Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest Set For Fall 2016

THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH COMIC-CON HQ
MARK HAMILL’S POP CULTURE QUEST
SET FOR FALL 2016

The stage and screen star will host and executive produce the new series with fellow Star Wars alum, Return of the Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian

SANTA MONICA, June 2, 2016 – Best known for his iconic role as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, Mark Hamill will bring his encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and passion for memorabilia to Comic-Con HQ, the new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) destination that will extend the experience of San Diego Comic-Con into a year-round event.

Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest, a docu-style series featuring authentic stories about passionate fans and their collections, will be hosted and produced by Hamill. Production on the series will begin in June when he returns from shooting Star Wars VIII in the U.K. The series will debut on Comic-Con HQ this fall.

Hamill has been amassing memorabilia, including comic books, toys, lunch boxes, records, puppets, original artwork, and much more since the early 1970s. Now with Pop Culture Quest, he can share his appreciation and introduce other interesting collectors and their treasures to the Comic-Con community.

“I’ve been a collector all my life,” said Hamill. “This show is a natural outgrowth of that passion. Now I have an opportunity to collect other people’s collections! I can’t wait to see what’s out there and share it with the world. Collectibles are a living history of who and what we are, so we just might learn something…but there’s no doubt we’re going to have fun!”

Seth Laderman, EVP and General Manager, Comic-Con HQ, added, “From the moment I started talking with Mark about this idea over three years ago, his enthusiasm was infectious. It had such an impact on me that after I came to Comic-Con HQ, my first call was to him and his team about how to bring this show to our community. Passion is at the heart of all of our original series, with a goal to allow innovators like Mark the opportunity to create and bring their ideas to life. We couldn’t be happier to help Mark’s show find a home.”

Hamill will once again team with his friend and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian. Kazanjian was Executive Producer on Raiders of the Lost Ark and served as VP at Lucasfilm during the dramatic expansion of the company in the 1980s. Producer Darren Moorman, whose film Same Kind of Different as Me will be released next year, and longtime collector and vintage show promoter Scott Kinney will round out the producing team as Executive Producers on the series.

More news about upcoming programming and partnerships for Comic-Con HQ will be announced in the coming weeks. Anyone can register now for a free extended trial on Comic-ConHQ.com via web browsers and iOS/Android devices. The paid subscription service will officially roll out this summer across more connected devices and distribution platforms such as Roku, AppleTV and Amazon’s Streaming Partners Program, with additional devices becoming available in the months to come.

 

Suicide Silence’s Mark Heylmun talks about album “You Can’t Stop Me” and Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

 

Mark Heylmun is the lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Suicide Silence. The band recently released their 4th studio album titled “You Can’t Stop Me” via Nuclear Blast Records and is featured on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Mark about the new album, the bands new singer and how they overcame the loss of the bands original vocalist Mitch Lurker.

Adam Lawton: With the new album being out just over a month now what has the overall reception been like from the fans?
Mark Heylmun: It’s been really amazing. To be honest I am waiting for this whole thing to become difficult. This time last year I was looking into the future thinking that things were going to be very hard. I knew we were going to have to be comfortable with whatever happened and just ride it out. The record is out and people a really loving it. Were out on Mayhem right now and it feels like were just killing it every day.

AL: What was it like for the band working on both new material and with a new singer all at the same time?
MH: We had to build a working relationship with Eddie. We were of course friends beforehand but Eddie’s the type of guy who when you catch up to him you have to hear all of what he has going on. Building that new relationship was a lot of fun because he is our friend and now he is in our band. Surprisingly it was a very easy transition as he works in the same way Mitch worked. We would give him a song and he would either feel it or not. With Eddie being new to the band things were very fresh for him and us as well which made the experience very exciting. In a week we wrote 3 songs together. After those first three songs were written we knew things were going to be ok. This was the first time as a band that we all collaborated together on material. It was very much a group effort this time around.

AL: The album features two songs written by Mitch before he passed away. Can you tell us about those?
MH: One of those tracks is actually a really old song that appeared on our first EP in 2005. We wanted to redo it because we have had a lot of requests to hear those songs. We chose “Ending is Beginning” because it just made sense with what we are doing. A lot of friends wanted us to do one of these old songs as well to see if Eddie could really pull this off. He just slayed it! “You Can’t Stop Me” is the other track Mitch was working on and it’s one of the two last songs we worked on with him. “Blue Haze” was the other track which appeared on a B side. The music for both of those songs was done in the same writing session in 2012. Mitch had only written lyrics for one and we had to looks at those and figure out which song they were actually meant for. It ended up being very easy to figure out because of the structure in which the lyrics were written. The song had no title but the lyrics were “You can’t fucking stop me!” so we really took a lot from those words as it just all fit so well with what we were doing and what we were going to have to do in the future. That song really built us up. Even though Mitch wasn’t physically there he still had a lot to do with the latest record.

AL: What was it like on an emotional level revisiting these songs?
MH: The whole time we had it in our minds that we wanted this album to really mean a lot. We wanted this album to be all that it could be. We postponed jamming and getting together with Eddie until we could all be there at the same time. We got those lyrics sent to us and we all read them together. From there we just started jamming and playing music together. I remember that first session and we didn’t even really play Suicide Silence songs at first. We were playing songs by Pantera, Metallica, Sublime and Offspring. Eventually we started doing our songs but it was just an emotional time that felt new and very real.

AL: So far you have released 2 songs off the album as singles. Are there plans to release any others?
MH: We have had the discussion. We couldn’t really decide which songs we wanted to roll out first because we liked all of the songs. There is potential to release a video for every song off the album. We have a pretty good video team that is in our world and we facilitate all those things. We have a bunch of ideas right now on what to do.

AL: Have you found people are more focused on this being the band’s first album with a singer as opposed to it being your senior release?
MH: A lot of people ask if we feel like this is our first record. I don’t think it feels like that because we are building off of what we have learned from each other. “The Cleansing” was our first full length and that album was really done because of the response from our EP. We had a lot of offers come our way and we had to decide which would be best for us and then write a record. We wrote the record because we had gotten signed and that record was our reaction to those events. We learned that we had to put ourselves in a position to where we were motivated to write. We learned a lot over the course of three records and this new album is the culmination. I think after this we have really learned to write a piece of music and I am looking forward to continuing with what we are doing.

AL: With Mayhem Fest wrapping up in August does the band have any plans for the remainder of 2014?
MH: We will be a part of this year’s Knot Fest which is being held in San Bernardino, CA in the later part of October. That’s going to be just an insane time. We also will be heading over to Europe in November for a tour run over there as well.

