STRIFE Guitarist Andrew Kline talks about 20th Anniversary of “In This Defiance”.

The iconic Los Angeles hardcore band STRIFE is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their landmark second LP “In This Defiance”. To commemorate the release the band has put together an extremely limited vinyl release and to find out more about the album Media Mikes spoke with STRIFE guitarist Andrew Kline.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the limited LP package you have coming out commemorating “In This Defiance”?

Andrew Kline: I wanted to do something special for the 20th anniversary of In This Defiance. We teamed up with WAR Records to produce a bubble gum pink colored record that comes in a hand numbered and hand silkscreened cover. There were only 100 made and were sold with a limited edition long sleeve.

AL: What was it like for you looking back and revisiting the album?

AK: “In This Defiance” is my favorite Strife album and we still play a lot of the songs live. It’s a record that I feel doesn’t seem outdated and still fits in with what’s going on within the current hardcore scene.

AL: How do you feel the album relates to the world we are living in now in 2017?

AK: Lyrically, In This Defiance is a pretty personal record. The songs “Grey” and “Blistered” still resonate with me as those songs really relate to the world now.
“Blistered by a raging sun’s flames
Mankind sealed its fate in its haste
Warning signs sent time after time
We just sit back in all this waste”

AL: There seems to be sort of a resurgence of hardcore bands from that late 80’/90’s starting to happen what do you feel has sparked that?

AK: I think that every few years there are a new crop of hardcore kids. They get involved with the scene and they start looking back and getting into bands from different time periods. I think this really created the demand. We’ve definitely seen more than a few bands reunite over the past few years, and I am ok with that.

AL: Are there plans to do some shows where you perform the album in its entirety?

AK: We are hoping to do some shows to support the anniversary of “In This Defiance” at some point before the end of the year. Fans can check out http://strifelahc.comto keep up to date with what is going on.

When It Was Time To Party, We Partied Hard – An Interview With Andrew W.K.

I have been listening to Andrew W.K.’s music since “I Get Wet” was released in 2001. The music has such a positive vibe and energy to it, that I would almost call it “addictive”. Much of the time, people attribute negative connotation to addiction, but I feel in the case of Andrew WK, can you really be faulted by forming a habit for music and messages that bring you up from the darkest places and make you feel alive? Notoriously fan friendly, motivational and a seemingly endless fountain of “life”, Andrew W.K. is someone that I have long waited to meet, and I finally got my chance before his full band performance at the State Theater in St. Petersburg, FL, on January 29th.

Eric Schmitt – When did you decide that your music should take a positive approach in the hard rock and metal genres?
Andrew WK – It’s a great question. Even more so than lyrically or ideologically, the big question for me early on was whether to use major or minor keys. I like all types of music, both major and minor chords, but I was always, in terms of energy, really driven by  chromatic minor music. Like traditional heavy metal, especially very brutal heavy metal. It was very aggressive and I always drew great energy from it’s power. I wanted to do that, but I never felt I could do it as well as the masters. I had this strong feeling, like a pinpoint where I could use this major key, but I didn’t know if people would like it. I had these doubts that it somehow wouldn’t work, or the metal community wouldn’t like it. I remember very clearly coming back from this family trip, where I decided “okay, I’m just going to do it. I’m going to make this music that’s in my head.” I could hear how it sounded, and I just had to believe that I could do it. And it all formed from that, the major key is a cheerful sound, and everything just formed from that cheerful sound.

ES – How have you seen some of the positivity of your music manifest in your fan base and other external areas?
AWK – I never initially thought it would be a positive thing. Music itself makes you feel good. Music of all sorts, even if it’s a sad song, angry song; I don’t think anyone would listen to music to feel physically worse. It has a good feeling – it’s magical really. I feel that any music you put out there has the ability to generate that feeling in people. Certainly, when you can add to that already positive feeling in music, a positive message, or specifically focus on getting motivated and powered up, feeling good about life, then it gets amplified by a billion times! You fuse these two things, cheerful music and positive mindset, and it goes through the roof. So I was really excited and very influenced by people reacting to the music I was putting out early on – finding positivity in it. So I said, “okay, I’m going to commit to this”. A lot of the lyrics aren’t positive in a blatant way, they’re kind of all over the place, so it was really people finding that in it. I definitely wanted to be cheered up myself, so when I saw it was working for other people, it sort of became a team effort. We were using this music and a Party mind-set as a centerpiece to build around.

