Dan Shor is know best for playing the supporting character Ram, in the movie, TRON. He also played the character Roy Kleinberg in the TRON: The Next Day epilogue to TRON: Legacy, a role that was reprised from TRON in which the character was listed as “Popcorn Co-Worker”. Besides being a veteran actor, he is also a director, writer and teacher with a career spanning 28 years.
Dan is also known for playing Billy the Kid in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. He also appeared “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek Voyager” playing Dr. Arridor.
Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Dan about these roles and reflect on the legacy of TRON.
You may not know Lia Beldam by name but she is forever the Woman from Room 237 in “The Shining” and also recently reprised in “Ready Player One”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lia about her role and the legacy of the film celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.
Analog synths are the unstoppable weapons of the french canadian electronic band from Montreal, Le Matos. Its musical imprint is a powerful dancemachine, mix of pop melodies and melancholic sounds inspired by 80’s movie soundtrack composers such as Vangelis, John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, Shuki Levy and Goblin.
The band scored films like “Turbo Kid”, “Summer of ’84” and the recently released “EXODE”, the haunting sci-fi web series. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the men behind the band, Jean-Philippe Bernier and Jean Nicolas Leupi to discuss their music, how they got their band name and what is it was like working on these films/web series.
D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series, including Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”. As an author, his ten-volume book series: Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.
Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Specials, the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.
Media Mikes had a chance to chat with D.J. about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, “Ghostwriter” and “Pendragon” via Zoom and the video is posted below! Please enjoy and leave comments below of your favorite episodes of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.
Patrick Hinds is known best for co-hosting the hit podcast “True Crime Obsessed”. Well, he is launching a companion podcast to ID’s hit series “Disappeared” called “Obsessed With: Disappeared.” The series will be co-hosted by himself and Broadway star and Patrick’s friend of 20+ years, Ellyn Marie Marsh (“Pretty Woman: The Musical,” “Kinky Boots”.)
“Obsessed With: Disappeared” will recap episodes of Investigation Discovery (ID) Channel’s hit series “Disappeared” in a comedic and witty tone, with perpetrators always the butt of the joke. Starting with Season 1 / Episode 1, the show will cover infamous subjects like Maura Murray, The Springfield Three and Tanya Rider. The series will be similar in format to Hinds’ hit podcast True Crime Obsessed, which now sees 3.5M+ downloads a month. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Patrick and Ellyn and the show and find out what to expect.
Channah Zapotoczny: On May 27th you are launching a new podcast called “Obsessed With: Disappeared” – tell me a little about the new podcast?
Patrick Hinds: Ellyn and I go way back. We have been best friends for twenty years. I make another podcast called True Crime Obsessed, where we recap true crime documentaries. The cases that always fascinated me where the ones with missing people. Ellyn is this incredible creative force. She is this Broadway actress, but she does like a million other things. I have always wanted to make something with her. When I heard of this show “Disappeared”, which focuses around missing people, I thought this could be it. Ellyn is also fascinated with true crime and she’s really funny. I thought maybe we could take formula that we have perfected with True Crime Obsessed, which is recapping documentaries and apply that to the show “Disappeared” and then Ellyn and I can be together, laugh and make a podcast about these missing people.
Channah: Ellyn, what drew you to this series?
Ellyn Marie Marsh: Well, everyone loves to have their opinions and have them be heard. This is pretty much the perfect platforms for two hams like Patrick and myself. We are both creative people. Patrick has published books and has done podcasting. We have always supported each other. He is always front row at one of my shows, but we have never been able to coordinate working together. We are both super ambitious and tend to over commit ourselves. We are always go-go-go and have been for so long and finally Patrick said to me that we need to do something together. It was just a matter of making the time to do it and committing to do it. We both love this medium of podcasting. We already have so much history and banter to our everyday life that we should just put this on a platform. It was just the right time and the right thing. It was always something we wanted to do, to join forces and do this together.
Patrick: Ellyn, I don’t know if this is same for you because you have done so much but I have never done a project with a person that is my exact personality type match. With True Crime Obsessed, Gillian is a little more reserved. She is a little more thoughtful that me. Ellyn and I are like screaming and laughing at each other and it is something to be seen.
Ellyn: I don’t know if that good or bad [laughing]. We definitely have to adjust the decibel levels of all of our podcasts.
Channah: So, is that what we can expect for this podcast, the fun laughter and banter?
Patrick: I will say this, I have been professionally recapping stuff now with True Crime Obsessed for three years. I feel very confident, as I am the one editing the shows also, that I am very good with the structure of the show. A lot of the things are the same. We are very funny and laugh a lot, but we also care very deeply about the cases. We never victim blame or victim shame. One of the things we are trying to do, is that many of these cases have never seen solved. So, we are trying to be another opportunity to see the sun again. You never know who will hear an episode of the podcast, who knows something. That is a real thing that could definitely happen. So, you can definitely expect us to be loud and funny and very Broadway. But also, we take the cases very seriously as well as the medium of podcasting. This is not off the rails three-hour long episode. They are very structured, but they are fun at the same time.
