ANDY BLACK RELEASES “THE PROMISE” NEW ALBUM “THE GHOST OF OHIO” ARRIVES APRIL 12

NORTH AMERICAN HEADLINING TOUR KICKS OFF APRIL 7th IN SACRAMENTO

With two weeks to go before the arrival of much-anticipated album THE GHOST OF OHIO (Lava/Republic), singer-songwriter Andy Black has released new track “The Promise” – click HERE to listen and HERE for the lyric video.

“’The Promise’ was inspired by my days spent driving from my neighborhood on the west side of Cincinnati and heading towards the city and into northern Kentucky where I spent almost all of my teenage years in bands, working on a dream,” says Black. “Every day I would use that drive as a chance to plan and think and hope and wish that one day I would be able to make music and tour the world. Over the years that dream has remained, but like all of us as we grow up, often our interests and methods change over time. This song is about trying to remain true to what you wanted the most when you had nothing and keeping that very same passion and drive close to your heart.”

“The Promise” is the third song Black’s released over the course of the past several weeks following lead single “Westwood Road” (which has amassed over 1.5 million YouTube views) and title track “The Ghost Of Ohio” and all three songs are available as instant downloads by clicking HERE to pre-order The Ghost Of Ohio ahead of its April 12th release date.

The Ghost Of Ohio sees Black re-teaming with Grammy nominated producer John Feldmann (Blink-182, Panic! at the Disco), who helmed 2016’s acclaimed debut The Shadow Side.

Black discussed the album during a recent interview with Build – click HERE to watch.

Black, who’s always had a reverence for the magical convergence of sight and sound, created the diverse album to also serve as a soundtrack for its graphic novel counterpart, marrying melancholy themes with upbeat rock and pop to tell the tale of someone who died young and whose spirit inhabits an area for a hundred years looking for ways to connect. The album’s artwork was painted by Eliran Kantor (Iced Earth, Testament).

Black will support the new album with The Ghost of North America Tour, a headlining run that will kick off April 7th at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, CA (see itinerary below).

Don’t miss your chance to experience Andy Black’s The Ghost of North America Tour.

Dates are as follows:

Apr. 07: Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
Apr. 09: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Apr. 10: Portland, OR – Hawthorne
Apr. 12: Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl
Apr. 13: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre 
Apr. 14: Phoenix, AZ – The Nile Theatre
Apr. 16: Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
Apr. 17: Denver, CO – The Gothic
Apr. 19: Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey
Apr. 20: San Antonio, TX – The Rock Box
Apr. 22: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
Apr. 23: Orlando, FL – Plaza Live
Apr. 25: Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts 
Apr. 26: Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
Apr. 29: Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
Apr. 30: Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
May 01: New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
May 03: Worcester, MA – The Palladium 
May 04: Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes
May 06: Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation
May 07: Chicago, IL – Metro
May 08: Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater 
May 10: Cleveland, OH – Phantasy Nightclub
May 11: Detroit, MI – The Majestic 
May 13: Toronto, ON – The Opera House 
May 15: Montreal, QC – L’Astral 
May 16: Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts 
May 17: Virginia Beach, VA – Elevation 27

 

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Guitarist Andy Timmons talks about his new album “Theme From a Perfect World”

Photo by Simone Cecchetti.

Andy Timmons has been performing on stages all over the world since the mid 1980’s most notably with the band Danger Danger, Kip Winger and as the musical director/guitarist for Olivia Newton-John. When not working in the studio or with one of his many projects Andy focuses on his group The Andy Timmons Band. The group has just released a new instrumental album titled “Theme From a Perfect World” and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Andy recently about the albums creation, his creative process and the bands current U.S. tour.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about your bands latest album?

Andy Timmons: We started working on the record about six years ago. What happened was is we started working on “Theme From a Perfect World” and that sort of morphed in to the “Sgt. Pepper” album. That really took on a life of its own and we ended up finishing the Pepper record first. It took us a little bit of time to get back to this new record as we had been doing a bunch of live shows along with all of us being very busy outside of the Andy Timmons. We are here now after about ten years with a new batch of original material. That certainly was much too long of a stretch and we hope to correct that in the coming years.

AL: Can you tell us about the decision to do an all instrumental album?

