From self-isolation to your ears, group unveils new album 'Mad Season'

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Despite being locked down in quarantine, Metro Detroit rap duo Twiztid has a surprise for its fans: A brand-new album. 

"Mad Season," the group's 15th studio set, arrived Monday without warning. The group had planned to release it at its 8th annual 4/20 concert at the Crofoot in Pontiac, but with the concert industry on hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the group revealed its arrival digitally with a tweeted announcement just after midnight Sunday.  

Twiztid's Jamie Spaniolo, who performs as Jamie Madrox, says he's been hesitant to release a surprise project in the past, in part because Twiztid's albums usually involve storylines, themes and complex marketing campaigns. That said, "if you're ever going to do it," he says, "now is the time." 

His partner-in-rhyme, Paul "Monoxide" Methric, says the new album provides a needed distraction for the group's fans. 

"It gives everybody a reason to talk about something other than the President or coronavirus or whatever it may be," he says. "It's entertainment. It's fun."

"Mad Season" is the follow-up to last year's "Generation Nightmare," and Madrox likens it to a "quarantine playlist." Several songs, he says, allude to the present situations, even though the record was completed, for the most part, before the pandemic began.  

The duo filmed a music video for the album's first single, "Off With They Heads," separately, on their phones, from the confines of self-isolation. 

"It's literally stripped of everything that we're used to, but we did it," says Madrox. 

The two rappers have been quarantined with their families for more than a month; they last saw each other in mid-March "right when things started getting weird," Madrox says. They remain in constant contact via their phones, not so much about Twiztid business, but about the latest collectibles, movie trailers and the stuff they have in common as friends. 

One employee at the group's Livonia headquarters has been able to fulfill online orders from the group's web store, which is how the new album is available until its digital release on streaming platforms on Friday. 

"Mad Season" was the first of three albums Twiztid had planned to release in 2020, and the group's manager is optimistic they'll still be able to stick to that schedule. 

"If we're still in some sort of lockdown or some sort of limited capacity at our office, Jamie and Paul can come in and record safely on separate days, and we'll get these projects done," says George Vlahakis, Twiztid's manager. 

Twiztid is also looking ahead to next February when the group plans to hold its 4th annual Astronomicon convention, its celebration of horror, hip-hop and pro wrestling culture. Of course, that's all dependent on the state of the world by then, but Twiztid is holding dates — Feb. 12th-14th, 2021, at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Sterling Heights — and hoping for the best. 

"Everybody's safety is first and foremost, so we're not making any sort of presumptions," says Madrox, who saw February's Astronomicon draw around 4,000 attendees.

"But we are still keeping our engagements open and we're telling people, if and when, your chair is ready." 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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