Erik Sprague AKA The Lizard Man is a freak show, sideshow performer, author, actor, gamer and ferret owner. His body modifications include sharpened teeth, bifurcated tongue, subdermal implants, and full body tattoo of green scales which he’s 700 hours into. He has delighted people all around the world for years and I think the best is yet to come. Never judge a book by his cover from reading his book he’s brilliant and an all-around good guy. I was honored to get the opportunity to interview him and here’s the lizardman in his own words…
BBM: What was your first major experience that set you on the lizardman path?
There wasn’t any single event. I don’t think that life really works that way – if we do try to pinpoint a moment or an event it will often turn out that we are cherry picking the best possible one in hindsight to support the story we’re concocting. Where we are, at any point in our lives, is more the result of all kinds of influences & forces which have accumulated over time. My transformation project when I conceived of it and when I first started having work done was and is the coming together of a diverse number of interests and influences including: sideshow, body modification, conceptual and performance art, & linguistic philosophy
BBM: How far a long are your tattoos now?
Approximately 700 hours with probably less than one hundred left to go
The Great Omi, Rasmus Neilson, Joseph Beuys, Robert Anton Wilson, Wittgenstein, Lenny Bruce
BBM: Tell us about once more through the modified looking glass?
Once more through the modified looking glass is a collection of re-edited articles and essays that I wrote for the Body Modification Ezine (BME) which I self published as a book in 2010.
BBM: Why did you choose the book name?
The name refers to the name of my column – Through the Modified Looking Glass which was a reference to a quote by Mike Wilson in an interview for the Modern Primitives book.
BBM: Where creating a book what’s the toughest aspect of it?
This was my first attempt at a book and the thing I probably put the most time into and caused me the most headaches was the formatting. The majority of the writing had been done over years of writing for BME but bringing all the files together and getting them laid out for print was a new skill that I had to learn from the bottom up.
BBM: Where can someone get their hands on it?
BBM: Where do you find inspiration in life?
Mostly from other artists & performers – seeing how they approach similar topics or acts can really help you to find your own perspective.
BBM: Besides performing what are some of your passions?
Video games – I spend most of down time at home playing video games and I always travel with games on my phones and any other machines.
BBM: What are some games your looking forward to for the coming year?
Dishonored has me really excited and I am a big fan of Assassins Creed so I will definitely be setting some time aside for number three
BBM: Favorite Game?
Hard to say but probably Mortal Kombat – I’ve invested a lot of time & money into playing every version since the first arcade machine
BBM: Console of choice? (when you’re not traveling)
I used to be a pc gamer elitist lugging around heavy laptop rigs but over the past couple years I have shifted most of my gaming to the xbox, even bringing it on the road a few times. These days though I get a lot of mileage from exploring the indie games scene on my phone & tablet (android)
BBM: Achievement you are most proud of?
Having been immortalized as a statue for Ripley’s Believe It or not in other 30 locations worldwide.
BBM: What’s a random fact about you someone may not know?
I was born in Kentucky
BBM: Funniest touring moment?
Blacking out halfway through the night but still finishing the show, I woke up the next morning and because I couldn’t remember assumed that I passed out without doing it the rest of the night. I figured I was fired so I started packing before anyone else was up only to find out that I had done the rest of the show and everybody loved it.
BBM: what are some injuries you’ve sustained while performing over the years?
Lots of cuts & burns. I’ve torn piercings lifting weights with them. I’ve worn away a lot of the lining in my nasal cavities with blockhead acts. I’ve been welted by swinging leather straps and exploding hot water bottle shrapnel.
BBM: I know this is a tough one but please describe your avg show?
There is no average show but they all contain a mix of comedy and sideshow stunts.
BBM: Most complex stunt you’ve ever done?
It depends on how we determine complexity but by most measures probably the gavage which is a live stomach pumping act which requires dietary restrictions for hours before the act and involves a number of physical skills to perform.
BBM: rule no. 1 when performing a new trick the first time?
Do the research first. By the time you are ready to actually perform a new act there should be no doubt left in your mind as to how it will go and how you will handle any result.
BBM: With all your modifications a lot of pain is involved as well as perfecting you art what kept you so motivated to never give up?
When you don’t want to do anything else, that is your motivation – to not have to go back to doing anything else.
BBM: What are some words of wisdom you would give a youth wanting to be a performer?
Get paid – there will always be someone offering you “great exposure” but you’ll never pay your rent with “exposure”. If your act is worth doing, its worth getting paid to do it.
BBM: Three words that describe you?
An acquired taste
BBM: Whats new from Lizard Skynard?
Due to schedule issues (too damn busy) Lizard Skynard has been taking it slowly this year but we have plans for a lot of new stuff in 2013
BBM: Have you ever seen an lizardman impersonators?
I wouldn’t call them impersonators but people have dressed up as me for halloween and other occasions
BBM: I’m sure you get this a lot but does the split tongue help in the bed room?
I have yet to hear any complaints
(photo credit: Alan Falkner)
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