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Catching up with Cazwell

By | 2018-01-16T15:07:18-05:00 September 23rd, 2010|Entertainment|

Cazwell (front center) and his ‘Ice Cream Truck’ dancers. Photo: Marco Ovando

California gurls aren’t the only ones who can melt your popsicle. When Cazwell carts his “Ice Cream Truck,” the summer song Katy Perry might’ve dropped if she were a horny gay rapper, to Detroit – along with several others from his campy, hypersexual discography – he’ll demonstrate that Big Apple boys can, too.
The New York City musician will appear at 10 p.m. Sept. 25 at Ice Nightclub, performing songs from his major label debut, last year’s “Watch My Mouth,” full of the fun and frivolous novelty singles, like “I Seen Beyonce…” and “All Over Your Face,” that have defined his irreverent, homoerotic style.
Cazwell rang us before his local gig to chat about producing his and Amanda Lepore’s new albums, empowering the gay community and why Lady Gaga was humping him.

So you’re out in New York now?
I just got out of a fashion show (as part of New York Fashion Week). I’m not trying to name drop, but I was in the front row and I’m carrying the gift bag right now.

By all means, name drop.
Yeah, Kanye West was in the front row … and he was looking at me.

Do you lust after Kanye West?
I don’t lust after him, but I admire him.

Even after all the crap he’s pulled?
What did he do?

Oh, you know, the Taylor Swift drama. And everything else.
Oh yeah. In a way I liked him more (laughs). Everyone knew he was an asshole. I’ve acted like a drunken asshole too, but there just happened to be a lot of cameras there (at the VMAs).

Have you been to Detroit before?
No, but I did see a documentary on Detroit, so … (laughs).

What did you learn from the documentary?
Well, I actually have some friends from Detroit, so I know the city has a lot of flavor. And, of course, there’s the recession and, you know, the motorcar industry. I just think Detroit should be the first city to start the electric car and get ahead of everybody, to tell you the truth. People are over gasoline. Start doing solar cars. Detroit should just get it together and be the first to do that shit. People there are smart!

What’s your plan for your Detroit show?
Everybody there just wants to fucking party, right? It’s going to be a high-energy show. Everyone will forget their troubles, but actually, to tell you truth, I think that – sorry, I’m walking down the street, so if you can’t hear me, just let me know.

Well, I’m glad you’re walking and talking and not driving.
You know, I don’t even have a license. You don’t want me to have one. I’m so fucking ADD that I’ll just stop to look for something in the middle of traffic and hit somebody. I don’t want to drive because I have the power to kill somebody.

So how are you getting to Detroit?
Not driving!

I think you should bring your ice cream truck here.
You know, I went to a gig by ice cream truck with all my dancers. Maybe they could hook it up at Ice.

Are those your dancers in the “Ice Cream Truck” video?
Well, they’re the dancers for that particular video. The two dancers that I think I’m bringing with me are the ones I typically tour with. Either way, I’m going to have cute dancers with me.

Good – that’s all that matters. How do you know the guys in that video?
We all work in the same club scene, and I wanted to do a video that was dedicated to hot Latino boys of New York, because that’s what I love to watch in the summertime. So yeah, we all know each other. I didn’t just pick people off the street.

I hope you slept with them all.
I’ll keep that to myself. I don’t want to get any Latin ex-boyfriend in a fucking tizzy.

You’ve said you started rapping because you couldn’t sing or act, but I have to say you make a pretty convincing straight dude in that “Tonight” video.
Really? Well, I was trying to do more tranny-chaser. I was just trying to be really angry and upset because I’m supposed to have an infatuation with someone else. Maybe people act straight when they’re stressed out?

So since you couldn’t act or sing, what made you think you could rap?
Oh, did I say I could rap? (Laughs) Well, first, I started off in a rap group called Morplay; me and this butch dyke used to rap together on, like, mixed CDs and stuff for our friends’ birthdays. She moved to Seattle, and then I went solo. I basically just started rapping because I can’t sing and I like to perform and I like music, you know?

Why didn’t it work out between you two?
My priority was music, and her priority was her relationship with her girlfriend, which is typically more on the lesbianic side, you know what I’m saying? Not that I was against it, but I was just like, my dream comes first; this is what I want to do, so anyone I’m with has to be along for the ride.

