Revocation’s Dave Davidson talks about “Great Is Our Sin”

Dave Davidson is the guitarist/vocalist for the Boston based death metal band Revocation. The group just released their 6th studio album titled “Great Is Our Sin” via Metal Blade Records and is currently out on the road in support of that release with the Summer Slaughter tour. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Dave recently about the new album, the bands new drummer and the group’s plans for the rest of 2016.

RA: The new album “Great Is Our Sin” is absolutely mind-blowing. How was the writing process different on this album versus previous ones?

DD: To be honest, it wasn’t really that different from what we have done on previous albums. It’s usually the same process every time. We just get better at refining and honing our ideas. For me it always starts with the riffs. I will come up with a series of riffs while we’re in a period of writing. The writing period between albums could start the very next day we’re done recording the whole record. I don’t wait around a month before we’re supposed to go in the studio to start writing things. When the inspiration hits me I record it. That way I have a stockpile of material to pull from when I’m organizing my ideas for the next record. Once I have a bunch of riffs set up from there I’ll go through them and start organizing different sections in my head. That’s the way it’s always been. It starts with this germ of an idea, and then it spreads and multiplies from there. We’ve never been afraid to experiment and I think that experimenting over the years has helped us realize what we want our sound to be.

RA: Do you do any writing while you’re touring?

DD: Sometimes. The verse riff for “Communion” came to me while we were in sound check in Hungary and Ash was filling in for us on that tour. I just started playing something and Ash played a thrash beat along with it. Later on that day we recorded it. Inspiration can hit me whenever.

RA: What has the transition been like for the band now having Ash Pearson on drums?

DD: We have known Ash for awhile and have toured with him in the past so we knew going in what he was capable of. I think that has made things a bit easier for us. The thing that was most different is he lives in Vancouver so we when we get together to practice and work on material we have to make sure to make the most out of that time together. What was happening was Ash would fly out when we were doing weekend warrior touring in Boston and New York so we would work on the set and some new material to get a head start. We would be going back and forth with a number of ideas and Ash would record all of that stuff. He travels with a Go-Pro so he’d set that up and film me playing riffs or him playing along to me playing. Then we could go back and refine things from there. Even though we didn’t have the luxury of getting together multiple times a week, I think it made us more focused because we really had to buckle down to make sure we got everything. We would also do Skype sessions back and forth. He would be in Vancouver, I’d be in Boston and I would play him a riff over the computer and he’d have his practice pad out and we’d talk about riffs that way. Luckily he’s such a great drummer who really understands the ins and outs of rhythm so I could give him feedback. He was able to pick up on all the little cues and the feeling of the music which I thought was kind of cool.

RA: How was it working Marty Friedman again?

DD: It was great. It was my second time working with him, having worked on his previous record Inferno. I definitely knew then that I wanted to have him on our record. It really blew me away. It’s weird having one of your idols that you grew up listening to be on one of your records.

RA: What type of gear setup did you use this time around for recording?

DD: I’m using my Jackson signature series guitar which has my DiMarzio signature pickups in it. I feel like it really has my sound. Zeus does a great job with the mixing and mastering and he knows the sounds that we’re looking for. The guitar tone on this album I think is my favorite tone we’ve had so far. It sounds really organic, but also razor sharp and super clean.

RA: What’s the band’s upcoming tour plans for the album?

DD: We’re out on Summer Slaughter with Cannibal Corpse, Nile, Suffocation, and some other great death metal bands right now. After that we have a little downtime before our next tour in Europe with Obscura. I think we’re all sharing a bunk together, so it’ll be like the music nerd bandwagon rolling into town every city. I can’t talk about it too much, but after that we’re planning on doing a headliner or co-headliner when we get back to the states.

RA: You guys have recorded a few covers songs in the past. Has there been any talks of possibly doing and entire EP of cover material?

DD: We actually have talked about that before. We have about six cover songs that we’ve done for records. At this point it would be cool to have each member pick a different cover we could do. It’s just a matter of timing and scheduling. We also have to see what the demand for that kind of thing is. We would also have to have two different labels work together to make that happen as some of cover songs were on Relapse and some released on Metal Blade. There are no concrete plans right now, but it would be cool.

Be sure to checkout our album review of “Great Is Our Sin” in the review section of the site.

Dave Coulier talks reflects on his role in “Full House” and his stand-up comedy tour

Dave Coulier is know best for his role as Joey Gladstone on “Full House”. What you may not know is that before “Full House”, Dave started out as a stand-up comedian. Well, he is returning to those roots this year with a comedy tour and is hitting the road with dates all around the country. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dave about his tour, reflect a bit on “Full House” and even chat about his voice acting roles on “The Real Ghostbusters”. Check out his tour dates, here.

Mike Gencarelli: This year is a big year for you as you tour the comedy circuit from January through October; what can we expect that these shows?
Dave Coulier: I started doing stand up many years before “Full House” and I really wanted to get back to my roots. I love performing live. I have been lucky because people have really been packing these venues. I sold out shows in Cleveland and Cincinnati in the last month. I think a lot of people know me from “Full House” but not as a stand-up comedian. So it has taken a couple of years to remind people that this is what I started doing. But I have a really funny show. I talk about “Full House” a bit but you will also get to see what I do when you are not watching me on “Full House” re-runs. So it is fun!

MG: What would you say is one of the hardest parts of doing stand-ups?
DC:I think the most challenging part for me personally is the travel. The writing is a constant challenge for sure and the actual performing on stage is a real blast and I love it. I also really enjoy getting to meet my fans afterwards during the meet and greets. Like I said though, the hard part is being away from my wife and my family. You are living out of a suitcase in a hotel, so that is certainty tough. The performing, I have been doing that for 35 years, so that part is just a lot of fun.

MG: Since you are touring throughout the year, what do you do to make sure your material does get old for you personally each night?
DC:It is a constant process of weeding out material that doesn’t work and filling it with stronger, fresher and better stuff. That is the process night after night. This set that I am working with now is about an hour and fifteen minutes with material which will also be included in a stand-up special that we are going to be shooting soon. It is going to be called “Glorified Birthday Clown”.

MG: I know a few years ago you did a “Clean Guys of Comedy Tour”; is your current tour family friendly or adults only?
DC:I have always worked pretty clean. If you look at the landscape of comedy today, there is a wide specter of guys like myself, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Jerry Seinfeld and we are all clean. Then there is the other side of the spectrum where the comedians are using F-bombs and being very edgy and there is a lot of different flavors in between that. For me, I just never worked any different. My goal early in my career was to get on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, which was clean. So, I got to make my first appearance on “The Tonight Show” when I as 24 years old and since then, I never really changed my style. So if you come out to one of my shows, you will not be offended. We have all types of people ranging from teenagers to grandparents.

MG: When you played Joey Gladstone on “Full House”; did you ever imagine that this show would still be so popular and people would still be saying taglines like “Cut. It. Out!”, after all these years?
DC:I think we are all really proud of the work we did and that it has had such longevity. It has also become very multi-generational. We have never been off the air since 1987. We have been syndicated in over 100 countries around the world. I think it owes to the fact that it is good family entertainment. You get some good values when you watch an episode of “Full House” and they don’t produce shows like that anymore. We are all also still friends as well, in fact just prior to us speaking now, I was on the telephone with John Stamos. We are closer than ever and I really love the friendships that have developed from working on this show.

MG: Lastly before “Full House”, you have also done tons of great voice work including voicing Dr. Peter Venkman on “The Real Ghostbusters”; what was it like working on a show like that?
DC:It was an great show to work on. It was such an iconic movie and to be able to play a part that Bill Murray played was a real treat for me because I am a real fan of his. It still has a fan base as well. In fact, at one of my stand-up shows recently and a fan had brought actual animation cells from the show to have me sign. So that was really cool that people are still enjoying it also. So for me the coolest part was just to have been involved.

Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick talk about their work with group Metal Allegiance

Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick are probably best known for their work in Megadeth however over the past couple of months the duo have appeared as part of Metal Allegiance. The all-star group along with Ellefson and Broderick the group features Alex Skolnick, Chuck Billy, Frankie Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian and a long list of others. The who’s who of metals top players performed their first show as a part of Motorheads inaugural “Motor Boat Cruise” this past month. Media Mikes spoke with Chris and Dave about the creation of the group, experiences from that first show and what they are most looking forward to about performing with the group here in the States in January.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how a group like this came together?
Dave Ellefson: Mark Menghi is the guy who put this thing together. Back when we were doing the Big 4 shows with Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, Mark had put me and Frank Bello from Anthrax together for a couple of bass clinics. That developed into a couple shows put on by our sponsors called “Metal Masters”. After we finished those dates up Mark and I kept talking about keeping the concept of the shows together but develop a little bit further. “Motor Boat” was where the first real chance to try this idea happened. It was very last minute as there was a ccancellationby one of the headliners. I knew Chris and I were going to be there as was everyone else we had talked about so I called Mark right away. The show was really great and set a lot of what we are going to be doing in the coming months in motion.

AL: Was there any nervousness to get up their being everything was so short notice?
Chris Broderick: Absolutely none! (Laughs) I was so ready to get on that boat and just play. I thought the Metal Allegiance idea was great. It helped keep my ticket on the boat. (Laughs) We had such a great time jamming with everyone. Very rarely do you get an opportunity like this one to play with all these different guys. It’s a killer opportunity to play and hang out with some great people. I do have to say the only reservation I had was hanging out with Mark Menghi. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like performing a set that was mostly improvised?
DE: We usually start determining some sort of set list through an email thread. You can only imagine what an email thread made up of 12 metal heads looks like. Things get crazy quite quickly. At one point playing the “Love Boat” theme was mentioned. The cool part is that everyone involved is really talented and between all of us we can play just about everything. We of course throw in some of our band’s songs but we wanted to go back to playing some of the songs we grew up listening to and learning. Songs by Kiss, Deep Purple and Judas Priest were all mentioned. Of course the set changes from night to night and after the first night we did this we were having dinner with Alex Skolnick and we asked him to come up and do some songs. Alex brought in a whole bunch of songs he knew. Before we knew it we had the entire first side of Van Halen 1. Right before we walked on stage we all sat down at this little table and figured out what we were going to do. We are all like a bunch of kids when we get up there. It’s like forming a band and you keep adding all these amazing players. It’s fun to have those types of moments.

AL: Is there one guy who sort of runs the show when you are doing these type of shows?
DE: We default to Mark Menghi. He is sort of the voice of reason and sanity. When you throw a bunch of gun slinging, metal heads together it tends to turn in to one giant beer drinking brawl. Someone has to come in and make sense out of everything. You do really need that one guy to be the musical leader because I feel it’s important to stay within certain parameters. We don’t want this to come off as being too watered down so the music we do is all metal and hard rock. Its music fans of our regular bands might be into as a lot of them are our age and grew up on the same music.

AL: How does playing in a setting like Metal Allegiance differ from that of Megadeth?
CB: There is a lot more improvisation going on. We rehearse the songs on our own and then we just get up there and do them. When we go up there with Megadeth were doing the same songs night after night. It becomes almost like rope memory. With this you never know where everyone is going to be and there is a much freer flowing feel to things. Each performance is a onetime thing which gives you moments that can never be duplicated.

AL: Is this project something we could be seeing more of in the near future?
DE: Once we did the first show the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. It’s going to be great bringing this show to the House of Blues to kick off NAMM. This type of group is perfect for these events. Outside of those bigger event settings promoters want us to do tour dates all over the world. Our bands separately would tough to get on one bill at one time. Metal Allegiance makes things a little more possible because you bring in the key members from these bands and we can just keep everything loose with a jam feel. The whole thing is about getting a specific vibe.

AL: With you guys being a part of NAMM will you be unveiling any new music equipment at this year’s shows?
DE: I have a brand new signature bass coming out called Kelly Bird 5. This is my 4th signature model with Jackson and lots of them have been rolling out which is really been great. The new model just came out and I am really excited for people to check it along with the other gear I endorse.
CB: I have a hard tail version of my Chris Broderick signature series guitar. This model is going to be offered through the USA custom series. I am not sure if it we will be completely ready by NAMM but it will be out the early part of 2015.

AL: Can you give us a quick update on the new Megadeth album?
DE: The plan is to go into the studio in January. Generally there is never a specific date we put on an albums release as we want to make sure the songs we choose are the best fit for our style. We have quite a bit of material to go through right now.

The Rods’ Dave “Rock” Feinstein and Carl Canedy talks about new song “Great Big Fake Ones”

Media Mikes had the great pleasure recently to speak to not one but two legendary heavy metal musicians. Dave “Rock” Feinstein and Carl Canedy make up 2/3rds of the band The Rods a band which has been carrying the flag for heavy metal and hard rock since the late 1970’s. Both members have new solo albums out along with a newly released Rods single titled “Great Big Fake Ones” and we spoke with the guys recently about these new releases and their plans for the coming year.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the decision to re-issue “Heavier Than Thou” and
“Hollywood”?
Dave “Rock” Feinstein: “Heavier than Thou”, and the “Hollywood” albums have been albums that wanted by the fans for a long time.  We felt that now was a good time to re-issue them.  They are both slightly different than a traditional RODS album, so I think that’s what makes them so interesting to the fans.
Carl Canedy: We’ve been in the process of re-issuing a lot of our back catalog that we own the rights to. These two CD’s in particular were something the fans had not had a chance own in a re-issued, re-mastered format. Fans have been emailing us for years asking when they’d be available. So like Dave said it simply was time.

AL:  What can you tell us about the newly recorded Rods track “Great Big Fake Ones”?
DF: There are many words that have been used to describe the song, but when Carl brought the song in, the three of us just felt that it was so funny, and just different enough to make the fans want to hear it.  You have to take it for what it is.  It’s not a traditional RODS song, but it is a very catchy tune that should make you laugh.
CC: The guys have been really cool about doing a song this since I initially brought it to them. It’s clearly a “one-off” type of song. The fans who’ve heard love it. I think as long as you realize it’s “tongue-in-cheek” you can enjoy it for what it is. Personally I love it and think it’s quite amusing. I gave it to the guys and when it came time to record it was done quickly. Rock and Garry really nailed the vocals.

AL: You both recently released new solo albums. Can you tell us about those and some of the guests who appear on the albums?
DF:  “Clash of Armor” is my forth solo release now and was done mostly by myself and Nate Horton. On my previous releases I have had quite a few guest performers. In the past guys like John West, Michael Butler, Jeff Howell and Matt Barnes have all come in to help me on various tracks as has Nate. On the song “Bitten By the Beast” from my 3rd solo release I had Carl and Garry come in. I played guitar and Ronnie James Dio did the vocals.
CC: On my CD, I have John Hahn, a Leviathan artist who is a Mike Varney discovery. I’ve known John for quite a few years as I played on his first solo CD in the “90’s. Mark Tornillo has 3 vocals, Joe Comeau has 2 vocals and David Porter has 2 vocals. Chris Caffery came in and did some soloing on 2 tracks as well as several other artists who graciously brought their talent to this project.

AL: With a career spanning multiple decades what do you find these days to be the most rewarding part of being a musician?
DF: It’s rewarding to still be able to create new music.  Of course playing live is the ultimate rush, and to know that there are still fans around the world checking out our music and wanting more.

AL: Are there any plans to perform this new material live and what type of
plans do The Rods have in place for 2015?
DF: I think I can speak for the three of us that we love to perform live, and if a song of ours merits being performed live, then we will do so.  Right now for us we take every request to perform seriously, and try to do as much as we can to make these live appearances happen, For us and for the fans as well.
CC: We do have a few dates in the works that are not yet confirmed and we have confirmed the Defenders of Old Festival in March with Exciter. We’re excited about this show as it’s the first time in years we’ve been to the NY area. Also, I love the band and the guys in Exciter so I’m looking forward to the reunion.

