Brian Austin Green & Melora Hardin talk about new show TBS’ “Wedding Band”

Brian Austin Green and Melora Hardin are starring in TBS’ new comedy series “Wedding Band”, which debuts on Saturday, November 10 at 10:00 pm. “Brian plays Tommy, the life of the party and lead singer of the band who is also the star on the stage and the bedroom. Tommy’s a bad boy with a good heart. And Melora plays Roxie Rutherford who is the owner of Rutherford Events. She’s no- she’ll do nothing more for her clients, she’ll do anything from shipping sand in from Fiji for an island themed party. Roxy is the person behind the most important moments and the best nights in people’s lives.” Brian Austin Green is known best for his roles in “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. Melora is known best for her role on NBC’s “The Office”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian and Melora about this new show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Brian, your the lead singer for “Wedding Band”, were these all songs that you knew ahead of time or did you have to learn some of them?
Brian Austin Green: Whew. For the most part I knew the melodies. But most of the songs, I got to be honest, when I got the lyric sheets my first thoughts were, oh, those are the words, (that’s not what) we’ve been singing. When you have REM’s “End of the World as We Know It” and you go what is he talking about? I think the only thing anybody ever knew was “it’s the end of the world as we know it”…and the rest of the words were completely unknown. I’ve always had a bad habit of that, just in I’m a huge music lover. I grew up listening to it, but I’m one of those just because I play, I play piano and drums, I connect way more with melodies usually than the lyrics. So the lyrics are usually the last thing that I learn, whereas a lot of other people I know really sit and study the lyrics first and the melody is kind of the last thing. So, I knew pretty much none of them.

MG: Before I watched the pilot, I was kind of expecting the band to be funny in itself, like the performing, but I was actually impressed and thought you guys were really a solid band. Can you reflect on that important element of the show is that we’re not actually laughing at your guys’ talent because there is talent there?
BAG: Well, I think the answer lends itself to what we were just talking about. We can play comedy songs, which only kind of last for so long, or we can stick with the element of what the show is, which is that our job is to make this believable, our job is to make this band honestly the most kick-ass wedding band anybody has ever seen. I’m just saying that alone there’s comedy in that. They’re a stadium style wedding band. You never hear or see anything like that, let alone sit at a wedding, hear these amazing grand songs, and have pyrotechnics and confetti cannons going off. And throwing guitar picks out to the crowd.
Melora Hardin: Right, and they’ve got my character Rutherford breathing down their neck that it better be damn good. And they are. That’s why she takes them on in the first place. They care so much about the event in a whole other way than Roxie cares about the event, but I’m glad you recognize that because they are awesome. It’s not like we’re breaking into song, you know, like Glee does, like musical style. But it’s just using music in the storyline in a truthful, honest way. So yes, anyway.
BAG: And on top of that, too, Adam Schlesinger who does our music is so gifted at what he does.
MH: Amazing. And Steven Gold.
BAG: Yes, and Steven Gold. They have an amazing ability to take something like a KISS song at Oktoberfest, so you’re singing these party anthems but with a kick drum and a trombone and an accordion, but still doing it in a serious enough way as a musician that aside from laughing because we’re wearing lederhosen and you’re still thinking this song is awesome. I kind of want to hear this version again. It’s really fun. And that’s what music does. The music carries so much emotion to it. And when it’s done by people that really enjoy doing it, I think it comes across just in watching and listening to it. And that’s what we strive for.
BAG: It’s scary when you pick up a script and you see something worded that way. Roxie Rutherford in a jazz club singing Get Ur Freak On. And then all of a sudden you get the CD from Adam and Steve and you hear it. And it was really a nice experience to put in a CD for every episode and hear what they had been working on because it really kept the excitement going.
MH: You just wait, we got so many more coming.
BAG: Oh, I think we have 29 or 30 songs.

MG: What songs should we be looking out for the most this season?
MH: Well, Brian has a lot more to choose from, but I think I mentioned earlier, but I did a version of Get Ur Freak On, which I think they are going to release on iTunes, which is a pretty phenomenal arrangement and pretty spectacular because it’s a Missy Elliot song which they made into a jazz trio. So that was pretty spectacular. But the band has some pretty spectacular ones too.
BAG:  Yes, I honestly don’t want to give any away. I think one that’s really fun and it kind of comes up early on, so I don’t feel so bad, is we do a very sort of Indian version of Party Rock, which is just really amazing  There’s an entire dance number, like Bollywood kind of dance number that goes along with it and it’s pretty genius.