Mark McGrath talks about hosting truTV’s reality series “Killer Karaoke”

Photo Credit: truTV

Mark McGrath is known best as the front man of the rock band Sugar Ray. McGrath is also known for his work as a co-host of “Extra”, and he was the host of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”. Mark is taking over the role of host in truTV’s hit reality series “Killer Karaoke”, which premieres February 20th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the show with Mark and find out what can we expect.

Mike Gencarelli: You are no stranger to hosting; what drew you in for “Killer Karaoke”?
Mark McGrath: It was a slam dunk for me, honestly. It involves performances, karaoke and live animals. That is just the perfect triad for me. I said “I am in! It sounds like a typical night in the 90’s for me” [laughs]. I had seen the show last season and I was a big fan of it as well. It is interesting that when I first saw the show, I thought to myself that it was such a great hosting gig. Then I literally got a call two months later. It was just a no brainer. A good buddy of mine, Tony Yates, is the CEO of the production company, Zodiac and I worked with him before on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”. I was always impressed with the way that Tony puts a show together. I spoke to Tony and he said the show was “Killer Karaoke” and I said “I’m in! Where do I sign?”

Mike: This show is very funny, I wouldn’t be able to not crack up if I was hosting…
Mark: I knew the show was going to be funny Mike, like I said I’m a fan but I was doubling over in laughter the entire season. I was ruining takes because I would just keep laughing and they would have to start over. It was so funny. The contestants are amazing. I think that the thing I took away most from the show was how funny it actually is watching the show in real-time and that the contestants can really sing. All of them sing better than I do [laughs]. That is the scary part, I am not kidding you! [laughs].

Mike: Tell us about the fresh, new format and how it differs from season one?
Mark: I think they really brought in some geniuses to increase the gameplay and really get you involved with these contestants and get an emotional component for them. The show just seems to have a little more gravitas now. Steve-O hosted the first season (read our interview here) and those were huge shoes to fill. He was a perfect match for this show, so I am honored to take the torch from him and carry on.

Photo Credit: truTV

Mike: What kind of hilarious and unexpected challenges the contestants can we expect from this season?
Mark: I think what is great about this show is that it is all about spontaneity. You never know what is around the corner. The contestants never know what they are facing. But they know that there will be a fear element. One of their biggest fears will be met. You throw a little bit of karaoke in there with a live audience and it is quite the fun afternoon. When you have live animals…you cannot control them. I am looking at the side of the stage and I am seeing 300lb animal handlers. I am wondering “What are those guys for” and then I look around and you see camel heads, snakes and spiders backstage. You just wonder “What are we in for today?” It is fun because you not only have the fear element but it is mixed with the surprise element and the laughter element. You never know what is going to happen. Then on top of all that you have to sing….on key. I think that is what makes this show so great, anything can happen…and it usually does.

Mike: I tell you one thing Mark, in the episode I watched this season, a contestant had to sing in a helmet full of spiders…I do not do spiders man [laughs].
Mark: Listen Mike, I don’t blame you dude. Let’s just say people literally come face to face with their greatest fears. Some of the things that these contestants have to deal with that you wouldn’t think would be to intimidating like Canadian Geese, let’s just say, you would be surprised. If you get two of them together in little pen, they start making these shrieks and it’s crazy. But they are wild animals man and you can’t forget that. These animals get treated really well man. In fact they get treated better than I do man, they kicked me out of my dressing room to bring in the Canadian Geese [laughs]. The earth has provided us with some pretty incredible creatures and “Killer Karaoke” is happy to put them on a TV show.

Photo Credit: truTV

Mike: How do you think you would do if you were put in these contestants’ shoes?
Mark: I am the biggest baby. This is something I found out about doing this show [laughs]. I am afraid of everything. I think “I am a man. I can handle this. I toured in the 90’s. I lived on a bus with 10 guys for 12 years. I HAVE SEEN IT ALL! Bring it on!” But I would never put my hand in a scorpion pit, no matter how much money is attached on the back of the scorpion. I am not grabbing it off the back of the SCORPION! I do not think that there is one challenge that I would do. There is one called “Leader of the Pack”, which is a dog challenge. It is the scariest thing to see those dogs running at you full force. Even with the protective suit on it would be very intimidating. I would be terrible man. I am afraid when I see a cockroach at night and I run. I am not kidding you. [laughs].

Mike: Lastly, on a musical note; please tell me you are planning to come back to the Eat to the Beat Concert series during Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year?
Mark: Oh Mike, that is one of the things that I look forward to most all year. I have had the good fortune of playing there four years in a row now. It is interesting, when I first started playing my wife was pregnant and now last year, I brought my kids up on the stage, which is so cool for me. It is so much fun. I love coming down to Disney World for a week and spending the time with the kids and just having fun during the day and then getting to play three shows at night to some killer crowds. It is so much fun. So I am standing by the phone and I hope to be there again this year!

Kill Devil Hill’s Mark Zavon talks about new album “Revolution Rise”

Mark Zavon is the guitarist for the hard rock group Kill Devil Hill. The group, which also features former Pantera bassist Rex Brown, Heaven and Hell drummer Vinnie Appice and vocalist Dewey Bragg, has just released their second album titled “Revolution Rise” via Century Media Records. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with mark recently about the creation of the new record and what the band has planned for the coming year.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the new Kill Devil Hill album “Revolution Rise”?
Mark Zavon: The new album is just killer! Jeff Pilson co-produced the album with us. That guy was a huge positive influence on the whole process. He is a great songwriter and had a lot of good input. The album turned out great and we are super proud of it.

AL: What do you feel were the biggest changes made on the record compared to the bands previous release?
MZ: We had a lot more time to spend on this new record. The first record we had to do in about a month. Along with the limited time frame we also had a limited budget so we had to try and get things done as quick as we could. Things are both good and bad that way. This time around we had the time to spend getting things together. We also had a couple breaks in there as well as Rex had his book come out and Jeff plays with Foreigner. Getting everybody’s schedules to line up at times was a little difficult. Even though that part of things was a little bit difficult it gave me time to work more on the songs. We were able to put a little more energy into the writing/recording process this time around. I think it turned out a lot better than the first album.

AL: What type of approach do you guys take when it comes time to start working on a new record being that you all don’t live in the same area?
MZ: Every song is different. Sometimes we work together sometimes we work separate and send ideas back and forth to one another. Some of the songs on this new record were written originally for the first album however we had too many tracks so we held on to them. There was definitely a more collaborative approach to writing on this record as everyone was involved and contributed ideas. It was nice having everyone involved this time around as with the first record a bunch of that stuff was written before Rex even joined the band. There was a lot more of a combined effort this time around and we all demoed stuff in different places and then put it all together. We literally came from every angle when putting this album together.

