CD Review: “Invasion” John 5 and the Creatures

“Invasion”

John 5 and the Creatures

Producer:  Barry Pointer

Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross, Drummer Logan Miles Nix) are back with a brand new studio album titled “Invasion”. The fourth studio release from the Los Angeles based trio features 10 tracks produced by Barry Pointer which plunge listeners head first into the twisted, musical mind of guitar virtuoso/front-man John 5.

Just when you thought guitarist John 5 had taken his unique mixture of “Hee-Haw” infused shred as far as it could possibly go the former Marilyn Manson/K.D.Lang/Rod Stewart guitarist flips the switch to show listeners that all previous accounts were just the catalyst to “Invasion”. From the eerie opening sound-scape “Invasion” to the robotic “I Am John 5” and the quirky “Zoinks” listener’s senses are put through the wringer before being pushed even further with the twang-tastic, “Howdy” and the pedal steel laden “Cactus Flower” both of which showcase 5’s strong country influences. On the back end of the album are tracks like “I Want It All” and “I Like The Funk” both of which are doused with enough funky textures and tones that they will have the one and only George Clinton scratching his head.

You don’t have to be a guitar player to enjoy the music contained on “Invasion”. From over the top molten distortion to funkified wah worbles and sparkly cleans the latest offering from John 5 and the Creatures is a hodge-podge of musical influences which explode out of your speakers with reckless abandonment. Despite “Invasion” not being the most cohesive collection of songs from the group the album does give listeners a wide pallet to choose from making it worth checking out.

Track Listing:

1.) Invasion

2.) I Am John 5

3.) Midnight Mass

4.) Zoinks!

5.) Howdy

6.) Crank It/Living With Ghosts

7.) Cactus Flower

8.) I Want It All

9.) I Like The Funk

10.) Constant Sorrow

Interview with “Georgie” Producer and Co-writer John Campopiano

When he’s not busy doing his daytime job for the television program “Frontline,” filmmaker John Campopiano allows himself to indulge his love for horror films.  In 2017, Campopiano co-wrote and co-directed the acclaimed documentary “Unearthed and Untold:  The Path to Pet Sematary.”  He just released the short film “Georgie,” which he produced and co-wrote with the film’s director, Ryan /Grulich.  Next up is his next full length documentary, “Pennywise:  The Story of ‘IT’”   While gearing up for his next project, John found some spare time to talk with me about his work, past, present and future.

MIKE SMITH:  Where did you come up with the idea for “Georgie?”

JOHN CAMPOPIANO:  We were in post-production on a documentary about the mini-series “IT.”  We interviewed the cast and crew and one of the cast members, Tony Dakota, who played Georgie Dembrough in the mini-series was one of the last actors to find for an interview.  I found him in the Pacific Northwest.  By this time our production budget was depleted so I was looking for a free-lancer to get this interview with Tony.  I met Ryan Grulich, who is based in Seattle and he shot the interview for us.  One of the questions we had asked Tony was if he would ever want to get back in show business.  He had been a child actor in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Besides “IT” he had also been in “Who ‘s Harry Crumb?” with John Candy and had also done some episodes of “McGyver.”  (NOTE:  T.V. fans may also remember Dakota for his eight episode arc as Clavo on the very popular “21 Jump Street”),   He had been out of the spotlight for some time and had stopped acting around 1993.  So when he was asked if he wanted to get back into acting he said “yes” but wasn’t sure how to do it.  He had had a rough upbringing and some personal problems which had kept him away from acting.  But when he expressed an interest a light bulb went off.  I said to Ryan, “what if we wrote a short film for Tony?  It could be a win/win.”  We would write a short film that would allow him to reprise his role as Georgie, which would put some money in his pocket.  And we would give him a positive and creative outlet that could hopefully open some doors for him.  And that’s how “Georgie” started.

MS:  I know from doing the “Jaws 2” book that trying to find actors that haven’t acted in 30 years is not very easy.  Did you have the same problems with some of the lesser known members of the cast?