You’re finishing up Amanda Lepore’s upcoming album, right?
Yeah, thank fucking god, right? When we drop the album we really want it to be good, but it just takes money and time, and Amanda is really busy. Another reason we’ve been taking a bit of time is because we just cut a track with Mya. Mya is a fan of Amanda’s work and mine, and I wrote a song called “Convertible” for Amanda. I was just like, “Let’s try to get Mya on it,” and we did.

How involved are you with Amanda’s project?
I’ve been producing a lot of the tracks – writing, getting her in the studio. I’m the executive producer behind it, so I just have to make sure she gets her shit done. I actually think it’s coming out at the perfect time – the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death, and she (Lepore) has this new video “Marilyn.”

Are you working on an album of your own?
She has her full-length album coming out either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, and then in February I’m going to have a full-length album. I’m already putting pieces of that together right now. I just want people to play the whole thing through. DJing five nights a week has really inspired the direction of it. I have a better idea of what people actually move to. It’s going to be very, very New York.

Are you as much of a hornball as you make yourself out to be with your music?
Umm… who isn’t a hornball? All my friends are sluts. I don’t think I’m any more of a hornball than anybody else I know. I just think I talk about it.

Wait, so just your friends are sluts? You’re not?
No, it doesn’t mean I’m not (laughs). Everybody is pretty hypersexual, but some people don’t like to talk about it, especially in their music – especially if they’re gay (laughs). So maybe that’s why I’m standing out a bit.
I remember I played in Portland and I had a lot of gay guy fans come, and I just remember the feeling of empowerment that I felt they had when they knew all the words to “All Over Your Face.” I kind of feel like gay people really need that, that feeling of empowerment of their sexuality. I mean, I’m not trying to sound corny about it, but it made them feel good about the fact that they want to suck dick.

Do you think being gay has held you back in any way career-wise?
It’s not holding me back now. I don’t think I could’ve got shows the way I am now. It’s all about the Internet, and that’s just a fact. I honestly think gay people would be in the closet 50 times more than they are now if it wasn’t for the Internet, without a doubt.
It does make it a little less colorful on the outside, on the sidewalk and in the clubs because people don’t have to go to a bar to find somebody. I wouldn’t trade it, though.

Have you encountered any kind of homophobia within the genre?
I don’t really focus too much on it, but everyone’s a fucking hater on a blog. Everyone will smile to your face on the street, but then go home and type all this bullshit about you just because they’re fucking feeling it. Everyone turns into a badass when they’re behind the keyboard and nobody can see them.

How did growing up in Massachusetts influence your career choice at all?
I don’t know, but in some ways I just think it’s shaped my personality, making me more outspoken and giving me more of a ballsy attitude. Worcester is very bad – you know, Denis Leary’s from there? (Laughs) So he kind of encapsulates the whole cigarette-stained vibe of the city.
I mean, I’m very grateful I grew up in Worcester because it made me who I am, but I could never live there. Last time I was there, I had an anxiety attack and left. But maybe a lot of people do that when they go back to their hometown?

Bad memories?
No, just a lot of people I was friends with had died of heroine overdoses. It’s one thing if you’re a drug addict, it’s another thing if you’re a drug addict in Worcester (laughs).

You performed with Lady Gaga before she became a megastar. Do you find her to be the same person as when you knew her?
I do, actually. I showed up at this crummy bar in Avenue C and we were going to do a song together. She was like, “When it comes to this part, I’m going to throw you, and I’m going to get on you, and I’m going to start riding you – and then we’re going to roll off the stage.” And that’s exactly what we did.

So Gaga rode you?
Well, I was on my back, like a cowgirl-type thing. I remember her song “Just Dance” had just been starting to get pushed to radio and no one in this gay club had heard it. All the gays were kind of just looking at her, not really getting it. No one really went crazy or anything. But now if she were there, she’d get assaulted. It’d be like a mob scene!
Now everyone wants to work with her, and she can do whatever she wants. She has my back, and I respect that to the fullest because there are so many artists out there who are in the closet. That really offends me.

Who’s in the closet?
It really offends me that Queen Latifah is holding hands with her girlfriend and going to gay bars – I’m not saying she’s gay, but I see her looking like she’s a lesbian. And I’m pretty damn sure she is. No, she’s gay! I know what a lesbian looks like.
So that type of thing really offends me, when people are struggling for their rights and doing what they can – and then what, you’re going to be on your deathbed someday taking your last breath and you faked who you are for what? A fucking job?!

Cazwell
10 p.m. Sept. 25
Ice Nightclub
11425 Joseph Campau St., Detroit
http://www.cazwell.com.

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.