AL: Prior to the albums released you signed to Century Media. What has that partnership been like thus far?
MZ: The thing that we were really missing on the first record was the promotional aspect of things. We were working with a label from Germany who had no real presence here in the States. That was tough as they didn’t really get behind the release all that much. With Century Media things have been much different. We actually started out by going down to their offices and playing a small acoustic set for everyone there. They are located right in Los Angeles, which is local for me. They came to one of our shows at the Roxy and they have been like family. Century Media is the type of label that likes to get behind their artists and promote them. Combining that with the whole family vibe has been a step in the right direction for us. Something like this is what we have all wanted for a long time.

AL: A lyric video for the song “Why” was released recently, Are there any plans to shoot a full production video for any of the songs of this album?
MZ: I think there will be some more lyric videos to come out for the other songs but we also just shot a video for the song “Leave It All Behind”. That should be coming out soon and is going to be really cool. We shot the video at an old missile silo site north of the San Fernando Valley. It was cool and we all had a good time. We actually worked with the director before on our last video and I think it turned out great.

AL: What other plans does the band have in place for the rest of this year leading into 2014?
MZ: We have plans to take the holiday season off and then start back up towards the end of January. There are some plans in the works for the upcoming NAMM show to do some things with our sponsors. From there the plan is to hit it hard and promote this record through out the coming year. The more we play the happier I am.

Keanu Reeves and Mark Mann talk about working together on “Generation Um…”

Keanu Reeves is known for his films in franchises like “The Matrix” and “Bill & Ted”. In this film “Generation Um…”, he plays a much different role within this character piece. Mark Mann is the writer and director on the film, which is his feature film debut. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Keanu and Mark on the film and what we can expect.

Click here for our interview with Adelaide Clemens & Bojana Novakovic

Mike Gencarelli: Mark, tell us how did “Generation Um…” come about for you?
Mark Mann: Alison Palmer (Bourke), the producer on the project, gave Keanu the script to look at as a friend at first. He liked it and said he wanted to meet with me. We had a coffee and it was sort of monumental coffee. We riffed creatively for a bit and found out that we got along well. We shared visions for the characters and the story. So after that he decided to do the film, which was great. He was perfect for the role. So we went out and made a movie [laughs].

MG: Keanu, what was it that really drew you to the role of John?
Keanu Reeves: I liked so many things about the character. What stuck out for me was the writing, the structure, the humor, the humanity and the way the story was told. With John, in particular, I had a great sympathy for him. He felt like a character that was hyper-aware. He was trapped in his past, maybe with his confidence or trapped in his life.  He was seeking a connection, a friendship or something that we might think of as simple but is fundamental to life. I felt like a lot of people could relate to him. I also felt that since this took place in New York and it was more personal and I liked that.

MG: Any challenges with shooting in New York?
KR: [laughs]
MM: I had no issues whatsoever [laughs]. New York is a great place to shoot. Just because you are shooting there doesn’t mean that it is going to behave any different than New York does. It seems to add attention to the frame. We were using New York in a somewhat unorthodox fashion, with shooting in the park, running down streets, driving over bridges and staring at trains. In general, I think that New York tolerates you if you shine at the end of it all.

MG: Keanu, this is a real change from some of your past action driven films; was it a challenge taking on this character piece?
KR: I wouldn’t really say a challenge but more of an opportunity. What struck me was getting a chance to actually shoot the footage that John does in the film. That was a very unique situation for me and it was something that I really appreciated and enjoyed. The trust that Mark put into me was great. He was like “Ok Keanu…go shoot!” We shot on Super 16 with a lot of wide angle lenses and fixed perspectives. So we get to learn about John through the camera but also get to learn about the other characters from John’s perspective. For me that was very unique, fulfilling and a fun opportunity.
MM: What was interesting about that, as well, you will notice in the film that he bundles that into the character. You watch the character developing his own feelings through the camera itself.

MG: Mark, what was your biggest challenge taking on your first feature film?
MM: I would have to say just making a film. It is an impossible pursuit. Once you start getting into it there are so many things going on at the same time. It is like you are one with the inside of your head with little tentacles extending out sort of taking of the form of all these different people all handling various tasks. It is impossible…
KR: No it’s not [laughs].
MM: Yeah it was easy. It was like butter [laughs].

MG: Keanu, I loved the chemistry between you and your leading ladies, Adelaide Clemens and Bojana Novakovic. What did you do to form that bond between the three of you for this film?
KR: We started with the audition process. Mark went on search for Violet and Mia. Luckily, I was a part of that process. He asked me to videotape the actresses that came in to meet on the project. It happened with both Bojana and Addy that there was a nice simpatico between us and we got along right away. They were interesting and loved the material. As me moved forward in rehearsal and just hanging out, everyone seemed to be on the same page. We just got along really great, so that was really cool. Mark really let me in and be a part of the creative process and I really appreciated that as well.
MM: That was part of the fun though. The film ultimately is what happens between the people making the film. It was just great. Having Keanu, Adelaide and Bojana together work through it all in rehearsals and then turning on the camera and watching them do it was amazing.

MG: Mark, you also wrote the screenplay. How much did it change throughout the production?
MM: The script was god. It was bible. It didn’t change.
KR: Urgh…writers and directors, they say that the script is god. [laughs]
MM: [laughs] If you asked me the question as a director, I might have a different answer but in terms of writing you have to have a moment when you can be a writer. That is what writers do.
KR: It was just really a great script. One could think that it was improvised since the words are just so great.
MM: There are also a lot of moments of silence in the movie and I had to try to push it into direction. But there were these long moments with Keanu, Bojana and Adelaide where they are just there and they are doing what they are doing. That is not something you can write. It was very exciting to see them take the implications that I wrote and then completely bring it to this magically level where they were and just embodied these characters.
KR: Human animal footage [laughs].

CD Review “Mark Twain: Words & Music”

Performed by: Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, Jimmy Buffett
Release Date: September 21, 2011
Label: Mailboat Records
Tracks: 27 – 14 Disc one / 13 Disc two

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Normally, I wouldn’t think that I would ever listen to a CD about Mark Twain’s life. This CD is being released by Mailboat Records, which is backed by Jimmy Buffett.  Yes, that is all I need to have in order to listen to a CD about Mark Twain. “Mark Twain: Words & Music” is a double-CD which tells the story of Twain’s life in spoken word and song. Voices on this project include Jimmy Buffett (as Huck Finn), Garrison Keillor (as the narrator), Clint Eastwood (as Mark Twain) and Angela Lovell (as Susy Clemens). Yes, I did mean that Clint Eastwood.

This is not just a typical spoke word album. There are perfect blend of 14 story segments with 13 corresponding songs performed by Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Bradley Walker, Carl Jackson, The Church Sisters, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Marty Raybon, Val Storey, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie, and Ricky Skaggs. Is that enough talent for you to handle on on CD? This project was produced by Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson in order to benefit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death and 175th anniversary of his birth back in 2010.

