DJ Muggs has made his mark on hip-hop music in the last two decades.
The master DJ/producer, who plays Teazers on Saturday, first scored big by placing his first song, "Mad, Mad World," with the rap group 7a3 on the soundtrack of the 1988 movie "Colors."
Muggs went on to join Cypress Hill soon after, doing double-platinum work with that group, as well as sustaining himself as a solo artist with such projects as his Soul Assassins series of albums.
He has also produced many artists famous in their own right, including GZA, Dr. Dre and Wyclef Jean.
So what sort of show will this rock-oriented rapper bring to Ogden? Depends on the mood of the room, said Muggs, who was born Lawrence Muggerud in New York City before he moved to Los Angeles as a teenager.
"I don't know what to expect, man, but I am going to come and rock it," said Muggs, calling from home in Los Angeles. "I am going to come and gauge the party and see what the party wants. A lot of DJs just come and play records, but I put on a performance for the crowd.
"I promise we will keep the party atmosphere rocking for whatever particular kind of party that turns out to be that night."
Producing good work
Muggs is always on the move musically. He says he does it to avoid boredom.
"I do it like that to keep myself interested," he said. "I do one thing for too long and it burns me out. But I can go to one thing, and then back to the other, and it keeps my enthusiasm up -- I'll want to do the other thing again.
"What you don't ever want is the music to become routine -- and it definitively can, going around the world with this, doing it night after night. The thing is to keep the creative juices flowing and to inspire and find new drives, try to tread new ground. This sort of energy is what's needed to push the genre forward."
Muggs got into rap in a big way, break dancing when he was very young. He started deejaying in earnest when he moved to Los Angeles in his high school years.
"I started doing it for fun, and then entering all these competitions and winning," he said. "Then I got a record deal and did the song for 'Colors.' That was actually my first production and it became a gold record."
Though he is a much sought-after producer today, Muggs resisted taking on that side of music.
"I was deejaying and people told me to produce, but back then, I didn't want to. But I got into my first group, and I had all these ideas to make the record."
Production of that 7a3 album went to someone else, and the end result didn't sound anything like Muggs had imagined.
"That's when I realized I had to produce my own music," he said. "So I got a little bit of money, bought me a drum machine, and I sat in front of that thing 15 hours a day, learning until I could work it with my eyes closed. That's a big part of it -- learning your equipment. Then, when you are actually working, you don't have to worry about that. All your energy goes toward being creative, feeding your work flow and creative flow for your project and not worrying about how to get there technically."
5,000 miles of music
Muggs' fame has taken him far -- 3,000 miles by grand prix car on several occasions, in fact. He has been invited to ride along on the Gumball 3000, a race of that distance held each year on public roads by some of the world's ultra-rich gearheads.
"Last year, we went through Europe and the U.S. -- 150 cars, racing across the land, and you don't know where you are going next," said Muggs.
He explained a bit of the course from last year's race -- they woke up in a Vegas hotel room with a card slipped under their door, "Go to Hoover Dam." There, they had lunch and were given instructions for the next leg.
"We'd get a card after lunch that would say, 'Go to Sedona, to this hotel.' After dinner and a party there, you'd get to your room and a card would be waiting saying, 'Tomorrow, we meet up here.' "
This year's race is from London to Istanbul, and Muggs is ready to roll once more.
"It is really a thing for really, really rich people. I sure can't afford it -- but they let me in to go deejay the parties. So I am just lucky to be in the thing. Everyone else got to bring a fancy car. I get to bring my turntables and ride along."
Muggs said he listens to just about everything to get ideas for his sound, drawing ideas from all schools of music.
"Early on, I listened to rock 'n' roll -- in my house, my mom listened to Motown and rock, and my uncle listened to soul. We had old eight-track tapes, reel to reel. Velvet posters and lava lamps. When I started listening to my own music around fourth or fifth grade, that's when I got into rap. But I love that rock 'n' roll energy.
"These days, I really love Pandora -- I was listening to the Motown station with my daughter this morning -- getting ready for school, driving over there. We were into it. Or I might listen to the Ella Fitzgerald channel another day.
"But no matter what I am listening to, I always remember there is nothing like the energy of a rock 'n' roll show, and I try not to ever forget that when I perform."
Muggs is working on an album to arrive later this year that focuses on the beats and music, rather than the rap aspect of hip-hop.
"It is called 'Bass for your Face,' " Muggs said. "It is a hip-hop influenced record -- rock-steady bass music. We are about 3/4 of the way done. We will start releasing videos and music in the next few weeks. It is fun, man, a real DJ bass record."
Muggs said he wanted an album to draw from for the many gigs -- 150 or more a year -- that he takes on purely as a DJ.
"I wanted to make some music not so much about a specific group, like I would if I am working with Cypress Hill. This will give me something interesting to focus on as a DJ."
Will we hear some of the new bass record in Ogden?
"Well, we'll have to just see. I am going to look around and gauge that crowd and see if that is something they want. I take pride in being versatile and being able to read a crowd, and then play what they want."