Michael Madsen talks about “The Hateful Eight” and the possibility of a “Vega Brothers” movie

Michael Madsen is the rare actor who can give the “bad guy” enough of a heart that moviegoers often root for him instead of the hero. In films like “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Getaway” and “Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2,” Madsen is the bad ass that the audience loves. Not that he’s always bad. He’s shown a softer side in many films, among them “Free Willy” and “Wyatt Earp.”

I spoke with Mr. Madsen about, among other things, his seemingly busy schedule, his dislike of the Internet Movie Database, the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film “The Hateful Eight” and whether or not a “Vega Brothers” film is still a possibility.

Mike Smith: I see you’re slated to play Vegas gambling mogul Ted Binion in an upcoming film. How did that come about?
Michael Madsen: The film is going to be produced by Robert Evans and directed by his son, Josh. Ted was part of the family that owned the Binion Casinos. He wound up getting hooked on drugs and ended up with a dancer and….well, they went a little crazy. He would go out and bury silver in the desert. The film is based on the book “Death in the Desert” and we shot it earlier this year in Las Vegas.

MS: You always seem to play the tough guy. Even in an early film, like “The Natural.” Your character, Bump, was a hard ass. Do you ever just want to do an out and out comedy?
MM: I’ve done a little bit. I did “My Bosses Daugher” with Ashton Kutcher…that was pretty funny. And I did a picture called “Lumberjack Man,” which hasn’t come out yet, where I play a kind of bumbling, Peter Sellers-type detective. I think it’s pretty damn funny. My comic genius hasn’t revealed itself yet (laughs).

MS: If you look at the Internet Movie Database it looks like you’re constantly working. When do you find the time to take a breath?
MM: If you look at the IMDB you would think that I was some sort of robotic machine. But the reality is that the IMDB is very, very unreliable. I would go so far as to say that they are irresponsible. There are a lot of things on there that are supposedly in pre-production and aren’t. A lot of things that are supposedly going to be released. They also mention films in which I only appear for ten minutes. I mean, in reality, no human being can make fifteen motion pictures in one year. So a lot of those are, I would say, questionable. I mean, the films that we’re talking about right now are the films I’ve legitimately done and are going to come out.

MS: I understand your frustration with IMDB. I have a few credits on there and one of them is that I hosted my own Canadian talk show back in the 1980s. I keep telling them it’s not me but they won’t listen.
MM: I’ve contacted them many times. I’ve said, “guys, it’s ME. It’s Michael. I’m telling you right now that that movie never happened, that movie was never finished, this is never going to come out…whatever the situation. And they tell me “well, it’s a public page.” And I don’t understand that. It’s kind of bewhildering…kind of irresponsible. It’s sad, you know, that they would put out information like that if it’s not true.

MS: Well, I think if they’re given the correct information they’re not only doing a disservice to their readers but to the people they’re talking about.
MM: Yeah. Then when I talk to someone like you asking me about the (25) pictures I’m in (laughs)…I have to defend myself and say no. I’d hate to think that some people were thinking about making an interesting film and they were thinking of Michael Madsen so they go to the IMDB and go “Holy Shit!” They’re not going to call me. It’s almost interfering with my work, them putting all of this stuff in there.

MS: You’ve voiced a few video games. Is there a difference in the acting process you use as opposed to films?
MM: Well, first off you don’t have to shave and you can show up in your pajamas. I would imagine Martin Sheen probably has a recording studio in his house. If I was him I sure would. Video games and voiceovers aren’t easy. You do have to be at the top of your game. You have to record each line several times. It does take four or five recording sessions, each of them lasting five or six hours, but in the end, some of the games are pretty interesting. People like them. I enjoy them. I really do.

MS: What can you tell us about “The Hateful Eight?”
MM: I’m a cowboy…a cow puncher. It’s a western that takes place on a mountain in the snow just after the Civil War.

MS: Since we’re speaking about Quentin, has he ever discussed with you the possibility of a Vega Brothers movie?
MM: We’ve talked about it many times. I think that over time the story would have had to change. I recently met John. Believe it or not, I had never met him. I met him at the Cannes Film Festival last year. I was there with Quentin and they did a screening of “Pulp Fiction” on the Majestic Beach, outdoors. It was pretty exciting…a great evening. And I met John. And I tell you, when the two of us were standing there next to Quentin…I think in that moment it might have become more of a reality. I think the Vega Brothers might be more of a reality. But that would be a question for the man. That would be a question for Quentin.

The Vicious Brothers and Brittany Allen discuss their new film “Extraterrestrial”

Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz make up the duo known as the The Vicious Brothers. They are the dudes behind the found footage cult film “Grave Encounters” and its sequel “Grave Encounters 2”. In there latest film, “Extraterrestrial”, they are taking on aliens this time instead of ghosts. The film stars Daytime Emmy winning actress, Brittany Allen as well as Michael Ironside (“Scanners”, “Starship Troopers”). Media Mikes had a chance to chat again with The Vicious Brothers and the film’s star Brittany Allen to discuss the film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: You guys tackled ghosts with the “Grave Encounters” films, why aliens next?
Colin Minihan: “Extraterrestrial” was actually the first thing that we have ever written even before “Grave Encounters”. We have always loved anything to do with UFO, aliens and abductions We have thought that no film recently has done justice to the sort of alien abduction concept, so we wanted to take it on.
Stuart Ortiz: I think there has been a lot of B-movies in the last early 2000’s with alien scenarios and they are always really low production value. Why hasn’t anyone ever tried to make a “Cabin in the Woods” movie with younger 20’s and instead of it being a slasher make the slasher an alien. When Stu and I write, we usually lock ourselves up on the remote northern tip of Vancouver Island, which is surrounded by woods. You kind of always wonder when you are in the place like that what else is there. You can feel the fear of what is out there in the sky when you are looking up at the stars. I can’t imagine that aliens don’t exist, so I think since we think it could be real it makes it as scary as ghosts, which I also think exist.

MG: Brittany, how did you come on board this project?
Brittany Allen: I got the script through my agent. As soon as I finished the script, I contacted my reps and said that “This is something different and special”. I felt that they took the genre and did something new with it. It was very refreshing to read a strong female character that had very human emotions that she was working through in the contexts of a horror/sci-fi film. I related instantly to everything about her from her pessimism on love and the journey that she takes throughout the film. I had a really strong feeling about it, so I pushed for it and ended up meeting with the guys over Skype and then I got the part.

MG: You guys have much more visual effects here than your previous films; tell us about how you accomplished such amazing effects in the film?
CM: The visual effects undertaking on the film was massive for the budget we had. Stu and I wanted to make a blockbuster and we only had a million dollars to do it with. So we pushed our visual effects company to the point that every artists probably lost some hair to make the film look as good as it does. It is one of those things that when you work on a low-budget film that doesn’t have a major studio behind it, I think people feel more involved with it since there isn’t a thousand person team working on it. It is more responsibility for less people and having them step up into those roles. There is a ton of CGI in the film. The UFO is completely computer generated. The alien in the film is also completely computer generated. I feel like the level of detail in the alien is really quite something because people are thinking that it is a model or even a practical effect. When Stu and I were making the film, we were torn in wanted to do it practical or not. We are fans of the genre dating back to “John Carpenter’s The Thing” where practical effects were at their height. To do that now, it just wasn’t realistic within our shooting schedule. But I believe it was a great choice and I am very happy with it.

