Just who is Justin Symbol? Well, sidestepping the long-winded existential philosophical elaboration, he is a unique electronic/rock/industrial musician who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Dubbed “The King of Negativity,” Symbol is known for not only bad-ass tunes, but also for being seriously boundary-pushing. Think Marilyn Manson, the toilet scene from ‘Trainspotting,’ Nine Inch Nails, the movie ‘Requiem for a Dream,’ Skinny Puppy and Atari Teenage Riot, The Garbage Pail Kids, and heroine-era Ministry, and you’ve got something like Justin Symbol. Fucked up? Yep! But we LOVE it that way. Check out this er… unique interview helping to promote his new release, V Ω I D H E A D.

Most public situation you’ve projectile vomited?
Symbol: On the NYC subway, on shrooms, all over myself and the girl with me. DO NOT trip on the subway! Go frolic in nature or something… fucking hippy!

Weirdest place you’ve ever taken a shit?
Symbol: I was fucked from binge drinking for 2 days on end and was napping on the air mattress I was crashing on at the time. I awoke, ordered a large Dominoes pizza because I’d not eaten in 24 hours, and proceeded to devour the entire fucking thing in 5 minutes. Fell back asleep. Awoke an hour later to find I had a shit coming halfway out of my ass! I ran/wobbled to the bathroom, but it was too late. I had drunkenly shat myself on the air mattress, which belonged to my roommate (Darrin, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry…).

Have you ever tasted someone else’s blood – when, how who?
Symbol: Nope. But I plan to undergo an exchanging of blood ritual with my guitarist Matt Minion in the near future to complete his band initiation.

Ever intentionally spit on fans?
Symbol: Yes at a recent show in the basement of the Pyramid in NYC. It was all very grungy and nineties so I spit into the crowd a big glob, which unfortunately landed on my good friend. I also shoved a random baby doll, which was lying around from another band, up my ass, because it deserved it. (See attached pics) Of course everyone complained afterwards and warned me I shouldn’t do that again. What boring, jaded un-rock ‘n roll times we live in….

Grossest chick you’ve ever hooked up with?
Symbol: I wouldn’t necessarily call this gross, because I’m kind of weird sexually, but you Dear Reader probably would. I once fucked a girl off of Craigslist who was so obese that she could not do missionary. Her stomach was literally too fat it was a giant mountain of jiggling blubber. It was a vast sack of flab the size of multiple human beings. We had to do doggy style instead. And I enjoyed every second! Afterwards she of course ordered a Dominoes pizza….

Sonic Diarrhea – frustrating or fun? How are the shits while touring?
Symbol: NOT FUN. Anyone who says that’s fun, including GG Allin himself, is just trying to be shocking. I recently filmed a music video where I was eating nothing but baby food for 2 days to get this anorexic look…trust me the shits weren’t pretty. Another time I drank a huge jug of cranberry juice to pass a drug test. I was shitting torrents of clear liquid like a geyser from Yellowstone National Park. DON’T DO DRUGS!

Most times you’ve had sex in “one sitting”?
Symbol: Umm I’m actually rather boring in this department. Maybe two? Ask my girlfriend.

Any arrests?
Symbol: Many. About 7, in the following States: Connecticut, New York, Alabama, Washington D.C., New Jersey, for the following things: paintballing houses, brawling with a gaggle of screaming women (I lost, by the way), public intoxication, domestic violence (again…I lost…noticing a pattern?), possession of drugs…and basically just being a weirdo. This last one was in Alabama. I was visiting my keyboardist Baba Yaga who was living there, God only knows why, in some kind of bachelor hell hole funeral shrine. I was trying to rescue him and I was sucked into the abyss. I was bored and high on coke so I wandered to a gay club because it seemed the most outrageous thing to do in fucking Alabama.

Well, that ended poorly. My phone died and I forgot his address. I was wandering the hills trying to find his place (they all looked the same), and got picked up by a redneck cop who claimed he was “lookin’ fer someone like me, dressed all in black” and they threw me in the drunk tank. I was drunk as a skunk and screaming “you fucking rednecks, fucking PIGS!” at the top of my lungs. The whole jail was hootin’ and hollerin’ with other drunk idiot inmates yelling for me to shut the fuck up so they could sleep! Finally the cops stormed my cell and tackled me down. They threw me in this weird room for psychos where I was strapped into the crazy chair facing the wall with a hockey helmet on my head. My hands were cuffed behind me very painfully. I was screaming in agony til I passed out. My dad came to bail me out days later and guess what was playing in JFK Airport when we landed back in NYC? That’s right. Fucking Lyrnrd Skynrd ‘Sweet Home Alabama’!!!

Any near-death experiences?
Symbol: Many, but the most interesting perhaps was on PCP. I was driving my car around at like 90 mph on these winding back roads. We were blaring Ministry and I had a car full of poor souls who could have gone to Heaven with me right then and there. We didn’t die but the next day I had enormous welts on my legs. I later realized I had been drumming along to the music while driving and didn’t even feel the pain!

If you could choose, how would you die?
Symbol: In my sleep, at a ripe old age, having lived a healthy and fulfilling life and had an incredible artistic career!

Has a fan ever really pissed you off? What happened?
Symbol: Nope. I doubt they ever could. One fan even allowed me to paint her vagina. I decided I wanted to be a vagina painter and she allowed it. But we used acrylic paint (in addition to Colt 45 for a more watery texture) and her pussy was so irritated the next day that she had to go to the hospital! As the gentleman I am, I did pay the bill. The moral here is that those of you aspiring vagina painters out there, use something organic!

Do you bathe on tour? Is it regular? Do you take what you can get and do a wet- nap wipe if there’s no shower?
Symbol: Showering regularly is essential for every human being.

