He's a Miami Vice aficionado and a polymath... nay, he's a polymathlete. He loves his women like he loves his coffee, strong and with a sludgy bottom. He once, in a pepper eating contest with a Mexican Santa Muerta cult leader, defeated the mindless minions (of said cult leader) with his saliva, alone. His urine ranks higher on the Scoville scale than homocapsaicin.
He's a fantastic, award-winning author of novels, shorts, and really interesting status updates on the Book of Face. Please give a warm welcome to Doctor Funkenstein himself, MC Funkmeister, the Funk of 40,000 years, Count Funkula ...
Matthew Caesar Funk. Total badass.
JHJ: Please explain your badassery.
MCF: I am a two-fisted dynamo of dangerous ideas. I don’t just confine that to the page. I like to feel hazard kiss my elbows while I bury my arm in it.
Bad politics, bad words, bad deeds—I’m fascinated by them all. I’m deeply concerned about doing the right thing. That gives me an appetite for learning about the wrong.
I’m also a self-confessed glory junky. I fell in love with the written word way before I read the first line in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold,” but it was Hunter S. Thompson that inspired my reckless passion to be a writer.
I have been dedicated to breaking the rules ever since. I like smashing down the walls and bringing back what’s on the other side in my bare hands. My kind of writer is an outlaw with a fistful of deadly words, holding the crowd hostage.
So, I’ve mixed it up a bit.
Won two street fights. Lost two street fights. Drove 130mph on PCH in a ’72 Pontiac Firebird at midnight. Boozed and drugged like a rock star. Chased adrenaline into plenty of bad situations, including running over a gubernatorial candidate’s manor gate and meeting with high-level members of the Manson Family.
I’ve got scars from a knife. Scars from broken glass I got thrown in. Scars from being driven into a tree. I didn’t get any scars when I jumped off a three-story building to impress my 8th grade math class—both of the times I did it.
I’ve learned hypnosis. Tantric sex. Ju-jitsu, though I was leagues better at grappling than brawling. I was damn good at fencing. Made top of the class.
The violence is in the past. The challenges take different forms. I demolish plenty of eating contests—pound and a half burgers, 4-pound steaks, a 12-egg jalapeno-and-chili omelet. I still love to shoot. I just don’t much feel like aiming harm at anyone.
I’m a bad-ass, but I’m a benevolent one.
JHJ: Tantric sex? Please explain more. That's like what Sting does when he's not making soft jazz-rock, right?
JHJ: Um, okay. Don't want to expose your Kundalini or whatnot. Right-ho. Wot? Moving ever onward. What’s the most bad-fucking-ass thing you’ve ever done?
MCF: Jumping off the three-story building is definitely up there. I also raided a frat initiation with a tape recorder and got thrashed for it by a pack of shirtless, booze-fueled bros. Shotgunning a couch to pieces while out of my head on skunked Pabst was a lark, but to the dudes I was hanging out with, they just called it “a Sunday.” My personal favorite was riding a miniature motorbike, wearing only a cape and bathing trunks, and eating asphalt when I tried to switch gears, crest a bump and ash my cigarette at the same time. That scar healed, but I soothed it with raw steak and rum. I don’t know about pushing extremes, but I gave myself style points for all that.
JHJ: How many sexual partners have you had? Feel free to give details, provide pictures, give anecdotes.
MCF: Not many. 10, if memory serves.
They tend toward the unconventional. I first fell for a girl who was into handcuffs and knife play.
But getting back to that “benevolent” aspect of my bad-assery, I’m not much for kiss-and-tell. Suffice it to say that I like intellectual curiosity in all things. Erotic bonding goes well with that.
JHJ: Wow. You are badass. You're the first person to answer that question straight. Heh. Ten, huh? We're talking in one night, right?
JHJ: A summer?
JHJ: Okay. My bad. Putting down ten in the book. But hey! You're still young. Let's move on to literature. What’s the most badass book ever written?
MCF: A lot make my list—American Psycho, The Forgotten Soldier, Snuff—but the one that’s pure bad-ass is the Carlton Mellick horror novel, Apeshit. It is cover-to-cover sleaze, perversion and gruesome violence, and it reads like a syringe of pepper spray to the forebrain. It will rock every organ in your body while still making for an addictive read.
Until I publish my current bad-ass manuscript, it’s the most bad-ass book ever.
MCF: You, sir, have the attitude of a badass. And I concur, Carlton Mellick III is pretty badass. The +2 Dildo of Enlightment is freaking hilarious. Love that book. Okay. Ever onward. What’s the most badass movie you’ve ever seen?
JHJ: Fuck, man, in terms of my notion of bad-ass, the kind I want to tangle with, I have two: Wild At Heart is a film I live by and it has bad-ass by the bucket. Waters Rising is far more bad-ass. It’s about Desire District just before Hurricane Katrina. It’s like one of my stories put to the screen. But that bad-ass, I can’t hang with.
Most bad-ass film of all for me has to be Stalingrad. It shows it like it was during that phase of Nazi Germany’s war in the East, and that’s as bad as it gets.