MG: Melora, your character is really tough but also have a fun side; what would you say for you was the most challenging part of preparing for her?
MH: Brian Austin Green [laughs]. No, you know what, she’s so much fun. I mean, she’s – I don’t know if I would say that there was like a challenging part of the character. It’s always exciting, I would put it that way, to try to, you know, to try to kind of get all the different colors running through a character like her because she’s multidimensional and there’s a lot to bite into there. And she’s similar to Jan in that respect in that she’s rich.

MG: There is a little bit of tension between you guys in the first episode and I’m wondering if you think there’s any chance of any romance between Tommy and Rutherford.
BAG:  I think there’s a chance of anything between Tommy and Rutherford.
MH:  I do too.
BAG:  I wouldn’t take anything off the plate. I think anything is possible.
MH: They could kill each other, they could fall in love with each other.
BAG:  They could. Yes.
MH: No, there’s a lot there for sure. It’s an interesting little dynamic.
BAG:  Yes. I think it’s one of the things that makes the relationship fun. It’s kind of like, the Moonlighting aspect of the show. It’s the thing I always loved about that show is you can sort of have that underlying sexual tension, but never even have to go there and it plays really well. And then if we finally do, then it’s explosive and it’s sexy and it’s daring and, you know, we win Oscars. I want to be the first…
MH: We win Oscars even though we’re on TV. We win Oscars. Thank you.
Brian Austin Green: No, I want to be the first television star to win an Oscar.
MH: That’s a first.
BAG: That’s my goal. I want it to be that good and sexy.
MH: Let’s go for it. I like it.

MG: Brian, you starred in hour-long dramas and 30-minute comedies and of course. Melora, you were on “The Office”, which is another 30-minute comedy. The Wedding Band is different. It’s an hour long comedy. How is that different from anything you both have done before?
MH: Well, I’ll start. I think Brian and I both have done sort of sitcom stuff. “The Office” isn’t filmed like a sitcom, but I’ve done that traditional sitcom way of making a comedy. That’s sort of like the crème de la crème is in terms of lifestyle for an actor because, you do all these rehearsal days and then you have one long day. When you’re making a drama, an hour-long drama, you have very long days and but you also have to be funny. So I think to me, what’s nice about the show, and one of the really, really wonderful elements in it being an hour, is that you get the comedy, but you also get that fabulous arc of the dramatic arc. You have time to get into the characters, you have time to get into the storyline, and it doesn’t just have to be (joke, hit, joke, hit, joke, hit, joke, hit). So I really like that a lot and I enjoyed it. But you do have that drama schedule of having to be there for very long days.
BAG: Yes, the thing though that I really enjoy about our show especially is that coming from dramas first. I did do a sitcom and it’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy comedy. I’ve always loved watching even growing up, was I love comedy that are real, their real dramatic, you know, honest moments in funny situations. I like seeing people struggle through situations that are just absurd and laughing at them. I feel like our show is written in a very serious way. We’re honest about the things that we do and our lives are just crazy enough that it’s entertaining and it’s funny. But it’s never setup, punch line, which is hard to do.
MH: Yes, and it’s a whole different style of comedy.
BAG: It’s a hard thing to do for an hour especially.
MH: Yes. Exactly. No, it’s all based on truth.
BAG: And you guys were the best at it on The Office. That was like the absolute bar of delivering.
MH: Well, it was unique in that it really was the first one to kind of come along that was really, since like Cheers, that was sort of like really based in reality and sort of that mockumentary style. That really worked well for me, too. Brian and I have had similar backgrounds in that we both really believe that great comedy, just as great drama, definitely comes from the truth of the moment and it’s always funny, truth is always funnier than fiction and trying to get to that truth is always going to make the best joke.

MG: Tell us about how to was working with your wife, Megan Fox, on this show? How did that come about?
BAG: Honestly, she kind of stepped in and saved us at the last minute. There were a couple other people that they were discussing bringing into the episode at first and schedule wise and timing wise it didn’t work out and I had already spoken to my wife about the episode and kind of what was going on and she graciously said that, you know, if nothing else worked out that she would step in and kind of rescue us and she did. I thought she was great. I thought she kicked ass.
MH: Yes, she totally kicked ass.