This CD doesn’t just stop at the tracks on both discs, also includes is a very detailed 40-page linear notes included, which complements this album very well.  The liner notes are great and even include pictures of Twain along with the text. I recommend listening to the album and then checking out the book. If you are a history buff, this gives a unique approach to the life of one of our greatest scholars.  If you are a Jimmy Buffett fan, then you are going to love getting to hear him put his spin on Huck Finn, it is awesome. Clint Eastwood also channels his inner Dirty Harry once again for his role of Mark Twain. Lastly, if you are a fan of bluegrass/country music then you will definitely dig this.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1. Hello yourself, and see how you like it… – Jimmy Buffett, Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor
2. When Halley Came To Jackson – Emmylou Harris
3. Hannibal, Missouri, where my boyhood was spent… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett
4. Better Times A’ Comin’ – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
5. He agreed to teach me the Mississippi River… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett
6. Run Mississippi – Rhonda Vincent
7. Several years of variegated vagabondizing… – Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, Jimmy Buffett
8. A Cowboy In His Soul – Bradley Walker
9. It liberates the vandal to travel… – Garrison Keillor and Clint Eastwood
10. Safe Water – Carl Jackson
11. You ain’t ever to love anybody but me… – Garrison Keillor and Clint Eastwood
12. I Wandered By A Brookside – The Church Sisters
13. It was a mighty nice family… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Angela Love
14. Beautiful Dreamer – Sheryl Crow

Disc 2
1. Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett
2. Huck Finn Blues – Brad Paisley
3. The crows would gather on the railing and talk about me… – Garrison Keillor and Clint Eastwood
4. Huck Finn Blues – Marty Raybon
5. So wounded, so broken-hearted… – Garrison Keillor and Clint Eastwood
6. Love Is On Our Side – Val Storey
7. Wheresoever she was, there was Eden… – Garrison Keillor and Clint Eastwood
8. I Know You By Heart – Vince Gill
9. My concsience got to stiring me up hotter than ever… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett
10. Ink – Joe Diffie
11. The report of my death was an exaggeration… – Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett
12. Comet Ride – Ricky Skaggs
13. The truth, mainly… – Garrison Keillor and Jimmy Buffett

CD Review: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone “The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone
“The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”
Label: GPR Records
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t know about the classic books “The Runaway Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and “The Story of Babar” by Francis Poulenc. These are not new stories in fact they are all from the 1940’s. “Goodnight Moon” is from 1947. “The Runaway Bunny” is  from 1942. And “The Story of Babar” or aka “L’Histoire de Babar” dates back to 1945. These stories are still very timeless and a must read for any child before bed or anytime, in fact. In case you are wondering, this is not a your typical straight forward audio book. These books are read alongside new classical music interpretations of the these stories. If you are a fan of classic music and timeless stories, this would make a wonderful addition to your collection. I can see this CD being a must-listen with my daughter as she grows up.

So what makes this CD special is that Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are reading two of these three books along with the wonderful musical compositions besides them. Catherine Zeta-Jones narrates “The Runaway Bunny” along with music by Glen Roven and performed by the Piano Trio Version with Trio 21. Michael Douglas lends his voice to the beloved story of “The History of Babar”, which is backed with a score by Francis Poulenc and Jason Worth on the piano. These performances are very well acted and gives the stories great delivery. Lastly but not least is “Goodnight Moon”, which is a story I have become very familiar with as a new parent.  It is sung by English Baritone Mark Stone along with the GPR Festival Choir. This release is very well done and entertaining.  It is also a great way to not only make these stories more interesting but also introduce your children to the world of very fine classical music.

Mark Consuelos talks about role in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Mark Consuelos guest starred this season on the hit FX series “American Horror Story: Asylum”, where he plays the role of ‘Spivey,’ an inmate at Briarcliff who we first seen during a rough encounter with another character. Mark’s character recently reappeared during the episode titled “The Origins of Monstrosity”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk recently with Mark about his appearance on the show.

Adam Lawton:  Can you tell us how you got involved in this part?
Mark Consuelos: Yes. I am friends with Ryan Murphy and he wanted to talk about this particular project. We had dinner one night and he explained the role and how ‘Spivey’ was going to look. We really got into the physical characteristics of ‘Spivey’ and he did warn me that he’s going to be a super dark kind of character, extremely demented, and for me I said, you understand that’s exactly why I would want to play ‘Spivey.’

AL: Were you allowed to give your own input in developing the character yourself, or did they have a certain agenda for you to work the character?
MC: I think that with most good scripts and good shows they expect the actor to bring some of their ideas and some of the things, the back story of the character, or just certain aspects, they expect the actor to do some of that stuff, and I think it’s always a good collaboration between the actor, the writer and the director to try stuff out during the process. I think what was really great is that people were open to certain things and they would let you know if that was something they wanted you to do more, cut that in half, do more of that, we need you to do this, but I feel like on any really good show everybody comes with their own stuff and you want to try as much as you can. I would say that the character was really clear in some of the things that he’d been doing and some of these actions, so it makes it easier for the actor. With this character there wasn’t really a lot of gray area here. They wrote him very specifically, which I really appreciated.  But just because they are very specific about those things, it doesn’t mean that it limits you. Actually, it makes those possibilities and some of your choices even greater.

AL: Would you say that you’re more of a fan of that type of direction, or do you like to sometimes havea little bit more defining in a role?
MC: No, I love the collaboration. I think every actor would probably say that it’s always a collaboration and if you ask directors they expect the actors to bring something. They don’t want to be thinking for everybody.  I think I enjoy this kind of – again, I think it was a hybrid of both.  There was a lot of collaboration but it was also very, very specific with an extremely specific views, especially from Ryan, on certain things that I thought were really good.  You have to have a specific view and you have to be pretty precise about that.  I think as an actor it’s always great to have a little bit of both

AL: What was the make-up process like for this role?
MC: It took anywhere from two and a half to three and a half hours, depending on what’s going on.  Whenever they say it’s going to take that long I’m like, yes, right, there’s no way, what’s so
hard about that.  But these guys are definitely artists.  They’re amazing at what they do. Just
getting it on and then once they get the stuff on the prosthetics, the way they go about touching
them up and painting them and adjusting them, like I said they’re really artists.

AL: With the show being so dark how do you protect yourself from taking that character and the tension of the storytelling home with you every night?
MC: As dark as you think the stuff that you’re doing as an actor on that show is, once you watch it you’re like, oh, man, it could have been a lot darker, having seen some of the other things that people were doing.  And so I don’t know, I saw it as such a great opportunity that I literally had so much fun doing it and there was excitement about doing it, and I didn’t have that much trouble separating myself from what was going on, on set.