AT: For me I think my uniqueness to music is my voice on the guitar. I have certainly done a fair share of music with vocals and such but I think guitar is what I do best and that’s really what I have spent my life doing. Instrumental music is a more pure and direct way of communicating especially if you are able to develop that connection on your instrument. With the guitar I think I am just scratching the surface really. Two of my heroes are Jeff Beck and Pat Matheny. Those guys really set a bench mark with their level of expression. There are a lot of great players out there but those two guys are at the forefront of people who raise the bar. That’s the path I am aspiring to and the band and I are just really trying to strike a deeper chord with our music as opposed to taking a more generic route.

AL: Is there a different creative process for you when writing instrumental music as opposed to lyrical
music?

AT: It’s all driven by the same muse. I am trying to create music that I love. I think the songwriting process or the guitar soloing process is really driven by that same desire. I want to create something that’s equal in quality to all the music I have taken in over the course of my life.

AL: The album has a deep melodic feel to it. Is that something that evolved over the course of making the album or was that something you consciously wanted to do?

AT: That has been sort of an ongoing growth/development. It’s been a natural progression for me. I think there have been some good songs on some of my earlier releases but what has always been in the forefront of my mind. Yes I wanted to write some good songs but I also wanted to play my ass off. With the maturing and growing process it’s clear that none of that means anything unless you have a great song. You want people to listen repeatedly and it to be something they want to hear multiple times.

AL: How do you think your songwriting has evolved since your early days with Danger Danger?

AT: It sort of has just evolved in the way it’s evolved. It’s hard for me to really speak much about that because I am so close to it. The inspirations and motivations haven’t changed that much. I do think I am getting better at reflecting the emotions that I want to get across. Not every moment on the new record has a deep meaning but there are a handful of the songs that are based around some very heavy life changing events. Everything was very much in the moment and a heartfelt document of what was happening at that time.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current tour?

AT: This is the bands very first U.S. tour. It’s a bit crazy to hear me say that because we have been a band since 1988! It’s been an interesting trajectory for the band in that our career has sort of lived more in Europe and South East Asia. In the States things seemed a bit more daunting. We have all done higher level touring here in the states with other bands so the prospect of jumping in a band and potentially lose money didn’t seem that appealing. Doing that is fine in your early 20’s but not so much these days. Thanks to the internet and things like that people have been able to find more of our material which is great because we now are able to get out on the road here in the States. We will be out in the states for three weeks then we head over to Asia in November. We have December off and then in January we will be appearing at the NAMM show in California. I want to concentrate more on the U.S. at this point. We will still probably hit Europe sometime next year as well. There’s going to be several pockets of touring activity but Mike and I have a lot of recording we want to do as well. There’s going to be a much more ongoing creative process going forward.

For more info on Andy and the Andy Timmons Band you can visit http://andytimmons.com/

Andy Wood talks about new album “Caught Between the Truth and a Lie”

Andy Wood has been performing music since a very young age starting out with his grandfather and cousin. Wood spent most of this past year touring with Scott Stapp serving as the bands musical director during the Creed front mans successful solo run. Wood has also appeared on variety of album as a session player and recently released his second solo album titled “Caught Between the Truth and a Lie”. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Andy recently about the new double album release and his first memories of music.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how you got your start in music?
Andy Wood: I grew up playing bluegrass with my grandfather and cousin. We started right around the time I was about 5 years old. I was playing mandolin and my cousin was playing fiddle. As I got older I kept playing music and started getting hired to perform and different places. Once I discovered electric guitar it was all downhill. (Laughs) I started session playing and really working doing various hired gun gigs. I did work with people like Sebastian Bach and list of others. If there was an opening I would jump in there and help out. On the side I was still doing my own music which helped me stay sane. After you work on other people’s material you need an outlet for your own creativity.

AL: You recently worked with Creed front man Scott Stapp can you tell us how that came about?
AW: I was hired while Scott’s solo album was in the mixing process. Tim Pierce played on the album but I was brought on to be the bands musical leader. It’s been a great time being out on the road. I am kind of the go to guy when it comes to the musical arrangement and such. I have to sort of manhandle the decisions when it comes to recreating the album live. If Scott wants to rework a song or something like that I put it all together and bring it to the band. I also will fill in on keyboards or other instruments if needed.