JC:  Oh yes.  Even though Tony is billed a Tony Dakota, Dakota was not his birth name.  Since he stopped acting he has been living his life under his real last name.  He was almost like a ghost who had vanished from the public eye.  Also, he hadn’t acted in almost a quarter of a century.  It made it challenging for sure. 

Tony Dakota returns as the title character in “Georgie”

MS:  Thank God for the internet!!

JC:  (laughs):  I know, right?

MS:  Ironically, last week on our Podcast we kind of previewed “Georgie” and talked some about the “IT” documentary and my co-host informed me that Stephen King will allow student filmmakers to license any of his works that have not been sold to Hollywood for $1.00 for a student film.  Did you contact him about “Georgie” and, if so, has he seen it?

JC:  I think it’s cool that he does that, especially for somebody who has had his level of success.  We did not approach him about “Georgie” ahead of time.  Obviously we’re dealing with intellectual property that belongs to him and Warner Brothers.  But on the same side of that, we are not monetizing this.  It’s a short film, which really don’t have much of an afterlife in terms of monetization.  We’re giving Georgie a fresh story and kind of a new spin on the character.  We will definitely be sending it to him and hoping he watches it.

MS:  Can you talk a little about the ‘IT” documentary?

JS:  I had done a documentary with Justin White about the film “Pet Sematary” that took us about four and a half years to complete.  That got us a little bit of attention from other filmmakers who were doing similar documentary films…retrospectives about other films.  I’ve been a die-hard “IT” fan, both the book and the mini-series, forever.  Justin was not interested in doing another documentary.  Given the scope of the mini-series I knew it wasn’t something I could do alone.  So I started writing articles as I was interviewing the cast and crew.  A producer in the U.K. named Gary Smart, who runs Dead Mouse Productions, saw the articles and had the idea about doing the documentary about “IT.”  He reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come on-board and co-write it or produce it with him.  That was 2017.  We launched a successful Indiegogo campaign, raised the money and spent three weeks in Los Angeles shooting cast and crew interviews.  Now we’re in the final stages of post-production.  We dropped an extended trailer back in February of this year and it’s done very well.  It received almost 500,000 views on YouTube in the first week.  It was also very serendipitous.  We had announced a street date before the theatrical version of “IT” was released.  People had been talking about remaking “Pet Sematary” and “IT” for years but it wasn’t until the past few years that those projects became reality.  We got very lucky in terms of the timing.  The mini-series was beloved by its fans but the new movie really introduced the story to new generations.  It revitalized the franchise, which worked in our favor.  I think in total we’ve interviewed about forty members of the cast and crew.  It’s going to be a pretty robust documentary that I think people are going to be excited about.  The plan is to release it before the end of 2019. 

MS:  Do you have any projects planned after the documentary is completed?

JC:  I’m working with Gary Smart again on a bio-pic about Robert Englund.  That was Gary’s idea.  He approached me and said he wanted to do a film about Robert’s life and career.  He’s such a legendary character actor.  Not just for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films but all of the other projects that he’s been a part of.    Gary asked if I wanted to come on board as a producer and I said, “sure.”  We launched an Indiegogo campaign last weekend to help raise funds to make it happen.  The plan is to go out to L.A. later this summer to get the interviews and then get working on that one.  I’m not writing that one, which is nice because it’s less work for me but I’ll be doing a lot of archive research for Gary and helping produce the interviews.  I’m also working with “Georgie” director Ryan Grulich again.  We wrote a new short film based on my story, dealing with something I went through as a kid.  We have a finished script for that.  It’s my attempt at an “Are You Afraid of the Dark” episode or something from “Goosebumps.”  I’ve been interested for a long time in horror movies for kids.  In my opinion I think it’s a sub-genre that we are seeing less and less of.  I feel that the 80s and the 90s were a ripe period for content like that.  I want to make a short film that is spooky and scary and has an original monster in it but one that is geared very much towards a teenage audience.  We’re looking right now for talent to attach to the project and then we’ll raise some funds and hopefully start shooting it next year. 