ES – Describe your mentality when writing music – specifically when piecing together the Wolf, which ventured into more serious territory than “I Get Wet”. For instance, “Never Let Down” is a significantly different song than anything that was on “I Get Wet”.
AWK – Well, there wasn’t a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it. A lot of the songs on the second album, “The Wolf”, were actually written at the same time as the “I Get Wet” songs. Some of them before. I guess I just chose to make the first album, like it will be these types of songs. Then the second album I would open it up to more tempos. But also, I think the first album started this party, then the second album was almost like singing about how that felt. Again, I didn’t intend for it to be that way. A lot of the lyrics and feelings that I got across on the second album were my amazement that any of this was happening, and recognizing it and trying to amplify it. It was “here’s the party starting“, and then “this is what it feels like”.

ES – What factored into you writing the “Party Bible”?
AWK – Being asked, probably first and foremost. Writing a book wasn’t something I planned on, at least right now. But, I had some people that were very supportive. Initially, my book agent, Simon, he said I should make a book. I’ve done writing throughout my work, advice columns and posting stuff, you know? I always liked writing, but a book was a huge undertaking. I, of course, was intimated by the challenges that it implied, but having someone there that believed I could do it was nice. Then several years later, Simon & Schuster actually came through with a book offer. So I started writing it (the Party Bible) and it’s not really an autobiography, more about partying and the stuff we’re talking about now. Hopefully it’ll be done soon, I’ve been writing it for a couple of years. It was definitely harder than I thought it would be.

ES – Do you think we’ll see an “I Get Read” book tour when the “Party Bible” is released?
AWK – (Laughs) That’s a great title for a book tour! Of course, I want to do a book tour and you know, not just do book appearances, but party lectures like I’ve done before, and play some shows. I love touring, so any reason to tour is great. Having the book, of course would be a whole new version of a tour experience.


I had never seen Andrew perform live, and having his full band on hand before trekking down to Miami for ShipRocked 2015 was certainly an added bonus. I’ve always envisioned Andrew WK as the “party guy,” but the interview gave me a glimpse into the intellectual away from the stage. I don’t know if I was still hung up on that aspect, but when the band blasted into “It’s Time to Party,” the State Theater crowd erupted and I was swept up in a tidal wave of emotion and sweaty metal heads. It was the most intense level of fan interaction I have ever seen at a live performance!

Song after song, bodies would fly from every corner of the stage, some being caught by partying revelers, the others falling to the sticky alcohol mess of the floor. But there was no strife, no anger, no machismo – the entire crowd was united under the “Party Banner”. I had never seen anything like it, and I stood my ground 6 feet from the stage so that I could absorb the energy in all its glory.

Sporting 4 guitarists (!), a bassist, drummer and Andrew on keys and vocals, the band was almost militant in it’s musical assault on the crowd. The performance was an unrelenting barrage of good feeling, and the crowd was more than eager to reciprocate. Constantly singing along, invading the stage to dance with band members and raining down applause after each tune! ANYONE that walked into that performance mid-set would have been swept off their feet by the energy – it was that strong! After playing the majority of the “I Get Wet” and “The Wolf” albums, AWK closed the show with the title track from the first album and “Don’t Stop Living In the Red”. It was towards the latter song that my wife, who has never really been a fan of Andrew’s music, was converted. The look in her eyes said it all – She had indeed, Partied Hard!

Andrew W.K. talks about partying hard with his "Human Party Machine Solo Tour"

Andrew W.K. is a musician that found fame with his party rock album “I Get Wet”. Since then he has been rocking and partying hard.  His music really take you to a new place of excitement and gets you out of your chair your fit pumping.  He recently announced his new “Human Party Machine Solo Tour” this year.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Andrew about the intimate tour, his music and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your upcoming “Human Party Machine Solo Tour”?
Andrew W.K. : This is going to be a different kind of tour, since it is solo. I did a world tour last year with my band. Nothing is more fun than playing with my full band. I still like doing different kind of shows where there is a more intense intimacy that comes from it with me being on the stage with my keyboard. That is what this tour is about. I have done a lot of solo tours all my career since I feel like when I am up on stage, just me, I feel like it makes me a better performer. I have to draw upon different skills and strength that I have. It is still trying to get to that same place of excitement and energy. Anyway, I have never done a full solo tour around the entire United States.

MG: What are you looking forward to most within the intimate club setting?
AWK: The idea what to pick very small venues almost like bars. So it is really more like a party atmosphere than a concert. It would include places that we wouldn’t normally play and really get that intense and extremely memorable atmosphere and whoever comes to the party. I feel that with these solo shows that the audience, the people that chose to be there, they become my band on nights like this. We are singing together. It is like hanging out with your friends dancing and enjoying music that makes you happy.

