This is an article from the Onemetal archive and was first published at a date other then then one stated.
What could possibly be said about Erik Sprague aka The Lizardman that hasn’t been said already? The Lizardman is a self proclaimed freak and a great sideshow artist. The 34-year-old American has modified his body with an estimated 650-700 hours of tattooing and other body modifications including several piercings, sub dermal implants, filed teeth and a bifurcated tongue.
His unique personality, his unusual appearance and awesome performances have certainly earned him critical acclaim and world-wide success.
OneMetal:The first major publicity you received was with Ripleys Believe It Or Not and the National Geographic, would it be fair to say that they helped to launch your career?
LizardmanRipley’s was the first national / international TV that really spotlighted me and it was a huge boost but it came around the same time as a lot of other things – my first national tour and a mention in Time magazine for example. National Geographic didn’t cover me till I was already pretty well established but it was still very nice. These sorts of things really helped me get to bigger and better stages but I had been around for years
OneMetal:You perform some very interesting and dangerous stunts, where did you learn to do that? Has it always been of interest to you?
LizardmanI have always loved sideshows, stunt work, martial arts, and magic. As part of lifelong interests in these things I came to research and then learn (mostly through teaching myself) how to perform a lot of different acts.
OneMetal:Were you nervous for your first performance? Did anything go wrong?
LizardmanMy first performances were mainly around friends at parties and such. When I finally moved from just doing tricks and stunts for fun onto the stage, I already had a background in traditional theatre so I was reasonably comfortable being onstage. Nothing so much went wrong in the beginning as it didn’t live up to its potential. There was definitely a learning curve for presenting the sort of things I can do in a way that will make people enjoy watching it.
OneMetal:What is the biggest crowd pleaser? What is most challenging?
LizardmanCrowd pleasers vary from crowd to crowd but some of the acts like the condom flossing always seem to go over big. In terms of challenge, some acts are more intensive than others like the gavage which is basically a stomach pump requiring hours of preparation fasting and the like.
OneMetal:In 1990 you started designing the art work for your body, what was your main inspiration?
LizardmanI was very into conceptual art at the time and looking to artists like Schneeman, Burden, and other performance artists. The reptilian theme was a matter of just searching for a design that felt right for me.
OneMetal:Your first tattoo sessions were in 1994, do you feel you have come a long way since then? Are you at the level you would like to be now or do you think more could have been done in that time?
LizardmanI would have liked to have been finished by now but I can’t really complain since the delays have come as the result of touring so much and being in demand.
OneMetal:For people who don’t know a lot about the procedures that you have gone through, what is the most painful in your opinion? And what has been the most interesting?
LizardmanThe implants are by far the most painful thing I have ever experienced, five hours with my head being cut open and then the swelling and soreness. The tongue bifurcation is probably the most interesting though and is easily the fan favourite.
OneMetal:Have peoples reactions changed at all over the past few years?
LizardmanThe more well known I become the more people want to meet me and say hello rather than just stare.
OneMetal:You seem to have fans all over the globe in some of the most random places. When I was on holiday in Spain last year your image was on the cover of a local magazine, what are your thoughts on this?
LizardmanWorld domination is only the beginning.
OneMetal:I know of quite a few old age pensioners who are aware of you and who admire your work, does this surprise you?
LizardmanI think that most people who live long enough come to appreciate the idea of doing what you want with your life
OneMetal:How do other “alternative" celebrities perceive you?
LizardmanI don’t know. The celebrities I have gotten to meet (not sure which ones count as alternative) have been very cool and appreciative of my work.
OneMetal:Any regrets? Would you do anything differently if you had a chance?
LizardmanI have no regrets and I don’t play the what if game with things that are in the past. Saying ‘knowing what you know now’ is silly to me, I just try and do things the best I can so that I can always say given the situation I did what I thought I should.
OneMetal:How does it feel to be in such high demand all of the time?
LizardmanA lot better than not being in demand.
OneMetal:How do you find touring with Jagermeister? An unforgettable experience?
