Summer's almost here, and if you're in the mood for some hard-hitting music -- combined with professional wrestling and burlesque -- you won't have to wait long to satiate your blood lust, as June 20 sees Wrestlepalooza VI climb to the top rope at First Avenue.
Along with the garage rock of What Tyrants, the burlesque of Queenie Von Curves, Sweetpea, and Mona Montague, and a roster of wrestlers including "The Anarchist" Arik Cannon and Sheik Ariya Daivari, Wrestlepalooza VI will feature a performance from Doomtree's Mike Mictlan.
We spoke to Mictlan about what could happen when rocking the mic that close to the squared circle, as well as his family's history in combat sports and the influence lucha libre has had on his career.
Gimme Noise: We're speaking to you today right after you've finished a boxing workout.
Mike Mictlan: Yeah, I do a little MMA, but when I work out it's usually a boxing workout. Boxing drills, weight-lifting, etc.
What got you into boxing?
My mom's side of the family is the boxing side of the family. I have a hat from my last family reunion and on the hat is our last name and then boxing gloves because we're kind of a boxing family. My mom had 12 siblings, seven of them were brothers and six of them became boxers. They were all amateur boxers, a few got their golden gloves.
It's just something I kind of grew up with. I'd say the last five to six years off and on I've been doing my own training at Minnesota Kali Group, they do a lot of mixed martial arts, jeet keen do, muai thai kickboxing. It's hard for me to go out and go run. It's easier for me to be obsessed to fight it. I watch a lot of boxing and MMA on my own. It makes me work out a lot.
How did you get involved with Wrestlepalooza?
One of the wrestlers who throws it, his name is Arik Cannon, he works for First Avenue. He organizes the whole situation. I saw him at First Ave and said I've been wanting to see one, they're awesome -- and he said, "We have one coming up. Matter of fact, do you want to play it?" I was like, "Oh, hell yeah!" Not only have I been missing it and wanting to go, but now I have the opportunity to play. It was this chance thing.
Your interest in wrestling has come out in your music a bit, most notably in the title of the Hand Over Fist track "Suicide Jimmy Snuffa." (a nod to "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka) You've always been a fan?
Yeah, and to me rapping is like LARPing, live action role-playing. It goes hand-in-hand with having a theatrical rap persona and making it a theatrical wrestling persona. When you were a kid Slick Rick had the gold chains and the "Ruler" vibe. Everyone had their own vibe.
When I first moved to Minneapolis in 2005, I was rapping under a mask. I had a [Mexican wrestling icon] Mil Mascaras mask made, and his name means 1,000 masks. There's an "M" in the forehead of the mask, like Mike Mictlan. So, nobody knew who I was and all of a sudden there's this guy rapping wearing a mask, and I started playing shows right away. It's been one and the same to me. It always works its way into my rapping, putting on this triumphant show for people. You get to witness me take a fall and come back and win or lose. I've always wanted to be a fighter and wanted to be a rapper.
With Mil Mascaras, he was the first Mexican athlete to perform in Madison Square Garden, so that's another reason I wear the mask as a tribute. It's totally my character in the rap-wrestling world. Mictlan is the Aztec deity of the underworld. I've incorporated that into my persona and my own personal life.
Given that Doomtree shows are something of battle royals in themselves, is it much different preparing for a solo show than with Doomtree?
Oh definitely. With a solo show, I'm a lot more in my own head. With Doomtree, we don't practice. With solo stuff, obviously I run through my sets. I do a lot of visualizing in my head and see the way my sets gonna go.
When I get onstage, it's not really too different than when I'm with Doomtree. It might be a nervous type of thing. With Doomtree, you could wake me from an 18-hour sleep and hand me a microphone and you're going to get 100 percent when the song comes on. It's all in the preparation.
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