MG: Brittany, you’ve done some sci-fi including “Defiance”; what do you enjoy most about this genre?
BA: I like putting myself in another world. I have a pretty wild imagination and being able to use that to get into these characters. There is a freedom that comes with this and it is a real playfulness in it. It was just a rush too. I remember one night we had like an hour left to shoot and it was like 3am in the morning and we would do this crazy scene running in the woods. We would finish and would be screaming with our adrenaline pumping. So it was a lot of fun.
SO: I want to be in the front of the camera, that sounds like fun [laughs]

MG: Your role was quite demanding, especially in the third act; was it a big challenge for you?
BA: I would say the biggest challenge in those scenes was using this stuff called Ultra Slime. It was lathered all over my body. That was probably the biggest challenge. It is exactly like you would imagine it to be, it was the slimiest, grossest feeling ever. It was a challenge that I really embraced though.
SO: You were covering in that slime for like a whole day
BA: Yeah, there was one day that I was covered in the slime all day and I started to feel cold and uncomfortable.
CM: I remember I got a piece of it on my finger and I was like “Eww, get this off me [laughs].
BA: Afterwards, it felt like it was all over me when it wasn’t anymore. Overall, emotionally those scenes were some of the most fun to shoot.

MG: How was it working with Michael Ironside? And I love the aspect of the aliens being able to controls your minds… Were you tempted to blow up his head like in “Scanners” [laughs]?
SO: Yeah, I think we had that discussion every single day.
CM: Or we could have torn his arms off (ala “Total Recall”) or his legs bitten off (ala “Starship Troopers”). Is there a scene montage of Ironside getting limbs ripped off in his film? I just want to shoot a movie so that we can add just one part to that if so [laughs].
SO: Working with Michael was just great. He is super intense and even though he has been making films for 30 years and been in a ton of movies, he is still super passionate and excited about the work. You never know what to expect when you bring an actor in for a few days of work. We are huge fan boys of Ironside and it was great getting to work with him.
CM: He also had a lot of great ideas for his character that he brought to the table right away. In the film, he is wearing these ridiculous shirts and that was all his idea. So he was just so cool.

MG: This is your third film together; how do you feel that you have matured as directors?
SO: It is funny because “Grave Encounters” is such a completely different film from “Extraterrestrial” in every way. “Grave Encounters” is obviously a found footage movie and meant to focus around amateur footage versus “Extraterrestrial” in which we are trying to achieve a huge epic sci-fi extravaganza influenced by Steven Spielberg. I don’t know if we could have made this film first…maybe. I think that we learned a lot on “Grave Encounters”.
CM: We are both self taught filmmakers. Stu and I have been shooting films since he was was 5 and I was 8, so we have grown up with it. So with “Grave Encounters”, it is a found footage movie, you have to abandon the language of cinema that we potentially thought ourselves and throw the concept of elaborately staging a scene out the window because it would feel fake within the context of a found footage film. So I think with “Extraterrestrial”, it shows more of that classic influence like Stu said Spielberg…Zemeckis, these guys that put the focus on the staging of talent and telling the story with a camera. I am grateful that we got the opportunity to showcase our ability to direct outside of the found footage world. I prefer this type of filmmaking much more.

Enter to Win The Coen Brothers’ “Fargo” Remastered on Blu-ray [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of “Fargo” remastered on Blu-ray, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the film Blu-ray. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Coen Brothers to date (doesn’t have to be “Fargo”, don’t worry). This giveaway will remain open until April 18th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email

The “middle of nowhere” has never looked better in this new edition, now remastered for the best high-definition picture yet! In this film Nominated for seven OSCARS®, things go terribly awry when small-time Minnesota car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hires two thugs (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife so he can collect the ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. Once people start dying, the very chipper and very pregnant Police Chief Marge (Frances McDormand) takes the case. Will she stop at nothing until she gets her man? You betcha.
 
Special Features
• Feature Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Roger A. Deakins
• Minnesota Nice
• Trivia Track
• American Cinematographer Article
• Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spot
Fargo Blu-ray
Street Date:  April 1, 2014
Prebook Date:  March 5, 2014
Screen Format:  Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio:  English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:  English/Spanish/French
U.S. Rating R
Total Run Time:  140 minutes
Closed Captioned:  Yes

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Check out MGM 90th tumblr – http://www.mgm90th.com/ also. There are tons of great gifs from MGM films, including Fargo, if you want to check it out.

Is Warner Brothers Trying to Sneak the “Justice League” Past Us?

Is Warner Brothers secretly planning the greatest Fanboy surprise of all time? If you believe television’s “Arrow” star Stephen Amell, the answer could be…maybe?

In a rush of excitement earlier this morning, popular sites like Fandango quoted Amell as saying “All we have to do for something like that to happen, or even be a possibility, is continue to take care of business with our show and then we put ourselves in a position – but the important thing is our show. I have had discussions, but I think the gestation process for this project is a lot slower than most people think. I mean, they haven’t even shot the next one. They haven’t even shot a frame of the movie before the movie everyone thinks is the Justice League movie!”

Later in the day, on his Facebook page, Amell downplayed his comments, stating “… I’m not the smartest dude in the world. (After all… I picked a career in acting.) But would I really just casually subvert a process cloaked in secrecy? A process – by the way – being run by the company who currently employs me. C’MON!”

Confused? Don’t be. The powers that be at Warner Brothers have been sitting in silence since 2008 when “Iron Man” hit theatres, becoming the first salvo in a box office battle that would culminate in “The Avengers” four years later. Even with the success of the Christopher Nolan-directed “Dark Knight” trilogy, Warner Brothers could not find a suitable DC Comics character to combine with Batman. Or, rather, a suitable film to inspire such a combination. Though he seemed perfect for the role (and actually did a good job), Ryan Reynolds left some fans cold in “Green Lantern.” 2006’s “Superman Returns,” despite grossing almost $400 million, was judged a failure by both the studio and fans. Enter last summer’s “Man of Steel.” As filming progressed the rumor spread that, at the end of the film, Joseph Gordon Levitt was to show up after the credits as Batman. Didn’t happen. Then came word that Ben Affleck (once an unsuccessful Marvel movie character himself – Daredevil) would take the cowl from Christian Bale and join Henry Cavill in “Batman vs Superman.” As the year ended we were informed that Israeli actress Gal Gadot would appear in the new film as Wonder Woman.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers announced that they had pushed back the opening of “Batman vs Superman” from July 17,2015 to May 6, 2016. Speculation is that the studio wants nothing to do with the arrival of Disney’s “Star Wars: Episode VII,” also due in theatres in 2015. But what if there’s more? If I had an official press invite (email being sent) I would gladly drive 5 hours east to Cape Girardeau, Missouri where Ben Affleck is currently filming “Gone Girl” and ask the new Bruce Wayne to his face. But in lieu of that, I can hope. And do my own casting. Sticking with the original Justice League of America members I’m casting Jon Hamm as the Flash, Faran Tahir as the Martian Manhunter and I’m giving Ryan Reynolds a second chance as Green Lantern. After all, even Josh Whedon finally got Marvels’ green hero (the Hulk) right. As for Aquaman….I think I’ll just let “Entourage’s” Vincent Chase carry that mantle in his upcoming James Cameron-directed version!