LizardmanIt’s fantastic. I get to tour with bands people dream about just going to see and their fans often become fans of my work. Media exposure like Ripleys may have helped boost me but its getting out on the road and performing for people on these tours that has really made me what I am. I’ll always be grateful to Jagermeister for giving me a chance and then sticking with me as their tour host.
OneMetal:You’re never short of admirers, what would you say the attraction is?
LizardmanI’d like to think it’s because I am genuinely entertaining. Beyond that I think that people like that I am myself onstage and off and that I try to be very open and approachable
OneMetal:Any fun and crazy groupie stories?
LizardmanI married my favourite groupie – is that crazy? I know it’s not what you’re looking for but yeah, I have crazy stories like getting together a mud wrestling match backstage at a venue in the desert but until the statute of limitations expires on all the fun I have had, I’ll be sitting on the best stories
OneMetal:You have a lovely wife, has it been a challenge to keep a strong marriage whilst touring a lot and being in the public eye?
LizardmanWe have only ever known this sort of life. I met her on tour and we had a long distance relationship for the first two years – it seems impossible to a lot of people but for us it’s normal.
OneMetal:To be crude for a moment could the split tongue be an aid in that?
LizardmanIt certainly hasn’t hurt and she is a big fan of it
OneMetal:There is talk of you being in a movie, is this true?
LizardmanI made an appearance in Modify and I also have a cameo Boxboarders. There are talks of other projects and I am really hoping to get more movie work in the future
OneMetal:I’ve heard that you plan to write a book or two, care to tell us some more about that?
LizardmanCurrently I am working on a book about sideshow acts and another one that is more general commentary similar to the columns I write for BME (www.bmezine.com)
OneMetal:When can we see the lizardman action figure, where can we buy it and also will it have flexible split tongues to?
LizardmanRight now, it looks like it should hit in early 2007 – I don’t know about the flexible tongues.
OneMetal:You studied philosophy for a long time, would you say that you’re very contemplative and philosophical?
LizardmanI have my moments. I have always viewed the study of philosophy as an exercise in learning how to think in different ways and then how to choose and apply a way of thinking for each situation. I use the things I learned studying philosophy every day.
OneMetal:I know your stance on religion but what do you think the meaning of life is, what is your meaning?
LizardmanThere is no meaning to life, the question itself ‘what is the meaning of life’ is a misuse of terms – one which has resulted in a great deal of suffering and misplaced energy.
OneMetal:If you could go back in time and change anything what would you change?
LizardmanI would stop the charlatans responsible for modern religions.
OneMetal:What do you think of the term “Freak"?
LizardmanIt is a title of great honour.
OneMetal:You grew up in NY, do you miss it? How does it compare, in your opinion, to Texas?
LizardmanI grew up in very rural northern NY – aside from the weather and accent it is much like how many people imagine Texas. I don’t miss it per se but my parents are still there and it can be beautiful. I am very happy in Texas. Austin has been a very welcoming home to me.
OneMetal:As I understand it, you have several pet ferrets but no lizards?
LizardmanRight – five ferrets, no lizards. I do keep green snakes from time to time for the show though
OneMetal:If you were me doing this interview, what would you ask yourself and what would your answer be?
LizardmanDon’t ask me to do your job :) I have enough work doing my own
OneMetal:What music do you like to rock to?
LizardmanI have pretty eclectic tastes but if I am looking to get pumped up its Ministry, Slipknot, Slayer
OneMetal:If you could tour with any band in each of these decades, who would you choose and why? The 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the New Millennium?
LizardmanI may fuck this up just because my sense of time is so screwed up – don’t get mad if I mess up the decades:
70’s – The Ramones and it should be obvious why
80’s – Depeche Mode because I think it would have been wonderfully odd
90’s – I should probably pick someone I didn’t actually tour with right? How about GWAR (who I have gotten to meet and still hope to tour with) because it would have been a magnificent trail of destruction
New Millennium – again I will go with someone I haven’t gotten to tour with – Alice Cooper because I have always loved his show and when I saw him recently it has only gotten better
OneMetal:Does OneMetal.com rock your socks?
LizardmanRight off my scaly feet!
Interviewed by Danni Rose