Album Review: Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy “Songs From The Garage”

“Songs From The Garage”
Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy
Metal Blade Records
Producer: Rob Caggiano
Tracks: 11

Our score: 2 out of 5 stars

Accomplished comedian Jim Breuer has been mixing his love of heavy metal into his stand up acts for years. Be it through real life stories, impersonations and even adding a live band to portions of his comedy shows. “Songs From The Garage” is the debut music album from the actor/comedian who was a staple on “Saturday Night Live” during the late 90’s. Produced by former Anthrax and current Volbeat guitarist Rob Caggiano the album features 11 tracks which combine in your face guitars and drums with Breuer’s off kilter comedic stylings.

From his portrayal of “Goat Boy” on SNL to his role as the lovable stoner Brian in “Half Baked” Jim Breuer’s comedy is something that I have grown up with so, when I heard he was going to put out an album of actual metal music I couldn’t wait to check it out. Sadly what I found on the albums 11 tracks was a mediocre comedy album with a band playing your typical 80’s style metal in the back ground. There really was just nothing spectacular here. Not even a guest appearance by long time AC/DC front man Brian Johnson on the track “Mr. Rock n Roll” could turn this around for me. Knowing Jim’s love of heavy music and the fact that his backing band consists of Mike Tichy, Joe Vigliotti and Metal Mike Chlasciak (all great players) the two just didn’t mesh well and came off as stale and forced. Aside from a few fun titles like “Raising Teenage Girls” and “Be a Dick 2nite” I just couldn’t find anything that I would listen to more than once.

When a performer crosses mediums it can go one of two ways, either really well or in the case of “Songs From the Garage” really bad. I appreciate the attempt that Breuer and company made on the record however I was torn between the mix of comedic tracks and those that were more serious as it caused me to question the direction of the album. Was it meant to be a serious attempt at a metal record or just another comedy record with musical elements? I think the album would have come off as way more cohesive if that common element was defined clearly. Yes I understand Jim Breuer is a comedian so there will undoubtedly be comedic elements to his works but, knowing his level of musical fandom especially when it comes to rock and heavy metal music it makes me question why he did this the way he did.

Track Listing:
1.) Thrash
2.) Raising Teenage Girls
3.) Old School
4.) Be a Dick 2nite
5.) My Rock n Roll Dream
6.) Mr. Rock n Roll
7.) Who’s Better Than Us?!
8.) Family Warrior
9.) Sugar Rush
10.) Wannabe
11.) The Unexplained

Jim Wilson talks about new group called Motor Sister

Jim Wilson has a career in the music business spanning almost 20 years. Jim has played guitar for such groups as The Rollins Band, Daniel Lanois and was a founding member of the blues rock band Mother Superior. Wilson’s latest project is a re-visioning of his group Mother Superior named “Motor Sister”. The group which also includes Scott Ian, Pearl Aday, John Tempesta and Joey Vera came together after a one off performance at the Anthrax guitarist’s birthday party. Together Motor Sister have reworked twelve songs from Mother Superiors original catalog and Media Mikes recently spoke with Jim about how everything came together and what it was like revisiting some of the material on “Ride”.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little more info on how this group came together?
Jim Wilson: My band Mother Superior was one that Scott and Pearl would always come out to watch when we were playing in the Los Angeles area. I even remember seeing them at a show in Denver. We became friends as time went on and I eventually ended up working with both Scott and Pearl on Pearl’s album. We have a pretty solid history of playing together. I had also worked with Joey Vera in the past on Mother Superior songs as well so we all certainly were connected to one another. Pearl was throwing a party for Scott and she wanted to have me by and do some Mother Superior songs with Scott. Joey also ended up playing that night as did John Tempesta who I knew of but that was about it. Scott picked out the songs for the night and I looked them over and things surprisingly came back pretty easily. This was supposed to be a onetime thing. We never thought that the band would sound so great and be so tight. It was a really great combination that at the end of the night we all wanted to do it again some time. A few days later I found out that Neil Zlozower was at the party and mentioned the show to a friend of his at Metal Blade Records. Next thing we know they were asking us to make a record. Things have just worked so well. I am really lucky and fortunate to be able to play with these guys.

AL: What was it like going back and reworking these songs?
JW: There were a lot of memories that came back from the early years of Mother Superior. We were always on a tight budget when we made those records so to have them still sound good really means something. I do wish some of that earlier production was a bit better but at that time being independent was pretty cool. There was a scene for bands that had a sound that was a bit out of the normal commercial rock sound. The 12 songs on the record are what we played at Scott’s party and were picked by him. That was certainly ok by me as I don’t think I could have chosen only 12. Each of the songs has its own vibe which I really like. We changed some of the original arrangements around but nothing major. John is a double bass master so it was fun to add in some of that. Everyone did what they do and it was a lot of fun. This would have been something entirely different if I had decided to put a new version of Mother Superior together with different people. Everyone in Motor Sister is fans of the original music/band and we are all friends which makes it a lot of fun. This group has an energy that is very infectious.

AL: How did having Jay Ruston produce the album come about?
JW: If you go back through the Mother Superior catalog Jay Ruston actually mixed and mastered some things for us. He actually did the original version of ‘This Song Reminds Me of You” and a couple others that appear on “Ride”. We all have known Jay for awhile. I am pretty sure I was the one who introduced Jay to Joey Vera and one of the NAMM conventions which brought Jay into knowing the Anthrax guys. Pearl and I also worked with Jay on her album. It’s just this weird circle of friends.

AL: What type of long term plans does the band have?
JW: We recently played a show in NY and we have one coming up in San Francisco. After that we all sort of go back to our other projects. It won’t be till about June that we all have time to do more with Motor Sister. There are talks of doing a major US tour though with this band. We want to hit all of the major cities. Scott also has this vision of doing 4 or 5 shows in Michigan being that area has such a history with rock music. I don’t know if fans would get the full vibe of our show in a large festival setting as I see us more in a hot sweaty club packed with 300 plus people would be just great! There have also been talks of signing on with one of the summer package shows but we are still in the planning stages for that.

AL: Aside from Motor Sister what other plans/projects do you have in the works?
JW: I will be going out with producer Daniel Lanois as part of his band. I have been working with him for over 10 years now. We get to play some really great places. Daniel had a new album come out in October for which we toured the states in November. In May we will be heading to Europe for a 6 week tour which will be a lot of fun. I am also working on my second solo record. My solo stuff is a little bit darker and a touch more funky.