Brian O’ Halloran talks about the future of “Clerks”

Brian O’ Halloran is best known for playing Dante Hicks in the “Clerks” series. He also recently appeared in the horror film “Mr. Hush”. Brian took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to discuss the future of the series and also his love for working in theater.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with the film “Mr. Hush”?
Brian O’ Halloran: I met the director, David Lee Madison, at a horror convention and he was finishing up the edit for the DVD release. He told me about the film and asked me to be apart of the teaser for the sequel. I said sure that sounds fine. So we shot my scene earlier this Spring and he edited in to the end for the DVD release. It is kind of a tease of the tease.

MG: What do you enjoy most working in the independent horror genre?
BOH: The reason I like working with independent filmmakers is that you are not dealing with a studio and them telling you what you can/can’t do. Yes, there is a struggle with independent that you have to do out and find distribution and sell your piece. Don’t get me wrong I like that studios can bring in everything you need to make your film. But with independent films, I find that the storylines are stronger personally because they don’t have the money to do the flashy special effects and giant budgeting for A-list celebrities. You have to count on a better script to bring people to your project. These writers and directors really put in their heart and soul. As far as the horror genre, there is no other fanbase that I find that is well as hardcore fans. They are like the Howard Stern fans of film. Horror fans don’t let you slide either, they are not afraid to let you know when something sucks. But that also keeps the genre honest, if you think about it.

MG: Looking back on “Clerks”, almost 20 years, how can you reflect on its cult status?
BOH: What is great about it is that it is this timeless piece of filmmaking. It is about this guy that gets calls in on his day off and everybody can relate to something like that. It speaks to generation after generation. I am glad the fanbase has followed along these characters and are still asking “when is there going to be another?”. They are still interested in it.

MG: What’s the word that I hear about Kevin Smith resurrecting “Clerks: The Animated Series”?
BOH: You are hearing the say thing I have been hearing [laughs]. I should be talking to Kevin soon about this. But I would love to bring this back. I think it is a lot easier and cheaper to produce something like that then it was to do back in 2000, when we first do it. At the time it wasn’t really the right outlet for us, especially since ABC screwed us and only aired two episodes. When he twitted about a few months ago, I got blasted with emails asking if this was true. To today that was still one of the easiest and best jobs I have had. We also had such great guest stars the first time like Alec Baldwin, Gilbert Gottfried, Gwyneth Paltrow, James Woods and Michael McKean. I know that still today so many people love it. So I would love to do it again.

MG: Smith also recently teased “Clerks III” on Broadway, care to comment?
BOH: I saw that also. I saw that someone recorded his saying that during a recent book signing. He say that I would obviously be on board since I come from a theater background, which is true. It is going to be Jeff (Anderson), who is going to be difficult to get on board. He was also difficult when we did “Clerks II”. Until he saw some of the footage and was satisifed that we were going to do it right, then he was on-board. To get him to do a movie, where it is five weeks of shooting and then done, is one thing. But trying to get him to do seven-eight performances a week for six months, that is going to take a big bulldowser. I think if he is not on-board, no one would do it. It would be impossible to replace him. So if it happens, I do theater all the time and it would be the highlight of my theater career. To get to hang out on Broadway, I would be completely down.

MG: Besides film you do a lot of theatre, what do you enjoy most about stage?
BOH: I enjoy most the live feedback from the audience. If it is a comedy, you are earning their laughter and that is awesome to feel that energy. The opposite side is that while working it each night you are able to correct or improve on your performance. Each night is a new adventure. It get’s my blood going.

MG: What other projects do you have planned upcoming?
BOH: I am working right now on a comedy web series and right now it is called “New Jersey Theatre Players”. There will be a website, but is still under construction. We are just getting a bunch of friends together and just having fun. It is based on a community theater in New Jersey and the kookiness that happens with that. We just started shooting it at the end of August. Hopefully we will have the first few episodes completed by December and ready to launch by the beginning of the year.

Founder/Owner of Metal Blade Records’ Brian Slagel talks about 30th Anniversary

Brian Slagel is the founder/owner of Metal Blade Records. This year marks the labels 30th anniversary and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Brian about the labels history and what it has planned to celebrate this monumental occasion.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us what initially led you to putting together the first Metal Massacre compilation?
Brian Slagel: I was in Los Angeles and saw so many really great metal bands playing around. At that
time there was no way for them to get heard. I was a huge fan of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in England and its DIY attitude and from there I got the idea to do a compilation of local LA heavy metal bands. I was also working at a record store and I asked the import distributors I bought from if they would buy a compilation if I put one out. They said yes and the album became a reality.