CD Review: Hank3 “Brothers of the 4X4”

Hank3
“Brothers of the 4X4”
Hank3 Records
Producers: Hank3
Tracks: 16

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Brothers of the 4X4” is the 2nd and 3rd album being released by Hank3 on October 1st. The son of country music legend Hank Williams Jr. produced the 16 track 2 disc album that is being released via his own label Hank3 Records. The follow up release to 2011’s “3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin” and “Attention Deficit Domination”, “Brothers of the 4×4” is a down home traditional country album packed full of banjo’s, acoustic guitar, slide guitar and Hank3’s signature voice. The two disc album may be considered traditional by some in its approach the delivery remains unique and classic Hank3.

“Nearly Gone” which opens up disc one of “Brother of the 4×4” is a perfect example as the track consists of standard country instrumentation that is given its own spin with an overdriven vocal mix that gives the track an almost rock type feel. The track “Hurtin For Certin” features some amazing guitar picking from guest musician Johnny Highland while the song “Farthest Away” was my own personal favorite track as it reminds me of something you would hear on an old honkey tonk juke box with blown speakers. Hank3 certainly has his own version of country and though it differs greatly from that of his father and grandfathers its still country. Even if you may not be a huge Hank3 fan give “Brothers of the 4X4” a listen as there is a little something for everyone on there.

Track Listing Disc 1:
1.) Nearly Gone
2.) Hurtin For Certin
3.) Brothers of the 4X4
4.) Farthest Away
5.) Held Up
6.) Outdoor Plan
7.) Deep Scars
8.) Lookey Yonder Commin
9.) Ain’t Broken Down
10.) Overdrive
11.) Loners 4 life
12.) Dreadfull Drive

Track Listing Disc 2:
1.) Getting Dim
2.) Possum In a Tree
3.) Broken Boogie
4.) Toothpickin

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Hank3, here

Hank 3 talks about his two new albums “Brothers of the 4×4” and “Fiendish Threat”

Hank 3 the son of legendary country singer Hank Williams Jr. and of course the grandson of country music pioneer Hank Williams is back with not one but, two new albums. “Brothers of the 4×4” is a two disc release featuring Hank 3’s signature country sound while “Fiendish Threat” is a single disc release of punk rock material which is very reminiscent of early Misfits material. Both albums are being released on Oct. 1st and Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Hank 3 recently about the albums and his signature sounds.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the two new albums you have coming out?
Hank 3: Most of the time I write longs songs and make long records. The first album is more of a country album titled “Brothers of the 4×4”. It’s a double disc album and there are a few slow and sad songs mixed with the more happy go lucky type songs. There are also a few songs on there that I wouldn’t necessarily consider country. They have more of a Pink Floyd, spaghetti western type sound going on. There are a lot of different sounds on this record. The second release I have coming out on the same day is more of a punk rock record titled “Fiendish Threat”. That album was all done with acoustic instruments which have all sorts of fuzz and distortion placed over the top of it. The two albums are like night and day. The sounds and attitudes are quite different.

AL: This is the second time you have released multiple albums on the same day. Do you have a specific reason for doing so or do things just happen more naturally?
Hank 3: Most standard songs are two minutes and thirty seconds. That’s if you are looking to write a hit song and get it on the radio. It’s a standard format. People have told me that when they listen to my songs they get to a point where they are waiting for it to end however it doesn’t. Things just keep going but that’s how it is on some of my material. On songs like “Loners for Life” or “Deep Scars” the steel guitar just sort of caries things through and that how it is. As far as releasing multiple albums goes I have always been known for performing multiple sounds during my live shows. I usually do almost four different sounds during a single show. That’s why I like to release multiple releases all at the same time. When I tour fans get to see all those different sides of me. One other reason is I do things this way is that I feel like I have been held back in a way in relation to my career. Frank Zappa put out over 90 releases and my father has released over 120. Where I am at in my career I don’t feel I have that much on the plate so I am trying to make up for lost time in my eyes.

AL: When you’re creating multiple albums at the same time do you find that they will often play off of each other or blend together in certain areas?
Hank 3: It’s kind of different. Once I start recording I may have a feeling where I want to do just drums one day or just guitar stuff. I may warm up by playing some country and then end the day with some harder sounding material.  It’s very similar to how I perform live. Everything is one performance to me. Yes the songs change but I am still trying to give it my all throughout the whole performance or record. When I am writing the songs things do vary. If I am working on a country song I will sing things off the top of my head and then record it. Once that’s done I then go back with a pen and paper to write down what I think is a little more important. I try and make things more of a story. If I am working on rock or metal material I always do the guitar riff first and then the drums and vocal. They are both opposite with one being music oriented while the other is not.

AL: Being that you, your father and your grandfather all have unique styles do you ever try and incorporate any of their sounds into your own when working on an album or song?
Hank 3: If you were to really look at my records you will notice that each one has a specific sound or style to it. I am the guy who is doing all the recording, mixing and mastering. Things might not sound the best or the worse but it’s going to sound different. It’s all self done which that alone makes it stand on its own two feet. When I write a song it just depends on what I am going for. I am lucky enough to have created my own niche and found my own sound within going against my father and grandfather in the country music world. That in itself is hard enough. Things have happened and I have been able to create a very loyal fan base that has been with us for many years. Some people may say I sound like one or the other on any given day but I don’t think any of my material is orientated to that of my other family members.

AL: What was the lineup of musicians who played on the new albums?
Hank 3: On the country record I had Johnny Hiland do all the chicken pickin’ stuff while Zach Shedd , David McElfresh and Billy Contreras make up the rest of the guys who are on there. Zach is one of the guys who plays on both of the records. Billy played a few interesting fiddle parts on the punk/rock record while other guys like Andy Gibson played steel guitar on the country album and Leroy Troy played banjo on a track called “Possum in a Tree”. I also made my first attempt and playing some lap steel on the record as well.

AL: Do you have all the parts pre-arranged when the different guys come in or do they just come in and add their own parts?
Hank 3: It varies. I might have parts in my head that I will hum or sing to whoever is playing or when it comes to guys like Johnny Hiland he has me play him what I have and then he will do a couple passes and let me take what I like. The guys I have worked with for some time we do a little bit of everything and just go back and forth with ideas.

AL: Will these guys be the same group that will go out on the road with you?
Hank 3: Some of the guys who played on the record I don’t always get to use that much on the road. I use my band as much as possible but guys like Johnny Hiland and Billy Contreras aren’t always available but they know my door is always open. I think when you are used to playing with people like George Jones and then you come down to the level that I am at there can be a pretty dynamic difference when it comes to money sometimes. Some guys dig the environment and don’t mind making less. I try to pay everyone in the band as much as I can while still keeping the ticket prices low for the fans.

AL: When putting together a set list how do you choose which songs you are going to play being that you have quite a diverse catalog to choose from?
Hank 3: I don’t hit the stage with a set list. We have a few standards that we will always play and in between I mix in a few newer songs. With the rock record we might be a little more uniformed however I have so many country songs that I can fill up a two hour slot pretty quick. Not having the same set list every night keeps my guys fresh and on their toes. Everything is a little different each night.

AL: Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on, Possibly a DVD or book?
Hank 3: I have always been pro bootlegger with a lot of my fans in that I allow them to come out and record the shows. I have been letting fans do that for many years now. I recorded a song with David Allen Coe not too long ago called “The Outlaw Ways” which was released on limited vinyl. Sirius radio picked that up and was playing it which has been great. As far as books and other things I don’t feel I have hit that part of my career just yet. I am very busy being on the road and making records.