Ellyn: We are both deeply sensitive people. A lot of these episodes are with parents recapping about their children and that does get us. We are finding laughter and humor in unsuspected places. I think that dichotomy works really well. We are not ignoring that these are sometimes sad situations but mostly wrapped up in detectives that have done things wrong or funny things about the documentary has been made. We are always going to find humor and levity in those moments.
Patrick: Yeah, it is definitely a different take. There are a lot of great missing persons podcasts out there that are very serious and straight forward and I love those podcasts too. But we have found a way to inject humor as a way to make these stories palatable and disgustable and I think we do a good job with that.
Channah: Each episode of ID’s Disappeared is between 40-45 minutes long, should we expect the podcast to be about the same length?
Patrick: We are figuring that out. What we want to be apart of the podcast is our decades of friendship without being that type of podcast that meanders into off the beaten path stories. As the editor it is a little bit of a tricky thing for me to figure out what to keep and what to cut. We will certainly be doing outtakes. Some of the stories told, we will find a way to make them mini or bonus episodes. I would say the episodes length would be 40-50 minutes that is what we are aiming for.
Ellyn: We are both also avid podcast listeners and the 45 minutes mark is a good spot that draws you in enough but doesn’t go on and on. Patrick has doing this way before True Crime Obsessed and has perfected making an arc out of the story.
Patrick: And if there is one thing, we learned from True Crime Obsessed is that people love the bonus material. None of it gets thrown away permanently. We will just find another way for you to hear it.
Channah: That was going to be one of my questions, will you have a Patreon that you can give the extra material on?
Patrick: “Obsessed: Disappeared” is our second new podcast in the Obsessed Network, which I created with my husband Steve. The whole idea of the network is to produce podcast about things that people are obsessed with. Obviously, this falls under that category because people are obsessed with true crime and people are obsessed with the show “Disappeared”. We definitely will have a way on the network to do bonus episodes. We are trying to figure this all out now.
Channah: For those wanting to follow along at home will you be doing the series in order starting season 1? Or will you be jumping around?
Patrick: No, we are going to go straight through from the beginning. And as soon as the world goes back to normal in the world, we will be going live shows as well for this.
Channah: You two have been friends for over 20 years – what do you think that brings to this podcast that others just can’t compete with?
Ellyn: [laughs] The great thing about it is that Patrick and I are in such different worlds, he is more in the podcasting world and I am more in the Broadway world. We both come with a set of very loyal fans. I am so excited to dish about young Patrick to all of his fans. His fans love him so much and I am just ready with all the drunken stories and embarrassing moments.
Patrick: I think about making True Crime Obsessed with Gillian. We started making that podcast right after we met, and I didn’t know that Gillian was funny [laughs]. There was a bit of a learning curve getting to know her and which buttons to push or not push and with Ellyn I know all of that already. There is a deep level of knowledge and history and experience. It is really very sybiling-esque. There is just a lot of history there.
Channah: Speaking of Broadway, I like to do a fun question – if each of you could pick your dream role on Broadway, what would it be?
Ellyn: I don’t think my dream role has been written yet. There are so many roles like Evita. You think of those parts and they are equated with such legends. You think of Evita and not think of Patti LuPone. So, I feel like I am fulfilling someone else’s dream. So, it is always a goal in the Broadway community to be involved with an original company of something. I have been in a bunch and I think it is great to make your own work. I think my part will be playing Ellyn Marsh in Ellyn Marsh: The Musical [laughs].
Patrick: I would want to be the standby in Ellyn Marsh: The Musical [laughing]. I don’t have the talent to do this, I wish I had the talent to play any role that Norbert Leo Butz played. He was great in “Catch Me If You Can” and has a great song and tap number, also “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. Anything that Norbert Leo Butz has been in for sure.
Channah: What do you want fans to know coming into this podcast?
Patrick: Just that I am the funny one [laughs].
Ellyn: And the skinnier one [laughs].
Patrick: I am in general hotter, that is all.
Ellyn: I think Patrick and Gillian perfected the comedy true crime podcast. We really break down more of the surrounding factors and by no means laughing at anybody remotely associated with the victim.
Patrick: We take the cases very seriously. We are looking to bring more awareness to it. It is very funny and you are going to laugh a lot but we take the crime seriously.
If you passed Robert Bronzi on the street you would definitely do a double take thinking that you have just passed the late actor Charles Bronson. Bronzi has taken Hollywood by storm recently and has starred in films like “Death Kiss”, Once Upon a Time in Deadwood” and most recently the horror film “Cry Havoc”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with the Bronson doppelganger to discuss his films and likeness to Charles Bronson.
Mike Gencarelli: How does it feel to be called “The Hungarian Charles Bronson”?
Robert Bronzi: In my home town people know me as Robert or Bronzi because that is my stage name. Also, when I’m traveling in the country a lot of people want to take a photo with me, they congratulate me and wish me luck. I have to say it’s a very good feeling.
MG: When did you first get confronted about your likeness to Charles Bronson?