AL: It was just announced that the show is being picked up for a third season. Would you be interested in being on the show again for next season?
MC: Absolutely! It’s been so fun just to be part of it, the whole buzz around the show is exciting, and then when it actually starts airing people absolutely love it. I got extreme street credibility from my high school aged son, he’s like, “Dad, the fact that you’re in “American Horror Story” is absolutely cool.” I was like, “I’m not sure if it’s appropriate for you.” And he was like, “Dad, come on, I’m a New York City kid in high school”.

Mark Walsh talks about directing Pixar’s Toy Story Toons “Partysaurus Rex”

Mark Walsh has been animating with Pixar going back to “A Bug’s Life”. He took on the role of Directing Animator for Dorey on “Finding Nemo”. Most recently he has gone behind the camera and directed the newest Toy Story Toons called “Partysaurus Rex”. Personally, I think it is brilliant and my personal favorite of any Pixar short. Media Mikes had a chance to really dive in about the short with Mark and find out some really cool facts about the film.

Mike Gencarelli: You’ve been with Pixar almost since the beginning, how was it stepping away from the animating desk and behind the camera directing the Toy Story Toons short “Partysaurus Rex”?
Mark Walsh: I love it. I have been reading articles about different actors who are turning directors. Largely what an animator is an actor. So to move to directing has been a similar experience. I think it is really fun and I enjoy the collaboration of it, even more than animating. I think animating is trying to create an emotion or feeling and directing is the same thing but on a larger scale. Yes, there are many more things to worry about. Yes, the buck stop with you…but the feeling of creation and collaboration, especially when something works is unparallel. I love it.

MG: Where you nervous at playing with the “Toy Story” brand?
MW: Not really. I am familiar with the characters. I worked with them before on the TV commercials for “Toy Story 3”. Working with the creator of the series, John Lasseter, there isn’t anything that he would let through that isn’t right. John will really be interested in how each director is going to push things. I think that is why “Toy Story 3” feels like a “Toy Story” film but also feels like a Lee Unkrich film. That is because John invites the input of the new director and he still makes sure it stays within the world. So with that support on hand, I felt invigorated to try new things. “Partysaurus Rex” is pretty different than the usual. But it I was happy knowing that the guardians of the franchise, here at Pixar, were there to make sure that I didn’t step out of bounds.

MG: I like that Rex gets a chance to shine. He is a funny character!
MW: Isn’t he great!? Rex is just such a sweet character. What I like most about Dorey from “Finding Nemo” is that she is a comedy relief character. But she is rare comedy relief character that gets a spotlight to see what it is like to be the comedy relief character. In her case, it is kind of sad. Rex is similar in a way. He is so nervous and nerdy that he funny. However what is it like to actually be that guy? I had that experience in school when I was a kid. So I just tapped into that for the movie.

MG: How long did this short take to make from idea to completion?
MW: A long time actually. It took about two years from start to finish, which seems long for six and half minutes. But there are two things that were going on. First, we had to wait for “Small Fry” to get finished. They were both produced by our sister studio at Pixar Canada. They are a really small studio, smaller than Pixar was when I came on during “A Bug’s Life”. They have a really great culture there but they can’t handle five or six shorts at the same time. Both Angus MacLane and I started on our shorts at the same time but I had to wait until they finished. Also it took two years since the itself process is just very long and arduous. There isn’t any stage of the production where the questions aren’t asked “Can we make this better?”, “How can we approve this?”, or “Can we add any more entertainment value here?”. That takes time. I was really pleased though because the shorts at Pixar gets treated the same way that the features do.

MG: Tell us about collaborating with BT for the music?
MW: BT is amazing. You listen to electronic dance music and some people think “How hard could it be?”. You have a drum beat and maybe some synthesizers. BT is not one of those people. He is an artist. What I liked about BT’s work is that it has the most emotion to me compared to other artists and DJs. When you are working in film, especially a short like “Partysaurus Rex”, emotion is what you are after. I wanted music that would be like a second character. I am very glad he found the time for us and that we were able to collaborate. The music gets louder, more intense and a bit crazier as the film goes on along with the party. So it kind of represents the party in a way. The music had to start small and get crazy, so the biggest challenge was reining it in. BT was able to do that so well. He just brought idea after idea and that was the best part of working with him.

MG: How does it feel to be the first Pixar short to not only have a MP3 single but also get a level in video game “Tap Tap Revenge”?
MW: I love it. Usually shorts don’t get this short of reaction. Especially a franchise related short. I was just trying to create this story with fun music that matched it. I wasn’t even sure if people would like it, but the response has just been amazing. It has been positive for all ages, especially young people. There is so much music that BT made, but the film just wasn’t long enough. We kept getting request after request for music from the film. On the single, BT had used “Partysaurus” as the inspiration even including dialogue and created this track, which plays so well on the dance floor. I listen to it every day and I feel that it even works better than the version in the film.

MG: How many hidden Pixar nods are there in this short, like the Sulley toilet cover?
MW: [laughs] Yeah, there is a lot in there actually. There is quite a few “Finding Nemo” references, since I worked on “Nemo” as the directing animator for Dorey. When we cut to the underwater guys and the “What Up Fishes” scene, Mr. Ray from “Finding Nemo is down there as well as one of the dolphins from that film. There is T-Bone from “Small Fry”, who floats by. There are a lot of “Toy Story 3” characters. But I am not going to tell you all of them; I want people to find them out for themselves.

MG: You also voice the new character Drips the Whale, tell us about that?
MW: When you are trying to get the story worked out, you are looking for something that is funny and gets it done. I liked the idea of a faucet cover, so kids won’t hit there heads, and I’ve seen them for sale. I thought it would be funny to have it coming out of his mouth, so he was permanently talking like this [mumbling in Drips’ voice]. We always record our voices as temporary voices when we are developing the story. It helps us find out if the movie is working before you bring in Tom Hanks or Tim Allen, which is great. Drips and also Puffy, aka “What Up Fishes” are my voices. Due to time, the fact that it was already funny and we didn’t have a name star attached to play them, John said “Why not!”. So I felt very lucky it is rare that a temporary voice gets to stay in the film.

MG: Do you have plans to take sight on features next to direct?
MW: I hope so. In Hollywood, everyone always says “I am doing this now, but what I really want to do is direct”. Everyone thinks that it is better, but it is really hard work. This was actually the hardest job that I have ever had but it is also the most gratifying. I am happy to just keep, as they say “doing the reps”, lifting weights to get my skills up. What has always been important to me at Pixar is that my craft is good. So I hope that I still have opportunities moving forward to keep improving on that craft. Until then, I am just building up my biceps [laughs].

