Lizardman Q & A: Part 7

Lizardman Q & A: Part 7

“Mercy!” cried Gandalf: “if the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my fays in answering you. What do you want to know?”

- J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

This time around with the Q & A, I tried asking for question sets instead of just random one-offs. Some people got into it, others didn’t. I wouldn’t call it a failed experiment, but there is that ever present room for improvement. Thanks to everyone who contributed questions and tune in again next month when I try again.


My set of questions will be in reference to your video game hobby.

Hobby, Obsession… Toe-may-toe, Toh-mah-toh.

Why do you stick with the PC instead of going with a console? Wouldn’t you have more time to play if you could play when you are on the road?

I prefer PC gaming over consoles for a combination of superiority and expediency. PC titles are generally far superior to console titles — especially when you look at a game that exists on both platforms side by side. Consoles simply cannot match high end PCs technically. This technical advantage allows games to be bigger and have more depth. Also, the mouse and keyboard control setup is far more versatile and well suited to the types of games I prefer. An argument might be made for game catalogs in favor of consoles but not playing on a console I rarely, if ever, miss out on a title I want.

Playing on a PC is also better for me because it means not spending money on the console. Given that I am going to have a computer for other applications, it may as well serve as many functions as possible — thus my computer is my gaming platform, stereo, and much more. This saves me the expense and space of the other electronics.

As for gaming on the road, my laptop is powerful enough to game with pretty well, and I keep my Treo 600 well stocked with amusements for the airport lines. Our last tour bus did have Playstations and we had access to Xboxes. I did play them — I can’t not game when it’s available but I was nowhere near being converted.

What is your favorite game of all time?

Arcade Donkey Kong and Pac Man are what really got me started on video games but the Mortal Kombat series would be the one I am really a sucker for to this day — particularly number two.

What game are you most looking forward to playing that isn’t released yet?

I am going to say World of Warcraft because the more I learn about it, the more I suspect it will the MMO that finally grabs and holds me for more than a month or two. Of course, I am also really looking forward to Doom 3 (especially the four person multiplayer limit — I think there is a lot more skill and challenge in smaller number deathmatches) and Half-Life 2. However, since I have a really good idea of what to expect from them and how they are going to impress me, it is World of Warcraft that has me more on the edge of my seat and dying to try it out.

Most people only get touch ups on their tattoos whenever the tattoos begin to look very faded or they have the time and resources to. Because your tattoo coverage is very extensive and is in the public eye so much, do you have a set schedule you get touched up on? Like a certain body part at this time, then another, and so on?

I haven’t really gotten to touch-ups. I am fortunate in that my work is holding up well enough that I haven’t really felt it necessary. Sure, some things could probably look a little better or we could go over scars I have acquired (such as from suspensions) but I want to finish the initial fill first — unless something gets really badly degraded.

Since I’m sure Mike Tidwell is the one doing those touchups, I have a question about him. It has taken me a very long time to find an artist I can really bond with enough to trust him with my artwork and my flesh. Especially since your work is so important to your image, your choice must have been even more difficult. What factors caused you to settle on Mike over others to be the one to tattoo The Lizardman?

In 2001 I decided to move to Austin, TX meaning that I would need a new tattoo artist (to that point I was tattooed by Mad Pup of Plattsburgh, NY) because I wouldn’t be traveling 2000+ miles for a session. My friend Allen Falkner offered the services of his shop, Obscurities, in Dallas. Mike was the artist there that stepped up to the task of doing countless hours of mind and hand numbing green fill. I knew Mike as the brother of another friend, Pat Tidwell — that along with working at Obscurities was good enough for me.

And that is basically how Mike Tidwell became my tattoo artist.

I have noticed a recent trend in the IAM community where those that are extensively modified are having more branding and scarification work done as a way of reaching toward less mainstream modes such as tattoos and piercings. I also noticed (unless I’ve missed it somewhere) that you have no branding or scarification work done. Are there any current plans for anything of this nature? If not, is it because that type of work doesn’t fit into your concept of The Lizardman?

I have experimented with cutting and branding. In 1995 I tried cutting designs into my calves but I did not scar very well. I have repeatedly branded the palm of my left hand with a small dot and purposely burned myself on various other parts of my body but with little in the way of permanent results. Ultimately, I did not find a way in which to incorporate these particular body modification techniques into my overall plans and thus I have not explored them further.

What would ten year old Erik think of the present day Erik?