What’s one of the most fucked up things that’s happened to you as a musician?
Symbol: The same thing that happens to every musician. Doing what you love, doing your best, and working 10 times harder than people in other professions just to scrape by and be treated like a whore at every opportunity.

If someone stole all your band’s gear, then you caught the dickwad and no one would ever know what happened next, what would you do to him?
Symbol: Turn him over to the authorities because I believe in the justice system.

What scares the absolute shit out of you?
Symbol: Mediocrity. And those giant NYC cockroaches.

You find someone’s wallet in the street. It contains a ton of cash and/or a winning lottery ticket inside and their ID. What do you do?
Symbol: Return it to them.

Have you ever been too wasted to play live? What happened?
Symbol: I was in an Industrial band called BLACKBOMBS. We’d stayed up for 48 hours smoking meth writing, recording and rehearsing 3 new songs for a gig. The show came and we still hadn’t slept (or eaten). We had 2 sets and I collapsed during the second. It was a hell of a show but I was unable to continue. I was later revived by doing coke, which gave me enough fuel to at least return home to crash! Somehow the singer did shrooms as well on top of all the other drugs and still lives to tell the tale!

Your instrument/gear (drums, guitar, etc.) has a catastrophic failure on-stage and you have no back-up, what do you do?
Symbol: Smash it.

Name some of your biggest pet peeves. You know… the ones that make you want to wreck shit!
Symbol: Ignorance, Censorship, Political Correctness.

If there were zero repercussions to you, what one thing would you do that’s illegal or morally wrong?
Symbol: I’ve already done many and faced the consequences. I think if you want to live outside the system, go outside the system. Otherwise you’re playing by the system’s rules. And that’s fine. Every one of these stupid stories I’m telling I was punished and learned a lesson, which made me the person I am today.

Name someone you’d like to punch in his or her stupid face, and why.
Symbol: No one. I don’t believe in violence.

If you weren’t a musician or totally in love with your job, you’d be….
Symbol: A vagina painter.

You kick everyone out of the band because you can replace them with any musician you want. Dead or alive, who do you recruit?
Symbol: I’d replace myself with Charlie Manson.

How often have you/do you pirate music? What about Movies and TV shows?
Symbol: I recently pirated the incredible film ‘Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom’ because the Director, Pasolini, is dead.

What is your stance on the legalization of marijuana?
Symbol: Duh! Legalize!

The NRA: Republican idiots or worthwhile organization?
Symbol: Both of those options are loaded, but I lean more toward the first. Guns have become more trouble than they’re worth now. The Second Amendment I feel is outdated and obsolete in a world where our Government can unleash drones on us.

Describe when and how you lost your virginity.
Symbol: I fucked my friend’s sister in the woods. She was wearing a Catholic school girl’s uniform. It was Autumn and the leaves were crackling underneath us. My friend’s little cousin was watching through the viewfinder of a plastic toy gun. It was everything it should have been.

Does God exist – why yes/no/who the fuck cares?
Symbol: I think people who deny the existence of a Higher Power are really in the dark. Perception is reality so of course each person will have his or her own version, but I do believe in the Higher Power of collective human consciousness. The “hive mind.” Beyond good and evil… not the God of the Bible but certainly something is there. The “we” is bigger than the “I”. It’s a basic component of human civilization from the very beginning.

Tell us about the worst lie you ever told someone.
Symbol: Lying about having sex with someone else to a partner who trusted me, and with whom I was having unprotected sex. I felt too guilty to tell them, but I did tell their best friend, who promptly told them. The mind has a funny way of revealing things for us when we don’t think we want to….

Groupies. Totally awesome, want to bang them all. What the hell is a groupie? Give us the scoop!
Symbol: Groupies are hardcore fans and should be treated with respect. If you believe in your work then why the fuck would you degrade someone else who loves it equally? A lot of what I did in the past with groupies I now find shameful….

When was the last time you cried and why?
Symbol: Listening to Nico – “Desertshore”. If you listen to that record you will know why. It is stunning. Gorgeous. Kids put down your Emo shit and play that on YouTube.

Who is the biggest asshole you ever met and why?
Symbol: Myself. Because I didn’t know any better.

Describe your wildest drug experience.
Symbol: Ugh another? I was high on really potent shrooms and I was in some stupid college dorm. The elevator shafts were breathing like giant creepy iron lungs. I passed by these dorm rooms and from every room I heard multiple girls chanting over and over “Like OMG Like OMG Like OMG” in these awful valley girl voices. I saw a guy and girl go by and they both gave me the “I want to fuck you” look. Then the same pair went by again, and did the exact same thing. And again! All while I was still walking in the same direction… I ended up in the dorm bathroom and last thing I remember was removing my shirt, pissing in the sink, and scaring some kid out of there.

I woke up on the floor, naked, with a circle of broken cigarettes around my head like a demented halo. Everything was the bright yellow color of piss. I looked in the mirror and my face changed into a half-goat half-man demon face. I decided no one else was real. I had entered into a state of Solipsism which lasted for hours. I thought I may as well kill myself and contemplated jumping out of the window. I then thought that if I did I’d land and the ground would soak me in like in the Matrix. I became aware of a presence that was aware of my new level of consciousness and wanted to get me. I began to sob uncontrollably and this lasted awhile until I finally came out of it. Can you believe I continued to do psychedelics after that?!

What’s the creepiest thing a fan has ever done to you/creepiest encounter with a fan?
Symbol: A drummer who wanted to join the band recently sent us a picture of a dead rat he’d supposedly killed (see attached). I guess because he thought we’d be into that. I told him to bring it to the gig and he backed down, so he was obviously bluffing. Lately I’m more creeped out by how unimaginative people are than anything… or how little they understand what I’m really about.

Check out the album ‘V Ω I D H E A D’


Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.