Donny Polinske, also known as DRP, has a busy career in the music business. For almost 20 years, he has been in bands like SORE and the lead singer of PRIMER 55 (2009-2012). In 2007 he released a solo CD Underground Kills Corporate with the follow-up CD The King of Ruckus Rap in 2011. Polinske has toured and played with bands like Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs N Harmony, Saint Dog and DGAF, to name a few. Polinske is the president of his company, Force 5 Records.
Now he has released a new video/single entitle “HeroWin”. A song about demons and addiction. As he puts it, “After suffering through my own hell and beating my demons and addiction, I decided to write a song about the terror that it is, but also that we can achieve great things and do right by our friends and family.”
Digital Beat Magazine: Thank you for taking the time, out of your busy schedule to do this interview. I would like to get some of the obvious questions out of the way, if I may. First, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? What does DRP stand for and how did that come about?
DRP: My name is Donny, but I go by the stage name The DRP which is just my initials. When I first started out I went by the name Doc P or Dr. P. I felt it was kind of cheeseball-ish so I just changed it to The DRP. I have been involved in music for almost 20 years, playing in the rap-metal band SORE, then as the lead singer of Primer 55 from 2009-2012. In between all of that I also do hip hop as a solo artist. I am set to join a very legendary Thrash metal group soon and begin working on an album with them as well.
DBM: Who were some of your musical influences growing up and how did they affect you? Did these influences help broaden your taste or style in music?
DRP: Neil Young was my first. My Mom used to play his records all of the time, and I couldn’t get enough of him and his music. Then my Grandfather bought me a few Kiss records at the “junk stores’ as we called them when I was 5. When I got to grade school I fell in love with Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer. When I got to high school I heard the first Cypress Hill record and I knew I wanted to do all of this music.
DBM: It has been said that your style of music has been called “Ruckus Rap”, how did that come about?
DRP: Back in the SORE days, the 5 of us were pretty crazy. Lots of drinking and partying. We did an in-studio with the program director at Rock 102.1FM here in Milwaukee. A caller called in and sounded like he said, “linkus”. We were like, “what?” so our drummer Tony yelled Ruckus back. Then we all started yelling RUCKUS and it became our battle cry. The crowds would yell it back to us and it became synonymous with everything I did. My music is a blend of high-energy rock, punk, rap, metal, hip hop, and even country elements so I decided to call it Ruckus Rap and it stuck.
DBM: I would like to congratulate you on the single/video, “HeroWin”. In a press release, it is mentioned that “HeroWin” is your most personal song to date. What made you decide to write/produce something like this?
DRP: I was doing month long tours with Primer 55 and then immediately heading out to tour with my solo work with guys like Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Bizzy Bone, Potluck, DGAF Saint Dog (Kottonmouth Kings) and more. The crazy schedules and wear and tear on my body started to affect me and I made the dumb mistake of starting to take coke and pills. I graduated to heroin after a while and it destroyed my career. After a long battle of rehab and getting clean, I decided I wanted to write a reflection song about my experiences. Not only the bad stuff but also rising again from those ashes and rebuilding myself.
DBM: How long did it take to write?
DRP: All told the song took a year to create. I had the basic riffs down, but between my studio guy (and writing partner), Kyle Krukowski, and getting my DJ, DJ Shemp into layer things, then getting a second (much better guitarist than me) Timmy Capitonoff to play the lead parts. I finally had my song and vision.
DBM: What do you want people to take away from the song?
DRP: Drugs can destroy anyone and everyone. And it’s not just low-life people that take them. It doesn’t discriminate. But we can all rise and get away from it, and become the hero in our own stories. You just have to fight.
DBM: Where was the video filmed? Who came up the concept and directed “HeroWin” video?
DRP: The video was primarily filmed on the train tracks near my house in Cudahy, WI. Some of the scenes were also filmed in a convenience store by the studio I work out of in West Allis, WI and the home scenes were actually in my house. My friend and labelmate, MARS, who is an amazing artist from the Bay Area and a legend in the horrorcore music scene actually directed the video and helped me create the vision I had for it.
DBM: How long did it take to do the video?
DRP: It only took two days to film the scenes.
DBM: This question I am curious to get a different perspective on, if I may. As the label President of Force 5 Records, what or where do you see the music industry heading? I know this question, we can probably spend a whole day on but what changes you see in the industry? Can you share what the next genre maybe?
DRP: Things have changed so much over the time I have been running the label. When I first started this in 2002, it was all about marketing in your scene first and building a following. Try and get [the] radio to pick up your songs. Then it changed to getting a lot of videos made up when Youtube came around. Now it’s all about online presence first. Touring and playing shows isn’t as important to build your name. You just have to go viral. Even if it has nothing to do with your music. Name recognition, then make music. It’s crazy. But I see an eventual backlash to this way of working your music. People will want authentic musicians again, who suffer for their art. Not just trending bullshit. At least that’s my hope. Either way, make 5 videos for each album and release digital singles in between to keep the public eye on you. You can’t disappear for two years and then come back the same. People have a shorter attention span these days.
DBM: If you don’t mind, I would like to change gear for a moment. I would like to ask you a few off the wall questions. What profession other than your own, would you like to attempt?
DRP: Probably an accountant. I love crunching numbers. Haha!
DBM: What profession would you not like to do?
DRP: Be a teacher in high school. My hats off to those with the patience for that. I respect and love all teachers. But I don’t know how they do it. They should be paid more for it.
DBM: What are your future plans?
DRP: To continue to make music. Grow my label, Force 5 Records, find new talent, keep expanding my t-shirt company, Force 5 Screen, watch my kids continue to grow and flourish, enjoy my time with my parents, and live for every minute and not waste another day of my life on stupidity.
DBM: Is there anything else you would say that I didn’t cover in this interview?
DRP: RUCKUS, RUCKUS, RUCKUS!
DBM: I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Good luck with the single and hope to catch you on the road.