heavy metal

Body Count Bio

Body Count
Band members
Ice-T - lead vocals Ernie C - lead guitar Bendrix - rhythm guitar Vincent Price - bass OT - drums


After single-handedly kick-starting Gangsta Rap with 1987's Rhyme Pays (specifically on the track "6 N The Mornin"), Ice-T went metal in 1992 with Body Count, whose self-titled debut ended with "Cop Killer." Despite literary, cinematic and musical precedent for a song written from the point of view of the perpetrator, the track was protested so vehemently by conservatives, the religious right, the NRA, police activist groups and the FBI, Sire Records' parent company Time-Warner had the song deleted in subsequent pressings of the album. (It was an election year and L.A., fresh from the Rodney King incident, was a boiling cauldron.)

"I thought I was safe," says Ice-T. "I thought within the world of rock'n'roll, you could be free to write what you want. Hell, I was listening to Talking Heads singin' `Psycho Killer.' Fuck it, I'll make `Cop Killer'! But, that was the cross of metal with something that was real. Now we're not just killing your family, we're killing somebody so real that everybody just went, `oh shit.'"

When Sire then refused to release his Home Invasion rap album due to its cover art, Ice cut himself loose from the label. Priority Records put out Body Count's second album, Born Dead, in '94. Violent Demise: Last Days (Virgin)hit in '97.

As a result, the band influenced a whole generation of rock/rap artists including Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine and dozens of others. "We knew it was gonna happen," says Ice. "If you go back to the early days when it started, the only person in rock that even slightly had a hip-hop vibe to him was Scott [Ian] from Anthrax. Everything was hair at that time. When we initially came out, my agenda was not to be a rap/rock band. My agenda was to redefine hardcore metal. If you listen to the first record, I don't rap! I didn't want to go out there and perform with Korn. I wanted to go out with Slayer!" Body Count wound up taking Rage Against The Machine out on their first major tour. "And I knew my man Fred Durst [of Limp Bizkit] when he was still doin' tattoos," Ice says with a laugh.

Also along the way was heartache. The first member of Body Count to die was drummer Beatmaster V who succumbed to leukemia in '96. Bassist Mooseman, who had left the band, died violently in 2000 during a drive-by shooting in South Central Los Angeles. Guitarist D-Roc died last summer of lymphoma.

"For me, honestly," says Ice, "after something like that, you can either come to a dead stop or you can go on. Recording [new DVD] Live In L.A. was like the first step forward without D-Roc. I had to get over [him]. It was so emotional. We were in the middle of making a new record together and he goes and dies? It was like, `damn!' Soon enough, though, everybody was like, `c'mon c'mon you gotta do it.' It was make-or-break. The key essence of Body Count is it's a band made up of friends. It's not about going out and hiring the best drummer or the best guitarist. If we don't know you, you can't be in the band."

So with vocalist Ice-T and lead guitarist Ernie C (the two last originals)-flanked now by young guns OT on drums, Bendrix on rhythm guitar and Vincent Price on bass-Body Count goes on. "The new studio record's gonna be called Murder 4 Hire and it'll be pretty intense. We're gonna come back, run through some of these metal clubs, and show these motherfuckers a thing or two."

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