RB: As young man, pretty much my whole life. So I cut my hair and moustache like Bronson. Many years ago in Hungary I worked as a horse breeder and horse trainer. At the horse breeding center we had a lot of visitors every day, people told me “hey boy ! you know you look like Charles Bronson? ” I worked with my very good friend Peter, he would always say that I looked like him and he began to call me Bronzi. So he gave me my nick name . After that everyone called me Bronzi and it became my artist name.
MG: Give us some background on your life before you started making movies in Hollywood?
RB: I’m an actor, musician and stuntman. I have done a lot of different and interesting things in my life. I worked in Hungary as a horse breeder and horse trainer. I performed at western shows in Hungary and Spain in different pieces. I’m an accordionist, I played music in bars, at festivals, weddings and private parties.
MG: Tell us what was it like filming in Western Leone, near Almeria, Spain, which was the site of much of the filming of the famous Sergio Leone/Charles Bronson western ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST?
RB: Well, I really enjoyed filming in Almeria as I worked there for quite a few years in the western village of TEXAS HOLLYWOOD TABERNAS as a stunt performer. There I met some of my acquaintances, my old colleagues, and a few of them are also featured in the film, and my acting partners are also wonderful and talented people. Every time I go to Almeria I feel like if I am going home. I really like that place and Spain too.
MG: How was it going from a revenge western to a horror movie like CRY HAVOC?
RB: My first western style movie was shot some years ago, also with Rene Perez . The name of the film was From Hell To The Wild West .This is a western movie with horror elements. CRY HAVOC is a horror and action movie without western elements. For me that was a new challenge, a new role what I tried to do with my best ability as an actor.
MG: You have worked with director Rene Perez on four films now; tell us about how this collaboration started?
RB: Rene Perez saw my photo on the Saloon wall in Spain in the western village where I worked as a stunt performer. He thought it was a photo of Charles Bronson years ago hand asked the owner about the photo. When Rene found out it wasn’t Bronson, it was me, he told the owner, “I want to meet this guy”.
MG: I read you train in judo and Muay Thai; tell us about how you keep in shape?
RB: I work hard to keep my body in shape. In Hungary I have some good friends that help me get ready for the movies. They teach me martial arts such as judo and Thai boxing, and three times a week I visit the gym.
MG: What do you do when you are not acting?
RB: I have got some preferred hobbies. For example: Riding, archery, fishing, playing on my accordion and walking in the forest. I would also like to mention that I ‘m a member of a traditional preservation team in Hungary. When I have time I go with them to attend the traditional festivals where I use my sword, my replica firearms and of course my bow in the live show. Also I have different costumes from the very old times.
MG: What films do you have planned upcoming after CRY HAVOC?
RB: Currently I’m working on a few new projects. I can’t say much but in the near future you will see a lot of Bronzi action films .
Today is Thursday and it is the start of our Throwback Thursday interview revisits. For our first Thursday, we are going back in time to July 2011, nearly 9 years ago, when we interview Colin Hanks, of course the son of well-known actor Tom Hanks. Colin was starring in the Gil Cates Jr. directed film “LUCKY” along with Ari Graynor, Ann-Margret and Jeffrey Tambor at the time and we were lucky (see what I did there LOL) enough to get an interview with him.
This interview was done back in 2011 when we were still named MovieMikes.com with our own Jon Donahue, who had a KILLER conversation with Colin Hanks to discuss “LUCKY”, his Tower Records documentary and his role on Showtime’s “DEXTER”! Please take the time to watch this whole interview its hysterical and deserves a view. And in case you wanna know…Yes they already knew each other prior to the interview. Enjoy and leave comments!!
Here is the premise for the film: After Ben (Hanks) wins $36 million in the lottery, Lucy (Graynor) marries him, strictly for the cash. Just as she’s beginning to have genuine feelings for him, however, Lucy discovers that he’s a serial killer whose victims all resemble her. Still, though, there’s no way she’s walking away from those lottery checks, even if it means losing her mind and re-burying all the bodies.
You know that feeling you get when hanging out with your best friends? That sense of pure joy that comes from sharing a love of the same things, laughing at anything possible, and being there for each other through even the toughest of times. Well, if you love True Crime as much as I do, let me introduce you to your two new best friends and hosts of the True Crime Obsessed Podcast, Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle.
Since May 2017, this pair of theater kids have been watching True Crime documentaries and recapping them to their audience in a way that can only be described at hilarious. From garbage bells to super-hot husbands to Patrick’s infectious laugh, these two know how to take even the worst documentary and make you feel like you are laughing about it with your best friends.
Recently, Media Mikes had the exciting opportunity to talk with Patrick and Gillian about their podcast and upcoming tour and they did not disappoint.
