This talk had been in the works between Jeffrey and I for a couple of months before we finally settled on a day to conduct the interview. This interview was finally done in July, 2016 over Skype. Here's the second part of the over 90 minutes chat with Jeffrey Phillips, more known to Hollywood Undead fans as Shady Jeff. Catch up with the first part of the interview here.
- German Padilla
— You call yourself a conspiracy realist and an activist. Why is that?
Shady Jeff: Basically, in a nutshell, the big banks kind of run the world. They are extremely predatory towards us. They’re the reason why we live in such stressful conditions, working our lives away to pay rent and eat is basically slavery and a lot of people and a lot of people are living in basically slavery conditions because of our government and because of these banks. Our government does a lot to scare us, they do a lot of fear stuff. They just do a lot of things, they lie to us about things like all these massacres that are happening and this fucking guy who drove over all these people in Paris. These are all called false flags, and they’re all staged by governments to push an agenda. Right now the governments, or many of the world's governments are pushing the anti-Muslim agenda right now, that’s really fucking horrible. Our government is at the butt of it and does the most of it. They’re also pushing a lot of racial stuff, racial division. Doing lots of things, telling the American people lots of things that cause them to want to fight with their fucking neighbors because they disagree on these things that the government has been propagandizing. I don’t know. Once I had kids, I just want them to grow up in a better place, where the government’s not stealing their money and dropping bombs on people with it, and poisoning the fucking food and water with fluoride, GMO’s, all this stuff is connected to the same people. The world would be a way better place without all of it. So, I really got into activism once I got kids. It was something I was kind of good at.
— What’s your view on this whole “blue lives matter/black lives matter” and all that s**t?
Shady Jeff: It is exactly what I just explained to you. It's something that the news is putting in front of everyone to cause them to be divided. At the end of the day, obviously, everyone’s lives matter, right? So you’re gonna get a lot of people that people that to death, but then you’re gonna get a lot of people who believe in these other ones, and think they’re more important and they’re gonna fight with you over those to the death. It’s called a paradigm. They’re constantly fighting by design, they set up the name “black lives matter, blue lives matter”, all this stuff is setup to be divisive, to cause people to go out in the streets and fight each other over it, even though none of it fucking matters, and it's just statements. It’s really, really bad shit, and all these shootings, all this stuff is all b.s., it's all orchestrated, and there’s gonna be something happening soon in our country that’s gonna be really messed up. Just the other day, Obama signed some stuff allowing the UN to come here- UN forces to come here. Actually, he gave them the ability to use deadly force on us also. You know, that’s kind of scary, and when you see stuff like that, and stuff like the division like Black Lives Matter, and everyone shooting each other, it’s exactly how they want it to happen. They want chaos in the streets. What people need to do is recognize that it's bullshit, all this stuff that’s on the news that everybody wants to fight over, Trump vs Hillary vs Black Lives Matter vs Muslim extremists.
— It’s 2010, and Aron, he departed from Hollywood Undead. What was your point of view, and what did you think of the split?
Shady Jeff: Oh, well, I was walking somewhere in Hollywood and just randomly bumped into George and Jorel. Soo random, hadn’t seen them for like a year, and just like turned a corner and almost bumped into them, I was like “whoa!”. So anyway, it was like as that was happening, they were supposed to leave for tour the next day and they were like “Oh, yeah, Aron, Aron’s been like blahblahblahblah”, so it wasn’t a surprise to me at all for many reasons, because I know Aron, and Aron is a very hard person to be around. So it wasn’t a shock at all, and just the direction that his ego went, holy crap. He was a cool kid, he was a homie of mine before, you know, but that kid lost his marbles. He thought he was fucking Tupac. It was so embarrassing, it was so bad. So, it wasn’t a surprise at all. I was surprised they got another person to sing, cause singing is really not that hard. I could’ve sang all the new stuff. So then they got a professional singer, and Danny actually is a very talented songwriter, with all his other bands and his stuff. He’s really great, and I know he’s contributed a lot to the band, to their sound now I suppose, it’s pretty poppy.