CD/DVD Review “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (Deluxe Edition)”

Stephen King, John Mellencamp, T Bone Burnett
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Concord Music Group

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” is a very unique release. It comes from the great talented minds of Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett. It was originally a musical stage performance, which was performed in Atlanta in April of 2012. So what is this actually? It is a libretto of the acclaimed Southern Gothic supernatural musical. It is a mix of dialogue tracks, written by King with music by some amazing musicians including Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, Ryan Bingam, Kristofferson and Rosanne Cash…just to name a few. Costello and Kristofferson also take on characters in between the songs, along with Meg Ryan, Samantha Mathis and Matthew McConaughey. Can you believe the talent attached to this! It is very well put together and draws you in just like one of King’s novels.  The music is seamless with the dialogue and together they really create a creepy atmosphere.

Official Premise: Set in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, the Ghost Brothers’ story centers on two sets of brothers: the ghosts of Jack and Andy, dead in an apparent murder/suicide, and their nephews, the living Frank and Drake, who seem to be headed toward the same downward spiral as their uncles. Joe, younger brother of Jack and Andy, father of Frank and Drake, has decided it’s time to reveal his own terrible secret at the site of the tragedy, before it’s too late.

This deluxe edition comes with a two disc set, one CD and one DVD.  The DVD contains a bunch of great behind the scenes content and features the songs and interviews with Stephen King, John Mellencamp, and Musical Director, T Bone Burnett. The following three featurettes are included “A Look Behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County”, “Truth In Studio” and “Libretto”. The DVD also comes with a digital copy of the libretto.  There is also a pamphlet included with the set for an MP3 download of just the music. I was also impressive with the fact that this deluxe edition also comes with the complete lyrics and script from the CD tracks…and it looks very sharp as well. I highly recommend this for country music fans and of course the words of the great Stephen King.

Track Listing:
1. Introduction By The Zydeco Cowboy
2. That s Me (Performed by Elvis Costello)
3. Anna and Frank Badmouthing Drake
4. That s Who I Am (Performed by Neko Case)
5. The Ghosts Argue and Fight
6. So Goddam Smart (Performed by Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow)
7. Monique and Anna Meet
8. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong About Me (Performed by Elvis Costello)
9. Frank and Drake Argue
10. Brotherly Love (Performed by Ryan Bingham, Will Dailey)
11. Monique, Frank, Drake, and Anna Argue
12. How Many Days (Performed by Kris Kristofferson)
13. The Ghosts Talk (Dialog Underscoring: Patrick Fleming)
14. Home Again (Performed by Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Taj Mahal)
15. Monique Comforts Drake
16. You Are Blind (Performed by Ryan Bingham)
17. Joe Begins To Tell His Story
18. Tear This Cabin Down (Performed by Taj Mahal)
19. Joe Continues His Story
20. My Name Is Joe (Performed by Clyde Mulroney)
21. Jenna Expresses Her Feelings
22. Away From This World (Performed by Sheryl Crow)
23. Monique Frustrated With The Boys
24. You Don t Know Me (Performed by Rosanne Cash)
25. Joe Continues As The Ghosts Observe (Dialog Underscoring: Patrick Fleming)
26. And Your Days Are Gone (Performed by Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin)
27. Jack And Andy Fight Over Jenna
28. Jukin (Performed by Sheryl Crow)
29. Jack And Andy Argue And Fight
30. So Goddam Good (Performed by Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, Sheryl Crow)
31. Joe Talks With His Younger Self
32. What Kind Of Man Am I (Performed by Kris Kristofferson, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Taj Mahal)
33. The Shape Sums Things Up
34. Truth (Performed by John Mellencamp with Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz)
35. Joe Talks With The Bartender

Concert Review: The Doobie Brothers “2013 Tour” – Mohegan Sun Arena

The Doobie Brothers: 2013 Tour
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
July 3, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“We decided to play a little rock and roll this evening.  Are you up for that, Connecticut?”

And, with that, the Doobie Brothers delivered as promised: nearly two non-stop hours worth of straightforward rock classics with instantly recognizable riffs that have been the band’s calling card for over 40 years. The focus of the 18-song show consistently stayed on the band’s most prolific era of the 70’s when they churned out anthems such as “Long Train Runnin’”, “Rockin’ Down the Highway”, “China Grove”, “Jesus is Just Alright and “Take Me in Your Arms”, all of which feature the founding vocal/guitar duo of Tommy Johnston and Patrick Simmons – both of whom are still part of the group’s current eight-member line-up.

The mellower Michael McDonald era of the late 70’s and early 80’s was only represented by the inclusion of an extended version of “Takin’ It to the Streets” that featured an impressive keyboard intro from Guy Allison, vocals from Simmons and bassist John Cowan, and a rippin’ sax solo from Marc Russo. It was a wise choice for the set list not only because of the song’s popularity as a hit, but because its inherent funky groove matches the Johnston-era classics that dominate the current touring band’s repertoire. They pull off the tune flawlessly live – so well, in fact, that the concert version almost outshines the McDonald original.

As far as newer material is concerned…well…the Doobies don’t really have much of it. The group has only released one studio album over the past decade: 2010’s reunion with longtime producer Ted Templeman, “World Gone Crazy.” While that album is fairly tepid in comparison to the band’s multi-platinum mega-sellers from the 70’s, the two songs performed from it at this show – the title track and “A Brighter Day” – work quite well when played live and are a good addition to the band’s set list of classics.

With all of the driving guitar rhythm provided by the band’s four axemen and the percussive power of dual drummers Tony Pia and Ed Toth, it’s easy to forget that one of the key ingredients to Doobies music is intricate vocal harmonies that flesh out the songs and provide them with the richness that makes them worth savoring. To that end, the show’s overall sound was impeccably mixed, something that was especially evident when all four of the band’s frontsmen, Johnston, Simmons, Cowan, and endlessly-versatile instrumentalist John McFee, delivered the four-part a cappella harmony outro to “Black Water.” As much as it is truly amazing that these guys can still belt it out as clearly as they did when they recorded the song in 1974, it’s equally impressive that the 2013 tour’s audio crew was able to make every aural nuance sound as clear as possible within the context of a live show.

The music of the Doobie Brothers, when at its best, manages to effectively blend elements of rock and roll, country, bluegrass, soul, funk, and blues to produce songs that never pidgeon-hole themselves into an era and subsequently become dated. At their core is an element that is truly timeless: they’re fun. Given the band’s sheer exuberance while onstage, it’s clear that the Doobie Brothers themselves are still having a blast touring and energetically jamming out to these classics. As they proved to the Connecticut crowd, you don’t necessarily need fireworks to kick off a 4th of July holiday party. All you have to do is listen to the music. All the time.

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[NOTE: Big thanks go out to the guy who first introduced me to the Doobies – and music in general – my father, Tom Picton, for his invaluable assistance with this article. ]

 

Blu-ray Review “The Doobie Brothers: Live at Wolf Trap”

The Doobie Brothers: Live at Wolf Trap
Blu-ray (also available on DVD, CD, and vinyl)
Eagle Vision
Total Running Time: 166 minutes (including extras)

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From the opening motorcycle revving to the closing bows, “The Doobie Brothers: Live at Wolf Trap” makes a solid two-hour case for why the Doobies stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greatest bands of the classic rock era. The two-hour show is packed with iconic hits that never seem dated: “Long Train’ Runnin’”, “Take Me In Your Arms”, “Jesus is Just Alright”, “Black Water” – the list goes on and on. Filmed in 2004 at Virginia’s Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the band immediately launches into a groove that combines elements of rock, country, bluegrass, blues in a way that is always appealing and flat-out fun. And, as the closing credits roll, one question is clear: Why aren’t the Doobie Brothers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?  They’re looooong overdue.