Product Feature: Maui Jim Sunglasses

Living in Florida, one thing you always need is a good pair of sunglasses. I am quite sick and tired of buying pieces of garage for sunglasses. I usually end up buying a pair for $10-20 bucks and they literally last me 10-20 days. I finally decided that I am going to hunt down a pair of sunglasses that were quality made and that would last longer than a few measly weeks. When I was looking to find the perfect brand to match my taste, I immediately thought about Maui Jim. I am not a surfer but I do love the island life and this company really embraces that lifestyle. 

I was introduced to two new and hot lines. The first is called Stone Crushers (see above). They are a durable, tough pair of shades that are perfect for all day wear. They are very lightweight and do not weigh down your face. They have a tough grilamid frame with lightweight polycarbonate lenses along with adjustable nosepads. When these hit my face, I heard music like in the movies. It may seem lame but if you saw the last pair with scratched lenses and wobbly frame you would cringe.

This brand comes in three different styles/colors. We chosen the Matte Black style with a Neutral Grey color lens. These special lens are made especially to resist bright, direct sunlight. Being in FL, there is no abundance of that. These also come in the following styles/colors Matte Rootbeer / HCL Bronze and White Pearl / Maui HT, each of these lens have their own unique qualities. Also included are a Maui Jim case and cleaning cloth.

The next pair that we had the privilege to play with is the Spartan Reef line. These glasses are inspired by one of the outer reefs of Kanaha on the Central Maui Coastline near Paia known for producing big surf and long sessions. The style/color that we chose for this line was Marlin / HCL Bronze. The lens specializes for use in everyday variable conditions ranging from from full sun to overcast, which FL can switch from one of the other in a heartbeat. They have a warm, subtle bronze tint.

The design for these include a sleek frame that comfortably wraps your face to provide optimal protection against the beautiful sun. The shape of these are a modified, rectangular frame that aims to complement a range of facial shapes. I have to admit out of the two pairs, I am definitely favoring this pair. They also come in two other style/color including Gloss Black / Neutral Grey and Matte Tortoise Rubber / HCL Bronze. Of course, also included is a Maui Jim case and cleaning cloth.

I would also like to discuss two of the specific features that every pair of Maui Jim glasses  include are PolarizedPlus2 and CLEARSHELL. This is their patented, color-infused lens technology that wipes out 99.9% of glare, 100% of harmful UV and boosts color via specially designed lens treatments. CLEARSHELL is a scratch coating protection, which is something that will really put to the test. It is a silicone-based hard coat that aims to protect your lenses and is applied to front and back of the lens, so you covered all around. So if you are looking for a quality pair of sunglasses look no further than Maui Jim!

Jim Jarmusch Hosts “Only Lovers Left Alive” Concert in NYC

In speaking about Only Lovers Left Alive– which seems to occur often since posting my NYFF review of the film. I usually compliment the distinctive world that director Jim Jarmusch created for his vampires Adam and Eve. This audience sentiment may have reached the director’s ears because on Tuesday night in New York, Jarmusch hosted a screening along with an immersive after party and concert to celebrate the movie’s limited US release on April 11th.

Having already staged similar events in London and Paris, the film took over the entirety of NYC’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema. The theater’s hallways were darkened and lit only through projections of dried blood. Audience members were encouraged to wear sunglasses and gloves in keeping with Adam and Eve’s costuming which made for a striking movie line on the not-so-sunny New York afternoon.

After enjoying the screening of the film, the audience moved a short walk away to Santos Party House where guests were welcomed by staff members in Adam’s “Dr. Faust” scrubs offering a spicy taste of blood at the door. The lower level featured a dj who played a mix honoring the film’s Detroit roots. Exciting for film fans in other areas of the floor, you could visit recreations of Adam and Eve’s rooms.

Heading upstairs was the concert of artists from the film’s soundtrack. Film composer Jozef Van Wissem took the stage first on the lute, eventually joined by the beautiful vocals of Zola Jesus.

The highlight for me was second act, Yasmine Hamdam. In the film, the Lebanese artist entrances Tom Hiddleston’s Adam in a small club in Tangiers and she had a similar effect on this crowd with her powerhouse singing.

Next came what can only be described as the intergalactic rock of White Hills which got the most excited response from the audience. Finally Jarmusch with his band SQÜRL took the stage and it was thrilling to hear, among other tracks, the film’s signature theme “The Taste of Blood” performed live just hours after the film’s credits had rolled.

…………

Should this concert make its way to more US cities, definitely check it out. In the meantime, Only Lovers Left Alive opens in New York and LA on April 11th in the meantime you can check out the film’s newest trailer below:

Brian Henson talks about Syfy’s “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge” and the Sequel to “Dark Crystal”

Brian Henson is the son of Jim Henson, creator of “The Muppets” and the current chairman of The Jim Henson Company. For years Brian has been working with his family in the company as a puppeteer in roles like Jack Pumpkinhead in “Return to Oz” and directing//producing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island”. He was also behind the TV series “Farscape” as the Executive Producer. His latest venture is in reality TV on Syfy with the series “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge”, which is similar to other Syfy shows like “Face/Off”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about the TV show and also get the scoop on upcoming projects like “The Power of the Dark Crystal” and “Fraggle Rock: The Movie”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did the idea come about to do this show, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge?
Brian Henson: We were trying to think if there is a show that would make sense for The Jim Henson Company in the reality side of television programming. There aren’t many…because we are The Jim Henson Company. Almost everything we do has an element of fantasy or science-fiction in it. In many ways we are the opposite of reality. We make things that reflect on reality and allow you to objectively compare it to what we are presenting. But we decided that one area that is particularly exciting of our company is in the creature designing area. These artists, who are designing, conceiving and then building these creatures, really are like magic. They are extraordinary artists. We thought that doing a show around that aspect would be the most interesting area to the general audience. It is sort of like this secret world. There are no Academy Awards for creature designers. There are some creature designers who have won Academy Awards for costuming, make-up or special effects. Joe FREID, one of the Executive Producers, really shared the same enthusiasm in that area of our company and also has a strong background in reality TV programming. We went out to pitch it and Syfy loved it. We made it pretty close to the “Face/Off” format or even the “Project Runway” format. But what is different about it is that it is going into an area and a type of artist that is much different than anyone has ever seen. It is taking place in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the prize really is a job with us.

MG: How do you come up with the challenges for the show like the first episode’s undersea creature?
BH: We basically kept making lists of creatures that we thought would be interesting. For season one, we said that none of the creatures should be allowed to use any compositing, puppeteer removal or some of the techniques that we would normally use in television or feature films. So that closed us up a little bit and kept us focused for season one. Then we had about 15-20 good ideas on the board and we basically produced what we thought was a good wide range of creatures. One thing that is great about creature making, which perhaps is not true of some of the cousins to our TV show, is they are very different depending on what kind of creature you are looking for and what kind of screen test you presenting at the end of the episode. It means that every episode is able to stand alone and be unique from the one before it, which is a lot of fun. You should also expect the challenges to be more and more ambitious as we go forward, which I think is pretty great.