Dave Lombardo talks about new album with Philm called “Fire From the Evening Sun”

Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo is back with a brand new release from his band Philm. Titled “Fire from the Evening Sun” the album is a blending of music styles ranging from full on thrash to progressive rock and everything in between. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Dave recently about the bands sophomore release and their plans to take their unique sound on the road.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how this album came together?
Dave Lombardo: We are a very productive group. We tend to do a lot of improvisations when we are together and we record those. From there we do what I call “trim the fat”. We take out all the pieces that don’t really work and only focus on the high points. From there we create the traditional elements of the song such as the verses and choruses. When we are done we like to the songs sit for a bit before Jerry goes in and works on the vocals. The material on the new album is songs that we have been working on since we recorded our first album “Harmonic”. A lot of these songs were written during the mix down of the first. How we go about our song writing is pretty interesting. There is not just one person who brings in material and they dictate how the song is to go. We are very collective.

AL: Can you tell us about the different style you guys took on “Fire from the Evening Sun” as compared to “Harmonic”?
DL: There are some production differences between the two. I also feel this album has a more straight forward and in your face approach related to the sound. With “Harmonic” that was a more laid back and experimental album. On the first record I let guys come in and play whatever that wanted. With the new record I feel like I had a little more say in making sure the songs were concise and aggressive. There are a lot of different approaches you can take when making an album. The next album we might decide to throw everyone a curve ball and do something completely different from the previous two albums.

AL: Do you prefer creating music out of improvisation as compared to more traditional approaches?
DL: It’s more fulfilling. When you do things this way it’s more organic and less thought. When you improvise you are creating on the fly. You have to come up with something really quick as there is really no time to think. You play what you feel. That’s how all of this music was created. These songs came from three people improvising with one another. I think doing things this way gives the songs a certain level of excitement.

AL: Being involved as an artist and a producer on both of the bands release do you ever find it hard balancing the two roles?
DL: It’s not difficult but I will take that producer hat off within the process but at the same time I have to be able to make decisions on issues as they come up. Having worked with so many amazing producers and song writers I am able to do what I do by consciously and subconsciously using their approach. The guys in the band know how I work and I will tell them before we start what I am feeling. Most of the time we are all on the same page and do what is best for the material.

AL: You brought in outside help to mix the album this time. Can you tell us about that decision?
DL: When you are a producer you have to step out and let others take control for a second to ensure things are not one sided. I brought in Robert Carranza to mix this album because I felt that the mix wasn’t where it should be. Robert did a great job and shortly after Tyler Bates offered to master it. It was actually Tyler’s idea to bring in Robert to do the mixing. I appreciated his input and was thankful for the advice.

AL: Tell us a little bit about the two singles the band has released thus far?
DL: We have released “Fire from the Evening Son” and “Train”. “Fire from the Evening Son” is a song we chose because it has a very thrash metal feel. I believe that’s what fans want from me. They want something aggressive in my drumming and my band. I think that’s what this song is about. The song has a great drive and shows our versatility. Both songs I think have that signature sound I am known for.

AL: When you take this material out on the road will there be elements of improvisation or will you be sticking to what is heard on the album?
DL: We are going to be doing what is heard on the album. We can certainly get up on stage and show people how improvisation is done but I don’t think they are ready for that yet. All the songs we are playing live are complete songs from the albums. We have 6 songs done for the next album. They don’t have words just yet so sometimes we will go out and do some of the new material for an encore. We play around on those and try some different things.

AL: Can you tell us what the tour plans are for you guys?
DL: I would like to start performing here in the States as soon we can. I would love to tour the world with this we just have to find a booking agent who is this with us whole heartedly. We have done four shows in Europe as well as some shows in Colombia and Ecuador. We also have some things planned for November as well.

Skid Row’s Dave “The Snake” Sabo talks about new EP’s “United World Rebellion”

Dave “The Snake” Sabo is the guitarist for the hard rock/heavy metal band Skid Row who recently released the first of 3 EP’s titled “United World Rebellion Chapter 1”. With Chapter 2 set for an early August release and Chapter 3 slated for release in 2015 the band originally from Toms River, NJ shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Media Mikes recently had the pleasure of speaking with Snake about the bands current releases, his 28 yr writing/band partnership with bassist Rachel Boland and balancing the duties of being a guitarist and manager.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the second EP you have coming out and why you chose to release the album via 3 separate EP’s?
Snake Sabo: The music business is much more different now that it was through the better part of our career. We were raised on doing things a certain way in that you release a record of 12 or 14 songs and then you go out and tour for 2 years. For us that just doesn’t work anymore. We are living in an age of information overload. Things are being thrown at us at such a rapid basis that it’s hard to take it all in and navigate through the white noise. With the way music is being delivered these days we started to feel that maybe less is more. We figured we could hit people with a few songs, let them digest a bit and hopefully you have left them wanting more. Doing things this ways makes sense on a number of different levels. Economically we are able to keep costs down in the studio as we are only in there for about 2 weeks which is awesome. We can also keep the retail/download prices down as well. We aren’t asking the listeners to invest a lot of time or money in to something we are just hoping that we can provide them with something they can get off on and enjoy. We then do the whole process again 8 or 9 months down the line which gives us a steady stream of material being released. Things are very much in the moment because that’s how we are creating it. It is very fresh and pure and not convoluted in anyway. We didn’t go in and write 20 songs that we are just released over time we have written separately for each release so far. Things are working really well for us this way and it feels great. We are having a lot of fun. This new EP was probably the most fun I have ever had doing a Skid Row record. Rachel and I were pretty much on the same page the whole time and everyone in the band was galvanized. We dove head first in to this and no matter where something started it became all of ours in the end. It was really great to be a part of that.

AL: The new EP’s both seem to be quite a bit heavier than the bands previous releases. Was this something you did consciously or did that happen more naturally?
SS: Things happened very naturally. We want to write the best songs we can within where are collective headspaces are at during that time. Things tend to start out with a conversation and from there we just follow things in to songwriting.  This time around we asked ourselves why we make music. It always comes back to it being the most pure form of expression for us even from the time we were teenagers. Music was and still is the great escape for us. We found that feeling again and got back to it. We noticed things really didn’t change from when we used to stand in front of the mirror dreaming we were Gene Simmons or Ace Frehley. Our problems might be different these days but things are just as impactful and dramatic as they were when we were 16. Music is our avenue for expression so we pealed back some layers of the onion to get to the heart of things again and that helped us realize what was going on. From there the light just kicked on and away we went.

AL: How has yours and Rachel’s writing relationship evolved over the years?
 SS: I think we probably know each other better than anyone else in our lives. 28 years will do that. It’s one of those things where if we aren’t hanging out every day we are at least communication in some form or another. It’s very rare we go through a day without speaking. With all the life we have experienced together we just have a tremendous amount of respect for one another. We have each other’s backs regardless. When we are working and I come with an idea in my head and Rachel has a feeling in his heart we go with that feeling over the head every time. That’s not always the easiest thing to do but judgment wise it has always worked out in the end. It takes a lot of living life to get to that point with somebody. I am really proud we have been able to not only coexist but flourish in keeping Skid Row alive for 28 years now.

AL: What is it that appeals to you about putting out new music? And is it hard to introduce that new material being that you have such a well know back catalog?
SS: Sure it can be hard. You want to be self indulgent but at the same time people are paying money to see you play and you know they want to hear specific songs. I believe there is a way to make both sides happy. I am proud of everything we have ever done as a band. I have no problem playing “Youth Gone Wild” or a new song like “Kings of Demolition”. To me it is all cut from the same cloth so I can be upset if people want to hear one song more than another. I am thankful people want to listen and am very proud of that. We have been introducing some newer stuff and it has been going over well lately and it has been getting more than just a golf clap. The songs are infectious so you can’t help but bob your head to a song like “Kings”. When I go to shows I find it exciting to hear new music. I remember seeing Soundgarden open up for Neil Young one time and they played the song “Spoon Man”. This was just before “Super Unknown” came out. I loved that song! I think about how that experience had an impact on me and I hope that our material will have the same impact.