The 2004 Tommy Johnston-led line-up draws almost exclusively from the band’s LPs from the 70’s that featured Johnston on lead vocals and guitar. Songs from the considerably mellower Michael McDonald era of the 1980’s are almost entirely absent – a respectable move given that McDonald’s “ya mo’ be there” vocal is such an inseparable earworm trademark. The sole McDonald track performed at the Wolf Trap – “Takin’ It to the Streets” – is handled vocally by founding Doobie, Pat Simmons, and the Brothers’ touring bassist, Skylark. The result is a live version that is equally as good if not better than the original version. It also provides the energetic bassist some center stage time that he so richly deserves. In fact, if there’s an intoxicatingly awesome performance to watch on this disc, it’s his.

Despite the fact that the concert is from almost a decade ago and has been available on DVD for  nearly as long, it truly shines on this first-ever Blu-ray issue given that the show was filmed using 10 high-definition cameras. While the overall program does suffer some from rapid-fire editing, the picture is always crisp and clean and the colors are perfectly balanced. The disc defaults to a LPCM stereo audio track that often buries the lead vocals so much that they’re almost inaudible in various spots. Switching over to the vastly superior DTS Master HD mix provides a much more even mix that utilizes the surround channels very effectively.

The disc also suffers from other technical issues that should have been corrected before this disc made it to market. The biggest problem is the extreme difference in sound levels between the live concert itself and the bonus features that are included, which include “backstage pass interviews” (which is more-or-less a sampler from the “Listen to the Music” documentary released late last year) and interactive links that appear during the concert that allow the viewer to jump into interview segments that directly pertain to the song being performed. While this audio glitch isn’t a big deal for the former, it’s hugely frustrating to have to crank up the volume to hear what Johnston and Simmons are saying and then, as a result, return to the concert footage now at deafeningly-loud sound levels. Some simple equalization and basic mixing would have gone a long way. It’s also somewhat annoying that the distracting talking head icons that appear at the bottom left corner of the screen to indicate the availability of the in-concert interview clips can’t be turned off completely.

Technical issues aside (they’re the only reason I’m docking this one by a full star), this is an amazing disc that showcases a legendary band in peak form. Now 40+ years on down the track, the Doobie Brothers’ long train is still runnin’ as strong and as powerful as ever.

Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer talk about the 5th season of “The Venture Brothers”

Debuting in 2003, The Venture Brothers follows the animated misadventures of super scientist and former “boy adventurer,” Dr. Thaddeus ‘Rusty’ Venture, his Hardy-Boy-like teen sons Hank and Dean, and their self-proclaimed arch nemesis, The Monarch. The show has created an amazing universe of heroes, villains and henchmen throughout its first four seasons while sending up everything from Johnny Quest to Hunter S. Thompson. Leading up to this Sunday’s fifth season premiere on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, creators, co-writers and stars, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer got on the phone to discuss the show’s diverse roster of characters, super science, and the challenges of animating convincing tin foil jokes.

Lauren Damon: Your show revolves around a lot of Super Scientists, is there anything in actual modern science that’s freaked you out or sounded like something from the show?
Doc Hammer:  I’m personally not that educated. So I’m personally not up on actual scientific discovery.
Jackson Publick: I have recently subscribed to Popular Science.
Doc: So he knows all the things that are popular.
Jackson: I’m super excited that they might be figuring out warp speed and when they grew a human ear on a mouse’s, I’ve never forgotten that.

LD: How about the 3D printers?
Jackson: I’m not that excited by the 3D printer—Somebody showed me a Green Lantern ring they made with a 3D printer the other night. Actually it was a White Lantern ring, calling it a “White Power” ring, which is weird!
Doc: Do you have to wear glasses for the 3D printer?
Jackson: No, it’s a printer that makes a 3D object for you. Out of like, resin or something, it just carves this thing for you.
Doc: Oh yes. You know what? Those are more like 3D fax machines than they are 3D printers.

LD: You have so many characters on the show, do you find that you have favorites to write or watch interactions between?
Doc: Oh yeah, you can tell just by watching the show.
Jackson: Yeah, you can tell who we’ve turned into pairs, we like those guys.
Doc: And you’ll start seeing pairings that are not appropriate. Like Hank and 21 for some reason are weird pairing…
Jackson: Yeah, yeah.
Doc: They’ve been together and we kind of keep throwing them together because they interact well. Because they both have this kind of love and exuberance. And then there are just classic pairs. I mean 21 and 24. Even though we murdered one…
Jackson: I like when we put 21 and the Monarch together.
Doc: 21 and the Monarch is another…I think when we put them with The Monarch, he was trying to hang out with them…That’s when we realized these guys will interact well because they’re so different.
Jackson: And the power dynamics of their relationship—
Doc: Yea.
Jackson: ‘The creepy boss is trying to be my friend now…I don’t know what to say, he shoots guys sometimes when he doesn’t like what they say.’
Doc: Yeah, and weird combinations show up. Billy and Doc are funny because Billy dresses Doc down a lot. It’s an odd combination—
Jackson: Also he lifts him up a little bit.
Doc: He does! He does, because he fanboys on him. But at the same time he—
Jackson: Yea he’s like ‘I can’t believe that’s what a fucking mess the thing I’m fanboying about has become!’
Doc: Yeah, it’s a weird thing. It’s a weird thing because he loves Rusty Venture but I think he can barely tolerate Dr. Venture.
Jackson: ‘Please try once try to be what you used to be!’
Doc: [In Billy Quizboy’s voice] “I used to love you and you’re nobody! You’re a horrible person!”

LD: Last season, with the death of Henchman 24, Henchman 21 went through so many changes, did you anticipate such an arc when you singled out these henchmen at the beginning?
Doc: Oh no, those two guys were anonymous henchmen!
Jackson:Yeah, we just got sick of them being anonymous. And we liked two voices we did.
Doc: Yeah they were made up on the spot. I mean it was just two voices that we used to do while reading people’s emails. [Both laugh] So we just put them in the show. I mean, I remember when it first happened, you know Jackson was trying to do that every time we would get a nerdy e-mail. He would get like 21 and then he did that weird Ray Romano voice. We just did it not knowing that these characters would be around for ten years.

LD: What type of e-mail would instigate the Romano voice?
Jackson: It was just him. I think we would just pick on him because we had like watched like past episodes—
Doc: We would pick on him and we would use his use his voice for just being not us but not being a character on the show. But now we can’t.
Jackson: Right. To express the opinion of someone—usually a negative one. [in Henchman 24’s Romano voice] ‘HEY WAY TO GOOOOO’
Doc: ‘GOOD JOB.’ That kind of crap.

LD: And, as opposed to 21, which character do you think has changed the least over the course of the show?
Doc: Has changed the least? Doc, actually.
Jackson: Yeah.
Doc: He’s gone through a lot of revelations but his basic character has not changed so much. Even Brock has had more changes than Doc has and Brock is rock steady.
Jackson: Even Hank has had more changes.
Doc: Hank, the boys, have had a lot of changed.