Channah Zapotoczny: Why you picked the format with you did with the documentaries for your true crime podcast? Patrick Hinds: You know it’s so funny cause I think about this all the time. When we decided to work together, we sort of work shopped different ideas together of what kind of true crime podcast we wanted to make. We were going to make a three-part podcast every week that was going to dry and straight forward. It would start with an interview segment and then we would talk about something that we have seen, like a TV show or another podcast or something and then the last part would be focused on true crime. So we were doing this pilot episode and when we sat down to do the part when we talk about something, we decided to talk about the documentary “The Imposter”. Gillian and I were relatively new friends at that point. We knew that we really enjoyed each other but I didn’t know that she was like a completely unintentional comedian. So when we started talking about “The Imposter”, the things that stood out to her was like the quirky details or the things that we were really enraging and she has this really funny way of articulating it. So I was laughing hysterically and we had no thought of making a comedy podcast. So when I was listening back to all the different segments and putting it together. I realized that there was nothing else out there in the podcast space with two friends just recapping true crime documentaries and I said I think found our podcast. Gillian Pensavalle: And even still it has evolved into the madness it is today. In the early episodes, we sound like we are not trying to disturb someone in the next room. In those very early episodes, you can hear Patrick laughing off mic and not really leaning into what/who we are. Patrick: I wanted to make a nerdy high brow NPR thing, so then we opened up the wine and the bourbon and started making it for real [laughs]. Gillian: Yeah! Channah: What’s funny is that when I am listening Gillian, you comments are exactly what I am thinking… Patrick: [laughs] That’s why it works, so many of our listeners say to us that we are having the conversations they wish they were having with their friends when watching these documentaries. It is so funny because a podcast like that should exist but it wasn’t what we meant to make at all.
Channah: So if you could would you go back and change anything? Patrick & Gillian (together): Nooooooooooo! Patrick: We were lucky enough that we both of us have been making podcasts long enough to know that the show will become what it is suppose to be. So I am just so glad we have the common sense to let it be what it was clearly meant to be, right? Gillian: Right, I love the evolution of it. In all of the podcasts that we have worked on or are working on, there is that evolution you can see. Especially for Hamilcast, in the beginning it is not what it is now. It just became that. We just leaned into what it is. We didn’t even think anyone would be listening. Patrick: That’s true we made this thing just so that we could hang out. We didn’t make it to have it be as successfully as it is.
Channah: How long do your recordings typically take? Gillian: A long time. Well because, we do a lot in one sitting. Patrick: We do like five ads per episode. We do a bonus episode every week and then the regular episode. Sometimes twice a month we will do an after party, which is us just hanging out talking about whatever is one our minds or usually “Newsies” the movie [laughs]. Gillian: Yes, most importantly “Newsies” the movie [laughs]. Channah: That is such a good movie and is one of my favorites. Patrick: Oh God it is so good… So recording could sometimes take like five hours. We always know that we nailed it though when we are starving, sweating through our clothes and have no voices. Gillian: We usually start at 5:30pm and go to 10:30pm and by the end of it my eyes are usually half closed. And that is after working all day on top of it. Patrick: I just realized our last recording day, I worked 17 hours. I was up at 4:15am to watch everything and then we recorded that night till 10:30pm. It was insane. Gillian: The thing is that when it is 9:30pm and we are recording the last thing, it can’t sound like it’s the last thing. It has to sound like it is the first thing or the only thing. Patrick: Exactly! Gillian and I don’t get much of a chance to hang out during the week anymore and it is our only hang night. We are never manufacturing that last hour. I feel like the last hour is usually the best because we are so amped at that point.
Channah: So a fun question for you; let’s say someone was going to bring you in to consult on a documentary and you were going to help them make it. What would be your advise to them to make the documentary great? Patrick: I love the thing these documentaries are doing when they will setup an interview subject and not tell them that the camera is rolling. The interview subject thinks the camera is on when they get asked the first question but it is rolling the whole time and you get people doing ridiculous things like adjusting their genitals or talking to themselves and they always keep it. I am obsessed with it. Gillian: That is always great. Patrick: I worked with a director recently and one of the things that that I learned about making a bonkers documentary was that they did all these interviews with all these experts, put them in the film and then went and took them out. Listen if your story is that bonkers and the experts are getting in the way. I say get rid of them. Get rid of them. Gillian: Just let it become what it will become. “Capturing the Friedmans” is not about the dad and his issues. It was about this circus clown, so then it became about that. Patrick: In conclusion, give me a strong 90 minutes. Nobody needs longer than 90 minutes. We always talk about this documentary “The Long Shot” Gillian: 42 minutes! Patrick: 42 minutes is a dream, you are in and out. You laugh, you cry. It’s perfect. Gillian: It leaves you wanting more.
Channah: On your show, you were so excited to meet Rabia (Chaudry) and talk with her. Was meeting her everything you hoped for? Patrick: Rabia and I had a conversation on the phone and we were in love. It was wonderful. The first time I met her was at CrimeCon, our booths were near each other. Because I had that long phone conversation with her, I ran over to her booth and literally knelt down and she looked at me like she was going to call the police. She had absolutely no clue who I was. I just sat there and thought this wasn’t the reaction I expected. After I told her who I was it was great. Gillian: Then you dragged her over to me… Patrick: Do you remember how amazing that moment was… Gillian: That was amazing. Patrick: We could stop screaming about how amazing she smelled and we just kept hugging her. She was hugging us back. Rabia gives back the energy that you give her. We were so excited to meet her and she was then so excited to meet us. Gillian: I loved hugging her and smelling her…and that’s not weird [laughs]. Patrick: We are doing two shows with her. Our show in D.C. and Orlando, we are doing with Rabia and Susan (Simpson).
