BODY COUNT (1989–PRESENT). Ice-T (vocals), Ernie C (guitar), D-Roc (guitar), Mooseman (bass), Beatmaster V (drums).
Body Count is a metal/punk hybrid band led by rapper/actor Ice-T, who decided to emulate the punk rock and metal he found himself increasingly drawn to during the late eighties and early nineties. The band features Ernie C on guitar, Mooseman on bass, and Ice-T on vocals. From the beginning the band was surprisingly good with sometimes ridiculous and over-the-top lyrics, such as “KKK Bitch” and “Body Count” that featured Ice-T’s humorously twisted view on race relations.
The band would become infamous in 1992 for the song “Cop Killer” that polarized politicians across the country. Sample lyrics include “Cop Killer/Better you than me, Cop Killer,” “Fuck police brutality,” and a final chant of “Fuck the police!”). This aroused the ire of police organizations and provoked denouncements by various politicians across the country. Although Ice-T defended the song as a response to police harassment of the African-American community, record company Time Warner eventually grew nervous and reacted to the controversy by re-releasing the album without the offending track, instead including a spoken word piece by Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys abut free speech.
The band was inactive for many years as Ice-T spent his time releasing sporadic rap albums and acting, most notably on the television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where, ironically, he plays a cop. In recent years the band was re-formed by surviving members Ice-T and guitarist Ernie C, along with new members Bendrix on rhythm guitar, Vincent Price on bass, and TO on drums. Although Body Count was not the most popular metal band of their time, their style of punk/metal crossover was a major label alternative to the relatively safe rock and roll of the time, and despite the controversy of “Cop Killer,” the band will also be remembered for their dynamic live shows.
Discography: Body Count (Sire, 1992); Born Dead (Virgin, 1994); Violent Demise: Last Days (Virgin, 1997); Live in L.A. (New Media Studio, 2005); Murder for Hire (Escape Music, 2006).