LD: Your characters have such great names, working on this for ten years are you  just constantly thinking of new potential characters?
Doc: It’s like a bi-annual thing.
Jackson: Yeah, I forget the good ones…
Doc: I think both of us have notebooks filled with idiot names and then there are actual documents of names of episodes that don’t exist. Like “Return to Spider Skull Island” was just a bad episode name that we wrote around.

LD: Does that happen often?
Doc: More than it should. I don’t know about often.
Jackson: Probably yeah, like two episodes out of every season we like, just have a working title the whole time we’re making it and then when we’re making the credits, we have an argument about what to name it and then we both make a list of about forty things and try to hone in on one.
Doc: Oh yeah. The amount—just like the season premiere, we both probably wrote forty different titles for. All of them would have been fine in anybody else’s book, and of these eighty, of the eighty titles that we came up with “What Color is Your Cleansuit?” was the one that we liked. Which is insane. That was just a good one for us.

LD: Any names from season five that you’re particularly excited about that you can share?
Doc: We’re very particularly excited about season five, but we can’t give out any spoilers because season five is coming and the episodes themselves—
Jackson: Oh! You can drop a name out, can’t you?
Doc: What? Titles? Characters?
Jackson: Or name.
Doc: Go ahead! I’m not gonna do it. I have a firm line on spoilers. But you can do it.
Jackson: We’ve already told people that there is an Augustus St. Cloud. Which we were excited about him this season. He exists. What’s the best episode title do you think?
Doc: Best episode title?! Pick yours…Mine are awful.
Jackson: [laughing]
Doc:  I have awful episode titles. They’re always awful. Name one of yours. One of yours that isn’t clever or just stupid. Those are my favorites.
Jackson: Right.
Doc: “O. S. I Love You” is a good title.
Jackson: There ya go.
Doc: That’s not bad.

LD: You’ve had a lot of gross stuff on the show—half-formed clones and skinsuits are jumping to mind—has there been anything that’s made you as grateful as I am that it’s all animated?
Doc: Like disgusting things that happened? Well nobody wants to see anybody turn into a caterpillar, we did that in episode three.
Jackson: Oh that would look so much better if we did it in episode five.
Doc: Oh, right? Yeah…
Jackson: It really just kind of looked like he was wearing a caterpillar costume, it was very just flat and stiff back then.
Doc: Some of the things that we do are bad ideas. Like we make a lot of jokes that really don’t work as well in cartoons as we think. Like we made a terry cloth joke. And you can’t animate terry cloth. It looks just like color.
Jackson: Right, or tin foil. We did eventually get good tin foil though…
Doc: We kept asking for tin foil and eventually we got tin foil.
Jackson: We did the worst tin foil hats for season one and then we did like amazing ones last season that the Korean studio even called us and went ‘Hey, can you simplify the tin foil design please?’ It was like five hundred facets of tin foil…
Doc: And you couldn’t really move it. You could only draw it once and then have tin foil floating. The first season just looked like a gray hat—
Jackson: Like a gray walnut shell is what it looked like.
Doc: Yeah, you knew it was tin foil. But you can’t make tinfoil jokes, you can’t make terry cloth jokes—
Jackson: My god, I want to make corduroy jokes so bad!
Doc: And you can’t show corduroy because you can’t really animate corduroy…
Jackson: I know!
Doc: We can barely get a car to turn the corner nicely. We’re never gonna get corduroy on that screen.

Venture Brothers premieres Sunday, June 2nd on Cartoon Network. Also making a return this year is the show’s exclusive weekly Shirt Club, not seen since season three. More info can be found, here

In the meantime, Adult Swim has released a full four-season recap video hosted by Henchman 21 to get you all ready for the new season!

DVD Review “Outlaw Brothers (1990)”

Actors: Frankie Chan, Ken Boyle, Anthony Carpio
Director: Frankie Chan
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Weinstein Company
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Run Time: 102 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With all the special effects in films these days it is rare to see classic martial arts films. If rare that action films don’t have any CGI. “Outlaw Brothers” definitely scream 1990 action but still is just raw and out-the-top fun. There is classic car stunts and also some fast and furious martial arts. The reason for this is that the legendary Jackie Chan is behind the action direction in this film. It is also directed by Frankie Chan, who is very well respected as well.

“Outlaw Brothers” is an action-packed film follows the exploits of two car thieves, and the butt-kicking female police officer who is on their trail. Add in drug smugglers and choreographed fight scenes with brooms, fans, wrenches, and knives to make this a turbo-charged, high-octane, martial arts action film.

The DVD itself shows a little age in its transfer. It was obviously not restored for this release, but it still looks decent for its age and this isn’t Blu-ray. So a little bit of noise is expect here. The film also includes both a Chinese and English audio tracks. Honestly, I really enjoyed the English track…since it was so bad it was good. There are no special features included besides the film. There is not even a trailer. Would have loved to seen some behind-the-scenes featurettes on the stunts and martial arts. Nonetheless, fans of Chan and classic action films should not miss this.

Vicious Brothers talks about their sequel to “Grave Encounters”

Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz make up the Vicious Brothers.  They are the Writers/Directors of “Grave Encounters” and Writers of “Grave Encounters 2”. The first film has already become a cult classic after a very short time.  “Grave Encounters” is an awesome found-footage horror film and the sequel is twice as good as he first one. Keep an eye out for these guys because they are going to be huge. The guys took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about their sequel and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: Where you guys get the name the Vicious Brothers from?
Stuart Ortiz: When we were close to being done with “Grave Encounters”, we figured we should come up with a directing handle. Since if you have just two dudes names it is too much information for the audience to take in.
Colin Minihan: Dude, just tell him the honest answer. He was coming out of a huge bender…
SO: [laughs]
CM: …and he woke up one morning had the name in his mind and just wouldn’t shut up about it. I just went along with it. [laughs]

MG: Are you surprised with the quick cult status the the first film has achieved?
CM: Yeah it has been really cool to see all the different countries take to it. We are very excited for them to see the sequel?

MG: Why did you step aside on this film and let John Poliquin take over directing?
SO: The main reason was that right when “Grave Encounters 2” became a reality and we were going to move forward. We are also at the same time finishing up another project that is a sort of proof-of-concept trailer that we made for a film we are trying to get off the ground right now. It would have been too much having to go into production on “Grave Encounters 2” and then finishing up the other project. We just didn’t want to be able to commit 100% to it. We have known JP along time. He is a great director and we were friends with him anyway. After one conversation with us, he totally got the material. It really seemed to make sense.

MG: Tell us about the production on “Grave Encounters 2” and how it compares to the first film?
CM: The production definitely differed a fair bit [laughs]. On the first one, Stu and I just were just constantly writing and make “Grave Encounters” almost out of necessity almost with no money. It was literally Stu and I running around a mental institution with the actors. It became a success and allowed us to do the things we wanted to do on the first film but didn’t have the manpower or visual effects budget. I think as a result we really crammed this movie with as much stuff as we could. We stretched this budget way further than we thought we could, while still staying sane and pulling it off. I am definitely glad we didn’t pussy out and make something safe. We really pushed the limit and made JP’s life challenging for sure.

MG: Shooting at the mental institution, any things creepy happen during production?
CM: I definitely below in ghosts and have had a few weird occurrences in my life for sure. I am one of these people that can walk into a house and if I am not paying attention I can pick up a vibe.
SO: Colin has a radar for that shit. Down to the point if we go something I would ask “Yo, you getting a haunted vibe?” He will look around, squint his eyes and say yes or no”. We were just in London a few weeks ago and he was just freaking out the whole time saying “This whole city is haunted man!” [laughs].
CM: As far as the building goes, when there is so much energy and people on set, in order to experience something you really need to be alone and in a quiet place. Otherwise, there is too much distraction.