Channah: I will be at the show in Orlando. Are you guys worried about coming to Florida? Patrick: [laughs] We are afraid that we are going to be met with pitchforks and alligators at the airport. No, I am very much looking forward to going to Florida. Gillian: A lot of them just lovingly want to change our minds. And our minds aren’t set. We have a very specific job, which is talking about what is in the documentary. Patrick: It is not our fault that Wrinkles the Clown was from Florida [laughs]
Channah: Speaking about the tour though, I know you are doing three different types of shows. What can we expect from it? Patrick: Actually, the funny thing is in Florida it’s the only show that we are doing that we have never done before. In Boston, we are doing the show with Lance (Reenstiema), Tim (Pilleri) and Maggie (Freleng) and we are covering “Missing Maura Murray”. The reason we are doing this show again is because we did it in Brooklyn and it was just so great. The pride show in San Francisco and Seattle is just going to be so gay [laughs]. So Florida and D.C. with Rabia and Susan are going to be fun. We warned them they are walking into the lions den.
Channah: Since you will be in Orlando for your show, does that mean you will be coming to CrimeCon 2020? Patrick: You know, we don’t know yet. We are trying to figure out our schedules, so once we do we will let everyone know. Channah: If you do attend, is there anyone you wish will be seated next to you? Patrick: Last year, we were right next to Susan and Rabia, so that is my fav. If Lance, Tim or Maggie are there, we would love to be next to them. Maybe stick us next to someone we’ve never met before, that would be fun. Gillian: Well there are some parameters… Patrick: Yeah, we don’t want to be next to Nancy Grace… Gillian: Or the Cannibal Cop… they are both always at CrimeCon [laughs]
Channah: Patrick, in almost every episode you claim that someone is hot. If you had to rank your top three, who would they be? Patrick: Let’s start with Ryan Ferguson, that has to be number 1. Gillian: I approve. Patrick: I am in the middle of editing episode two right now of “Don’t Fuck with Cats” and I am on the record of saying that John is hot… Gillian: John Green? Patrick: Yeah, John Green. Gillian: Ok I will accept [laughs]. We also have a lot of women that we think are super hot and super smart… Patrick: Totally… Gillian: We had someone in “Dirty John”, the super hot smarty pants girl… Patrick: Laura Richards… Gillian: Yes, Laura Richards. And so many people in “Holy Hell”. It’s always weird cause when we are recording it’s just like we are hanging out and we forget other people are listening. So when people from the documentary reach out to us and it happens more often then you think, we forget that other people are listening. Patrick: I really want Deanna (Thompson) from “Don’t Fuck with Cats” to be our friend Gillian: I love her.
Channah: Is there anything that you wished I asked that I didn’t? Patrick: Just that TCO has some really super awesome announcements coming out. So just keep an eye out for that!
Amberian Dawn will release their eighth studio album, “Looking For You” on January 31st via Napalm Records and enter a new, but still familiar sounding musical universe, mixing the best of both worlds into a new genre: ABBA-Metal! The album’s multi-faceted and emotional lyrics provide a suitable background for soaring guitars and elegant classical interludes which showcase the bands shift from power metal to a more symphonic metal sound. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with the bands keyboardist Tuomas Seppala recently about the band’s new album, the changing of their style and working with Finnish artist Kebu.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album “Looking For You”?
Tuomas Seppala: “Looking For You” is a really nice album with a new and fresh sound. After releasing our previous album, I had a long writers block. I just couldn’t write good stuff with the “old style” anymore. After six or seven months or something, I realized that I need to change something so that I would be able to compose good stuff again. Then I started to compose a kind of synthesizer – disco music and that felt really good. Then I introduced a couple of those new songs to band mates and I was surprised that they liked the songs and also said that those songs could be easily converted to AD songs. That’s how I started to make music again and with a different kind of style. Now there’s only one “traditional” AD song on this album, a symphonic metal song “Symphony Nr.1 Part 3 – Awakening”. I got Fabio Lione of Rhapsody to make a guest appearance on that song. It was great.
AL: The band’s sound has gone through changes over the over few years. Was that a natural transition or something that was done by design?
TS: It’s been a natural transition, but it’s not been easy all the time. I’ve had several writer’s blocks after I’ve finished with an album and trying to start working with new songs. I always write music based on the feeling I have for it and I usually can’t force myself to do anything else. For example, if I’m not in the mood for power metal, I simply cannot write any good power metal material. Maybe some average stuff, but that’s never good enough for me. All the stuff I’ll write and publish must be just perfect to me (at that time). But it’s obvious that my point of view for music has changed during all these years and I wouldn’t be happy with the stuff I wrote 10 years ago, if I had been writing that exact same stuff right now.
AL: Where did the term “ABBA Metal” come from?
TS: That’s just something we came up with. I’m not sure whether I invented the term or if I just saw the term used on chats and social media first. Anyways, I like the term and it’s really a good genre to describe AD’s current style.