On a personal note, John and I both had an amazing friend named Lou Pisano.  Lou co-wrote the “Jaws 2” book with me and was really looking forward to the release of “Georgie.”  John told me, “It’s kind of bittersweet.  Lou was so excited about this project.  I think he would have loved it.  The only disappointing thing is that he isn’t here with us to see it.”

To view the extended trailer for “Pennywise:  The Story of ‘IT’” click HERE.

To contribute to the Indiegogo campaign for “ICON: The Robert Englund Story” click HERE.  

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “John Wick: Chapter 3”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Lionsgate to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new Keanu Reeve's action film "John Wick:  Chapter 3 - Parabellum."   

The film will be screened on Tuesday, May 14th at the Screenland Armor Theatre in North Kansas City and will begin at 7:00 pm

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE. The first (50) people to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. This is a first come/first serve giveaway. Once the (50) allotted passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended. Good luck!

John Wick 3: Parabellum opens nationwide on Friday, May 17th.


John Wick 3: Parabellum
Screenland Armor Theatre, North Kansas City, MO
Tuesday, May 14th - 7:00 pm


Facebook:                                https://www.facebook.com/johnwickmovieTTwitter:                                   https://twitter.com/johnwickmovie
Instagram:                               http://www.instagram.com/johnwickmovie                                      
Hashtag:                                  #JohnWick3  

John 5 and the Creatures Release “Zoinks!” and Details on Album

JOHN 5 AND THE CREATURES Release “Zoinks!” Music Video + Upcoming Album and Music Video Details

Watch Video + Stream/Download the Track Here

New Full-Length Album, Invasion, Coming Summer 2019 + More Music Videos!

Upcoming North American Tour Begins February 22, 2019 in Anaheim, CA

JOHN 5 and The Creatures – comprised of world-renowned guitarist JOHN 5, bassist Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix – released a brand new music video for the new track “Zoinks!” January 1! The full video – featuring an innovative blend of classic 2D hand drawn animation, 3D computer generated imagery and a live action performance – clocks in at just over eight minutes. In the tradition of Scooby Doo and Groovie Goolies, the video is written and directed by Disney animator Brett Boggs (Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph), with live footage shot by Matt Zane. Watch the full video and download/stream the track here: http://smarturl.it/zoinksJ5Creatures

As previously announced, the video features a cameo from Nikki Sixx voice acting as himself, as well as additional voice acting from Susan Olsen (known for her role as Cindy Brady on The Brady Bunch), and Fred Coury. Coury also is credited for scoring the video alongside JOHN 5.

Just like 2017’s Season of the Witch, Invasion – produced and mixed by Barry Pointer and scheduled for release during the summer of 2019 – will be entirely released via a series of music videos. Now that “Zoinks!” has been unleashed to the world,JOHN 5 is announcing the release dates for his next two music videos.

JOHN 5 adds that his new album will feature a very special guest. He says, “My new album will be out this coming summer, and will feature a very secret, special guest that I will reveal in the coming weeks. Up first, on February 1, we’ll release the next music video for the track “Crank It”. Then, on March 1, we’ll release the video sequel to “Zoinks!”, for the track entitled “I Am John 5”. This video, like “Zoinks!”, will also be animated and directed by Brett Boggs.”

JOHN 5 adds that the “Crank It” video is directed by Israel Perez and produced by Nicole Hatley, with art direction by Cody Varona. Wardrobe and masks are provided by Forgotten Saints LA, with additional masks by Scott Blake.