AL: The band has been out since April touring. How far will this current tour run take the band?
SS: We are booked through mid December. We plan to take some time off for the holidays and we are talking about getting together sometime in January to start writing the 3rd EP. With the second EP coming out in August we want to go out and tour on that as well so by January it will have been out 4 or 5 months by then so we will probably want to tour some more in support of that. Our goal is to tour 6 to 8 months for each EP release. A lot will depend on how the releases are received by the public as well as with where are heads are at when we decide to sit down and start writing. As long as we are still having fun each night we will continue to be out there.

AL: You also manage bands. How do you go about balancing your duties for each project?
SS: I don’t know. (Laughs) I love working with the guys from Down and Vintage Trouble. Doing that almost balances everything out. At one point I’m out on the road doing shows and all that and then I get to step out of that roll and in to the role of manager where I still get to be involved in music but on a different level. It can be trying at time but technology has a wonderful way of keeping everyone connected. If I didn’t have that I don’t know what I would do.

Scythia’s Dave Khan talks about upcoming album “Into the Storm”

Dave Khan is the lead guitarist and vocalist for the mythical Canadian metal band Scythia. The group recently released a hysterical music video for the song “Bear Claw Tavern” which has been racking up hits via YouTube.com. Media Mikes spoke with Dave recently about the formation of the band, their upcoming album titled “Into the Storm” and how the idea for their successful video came about.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how the band started?
Dave Kahn: The band began in 2008 with me and a guy I went to college with. It really all started out as a joke. We quickly found out after doing some shows that we had some catchy material that people liked. We decided to keep some of the fantasy elements we were using but also to become a bit more serious about doing the band. We have a good selection of rowdy tavern music and progressive metal songs because we suffer from a bit of an identity crisis at times. (Laughs) We try and unite those two things with a common denominator be it a melody or something that ties the song to the band.

AL: How did you go about finding members who were interested in doing a band like this?
DK: The funny thing about that is it never happened through the usual channels like musician postings or things like that. When we did put out postings we never found anyone who was on the same page with what we wanted to do. It was more just us getting out there and doing are thing. Initially it was people from college which was a bit chaotic at times as we all came from different backgrounds. Everyone was throwing in different styles which caused a lot of pull. When someone left the group I tried to replace them with someone I knew. I would try and find people who were from outside of our group and familiar with the band. I was looking for people who didn’t look like typical metal heads.

AL: What was it that interested in the fantasy concept?
DK: I have grown up with a great love for fantasy books, movies and games. It has always been a secret side life of mine. I felt the band was the best medium for giving that side of me some attention. I wanted to get up there and creatively show off these ideas I had in my head. Within the last few years in popular culture it has become ok to be a nerd. People are now embracing fantasy stuff and making it socially acceptable and cool.

AL: Can you give us some background on the bands upcoming album?
DK: People wanting to check out the new album can stream a couple of the songs via our band camp page and on CD Baby. We don’t’ want everyone to hear the entire album just yet as we want to make sure that info about the album is out there and we want to have a solid release date. We are almost set to start taking pre-orders and currently have two singles out. “Bear Claw Tavern” and “Into the Storm” are available now.

AL: How does the creative process work for you guys/girl?
DK: I and Terry are the primary story/song writers. This album has had more collaboration than our previous ones as in the past we would write on our own and then bring things together and add in the instrumentation. This time Terry camped out at my house and we both sat in front of my pro tools rig and we did everything together. This was far more collaborative. The other two band members provided input as well but they didn’t do as much of the creative work.

AL: Tell us how the idea for the “Bear Claw Tavern” video came together?
DK: On our last release we had sort of a drinking song on there called “For the Bear”. That song got people excited especially when we were doing shows in North America. People really got in to it and I knew we needed to do something big. At the time we were shooting a video that I think we paid $250 for and after that we said that for the next video we wanted to shoot one at a tavern. The more we thought about it we realized that people who watch videos want to watch ones that are good. We knew we didn’t want to do another video like the one we had just done. I went and talked to Director Richard Olak because I knew he had an idea about fantasy. Now when I started this I never realized how much things could cost. Richard brought me up to speed on things and I explained to him that this was something we had to do. He brought up the idea of crowd sourcing and ultimately that is what we did. We raised about $2500 through Indiegogo.com. That money allowed us to get a start on things so we gave it to Richard and told him to just run with it. Just before we were set to start shooting Richard came to me and told me that the only time the tavern could give was from 12am to 12pm on a holiday. He told me that he had to basically ditch his entire story line due to the tavern only being available at that one time. That was something that I didn’t want to hear. (Laughs) Richard told me he had all the actors and crew coming and that they would figure something out on the fly. I was a bit hesitant that this was going to happen without any issues. I ended up being completely wrong as things went great! We got there and Richard told us to just rock our asses of. That’s what we did and they were able to get our stuff done in about 3 takes. We saw some of the characters on set beforehand but didn’t really have an idea what they were going to be doing. After taking a break we came back to set and everything in the place had changed. There was a little person running around with a hot dog trying to give it to a wizard! (Laughs) I knew then that the video was going to be really cool. We sat and watched the rest of the shoot which was really great. Everyone who worked on this video was really awesome.

AL: Besides the release of “Into the Storm” what other plans does the band have going in to 2014?
DK: We are in the process of booking a tour which will take us through Canada and the United States. Unfortunately it is going to keep us more towards the western half of those countries for now. We are also working on some festival in the east which will hopefully give way to some shows in Philadelphia and New York. After the release of the “Bear Claw Tavern” video we have been getting requests to go all over. We would love to make all those requests happen but in order to drive to some of these places is not always feasible as it’s quite of an investment. We are also looking to tour Europe this year as well.
For more info on Dave and his band Scythia you can check out their official website at www.scythia.ca

Anthrax’s Dan Spitz talks about new band Red Lamb with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine

Dan Spitz is best known as one of the founding member of the thrash metal group Anthrax. Together with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Dan has put together a new band called Red Lamb. The band is set to release a new video in the coming months and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Dan about the project and the premise behind it.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new band Red Lamb?
Dan Spitz: Red Lamb is the first thing I have ever done full bore outside of Anthrax. I am charging forward with this project the same way I did with Anthrax. We are trying to break new ground as there is a purpose behind this band. Because of that purpose the music its self took a long time to create and get its sound. This music is different from my past but still reminiscent of me. This was a fresh start for me. This is a collaborative effort between me and Dave Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. He came in one day to hear what I was doing and really took hold of it. This is I think the first thing he has ever done outside of Megadeth. He really wanted to be a band member more than a co-producer or co-lyricist. Dave known’s my family so he has sort of a personal stake in this material. He knows the purpose of the band.

AL: Can you elaborate more on the purpose behind the band?
DS: Around the world we have a problem with Autism. Previous generations saw Autism however it wasn’t in every neighborhood. It’s now infiltrating everywhere. My wife and I have identical twin boys who are both Autistic. There is a song on the album titled “Puzzle Box” which will be are next release that we just finished a video for. I hope to change the world through music by bringing awareness around the world that this is a serious problem. We aren’t asking for people to send us money to give to a certain charity. We want to just bring awareness around the world. The CDC just released a statistic that 1 in 56 boys born with have autism. That is crazy! What will we do when everyone grows up and can’t function in a normal job? We pull no punches and I am living this hear every day with my kids. That’s what Red Lamb is here to do. Once the machine roles we will be doing something on a permanent basis.

AL: What will be the actual premise of the video?
DS: The “Puzzle Box” video is really going to be like a mini movie. Our singer Donny is a video producer so I was kind of blessed to have him in the band. He was able to take my idea and show what we live each day as a family. We are going to show to the world what it is like to live with Autism. My family are all in this video. We also filmed at the Autism Speaks walk. We filmed all kinds of important people and things that will be included in the video. I am not here preaching but everyone needs to just wake up. If you look on Facebook people are writing in about how they are affected by Autism. It’s a really moving video. There are people in the movie and sports industry that have been standing up for Autism for years but there has never been anyone in music that has done anything. People often wonder why it has taken me so long after leaving Anthrax to do something new. Now people will get to see what goes on in my house on a regular basis. Every 30 seconds there is a crisis going on. To write and record is very difficult. Eventually I had to leave and live at Dave’s studio to be able to finish work on this project. Things are that hard where I had to completely remove myself. It’s time everyone see’s what’s going on.