AL: Was the decision to cover “Lay All Your Love On Me” made before or after the creation of ABBA Metal? and why did you choose this song?
TS: I had been preparing this cover song for many years before we actually decided to record it. Also, the ABBA-metal genre came up at some point after I had all of the songs ready for new album. I knew that we really need to start using this ABBA-metal genre because it’s really what this music is all about.
AL: Being a keyboardist what was it like working with fellow instrumentalist Kebu? And what was that process like?
TS: We had really good co-operation with this album. Kebu has this huge arsenal of vintage keyboards and together we finalized the keyboard sounds with his gear. Some of the sounds and tones are made by Kebu and some of those are made by me. It’s a good combination and I think we can work together in the future too. In short, the process was like that – I first made the arrangements for keyboards and then we decided that which parts were going to be played with my gear and which parts were going to be played with his synthesizers. Kebu used a lot of time to develop those keyboard sounds and presets. I also used ABBA’s Benny Andersson’s personal synthesizers on some songs. I recorded some parts at his studio in Stockholm.
AL: Are there any plans in place to tour behind the release?
TS: We’re planning to tour later in 2020 but we don’t have anything confirmed yet. We’re probably going to tour in Europe again because that’s doable. Touring in the US is much harder to make happen.
The first thing that popped
into my head when Will Muse got on the phone was “no way this kid is 16!” With a voice, and a heart, that belies his
youth, Muse is quickly becoming one of the most exciting talents to watch in
The music video for his first
single, “I Can Change,” has been viewed more than two million times. His sophomore release, “Spend,” was released
in April of this year and received heavy airplay on Radio Disney. This past month the singer/songwriter released
his third single, an expressive song about falling in love called “Shape of
Your Faith.” He also created the Music
for Wishes Foundation, which helps the Make-a-Wish Foundation grant wishes for
children in his Somerset, Kentucky town.
Again…no way this kid is 16!
Will recently took some time
out of his busy schedule (he attends school daily, concentrating on his music
once homework is done) to talk to me about his new song and his plans for the
MIKE SMITH: What triggered your interest in music?
WILL MUSE: When I was growing up my parents were always
listening to a lot of cool, classic music.
It definitely influenced me. From
the age of three years old I was listening to Guns and Roses, Pearl Jam,
Aerosmith…great classic rock like that.
MS: How old were you when you wrote your first
WM: When I wrote my first song I was about
MS: Was it good enough, in your opinion, that you
realized this was something you not only enjoyed but had a true talent for? Something you not only could do but could do
WM: Yes. Songwriting
has always been a great outlet for me to express myself and my feelings. To explain my passions through music.
MS: As a singer/songwriter there are two
different parts of what you do. Do you
have a preference between creating and performing?
WM: I love to create music. To create the lyrics and the melodies. But I really love giving a good live
performance. That really excites
me. One time I was performing my first
single, “I Can Change,” and a lady in the audience came up to me after the
show. She was crying because she had
been so moved and so touched by the message of the song. It’s moments like that that bring me joy with
MS: What was the inspiration for your latest
single, “Shape of Your Faith?”
WM: I wrote it with a fun, groovy and retro vibe
in mind, musically. Lyrically I wanted
to talk about how love can take different forms in the way it shapes your life.
MS: Can you talk about your Music for Wishes
WM: Back in 2017 I wanted to combine my passion
for music with my passion for helping people.
Here where I live in Somerset, Kentucky I saw the need for a Make-a-Wish
fundraiser so we put on an event that year that consisted of a concert, a
dinner and a silent auction. Besides
myself, several other artists perform at the concerts. This past year we had Pam Tillis, which gave
me the opportunity to do a finale’ song with her. We’ve raised over $85,000.00 to help grant
wishes for the local children.
MS: What’s next for you musically?
WM: I have a couple more singles I hope to
release including a really fun duet. I’ve
also shot a few more music videos and I have a tour coming up in the spring
(2020). I’ve got a lot of great things
coming up that I’m really excited about.
John Cooper is the vocalist/bassist for the Platinum selling
rock group Skillet. The band recently partnered with Z2 Comics to release their
first graphic novel titled “Eden”. Media Mikes caught up with John and the band
at New York Comic Con to discuss the creation of the book, its similarities to
the group’s music and if there will be books to come in the future.
Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the bands new comic “Eden”?
John Cooper: I love comics and they are something I grew up with. I have always looked at Skillet as sort of a theatrical band. When I say theatrical I am meaning more from an operatic feel than that of a visual feel like Kiss or Alice Cooper. I had always envisioned doing a comic book as I see us all as characters. I had sort of put it off because if it’s not done right it can become terribly cheesy. On social media I am always posting about comics and I ended up getting a call from Z2 Comics asking if I would be interested in doing a graphic novel. I told them yes and that I had some story ideas but I wasn’t sure where to begin. They said that’s ok as they had some ideas of their own. I wanted to do something that was more science fiction as opposed to hero driven. I was looking for something with a post-apocalyptic feel but with a message of hope. That’s something you don’t see a lot. The book has sci-fi and super-natural elements mixed in with some religious undertones. In my view I think all great science-fiction have religious elements. When I say “religious” I’m not necessarily meaning Christianity but just religious. Films like “Dune”, “Blade Runner” and “Battlestar Galactica” are solid examples of that.