MG: Tell us about the decision to bring back Lance Preston?
SO: We kept a tight relationship with the actor, Sean Rogerson. We would hang out all the time. Even from the very beginning, after we finished “Grave Encounters”, we knew from the get-go that no matter what we did, Sean was going to be in it.

MG: The ghosts in the film are super creepy, tell us about how they were conceived?
CM: I think when you are writing it you just try and do to a dark place and find out what is going to scare ourselves. We tried to visualize it with some sketches and then just put on the makeup and hoped that when you turn the lights off and hit the night vision that it is as effective as it is in your head.

MG: “Grave Encounters 2” takes a real clever approach to found-footage genre, what were you concerned about most that you wanted to accomplish when writing the sequel?
SO: There was a couple of different things. We didn’t want to retrace our foot steps and it was important for us to do something different. There was so many possibilities especially if you are talking about a found-footage or mockumentary approach. You can go even farther than a convention film. It seemed like a waste just to do the same thing again. First and foremost was just to do something fresh. They Colin came up with this idea to be set in the “real world”, where people know about the movie and there is this conspiracy. That was the #1 priority. The #2 was that one we were in the building was to actually how that the building is a character and has an agenda and purpose of its own.

MG:What do you two have planned next?
SO: We are keeping very tight lipped on it now. But we are waiting on financing to close by the end of the year. We have a sci-fi horror movie called “The Visitors” that Colin and I wrote and will co-direct again. It is a lot different than “Grave Encounters”, it is not found footage in full but does have a little bit of found footage for the most part it is a classically cinematic film. We are hoping to get that started next year.

Marc & Shannon Parker from Parker Brothers Concepts chats about working on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”

Marc & Shannon Parker are the owners of Parker Brothers Concepts, which is located in Melbourne, FL.  They are also the stars on Syfy’s “Dream Machines”.  They have created cars for 50 Cent, WWE’s John Cena and Universal’s recent film “Battleship”.  Media Mikes recently had a chance to visit the shop in our first collaboration with MyGarageShop.com and got a chance to sit down and chat with the guys about the show and their inspiration behind it.

Mike J. Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin of Parker Bros Concepts?
Shannon Parker: It actually happened by accident. We started out just building things just to be building things. To begin with Marc and I talked about just building choppers, just regular bikes. I thought with the economy the way it way, I thought it was a bad idea because there are a lot of chopper builders out there. We only had enough money to build one…
Marc Parker: We didn’t even have enough money to build one [laughs]
SP: We didn’t have quite enough money to build one vehicle. So we talked about it a little bit and I really wanted to do a replica of the Batpod from “The Dark Knight”. I thought if we run out of money or can’t sell it at least I got something I wanted anyway. So we built it and put it out on the internet to get attention to sell it. We put it out there for $100,000 and when we did that it drew all kinds of attention. We weren’t able to sell it right away but it gave us some great attention and a step towards what we should do next. I think the next step we built our Xenon Light Motor Bike. After that we were off and running…

MJG: How did you get involved with SyFy and “Dream Machines”?
MP: Once the Xenon Light Motor Bike hit the internet it started going viral and before we were even done, we got a call from the TV people. At that point we were only in business for a couple of months. A guy named Edwin Zane called us up and asked “How would you like to do a TV show because the stuff you do is really cool?”. The company he was with at the time threw out a couple of numbers to us and at the time went with out gut and didn’t go with it…luckily. Especially now that we know what we know. He left that company and went to another company and pitched us again.
SP: In the meantime, we were getting pitches from other production companies as well but we never felt comfortable. We liked Edwin as a person and felt comfortable with him. Edwin then moved to another production company called Triage, Inc. and we ended up going with him full circle around.
MP: Triage is taking good care of us. It is a good show for them. They are a big enough company that they are able to do what needs to get done but still small enough to where we are important to them. Once we signed up with him then he pitched it to seven-eight networks. Literally the next day, he had four of the networks interested in the show. Syfy stepped up and said the first day “He is a contract we will take it”. No messing around. They are revamping that network right now and our show fits in well with them.

Mike P. Gencarelli: What made you switches from Parker Bros Choppers to Parker Bros Concepts?
SP: It was the show. More than anything, we didn’t want to come across as old school bike builders and that is it.
MP: When we first started, the original idea and name of the business was going to be Parker Bros Concepts but then we thought no one would know what that is. The original thought was choppers sell, the stuff we are building is weird and not sure if it would sell or not. We were probably going to end up building a couple of choppers local and build our way up. Then on the side build the concept and if people like them great and if they don’t we can just keep them. We went with Parker Bros Choppers for the name and then it came around full circle since the stuff we were doing was more important to the TV people. They didn’t want us to look like the Orange County Choppers. We switched it over to concepts.

MJG: What was it like shooting a reality show and working your day to day business?
MP: Oh my God!
SP: It was difficult…
MP: …and a lot different than we thought it was going to be. SP: You think it is just going to be a camera standing there off in the background and shooting but it doesn’t really work that way. There is a lot of interviews. It is a totally different world for us. It was a cool experience but it was pretty difficult to build something when they are asking us to do it over. Sometimes they may not get it the first time or may need a different angle.
MP: Or before you do anything you need to check it first with the showrunner or director and make sure it is something if they want to get on camera or not. Then we need to wait for them to get the cameras ready before we do the work.

MPG: On the show you guys have these ridiculous deadlines. Is that due to the show and now that we know about filming; how does that affect the deadlines?
MP: It kills the deadlines.
SP: Normally you would think the deadline is reality. All of these things were needed for certain events or premieres. It was one of those “have-to” situations. You have to have it done by this time.
MP: In addition all of these projects, like 50 Cent’s car, if 50 came to us normally and said I want this car, wewould say give us a year/year and a half and we will have this car for you. But you can’t build a show around something like that. All of the deadlines came into play since we only have “X” number of months to film “X” number of episodes. So a lot of these we had to cram into a shorter period of time just because of being able to film them.

MPG: Got a funny question, why is the logo on the roof?
MP: It is actually not!
MPG: It’s not? CGI?
MP: On the show they will show the roof two or three times and sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. They spent a lot of money on this helicopter for one day. One of the shotsthey wanted was a building shot. The building looks kind of plain and didn’t really stand out against everything else on the road. They wanted to use the shot since they spent the money on the helicopter and so they CGIed it up there.

MJG: What was your most challenging project to date?
MP: Filming a TV show [laughs].
SP: I don’t know I think John Cena’s car was very difficult. Trying to figure out all the things that go into it. That was was also weird for us beecause we started out with a frame, since normally we don’t. We had a lot of issues…
MP: …trying to work around it. Sometimes starting from scratch makes it a lot easier on you with the crazy designs we are working with. It is hard to take sometime and make it fit into that design. If you just start from scratch, even though there is a lot more hours into it, it makes the design and the build come together a little easier. The most difficult in my mind was the Shredder from “Battleship”. With the Shredder we really got to showcase what we wanted to do. When we started this show, we threw a bunch of really over-the-top project out there at the network. They had us tone it down a bit but not completely insane.
SP: Like the single man sub-marine.
MP: Yeah we wanted to do a one man attack sub-marine and some flying vehicles. But that was personally the hardest but also my favorite build.