JHJ: Wow. A true badass is not ashamed of love for Nick Cage. Bam. Facetime. When you’re out and about, being a total fucking badass, what music do you listen to?
MCF: It changes depending on what I’m writing. Now, here’s my playlist:
Pantera. Early Metallica. GWAR. Jane’s Addiction. The Animals. TRU. Been listening to Tori Amos’ cover of Bonnie and Clyde ’97 a lot. That and Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads.
Otherwise, it’s a lot of Industrial, New Orleans Bounce, Dixieland, Classical and Speed Metal.
JHJ: Hmm. I must not be very badass because I wonder why you hate your eardrums so much? Wait! Don't hurt me! Speaking of...you ever kill a man? Describe how you’d kill your worst enemy. Make it good.
MCF: No. I used to run a gang online. We made real money by capturing other players and torturing them until they were bought as slaves. Made over $2,000 in two months that way. But no, I’ve never actually hurt anyone that bad. Choked out a guy, but I revived him.
How would I kill someone? Man, I’d get someone else to do it.
If I had to do it, Sierra Leone style, as a warlord, I’d probably go with what I did in the game. And mind you, this is assuming that the entire structure of civilization has collapsed and I have to act like The Humongous from Road Warrior or everybody I love is going to bite it in a bad way.
First off, don’t go looking for trouble. If trouble finds you, scheme to nail everybody involved—the perpetrators and any witnesses who didn’t try to stop it. Find them and anybody with them, and draw them into a series of ambushes. Coordinate those hits so that they happen as secretly and swiftly as possible. There’s less confusion and backlash that way.
Whenever you do violence, you want to do it neatly and conclusively.
So, once you have them, go Colonel Kurtz on them. Kill them slow and nasty and humiliating. In my example above, I tore one person’s eye out of their head and made them eat it, before burning them alive. Another person, I boiled while I dismembered his buddy.
Because to me, see, violence and revenge are two different things. How do I get the best revenge? The old saw’s right—I live well. I don’t waste worry on people who do me wrong.
But violence is to prove a point and thereby solve a future problem. Violence is a lesson. That lesson is fear. Use fear to teach your enemy—and future enemies—some key things about you:
That they will not see you coming. That they cannot stop you. That there will be no mercy. That there will be no decency. That they will, piece by piece, lose everything if they so much as touch something that is yours.
That’s the bad-ass way of sleeping soundly at night in a world of hungry enemies.
JHJ: How would you dispose of his/her body?
MCF: Entirely. By fire, acid or scavenging animals. Again, something that proves a point.
JHJ: After you get caught and are waiting to be executed, what would you have as your last meal? What’s the most badass eats you can think of?
MCF: My last meal would be a bullet. I wouldn’t want these enemies to do to me what I was trying to do to them. I’d want a quick demise.
A real bad-ass goes out on their own terms.
If I had a meal before that, it’d be fresh Gulf seafood, Texas rib-eye with the bone in, smothered in sautéed mushrooms, with sparkling water and Rare Breed bourbon to wash it down.
JHJ: What would be your badass last words?
MCF: “Let’s do it.” Sometimes the classics are best.
JHJ: So, you write books, do you? What’s your work about and how is it badass?
MCF: My work’s about the monsters, man: The monsters in you and I, the monstrosities we commit and the monstrosities we ignore.
I wrote about perverts, poverty and pain. I write crime, sure, but that’s because it allows me to illustrate the crimes that live in us and all around us: Child slavery, war trauma, collateral damage, sex abuse, prison conditions, sweat shops, starvation and the sick, sweet temptation of “just following orders.”
I like to write about how people think they’re doing right when what they’re doing is horribly, horribly wrong. I do it to show how that capability is very close to home. And I like to cast light on how a lot of our daily lives are based on ignoring the cruel consequences that foster them—who your cheap Walmart products are at the expense of; who your prisons keep locked up and piled atop one another in disease-ridden conditions; who can shatter your life at the most innocent invitation.
Is that bad-ass? Mostly that’s just depressing. I think my work’s bad-ass because I also show how people rise above all that bullshit fear and deprivation and injustice by making their own way, spending blood and tears and sweat, refusing to look back.
Now that’s bad-ass.
JHJ: Where can be buy or view some of it?
MCF: Hit up my site. It’s www.matthewfunk.net. The fiction’s all there. And, in no time at all, you’ll be able to find me on some book shelves.
Just ask my bad-ass agent. The advent of M. C. Funk is coming.
John Hornor Jacobs is a novelist, among other things. His novel, SOUTHERN GODS, will be published in August 2011 by Night Shade Books. THIS DARK EARTH will be published in July 2012 by Gallery/Simon & Schuster. The INCARCERADO TRILOGY, comprised of THE TWELVE FINGERED BOY, INCARCERADO, and THE END OF ALL THINGS will be published by Carolrhoda Labs in 2013, 2014, 2015 respectively.
Represented by THE Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.