AL: Did the success of that release plant the seed for you in starting Metal Blade Records or was starting/having your own label always something you wanted?
BS: I never intended to start a label. I was working at a record store and also doing a fanzine. After the album was released, I was offered a pressing and distribution deal from one of the importers. That is when it started to become a label.

AL: You gave Metallica their first real exposure with the Metal Massacre release. Was there a specific reason the band did not sign to Metal Blade?
BS: Yes I had no money as did they. So with no money there was no way to record an album. They came to me first, but no money meant it never happened.

AL: What do you feel has been the labels biggest accomplishment in its 30 years of existence?
BS: Probably just being around for 30 years and still going strong. It is a difficult business, but we have been lucky to still be around and doing what we love.

AL: With the 30 year anniversary of the label is their going to be any special edition releases or re-releases from the label?
BS: Yes we are doing special versions, vinyl, picture discs all year long. Also we are doing special sales around the world as well tied into the 30th.

AL: When signing bands to your label are there any specific qualities or characteristics you look for?
BS: There is nothing specific. We always look for bands that sound a bit different and also are willing to work with us. Getting signed these days is the easy part, and then the work really begins. It’s always helpful if the band has something happening before they ever sign with us.

Brian Doyle-Murray talks about TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son”

Brian Doyle-Murray is the older brother of actor Bill Murray.  He is also a “Saturday Night Live” veteran and has appeared in many films including  “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World & “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.  Brian took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about co-starring as Hank in TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son” and what we can expect from the first season.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to work on TBS’ new comedy series, “Sullivan & Son”?
Brian Doyle-Murray: I had worked with Rob Long, one of the executive producers, on the TV show “Love and Money”. I really like him and thought he was a sharp guy. He is really good at what he does. when I read the script, I thought it was time for a show like this. I worked with TBS before also and I really liked them as a network as well. They give shows a chance and also willing to take a chance on shows. Once I did the pilot, I knew it was going to be great. The chemistry was just so fantastic.

MG: Tell us about working with this amazing cast?
MG: Steve Byrne is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Dan Lauria is just so great. I had no idea how hysterical Jodi Long was. She has some of the funniest lines. Dan and her both are theater mavens, they got the chops. Christine Ebersole and I worked together on “Saturday Night Live” doing the news, many years ago. She is such a classy chantoose. She has two Tony’s and here she is playing this cougar tramp and is just hilarious. Vivian Bang and Valerie Azlynn are beautiful and also really knock it out of the park. We also have more stand up’s per square inch for any show on television [laughs]. Besides Steve, we have Owen Benjamin, Steve Wood Jr., Ahmed Ahmed and Brian Scolaro. Brian is so subtle, it is like he is not even there and then he just kills it. Owen has some of the most amazing energy…for a slacker [laughs]. Roy does these great prank calls, which are very funny. He is real understated but very powerful and when he hits it, he does it right on the head. Ahmed has been all over the world and is a great addition to the cast. We have also had some great guest cast as well. Billy Gardell pops up in the show. I worked with him on “Yes, Dear”. So I believe we are really lucky to have such a great round cast.

MG: Being a veteran actor on the show, you find you are able to fit in among all the young cast?
MG: They were very kind to an old man. I enjoyed working with them. What settles it for me is “Am I having a good time doing this?” and “Do I like who I am working with?”. There is a lot of laughter on the set. People really enjoy coming to work. Believe me I have been on some when they don’t [laughs].

MG: What do you feel that your character Hank brings to the show? What do you like most?
MG: He is like somebody we all know I think like an Uncle or something. He is kind of unaware that he is offensive. His bias is so ingrained though that even when the people he offends are his friends, he doesn’t get it. He will use a term for his friends ethnicity affectionately so the friend instead of punching him out just kind of sigha and saya “That’s Hank”. I think there are a lot of people out there like that. They just kind don’t get it.

MG: What do you like most about working in front of a live audience?
MG: Well that is instant gratification for something that is funny. I have a pretty good idea what is funny but if you do it twice in one day in front of a live audience. They will let you know if they like it or not. We honed it in by the time we do it finally. So it works well.

MG: Sticking with TV, tell us what you like most about doing voice work like on shows like “Motorcity and “Spongebob Squarepants”?
MG: You don’t have to shave [laughs]. You don’t even have to take a bath. The mic doesn’t know if you stink or not. You just show up and don’t even have to memorize anything [laughs]. No, it is really fun work. I really enjoy voice work.