MG: What are you feelings on CGI versus practical effects like puppet work?
BH: My take on it reflects my background and where I come from and where my dad came from, we are a performance oriented company. So what excites me is performing creatures and puppets. We do some CGI but we call it digital puppetry. The way we do CGI, is that we real-time animate 3D creatures using performers. So if it comes from performance and creating a real moment for the characters then that is what excites me and our company. So in that sense, I prefer the animatronic creatures to the CGI creatures. But that is also due to my background. If someone comes from key frame animation, they may prefer CGI to stop-action animation. But I think there is wonderful space for every technique. There is clearly a sacrifice you make when you decide to go CGI with a creature is that you are not actually creating a real moment that you then photograph. With most of our stuff besides the digital puppetry that we do, what you see has really been created and has been photographed and is now in the movie or TV show. It really happened and was really there. You can’t underestimate the value of that. It may mean that things are not quite as slick or accurate as CGI but it really happened and there is something really delicious and exciting about that. Certainly we have been seeing a big move towards CGI creatures but I think with films like “Where the Wild Things Are”, we are starting to see a movement back towards practical effects. But like I said there is definitely a space for both.

MG: I feel that this show actually brings this type of work back into the spotlight…
BH: Yeah, it’s been like a secret world. Nobody knows how these creatures are built and created. Nobody has done a show like this and it is really interesting watching them work.
MG: Yeah, one thing I would love to learn more about myself is the actual mechanics behind-the-scenes with these creatures.
BH: Well as you watch more of the series you will be more of that as well.

MG: Tell us about choosing your co-judges including Kurt Thatcher and Beth Hathaway?
BH: Initially we weren’t sure if we wanted to go with an all internal panel. Kurt is really an inside guy. Most of the work he has done in his career has been with our company. We wanted it to be as credible as possible because like I said the prize really is a job in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Kurt is the type of person who would do the hiring along with me who would also be making those judgment calls. At a certain point, we realized it was just too much Henson. So we reached out to Beth Hathaway, who is also a very experienced creature builder but her background is along the lines of Stan Winston and Rick Baker. It was actually really fun bringing her in since she is kind of an outsider but we just love her. It was good having her point of views and opinions on the judging panel.

MG: What do you see that the future has planned for this type of practical effects and for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop?
BH: I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to do more creature work. I think we are coming out of a time where the industry has been in a flux. I think people are now starting to stabilize and spend more money for cool fantasy/science-fiction characters. I think you will start to see more practical effects…but probably mixed in with some CGI, which is like what “Where the Wild Things Are” was. I think the best creatures yet to come are going to be a little bit of everything used to bring that creature to life.

MG: Do you have any update on The Power of Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock movie?
BH: The truth is that it took me five years to get “Farscape” on the air. These things take time. Some of that time feels like you are just waiting around. There is a lot of things that need to come together in order to make these projects work. You need to have the right talent, financing and distribution partners. But I can tell you that these both in active development currently within our company. We are determined to get them made. It is big though and a lot of elements need to come together to get a movie made.

Photos courtesy of Syfy

DVD Review “Jim Breuer: And Laughter For All”

Actors: Jim Breuer
Directors: Jay Chapman
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: November 26, 2013
Run Time: 58 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

At the beginning of this special, Jim Breuer questions himself about how he should do his latest stand-up special. He does this with multiple impersonations. From Joe Pesci to Ozzy Osbourne. It seems like an odd way to begin his latest special. A moment the live audience won’t see from his dressing room. It’s even more bizarre because it’s not necessarily funny, but if you don’t listen to metal, then you’re not gonna find too much to laugh at in the first 20 minutes.

I’m someone who owns every Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer album. Sadly though, I’ve only seen Slayer live. So when he kicks things off by talking about becoming an aging metalhead, he has my full attention. Jim Breuer has always had hard rock and metal as a staple of his stand-up, but this time around he’s hit his 40’s. He compares his usual suburban outings, dressing up and watching musicals, to convincing his wife to see Metallica and surviving the madness of Slayer fans. Just so you’re not too out of the loop, he cleverly compares fans seeing Eddie in Iron Maiden to children watching the plush children’s music group, the Wiggles.

If that’s not your cup of tea, he manages to tell the stories of life. The pitfalls of becoming a father, a “jungle safari” and talking about those unnecessary conversations he has with other parents about why his children don’t own a cell phone. He’s very skillful at weaving his stories and comically acting out the folks in his scenarios. He makes sure to complete his stories with Michael Winslow style, microphone induced sound effects. He manages to mouth everything he can from guttural noises to horns. Instead of joke after joke, it’s more like he’s laying out real and possible scenarios and tells it like a story. He really gets into it making full use of the stage to act out.

There doesn’t appear to be an overall theme to the stand-up, but most of his stand-ups that I’ve watched didn’t seem to have one. If there is an idea to this, it’s about how aging has changed his perspective on many things. He could change his stand-up. He could become more relatable. Maybe he could swear more or not swear at all. Those are the questions he poses at the beginning, but by the end when he recounts the day he decided to stand-up, it becomes clear. He loves what he’s done and there’s no reason to change now.

The Reverend Horton Heat’s Jim Heath talks about new album “Rev”

Jim “Rev” Heath is the lead vocalist/guitarist for the legendary Rockabilly/Punk band The Reverend Horton Heat. The band is set to release their 11th studio album titled “Rev” via Victory Records at the end of January and Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Jim recently about the creation of the album, the bands 30 years career and the trio’s tour plans for 2014.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the band upcoming album “Rev”?
Jim Heath: This was a project that helped us get back to more of the aggressive sound that Reverend Horton Heat is known for. The album kind of harkens back to the sound of the band during the mid-nineties which was during a time when my writing had started to get a little more amped up.

AL: How did the creative process work out for this album being that you were returning to your roots in a way?
JH: One thing that was really fun and different about this record is that with the change in album sales and the music industry as a whole there aren’t a lot of those big budget recording options available like there were in the 90’s. A lot of bands have gone to recording themselves in home studios so I thought that would be something that could be fun. I have a decent collection of recording gear so I got together some sponsors and some high end pro audio gear to start doing this record. In the middle of things we signed with Victory Records which allowed us to go in to a commercial studio to do some bits and pieces of the album. By in large we recorded most of the record in our rehearsal studio in Dallas, TX.