Mark Hamill reflects on his role of Crow in “Sushi Girl”

Mark Hamill may be known best for playing Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. He is also the voice of The Joker for the last 20 years, starting with “Batman: The Animated Series”. Mark is taking on his most challenging and unique role yet, as Crow, in his new film “Sushi Girl”. I highly recommend this film, as it is one of my favorite films of the year.  It is being released on VOD on November 27, 2012, in advance of it’s theatrical release on January 4, 2013. Media Mikes had the real pleasure of chatting with Mark about this amazing performance and how he put himself into that role. We also got to chat a little bit about his voice work and what he has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: Take us through the how you ended up working on “Sushi Girl”?
Mark Hamill: They sent me the script; I read it and liked it a lot. But initially I couldn’t see myself doing it. I couldn’t imagine it. I was trying to get other things off the ground and sort of forgot about it. Then it came down to “Yes or no…Are you in or out?” I was thinking maybe it was a little too extreme. It seems crazy now that I did this but I turned it down. That was the easy way to deal with the troubling aspects of the screenplay. After a week or so I reconsidered, I am lucky they didn’t go to anyone else in that time. What happened was, I turned it down but didn’t feel good about it. So I asked my kids for help. Nathan was busy but I had my son Griffin and my daughter Chelsea read it, just to get their reactions. I need the reactions from twenty-somethings since I don’t have access to those demographics. Griffin didn’t think it was that violent like torture porn or gratuitously violent. The violence is part of the movie like in “Reservoir Dogs”. We are showing the underbelly of the ugly unsavory low-life kind of crime. So I agreed with him. But the one that really got to me was my daughters comment. She said “I heard you over the years saying that you had to go to Broadway to get character parts or the only really good character parts you got in film/TV are in animation like the Joker…if you turn this down then don’t complain anymore, you should be flattered they wanted you for the part to begin with”. It took a certain amount of imagination for them to even think of me for Crow at all. Ironically, when I asked them why they wanted me they said “Well if you can play a psycho like the Joker in animation, why not do it in live-action.” I decided to read it again but this time in character as Crow and not as Mark Hamill and that made a world of difference. So I told them I had to do it and luckily I got in under the wire. I really believe in this movie and I really want it to get the recognition it deserves.

MG: Where did you get your inspiration for the twisted yet perverted Crow?
MH: Obviously, most everything is in the screenplay but in terms of who I was using and how I got into the part and got inside the characters head, I used a few people that I used to work with in New York. I don’t want to use their names since they are not psychopath killers [laughs], but more in terms of their dark sardonic humor. There was a guy that was my understudy in a musical I did on Broadway and it was that sort of cynical snarky humor that Crow has, I took from him…and also various other people in my life. I loved the fact that we came up with a visually arresting look for the guy. I thought he should just show up and people should think that “There is something wrong with this guy”. The hair was one of those things that evolved overtime. At first I thought if I should be bald with a little Van Dyke beard and an earring or I thought maybe ponytail, since that is always creepy to me on a guy. Eventually, we went from bald to 180 degrees from that, since Tony (Todd) was bald. That hairdue might work for someone that is in a grunge band in Seattle or a surfer in his 20’s but it is just age inappropriate on a man like this. Then he has the three piece suit, which looks sort-of normal in the middle and then those tennis suits, which are more appropriate for a little boy. Visually there is just something that is so disturbingly wrong.

MG: For people that know you as Luke Skywalker and the voice of the Joker; what is this film going to do to your image for them?
MH: That is something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. When I was a little boy and all the classic Universal Monster films came on. I admired all those actors like (Boris) Karloff and Lou Chaney Jr. & Sr. I loved the idea of hiding behind a completely different visual persona. It gives you great strength. You look in the mirror and it is not you. So you have to let go of your ego. In the film, I look awful. I look like five miles of bad road. Again, to look in the mirror and see a different character liberates you to make different choices that you wouldn’t originally make if you were Mark Hamill trying to look as good as you can. I love that about it. One of the greatest compliments I got about the role was when the producers showed it to some prospective buyers and when the movie was over, they asked “Where was Mark Hamill?” [laughs]. I mean that is the greatest compliment that I can get.

MG: Tell us about working with this phenomenal cast?
MH: You never can be sure what is going to happen. Not only did every cast member get along perfectly, there were no feuds or fights or egos involved. Everyone worked as a team and that included the crew. We were treating this like the little movie that could. It is idiosyncratic. It’s atypical. It’s quirky. But it is something special. It was just a joy to go to set every morning and you honestly cannot say that about every movie or TV show you work on. This is a cast that has gotten together for BBQ’s, birthday parties etc since filming. You get this real family feeling about it and that is not common at all in this business.

MG: The torture scenes in the film are quite a challenge to watch; were you ever concerned about it going to far?
MH: Yeah of course, from when I first read it. Let me tell you I have been married to a dental hygienist for more than 30 years and when I saw the extreme dental violence in this film, I thought there was no way I could do it. My wife is the woman that says “May The Floss Be With You” [laughs]. I couldn’t also see how I can film it without upsetting myself. I am quite squeamish about certain things and things dealing with teeth is one of them. During filming it, I am in character and Crow is really getting off on it. So I had to stay in character but Noah (Hathaway) was so realistic with these blood-curdling screams. That and the chopstick scene were definitely the hardest to shoot for me.

MG: After your likeness was used in the Mark Millar series, tell us about your recent casting in film adaption of “The Secret Service”?
MH: Mark contacted me via email and wanted to know if he could use my likeness in a comic book and beyond that to kill me in it. Well I thought that it was a very interesting idea. I am a huge fan of his and Dave Gibbons from “Watchmen”. I have a great friendship with him now. He asked me if I wanted to be in the movie and I said “Sure”. I don’t know what the details are yet. But it sounds like a lot of fun. The last time I played myself was in “The Simpsons”, back in 1998. It is very unnerving to play yourself because you have to analyze “Well who am I?”. I really don’t think about myself except in the roles I play. When I was getting ready to do “The Simpsons”, I was walking around the house asking “Do I sound like this” or “Do I sound like this” (both in different voices). I became very self-conscious but once I saw the advance concepts for the comic book from Mark, I thought it was such a brilliant concept combining the fantasy world of James Bond and contrast that with the drab lower-class English background that this guy comes from. It is such a wonderful paradox combination of elements in and of itself. It is not a major role but I never look at things like they need to be about me. I think about if it is good and if it is good I want to be a part of it. As far as I know, it is all a-go, we haven’t signed contracts or talked about a deal but I am sure it is going to happen.