MG: How has partying changed for you since you started doing this?
AWK: I try to just get better and better at it. Whenever you meet new people during travels or adventures, life makes you are more powerful person in general. Sort of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Sort of what doesn’t kill you makes you able to party harder. So I just learned from so many people and experiences how to continue to make life as exciting and fun for me.

MG: Whenever I hear any track from “I Get Wet”, specifically “Party Hard”, I can’t help but get pumped and ready to kick some ass.
AWK: The music is a great and powerful way to get to a good feeling. A feeling of energy and strength. You have to give yourself credit to because you allowed yourself to find that feeling. People will listen to our music and say its “too loud”. So I am always thankful for people that find good feeling that I am putting out there.

MG: What is the track for that that drives you crazy?
AWK: Really it would be all of the songs. That is why we recorded and released them. If they didn’t get to that place of energy then we would have done it. This particular style of music is dedicated to getting you amped up and super pumped. If the song doesn’t do that for me or the people working on it, then we probably won’t be recording it in the first place. In a way they are all like one song. This one feeling of excitement. If it works to get that then I know the song is working.

MG: Being a fan of “Gundam”, how did you end up working on your album “Gundam Rock”?
AWK: First of all I appreciate you being aware of that album. “Gundam” is popular around the world but a little more obscure here. It is just great music for starters. The “Gundam” corporation, Sunrise, the company in Japan heard another “Gundam” song I had done and invited me to record this rock album to celebrate the 30th anniversary. It was such a huge privilege and when you have an opportunity like that you don’t even question it. The music is just so good. They are really incredible songs and they definitely made a better musician learning them and playing them for that album.

MG: Having done a few albums specifically for Japan; can you reflect on your worldwide fan base?
AWK: I am very thankful and grateful everyday. I do not think that anyone is more blown away or surprised that any of this has happened but me…or maybe my parents. It is a priveldge and you always want to make the most of an opportunity. I feel so lucky to have them. I just want to keep working harder and partying harder. I also always want to give thanks since there are a lot of other people besides me that are making this happen. Like you Mike, your belief in it, your enjoyment of it and your support over all these years. It is always a group effort to keep it going. It is always very encouraging and humbling at the same time.

MG: On the other side of Andrew W.K.; tell us about your love for “My Little Pony” and being a brony?
AWK: Of absolutely, I am a fan. I have know about “My Little Pony” for years. Since “Friendship is Magic” series came out, it has been a really interesting phenomenon. So many people that I was meeting was telling me about it. Then I got invited to the Canterlot Gardens convention in Ohio, that is what really took it over the top for me. I just like anything where people get really passionate and has that good positive vibe. It is hard to resist that type of feeling.

MG: Also tell us about how you became the official spokesperson for Fresh + Sexy Wipes by Playtex?
AWK: Again, since I moved to New York about 15 years ago, I had this particular mind set, no matter how unusual something seemed or challenging or weird. I had this mindset that I would just say “Yes” to things in my life. I figured my destiny was bringing me in touch with these things and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do it if I wasn’t meant to. You just follow that kind of instinct, so you are in the right place and the right time in order to do something. So the Playtex people came to be and asked me if I would be interesting in promoting this project. I just thought it was so wild and I couldn’t believe they would want me to do it. So of course because of that I said yes. I also like working on team projects where there are a lot of input and everyone working on their highest level because I feel that I a learn a lot. I want to work as hard as I can at all times and do as much as I can because firstly, it entertains me. I have to keep myself interested in what I am doing and I had never done anything like this before. I learned a lot. It is also a great product. Like for someone that doesn’t get a lot of time to shower or bath as much due to traveling, rocking out and partying, this was a product that I could actually relate to. So I am happy that they took a risk with me.

MG: When can we expect a new album from you?
AWK: Yes and thanks very much for asking about that. I have been working on two albums for several years. It is all about getting that 2-3 months of complete open time to focus on it. That has been very hard to get. I have been working on the songs and the lyrics in whatever what I can. I would think that hopefully this coming winter, I will have that block of time to finally finish it. I really want this new album to be the best thing that I have ever made. I have to figure with my destiny, when the time is right it will happen. I don’t want to rush it. We have a really big and exciting year though. We have a lot of touring and doing a lot of new things. So that is all very exciting! So I look forward to seeing you at the shows and stay tuned!