AL: What can you tell us about your work on the film “Goat”?
DS: That film has some really cool people in it. Ice-T is the film and it’s funny because he used to be a huge Anthrax fan. A friend of mine is making this film and it is now completed. The song “One Shell in the Chamber” which will appear on the Red Lamb album made it into thefilm. We started writing stuff and decided that parts of that song fit really well. There is some other stuff in the can for other movies my friend has made also. The High School I went to produced quite a few people who have gone on to do things that have really changed the world. We were either friends or we played against them in battle of the bands contests. We all hung out. The guy who did this film is one of those people. Some of the other people I hung out with now put on some of the biggest shows on Broadway. I have had beers with some pretty cool people. (Laughs)

AL: What other stuff do you have going on right now?
DS: At this point I do plan on doing a bunch of things. Red Lamb is taking up most of my time right now. Once this video is done and out then the object is to go out and play. It will be time. We started a little while ago putting things together so I can get back on the stage. I have been away for awhile so it will be great to get back to where I belong. I took some time off from music to clear my head and during that time I realized what I was here to do. I’m back doing it and I don’t plan to stop. I also am currently working of some stuff with Chris Vrenna from Marilyn Manson which is turning out really cool.

Dave and Dave A Go Talk: An Interview with Dave Wakeling of the English Beat

Ska /skä/ (noun) – A style of fast popular music having a strong offbeat and originating in Jamaica in the 1960s, a forerunner of reggae.

If you’ve ever listened to music by the likes of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Madness, Fishbone or The Specials – as well as bands that infuse elements of ska into their music like No Doubt and Reel Big Fish – you know that the genre’s intense energy makes it almost impossible not to get out of your seat and start to move your feet to the rockinest, rock-steady rhythm around. The Beat – known in the US as The English Beat – was one of the bands at the forefront of ska’s second revival (or “wave”) and one of its best.  With hits like “Save it for Later” and “Mirror in the Bathroom”, the English Beat had the ability to propel audience members into a skankin’ dance frenzy.

And they still do.

Dave Wakeling, the lead singer and guitarist of the English Beat, and the entourage of musicians that round out the current iteration of the band extensively tour the United States and feed audiences a steady dose of high-energy music that often manages to weave in politically-astute and cutting lyrics.  The crowd sweats, the band sweats and, by night’s end, both are all the better for it.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Dave about the driving force that powers the English Beat’s seemingly non-stop touring, a great soundtrack album that never happened, how a cup of kindness can occasionally have a very bitter taste and why he might cause quite a ruckus when visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Dave Picton: The English Beat tours VERY extensively.  How do you maintain such a rigorous schedule given that your shows are intensely energetic?
Dave Wakeling: Well, we’ve got a decent balance.  Every other month we go on tour for about three weeks and we do about 15 or 17 shows in 21 days.  The other five weeks we’re here at home and we just work Fridays and Saturdays in California normally driving up and down the coast depending.  That way, although we’re doing an enormous amount of work, we’re all getting time off in those weeks so it all works out very well.  We never stay on the road more than three weeks because you start scraping the barrel.  It’s always nice to be able to have fresh real emotions to do the songs.  We can do our memory muscle emotion but it’s not the same. It doesn’t connect as well. It’s kind of dissatisfying.  But if I do a show right under the right circumstances, I feel fresher at the end of the show than I did at the start.  So it’s sort of nurturing to me at this point.

DP: I went to one of your shows about a year ago and it was the first time I had seen you guys.  It was certainly the most fun I’ve ever had at a concert.
DW: Thanks! Where was it?

DP: In Fairfield, Connecticut at FTC’s Stage One.
DW: Right, the train spot.

DP: Yep, that’s the one.  Everyone in the crowd danced throughout the entire show and I’d never really seen that happen before to that level of intensity, but I’m guessing that’s something you’re quite accustomed to.
DW: You know, sometimes people are surprised the first time we get to a venue and they’re not expecting it.  Now, at Fairfield, we’ve been a good few times and people come with an anxious anticipation of having a good dance, I think. It’s all the more benefit, Dave, I think because times are times are really tight. Our social lives and our work lives particularly can be quite tense and the world, at least according to the TV news, is a scary place.  So it’s nice to be able to go someplace with a peer group and throw all caution to the wind and feel at one with yourself and your memories and everybody else in the room.  It’s a rare occasion and the people tell us that they’re really grateful of it and that it can see them through until the next Wednesday.

DP: That certainly was the case for me.  In fact, the show spawned probably the most justified concert t-shirt purchase I’ve ever made because, by the end of your first set, I was absolutely drenched with sweat.  So I bought the shirt, went into the bathroom and changed out of my wet towel of a shirt in favor of my newly-bought English Beat shirt.  Sure enough, by the end of the show, that one was drenched too.
DW:  Ah yes!  Bless your heart.  That’s the ticket.  I end up soaking wet at the end of the shows too, but I don’t really notice it, even though you might start to get tired heading into the second hour of the show after about the one-hour mark. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, you’re back up there again with the energy from the audience. So it’s kind of like what the band does in the first half, the audience holds us back up with in the second half.

DP: I’m curious to know about how the band came together in 1978.
DW: What was most remarkable about it that it was the first person we met played a particular instrument ended up playing that instrument in the band. There weren’t any auditions or “what about this guy” or “what about that guy” and so it was very much like what you might see in a movie script about putting a band together.  Everything all came together so wonderfully easy that, right at the beginning, you had a sense that it wasn’t going to last for very long. [laughs] It had a certain magical charm to it that this group of people were put together for a certain purpose.  And it turned out that it was, you know.  We managed to combine dance music with a gentle social commentary or a subtle gentle prodding. So we wanted to combine both types of prodding, the sexual and the social. [laughs] And it worked perfectly.  Even now, I’m getting messages from people at Occupy Wall Street saying that the Beat album is being played, that the songs “Big Shot” and “Stand Down Margaret” are deemed particularly appropriate for the times.  One of the huge benefits is that if you’re lucky enough to get a chance to be in the moment fully, then it never really goes away.  Once you’ve made that connection – even though sometimes the waves of ska take seven years in between high tides – it always flows back and all of a sudden lyrics become pertinent again.

DP: Any chance you’d put together some new material and release a new studio album that might include songs in which the lyrics deal with current issues and socio-political topics?
DW: We’re in the process of doing that now, actually. I’ve got just over 20 songs started and some of them are my favorite songs that I’ve ever done.  I always feel that, though.  But, interestingly, I was just going though them and initially I hadn’t really thought about them in terms of an album.  But then I started trying to figure out what songs would I put on an album this week and it sort of changed a little bit.  It was a bit more romantic of a mood a few months ago but now the streets are filling up with people and some of the other songs are starting to become very timely and appropriate.  The English Beat and the General Public catalog are both being re-licensed and re-released at the beginning of next year and so I’m hoping to take a jolly good slipstream off the back of some of that and introduce my new songs. I’ve been playing them out live.  We played a few of them in Fairfield over the past couple of years.  Just as we get a song ready, we might play it at somewhere that is friendly to us.  They’re going down really great.  I’ve been battling with how to get the songs out sort of algebraically correct as everything’s done with computers nowadays and still manage to retain the live groove and excitement of the live concert and, after much exploration, we finally found a way to do it.  Once we got our technique down, we banged out a lot of the songs with full spirit and they sound tremendous.  I’m really pleased.