AL: Can you tell us about your new double disc solo album?
AW: The album came from self reflection. I am not just a guitar player or just a mandolin player. I wanted to put together an album that still featured those things but not be jarring to the listener. I put together songs like “The White Tree” which is on the acoustic half of the release and songs like “The Four Horseman” which is on the electric side. The release runs the gambit of Celtic/bluegrass to full on heavy metal. When you look at those two genres there’s not a lot of cohesiveness so I wanted the songs to have a nice transition. The first disc starts out with acoustic tracks and leads in to some more rock type tracks. The second disc starts out with more ballad type rock songs before it really takes off with the heaviest parts of the album. It does slow back down a little with some country type songs which help transition back to the first disc. I wanted the release to make sense no matter which disc the listener started with.

AL: So the idea of doing a double album was something you had always wanted to do?
AW: Absolutely! I wanted to tell the world I more than just what I am normally associated with. I am not just an electric guy or a bluegrass guy. There is a side of me that writes music which is very relaxed and low key. I needed an outlet to where it was ok to show who I am and all the different sides of my musical personality while not alienating my fan base.

AL: With your wide variety of styles was it hard to narrow it down to which ones you wanted to showcase on the new records?
AW: There were some difficult parts but, I went in to the sessions with about 50 fresh ideas. I went in really overloaded with material. To help narrow things down a bit I put a checklist together which the songs would have to match the specific criteria I laid out. There had to be a lot of melodic content because that it’s self is huge. The songs needed that memorable melody rather than something that was just full of guitars licks and flash.

AL: Being a multi-instrumentalist which do you find more comfortable to write on?
AW: I think where ever I am at be it guitar, mandolin, sousaphone or whatever the instrument acts as the translator. I try to be a musician first over anything else and I want to make sure that the melody I come up with will work well no matter what it’s played on. When I am writing the instrument is just an outlet.

AL: Have you thought about putting together a tour to support the release?
AW: With it being towards the end of the year not a whole lot of touring happens throughout the holidays. Once the New Year kicks off in January I will be appearing at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, CA. In February I will be out on the Ship Rocked Cruise which is always a lot of fun. I think we have done four of those so far. The fans that go on those cruises are just so excited for every show. It’s a really great time.

AL: What other plans do you have for the coming year?
AW: I think those phone calls will start to come as the year roles on. A lot of times everyone is so tired from the previous year that they take a few months off to relax and then start back up working again.

Mickey Rooney, Beloved Star of The “Andy Hardy” Series, Dies at 93

Mickey Rooney, whose amazing entertainment career spanned an incredible ten decades, passed away yesterday (April 6). The four time Academy Award nominee (he was awarded two achievement Oscars during his career) was 93.

Born Ninian Joseph Yule, Jr on September 23, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York, the young man was soon appearing on stage in his parent’s vaudeville act. In 1926 he made his film debut in the short film “Not to Be Trusted.” The next year he began a successful run in a series of short films, detailing the adventures of young Mickey McGuire. It was during this time that he adopted his screen name, Mickey Rooney. These films led to him being signed by MGM and in 1937 he starred in “A Family Affair, ”the first of twenty feature films to spotlight his most popular screen character, Andy Hardy. It was due to the success of these films that the diminutive Rooney (he stood 5’2”) was named the Biggest Box Office Star in the World from 1939-1941.

But it wasn’t just comedy that Rooney excelled in. Films like “Boy’s Town” (one of my favorite Rooney performances), “National Velvet” and “Babes in Arms,” one of his many collaborations with Judy Garland, made him a favorite of fans everywhere. In 1940 he became the first teenager to be nominated for an Oscar in a leading role for “Babes in Arms.” He also received a Best Actor nomination in 1944 for “The Human Comedy” and earned Best Supporting Actor nods in 1957 for “The Bold and the Brave” and 1980 for “The Black Stallion.” He also received an special juvenile Oscar in 1939 and an honorary Oscar in 1983 for his body of work. Among his more notable films: “Young Tom Edison,” “Strike Up the Band,” “The Bridges at Toko-Ri,” “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Babe: Pig in the City,” “Night at the Museum” and 2011’s “The Muppets.” He was filming a new version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” opposite another classic film star, Margaret O’Brian, at the time of his death.

As the Golden Age of Television began, Rooney kept himself busy with appearances on many of the popular shows of the day, including his most memorable role as Kris Kringle in the animated “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” He spent nearly two decades working successfully in the medium. As the 1970s wound down Rooney took to Broadway, starring opposite Ann Miller in the successful show, “Sugar Babies,” earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance. In 1981 he returned to television in a tour-de-force performance of a mentally challenged man in “Bill,” earning himself an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series.

Married eight times, Rooney always said he never regretted a single day of his life. He was a true star that will continue to burn brightly!