MG: After stealing the show in “Sushi Girl” and no retired from Joker, do you plan to tackle more live-action roles?
MH: I am in collaboration with Amber Entertainment to finally get “The Black Pearl” made as a feature film that I would direct but not perform in. That is my main goal at the moment. If someone sees Crow and thinks of me in a different way and offers me another idiosyncratic character role, I would be thrilled to do it. I don’t have any direct plans but I also didn’t plan on “Sushi Girl” coming my way either. So you never know.

MG: I am also a big fan of your work on “Metalocalypse”.
MH: That is a very unusual show. We are heading into our fifth season of that show and that is one of the four that I am working on right now. Then there is Disney XD’s “Motorcity”. “Regular Show” just won an Emmy, congratulations to the people behind that show! I am also on the “How to Train Your Dragon” TV series “Dragons: Riders of Berk”, which is doing very well. I play Alvin, a big stupid Viking on that show. But I love it. He doesn’t think about himself as stupid or a villain. He is a real fun character to play. He wasn’t in the movie but was created for the TV series. I get to channel the crew from “Star Wars” since they were from the East End of London. They were all great fun to be around and I love the music of their accents. To be able to channel those guys is great fun. It is like getting into an amusement park car and riding along in someone else’s persona. That is why I don’t like playing myself…I am boring [laughs] but all the characters I get to play are more interesting.

MG: When we met at Star Wars Celebration VI, a young child came up to you in passing and asked you to do the voice of the Joker and you did. I will never forget the look on his face. What do you enjoy most about meeting all your fans?
MH: Going and meeting so many people that care some much about something that you been involved with it is really overwhelming. I don’t take it for granted at all. It is not something that I come face-to-face with everyday. In that context it is so easy for me to make that little kids day by just saying “I want money first” (in Joker’s voice). It is just so much fun. It is like a magician being able to just do a slide of hand magic trick that the kid will remember many moons to come. That is one of the perks of this business and one of the reasons why I got into it. I enjoy it. I love making people laugh and I love making people happy. I wasn’t motivated by fame or money. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed doing and I am so grateful. The fact that I have been able to do some many of those things I love, whether it the seven shows I have done in NY or the Regional Theater or the numerous cartoons. I grew up loving cartoons. So I am just so grateful to get a chance to keep doing the things I love.

“Sushi Girl” Interview Series with Mark Hamill, Tony Todd, Sonny Chiba and More!

SUSHI GIRL centers on the compelling character of a man called “Fish,” just released after six years in jail after successfully not ratting on those involved in the robbery that sent him to prison. The night he is released, the men he protected with silence celebrate his freedom with a congratulatory dinner. The meal is a lavish array of sushi, served off the naked body of a beautiful young woman. The sushi girl seems catatonic, trained to ignore everything in the room, even if things become dangerous. Sure enough, the unwieldy thieves can’t help but open old wounds in an attempt to find their missing loot, with violent results.

Media Mikes had been working and promoting this film since August 2011. “Sushi Girl” is finally being released on VOD everywhere on November 27th, 2012 and in theaters on January 4th, 2013. It has been a long road for this little-movie-that-could but it deserves the attention. “Sushi Girl” is easily one of my favorite films of 2012. We got a chance to finally complete our interview series with the legendary Mark Hamill (“Star Wars”) and Noah Hathaway (“The Neverending Story”). We are proud to be supporting this film and hope you enjoy!


Andy Mackenzie & James Duval

Cortney Palm

David Dastmalchian

Destin Pfaff

Destin Pfaff, Kern Saxton, Neal Fischer & Suren Seron

Mark Hamill

Noah Hathaway

Sonny Chiba

Tony Todd

Directed by: Kern Saxton
Written by: Kern Saxton and Destin Pfaff
Produced by: Neal Fischer, Destin Pfaff, Kern Saxton, and Suren M. Seron
Cast: Tony Todd, James Duval, Noah Hathaway, Andy Mackenzie and Mark Hamill, Cyrus Alexander, Michael Biehn, Sonny Chiba, David Dastmalchian, Jeff Fahey, David Reynolds, Ted Stryker, Danny Trejo, introducing Cortney Palm

Find out more at our official site: http://www.sushigirlmovie.com/
Follow us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/SushiGirlMovie
Exclusive Facebook Content: http://www.facebook.com/SushiGirlMovie
Check out our IMDB at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1606339/

Mark Margolis talks about his role in “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Mark Margolis talks about his role in “American Horror Story: Asylum” playing the role of Sam Goodman. He appeared as a Nazi hunter introduce in the episode “I Am Anne Frank, Part 2”.  Mark is also known for his role of Tito in “Breaking Bad”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Mark about his role on the show.

Adam Lawton: How did working on this set of “American Horror Story” compare to maybe the work you did on “Breaking Bad” or one of the other series that you’ve been involved with?
Mark Margolis: Well, they took the bell away from me.
AL: Ding, ding.
MM: I had to actually speak, so that was tough. They soon discovered that the guy is better with a bell, but it was too late because they had already employed me. I mean, Breaking Bad is a whole other thing. It’s in a whole other locale, in New Mexico, which is a whole other feeling and this was a strange 1964 kind of shabby motel room. It was just a whole other–it was something about working in American Horror Story; everything was very brown and gray, which is the complete opposite of New Mexico, even though my character in New Mexico was sometimes in a grim nursing home; whatever. It was completely different. It was a whole other kind of man with a whole other demeanor, a whole other world, and had come from a whole other world etc., etc.

AL: Do you find the character of Tio being–obviously it had to be a little bit more of a challenge without speaking much compared to the Sam Goodman character?
MM: Not really because all of it is–in both cases, it’s just like in life, we’re responding to what’s coming at us. Even though Tio can’t speak, his mind works well, and he’s responding to what’s coming at him. In this case, my character was able to speak and respond. There is an equivalence in that area of acting, I guess I would say.

AL: What was it about maybe portraying a Nazi hunter, what lured you to the role of “Sam Goodman”?
MM: Nazi hunters are kind of fascinating characters. I was actually–about a year and a half ago, I was up for a film with Sean Penn, the part of a Nazi hunter, and it was a marvelous character. I think the film is coming out in a couple of months called This Must Be the Place. The part eventually went to Judd Hirsch, but I was really hot to do it. Those are fascinating characters. I’ve read over the years–I’ve read a great deal about Simon Wiesenthal, who is probably the world’s most famous Nazi hunter. I think he’s the one that located Eichman in Argentina, or he’s located others. They’re fascinating people with a certain kind of a mission of devoting their lives to catching these people who are aging and dying–I think that world is almost disappearing at this point. If there’s anybody left, they’re in their 90s. When I heard that it was a Nazi hunter, I was quite excited about that.