AL: Were there any reservations signing to Victory Records being they predominately work with in the metal/hardcore genre?
JH: Not really. A lot of their marketing is probably aimed towards a different crowd than ours which I thought was kind of a good thing. What bands are on a label is not really as important as it’s more about how well the machinery behind everything works. I didn’t really know how big Victory was until we started talking with them and realizing what the label was. We were super impressed with what they have and how they have a bunch of departments which all work to help promote music in various ways. At the end of the day the solid machinery is what I need to help promote our music.

AL: When you are putting together songs what type of writing approach do you take?
JH: For the most part I tend to always start with lyrics. I will find some lyrics that I like and I will start bashing around to come up with some music or sound that evokes what the lyrics are about. From there I try to come up with the melody. Sometimes things come very quickly and sometimes it doesn’t. Other times a song may come together quickly but the polishing off or finishing can take quite a bit of time for me. There is just so much to think about when doing arrangements.

AL: Do think the large gap between this album and your previous will have an effect on how it is perceived by fans/listeners?
JH: We found out something a long time ago about that as we are a band that has a lot of cd’s out. We also tour a lot. When fans come to our shows they come wanting to hear certain songs so when you put out a new album it can be hard sometimes to get them to accept that new material. People remember the old stuff and that’s what they want to here. Frankly you never really can do that as you are always doing new material so there is going to be something different about them. That’s actually the desired thing as I don’t want to just keep re-writing or rearranging old songs and passing them off as something new. We were putting out an album every two years but it got to where our fans weren’t really accepting those new songs until about 2 years later just as we were about to put out another new album. It got to the point where new albums were almost pissing off our fans so putting out an album every two years got to be where it wasn’t working very well for us. I also find it really frustrating when you put out an album and then you don’t have enough time to go out and play it live as not only do you have to play all the old stuff people know but you only have time to throw in 2 or 3 new tracks. That’s just the nature of the beast not only for us but for a lot of bands.

AL: With a career spanning almost 30 years now what do you feel has been the bands biggest change?
JH: For me the biggest change was the musical direction. This was something that happened early on. We started out as an authentic rockabilly band that played original songs. We were a little more 50’s sounding in the early goings. As time went on we got a little bit more turned up and aggressive. I think in the early 90’s when we decided to take that more turned up approach is what I think helped define our sound. With that said however we still have our rockabilly songs on every album along with some country songs. Sometimes things aren’t planned they just happen. I write songs not albums. I will write one song then a bunch more songs which all end up on an album. That’s just how I work and those things end up being something I never really thought of. I did an album titled “Spend a Night in the Box” which is a little more bluesy and with our last album “Laughin’ and Cryin’ with the Reverend Horton Heat” things lean towards a country sound. Initially that album was going to be a straight country album rather than one that sort of leans towards that style.

AL: Thinking back a ways can you tell us about the bands appearance on “The Drew Carey Show” and how that opportunity came about?
JH: Working with those guys was really fun. Between Drew Carey, Ryan Styles and Diedrich Bader those guys are really funny. The people who worked around them and with them on the show were just hilarious. Just about all of them are stand-up comics. What was funny about that show was that they could barely get it done. It was an ultra-professional set up but then you had these guys all cracking jokes between takes. It made it hard to get everything done. (Laughs) I think how we ended up on the show was that Drew Carey is a big music fan. Drew and his manager took a cross country drive at one point and one of the cd’s they had was “It’s Martini Time”. They liked it and asked us to be on an HBO special called “Mr.Vegas All-Night Party”. We were on there with Wayne Newton, David Cassidy and a bunch of other great musicians and players. From there they asked us to be on the episode. I got to have a couple lines which was really fun.

AL: What other plans do you and the band have for 2014?
JH: We will be doing some more videos for a couple other songs off the new album. We have one out now for the song “Let Me Teach You How to Eat” and we are knocking around ideas for the others. We will be out on the road playing gigs throughout the year as well. We are also going to be a part of some really cool festivals. We always do festivals but we will be on some really high profile ones this year. We are going to be doing Coachella and Punk Rock Bowling so it’s going to be a fun year. I also have my own festival which I put on with my friend Oliver Peck. We are looking to do this year’s in June on the weekend of Friday the 13th. It’s called “The Elm St. Music and Tattoo Festival”. This will be our second year of putting this on and I am pretty excited for it as I think it is something that will continue to grow and be pretty cool.

Book Review “27: A History of the 27 Club through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse”

“27: A History of the 27 Club through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse”
Author: Howard Sounes
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Named one of Publisher Weekly’s Top 10 Music Titles for Fall 2013 “27 A History of the 27 Club through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse” written by Howard Sounes is a book that takes a look at music’s “27 Club” and the artists who comprise it. Told over the course of 360 pages Sounes looks not only at the artists lives but also at their deaths and from there attempts to compare the artists in an effort to find similarities in these 6 subjects.

When I received my copy of “27” I thought to myself why hadn’t someone thought of writing about this sooner? This so called “27 Club” isn’t just made up of meteoric artist who only experienced a flash of success. Instead the members of this club include influential musicians who during their careers impacted millions of listeners and helped shape their respective genre’s for years to come. The thing I enjoyed most about how Howard Sounes approached this rather speculative topic is fairly interesting. The book is broken in to two parts with the beginning chapters being devoted to the life of each musician and the chapters toward the end of the book relating the deaths of these individuals. It was kind of nice as having followed the careers of both Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse I was able to sort of jump around a little bit as a portion of the material here has been widely documented and I think I am still recovering from the media coverage of both these events even though they were some time ago now.

Those looking for definitive answers on what ultimately ties these musicians together in death might not be too surprised with the information contained in this book nor will the reader find a lot of new or undocumented information on the subjects as I don’t feel that was the authors intention with this book. Instead for the first time the information about these six people is available all in one place combined with one person’s perspective on the events which are surprisingly similar. Combine that with 16 pages eerily fitting black and white photography and “27 A History of the 27 Club through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse” makes for an ok read.

Jim Towns talks about directing the film “House of Bad”

If you walk away from December’s rather tense House of Bad a little shaken and stirred, the man to send your letters of complaint to is Jim Towns. Media Mikes had a chance to talk to the talented up-and-coming filmmaker about one of the most daunting films you’ll see this year. Be sure to check out “House of Bad” when it hits DVD on December 3.

Mike Gencarelli: How far back does the story of House of Bad’s conception go?
Jim Towns: All the way back in college I’d had a vague idea for a story about three sisters on the run with a stolen suitcase of drugs. I thought I’d someday do it as a graphic novel or a prose story, and at one point I wanted to do it as a black box theatre play, but I’m glad I held onto it for a while until it could be realized on film.