— So a couple of years back, you uploaded a video to YouTube describing your split with the band, there was a Part 1, Part 2 was removed. For the people that are unaware of this, can you tell us the real reason why you and HU parted ways, and the whole bullshit with Aron?
Shady Jeff: Part 2 is still up isn’t it? They should be, I think they are... I was just like chilling, and I get this call. I’m really into firearms training, I’m an NRA certified safety instructor for handgun, rifle and shotgun. I do a lot of training with firearms, I’m also an amateur gunsmith, I build guns and stuff like that. So, when I got this call and it’s like “Hey, you’re in like, Washington Post. Someone’s talking about you pulling gun on them.” and I was just like “whaaaaat?”. So, Aron like threw a temper tantrum and got ahold of any random reporter he could of got. He must of co-wrote the article with him because it was complete crap. It was like “oh, my emotions are hurt, my feels hurt, cause I got screwed out of this, that, and the other, I got screwed out of this”. It’s like, no, dude, the kids an asshole. He just lost his shit, he got what deserved a thousand times over. He did, he kicked himself out of the band. He didn’t even show up, you know, for a fucking tour. You’re done after that. If you’re being an asshole, and you’re not showing up for tour, and you’re like, you need your little boyfriend with you that the band has to pay for, that shit doesn’t fly, you know. So anyways, he’s making all these wack excuses for some like lawsuit that has no fucking- like there’s no way any of that lawsuit would have stuck, but he like mentions this shit for no fucking reason. I hadn’t been in the band for like five years when he did this interview, and brought it up as if it was some fresh thing that had just happened, and like that was why he wasn’t in the band anymore. He’s just a drama queen, so I had to tell the story, because it sounded like I was some fucking gang banger, but in reality I’m like a Second Amendment activist and very into firearms and stuff like that. So, the fact that some idiot in a fucking interview is talking about me like I’m some fucking gangster really fucking pissed me off, so I had to make those videos to clear up the story. You already know what the story was. That kid’s a douche. Deuce. Douche.
— You ever had any crazy experiences with any of the fans of the band?
Shady Jeff: Fans? I don’t know. The band blowing up was pretty surreal. I flew to Miami, and went to some festival and saw kids that had like made Hollywood Undead shirts. This was two months in or something, I was just like “holy shit”. It’s that the crazy, like, Twenty One Pilots must be feeling it, you know? Those dudes, who were fucking nowhere, and now they have 450 million views on one of their videos on fucking YouTube. I go in the store and there’s like a little probably six year old girl singing their songs, it was like, “Whoa, this is real, this is evidence that this is a real thing that is happening, and that’s fucking crazy!”. I couldn’t even go in Hot Topics because kids were just like “AUGHHH!!!”. It was super fun, that was just always weird. We were wearing masks too. Those dudes, any chance they had to have their masks off, their masks were off. I was hiding all the time. I’d be at clubs, people would take pictures of my face. Kids would know-knew just by like my tattoos or whatever, it was crazy. Still hearing about this shit, and doing this interview with you now, and hearing people- I don’t usually go “Hey, I was in Hollywood Undead”. People know me for years before they know I was in a band, but when it does come up it’s always funny. Rarely do I ever across someone who doesn’t smile when I say the name like “oh yeahhh, I remember you guys,”. It’s cool now, cause I’m doing projects with some other people, there’s really rad, talented people who are like stoked to do stuff, versus if I was just Joe Schmoe. It’s pretty cool. The whole thing was just such a strange occurrence. No band had ever gotten big without ever playing a show, or without ever rehearsing for a live show, all that stuff was nuts with MySpace. Tom had me do a bunch of interviews for MySpace music when that shit went off because it was absolutely revolutionary when it happened. We were one of the biggest bands ever, just through putting up something on a website, it was nuts.