Book Review “Stick!” by Andy Pritchett

Author: Andy Pritchett
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Every since my daughter was able to form words, she knows what a doggie is and that it goes “Woof! Woof!” Dogs are such a great topic kids books and this one is no different. “Stick!” is a cute story about Puppy who loves his new stick but he needs someone to play with. The story is simple, as is the animation, yet it is a rather fun and exciting.

Official Premise: Puppy is thrilled when he discovers a stick just waiting to be tossed and chased. But Cow is more interested in grass, and Chicken is more interested in a worm. In fact, all of Puppy’s friends are busy doing something besides playing with a stick. Poor Puppy! Finally, another equally enthusiastic canine comes along, and the rousing game of fetch that ensues is enough to inspire the entire barnyard to give the stick a chance.

Andy Pritchett’s illustrations have a certain comic book feel to it, which I rather enjoyed. What I did enjoy is that just besides the dog there is an additional animal cast, which is great for kids learning who different animals.  All-in-all for a book that is only six-word long, it is still able to tell a fun story of friendship and will keep your attention throughout.

The Devil Wear Prada’s Andy Trick talks Rockstar Mayhem Festival and recent live CD/DVD release

Andy Trick is the bassist for the metal-core band The Devil Wear Prada. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Andy recently about playing on this year’s Rockstar Mayhem Festival and what other plans the band has for this year.

Cody Blencowe: How has the Rockstar Mayhem Festival compared to other tours/festivals you have been a part of?
Andy Trick: It has definitely been a little different. On this tour we have been touring with legendary metal bands like Slayer and Slipknot. That has really been a big difference. Aside from that the shows have been awesome. We are pretty accustom to playing outdoors in the summer time. The tour has a similar feel to the Vans Warped Tour but there are fewer bands so things seem to be more tight knit.

CB: Have there been any highlights from the tour thus far?
AT: We don’t really get in to anything crazy. There have been some great moments on stage. The Chicago and Detroit shows I think were two of the best so far.

CB: What can you tell us about the bands recent live CD/DVD release?
AT: The released is titled “Dead or Alive” and it was shot at the Palladium in Worchester, Mass. We have been wanting to do a live DVD and we were finally able to bring everything together.  We like to try and find new ways of gettting content out to the fans other than just CD after CD. The DVD format was an obvious choice. It was a great opportunity and the show we recorded is basically the same one we put on for fans every night of the tour.

CB: What are the bands plans for after Mayhem Festival?
AT: We have a bit of time off. We have been looking at going in to the studio and working on some new material. Aside from that not much is going on until the fall. Once the fall rolls around we will be heading over to Europe with August Burns Red and White Chapel.

Andy Griffith, television icon, dead at 86

Andy Griffith, whose down-home and folksy persona earned him fans from all generations, died today at the age of 86. No cause of death has been given.

North Carolina born, Griffith earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and soon found himself appearing of the Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen television programs. Those appearances led to him being cast in the Broadway show ‘No Time For Sergeants,” which earned him a Tony award nomination for supporting actor. He would earn a second nomination in 1960 as Best Actor in a Musical for “Destry Rides Again.” That same year he also took on one of his two most memorable roles, that of small town sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show.” The show ran 8 seasons on CBS, then became “Mayberry R.F.D” when Griffith elected to leave the show. He did appear in six episodes of the new show as a way to show continuity. He spent the next decade appearing on film and the occasional episodic television shows.

in 1981, he earned an Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Mini Series for his work in “Murder in Texas.” Incredibly, this was the only Emmy nomination he would receive in his career.

He made his film debut in the Elia Kazan movie “A Face In The Crowd.” His performance as “Lonesome” Rhodes is memorable. His work, as a backwoods hobo who rises to the rank of kingmaker as his popularity grows is one of the greatest film debuts in history.

In 1986 Griffith returned to television full time with the legal series, “Matlock.” In later years Griffith called the role his all time favorite.

But it is as Sheriff Andy Taylor that I will remember him. Still a television re-run staple, “The Andy Griffith Show” is a look back to a simpler time, when you knew your neighbors and your neighbors knew you! With Griffith’s passing only Ron Howard and actress Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on the show, are the only surviving regulars left from the cast.