MG: Were you a horror/thriller fan growing up? Is that what stemmed the interest in doing a genre film? Or is it because horror seems to be an easier sell these days?
JT: No, I’m an old-school, dyed-in-the-wool horror fan. Scooby-Doo, The Munsters, and Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein pretty much sealed my fate at an early age. I think it’s pretty apparent when “mainstream” filmmakers try to exploit the horror genre in order to get a film made and sold and bolster their reputation. I’ve been sent a few of those scripts and I think those films – and we’ve all seen them- come across as very hollow and half-hearted. Horror fans are smart, and they know when someone’s trying to exploit the genre. Also, I’m not sure horror is actually that easy of a sell these days either, because there’s a helluva lot of people making a helluva lot of horror films right now. It’s pretty hard to rise above the white noise of all that and land a good distribution deal, it takes something unique.

MG: You co-wrote the script. We picture two guys on computers, side-by-side, madly writing something by moonlight. Is that how it worked?
JT: Not really. I had a rough draft done before Scott [Frazelle]came on. We never actually sat together in a room with duelling laptops or anything, it was mostly emailing each other scenes and revisions and working in tandem to hone in on the best structure and the most compelling character moments to give the film the most impact for the viewer. Scott’s a great writer with a natural instinct for what makes a story work, and that was a huge benefit for the movie.

MG: Are the people involved in the film – particularly behind-the-scenes – all friends? Or was this a case of ’rounding up’ the best for the job?
JT: Scott and I have each worked in just about every capacity on films and TV at some point over the years, so it really was a matter of tapping our combined talent pool. Luckily we knew just about everyone we needed for the crew, and the jobs we didn’t have anyone for, someone we knew would know someone who was perfect. When you basically have no time for pre-production, you have to find people you know aren’t going to let you down, because lost time is lost money and that’ll sink you, so you simply cannot afford to pick the wrong person. I look at the finished film now and I see the amazing look our DP Chad Courtney and art director Nikki Nemzer gave it. The great makeup by Jennifer Jackson. The seamless blend between Anthony Eikner’s SFX and Gregg Deitrich’s VFX work on many of the blood gags. Nina Lucia’s razor-sharp editing. The incredible score by Terry Huud, and on and on. So yes, they were all friends, and yes we got the best for the job. It’s nice when that works out.

MG: Who is the audience for the film, in your opinion?
JT: House of Bad has all the signature moments of a good horror film- building suspense, big scares, great gory effects, so I’m not too surprised that horror fans have responded so favorably to it. What has surprised me is how well it’s connected to non-horror viewers. I think the dramatic setup of the movie, the dynamic of the three sisters dealing with the ghosts of their past, connects with a much larger demographic beyond the horror fanbase– so to answer your question, I think the film is for anyone who enjoys a good story, but can handle a few scares, too.

MG: Complete the sentence. ‘You’ll love House of Bad, if you liked…’
JT: Indie films, ghost stories, and films that don’t suck.

MG: The movie seems to be getting a lot of publicity online. How important is the internet in terms of marketing a film like this?
JT: It’s absolutely critical when you can’t afford to buy ad space or billboards. Online critics, reviewers and bloggers are a vital component in getting the word out about your movie, and I’m really thankful for everyone who’s taken the time to watch and review HoB and for the interviews, especially since the reaction has been so overwhelmingly positive. I’ve never had any of my films get such good press across the board and it’s been a pretty awesome few months, I can tell you. To my peers out there with a film project in the works I’d say put aside a few bucks aside and try to hire a good PR company like ours (October Coast) to raise your film’s awareness. Social media is great but it can only reach so far.

MG: What’s your next movie?
JT: There’s a few things coming up for me right now, which is exciting. There’s a supernatural western called A Man with a Gun, which is about this gunfighter with a dark past who travels through Purgatory to rescue the souls of his murdered wife and son. I wrote and am producing it, and it will feature Dani Lennon (Bite Me) and Tony Todd. Getting a call on your cell from the Candyman is a pretty cool thing, I gotta say. I’m also set to shoot 13 Girls next year, which is sort of a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and Law & Order. Sadie Katz and I will be reuniting on that one, as well as another little film we’re developing called Invasive, which will be really scary and really really sexy, too. Maybe even more sexy than scary, I don’t know. But it’ll be a lot of fun to watch, without doubt.

Jim Cliffe talks about his first feature “Donovan’s Echo”

Writer/director Jim Cliffe is an award winning artist, writer and filmmaker with a diverse background in illustration and animation, producing work for such companies as Kellogs, Fox and Anagram Pictures. His short film “Tomorrow’s Memoir,” released in 2004, received the Best Comics-Oriented Film Award at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con, while also being well reviewed in Film Threat, DC Comics, Moviehole.net and more. His first feature-film screenplay, “Donovan’s Echo,” which he co-wrote with his wife Melodie Krieger, was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Screenwriting Competition as well as by the Page International Screenwriting Awards. “Donovan’s Echo,” starring Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood, is now available on DVD as well as Video on Demand. To celebrate the release of the film Cliffe answered some questions for Media Mikes:

Mike Smith: Tell us a little bit about your film, “Donovan’s Echo”.
Jim Cliffe: ‘Donovan’s Echo’ is about a man (Danny Glover) with a tragic past, who returns home for the first time in years. He believes that history is repeating itself and that a little girl (played by Natasha Calis from “The Possession”) may be in danger. Bruce Greenwood plays Donovan’s old friend who questions his sanity. There’s mystery, drama, twists and suspense, but it’s also a movie about loss, regret and redemption. There’s a lot of heart to it.

MS:You have a very comics-accented background. Did you ever consider an animated project for your first feature film?
JC: Not really. I’ve made a living as a professional illustrator, and have done animated work, but it never occurred to me with this project. I think it would have been quite an undertaking as a first-time filmmaker.

MS: How did a first time feature writer/director attract such talent as Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood?
JC: Miraculously. After our script (co-written with my wife, Melodie Krieger) had done well in some Hollywood screenwriting competitions, we gained a bit of interest, but it was challenging finding producers willing to take a chance on a first-time director, even though I had an award-winning short film (‘Tomorrow’s Memoir’), and a broad career as an artist. Trent Carlson was a producer I’d worked with before as an artist in Vancouver, and I brought the script to him to see if he may be interested. He responded to it, and we spent some time in development before bringing it to a casting agent in LA. She put some names together for possible Donovan’s, and Danny was one of them. He seemed really perfect for the role, but I thought it would be a long shot as we were such a small movie (around $3M). Two weeks later, Danny got back to us and said he wanted to do it. It was amazing. Apparently he felt he had a lot in common with the character. Like Donovan, Danny has a background in mathematics and is also dyslexic. From there, we brought it to Bruce who also wanted to get involved. He liked the story, and thought it’d be interesting to work with Danny. He also has a home in Vancouver, BC, where we were shooting. It was pretty incredible to have two guys like that on your first movie.