— What’s the most craziest memory you have while in Hollywood Undead?
Shady Jeff: Walking out on Hollywood Boulevard doing the No. 5 video and there being like several hundred kids there.
— Was that shit planned?
Shady Jeff: Yeah, that was my idea! All that shit was my idea. We told everyone “hey, be here at this time,” and they fucking showed up. The music video was pretty nuts. Craziest Hollywood Undead stories… I’ve made several videos of crazy Hollywood Undead stories that I haven’t released yet on YouTube. So, I’ll be putting those up, sometime. There’s a bunch, but there’s a bunch more, there’s a lot of crazy stories. We raged hard, there’s too many stories. I don’t know, the MySpace festival, all that stuff, just seeing how fast it blew up was just insane. It’s very surreal it doesn’t feel like it happened, because that doesn’t happen to people.
— So what was the reason you decided to leave the band?
Shady Jeff: I genuinely didn’t think it was going anywhere. Those dudes, they’re all lifelong friends, you know, go to the same church, all their parents are friends. I was always kind of the odd man out because I didn’t grow up with them, and wasn’t as tight as all of they were. There was a lot of like 6-on-1, but I was managing shit and I was pretty integral person in the band during that era. For a long time- everything was going fine but there was always a lot of 6-on-1 type shit, but the managers and the record labels and stuff, I had been dealing with them the most and I had really good ideas and stuff. So for a while, everything was fine, but then it just got to a point where everyone ran out of money and everyone was fighting, it was just chaos kind of. I bounced for a while, I went to Arizona for two weeks and hung out with all these girls, I came back and things weren’t getting better and I just kind of stopped caring about getting along and making everything work out. I was far older than all of them too, I was very much so, VERY much so the dad of the band. Like I was talking about earlier, when they got in the fight with all those bands, and all those fucking promoters and shit at that show, I was pissed because this was a project I put a lot into and these dudes were just like fucking off with it and I was really mad. The next day, me and the current manager were like fucking screaming at those dudes, so pissed off. So there was just a bunch of shit, everyone got a little nutty, everyone got a little rock star, everyone got a little too crazy, a little too early. I was just sick of taking care of all of them, sick of being the dad, and it just stopped. Shit went South, shit hit the fan.
— They’ve all got like stage names and shit, did you pick your own, or why did you choose Shady Jeff?
Shady Jeff: Shady Jeff was just a funny nickname, I was actually the only who had a nickname that was actually a nickname that wasn’t just something made up for Hollywood Undead. It’s not a very interesting story, just someone, some hater of mine, some dude was just talking some shit about me, but he didn’t know that I was me, that I was in a group of people. He was like “Ooh that Shady Jeff guy, blahblahblahblah,”. He didn’t even know I was there, he didn’t even know what I looked like and this kid was talking shit about me. I thought it was really fun and I put it on my MySpace, and it just always my handle on MySpace. Then obviously when HU happened, it was the perfect stage name for HU. It was funny because I had gotten sick of it and kind of got rid of it, because it was funny for a while but then it got to be annoying, but then when Hollywood Undead came through it was like solidified for the rest of my fucking life. It’s a love-hate relationship I have with that name, that’s for sure. My girlfriends don’t usually like it too much, my baby-mommas don’t like it obviously. But, you know, it’s funny shit, I love saying it, I don’t know why. “Shady!”
— If you had the chance, if they were like, “Oh hey, we want you to do another song with us!”, would you be up for it?
Shady Jeff: Oh yeahh! That’d be super fun. I can’t see why not.
— Your project, what’s that about?