Andy Milonakis talks about new CD with Three Loco

Andy Milonakis is known best for his TV series “The Andy Milonakis Show” on MTV. Andy also loves rapping as seen in the movie “Waiting…”, which he co-stared and provided a single to the film. Andy has teamed up with MTV alumni’s Riff Riff and Dirt Nasty (aka Simon Rex) to form Three Loco. Andy took out some time to chat about this new group and their upcoming album.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get together with Riff Riff and Dirt Nasty?
Andy Milonakis: Dirt Nasty showed me Riff Raff on YouTube. Riff gave out his number on some funny video and Dirt called it. We both met up with Riff Raff, we stopped by the weed shop first to make sure he had a warm welcome. We met up with him and got fucked up and started recording videos. My favorite thing that riff raff did was off camera. We got burgers and I threw my lettuce on the ground, he got mad at me and was like “ahh man why did you waste that, I love lettuce”

MG: Who is the leader of the group?
AM: We don’t really have one, Dirt is good at organizing real life shit, like studio sessions and all that good stuff, he also is the only producer out of us 3… I’m the internet geek and I’ve been giving a lot of cool sample ideas to producers. Riff Raff is the funniest, I never thought I would play the straight man, but I feel like my rhymes are the most normal and least funny out of all of us. It kinda pisses me off but for some reason I’ve been writing less jokey shit lately.

MG: Are you jealous that you partners have all cool stage names?
AM: A little bit, I mean, a cool thing that goes along with rapping or being in a band is coming up with a cool name, and I just made it a choice to keep my own name, I thought it was cool. Also fuck those guys, I came up with the name Three Loco, so I have something to hold on to..

MG: What kind of fresh rhymes can we expect from this album?
AM: Super fresh, Riff Raff has been killing it with the hooks and we’ve been working with all kinds of dope producers. IDAP, Diplo, DJA, Rich Skillz, Sinden etc, sorry if I missed any, my brain is tired.

MG: Where they all freestyles or scripted songs?
AM: Mostly written, we did a few freestyle bits here and there, not sure what will make it on the album yet.

MG: How long did it take to complete and when is the second album coming out?
AM: Most of the work was done in 1 month. Not sure about the second album yet, damn, why are you rushing us [laughs].

MG: Is there going to be a remix album?
AM: We might, we’ll at least have people remix some of the songs, but possibly the whole album.

MG: How can we purchase this album when it drops? iTunes? Vinyl?
AM: iTunes definitely, we’ll probably print a few hard copy ancient shiny disc things and Vinyl would be cool just for the fuck of it.

MG: The band is all alumns from MTV, have you ever considered pitching reality show for Three Loco?
AM: Prob more interested in developing it as a sketch show more than reality

MG: Can we get you to record a song about MediaMikes.com?
AM: For about 10K we can make it happen. Thanks, and look out for our first video and live performance, should be both happening on Cinco De Mayo.

Interview with Andy Biersack

Andy Biersack is the lead singer for the band Black Veil Brides. The band is currently on tour with Avenged Sevenfold and is scheduled to release a new EP called “Rebel” in December. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Andy about the EP as well as the bands plans for 2012.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us an idea of how the band all came together?
Andy Biersack: I had the idea for the band when I was 14/15. I had been playing with local musicians in Southern Ohio which is where I grew up. Playing in bands was always sort of my thing. It wasn’t until after I moved out to Los Angeles that things started to come together.  In the winter of 2009 the band became more than just a project.

AL: Black Veil Brides is a very visual band. What were the some of the initial ideas related to the bands look?
AB: We never sat down and said we were going to be a band that wears makeup. It just came out of stuff we all liked growing up. I was always really into horror movies and comics growing up. I also love Motley Crue and Kiss. When it came time to have a band it was sort of a natural thing. The look of the band is just something we all enjoy.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands new EP, “Rebel”?
AB: We had a little bit of time between Warped tour and our last European tour so we decided to go into the studio. We all had been itching to get back in the studio and we just didn’t want to wait till spring time. We had a couple songs that we like to listen and drink to on the boss so we recorded those along with a new song which we didn’t have done in time for the last album. It’s really just something new for our fans and for us to listen to in our cars.

AL: How did you guys choose the final cover songs that made it on the EP?
AB: “Unholy” was a song that we all had agreed upon from the start. For me I had the “Kiss: Konfidential” VHS which contained the music video for the song. That was something personal I brought to the band a long time ago. We had thrown some other ideas out there but ultimately we landed on “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol. The song came together really fast and I am proud of how it turned out. We are actually playing that song live each night.

