DJ Squalor on This Weekend's Fight Club Sadisco* and Fighting Cancer With Food
Toby Tyler Heidebrink (a.k.a. Squalor and Mess)
Despite all it's nihilistic, anarchistic, and pugilistic leanings, Fight Club is actually a tale of hope and redemption. No, really. Strip away all the brutality, bedlam, and bathing products, and the overall message of both Chuck Palahniuk's original novel and David Fincher's flick is that one can attain salvation, albeit through extreme and unusual means.
Fittingly, the M.O. of the latest edition of infamous industrial dance party Fight Club Sadisco* on Saturday is similar in a sense, as it aims to help save the ass of one its instigators -- Toby Tyler Heidebrink.
The local DJ and electronica musician -- who goes by either Squalor or Mess, depending on which of his multiple projects he's performing with -- has served as the Tyler Durden of the Sadisco* crew over the last decade and has been battling rectal cancer for more than year now. As a result, he's gone to significant expense in treating his condition via both traditional, and non-traditional means. (He's completely altered his eating habits, for instance, to a diet of raw and organic foods.)
So, much like the members of Project Mayhem, the other DJs of Sadisco* (shorthand for "sadistic disco") are mustering their efforts to put on one helluva a party and aid their leader. (Half of the $15 admission to Fight Club Sadisco will help benefit Heidebrink's recovery while the rest will be donated to a children's cancer charity.) And like its inspiration, Fight Club Sadisco* will involve patrons (males and females alike) engaging in actual scraps with other willing participants in the basement of the Monarch Theatre.
While the donnybrooks rage downstairs, Sadisco* DJs ///she///, 5arah, Blonde NOize, VEX will be dropping harsh and dark sounds in the venue's main room, as will Heidebrink and his Mess &* Phetamine partner Michael Colisimo (a.k.a. $&M).
Heidebrink will also team up with members of local industrial band BlakOPz to perform a live version of their collaborative track "Teminal Monster," which appears on Electronic Saviors Volume 3: Remission, the latest in a series of industrial music compilations produced by Rein[Forced] member (and cancer survivor) Jim Semonik.
If you've never thrashed about to the harsh and murky electronic sounds of a typical Sadisco* party (which used to run monthly and are still infamous in the local fetish and industrial scenes for being debaucherous, discordant, and diabolically fun), this weekend's event offers your last chance to do so.
According to Heidebrink, this will be the final Sadisco* party (as in ever), mainly because of his desire to focus on other music-related ventures, including his latest effort b∀phºf∀ggºt.
We spoke with Heidebrink earlier this week about the work-in-progress project, the fights that will take place tomorrow night while he and the Sadisco* members will be performing, and who he'd consider duking it out with if he ever wanted to do the man-dance.
His health also came up during our conversation and Heidebrink told us he believes he's doing better thanks to his diet, as did the utter irony regarding his fact that he started writing and composing "Terminal Monster" (a song about cancer cells destroying the body of their host) long before he was diagnosed with the malady.
Name: Toby Tyler Heidebrink
Genres: Industrial, EBM, hard electro, harsh dance, electroclash, experimental, noise
Upcoming gigs: Fight Club Sadisco* (End Credits) on Saturday at Monarch Theatre
So why is this the final Sadisco* party ever?
Because there always has to be a last. [Laughs] That's the plain and simple truth of it. Plus, I'm focused on HexRx and I'm working on my own project too. So, I'd rather do music than plan Sadisco* parties. I did that for 10 years. So, moving on.
Care to divulge anything about the new project?
It's kind of secret. It's my own project. I don't really have too much going on with it so far, but it's only in the conceptual stages. It's not a club [event], it's like music. I guess if you want to hint at it, I can tell you what its called: b∀phºf∀ggºt. You could say that it's an electronic project of some sort that's beat-driven. It will probably be very dark and sexual, I think.
Are you expecting a lot of fights to take place on Saturday?
Probably as many as there usually is. Once they start, they usually don't stop.
Is anyone going to fight themselves, like either The Narrator or the late Thom Gabaldon did at Fight Club Sadisco* in 2010?
No, nobody has signed up yet to do that.
Too bad. It was a sight to behold watching him beat himself up.
Yeah, it was pretty good. Definitely.
Have you ever participated in the fighting youself?
No. [Laughs] I have too many fake teeth and they're expensive, otherwise I would. If my last tooth came out, I think my life would be over faster than cancer could kill me.
To paraphrase a question from the movie, if you could fight anyone, living or dead, who would you fight?
Uhh...I would fight my ex-boyfriend. Because he's such a douche that he can't ever be friends.
Who would win?
All of the fights will be officiated, right?
From Left: Mess, Sky Dakota, and $&M of Mess &* Phetamine.
Speaking of which, what do you and Michael have planned for Mess &* Phetamine's performance? Mayhem and manties?
Yeah. We're not certain exactly what we're doing. It probably won't be a full-out deal, but we will be in our underwear. Sky was going to be dancing with us, but she has a cracked rib right now.