I think ten year old Erik would find The Lizardman to be really interesting and probably collect all the information on him that he could. However, ten year old Erik would probably be somewhat guarded about his interest in public. Growing up, I had a tendency to be secretive about my real interests and motives.

During your transformation becoming the Lizardman have you ever gotten frustrated at points feeling as if it was taking you to long to capture the essence of the persona you have created now? If so how did you deal with it?

I have had moments where I have been struck by how much more impressive or better something might have been were I further along — my appearance on Ripley’s TV was one of these. Mainly, these are the sorts of moments that motivate me further, and rather than needing to be dealt with, they inspire me.

I know you have to love mods of all different kinds what are some modifications that you are really fascinated and interested in that you personally wouldn’t get?

There is nothing I can think of that I would absolutely say that I wouldn’t get gone. That said, I am really intrigued by trepanation but see very little likelihood that I will get it done. The same goes for hand and large limb amputation — fascinating but near nil chance that I would ever consider it for myself.

What or who has been the biggest inspiration for becoming the Lizardman?

My parents and the upbringing they gave me — by encouraging and fostering nearly complete creative freedom. But if you are looking for someone who inspired the transformation specifically (rather than the context of my upbringing that made it a viable option for me) then it would most likely be The Great Omi and the anonymous irezumi upon whom I first witnessed full body designs.

Do you think you would enjoy working in a traveling sideshow like in the old days where there were many different people involved showcasing totally different types of freaks or do you think you would prefer just doing your one man show more?

I have a good taste of both kinds of work (ensemble and solo) and I can say that I do enjoy them both. Solo work allows you far more control and freedom but also places the entire burden upon you. Group work allows you a lot more breathing room and much less pressure. Given my druthers, I would prefer to work my own show but with a cast of amazing guest performers.

Do you have a favorite style of music that you listen to before a show to get you pumped up and who’s your favorite bands currently?

Currently, I am still in big Slipknot and Chimaira phase coming off the last Jagermeister Tour with them. Before a show I don’t necessarily listen to any particular music but working a lot of rock shows means there is generally something loud and pounding helping me get pumped up beforehand. As much as that can be a help, I also sometimes like to get a quick quiet moment to pull together my mental notes as well — it just depends on the night and the show.

What has been the most rewarding thing about what you do for yourself?

Everything. Seriously.

If you had to choose any other profession besides what your doing now what would it be?

Writer — though that is a large part of what I do now, I wouldn’t mind it being more.

When you think of your future what are some goals you have yet to accomplish that you would like to see happen?

I think there is a lot more I can do in terms of the entertainment industry. I want to see myself with a regular show or role (stage or television) and continue pushing further into the mainstream — as a fixture rather than an occasional feature. I also want to finally finish and publish a number of book projects I have had cooking for some time. And I really want there to be a mass produced Lizardman action figure.

Big Lobed Freak
I know when I met you at the Jagermeister Tour I was a little curious about how to address you. Do you prefer Lizard Man or can we call you by your real name?

I don’t mind being addressed by my given name, but in public situations I often prefer Lizardman. The only time I get annoyed by use of my given name though is when it is obviously inappropriate (such as when I am trying to promote a Lizardman show) or when the person doing it does so only to try and portray themselves as a sort of insider to my life or special because they know it.

Are you more liberal or conservative?

Democrats suck, Republicans blow (or vice versa) — thank you, Lewis Black.

I don’t think either liberals or conservatives would be happy with me claiming to be in their respective camps. My views are issue dependent and there is no clear majority for either side of the fence. If you were to try and hypothesize my politics (since I don’t often come out and simply state them) this would be a good place to start reading.


Have you ever considered taking on an apprentice? MTV could make a reality TV show, called Freak Show Apprentice (or something) about people trying to become your apprentice!! Watch out Donald Trump, the Lizardman is here to kick your ass. Hmmm… I’d pay just to see that. nothing against don, it’d just be neat to see you fight.

Hmm… I think I would rather box Trump than do such a show. As an alternative, a show I would like to do is one where I travel around doing my thing and have special guests that I employ or teach to do stunts and acts as part of whatever is going that episode.

In the unlikely event that I ever come face to face with you, can we spar?

I’ll give that a conditional yes — provided that where and when we meet is appropriate.

Erik Sprague

because the world NEEDS freaks…

Former doctoral candidate and philosophy degree holder Erik Sprague, the Lizardman (iam), is known around the world for his amazing transformation from man to lizard as well as his modern sideshow performance art. Need I say more?

Copyright © 2004 LLC. Requests to republish must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published August 4th, 2004 by LLC in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>