Stay tuned for more details on the new music videos and new album, coming soon.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures will kick off the second leg of their North American Invasion Tour on February 22, 2019 in Anaheim, CA. The tour will feature support from blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols. Tickets and VIP packages are available now via www.john-5.com/store.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures Invasion tour dates:
2/22 – Anaheim, CA @ The Parish at House of Blues
2/23 – Las Vegas, NV @ Count’s Vamp’d
2/24 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
2/26 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
2/28 – Albuquerque, MN @ Launch Pad
3/1 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s
3/2 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/3 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
3/5 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
3/6 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/7 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street
3/9 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
3/10 – Akron, OH @ Empire Concert Club
3/12 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
3/13 – New York, NY @ Iridium
3/14 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Loft at The Chance
3/15 – Teaneck, NJ @ Debonair Music Hall
3/16 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s
3/17 – Lebanon, NH @ Lebanon Opera House
3/18 – New Bedford, MA @ Vault at Greasy Luck
3/20 – Quebec City, QC @ L’Anti Bar & Spectacles
3/21 – Montreal, QC @ Piranha Bar
3/22 – Ottawa, ON @ The Brass Monkey
3/23 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
3/24 – London, ON @ Rum Runners
3/26 – Thunder Bay, ON @ Crocks
3/27 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramids
3/28 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
3/29 – Calgary, AB @ Dickens
3/30 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite
3/31 – Vancouver, BC @The Rickshaw Theatre
4/2 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
4/3 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
4/5 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Whisky

About JOHN 5:
JOHN 5 has worked with a varied range of artists, performing as guitarist for some of the biggest headlining rock bands in the world such as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, as well as playing session with Paul Stanley, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. Slash has called JOHN 5, “one of the most mind-blowing guitarists around” and Rob Zombie has dubbed him “a fucking shredder”. JOHN 5 has released seven solo albums to date, as well as a remix album, and has written music for the likes of Avril Lavigne, Garbage, Ricky Martin and others. Season Of The Witch followshis previous solo work, Careful With That Axe, which debuted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart upon release in 2014.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures is:
JOHN 5 – guitars
Ian Ross – bass
Logan Miles Nix – drums

JOHN 5 online:
www.john-5.com
www.facebook.com/John5official
www.twitter.com/john5guitarist
www.instagram.com/john5official

Concert Review: John 5 and The Creatures “It’s Alive” Tour 2018

“It’s Alive” Tour 2018
John 5 and The Creatures

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Lovers and the broken hearted gathered in Syracuse, NY for an unforgettable night of haunting guitar tones and blistering solos courtesy of guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures. The Rob Zombie guitarist is currently out on the road in support of his latest solo release “It’s Alive”. Only a true virtuoso such as John 5 could turn a quiet love filled Valentine’s Day into the loudest Halloween themed shred-fest the month of February had ever seen.

As the final notes of the opening act rang out the inflatable Halloween decorations rose up from the depths of the intimate Lost Horizon stage. Shortly thereafter master of ceremonies John 5 appeared with a colored flashing LED grin flanked by his band misfits. The trio kicked of the show with “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” which set a face melting pace for the evening. The makeup adorned 5 danced around the stage with various incarnations of his trusted telecaster which only further mesmerized the slack jawed onlookers. Creatures, bass player Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter, kept pace as the band followed up with rippers like “This Is My Rifle,” “Season of the Witch,” and “Guitars Tits and Monsters.” As the night wore on the charismatic leader John 5 even dedicated “Behind the Nut Love” to the Valentine’s Day crowd and even offered free lap dances to all in attendance. Easily the most captivating moment of the night was when 5 donned his laser guitar for a medley of hard rock and heavy metal classics which included snippets of “Enter Sandman” and “Thunder kiss 65” to name just a few.

Just when the place was about to burst at the seams, John 5 and Company closed out the night with an encore performance of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The crowd was overjoyed and as the guitarist took his final bow of the evening and appeared confident that he had made the traditionally lovey-dovey holiday into his very own spooktacular shredathon. The “It’s Alive” Tour runs through April so I highly recommend checking it out.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January

JOHN 5 and The Creatures to Release “It’s Alive!” Live Album in January
Physical Pre-Orders Coming Soon | Available Digitally via www.john-5.com
“It’s Alive!” U.S. Tour to Begin February 1 in Orlando, FL | VIP Packages Available

JOHN 5 and The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross and drummer Logan Miles Nix) are set to release a brand new live album, It’s Alive!, in January. Becoming available on Thursday, January 25, 2018, It’s Alive! is the first album released by the world-renowned guitarist to be featured on vinyl. A stunning 24-page, full color tour book covering the JOHN 5 and The Creatures tour journeys so far will also be available for separate purchase.