MPG: Besides plans for season two of “Dream Machines”; what do you see yours doing years down the line?
MP: Hopefully, we get to execute our plans from the very beginning. We want to be the go-to guys for Hollywood. We want to be the guys to build the vehicles for the movies and TV shows. Whether we are on TV or not, if we are building these things that is what we are into.

Book Review “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm”

Author(s): Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Editor: Noel Daniel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Taschen
Release Date: October 4, 2011

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When you actually take the time and read into the work of the Brothers Grimm, you realize that they have created so many classics. This book consists of the most famous collections of tales from the Brothers Grimm. Included amongst the two dozen stories are classics like “Cinderella”, “Snow White”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Hansel and Gretel”. It always makes me step back and think about how much of an influence the Grimm stories have given us in our history. This all-new translation was specially commissioned for this publication by Taschen.

The most important part about the stories is the accompanied artwork. It is backed by some of the most famous illustrators from the 1850s to the 1950s, including Golden Age legend Kay Nielsen, bestselling author Wanda Gág, Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and 19th century German illustrations from Hermann Vogel, Otto Speckter and Viktor Paul Mohn. The book is also produced on a very impressive hard stock paper, which also compliments the colors in each image.

Another amazing reason to purchase this book is that it also includes fantastic silhouettes pulled from original publications from the 1920s. With my daughter on the way within in a few weeks of writing this review, I look forward to sharing these stories with her after she is born. It is a real treat for both adults and children alike. This collection will also make sure that people will always be able to loose themselves in fairy tales and take a journey in the minds of the Brothers Grimm.

Interview with Big Brother’s Adam Poch

Adam Poch was a contestant on season 13 of the reality television show “Big Brother”. Adam quickly became known to his house mates and viewers of the show for his love of Heavy Metal, Bacon and all things “Beverly Hills 90210”. Adam took a few minutes out of his day to talk with Media Mikes about his experience on the show as well as getting to meet Tori Spelling.

Adam Lawton: Were you familiar with the show prior to auditioning?
Adam Poch: I have been a fan of “Big Brother” since the beginning. Thank God around season 6 of the show I got my first DVR, which turned me from a big fan into a huge fan! I was then able to watch every episode. From there I started getting on all the blogs and watching the live feeds as well as the after dark stuff on Showtime. I really like the concept of the show as well. When I saw Evil Dick on season 8, I realized that they could have a rock and roll type guy on the show.  So I thought about trying out.

AL: Had you auditioned for any previous season of the show?
AP: Yes. I had auditioned prior to season 10, however I bombed my audition terribly. I went in and talked about everything but myself. I was too busy at the time to audition for season 11, so the next time I went in was for season 12. I walked in this time and just gave it to them as to what made me unique. My opening line was “My name is Adam and my three passions are heavy metal, bacon and Beverly Hills, 90210”. You could see everyone in the room kind of look at me a little different. I made it all the way to the finals however they ending up not choosing me but they told me to keep trying.  This year I went back and gave them me again. I had some changes in my life since the previous year such as losing a 100 lbs. and having a girlfriend. I think my confidence definitely showed more and they loved everything that had from the previous year but they loved it even more this year.

AL: Having gone through the audition process a few times what was it like?
AP: They have you jump through hoops and answering questions over and over. There were a couple rounds of interviews with different people. For me there were a lot of sleepless nights waiting for phone calls about whether or not I made it to the next round. Open auditions started in April and it’s not until July that the show starts. For someone who got so close last year, I could taste it and there were lots of nights dreaming about how cool it would be to be on the show.

AL: Did you ever become annoyed with having the cameras around literally all the time?
AP: When you sign up for the show you know going in that the cameras are going to rolling 24-7, you really have no place to hide. I was never annoyed with the cameras but I was annoyed that I could never just get away and have a luxury reward. We had the episode where David Hasselhoff came into the house and four people got to watch the show “Same Name”. I was just praying there would another similar competition to watch a movie or television show. It would have been nice to get out of the game for just a bit,as being in game mode all the time did take a toll on me.

AL: You guys are completely locked out from the outside world correct?
AP: I had no idea about anything going on outside of the house. I remember some of the cast wanting to know what was going on with the Casey Anthony trial. Personally, I wanted to know what was going on with the NFL lockout. I knew I would be getting out of the house in September and a Fall without football just isn’t Fall. I also knew I was missing a lot of great concerts while I was in the house. I really missed an entire summer of new stuff. Being blocked off from society is not always a bad thing but you do miss the connection with people.

AL: What was it like living in an elf suit for a week?
AP: For me it was a good time! People weren’t looking at me as a threat because I was an elf. I was just some goofy guy running around the house making people laugh and drinking syrup. I think the suit came at a good time for me because there were lines starting to be drawn deeper in the sand. No one really thought of me as a threat. I was able to stay under the radar and be entertainment for the house. If anyone in that cast had to get the elf suit, I was glad it was me because I feel I rocked it! I actually still have the suit. I saved it to use later in the game if tension started to get high, but I never did get back out as I was afraid it would make people upset rather than happy.

AL: What do you think was the hardest challenge you participated in?
AP: Probably the food competition from week two. Dominic and I were strapped together in an ant contest. The other guys all got matched up with girls who were pretty easy to carry. Dominic and I are not the smallest people in the house. You put the two of us together in an ant costume crawling over picnic items really tore us up. I have a few scars on my knees from that competition. I’m glad I will never have to do that one again. The ski slope challenge was pretty intense, as well as the first part of the final Head of House competition. We were on the beaters churning butter. I had to stand on this small platform with size 13 feet and about 15 minutes in my legs locked up and I was done. I ended up sitting in the pool for another 10-15 minutes because I just couldn’t move my legs.

AL: Did you guys have an idea as what each competition was going to be ahead of time?
AP: We could hear banging and things like that going on outside but we could never see anything. We had no idea what we were doing until the curtain goes up and we walk outside. We would often speculate what we thought we were going to have to do. At certain times we had a pretty good idea what was going to be coming up but we couldn’t be totally sure until we were out there.

AL: Can you describe the Tori Spelling meeting?
AP: Tori who? [laughs]…..I know that I didn’t win “Big Brother” but Tori Spelling came into the house and knew who Adam Pock was. Tori kissed me on the cheek while I was drinking an appletini! I would have blown through $500,000 so fast but the memories of Tori Spelling kissing me while drinking an appletini in the “Big Brother” house are worth way more than $500,000! It really was a dream come true being on the television show. I figured I would meet Tori one day at a book signing or something, but the fact Tori Spelling knows who I am! was the biggest thrill of the summer for sure. She was just as cute and sweet as I expected her to be. I fell in “love” with her character on the show and I watched her other reality shows and I just couldn’t have expected her to be any sweeter.

AL: Any chance we will see you on the show again?
AP: If people want me back on the show, write to CBS and tell them you want the elf/heavy metal teddy bear back on. Right now, I am back to my day to day life. I am back working at my job and have moved in with my girlfriend. I lost so much in three months that I am trying to catch up on things as much as I can. If I was called to be on the show again I would have to seriously think about it. The show was very draining both physically and mentally but I loved it. If things all worked out at that certain point in time I would probably go back. For right now though I am not knocking on any doors to have me put back in the show anytime soon. I give respect to those people on the show who have done back to back summers. It takes a special person to walk through those doors!

For up to date info on Adam head over to Twitter and follow him @heavymetalteddy