MG: Starting with “Saturday Night Live” to iconic roles in “Groundhog Dog”, “Wayne’s World and “Christmas Vacation”, what do you enjoy most about comedy?
MG: Well nothing compares to getting a laugh. You have to assume it on something like voice work. On “Sullivan & Son”, you know you are getting the laughs. It is very rewarding and very satisfying. Working with these people, the process is more enjoyable than the result even. Just the act of doing it. Cracking each other up is fun.

MG: What else do you have in the cards upcoming?
BDM: Besides this? Well, we just wrapped. I am trying now to match the circadian rhythms of my cats. That is I am trying to sleep 22 hours a day [laughs]. So, that is my goal.

Brian Krause talks about “Camel Spiders”

Brian Krause is known best for his role in the TV series “Charmed”. He also recently starring in the Roger Corman produced creature feature “Camel Spiders”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about the film and what we had planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “Camel Spiders”?
Brian Krause: I am friends with Matt Borlenghi, who was already cast in the film. He told me the project was going forward and they were looking for a guy for this role. They threw my name in a hat and I was fortunate enough to be picked up. Jim Wynorski thought I was decent enough [laughs].

MG: With the film being presented by Roger Corman did you have the chance to meet him?
BK: Unfortunately, No I did not. We were out in the middle of nowhere during shooting.

MG: Can you tell us about the production of the film?
BK: We shot non-stop for 12 days. Everything was fast and furious. We tried to shoot as much as we could in a short amount of time. We had a minimal crew so everyone had to be ready. It was very windy and cold in the high desert. It was tough.

MG: What did you like most about working on this type of “creature feature” film?
BK: It’s fun! Everything is done with a wink and it’s not super serious. All the actors are having fun with each other. It was great seeing a guy like Jim Wynorski get things done. Jim and Roger have a working formula that is just impressive. It’s an honor to be a part of that.

MG: Do you have any specific highlights from the production?
BK: I became good friends with Kurt Yaeger who plays Joe in the film. He is an incredible guy that is a former BMX X-Games star. Kurt is just killing it! To see his motivation and how he has become an actor is impressive. It was a great experience.

MG: Can you tell us about your return role in “TBK: The Toolbox Murders 2”
BK: I have worked with Dean Jones a couple times now. He penned the script and directed the film. He has made a different version of the film that is like a prequel. I know he has finished the film but it is tied up in editing.

Tell us about your upcoming online series “The Unknown”?
I just finished that the other day. It is being put out by Crackle. This will be a direct, original content television show and is being produced by Sony. It is in the vein of “Twilight Zone”. I play one of the main characters in the first 6 episodes, which were directed by Martha Coolidge. These episodes have a high production value and I think the same audience will love to check these out on The stories are so good that they could make their way on to network television.

MG: Any other projects you can tell us about?
BK:I just did a film called “Gabe the Cupid Dog” which is an ABC type family film. I also am working on a couple of my own projects and trying to raise funding for those.

MG: Will those include you directing?
BK: Yes. I directed the teaser which is being used to help raise funds. If I can keep myself on as director once all the funds are raised that will be great. If I have to bring someone else in that would help us raise the money I would definitely relinquish that spot.

Interview with Shadows Fall’s Brian Fair

Brian Fair is the lead singer of the metal group Shadows Fall. The band has released 6 full length studios and is set to release their as yet titled 7th album sometime in 2012. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Brian about the upcoming album and the bands tour plans for this year.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the upcoming album?
Brian Fair: The band always tries to cover a good amount of ground with each record and we have a wide variety of influences. I feel this album is a further extension of us. We are getting more comfortable with putting all those influences into great songs. There are songs on the album that are on the real heavy side, some that are more classic metal and some that are full on thrash tunes. We try to cover a variety of styles without sounding schizophrenic.

AL: Do you guys have an album name and release date set?
BF: Everything is still being wrapped up. We have just started getting the mixes. Until everything is really mastered and finalized all of our release dates are just hopeful. Everything is best case scenario. (Laughs) It’s looking like by early May we should have the album out.

