and ended up in the hospital that night. It was really crazy I was threatening the Doctors. Seriously, if they would have asked me if I wanted them to put me out I would have said yes. It was the worst thing I have ever been through. The next day I was so happy I wasn’t kicking around like a dolphin anymore, I still felt like an 80 year old man. I just laid in bed at my parent’s house for 10 day, with nothing, cold turkey. I started taking the Suboxone again, 8mg in the morning and 8 mg at night. The next day I was doing my banking. I think the key is to way to take the medicine. But, I still made a big mess of my life, so I’m working on cleaning it up, and fix all the damage I’ve done.
RIS: Let’s talk about the new album. What are you hoping for?
MC: I hope we can get as high up as we can go. I think the only two good things I did while I was on drugs, was create this album, and the fact I called Kevin Zinger and joined up with Suburban Records. I think he’s a great guy. Its funny, he was the first person I called off my list to shop the record. We hit it off right away and I never called anyone else. He’s like my long lost brother; we’re even the same height. As far as what I hope for the record. Obviously in the last few years with the whole world has changed a lot with the Internet. Things that were pertinent 4 years ago are not the same things today. I’m really trying to get my head wrapped around the whole social networking thing. It’s a huge learning experience for me. It’s changing all the time. But yeah, if we can do decent numbers independently, I’d be excited about that. I already excited that we are already starting to get press in America, so it seems we are going in the right direction.
RIS: Is there any particular song on the album that resonates what you are all about?
MC: The song “My Life” is definitely about the drug addiction that I went through. I wrote that song all by myself. I’m not saying it’s my favorite song, but it is the best one that explains what I went through in the last 4 years. But, I did it in a fun way, but it still lets people know what I went through. I’m really excited about the whole album. I do honestly feel that this is our best album. I think some of the old Swollen fans might be a little startled at first, because it’s a little more street, than our previous albums.
RIS: Any shouts or thanks to anyone?
MC: As far as shout outs. To our crew Battle Axe Warriors, and all the Subnoize Soldiers, and the Swollen Army. Basically this is all our family.