AL: How did you get Zakk Wylde involved with the project?
AB: Zakk is a hero of ours and he really is a legend in the rock/metal community. Our manager Blasko had played with Zakk in Ozzy Osbourne’s band so it really was just a phone call. Zakk was into the idea and came in and put the solo down. It was really a fun experience.

AL: What is the release date for the EP?
AB: As of now we are just saying Christmas. When it gets a little closer we plan to announce an actual date.

AL: What are the bands plans for the rest of 2011 and into 2012?
AB: We are currently touring with Avenged Sevenfold and after that we have some international shows lined up. We are going into the studio in the spring and we hope to have a new album out buy this time next year. Once the album is released we plan to hit the U.S. hard as it will have been some time since we last toured the U.S. extensively.

A big thank you goes out to Kevin C. for setting this interview up and to Cody .B for help with some of the questions.

For more info on Andy and Black Veil Brides you can go to www.bvbarmy.com

Interview with Andy Sipes & Dana Snyder

Andy Sipes & Dana Snyder are the guys behind the AdultSwim.com’s latest web series “Songs for Helping”. It is about angels that give bad advise to people through songs. Andy is known for his work on Adult Swim with “Minoriteam” and “Saul of the Mole Men”. Dana is known for voicing various character on Adult Swim like Master Shake in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Granny” from “Squidbillies”. Media Mikes had a blast chatting with the guys about this web series and what we can expect from the episodes.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your new web series “Songs for Helping”?
Andy Sipes: We wanted to come up with something like a “Dear Abby” column. We thought that was a funny place to start and we are big fans of musical parodies. So we figured we can a really jerky little angels that sing and give terrible advice.
Dana Snyder: Whatever he said…I say that. But it was probably just me since I thought of it.
Andy Sipes: [laughs]

MG: This is your third/fourth project now, what keeps you guys working together?
DS: An unfortunately string of bad decisions…mostly on Andy’s part. He usually says “This is the last time Dana and never again”. Then somehow I find a way to finagle him in [laughs].

MG: How many episodes can we expect from the series?
DS: Right now we are going to have nine. There will be a new one every week at http://adultswim.com/songs every Monday…unless AdultSwim.com is on a vacation day then it would be Tuesday. So it probably means every single week it will be up on a Tuesdays [laughs].

MG: How long does each take to complete to develop?
AS: The first season was a little bit of trial and error. We really only had a rough idea of what the series would be. We tried a number of different things.
DS: We tried everything from live action on green screen. We tried every possibility on what we thought we could do [laughs].
AS: We decided we have these character designs that Dana did and we decided just to do a straight animated show. We know a lot of really good people that helped us. It was really a fun process overall.

MG: What it always planned as a web series?
DS: Yes.
AS: Yeah we have talked about developing it further. We love it as a little one and half to two minute song that you can pass on to your friends.

MG: How do you come up with the lyrics to the songs?
DS: We really didn’t come up with all the lyrics. I did write all the lyrics though on one of them.
AS: …Umm, all the lyrics were only three words…but…[laughs]
DS: We had a great writing team of Mike Geier and Shannon Newton. We, sort of, gave them more of a premise…since we didn’t want to limit them. Once Shannon wrote the lyrics then we would re-write the lyrics.
AS: There were two or three that we did the first pass on. We would write and then give to her or she would write and give to us. It was a great collaborative effort between Shannon Newton, Mike Geier, Dana and I.

MG: Who is doing the actual singing in the songs? Why didn’t you sing the songs yourself?
AS: That is all Mike Geier. He did all the music and does all the singing.
DS: No reason why. Mike is great, I have done a lot of live shows with him. He is an incredible musician and singer. We though it would be funny to have the other angel, whose name is Bert, would do all the singing but never actually speak [laughs].

MG: Tell us about what we expect from future songs?
AS: Get ready though because the songs get more increasing bizarre as we go.
DS: The two songs that are up now are the first ones we ever thought of.
AS: When picking which order they would air…I think we figured that these two wouldn’t scare people off [laughs].
DS: [laughs] You don’t wanna dive in first with the songs about someone who has a permanent erection. Better to save that for a little later.