What will you be spinning?
A little of everything. Maybe some Carbon Airways.
Do the Sadisco DJs differ in the sort of sounds they spin?
Everyone has their own little bit of flair and flavor, you know what I mean. [///she///] is a little more harsh, [Blonde NOize] is a little more noise-driven, [VEX] is probably a little more electro, and 5arah's probably a little more all over the board, everything goes kind of deal.
It is going to be as infamous as Sadisco* parties have been in the past? All the usual chaos, harsh sounds, dancing...
I would believe so, yes. Nothing that we wouldn't normally do...or that we've been told not to do. I think everyone's set to have a good time. So I don't think anyone will be disappointed and not feel that it's just not like a Sadisco*
Has Sadisco* had a big impact on the Phoenix fetish/goth party scene over the past 10 years?
I would say so, yes. It has to, or hundreds of people wouldn't go. And hundreds of people wouldn't want or need it all the time.
Do a lot of people tell you how much they miss Sadisco*?
All the time.
How's your health these days?
It seems to be okay. I still need to get a PET scan, which is what hopefully this will help pay for. I mean, I feel fine, but I chalk that up mostly to changing my living style.
When were you diagnosed?
Last April. I went in to have what I thought was a hemorrhoid removed and they couldn't remove [the mass] and they biopsied it, and said it was cancer. We tried to do a CAT scan, but it doesn't show up on the CAT scan. Then they thought it was in my liver, so I had to have another CAT scan and a biopsy of my liver. It turned out I just have moles on my liver, and so basically the cancer hasn't spread.
Now, I can't even feel it. I'm not symptomatic anymore. And that's not 'cause the doctors did anything, that's because I eat good things.
Have you given up any sort of GMO foods?
Right. Completely organic, mostly raw, tons of nutrient stuff. I juice a lot of stuff. It's more than what I want to do. It's not fun. And it's expensive. That's honestly what a lot of people have helped me pay for is eating. Plain and simple.
What's the prognosis?
Well, I don't even have an exact diagnosis, you know what I mean? The cancer doctors are crazy. They were like, "Oh, we couldn't see it, so the website here says to pump poison into you. Yes, that's what we do next! We pump poison into you." And I'm all, "But we haven't even seen a picture of it." But they're like, "Well, we've been pumping poison into people to treat cancer for decades without seeing it. And I don't feel confident about that, so that's why I need the PET scan so we can hopefully see it.
How did you get involved with the Electronic Saviors compilation series?
Well, they released their first one and I respected what it was, obviously. And around the time I joined HexRx, they were working on releasing part two, and me and Roger [Jarvis] ended up up writing a song, or most of a song (75 percent, pretty much) about cancer for Electronic Saviors 2. And I basically wrote it trying to use the HexRx serial killer type motive. I basically wrote it from the perspective of cancer, as if I was the tumor itself. So, basically, that's what the lyrics are: cancer talking to the victim, or whatever.
And we just could not get the song finished, we could not tie the ends together and get it done in time. Thus, it didn't make the compilation and it just sat there. Mind you, the song was written way before I ever found out I had cancer. So then you fast-forward a couple years and I find out I have cancer and Electronic Saviors 3 is being compiled and I was like, "Fuck this, it has to be finished now." Like, it's too oddly fated that I wrote a song from the perspective of cancer when I probably had cancer and didn't know it.
And Roger didn't have time because he was working really hard with the Kevorkian Death Cycle record that was coming out. And I thought, "What if we gave it to BlakOPz and did a co-lab, maybe they can fix it and finish the song for us, basically. So we handed the lyrics and the verse and the chorus beat. And they married it and made it happen. Now it's on there.
Since me and Alex [King of BlakOPz] live in Arizona and we're able to do it, we're gonna perform the one song that's on there live at Fight Club Sadisco* so there will be one live performance from HexRx versus BlakOPz.
So the track is essentially a song of a cancer cell?
It's from the perspective of cancer. So the cancer is literally talking. The chorus is, "If you feed me, I'll destroy you/Ask me why/I'm a monster, I'm a monster."
Would the whole situation be considered ironic?
I think it is. It's something like that. It's something weird.
You don't think you gave yourself cancer with the track?
No, I would assume that I had before I wrote this song. So it's just an odd coincidence.
Does Metropolis Records donate money to the artists who contribute to the Electronic Saviors comps?
Nobody who puts a song on it gets a penny and the guy who puts it together [Jim Semonik] doesn't get a penny and the Metropolis Records doesn't get a penny. They donate 100 percent of the proceeds to charity.
This is meant as a cheeky question, but have you attended any cancer support groups a la Fight Club since you were diagnosed?
Nope. I actually avoid all that. I'm really not that type of person. I don't need that. I got me...and my friends. I don't need that.
Do any of them have "bitch tits" like Robert Paulson?
Probably, yes, but I'm not going to name names.
Fight Club Sadisco* takes place on Saturday, June 21, at Monarch Theatre. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15.
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
122 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.