If you’re a fan of Criss Angel, then chances are you’re aware that tonight’s episode of Mindfreak will be airing live as Criss attempts a death-defying stunt. We had a chance to sit in on a conference call with Criss last week and he was kind enough to talk a bit about the stunt and this season of the A&E series. Since the interview was a bit long, we broke it down into parts. Click here for Part 1. Here’s the second part:
I want to know what freaks Criss Angel’s mind? If someone wanted to freak your freak what would they have to do?
Criss Angel: They have to give me a normal day, a day where I have nothing to do, a day where I probably go out of mind because I would just you know - I’m somebody that has - my life is on a schedule and it’s like every moment of every day is a equated for, accounted for.
And you know, I’m so used to going 100 miles an hour in every direction and sleeping you know, two, three hours a night, and that’s the way I live.
And, I think for me having that norm would be something like wow I don’t know what to do maybe for a little bit it would be very wonderful and something I would very much appreciate and look forward to. But, I might probably be very fearful of having too much free time.
There has to be something out there that you want to perform, but are afraid to do, so what is that?
Criss Angel: Nothing, you know, if you don’t fear death then what is there to fear you know. I mean it’s really the truth, I don’t fear anything, because ultimately what’s the worse that’s going to happen - I’m going to die. And I’ve accepted that I’ve you know, sacrificed my concern to put forth my effort in my art, because at the end of the day you can die from crossing the street you know or not living your life, I want to live my life to its fullest.
Well the only reason then that you’re not going forth after this with more...
Criss Angel: My mother.
...(unintelligible) is because of the promise to our mom?
Criss Angel: Well my mom is in her 70s she just - you know, I adore her to death, and she is really - my mother and father are the reason why I had the opportunity to really pursue my dream. And you know I just don’t want to put her through the same, because it’s very, very difficult. She’s actually going go out to Florida with my brothers and watch us live which I wasn’t crazy about because you know I just I don’t want to put her through that. But she wants to be there and I just decided you know what - I also you know, I have to do my live show, and I’ll be the midst of that, and I have to be able to give you know, my live show has a lot of dangerous things in it as well, and I have to really be focused, and I don’t want to spread myself too thin.
I will absolutely do television to the day I die as long as I have something to say creatively but I’m just going to kind of hang up the things that are just such a high level. This is the most probably one of the most dangerous demonstrations of my career and I sincerely mean that, there is so many things that could wrong. But something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally get that opportunity artistically.
So will that be - will that be part of the stress that you were talking about before is that you know, that your mom is going to be there and you know how she feels about it? You didn’t necessarily want her to be there.
Criss Angel: No, it’s so much difficult when you love somebody to watch them in a situation where you feel helpless. It’s easier for me to do what I am doing. It’s like you know you ever drive with somebody in the car you know in the back seat, and you don’t like the way they are driving, but you can’t do anything about it, but it’s so difficult because you’re sitting there and you’re just helpless?
Well you know, it’s kind of the same thing I’m the driver, and you know, my mom is riding in the car, and she’s all right hit the breaks, I’m not like no let’s go faster.
You had just mentioned that the dangerous stunts that you are doing. Do you feel that was this new season that there is a pressure to do things that are just bigger and better and more mind boggling, or do you just think that you personally naturally progressed with your skills to do something this big?
Criss Angel: Well to be perfectly frank with you I never created art or have done demonstrations for anyone before myself artistically. I always do it to try to push my own envelope to be the best I can be. And that’s why you know, I have some skeptics out there that say oh that’s not real, or that’s this or that’s that.
And it kind of makes me laugh because they don’t realize that I’m not doing it for them, I would never be able to sleep at night, even though I don’t sleep much. But I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, what really is satisfying and rewarding and fulfilling for me, is to know - you know it’s like being in a - I equate this way, you know if you’re in college, you know, you can take a test and cheat and pass with the flying 100%, or you can study and go with through the rigors of you know, of facing that test, and passing it, and having that self gratification that you know what, you really did it, and you feel that sense of pride in what you do.
I wouldn’t feel a sense of pride if what I did was bullshit, I feel a sense of pride because you know, I worked very hard at my craft and I think that’s why people connect to it because they see it’s authenticate, they see that it’s real.
And see that I’m out there trying to positive sometimes in a - in not such a positive world.
Many of your performances Criss - a lot of your stunts take real extreme concentration on your end. Is it difficult performing with the shows cameras around you, or have you gotten use to it now that you’ve you know, done a few seasons and you have a lot of shows under your belt. Do they get in the way, do you ever see it out of the corner of your eye, or anything like that?
Criss Angel: Yes, I mean it’s funny because I’m really, really proud and it’s a really a testament not to be but to the incredible crew that I have on Mindfreak. You know we’ve done more hours of this show with magic than any magician in the history you know, of television.
And you know, like walk on water was watched by more I think than 25 million or 24 million people, on just the internet which is the most watched magic clip in the history of the internet. And you know during my experiences with that you know in the beginning you’re very contentious about it especially when you hit the camera, or the camera is in your way.
But after a while it just becomes second nature as if it were another person that you just kind of interacting with. And so for me it’s really not a - something I think about. And in this season of Mindfreak I think you know, to go to your other question as well a little bit. What I think is so special about this season is yes, I have the biggest, the baddest thing I’ve ever done with the, you know, building implosion escape. But I also have some of the most challenging things as well when it comes to close up magic.