AL: How much collaboration went into the book?
JC: I brought the theme of a dying world filled with people all having the same dream which is leading them to paradise. I worked with some really great writers who helped me put together all the different ideas I had. Sadly the idea of the glowing eyes was not my idea but one I really liked as it was sort of an homage to “Dune” which is one of my all time favorite books.
Ian Lawton: What did the rest of the band think about the comic?
JC: The band loves the comic. At first I think they weren’t too sure what to expect. My wife Corey knew what I was going for as she knows me really well. I think it’s hard for people to understand what’s in your head when you are creating something. Once the book was done I think they were a little shocked as to how good it was and how emotional it is.
AL: Did the writing for “Eden” happen at the same time you were writing the band’s latest album “Victorious”?
JC: Yes, I was writing for both things at the same time. It was a very crazy and busy two years. While these two things were going on I also released a side project EP titled “Fight the Fury” along with our drummer Jen’s side project “Ledger”. All of these things were basically written and released in two and half years. Writing for the comic was making me really want to write music so all of these things had me firing on all pistons. Each project worked off of one another.
IM: Was writing the book similar to writing music?
JC: I didn’t notice this until after the book was done and I had read it. I know that may sound sort of silly but, sometimes when you are writing you don’t always notice things others might as you are just going with what is coming out. After I read the book I felt as thou it was very similar to our music. The book is a little dark but it is meaningful. That’s what people say about Skillet songs and I think “Eden” has that same feel.
IM: Can you tell us about the special hardcover edition that will be available?
JC: That’s something that I am still waiting to see myself. I have seen parts of what are going to be in it and I am very excited for the finished version to be available. It’s going to have this really cool axe on it which is my weapon in the book. With this beard I sort of feel like a lumberjack and thought that an axe would be a perfect weapon as opposed to some of the other more futuristic weapons you see in the book.
AL: Is this just a one off book or are there plans to do others?
JC: The band is going to be out on the road until mid December so that’s going to have me tied up for a few months. We have started to talk a little about the possibility of more books but nothing is definite. I think it would be great to do a second one.
Media Mikes had the chance to sit down with Chase Mason of the metal band Gatecreeper to talk about the band’s sophomore album “Deserted”, out now. Chase also shared with us info on the groups upcoming tour, his approach to standing out in death metal, and his friendship with fellow artist Post Malone.
Ryan Albro: What would you tell people about Gatecreeper that have never heard of them before?
Chase Mason: Gatecreeper is a death metal band from Phoenix, Arizona. We play a catchy, mid-tempo style mixed with old school death metal. Even if you don’t like death metal you will like Gatecreeper.
RA: What would you tell eager returning fans about the new album, Deserted?
CM: If you liked the last record, Sonoran Depravation, you’re going to like this one. It shows a natural progression for the band and is a better, more concise, version of what we’ve already been doing. We’re not trying to experiment or be progressive here. It’s overall better than the last record.
RA: Gatecreeper has been gaining a lot of popularity as of late. How do you maintain relevance in today’s music scene so well?
CM: It’s important to use all the tools that you have to your advantage. I’ve seen a lot of bands that think they’re too cool to use social media or don’t play shows with bands they don’t think are cool. It’s better not to turn your nose up at certain things. It’s about being comfortable and staying true to who you are. As far as standing out in a sea of a million bands and artists, I think it’s really important to provide a full package. I try to pay attention to every aspect of the band. You have to have good songs to start out with, but the visuals are important as well. There are a lot of bands with really good songs that may not get noticed because they’re lacking in other areas. The music first, then your art, whether it’s album art, tour flyers or tour merch. I’ve tried with Gatecreeper to have a full package and have everything flow together and be distinct so that we stand out. There are new bands putting out records every day, there are a million shows that come into your town a year, so if you want to stick out, you’ve got to pay attention to all the little details.
RA: What can you tell us about the Brad Moore album artwork?
CM: It’s crazy. Anybody who sees it will think it’s crazy, in a good way. It’s important to me to have cool art. If someone’s at the record store or they’re online and they see that album cover it will grab their attention. Even if they don’t know who we are, they will listen to the record.
RA: Which tracks from “Deserted” are you most looking forward to performing live?
CM: Puncture Wounds is a very fast, up-tempo song for Gatecreeper. That song will be a great circle pit song. The end of the song Ruthless was written with playing the song live in mind. There’s a part in the song that as soon as it hits you’ll know it’s time for a circle pit. Since we toured so much on the last record, we learned what works well live. Deserted was the first record, while we were writing, where we knew a part would sound cool on the record, as well as live.
RA: What are the band’s touring plans for the album?
CM: We’re going to do two record release shows, one in LA, the other in Phoenix. Phoenix will be our hometown record release show. Starting on Halloween, we’re co-headlining a tour with Exhumed, with Necrot and Judiciary until December. After that we play the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest in LA. That’s what we have lined up for the rest of the year after the record comes out. We’re still finding out what we’re going to do, but next year we’re going to be doing some more touring for sure.