MG: Dana, you also worked on the character design; tell us about that process?
DS: Well, that is a very good question. Mostly I was sitting across from Andy in our office and then giggling because I tried to draw it better but not having anyone to draw it for us. [laughs]. I thought “Ha, how hard can it possibly be”…it was pretty hard. I am not going to lie…it took a lot of time.
AS: I think that was always the plan for you to sketch something out real quick and then we will get a real artist to draw. Then we said “Wait a second, these are really good… let’s just use these”.
DS: Yeah we keep looking at them thinking that these guys looked like such little jerks [laughs]. The finishing touch was putting them in gold high heels. I don’t know why but I think it does finish it off quite nicely.

MG: What do you each of you like most about working on this project?
DS: Well I think for this one especially is it was very exciting because we would have these concepts and ideas but then all of sudden getting it back from Mike (Geier) and it is this whole complete song. It sounds like a real song…not like something we could have done. That was super exciting. Then on top of that were sending the song to our animators for the second thrill. It was great seeing what the animators did with it. They said “Yeah we threw it come crazy rainbows” and we were totally digging it.
AS: I think with Dana and I and our experience with what we have done, it was really great to see something start to finish like this that we wrote and created. That is the best thing in working in the entertainment business. We were 100% happy with it.
DS: I also think we didn’t have a lot of people involved with this. But everyone we did have involved added to this a lot. While passing through everyone’s hands, it just got better and better for us as well as more interesting and funny.

MG: Dana, When do you start-up on season 9 of “Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1”?
DS: I actually just recorded two episodes earlier this week. They were really good. Then I also got a new “Squidbillies” upcoming. I do believe that they are almost starting new “The Venture Brothers”. I think it is coming really soon also.

MG: Andy, after this web series, what do you have planned next?
AS: I am writing a script right now with my writing partner, Matt Mariska, for Comedy Central. It is a half-hour sitcom. Then I am just pitching around town to whomever would take a meeting with me.
DS: Literally throwing baseballs at them. You actually have to go to the local park to see his pitching.

 

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Interview with Andy Mackenzie & James Duval

Andy Mackenzie & James Duval are co-starring in the film “Sushi Girl”, playing the roles of Max and Francis (respectively).  These guys were so passionate about this film during our interview and it is rare to see such devotion to a film.  Media Mikes chatted with Andy and James about their roles and what it is like working with such an all-star cast.

Mike Gencarelli: James, tell us about your role of Francis in “Sushi Girl”?
James Duval: Yeah, I play Francis and I am part of the old core group members of this group of professional criminals. I play the shifty one in the group, so to speak [laughs].

MG: Andy, tell us about your role of Max in “Sushi Girl”?
Andy Mackenzie: Max is honestly surrounded by all these badass guys, except Max is probably the most badass. He is the guy that shoots first and doesn’t even have time to ask questions later. He has somewhat of a brain and he actually is somewhat multidimensional with his relationship with Mark Hamill’s character in the film. We push buttons all throughout the film.

MG: What drew you to work on this film?
AM: I read the script the first time and I tried to picture who was going to be the actors playing these characters. First off, I pictured Tony Todd because he is the pimp and it would be perfect. Everyone brought so much to the table in a completely different way than you can ever imagine. It just keep getting better and better every day.
JD: Absolutely it just kept growing. Andy was actually signed on to this film before me, like a year and a half ago. I knew Tony before just from the business and I knew who Andy was but never met him. So I was really excited to sit down and looking forward to the rest of the casting. At that point they hadn’t locked the characters down for Fish (Noah Hathaway) and Crow (Mark Hamill) yet. This was an opportunity to sit down a do a real good character piece with the script that Destin (Pfaff) and Kern (Saxton) has written. It is absolutely dynamic. I learned a lot from working across Tony Todd, who just has this presence. Then when you throw in the color of Mark Hamill and Noah Hathaway, honestly it doesn’t get better than that. When you think of Mark Hamill, you really don’t even know what he looks like anymore besides he does a lot of voice work. All of the sudden he shows up at our last table reading with a character completely out of a comic book [laughing]. It was the funniest, scariest and creepiest thing…all at the same time. It turned everything around that I was doing or thinking. I thought now I have to react to this guy [laughs]. Everyone knows Mark and Noah so well from growing up with them in films, but to see them come and deliver on this film is really what acting and making movies are about. This is a character breaking role for Mark Hamill and you will not look at him the same way again.