Blu-ray Review “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies”

Starring: Ben Lewis, Anna O’Byrne
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Running Time: 121 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “The Phantom of the Opera” it is a hard act to follow. So pretty much it doesn’t matter how good “Love Never Dies” is, it will be hard to compare to its predecessor. Luckily, it doesn’t disappoint and still captures some of the charm. I really enjoyed the show’s music and it’s production scale was out of this world. The sets on this show spared no expense and looks beautiful…even on Blu-ray, you still feel like you are there. If you are fan of “The Phantom of the Opera” and expect the same kind of magic, you might be disappointed. But if you are open-minded and looking for a stunning wonderful journey revisiting the wonderful story, you will enjoy this quite a bit.

“Love Never Dies” takes place in the year is 1907, 10 years after the Phantom’s disappearance from the Paris Opera House. He has started new in New York, where he setup show living in Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. The Phantom still yearns for his love, Christine. When she travels to New York and perform at a renowned opera house the Phantom lures Christine in a final attempt to win her love.

If you have ever been a Broadway film, there is nothing like seeing a live production. Of course luckily Blu-ray is the closest way to experience this. With shows like “Love Never Dies”, it is presented in beautiful 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Since this is a musical, the audio presentation is very important and sounds amazing with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The special features on this release are lacking with only one behind the scenes feature “The Making of Love Never Dies”, running just shy of 15 minutes. It features not only cast and crew but also Andrew Lloyd Webber focusing on the musical’s extensive production.

Interview with Andrew Okpeaha MacLean

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean is the Writer/Director of Alaskan thriller “On the Ice”.  The film is a thriller set 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Barrow, Alaska.  It is based off a short firm titled “Sikumi”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Andrew about this new film and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: “On the Ice” is based off a short film, “Sikumi”, tell us about that?
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean: “Sikumi” translates to “On the Ice” in the Inuvik language. That came out in 2008 and it did very well at several festivals. We actually won the Jury prize for a short film at Sundance that year. That gave me the opportunity to start thinking about making a feature. Both films deal with a killing and the immediate aftermath. The short is actually a period piece set in late 50’s early 60’s. The feature is contemporary and the characters are teenagers as opposed to the short where the characters are adults. The short came from a few different inspirations. I took the characters from another script I was writing based on an event from my grandfathers life. One of the characters is directly based on my grandfather. The script didn’t end up going so well so I took the characters and put them in a different situation. I had always wanted to write a western but based in Alaska. There is something about the landscape there that is appealing. It is very vast and monochromatic.

MG: What made you choose to film 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Barrow, Alaska?
AOM: I am originally from Alaska and I grew up there. Barrow is my home town and I am related to I think half the people who live there. (Laughs) It feels that way at least. I knew the place before I knew the film. The place inspired the film.

MG: Since it was your first feature directing, what were your biggest challenges?
AOM: There were a lot of challenges. I think the most common problem with independent films is money. This was no exception. Where we shot is a hard place to shoot logistically. Getting the cast and crew out on the frozen ocean was tough. There are no roads out there so the only way to get everything out there was to pull it on sleds. The sleds were always breaking down because we were using them so much. One of the cast members happened to also be a mechanic so he sort of became our onset mechanic.

MG: Tell us about your casting process for the film?
AOM: It is all pretty much first time actors. There is not a lot of opportunity to get involved in acting up in the Arctic. I sort of knew going in that we would be finding people who hadn’t acted before. There are just no trained Inuvik actors of the age group we needed that were capable of understanding the characters. I wanted to cast people who were from the culture they were portraying. I also wanted them to be close enough to the lives of characters so that they could understand them very deeply and intimately. We took a big casting trip all over Alaska looking for people. We talked to thousands of people to try and get a sense of if they would be good on camera. We managed to narrow it down to 15 or 20 people who we thought had some real possibilities. We had them go through a week long intensive audition/acting workshop in Anchorage. Out of that we came away with our cast. This was all done prior to receiving any funding for the project. We had to know ahead of time that we had people who could pull this project off.

MG: When can people expect to see the film?
AOM: It opens Feb. 17th in New York and in several cities in Alaska. Over the next few weeks it will be traveling around visiting other cities. If people go to www.ontheicemovie.com they can see the full release schedule for the film.

MG: What do you have planned next?
AOM: I have a bunch of projects that I am attached to that are in various stages. I also am writing scripts as well. I don’t know what the next project will be to get green lit but I am excited to find out.