Murrugan the Mystic

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“I heard that Lemmy has a sword collection,” says self-described “freak-show” performer Scott Nelson, aka Murrugun the Mystic, who appeared with the Motörhead frontman in a locally shot “clown Western” called Crackwood, narrated by Gilbert Gottfried and costarring Ron Jeremy.

“So, Lemmy’s at the Belly Up, at the wrap party for this indie film, and I brought a sword backstage and said, ‘Did you ever see anybody swallow one?’ Someone was there with a camera to capture the look on his face as I did it. I think I scared him a bit. Not many people have scared Lemmy.”

Crackwood features Nelson blowing fire, sticking his hand into a raccoon trap, and falling into a bear trap. “It was an actual functioning trap that I found on the property. It wasn’t rigged. We didn’t loosen the springs or anything...we did it three times, and the third one really hurt.”

Having been inspired as a teen by Gene Simmons blowing flames onstage with Kiss, the 47-year-old has opened for bands such as Stone Temple Pilots and Jane’s Addiction, as well as traveled with Ozzfest and other music-fest tours. One of his signature concert bits (“They’re demonstrations and stunts, not tricks”) involves a piece of hardware he invented and built himself, the rocket-propelled sword. “The rocket motor inside the hilt drives 26 inches of sword down into my throat. I have to actually stop the blade with my teeth, so it doesn’t perforate my stomach.”

Based in Normal Heights, Nelson says not all rock-and-roll audiences embrace his act. “When I do things like drive a spike through my arm, I’ve had people pass out on me.... I’ve seen them puke, run away, and go totally apeshit. I went on before the Farmers at the Casbah one night, and there were older folks and family members there who were not expecting to see what they saw. I even had Chris [Sullivan, Farmers bassist] beat on me with a bat and a scimitar blade.”

The 2013 AMC TV series FreakShow features the local performance artist swallowing rocket-propelled swords, spitting fire, etc.

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