MS: You’ve been quoted as saying that Steven Spielberg is a huge influence of yours. Do you have a favorite film of his and if so why is it?
JC: I may not have been as keen to try and pursue this as a career if it weren’t for the films of Spielberg. Having a favourite would be hard to narrow down. It’s always an event when there’s a new one, and each one had an impact on me at specific periods in my life. I saw E.T. at just the right age and continue to think about life in the universe.

MS: What are you currently working on?
JC: Interesting segue – we just finished a new script with an extra-terrestrial theme. It’s inspired by the events of Roswell; a UFO crash that may or may not have happened, Project Blue Book stuff, etc. At its core, it’s a father and son story, their fractured relationship and the search for truth. There’s some twisty elements along the way and cool paradoxes. It’ll be fun, smart, eerie and occasionally funny.

Severin Films Releases "The Manson Family"! Jim Vanbebber’s Controversial Masterpiece Gets Blu-ray Treatment, Theatrical Dates & New Poster

Special Edition Of Underground Epic Will Include HD Transfer, VanBebber’s New GATOR GREEN Short & Other Exclusive Extras!

LOS ANGELES, CA, February 21st, 2013 – Severin Films today announced the May 7th Blu-ray debut of Jim VanBebber’s legendary, award-winning indie THE MANSON FAMILY on the 10th anniversary of its original release. US theatrical dates in 20 major cities are scheduled through March and April and new poster artwork has been created by artist Stephen Romano for the occasion. VanBebber’s highly anticipated new short GATOR GREEN will accompany many of the screenings and will also be included in the extras-packed Special Edition Blu-Ray release.

The theatrical run launches at Landmark Theatres locations in Denver and San Francisco on March 22nd and will continue through April taking in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston and many more (see below for a partial list of engagements, with more to be announced in the coming weeks).

THE MANSON FAMILY delivers an uncompromising, brutal vision of the collapse of the “Love Generation.” On a ranch outside of LA the hippie dream is perverting into something evil. What was once an oasis of free love and acid trips has become ground zero for a madman’s paranoid visions. An average group of kids, the “Family”, become engulfed in a delusional world where torment and slaughter is considered the path to righteousness. The Manson Family is a dizzying, rapid-fire vision of the sex and violence that unifies the misguided group, and at the direction of their leader, ends in a brutal spree leaving seven people dead in 48 hours. Now re-mastered in stunning HD for the first time ever in America.Extras include an all-new Director’s commentary, the brand new short GATOR GREEN, the uncut version of the previously censored, feature length documentary THE VANBEBBER FAMILY on the film’s near-mythic production, and much more.>

Severin Films was formed in 2006 with offices in Los Angeles and London. The company produced the acclaimed 2012 horror anthology THE THEATRE BIZARRE and their previous releases include Richard Stanley’s restored HARDWARE, the all-star War classic THE WILD GEESE, the unrated Director’s Cut of Just Jaeckin’s GWENDOLINE, Enzo Castellari’s original action classic INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, Oscar®-nominee Patrice Leconte’s THE HAIRDRESSER’S HUSBAND, the midnight movie sensation BIRDEMIC – SHOCK & TERROR, Eugenio Martin’s restored HORROR EXPRESS, and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s incomparable masterpiece SANTA SANGRE.

2013 Theatrical Bookings
March 22 & 23 – Clay Theatre, San Francisco
March 22 & 23 – Esquire Theatre, Denver
March 27 – Boston Underground Film Festival – Brattle Theatre, Cambridge MA
March 29 & 30 – Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema, New York City
March 29 & 30 – Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park, Houston
March 29 – Plaza Theatre, Atlanta
April 3 – Granoff Center for the Arts, Providence RI
April 5 – Ritz Bourse, Philadelphia
April 5 & 6 – Egyptian Theatre, Seattle
April 12 – Logan Theatre, Chicago
April 12 & 13 – Hi-Pointe Theatre, St. Louis
April 13 – Cedar Lee Theatre, Cleveland
April 19 & 20 – E Street Theatre, Washington DC
April 19 & 20 – Inwood Theatre, Dallas
April 21 – Screenland Crossroads, Kansas City MO
April 23 – New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles

Tim Rose talks about puppeting Admiral Ackbar in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and working with Jim Henson

Tim Rose is best known for his his work in “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” playing Admiral Ackbar, Sy Snootles and Salacious Crumb. Tim has also worked with Jim Henson on projects like “Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tim on this film work and reflect on his cult fandom with Admiral Ackbar.

Mike Gencarelli: How can you reflect on the fan base behind your role of Admiral Ackbar?
Tim Rose: When you create one of these characters you have to work 14hr days, sacrifice your home life, and get paid very poorly by you Masters. My reward comes at the Conventions when I get to see just how many people, “my silly little playing with dolls” has managed to touch and communicate with.

MG: Was the costume easy to work with during shooting “Return of the Jedi”?
TS: Compared to some of the prosthetic characters that can take up to 5 hours to get into, mine was a doddle, just a simple mask to pull over my head. And when my body temperature got to 100f, just as easy to pull back off again.

MG: Why did you end up not voicing the character? TS: When you are inside the character, the recorded sound of your performance is too muffled. It’s good enough as a guide track to get the sinq right, but not as final performance. I lived in England and the film was edited at ILM. They never would have paid for me to fly all the way out there for 2 hours work in a dubbing studio.

MG: Do you still get asked to say “It’s a Trap” at conventions?
TS: Only, ALL THE TIME!

MG: Besides your own, who is your favorite “Star Wars” character in the saga?
TS: Pre CGI Yoda of course, I learned everything I know from the master. (Frank Oz)

MG: From “Star Wars” to Jim Henson, can you reflect work on such classic films as “Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal”?
TS: “Dark Crystal” had a four year pre-production, that had never happened before or since. Four years of getting paid to play in the worlds best toy shop, creating the dreams of Jim Henson. Because he was a performer himself, he insisted that every thing he made be an instrument that a puppeteer could play. Three quarters of what is made today is a torture chamber that a performer has to endure if they wish to get paid.