DP:  The English Beat is currently a tale of two bands: The English Beat fronted by you here in the States and The Beat that includes two of your original band mates from the early 80’s.  How does that work – especially if you want to perform shows or tour in the UK?
DW: Well, it was fine.  Now it’s causing enormous trouble.  I wish I had never suggested it in the first place. You know, your kindness can come back and bite you in the ass, can’t it? Now it’s difficult for me to find a gig in England because they can’t call me “The Beat” because [Ranking] Roger’s used that name so much and they can’t call me “The English Beat” because they’ll think that everybody will think that’s a cover band covering the Beat’s songs.  I find myself with the irony of trying to arrange a song in my hometown and finding it more difficult than I expected! [laughs]  It’s the troubles of ska, Dave.  I tell you it’s not as easy as it looks, mate! It looks like one knees-up party but – oh no! – the Machiavellian things that go on in the background. [laughs]

DP: So where do you see the future of ska going?
DW: I think it’s got a rosy future. It’s always been a music of happy protest and I think there’s going to be much of a taste for that in the upcoming months and year.  We found during the punk times or during the 90’s that if you protest too much, it starts to sound like whining and you actually wind up distancing yourself more from the people that you want to reach.  Ska – and reggae I suppose – has always had that ability to sound like a party from a distance and then as you dig into the lyrics, you hear that there singing about starving children but it’s acceptable because it’s been put to you in such a delicious way with the beat and it hits your spirit way before it tries to stretch your mind.  I think we’re going to start to see a lot of that especially as there aren’t really a lot of record companies that are telling artists “don’t do this” or “don’t do that” to try to modify them for the charts.  I think you’re going to see a lot more people just singing straight from their heart and straight into the computer.  I dare say there will be a renaissance.  I don’t know what wave of ska we’re on now.  I think maybe the fifth wave is about to come, I’m not sure.  But I imagine that we shall see one and I’ll be there trying to flagrantly take best advantage of it as soon as it happens you can be rest assured of that! [laughs]

DP:  In addition to being a fan of your music, I’ve always been a fan of UB40, a band that started in Birmingham and got together the same year that the Beat did, 1978. Why do you think was there such a massive ska and reggae movement in your hometown?
DW: The guys in UB40 and I grew up within a mile of one another as kids.  It’s remarkable.  There were also the Selector and the Specials in Coventry and Dexy’s Midnight Runners in Birmingham at the same time. I think more than anything else it was a post-punk reaction where punk hadn’t really been a huge deal in Birmingham.  Most of the people who had made any name of it in that genre had gone off to London to do it, as is traditional in Birmingham.  But immediately post-punk, for reasons I’ve never really fully understood, a terrific scene developed that we weren’t even aware of, frankly, because who was to know that UB40 was going to become the biggest-selling reggae band in the world or that Dexy’s Midnight Runners were going to be lauded as poets for decades?  Nobody had that idea of that at the time, really.  We were just three local pub bands trying to be sarcastic about each other behind each other’s backs! [laughs]

DP: Your song “March of the Swivelheads”, an instrumental version that you released of “Rotating Head”, was used extremely effectively in the ending chase sequence in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.
DW: It was, wasn’t it?

DP: Definitely. And it’s probably the song that’s most associated with the movie – with the possible exception of Yello’s “Oh Yeah”.  Yet, despite the degree to which music was at the core of the movie and how successful the film was at the box office, no soundtrack album was ever released.  Do you know why this was the case?
DW:  I never really fully understood why.  I think what was happening at that time was that John Hughes was starting to develop his own company, John Hughes Music, and all of a sudden trying to license tracks three ways rather than two became thoroughly complicated.  I think that was what happened because we were fully anticipating a soundtrack at the time and, of course, it was going to be a fairly great one.

DP: And probably a big seller, too based on the fact that soundtrack albums to his movies usually moved lots of copies because kids dug the music and, in order to relive the movie experience, bought the soundtrack album or cassette given that, at the time, you couldn’t go out and buy a videotape of the film or download it.  I know a lot of soundtracks from John Hughes movies wound up in my record collection for that very reason.
DW:  Right. You know, they’re making a documentary about that film now. I’ve been invited to speak on the DVD of that documentary but I haven’t really decided yet.  I’m not really sure, to be honest.

DP: While we’re on the topic of soundtracks and collections of songs by various artists, if I snagged you iPod, turned it on and pressed “random”, what would I hear?
DW: Well, you’d be very lucky if you managed to snag my iPod, because I don’t have one and I never will.  I don’t think they sound any good.  My son, a few years ago, came running up all disappointed like “Oh, dad! My iPod’s broken!”  And I said “Good!” [laughs]  You know, the instruments in a classical orchestra were effectively designed around human’s emotional points –  chakras is what I call them – and analog recording was designed around those same parameters.  But when you switch the whole thing to digital, one of the things that happens is that the instruments don’t resonate at the same places they used to.  So the old people who say the “album” vinyl version of Led Zeppelin I sounds warmer than when they listen to it on their iPods are absolutely correct.

DP:  I noticed that on the English Beat’s facebook page that you had posted a picture of your hallmark teardrop-shaped guitar that had made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  How did that come to happen?
DW: Yes, I just put the photographs of it up yesterday on my facebook as well as that, recently in my hometown local newspaper, the Birmingham Evening Mail, printed out what they thought were their all-time top 10 bands to come out of Birmingham and we came fifth after Black Sabbath, the Moody Blues, Duran Duran and ELO.  So to be able to post both of those things in the same week was stunning to me.  I first met the people associated with the Hall of Fame when we opened for Devo in Cleveland and they started coming to a few shows.  They gave us a tour of the museum and we got to go back behind the scenes. You have to have a coat on and a pair of gloves sort of like a doctor to go back in this spot. You’re not allowed to touch anything.   We saw one of Bob Marley’s dreadlocks in a box covered in paper tissue.  They opened another box and there was a longish envelope that had been slit open and on the inside in John Lennon’s handwriting was an early draft of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” with all of these crossings-out and changes.  You could see where he was playing with the words and the rhymes.  Absolutely stunning.  I had a fantastic time.  I got to meet the guy that runs it and it turned out that in 1980 he’d been a college radio guy in Ann Arbor and, unbeknownst to me, I’d been his first interview ever on the air and I was really kind to him, I guess and helped him through and now he’s the head honcho at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! [laughs] So on my way out, they asked me if I enjoyed myself and I said that it was fantastic.  The only placed that had ever moved me more, really, was the Motown Museum I have to visit every time I go to Detroit.  So they said, “OK…well when do we get your guitar?” and I was like “WHAT?!?” [laughs] It was sad though, to be honest, because I played that particular guitar at every gig for 27 years.  So it came the morning to hand it in and I had a little play on it in the hotel room, talked to it a bit and shed a couple of tears.  They fell on the guitar so I polished the guitar with tears, put it in the box and took it in.  I still feel kind of guilty because I know it doesn’t know what’s going on.  It thinks it’s just waiting between the sound check and the gig, you know? “No, no…Dave will be here in a minute. Long break before the show tonight isn’t it?” [laughs]  So I have to talk to it whenever I go back and look at it in the case and try to explain the situation, but then I start gathering crowds of tourists looking at me. “Oh look, daddy!  That old man is talking to a guitar!” I’ll have to stop, let the crowd disburse and then go back and have another chat.

DP:  So if the Hall of Fame gets broken into and that guitar is the only thing missing as a result, I think I’ll be able to tell the authorities who their main suspect should be, right?

DW:Yeah! Either that or it probably walked and came back! [laughs] One day, I may have to use it at a show in Cleveland.  The paperwork is extensive because it’s now not a musical instrument.  It’s insured as an artifact.  In fact, nobody’s allowed to touch it without white gloves – including myself.  A lot of people said it sounded like I played it with gloves on anyway, so it’ll all work out! [laughs]

 For more information about the English Beat and tour dates visit:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishBeatFans
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/englishbeatfans
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/officialbeatspace
Dave’s official web page: http://www.davewakeling.com/home.asp

Interview with Dave Foley

Dave Foley is known best for his TV work in “The Kids in the Hall” and “NewsRadio”. He is currently co-starring with Kevin Dillon and David Hornsby in CBS’s new comedy “How to Be a Gentleman”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dave about his new show, his work with “The Kids in the Hall” and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role of Jerry in “How to Be a Gentleman”?
Dave Foley: The show is created by David Hornsby.  He was the writer, producer and performer in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. He writes a column for men in a Maxim style magazine and I play Jerry his editor.  Jerry is a man around 50, who is scared of losing his job and trying to stay relevant to his 25 year old boss.

MG: You are no stranger to comedy, how do you feel this show differs from your other comedy work?
DF: It’s actually has more similarities to shows like “NewsRadio” or “Kids in the Hall”.  It is a really strong ensemble of great performers.  Everyone in the cast is really funny. Behind that just like “NewsRadio”, it has a great writing staff.  To me I have been very fortunate to be able to continue working with great actors and writers.