AL: What is the reason why people really enjoy “American Horror Story”? Maybe it’s the format, or maybe it’s just something inside of us that we just love to be subjected to this kind of visual trauma?
MM: Well, it’s got wonderful actors on it, the principles. The regulars on the show are quite incredible. I mean Jessica Lange is amazing. Cromwell is amazing. There’s a whole group of them that are quite terrific; the regulars. I’ve never seen a show like that. I worked in all of Darren Aronofsky’s films. On some level I find a lot of the way that they cut from one thing to another to an eyeball. They’re always going to eyeballs. It’s very reminiscent of what Aronofsky did in his first film Pi where there were these very quick cuts. You know; you’d see a needle, an arm, and then an eyeball expand. They seem to have–I mean I don’t know, they seemed to have gotten some inspiration from the way that Aronofsky’s films cut from one thing to another. That also used in other films of his, but I don’t know, I’m sure there are other people that have possibly done what Aronofsky did, and that kind of movement is pretty exciting I think in a way as opposed to things that go on for five minutes and nothing much changes. It’s kind of exciting. It’s a jump from one thing to another thing to another thing; it’s like pop, pop, pop.

Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti talks about solo album “All I Was”

Mark Tremonti is best known as the guitarist for the multi platinum selling band Creed and for his work in Alter Bridge. Mark has just released his first solo album titled “All I Was” and Media Mikes was fortunate enough to talk with Mark recently about the decision to put out a solo album and what other plans he has in the works.

Adam Lawton: What was the idea behind wanting to put out a solo release?
Mark Tremonti: Being a songwriter for all these years I have had a lot of ideas that were stockpiled up. When Miles Kennedy who sings for us in Alter Bridge went out on tour with Slash recently I saw a window of time where I could take some of those ideas that didn’t work for my other bands and put them together to create an album out of. “All I Was” is what we came up with.

AL: Are the songs on the album all from previous ideas or was there some new material written as well?
MT: Most of it is stuff that was written. There were really just parts of songs and nothing that was completed. When I got together with the other guys who played on the album is when I started arranging the ideas. A majority of the initial riffs were already written.

AL: How did you go about picking the line up for the band?
MT: Eric the other guitar player was an obvious choice.  He is someone that I have been playing guitar with for years and years. We are best friends and over the years I have probably shown him more ideas for songs than I have with my other two bands. I am very comfortable working with him. Garret our drummer was in a band with Eric called Submersed. I co-produced a record for them years ago and Garret was still living in Orlando so he was an obvious choice to bring in. He is an incredible drummer.

AL: How did you go about creating a unique tone on this album that was different from your previous work?
MT: It was mostly based on my roots. The rhythm parts on this album are based around a speed metal/thrash type style. I tried to mesh the two styles of my influences that being speed metal and melodic 70’s rock. I was in to stuff that my parents exposed me to like Rod Stewart and Journey. I still love that music and wanted to mesh the two.

AL: What was the biggest difference you noticed when stepping up and performing not only the guitar work but also the vocal work as well?
MT: I loved it. I have written a lot of lyrics over the years for my other bands but I never had to write an entire album. It is a whole other process. I have to work out all the guitar lines and solos while also bringing in the lyrics. I spent about a month and a half working on that. The singing part was easy after everything was written. Singing is fun. Once I sang the album the first time I went back in and changed/re-wrote things where I thought the original stuff didn’t fit or sounded off. I sort of went through the vocal process twice just to make sure it was right. All together the album took about 3 months to complete.

AL: What types of tour plans are in place to support the release?
 MT: We have a 2/3 week tour run in the States coming up and then after that we are heading over to Europe where the first handful of shows will be with Slash. After those shows we will continue our own tour where we will hit Amsterdam, Italy and Germany. When I get home from that I will be back out on the road with Creed until I get back with Miles to write the next Alter Bridge record. In February I will be back out with the solo group for a more extensive European tour which will include shows in Australia.

AL: What are you most looking forward to about playing these songs live?
MT: It’s a much different vibe on stage when you are singing and not just playing guitar. It is a great experience to be able to play these songs. This record is a really fun record to play live and we enjoy it. I can’t wait to do it in front of a crowd who know the songs. The first time we played this material was for a couple of CD release shows. People hadn’t heard the songs yet. This time people will be familiar with them.

AL: Is this solo album just a one-time thing or will you be doing another one in the future?
MT: We will definitely do another solo album. As soon as we can find the time we will get it done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Napalm Death’s Mark Greenway

Mark “Barney” Greenway is the vocalist for the legendary grind-core band Napalm Death. The band formed in 1981 and is set to release their 15th studio album in February. We had a chance to talk with Barney about the bands upcoming release and their plans for 2012.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming release “Utilitarian”?
Mark “Barney” Greenway: For this album we sort of spread out the recording process as we had so much material. It was quite a process to get everything together. The end result is really a continuation of where our last album left off. I have difficulty analyzing the material and comparing it to the rest of the albums. Our process of writing is very spontaneous and whatever comes out comes out. The real difference with the new album is I did some things differently with the vocals. There are some influences on there I have used before but not in this context. The influences are kind of alternative and not what you normally associate with grind core. I used a real ambient ballad type style and we worked that into the faster stuff. To be honest I wasn’t sure if this would really work. However it seemed to work quite well.

AL: What was it like working with producer Russ Russell?
MG: Russ is great! He is like a member of the band. His general approach to things is that as long as it songs good that’s all he cares about. He doesn’t mind if the recording techniques are unconventional or whatever. He is exactly the same as us in the band. It was nice having already known Russ as we didn’t have to go through that process of getting to know how each other works.

AL: Is there a particular song off the record you really want the fans to hear?
MG: The song “Everyday Pox”.  That track is also a personal favorite of mine as it’s really nasty! The track is pretty nuts and it just sounds really horrible and heavy. We of course are nice gentle people though. (Laughs)

AL: What do you think keeps the band fresh and current after being together for 30 years?
MG: We have always tried to go to places where bands have never been before. We have always kind of trail blazed in that way. We were the first band to play independently in the Soviet Union. That was pretty historic at that point. The band also has this chemistry where we never feel like we are just going through the motions. The band has gone through some pretty rough times and, we have weathered storms where other bands just fell to the way side. We have always had the drive to keep moving forward which is something that seems to come natural to us. There might come a time where things change and we might not feel as creative but that’s only natural. We take things month by month and year by year. We don’t want to do anything 50%.

AL: What other upcoming plans do you have scheduled for 2012?
MB: Well the album comes out in February and we have some shows scheduled overseas. The only thing we have scheduled here in the U.S. so far is the Bury Your Dead Festival. We are going to be doing more here in the states but we want to make sure that we get a good package of bands together. The days of going out with one support band I think are pretty much gone. We also want to make sure that the ticket prices are fair as well. It will take a bit of planning but we will get there.