AL: Did you guys take any different approaches to the recording process this time around?
BF: Yes. It was a real different approach. We recorded with Adam D. of Killswitch Engage for the first time. That was a new experience in general bringing him in. Adam was involved from the demoing stages. He wasn’t helping us write or anything but he helped with the structuring and editing of the tracks. It was cool to have him involved and suggesting different twists and turns. With Adam on board we could step back and look at the songs as a whole. He was very easy to work with. Adam is like a comedian so it was really fun working with him even though we were there for hours at a time.

AL: How do you guys go about the writing process for your material?
BF: Usually Matt or Jon will have sort of a frame work of riffs that they are working on. They will put together a general song structure. From there we start jamming on it and add each of our own tweaks and suggestions. We will make a rough recording and then take it from there. Some songs fall together within the first few practices. Some take shape over the course of a month or so. The last song on the new record we wrote on the spot in the studio. That has never really happened before so it was kind of cool. Once there is a general idea for the song is when I start writing lyrics. I usually don’t get to that point until the music is about 80 percent there. Once I see where the songs going I can start to add lyrics.

AL: Can you tell us about the upcoming Australian tour?
 BF: It’s going to be sick! This will be our third time doing the Sound Waves festival. It’s always unbelievable. This year the line features bands like Slipknot, System of a Down and Hatebreed. It’s going to be like summer camp. We also will be doing some off dates while we are there with Machine Head and Chimaira. I can’t wait.

AL: Are you going to be playing any songs from the upcoming album during those shows?
BF: We have one new song that will be in the set. We have really only had time to rehearse that one new track. We were thinking about slipping in another one but we are only playing short festival sets. We don’t want to spend a lot of time playing songs people don’t know yet but, we do want there to be a preview of what’s to come.

AL: Are there any plans in the process for more shows in the states?
BF: Yes. When we get back we will have a lot of set up and promo type stuff for the new album going on. We then will be taking a break from shows until about mid-April when we have some shows booked in Mexico City with Anthrax. Right after that we will be starting our own tour. Everything will start to be announced in the coming weeks after things have been confirmed.

Interview with Brian Steele

Brian Steele also known as CreatureBoy has played many amazing character in his career.  Some of them range from Mr. Wink & Sammael from the “Hellboy” series, the wolves in “Underworld” franchise and Berserker Predator & Falconer Predator from “Predators”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about his various roles and his nickname.

MG: How did you get involved with creature work and given the name CreatureBoy?
BS: The nickname CreatureBoy has been with me since the early 90’s. It originated when a buddy effects artist of mine calling me it on set and the name has stuck since then. At the end of that show the crew gave me a robe with CreatureBoy embroidered on it. I still have and wear that robe! As for getting involved in creature work, well, that started in 1987. I went to an open audition for Frankenstein’s Monster at Universal Studios here in California. I was hired soon after to play the Monster in the theme park. It was a great job! Did that job for close to four years before being hired on to complete the TV show “Harry and the Hendersons”. It was while performing on this show that it became clear to me that I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Whatever it took to continue this path I was going to strive towards.

MG: What has been your favorite character you have portrayed?
BS: Unfair question! [laughs] Picking a favorite character would be like picking a favorite child. So, I just like to say whatever character I’m working on now is my favorite. It so much easier that way! I will say each character I have played has it’s own reason for being a favorite. “Predators” and “Terminator” because I grew up with these movies, Mr. Wink from “Hellboy II”, besides being so darn cool, he challenged me in so many new ways. Then you have the wolves in “Underworld” Franchise, Sammael from “Hellboy”, Harry from “Harry and the Hendersons” TV series. All of the characters I have portrayed are so special to me. I could go on and on about each one…the effects artists have given me some wonderful creations to wear!

MG: Tell us about working in “Predators”, how did you prepare for the role? Where you a fan of the series?
BS: I have wanted to portray a Predator ever since I saw the first movie. It’s such an iconic role. I like to say “ A Predator is the Badass of the Galaxy” who wouldn’t want to be one. Huge fan! I have spent a lot of time studying the first two films. I believe the strength of the Predator character is rooted in the performance of Kevin Peter Hall. All things Predator are built and borrowed from his performance. His performance was off the charts!

MG: “Hellboy” is one of my favorite series, how was it working on those films?
BS: There are no “Hellboy” movies without the imagination of Guillermo del Torro. Love working with Guillermo del Torro! His work ethic and attention to detail are amazing. High expectations, high demands and high rewards are the norm working on the “Hellboy” films. It’s refreshing to work with a director that uses monsters to tell and further the storyline instead, as if often the cases, using them just for scares. The characters I portrayed, Sammmael in “Hellboy” and Mr. Wink, Fragglewump, Cronie Troll and Cathedral head in “Hellboy II”, tested my mental and physical strengths. I trained like a mad man for each of these movies knowing it was going to be a grueling but rewarding shoot. It’s a special experience when everyone is completely dedicated to the task at hand, believes in the project and will leave blood to fulfill the vision of their director. That was my experience in a nutshell working on these films.