Pre-orders are available now at www.john-5.com/store, with more options coming soon. Fans can check back to www.john-5.com for updates.

JOHN 5 says about the recording of It’s Alive!, “I remember pulling up to a beautiful venue that we played in Sellersville, Pennsylvania and before we were unloading the equipment, the soundman said, ‘Hey guys, would you like to record the show?’ We said, ‘sure that would be amazing!’ I always wanted to have a really great recording of the show. We were a few weeks into the show so we were really well rehearsed, so I said, ‘Alright guys, let’s not jump around. Let’s just really try to get a great performance because we only have one shot – no other shows if we mess up!’ So, we explained to the crowd that we would be recording. You can hear that on the recording of the album, which makes it very magical. It came out amazingly! That’s the magic of live albums to me – capturing the performance.”

It’s Alive! track listing:
1. Guitars, Tits and Monsters
2. Flight of The Vulcan Kelly
3. Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers In Hell, CA
4. Here’s to the Crazy Ones
5. This is my Rifle
6. Jiffy Jam
7. Hall Haw
8. Season Of The Witch
9. The Nightmare Unravels
10. Portrait of Sydney Sloan
11. Triple D
12. Black Grass Plague
13. Behind The Nut Love
14. Making Monsters
15. Beat It
16. Now Fear This
17. Medley

JOHN 5 adds, “I’m so proud of it that I wanted to put it out and also tour it like bands used to tour live albums back in the 70s. I thought that was so cool! I’ve put out a lot of records, so I thought – goddammit, I’m going to do it!”

JOHN 5 and The Creatures will begin an extensive tour of the United States in February for a first leg, and will pick back up in late March for a second. The tour will start in Orlando, FL on February 1 and come to an end in Tacoma, WA on April 21. Tickets will become available very soon, and VIP packages will be available exclusively at www.john-5.com/store. See below for a full listing of dates.

JOHN 5 and The Creatures It’s Alive! tour dates:
2/1 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
2/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ 1904 Music Hall
2/3 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
2/5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
2/6 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
2/7 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
2/8 – Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
2/9 – College Park, MD @ Milkboy
2/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
2/11 – Stanhope, NJ @ Stanhope Theater
2/12 – New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
2/13 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
2/14 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
2/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock
2/16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland
2/17 – Westland, MI @ Token Lounge
2/18 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
2/20 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
2/21 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
2/22 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
2/23 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
2/24 – Chattanooga, TN @ Songbirds
3/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
3/30 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/31 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
4/2 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
4/3 – Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole
4/4 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
4/5 – San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
4/7 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d
4/8 – Fullerton, CA @ SlideBar
4/11 – Ventura, CA @ Discovery
4/12 – San Jose, CA @ Ritz
4/13 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/14 – Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery
4/15 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
4/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
4/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
4/19 – Bend, OR @ Volacanic Pub
4/20 – Portland, OR @ Hard Rock PDX
4/21 – Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome – Tacoma Guitar Festival

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

World-Renowned Guitarist JOHN 5 Releases New Album “Season of The Witch”, Kicks off solo tour in support.

“Season Of The Witch”, the brand new full-length instrumental solo album from world-renowned guitarist JOHN 5, is out now and can be ordered via iTunes, Amazon and John-5.com, or streamed via Spotify.

In celebration of the album’s release, JOHN 5 and The Creatures are kicked off their U.S. tour in Fife, WA on March 3rd. The tour will hit roughly 35 cities (with more potentially TBA), coming to an end in Chicago, IL on April 16. Tickets and VIP are available now – visit http://www.john-5.com/main/tour for more information.