MG: You both sound so inspired about working on this film, it is really refreshing.
JD: It is just a dream come true. We are working with really dynamic actors that are really some of the best in the business but we also have a really great dynamic script. It has fleshed out character development and twists and turns. As an actor getting to play that is just a blast, you can not ask for more when you are making a movie.
AM: Exactly what Jimmy said, definitely a dream come true. Imagine growing up, you are watching “The Neverending Story” or “Star Wars” or “Candyman”. All of the sudden you walk into this room and all of these guys are in the same room as you and you have to be a badass [laughs]. That is where the inspiration is but how can you actually be a badass when you are surrounded by all these badasses [laughs].

MG: What would you say was your most challenging aspect working on the film?
JD: Every actor wants to shoot as chronological as possible. This was shot over 18 days and the real challenge was that after 7-8 days, you are left exploring and figuring out who you are. You want to go back in time and known that something prior was going to happen and changed a relationship. We spent a lot of time on set and even off camera talking about who these characters really came from. Once you see the movie we are right there in this middle of this crime. You are left wondering where we all came from. We are constantly exploring and seeing where we could take these characters. The film basically takes place in one night with some flashbacks.
AM: We were trying to do the chronological aspect the best we could but then there was a couple of occasions when we had to jump way forward and catch somethings. That was the big problem during those moments, we really didn’t know who we were at that moment and that is when we needed to go back and try to find out.
JD: Can’t talk about the budget, but we didn’t have a lot of money or time. We had to move fast and in the sense of doing so you are jumping from scene to scene quickly. You have the camera setup jumping from shot to shot without changing, so you have to be really on the ball with what was going on.
AM: What I meant to say with the biggest challenge was sitting around the table right next to a hot naked chick with only sushi covering parts of her body…that was really hard [laughs].
JD: Cortney Palm, great young up-and-coming actress, was really amazing having to sit there 15-18 days in the same position. She is going to blow you guys away. I think there are some parts of this film that we can’t say but it is going to go down in cinematic history. The visual shots and certain scenes are very memorable and it is really exciting to be a part of.

MG: James, What is the deal with “Mondo Holocausto!”?
JD: I know we were planning on doing it a couple of years ago. It is still in pre-production and I just received an email from the director, so it might be moving forward again. It was put on the back burner for a while. It was going to be down in the style and spirit of the 70’s Mondo campy horror films with badly dubbed over purposely. I do not know if it would work but I love the idea and the concept. I saw some test shots with the actors voice dubbed and I couldn’t stop laughing. I thought it was incredible. If we are fortunate enough, I hope he gets the money and we still get to do this film.

MG: Andy, do you still get a chance to work on your music as well as acting?
AM: Yeah, I am still playing drums in a band. Everyone is currently busy with other things so we haven’t been playing live recently. It is such a great outlet for me and I totally need to get back out there.

MG: You both have a few films in the works, so what’s next?
JD: I actually just finished filming my first script that I wrote with a friend of mine. It is a totally different film that “Sushi Girl” and it was great writing it. We really explored the characters in the film. We started editing this week, so we will see how it goes. I am really excited. I also have a film that I produced that premiered at Raindance Film Festival in London, called “The Black Belle”.
AM: I have two films in post right now. One of them is called “Knifepoint” that just premiered at Fantasia in Montreal and next it is moving to Chicago Horror Film Festival. There is another film I did which is also hitting the circuits, called “American Joyride”. I also just did a Civil War TV pilot called “Reconstruction”.

 

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CD Review: Andy Timmons “Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper”

Andy Timmons
“Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper”
Label: Favored Nations Entertainment
Running Time: 48 minutes
14 Tracks

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is definitely one of the best albums ever released. It has been redone many times by various bands. This re-imagination by guitarist Andy Timmons is a fresh take and done all-instrumental. Andy Timmons is no joke on that guitar and really perfects this album. He also sheds a real amazing new light on the already perfect tracks. This isn’t just an overnight album either supposedly it took two years to complete. Of course the original The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is still the best…this is a very true and honorable cover.

Every song on this album is just so strong and vibrant. Supposedly when working on this album, Andy Timmons did it all from memory and never once referenced the original album. Andy’s guitar work is stunning and totally jaw-dropping especially on tracks like “Within You Without You” and “The Benefit of Mr. Kite”. Usually when you have cover albums it is never true to the original but this one tracks along side the original and adds a new level of greatness.

What is also very cool as well is that Andy included the track “Strawberry Fields Forever”, which was original meant to be released on “Sgt. Pepper”. That rendition of the song is just breathtaking. If you are a fan of amazing guitar work or Beatles fan this is must. A MUST!

Track list:
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With a Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing a Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You, Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning, Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In the Life
14. Strawberry Fields Forever