MG: Switching to sci-fi, tell us about your work on the season finale of “Eureka”, any plans to come back?
DF: I was hoping to come back but they just announced they have already shot the rest of the episodes for their final season.  I was a big fan of that show and was good friends with Matthew Hastings, one of the producers and directors on the show.  I kept bugging him to get me a part in the show. I really wanted to be on it because I was such a fan.  So about a year later, we finally made it happen…he had a script and I wasn’t busy.  It was really fun.

MG: What are your feeling about Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson going on tour this year?
DF: It’s a great show and I actually opened for them when they did the show in L.A. They are both doing stand up but then they come together throughout the show and do bits.  It goes back and forth. It is hilarious.

MG: Do you ever see yourself working again under “The Kids in the Hall”?
DF: Yeah I would love to.  We were trying to get a tour together for this Fall as well, but now I got this job with “How To Be a Gentleman”.  But we want to keep touring with each other for as many years as we can and also more smaller “Kids” projects down the road.  We definitely want to keep “The Kids in the Hall” part of our creative lives.

MG: I really enjoyed the mini-series feel for “Death Comes to Town”.
DF: It started out we were trying to come up with movie ideas. So this idea came up and Kevin (McDonald) and Bruce (McCulloch) were developing it. They came back and said it would work better as a mini-series.  We had no plans of ever doing television together again, since we already did a pretty good sketch show.  So we figured a mini-series with a narrative was the way to go and thought it would be fun.

MG: How do you compare doing voice work to live action work, do you prefer one over another?
DF: There are different challenges.  Working with voice work it is all in your head and your relying very heavily on your director in order to know what the other actors have done, what the story is and the what are the visuals.  They paint the scene in your head for you and then you have to act the best you can and make it seem real.  In my case, make it funny.  Unlike when you are on a movie set, you have props, other actors and sets.  So it can be very different.

MG: Tell us what you like most about working on “Dan Vs.” and what can we expect from season two this October?
DF: It is really fun.  A lot of the time I get to be in the studio with Curtis Armstrong and Paget Brewster.  The three of us get to work together and that doesn’t usually happen with animation.  I think as the show goes along Dan becomes increasingly sociopathic and dangerous [laughs].  I think some of the scripts are getting a little weirder and absurd as we go along, but it is keeping to the same tone.  I enjoy it quite a bit.

MG: Any plans upcoming for another “Prep and Landing” special?
DF: Yes in fact, there is going to be a new “Prep and Landing” special this Christmas. Rob Riggle is going to do a voice on it also.  It is a new story and it is going to be on this Christmas, so it is really exciting.

MG: You have been involved with Pixar before with “A Bug’s Life”, any truth to your involvement with “Monsters University”?
DF: Yes I am doing once of the voice, that is correct.  I have already been up to San Francisco to record, so I am very excited for that.

GWAR’s Dave Brockie aka “Oderus Urungus” Talks “Blood Vomits”

Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus has a role in the upcoming kickstarter.com funded puppet adventure “Blood Vomits” Mediamikes.com caught up with Dave to talk about the project as well as some of the other things he has been working on lately.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your role in the “Blood Vomits” project?
Dave Brockie: I didn’t really do a whole lot. I offered some moral support as well as doing the voice of Mad Dog who is one of the lead characters. Pretty much Davis Bradley and Michael Derks were responsible for getting all of the elements of the story together. I just came in and did my voice. For once I wasn’t running the show. I really enjoyed the hell out of coming in and just being a supporting player! There just is so much talent in the Gwar camp that it was nice to sit back for a change. I have been doing a lot of the publicity and informing the fans about the project which has been great.

AL: Had you heard of Kickstarter.com prior to this project?
DB: No I hadn’t. Mike brought that idea to everyone and it’s really an amazing thing. We were very surprised with how well we did. Originally the guys were going to only ask for $2,500. I told them to just go for it and ask for $5,000 and we ended up with $7,000 so we were really happy with it. I’m sure we will be using it again in the future as it’s a really awesome tool for artists.

AL: Can you tell us about your book that was released recently titled “Whargoul”?
DB: “Whargoul” came out on Dead Eye press which is a division of Eraser Head press. I had written the book about 10 years ago and had it up on my website for quite awhile. This company got in touch with me and was interested in putting out the story in a real book form. I said “Hell Yeah” they set everything up and it has been doing pretty good. It’s also available in a Kindle version as well. They have asked me to write a sequel but I don’t know if I can write a sequel to “Whargoul”. I did leave the character in spot to where a sequel could happen but I don’t know. “Whargoul” took a really long time to write and it was a struggle. I want to write another novel but I’m not sure I want to write a sequel just yet. At some point I think I could though. People have been really supportive of this and the other side projects I am involved in which has made me work harder. Gwar fans are tremendous and support us in everything we do. I just finished a short story for a zombie anthology which is titled “Bone Manner Revisited”. I had written this story for one of my creative writing classes in college and similar to “Whargoul” it sat around for a few years. I was contacted by a publisher about doing a zombie type story and I remembered that short story from college. I did a re-write on it and some buffing up and it should be coming out pretty soon.  I also have my blog on rvanews.com which continues to tell the story of Gwar’s inception. I definitely plan to compile that for a novel one day as well. When I finally get into my last days of decrepitude I can totally see myself writing a lot more.

AL: There has been a lot going on in the Gwar world lately with the news of the Gwar B-B-Q line up and a fall 2011 tour. There also has been gossip of a new band member. Can you tell us anything about that?
DB:  It’s getting out now that Casey Orr has left the band. Casey has played Beefcake a few different times over the years. The split was something that didn’t come as a surprise as we knew that he would eventually be moving on. Basically the economy right now is really rough and Gwar is not the easiest band to be in. It’s especially difficult for guys who don’t live in the Richmond area. All of Casey’s family and projects are in Texas so the strain of holding those two different lives together got to the point where he had to make a decision. The split is completely amicable and we love Casey. It wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t end up working for us again at some point. I know for a fact next time we are in Dallas he will be back stage drinking all of our beer. We all play characters in Gwar and there have been 3 different Beefcakes with Casey playing the role twice. The characters are defiantly bigger than the musicians who play them. The new Beef Cake the Mighty will be debuting at this year’s Gwar B-B-Q but we do wish Casey all the best and we will miss him.

AL: The Fall tour is being dubbed “Return of the World Maggot Tour” correct?
DB: Yes! We recently moved into a new slave pit and when we were moving we went through all the old costumes. We came across the World Maggot and it was still in pretty good shape. We are always getting asked when we are going to bring that prop back. Because we didn’t have time to build a whole new show and we don’t have a new album out we decided to bring out a bunch of the old characters. It’s going to be a cool tour as we will be out with Every Time I Die as well as playing a few shows with Ghoul and Warbeast. We are really looking forward to get back out there!

AL: Are you involved at all with the Gwar “Dim Time” book which is being compiled by former Slave Pit/Gwar members Don Drakulich and Chuck Varga?
DB: They have asked me my opinion about stuff but it’s been Don and Chuck who have been sorting that stuff out. Everyone is really starting to get their own side project niche now and this is one of those times. I trust that they are going to do a great job. Don was with us from the very beginning and he has a lot of really amazing footage. It a story that needs to be told however I don’t really need to contribute that much because I lived it! (Laughs) Anything about the “Dim Time” is going to have my mug all over it.

For more info on all things Gwar you can head over to Gwar.net and you can follow Dave on twitter @therealoderus and also read his blog at rvanews.com.

Dave Willis talks about new Aqua Teen season “Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1″

Dave Willis is the one of the men behind Adult Swim’s hit show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”. Dave is the voice of Meatwad / Carl and also director/writer and producer on each episode. Besides “Aqua Teen”, David also is currently working on a new season of “Squidbillies” and has worked on various other series including, “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast”, “Sealab 2021” and “12 oz. Mouse”. Dave took out some time to chat with us at Movie Mikes to discuss “Aqua Teen” return for season 9 and also its recent name change to “Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1” and also the upcoming season of “Squidbillies”.