JOHN 5 and the Creatures “SEASON OF THE WITCH” Confirmed Tour Dates:
3/3 – Fife, WA @ Louie G’s
3/4 – Everett, WA @ Tony V’s Garage
3/5 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
3/9 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub
3/10 – San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
3/11 – Fresno, CA @ Fulton 55
3/12 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
3/16 – Fullerton, CA @ The Slidebar Rock-n-Roll Cafe
3/17 – West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
3/18 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill
3/19 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
3/20 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
3/22 – Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
3/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Bar & Live Music
3/24 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks Live
3/25 – Houston, TX @ Scout’s Bar
3/26 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/29 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
3/30 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighbourhood Theatre
3/31 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger
4/1 – Wilmington, NC @ Calico
4/2 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s
4/3 – Richmond, VA @ Capitol Ale House
4/5 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East – Downstairs
4/6 – Derry, NH @ New Tupelo Music Hall
4/7 – Queens, NY @ Blackthorn 51
4/8 – Boonsboro, MD @ The Stage House
4/9 – Falls Church, VA @ The State Theatre
4/10 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
4/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh
4/12 – Cleveland, OH @ The Agora Ballroom
4/13 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
4/14 – Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue
4/15 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
4/16 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies

JOHN 5 online:
www.john-5.com
www.facebook.com/John5official
www.twitter.com/john5guitarist
www.instagram.com/john5official

Film Review: “John Wick: Chapter 2”

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common and Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chad Stahleski
Rated: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Did the first “John Wick” need a sequel? No. Does “John Wick: Chapter 2” need a sequel? Yes. I didn’t know I needed “Chapter 2” in my life, but I’m glad I got it and now I want more. “Chapter 2” is more of the same from the first installment and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing.

Picking right up where the previous movie ended, John Wick (Reeves), also known as “The Boogeyman,” is finishing off the lingering threats and hitmen who did him wrong from the first installment. But instead of easing back into a low-key and somber retirement, with a new dog in tow, he’s greeted by an old acquaintance, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). D’Antonio recruits Wick to help him take over a seat of power in the criminal underworld. Wick isn’t so sure, but Santino uses an old blood oath and three missiles to Wick’s home to sway him.

All the potential consequences and paths of this blood oath, as pointed out to Wick multiple times throughout, are Wick’s death. Luckily for Wick, and the audience, he’s the one who spends entire runtime dishing out death. Before the story even contemplates getting too muddled in specifics and new characters, “Chapter 2” takes a deep breath and once again stops itself from becoming too literal. Just like the original, character introductions are more about the person’s individual quirks, skills and ticks, than their actual name or purpose. And “Chapter 2” keeps the video games tropes around as everything is still paid through magical golden tokens and Wick’s gun is stuck on auto-aim.

This helps keep everything flowing as this sequel is about 30 minutes longer, but rarely dull. While “John Wick” was more about the man behind the blood hungry myth, the sequel appears to be more about Wick diving deeper into the world around him, including the Continental, the criminal safe haven, hangout and safe zone from the first film. The Continental is still shrouded in mystery, but the little depth that is revealed implies it’s a lot more than just a U.N. for gangbangers. It may be the actual cogs of society and government.

What made the original so good is that it never bogged itself down in realism despite the backdrop being New York City. Instead it collects visual actualities to prop up this notion that this alternative reality is percolating beneath the surface. “Chapter 2” expands this alternate reality by dropping visual indications on how all these backstabbing swindlers and emotionless assassins have managed to govern themselves. Murder is their business and they’re serious about it. The rules in this violent fantasy world are simple, habitual, rehashed for clarity, and never biased towards any of the heroes and villain.

“Chapter 2” also further establishes previous canon while building on fresh canon without having any of the new nuances become superficial. The violence is a lot more over-the-top, but played straight-faced for laughs. The killings are more gruesome, but never repugnant. Like much of the visually stunning set-pieces, like a room of rotating mirrors bathed in laser light, the violence is aesthetically pleasing. That’s because it’s visually relayed that Wick doesn’t love or sink his teeth into this line of work anymore, but does it as a necessity for survival.