MG: How does a puppeteer still stand prevalent in a world of CGI efforts?
TS: Animatronics is much more restricted in what it can visualize than CGI. But it can offer ten times the dramatic interaction on set, the ability to create a magic moment on screen that was never in the original script, and do it all at one quarter the cost of CGI. Producers are slowly beginning to realize this.

MG: What would happen if Admiral Ackbar, Sy Snootles and Salacious Crumb where all in a room together?
TS: The Admiral would be having his afternoon nap. Sy would be looking for the nearest exit to get back to where the action is, and Salacious would be trying to stick rolled up napkins up the sleeping Admiral’s nose.

Erika Eleniak reflects on “Baywatch” and working with Jim Varney

When your first acting job is in one of the most popular movies ever made where do you go from there? For Erika Eleniak, you go straight to the top. At age 10 she appeared alongside Henry Thomas in Steven Spielberg’s classic “E.T.” As the girl Thomas’ character, Elliot, kisses in the classroom, Eleniak certainly made an impression on young film fans. As she got older she found work on television, often as the prospective love interest of such actors as Rick Schroeder on “Silver Spoons,” Scott Baio on “Charles in Charge” and John Stamos on “Full House.” In 1989 she began a two-plus season run as lifeguard Shauni McClain on the popular television series “Baywatch!” Three years later she broke out on the big screen as Playboy playmate Jordan Tate in the Steven Segal action hit “Under Siege.”

In the two decades since she has built a strong resume’ of work both on television (“Brooklyn South,” “Desperate Housewives”) and film (“The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Chasers”). Now the proud mother of a daughter, Ms. Eleniak continues to work steadily, currently adding the word “Author” to her resume. While appearing at the Con X KC convention she took time out to talk with Media Mikes.

Mike Smith: Your first screen role put you in one of the most beloved films of all time, “E.T.” Were you made aware of what the film was about? Did you get to read the entire script or just the pages for your scene?
Erika Eleniak: No. It was very secret. The whole thing from top to bottom was kept under wraps. We were given a different name – I was told the film was called “A Boys Life.” I was pretty much told it was about a boy and an alien. Nothing beyond that. There was no script really for me – we just did our thing. And that was it. There was no hanging out around the set.

MS: Did you shoot any additional scenes that weren’t used?
EE: Not any extra scenes but I do believe I had a line or two when Henry Thomas is trying to free the frogs in class. We were lab partners and I was doing the standard “what are you doing?” In fact, it may have been as simple AS “what are you doing, Elliot? Stop it. You’re going to get in trouble.” I’m pretty sure I had a line that definitely got cut.

MS: You left “Baywatch” at the beginning of season three. Were you surprised at the popularity of the show, especially around the world?
EE: Yes and no. I think everyone was in some way. When you think about the subject matter being shown to other parts of the world…shiny California while other parts of the world are freezing…that part is definitely not surprising as to why the show got such a warm welcome (laughs)…excuse the pun! But how can you ever foresee the success of a show before it happens? You really can’t. The way it all happened…going from being on NBC, which was a really conservative network, to syndication where you could do a lot more with necklines plunging…more eye candy. More of what it eventually became. I think it certainly evolved into itself. It was a work in progress that started out as something much different then where it ended up for sure. I would say that everyone was most happily surprised.

MS: I was very fortunate to have known Jim Varney. Do you have any special memories of working with him on “The Beverly Hillbillies?”
EE: I do! Whenever people ask me about Jim Varney I always have to say that he was one of the most soft-spoken and sweet gentlemen. It was such a loss for him to leave us as early as he did. The funny thing that I loved about Jim was that you could pick any topic on this planet…anything off the wall, and he could talk to you for 20 minutes about it. He was a walking encyclopedia. He was just so smart and it was baffling how much information he had about the most random things. He was incredible that way. Just fascinating. And one of my favorite memories was he and I sitting in the makeup trailer before work. We were just chatting. It was early in the morning and I remember just talking about how I had started a hope chest. I had always wanted children so I started a baby clothes collection and I mentioned that I had started to collect quotes. We were just talking. And about a year after the film wrapped I got this huge box in the mail. Jim had remembered our conversation…I barely did. As I said, it was just idle chatter…”how’s the weather,” that kind of thing. And Jim had sent me two handmade quilts. One was for a baby to put in my hope chest and one was for my quilt collection. He had asked a lady from his little home town in Tennessee to make these things by hand for me and send them to me. I was blown away. My God, that was just so thoughtful…I don’t have enough time in this conversation to tell you what a sweet man he was. And that quilt is still on my little girl’s bed in her bedroom.

MS: You’ve done a lot of work in both television and film. Do you have a preference?
EE: No. Just whatever is quality…whatever is a great role. I suppose now, because I have a six year old daughter, scheduling becomes so much more important. I have a child in school so whatever comes along scheduling is always the first thing I try to figure out. Sometimes the shorter the shoot the more complicated things can become. Is it a matter of getting someone to take her back and forth or if it’s a little bit longer do I pull her out of school, take her on set with me and do independent study with her? As for the medium, there’s no preference as long as it’s an amazing role. But where it does become more preferential is in the scheduling. Right now I have a couple of movies coming out. One was really just a cameo and it was a very short and sweet shoot. The other one was a much longer film shoot so she stayed on set with me with a nanny and did her school work there. It’s worked out really well so far. I love television and I love doing films. I will always love doing films. As long as it’s a great, interesting role I have no preference.

MS: Are you working on anything now?
EE: I just finished two films. One is called “Meant to Be” and I believe they’re going to release it in December. The film stars Della Reese and Michael Gross and Dean Cain and it’s a really very cool story with a great twist that was so appealing when I read the script. I also have a cameo in a Lifetime Channel movie called “Holiday Spin.” I love Lifetime. I really love the stories they tell. They tend to focus on relationships between people. Ralph Maccio is in it, though unfortunately I didn’t get to work with him. And I’m also in the middle of having a children’s book published. We’re in the artwork stage right now. It’s certainly a learning experience for me because I’m totally new to that world. There are layers and layers and layers to go through in the process and we’re just getting to the part of getting the artwork accomplished between myself and the illustrator and the publisher. So I’ve got a few things in the pot!

Interview with Andrea Blaugrund Nevins & Jim Lindberg

Andrea Blaugrund Nevins is the writer and director of a new documentary titled “The Other F Word”. The documentary focuses on punk rock musicians and the difficulties they face as fathers. Jim Lindberg is a founding member of the California punk rock band Pennywise. Jim and the band have a very prominent role in the documentary which is based of of Jim’s book “Punk Rock Dad”. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Andrea and Jim about the film.