Mike Gencarelli: When “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” started over 10 years ago, did you ever think you would be crossing the 100 episode mark with the series?
Dave Willis: Yes I did. I thought we thought we would be doing it in season 3 though not season 9. Yeah, there was no doubt in my mind and we are only a third of the way there. Let’s reconnect in 10 years when we are celebrating episode 250.

MG: Tell us about change of the name for the series starting season 9?
DW: It was more than a name change. We changed the show on a molecular level, everything about it is different. The only thing that is the same is that it is still 11 minutes long and we still use the characters names too. Other than that it is all about action, sex, mystery and intrigue [laughs].

MG: Since the series is going in a new direction, can we still expect cameos from some of favorite characters?
DW: There are new adventures and new villains also. In the opening, it has a number cameos of previous villains. It would be a fun thing to see if you could spot them all. Some of them are blatant. Frylok has a switchblade fight with Hand Banana [laughs]. Tonight….YOU! There are other characters that you see for a split second and then they are gone. I think it would be a fun game to see how many you can spot.

MG: You voice many characters but primarily Carl and Meatwad, do you find it difficult voicing them at same time?
DW: I don’t, no I really don’t. By that time anyway we have written the script and I have an idea how it is going to sound. I always do Meatwad before Carl because by the end of the Carl script he is either exploded or screaming at someone or just crying in agony. That just blows out my voice. I think Carl over the years has seriously dropped my voice like an octave and a half. There is always like shredded pieces of skin that I end of coughing up after doing Carl. So yeah, Meatwad is always first.

MG: What was the most bizarre plot you came up with for an episode that never was made?
DW: We wrote an outline for one episode that I thought was really funny and we couldn’t make it due to union issues. We know Seth Green through “Robot Chicken” and the premise was where Seth moved next door to the Aqua Teens and Shake was constantly trying to hang with him. We find out he moved next door to Aqua Teens to study Meatwad because he is going to be playing Meatwad in the live-action movie. It would have been great but it wouldn’t be as funny if we couldn’t actually get Seth to do it. We are not SAG, so that is why we couldn’t do it.

MG: Do you have a favorite episode that you have worked on?
DW: It is tough to say, they are all like my children. I think I read that Glenn Frey said when being interviewed about The Eagles “Well Tequila Sunrise…Desperado…there are so many of them, they are all like children to me”. I like Broodwich. I like Dickosode, due to the absurdity and the ridiculousness. I love the original Mooninites and of course Mc Pee Pants. The third episode this season is called “Intervention” and I think that is just as funny as anything we have ever done. There are a few in this batch that I think really stand up against the best stuff we done. I am really excited about the new season and the new episodes. They are really strong.

MG: Whatever ever happened to “Spacecataz” series?
DW: I don’t know. I think it would have been a good show, I think. The way we made it was using it as opens for “Aqua Teen”. We had to make them work as opens but also as a whole. I think it was a fun idea and I think it could have had a good life. We got too busy with other stuff and it never happened. But I always liked it.

MG: What can we expect from the new season of “Squidbillies” this year?
DW: We got 10 episodes coming out and they are all great. I feel that they are really strong. We just wrote an episode called “The Return of Ga Ga Pee Pap”, bringing that character back. I am not sure about guest starts yet. We have been slowly getting new theme songs. There has been talk of us get to record with George Jones to do a theme song. It hasn’t happened yet so I don’t want to jinx it. Rusty and Early compete over a woman [laughs]. Rusty gets his first girlfriend and Early wants her for his own. So their is an episode of that. Early gets a rare form of head cancer from wearing a hat made by the American Asbestos Association.

MG: Besides the narrator, you don’t led you voice to the show, why not?
DW: It is not really a calculated thing. I will go in there if they need an extra or something. I feel like we have such a strong cast of potential characters. I do occasionally play Early’s office co-worker Glen. We are trying to make ‘Have a good one’ a catch phrase, since he says it in every episode. Let’s see if America catches on like we have.

MG: Comparing the two shows “ATHF” and “Squidbillies”, which is more fun to work on?
DW: They are both fun in their own way. It is a little more difficult with “Squidbillies” in respects just because, we are a little more story based in those and go back and do extensive rewrites. The animation is much more involved and is closer to a fully animated show that “Aqua Teen”. But “Aqua Teen” is still challenging and we are very much engaged. It is interesting since when we started with “Aqua Teen”, we had a core group of people who were all at the same place in their careers…just starting out. All these people have grown together and we tend to fill in the blanks for each other. We just have a great group of editors and After Effects artists and the same few animators from the beginning. So everybody knows their role a little bit more. We are still using the same animation from the year 2000 [laughs]. We add stuff obviously but we still go back to those same backgrounds and same shots. With “Squidbillies”, writer/producer Jim Fortier, and I came from the same home town and we can relate to the same sort of backwards dumb-ass redneck stories from our lives. “Aqua Teen” is maybe not as deep in that reality. It is though in another one, meaning whatever tends to be pissing me or Matt (Maiellaro) off that week will somehow find to make its way into the show.

MG: Anything you can tell us about the second “Aqua Teen” movie, “Death Fighter”?
DW: It is a mystery…surrounded in secrecy…surrounded by a cloud of intrigue. Let’s get this show reboot out of the way. We are going to change the title again after we are done with these 10 episodes. Then we will talk “Death Fighter”.

Interview with GWAR’s Dave Brockie

Dave Brockie is a name you may not recognize but if you mention the name Oderus Urungus it may get you to instantly throw up your devil horns! Dave is the is lead singer of the heavy metal group GWAR.  Adam Lawton caught up with the man behind the mask to talk about all things GWAR including the groups new album “Bloody Pit of Horror”.

Click here to purchase GWAR’s music

Adam Lawton: I know you have a back ground in painting and drawing but you’re also into Special FX as well correct?
Dave Brockie: I have always puttered about with it, and just basically keeping my costume looking goo.  Sometimes I will bust out a GWAR effect. I have been working with the shop guys since the very beginning of GWAR. I am the rarest of GWAR breeds as I am the musician/artist in the group. It’s actually something we need all of the members to be at least to a certain extent.

AL: What kind of sparked the idea of GWAR?
DB: I had a band called Death Piggy at the time.  There was a group of guys, which included Hunter Jackson, who were doing props and costumes for a movie they wanted to make. His group and my band were in the same abandoned milk bottling factory, and we kind of collided. The band started wearing the costumes and Death Piggy turned into GWAR and we used GWAR as an opener for Death Piggy. Eventually GWAR swallowed up Death Piggy, and it was game on from there.

AL: You are the only original member on the group right now correct?
DB: Well actually there is one other guy, Scott Crawl, who is one of our artists that has been with us since before the first album, but he did come in a little later than me so I would have to say that yes I am the only one left from the beginning.

AL: When the band was first starting out and a member left was it hard for you to find replacements that shared the same ideas and wanted to wear the costumes?
DB: No, not at all, people couldn’t wait. We never had a hard time finding people who wanted to work with us.  The hard part we found was find good people! It is really hard to tell if someone is going to fit until we get them out on the road and start doing the shows. Usually what will happen is when we find someone we really like we try to stick with them. We are very loyal to our employees.

AL: This year marks the 25th anniversary of GWAR correct?
DB: Actually we have been declaring the anniversary for about 2 years now. So technically we are in the 26th year of GWAR. After this year we are going to shut up about all anniversaries until will hit 50!

AL: Did you think GWAR would ever last this long?
DB: Hell no! We started as a joke, then we had a record which we thought would be it but instead it just blew up. It wasn’t until I think we got to the 20 year anniversary that I thought this thing could easily go on forever.

AL: What else is going on right now?
DB: We have the new GWAR album out called “Bloody Pit of Horror” which has been getting a really good reception from the fans. We are currently working on expanding GWAR TV.  We are also in the planning stages of Crack-Athon 2011, we are leaving to tour Europe at the end of the month as well as Australia and New Zealand.  This will wrap up pretty much two years of frantic activity. I also will be continuing with my appearances on the Fox channel show “Red Eye”.

Click here to purchase GWAR’s music