LAS VEGAS - When pop culture illusionist Criss Angel set a record by hanging for five hours and forty-two minutes with eight shark hooks pierced through the skin of his back, Matt Zane and others in the suspension community were less than thrilled.
“I love the guy as an illusionist and a magician,” explains Zane, "but Criss Angel doesn’t have any respect within the suspension community because he ripped off a stunt from Joey Strange. Strange was the first guy to do a helicopter suspension, he conceived the stunt and when Criss Angel did it, he didn’t give Joey credit. He used the same piercing group — CORE — as well as the same helicopter and helicopter pilot.”
In 2002, Zane performed his first suspension, shot for a music video for his band, Society 1. He then went on perform live with Society 1 while suspended. And in Europe, he performed while suspended in front of crowds of over 40,000. During those suspensions, Zane used six hooks pierced through his back. For the past couple of years, he has been suspended using only four. And tomorrow, he will attempt to hang at the Pleasure Productions booth at AEE for six hours using only four hooks. Previously, Zane’s longest suspension was for one hour, using six hooks.
“I feel alright,” Zane says while at the Pleasure booth, in between signing autographs for fans. “I think I had food poisoning when I first got here. I felt like crap until yesterday. When I went to the local gym I had the shakes. But today I’m drinking a lot of fluids and I’m trying to eat three to four solid meals. You can’t put all of this shit together and not do it, no matter how bad I feel. I’m going up there no matter what – if I’m puking, shitting, whatever.”
To prepare, Zane relies on yoga, mediation and sexual abstinence. “When I get up tomorrow, I’ll meditate and eat a lot of slow burning carbs like oatmeal. I’ll get here at 11, get marked for the hooks, stretch and then go for it.”
The suspension begins at noon, and a digital clock is already set at the Pleasure booth for a six-hour countdown.
“I don’t know how to explain the agony and the pain,” Zane continues. “It’s a sensation most people won’t experience in their lives. It has many different levels and the psychological aspect of it is sometimes harder than the physical. It takes a unique individual to perceive pain as just another sensation. I’m that guy.”