RA: When can we expect the Gatecreeper / Post Malone collaboration?
CM: I think you’ll be waiting forever [laughs]. I like Post Malone’s music, I like him as a person. I like rap and a lot of things that aren’t metal, but I don’t feel the need, nor do I ever want to combine them. I would play a show with Post Malone for sure. Will we ever do a song with him? Probably not. I think there has to be a line drawn somewhere.
I first saw Michael Pare’ when he appeared on television’s “The Greatest American Hero,” but it was his performance as Eddie Wilson in the film “Eddie and the Cruisers” that cemented him in my mind as an actor to watch. While on his way to Nevada to shoot his latest project Mr. Pare’ took time out to talk to me about his latest film – “Once Upon a Time in Deadwood” – his aspirations to be a chef and how Rick Springfield almost ended up playing Eddie Wilson. (I should also note that this interview is posting on his birthday so, from all of us at Media Mikes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!”
MIKE SMITH: You studied to be a chef. Was that your original career goal?
MICHAEL PARE’: Yes. When I was in high school, my first job where I had to pay taxes, social security and everything was in a fast food restaurant. Then I got on at a regular restaurant that served steaks and everything else. I was pretty good at it and I liked the life. So in my junior year I heard from a co-worker about the Culinary Institute of America. I got a recommendation from my boss and I applied and got in. At the time it was known as the best cooking school in the United States. I attended for a year and was given an internship at Tavern on the Green in New York. They eventually offered me a full-time, six days a week job. So I moved to Manhattan, which is where I was discovered.
MS: Do you ever give the Craft Services people on set any pointers?
MP: (laughs) No, but there are a few directors I’ve cooked with. Uwe Boll and I used to have a sauerbraten contest every time we worked. Cooking is something that a lot of people share. In all of the arts food becomes an important part of your life.
MS: How did you get into acting? What took you from the kitchen to the soundstage?
MP: I got discovered by an agent. There was a bar where my girlfriend waitressed at that was kind of a show business bar. It was right across from where they broadcast the news for ABC. A lot of people in the business hung out there. The agent noticed me and asked me if I was an actor or a dancer. I told her I was in the restaurant business. She kind of pursued it and talked me into taking a few classes. I did and I liked it a lot. My first classes were at Carnegie Hall. I’d go to class during the day and work the night shift at the restaurant. I studied for two years and then auditioned for ABC’s talent development program and I got it. They brought me out to Hollywood and put me on “The Greatest American Hero.”
MS: You made your feature film debut as Eddie Wilson in “Eddie and the Cruisers.” How did you get the role?
MP: Marty Davidson, the director, called my agent and asked me to come in and meet him. That was it. I met with him about four or five times. Marty was a very artistic guy. He put the cast together and we had two weeks of improve and then we shot it. I did it on hiatus from “The Greatest American Hero.”
MS: Is it true that Martin Davidson would threaten to replace you with Rick Springfield?
MP: (laughs) Yes, but he only had to do it once!
MS: I like Rick Springfield (Ok, I’ve seen him in concert a dozen times so I REALLY like Rick Springfield) but I don’t think he would have been a good Eddie.
MP: It would have been a different movie.
MS: Exactly. Did you know while you were making the film that it was going to be regarded the way it is now?
MP: No. At that time I was still a young actor and didn’t know the potential of things. I had only done two seasons of “The Greatest American Hero” and a movie of the week, so it was all like a dreamland. I didn’t even think about marketing. When I was back on “The Greatest American Hero” I was telling another actor about the film and he told me “you don’t have nothing without distribution.” I had no idea what that meant. I told him, “well, I shot it and they’re happy…that’s all I can say.”
MS: Anyone ever ask you to sing “On the Dark Side” at karaoke?
MP: (laughs) If I do karaoke it’s Johnny Cash.
MS: What drew you to your latest role in “Once Upon a Time in Deadwood?”
MP: I’ve done a few westerns so when Jeff Miller (the film’s co-producer/co-writer) called me up and said he had an interesting project with this guy named Robert Bronzi I called up Danny Baldwin. I knew he had worked with Robert and I asked him what he was like. He said that Jeff and his team were very creative… very open minded. So I said “ok.” And then when I met Rene’ (director Rene’ Perez) he was surprised as he expected to meet someone who was a little more “beat up.” I’m a pretty healthy guy. That was it. We shot in a little western town in central California up near the Sequoias. We used blanks and squibs as opposed to all of the CGI stuff that is so popular now on low budget movies. It was a great experience. Nice cast. Rene’ is very creative. He’s the DP and the director.
MS: Do you enjoy the genre’? Do you have a favorite role-type?
MP: I like all of them. If you do it so long you play everything. And you hope one of the roles will be successful, you know?
MS: What are you working on now?
MP: It’s called “Bridge of Doom” We’re shooting in Caliente’, Nevada. It’s the military reaction to the Zombie Apocalypse. When I heard that I was like, “great…we never hear about that part. It’s always about the civilians out in the middle of nowhere.