MG: Was it just a coincidence that you worked on “Predators” and “Harry and the Hendersons: TV Series”, both roles originally played by Kevin Peter Hall?
BS: I would like to think the producers knew of this connection before they asked to meet me but, I don’t think they did. It has been almost 20 years since I played Harry on the TV show, so I can understand how they wouldn’t of known.

MG: What has been your most difficult role to work on?
BS: I don’t like the word difficult ….the most challenging role was portraying Mr. Wink in “Hellboy II”. He was just so big! Bringing a personality to the surface of his emense suit while performing carrying 130 plus pounds of weight was a huge undertaking. I trained for three months with weight vests, dive belts loaded with weights, pool training, hiking, biking and gym training to prepare for the role. I have a training slogan “Make the Pain Familiar”. I continually push myself beyond where my body wants to shut down. This way I’m mentally and physically prepare to endure the demands of the role and continue to stay in character. Love my job!

MG: Tell us about the project you are currently working on?
BS: Recently I’m involved in the prep work on a Bigfoot movie called “Exists”. It’s being produced by the folks that did “The Blair Witch Project”. Its being directed by Eduardo Sanchez who Co-Directed “The Blair Witch Project”. Very excited about this project! Great to be working with my friends over at Spectral Motion on this film. They a creating and fabricating the Bigfoot. All I can say is it going to be fun to make Bigfoot a terror to be reckoned with! I’m also just launched my own clothing line called “CreatureBoy” and “Make the Pain Familiar”. Very excited to take my dedication to this genre and build a clothing line around it. Just branded our first shirts, hats and hoodies! You can check them out at You can also follow me on Facebook at creatureboy or Brian Streele or on twitter @ madeamonster.


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Interview with Elephant Mountain’s Brian “Slider” Azzoto

Brian “Slider” Azzoto has played guitar in many Syracuse based band most notable Brand New Sin who were signed to Century Media Records and toured with bands such as Black Label Society and Motorhead. Brian’s newest project with former Brand New Sin band mate Joe Altier title Elephant Mountain just released their first album titled “The Last Days of Planet Earth” which Brian also produced. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian recently about the new band/album and what it was like working with his old band mate again.

Adam Lawton: How does it feel to be working with Joe Altier again?
Brian “Slider” Azzoto: It feels good. It’s nice because when we are working together it’s like we know what each other is thinking and how we want a song to go. It’s nice to already know what our expectations of each other are. We knew that we worked well together from our time together in Brand new Sin so it just really makes the song writing process a lot easier. Joe is one of my best friends so it’s great to be able to work with him again.

AL: How did you guys go about getting back together?
BA: Joe and I both lost our fathers in about a 6 month period. He and I started talking and helping each other get through that. A mutual friend of ours John Hanus, who I went to high school with actually brought up the idea of jamming together again. Joe was about a year out of Brand New Sin and I was in Ledyard but we were starting to move in a heavier direction musically so I thought it would be nice to play some more rock-n-roller type stuff. There were really expectations for Elephant Mountain because at the time everyone in the group had other bands or projects. We were just doing it for fun.

AL: Can you briefly describe the new Elephant Mountain album for us?
BA: I think the new Elephant Mountain album is like a melting pot of retro 70’s classic rock but with a modern edge to it. We didn’t set out to be a classic rock band as we wanted to be relevant while at the same time bringing out our influences from when we were growing up.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off the album?
BA: Of course I’m going to say I like them all equally but I will say my favorite song to play live is “Words with Friends”. I love the energy of that song and the riffs are really fun to play. I love how we jump from this AC/DC/Motorhead vibe to a Led Zeppelin type feel in the middle and end of the song. The song came out really cool. When I was writing the music I thought that we weren’t going to be able to use it as I couldn’t come up with a bridge part to tie everything together but then I came up with the bridge part and it all seemed to work.