You know I’ve explored avenues of my - of my art form that I never did in this season where you’ll see episodes that are very different than any other season of Mindfreak because I really wanted to explore all the different possibilities and present things to people that they haven’t seen. So I think people are going to see a huge majority, a growth and I think they’ll be very engaged by the very diverse episodes of Mindfreak this season.
I want to know why you chose Clearwater as your next location over you know, any where in the world, anything you could have done, why did you chose this stunt and in Clearwater.
Criss Angel: Two reasons, the first one is I spent some time many years ago in Clearwater and Propping Springs. And two, it is incredibly difficult to find an imploding building with all of the different particular disciplines allowing you to put your life in an imploding building with 4,500 you know, tons of concrete that will be come down to the earth. And say okay, we’ll sign off on that, and then you just have to sign a hold harmless, you know for the imploders, for the city, for this for that.
So, when I found out that they were willing to let me do it and that this building you know was coming down, and it was the time factor, you know, and it just worked out beautifully.
And I really did think you know after being in Clearwater in that area that it would be a wonderful backdrop. Now Clearwater is known for some of the most amazing beaches. And they - it’s really just a wonderful quaint just a cool place that’s in the middle of - its own transformation.
They are you know, spending millions and millions of dollars renovating and reinvigorating Clearwater, and it’s a very exciting place to be and I thought it was a great landscape you know, to be on the beach for the public to be invited free of charge and witness this. I just thought it was a really great landscape for what is going to be my most challenging escape of all time.
This is probably been a dream come true for you really.
Criss Angel: Yes, my guess yes, it really is, because think about it, you know, it’s right on the beach so you have a great vantage point for people to watch this thing, to see it unfold moment by moment.
You know, it’s - it will translate great on television because its beautiful. You know it’s just, it’s just picturesque. And you know, I love doing things that (unintelligible) to opposed positioning, so it’s like a (Fellini) movie. You know you have you know, something that doesn’t belong in this world, then you know, to see this beautiful beach this building which is you know, imploding and a person in the path of it, it’s kind of surreal setting if you will.
You going, take any time to you know, enjoy the beaches while you’re here?
Criss Angel: I would love to the only problem is that I’m going to be flying back out on I think Saturday or Sunday Morning. And you know I have to rehearse, so I might have a few hours to on Sunday, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a few hours on the beach and just chill before I have madness approaching on Monday.
How did you develop a nature for a rock star and magician at the same time. And did you think get you close to people?
Criss Angel: Well you know I think I’m a product of my childhood and what I’ve been exposed to. And since I was a boy you know, going back to Long Island, New York I was so influenced by music because I started playing music when I was 6 years old, I played the drums for like 10, 11 years. And I was so fascinated with rock stars and musicians and that culture. And I knew that I wanted to do something you know, different I wanted to - I had a love for the art of magic, but didn’t want to present it like magicians did, because I felt that it was kind of hokey.
And so I kind of just allowed myself to present it the way I would want to see it, and I think it kind of connected to people because it was very different as an experience. So, I never said to myself, I’m going to go out and do this because this is what’s cool, or this is what I think people want to see. It was just because that’s who I was, and that’s who I - who I evolved since I was a boy and you know, listening to bands like Aerosmith and you know Kansas and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and you know all of that stuff is what KISS you know, it’s all of that stuff that probably had a profound effect on me as a kid.
What can you tell us about your music career right now?
Criss Angel: Well I have you know, several CD’s out, one of my best friends is Sully Erna from Godsmack - he is Godsmack, and we’re going to be working on an album together. My next album I just have to get some time because I’m working on my live show, Mindfreak and a variety of other things that are going on as well.
But I certainly - you know, music is what I’ve been doing longest, and it’s in my blood and I love music it inspires for me so much creatively.
And it also allows you to have that real fusion of visual and audio together to really have whatever you mean in your message to the public come across to make them feel the emotion that you want them to feel especially when you’re performing live.
So, music is important and I always make music throughout my career just having enough time to - to get it done.
What is the worst definition - the definition of magic you ever heard about it.
Criss Angel: Well the worst definition of magic to me is when you don’t connect to people emotionally. When you present magic as a trick about a puzzle that it’s about - when you present magic how did I do that, as opposed to how do you feel when you watch it, that’s the worst type of magic for me when it’s just a puzzle.
Because magic has been beaten by magicians for so many years, and it hasn’t gotten the respect and popular culture. And for me magic is beautiful, it should make people live, and dream and be enchanted like they were they were a child, it should bring out the child in you. And when it doesn’t do that, and it’s only about a puzzle that to me is horrible.
Same is difficult you know, you know, success definitely does change you for the better and for the worse. And the best thing about fame is to be able to use it as a tool for me, to do positive things for others, that’s what can I appreciate about it.
The same is also difficult because you know, it’s something that doesn’t - that’s with you everyday and you know no matter where you go and what you do. You know you have to - you have to appreciate and you have to take time for those people that want to meet you, want to take a picture, want an autograph. And sometimes you have to sacrifice your own time, your own self so that you can give that person an experience and you have to because you know, they put you there. So, that’s part of saying what sometimes could be difficult to deal with.
Have you ever thought on your retirement?
Criss Angel: Retirement right like - retirement for me won’t be at least until 4,600 performances over the next ten years at the Luxor because that’s my contract. So I have to do this for at least 10 years before I can think about retiring.
Click here for Part 3.