Shady Jeff: My YouTube is JeffreySonOfLiberty, my Instagram is JeffreySonOfLiberty, my project is called Some Next Level Shit. It’s kind of an alternative media website, it’s me and a couple buddies of mine raging. It’s gonna be pretty cool, we’re doing lots of videos, I’ll be posting a lot of videos, and I’ll be putting out my music and all that other old stuff through that website. It’ll be kind of a big deal soon. Definitely check out my YouTube. I moved to Nicaragua for a while, I didn’t use my Instagram for the whole time I was there, and I came back and I had like 1,2000 people who had added themselves to my Instagram cause someone found out what it was. It’s like “whoaaa 1,200!?”. That’s a lot of people, I mean millions of people like Hollywood Undead, it just blows me away that anyone still remembers who I am. It wasn’t that short of amount of time, but it was a pretty intense period of time for that band.
— Do you ever regret leaving the band or wish you were still in it?
Shady Jeff: Nope. Obviously, obviously it’d be fun to go on a tour, but the touring life is not my thing. Definitely not. It would have been fun to do a little but, and fun to jump on stage with them one more time or whatever, but I’ve done cool shit since then that I wouldn’t be able to do if I was doing that life, if I could still do it.
— I heard apparently you “died” in a fucking car crash? So how did you hear about that, people thinking you’re dead in a car crash or some shit like that?
Shady Jeff: Tyler Shields was sleeping on my couch, in the house, that really dope photo of all of us on the couch, that was my place. Tyler was staying there, I was having him shoot a lot of the early HU stuff. Most of all those early iconic shots were Tyler Shields. I had an M3 BMW that I had put a supercharger on and crazy coilovers and made it into a racecar. There was this one corner by my house that I used to drift, don’t try that at home. I came around it, I had my girlfriend in the car, and it was wet, and I spun and went up on the curb and hit a fucking fire hydrant just like in the movies. Fire hydrant flies off, geyser in the air. I get out, call Tyler, he comes down, taking pictures of everything. I don’t think anything of it cause Tyler’s taking pictures of everything anyway. He’s taking pictures of the fireman running around, my girlfriend on the phone, it’s whatever. So he goes home, and he goes on his website and he puts up these pictures “The Death of Shady Jeff”. It’s my car, and I had like a personalized license plate that said like “SHADYLA” or some shit like that. People knew what car I had, so it was my car wrecked, and the fire hydrant, and the cops running around, and he took this picture of my girlfriend and she was like on her phone crying, and there are like all these grainy black and white, dramatic looking pictures, but there’s no picture of me. It’s just called “The Death of Shady Jeff”, so he puts this shit up, he was pretty big on MySpace too. He puts this shit up and it spreads like fucking wildfire that I died. I thought it was kind of funny until family members called me frantically crying. It became, “ooh Undead!”, it went with the whole idea of the band. It became such a big story that there was no way of squashing it. We did some things to kind of push it, I stopped writing stuff on the MySpace as Shady Jeff. We did some things that kind of pushed the story a little, like evidence. It became such a big story that it wasn’t stoppable. People would be like “how’s he on your tracks?” and they were like “oh, they’re old tracks!”. We just kept it going, and when I left people were like “I thought he was dead? I don’t get it!”. You still type in “Shady Jeff” in Google and that “Shady Jeff is Dead” is the first one that pops up, and it’s just a thread of kids going “oh my god!”. It’s super funny. It just went along, yeah I’m dead, yeah I’m dead. That was pretty funny, but my cousin called me fucking hysterical. People called my family members and told them that I died without checking, calling me first, it was retarded, that was some fun shit.
— Back to the old photoshoot that you guys did, I think it was at some spillway or some kind of canal thing.
Shady Jeff: Yeah, LA river.
— Yeah, who’s the photographer for that? And there’s like 15 people in those pictures, who were they?
Shady Jeff: Rosie took a lot of those pictures, Rosie Olesky, the girl in that song where I’m like “Rosie, where the treats at?”. She’s one of my good friends. She took a lot of those pictures. All those other fools were just like randoms, like the other kids, like that Jorel and all them knew those dudes from tagging and stuff like that. They just kind of showed up for the shoot for some reason, I don’t know why everyone was there. That was the one Jeffree was in too, that was crazy times back then, that day was a crazy day especially.