AL: I’m sure people always ask but how did you get the nickname “Slider” come from?
BA: Back in 1992 I started a band called Mudslide and we used to practice in this building on the North side of Syracuse with like 20 other bands. We all used to call it the Love Shack
because the owner’s last name was Love. Everyone in the building used to call me Brian Mudslide. Over time the Brian dropped off and then the Mud dropped off and an R was added to the end. That’s where the name “Slider” came from.

AL: Knowing you are big Kiss fan what is you take on the bands current lineup?
BA: Of course I would love it if the original line up was together but I know music is a business and Kiss definitely a brand name. Gene and Paul have to do whatever it takes to keep it going. I’m not a fan of two other guys playing Ace and Peter but Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer are great musicians so they will make Kiss sound great but it’s not the real Kiss. I know I’m not spending over $100.00 to see half of Kiss I will tell you that! I was lucky enough to catch the original band in 2000 so I’m all good!

AL: Any other upcoming plans for releases, shows or anything else you would like to mention?
BA: We are just writing as much as we can for the new record. Hopefully we will be starting the recording process soon. We don’t have any shows really planned until after winter unfortunately but we are all so busy it makes it tough. I hope to see everyone the next time we play out and we plan on playing a bunch of festivals next spring and summer.

For more info on Elephant Mountain head over to

Also be sure to check out our album review of Elephant Mountains “The Last Days of Planet Earth” as well as our interview with Elephant Mountain singer Joe Altier

Interview with Brian T. Jaynes

Brian T. Jaynes is the director of two new horror films, “Boggy Creek” and “Humans versus Zombies”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about working on his films and when we can see them.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on how your got started with “Boggy Creek”?
Brian Jaynes: I have always been a fan of Charles B. Pierce films. I remember the trailer for his 70’s film “Legend of Boggy Creek” scarring the hell out of me! I realized there haven’t ever really been any interesting films about Sasquatch or Bigfoot. There have been films made but they all have been sort of hokey in my opinion. I shared the story with my wife who wrote the screenplay for me and the rest is history.

MG: Can you tell us about the creature and how you chose not to use any CGI effects?
BJ: Anytime you are going to bring a creature into the realm of CGI, I think you have to be careful of the creature’s dynamics. If you have a big budget and can spend a large portion of that to create a realistic creature its fine however with a creature like Sasquatch which is very human like in its movement it made sense to have a human play the creature. I think it looks more realistic. Phil Nichols made the suits and he did a real great job.

MG: How do you feel your second film “Humans versus Zombies” differs from other zombie films?
BJ: In the end it’s still a zombie movie. There is nothing ground breaking but what I think we did accomplish is that our film tends to be a little more character driven than theme driven. The film is more about the humans and what they are doing to survive rather than what the zombies are doing. I think we have a good movie that will be fun to watch.

MG: What was the most difficult part to making that film?
BJ: Probably the time frame in which we shot. We filmed “Humans versus Zombies” in 18 days, so it wasn’t the most leisurely schedule. We certainly could have used more time and I would have like to have more of a budget. The weather was pretty cold also while we were shooting. I think we had a couple 12 and 11 degree days where we were out shooting. The city of Pittsburgh where we shot the film was really great to us through the whole process.

MG: You handle a lot of different roles on both films. How do you juggle all the various tasks?
BJ: I don’t juggle them very well as I should…they all kind of stress me out. Until I get enough folks around me that are able to help I will be wearing most of those hats. Part of is that I am trained as an editor and digital effects artist first and for most. Having that training has helped me in directing because I know the pieces and how they are going to fit together before they even make it to the editing room. When you’re and independent filmmaker you find yourself doing a lot of the task such as putting the money together, directing and editing. In the very near future I should be just wearing the directing and executive producer hats. I plan to make an announcement in a few weeks about a couple projects I will be filming in Bulgaria for the SyFy channel. I will just be directing on those.

MG: Is it safe to say that horror is your favorite genre to work in?
BJ: I actually probably would prefer the action/thriller genre. I like the horror/thriller genre but I think I would much more prefer science fiction/action thriller. There still a lot of elements of suspense but I tend to lead more towards sci-fi.

MG: What is the release schedule for the two films?
BJ: “Boggy Creek” releases on DVD September 17th at places like Wal-Mart and Best Buy. You will also be able to digitally stream it through places like Netfix as well along with a television run later this year on FearNet. “Humans versus Zombies” will have a limited theatrical release late this year’s to about 25 cities with a majority of them on the East Coast. It’s television premiere with be Feb. 15, 2012 on Chiller. It will be out on DVD in late March 2012.