Adam Lawton: Can You tell us how the idea for the film came about?
Andrea Blaugrund Nevins: Jimmy had put out a book titled “Punk Rock Dad”. I thought the book would be a great premise for a documentary. Jimmy had a lot of stuff going on at the time as Pennywise had a new album coming out and they were going on tour so everything tied in really well.

AL: What made you interested in writing the book?
Jim Lindberg: I have always been into writing and do quite a bit of it. I had the idea to put the book together about being in a band and being a father at the same time. We were throwing around ideas for titles and one of my friends said I should call it “Punk Rock Dad”.

AL: How long did you film for?
ABN: I think we filmed for about a year and a half. Jim was out on tour so we just kept adding footage. We also gave Jim a hand held camera which he used to capture some really great POV stuff.

AL: How did you decide who was going to be in the film?
ABN: Everyone who was in the film pretty much got involved through word of mouth. We would interview one person and they would say “oh you have to check out so an so”. We would go and interview them and then they would tell us about another great person to talk with. We really got a great group of people.
JL: It was great to have guys like Tony Hawk who don’t have the typical “punk rock” look however are still part of the scene. i myself don’t have tattoos or wear a leather jacket as I was never really into the look of punk rock. What drew me to the scene was the music. It was great to have guys like me shown along with the typical punk rock looking guys.

AL: Was it hard being filmed during the time of you leaving the band?
JL: I had told one of the guys in the band that I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep doing what we were doing. They had some knowledge that I was unhappy so it probably wasn’t as big of as a surprise to them when I did decide to leave. There was one point where I just threw my hands up and said that was it.
ABN: We tried to only show certain things. We weren’t filming 24/7 like a reality show. Even though we shot off and on for over a year the cameras weren’t around as much as it seems.

AL: Have you had any communication with the band?
JL: No. I have tried to reach out to them but haven’t heard anything. I would have liked for everything to be good between me and the guys. I offered to help them out in anyway I could. I even offered to help them find a replacement but things just didn’t work out that way.

AL: Looking back on the footage do you have any regrets?
JL: I regret wiping out on that skateboard. (Laughs) I told the to burry that film and to never show it but it some how ended up making it into the film.

AL: What are the release plans for the film?
ABN: The film opened in a few cities on 11/4. It was kind of a slow weekend release wise which was good for the film. It opens in Pasadena and Costa Mesa on 11/11. We also are in the works of distribution in Canada and overseas. Once the film has run its course in the theaters it will be airing on Showtime and the DVD is slated for a spring 2012 release.

AL: Do you both have any other upcoming projects?
JL: I have a new band called The Black Pacific. We are currently writing songs and playing shows. I was actually able to squeeze two of the bands song on the films sound track. I have just a lot of cool stuff going on. I am at the first part of my second life.
ABN: The DVD is going to have some sneak previews of the new band in the special features section. Project wise I am looking right now at making a documentary about someone who is trying to reconcile their ego after being out of the spot light. It sort of the next phase when you are forced to remove yourself from the spotlight for one reason or another.

AL: Is the soundtrack from the film going to be release as well?
ABN: I would love too, however the economics don’t look to great. It’s something that we are still discussing though.

AL: Is there anything else you would like people to know about the film?
JL: For those who get the DVD when it comes out there is going to be a lot of extras to check out. The material has been packaged really well. The Directors cut will feature some voice over stuff from Andrea, myself and Art Alexacis. That should be pretty informative and entertaining. You of course will be able to check out the film in the theaters and eventually on Showtime but for those people who really liked the film the hard copy is going to be really great.
ABN: While the film is in the theater we want people to use the whole DIY word of mouth method to promote the film. The more people who go to see it in the theaters the will allow it to be shown in more places. The film has really great 5.1 sound with a soundtrack that rocks! It will be awesome to see the film in the theater.

Interview with Jim Fortier

Jim Fortier is the Co-Creator/Writer for Adult Swim’s “Squidbillies”.  Along with Dave Willis they have created one of the most unique shows on television.  With the show entering its sixth season, the series shows now signs of slowing down.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jim about working on the show and what to expect from this season.

Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel that the sixth season of “Squidbillies” differs production wise from the previous seasons?
Jim Fortier: I don’t know that the production really differs from the previous seasons. Our team is just better at making the show now. We are very happy with this season. We think that the episodes are as good as any and probably are strongest batch yet. Dave and I still primarily write the episodes with the help of Chris Kelly who submits scripts to us. We are a well oiled machine.

MG: What is the turnaround for an episode from conception to completion?
JF: Usually we can write an episode in a couple days. Recording takes another couple days and then we give in to an editor in the building for about 8 weeks where they will do the audio and the rough animation cut. From there our animation studio Radical Access will get another 6-8 weeks usually. So it takes around 5-8 months per episode. We generally will record an episode every couple weeks so at any given time we could have all 10 episodes in various stages of production.

MG: What is the most difficult task about working on the show?
JF: The most difficult thing about the show is also my favorite which is getting to do all the different things Dave and I do related to the show. We both have a big hand in each step of the shows process. It can be very demanding as we generally are working on 10 shows at a time.

MG: How do you feel “Squidbillies” compares to the other shows you have worked on?
JF: The production method on those other shows was different than that on “Squidbillies”. Even the audio cuts were done differently. “Squidbillies” is different for me because it’s the first show that along with Dave I have been solely responsible for. When I worked on “The Brak Show”, I was kind of the right hand guy and helped write scripts but everything was really Pete Smith. “Squidbillies” is sort of paired down a bit to something that works well.

MG: How do you go about developing the over the top/offensive content for “Squidbillies”?
JF: I look at as redneck squids saying what they say. They aren’t speaking for us. A lot of times we have to defend the content of the show. It’s not always a bad thing to have to explain what you are doing. I can’t speak for Dave but maybe he really is thinking those things? I doubt it though [laughs]. Early really is a buffoon and we like to use him as the brunt of all the jokes. Hopefully everyone gets the characters overzealous humor.

MG: With Unknown Hinson’s musical background why haven’t there been more episodes featuring Early  singing?
JF: He has done two episodes that I can think of where he has gotten to sing. We have actually asked Unknown to do a cover version of the theme song.  I think he is going to do it but he has just been tied up getting ready to release a new album on Halloween. Unknown is a very hands on guy.

MG: Can you envision doing a “Squidbillies” movie?
JF: I can imagine me being interested in doing that. I can also imagine being told that it will never happen from the network.  I think we could give it a stab and it would be fun to do but I just don’t think there has been a call for it. However if a million rabid fans signed a petition and included 1 dollar we would start production tomorrow. Hint…Hint!!