New Book By The Lizardman
The Lizardman, born Erik Sprague, needs no introduction almost anywhere in the world. He has a new book out that I'll get to soon but first, a quick story:
A few years ago, I was on the Greek island of Chios, where my family is from, and went to a small photo lab to get some pictures printed. Now, Chios isn't your touristy kind of island, and unless you had a satellite dish, there was only a handful of TV channels to watch. But when I came back to the lab to pick the pics up, the owner couldn't contain his excitement: "The Lizardman, The Lizardman!" I stood there stunned and couldn't decide what was more bizarre, that the islanders knew of Erik or the hoppity dance the guy was doing. The shop owner then asked me a slew of questions like how do you know him, are those really tattoos, how do you split a tongue...I got my photo prints, only after answering all he asked, and left one Lizardman photo for him. As I was walking out, he said in English, "Tell Lizardman I like him very much."
The point of this story is that The Lizardman inspires excitement and curiosity from small Greek islands to NYC's Coney Island.
From 2003-2007, The Lizardman satisfied the curiosity of many by answering questions posed to him online in his column, Through the Modified Looking Glass, on BMEZine.com. He also interviewed other performers in his column like Mike Jones, Penn & Teller's tattooed jazz pianist; and Dick Zigun, "The Mayor of Coney Island."
With his book, "Once More Through the Modified Looking Glass," The Lizardman has collected, in one volume, his BME columns with notes and updates, in addition to three never before published columns.
The book is available online at Lulu for about $15. You can also order a special-edition signed and numbered copy (only 250 copies available) by contacting him via email. More info here.
My favorite part of the book is the Q&As, so I figured I'd share a bit with ya:
What words of advice would you have for someone interested in attempting a full-body transformation through body modification?
Get the rest of your life together first because the transformation will consume you otherwise. Plan, consider, revise, repeat. Find support before you begin. Think twice. Have a life besides the transformation project, in as much as it can take over your life at times, the project itself is not a life or a solution.
What is the biggest way your philosophical background affects your outlook on life, both as a modified man and as "just Erik"?
I take philosophy very literally - love of wisdom. Wisdom for me is the practical interpretation and application of knowledge / experience. The experience of life, while an end in and of itself to me, can be further enhanced through the practice of philosophy.
Why is my cat looking at me like I'm food?
You are food.
Having walked around with you in London, it appears to me that people seem more accepting and less fearful of you than some one with maybe only 25% tattoo coverage and a few facial piercings. Why do you think that is?
It's all in the presentation. Today it is a bit easier to attribute it to things like recognition but things today aren't much different than before I became the media whore I am now. I have always said that the key is how you present yourself. Nine times out of ten when people treat you like a jerk it is not because you have mods, it is because you are acting like jerk - walking around with some chip on your shoulder and not giving them the chance to be decent to you. Another theory I have is that it is easier for people to look at my project as just that - a project. It has an obvious theme and that reflects a certain amount of consideration. Even though this is the case for many other people, it is not as obvious to the casual observer and so instead of thinking 'creative person with an overall goal' they think 'punk' or 'thug' who doesn't give damn.
What wouldn't you do for a truckload of cash? Meaning, is there a moral you won't break for any amount of money?
I once turned down over $10,000 to eat a football as part of the super bowl halftime show. This was the same one that featured the infamous Janet Jackson nipple. Since no one else did it either I guess they dropped the bit or just couldn't find anyone. Frankly, the former seems much more likely. It wasn't so much a moral decision as it just wasn't my thing. I'm sure I could do it but I didn't want to. I don't have a lot of moral objections but I am very obstinate about only doing what I want or absolutely have to do.
Does it creep you out at all that someone has a tattoo of your face?
Not at all. I think it is incredibly cool. I just hope that down the road they still think it is as cool as I do. [You can find that portrait tattoo on this page (scroll down).]
Read more reptilian goodness in "Once More Through the Modified Looking Glass."