Danger Slater is the stand up comic of the Bizarro Fiction scene. He has googly eyes, a big heart, and a mind that is teeming with dark and forbidden secrets. He is the first official poet/clown of literature. His new book I Will Rot Without You is available through Fungasm Press. The book is a surrealistic horror ride through the most dangerous landscapes known to existence: Love and New Jersey.
LEZA CANTORAL for CLASH: To rot or not to rot?
DANGER SLATER: To rot. Always to rot. Everything alive rots. Plastic doesn’t, and I’d rather be sad or angry every day of my life than to never feel anything at all. Of course, I’d rather be happy than be sad. That should go without saying. Life is a gamble, ya know. And your body is the ante. I’d rather rot and play the game. Especially since we’re all gonna die one day, regardless.
CLASH: Your book is dripping with vivid imagery of mega-fungal rot and destruction, and I have to ask, did you do a lot of drugs growing up?
SLATER: Haha. No. Well maybe the teeniest *tiniest* little bit when I was in my late-teens/early-20s, but I never really liked drugs. Not even weed. I’ve always been a bit high-strung, and doing anything that affected my mental state seemed to exacerbate that. If anything, drugs just wedged open the doors I wished I knew how to close in the first place. Shit, the only things I can do is have a few drinks or swallow a Xanax or two when I really shift into panic mode. It’s how I turn it off.
CLASH: I Will Rot Without You seems heavily inspired by New Jersey. Was it really horrible living there?
SLATER: No way. Jersey rules. Where I grew up and who I grew up with is such a big part of my identity. If I were to say NJ was horrible, it’d be like saying that I myself was horrible. People who aren’t from there won’t get it. Coming from the most densely populated and diverse place in the country, there’s a mixture of pride, cynicism and self-reliance that permeates pretty much every social interaction. It makes you strong. And strength makes you cold. And coldness brings clarity. And clarity brings more strength. Maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic here. New Jersey is not some kind of alien planet, despite how I paint it in my books. It feels more to me like Earth than anywhere else I’ve been.
CLASH: Is your next book going to be about how much Portland sucks?
SLATER: Hahaha. Portland rules too. It’s a totally different world than the north Jersey area. In a lot of ways it’s better. In a few ways it’s frustratingly different, which is not so much to town’s fault as it is mine for being the type of person I am living in it. People are so friendly here, and forthcoming, and courteous…almost to a weird, passive-aggressive degree. I’m still adjusting to that. But I’m having fun for the most part. This city is full of artists and it’s nice to be in a place that seems so welcoming to the type of weirdo-art I create. I’m very happy here.
CLASH: Some say romance is dead. How does Danger bring the romance?
SLATER: I don’t. I dig through romance’s rotting corpse to try and find beauty in the slop and the stench.
CLASH: What are some of your favorite things?
SLATER: I like watching movies and reading books. I like seltzer water. I like performing. I like writing books and getting lost in my own head. I like driving. I like visiting new places. I like pretty girls. I like sushi and Chinese take-out. I like to laugh. I like the feeling of clean sheets against my bare legs after a long and tiring day. I like the sun, but not the heat.
CLASH: What is love?
SLATER: I wish I knew. I think the pursuit of these kinds of complicated and ethereal questions is really where being a human blossoms from. Anyone who has a snappy answer when asked ‘what is love?’ obviously hasn’t really heard the question. It’s something to meditate on. “What is love?” Who the fuck knows? But we’re trying. We’re trying.
CLASH: What is a ‘Fungasm’?
SLATER: A ‘Fungasm’ is that feeling you get when good art tickles your brain in a way that you can feel it crawling up and down your back. It’s born of the cosmic, cathartic laughter that only comes after you’ve gone through something transcendent and come out alive on the other side. It’s what I strive to do when I write. It is also the name of the awesome press that published my book.
CLASH: Who is Danger Slater?
SLATER: I’m just a dude who is doing his best to entertain himself during the rainy days. I’m 70% a real person.
CLASH: What is next for Danger Slater?
SLATER: I have another novel coming out, hopefully this year. April 1st-3rd I’ll be in LA at the Days of the Dead convention, selling books and meeting new readers. If you’re in the Portland area, I’ve performed at the very least once a month since I moved here, so hopefully that trend’ll continue throughout the rest of 2016. I’m breaking ground on another new novel too, though lately I’ve found myself thinking more and more about screenwriting. I’m doing whatever the fuck I want. I’m keeping busy.