The same crew from the first is back for more, providing an enjoyable and realistic continuation of a seemingly one-off story about a retired assassin out for revenge. He’s no longer out for revenge, but struggling with the underworld that wants him to be addicted to the rush and thrill of being a hired gun. Wick’s world is noir, retro, and techno all in one cohesive ball. The John Wick franchise is not only a great addition to the action-film catalogue, but a much needed renaissance for the CGI-heavy genre.

4K Ultra HD Review “John Wick”

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
Director: Chad Stahelski
Rated: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4K Ultra HD: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“John Wick” was easily one of the best films of 2014. It is fresh, raw and not afraid to give you the middle finger. Keanu Reeves is beyond badass in this movie…simply beyond. It is just an insane movie and has become the start of a fantastic new franchise. This new combo pack includes a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD + UltraViolet copy. Let me just say that if I wanted to show off my 4K TV and player with movie. I have a new flagship Blu-ray to demonstrate the features, no questions. This is a must purchase.

Official Premise: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, “John Wick” (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the “assassin genre.”

“John Wick” is one of the movies that I would highly recommend this is worth the upgrade to 4K UHD. The 2160p transfer in 2.40:1 looks outstanding. There is a huge increase in detail for this film obviously due to the higher resolution. When I compared the Blu-ray to this, I was literally blown away. This release contains the same Dolby Atmos track that was included on the Blu-ray release, and it is still as amazing. Wall-shaking! The 4K Ultra HD disc comes with the same set of special features as the previous Blu-ray release. There is an audio commentary track, six featurettes and a trailer.

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  • John Doe discusses his new album “The Westerner” and his book “Under the Big Black Sun”

    (Photo Credit: Jim Herrington)

    John Doe is a singer, songwriter, poet and actor. He is probably best known for his work with the seminal Los Angeles punk band X which formed in the mid 1970’s. 2016 has been a busy for year for Doe as earlier this year he released his first solo album in five years titled “The Westerner” along with a book chronicling the L.A. punk scene titled “Under the Big Black Sun”. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with John recently before his performance in Ithaca, NY about the idea behind his new album and what it was like revisiting the stories contained in his book.

    Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on the new album “The Westerner”?

    John Doe: My friend Michael Blake who wrote “Dances with Wolves” and several other books was like a brother to me. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and over time couldn’t remember anything. It bugged the hell out of him but we remained close through everything and I would always go up and visit him. We influenced each other a lot in art and writing. Howe Gelb and I were reconnecting around the same as I was writing songs about Michael and using him as a character. I like what Howe has done with different peoples sound as well as his own in Giant Sand. He has really refocused the sound coming out of the Tucson area. I wanted the songs to have space and reverb so working down there seemed like the natural way to go. I had the title “The Westerner” sort in my mind as someone sent me a Doors record. The Doors were also Michaels favorite band so I began looking up stuff on them and my connection with that band goes way back. I was searching the internet and found an image done for one of their record store day releases. Shepard Fairey is the artist who did the piece and he and I have been friends for some time so I asked if he would redo the piece for me and he said yes. The original photo was shot at the Rose Bud Reservation by Aaron Huey who has an organization called “Protect the Sacred”. This was one of Michael’s main charities so it was great to be able to tie all this stuff in with the album. The album is a tribute album but it’s not sad.

    AL: Was the idea to do a new solo album already in your thoughts prior to Michael becoming ill?

    JD: Everything happened very organically. These days I sort of sit back and look at my watch and say “Holy shit it’s been 4 years since I made a new record” (Laughs). I always am writing bits and pieces of things but it just so happened that Michael was on my mind and I started to see how things were happening and I began tailoring things with what was going on. I loved the song Exene wrote called “Alone in Arizona”. It seemed to be kind of about Michael even though it really wasn’t. I am a big fan of Chan Marshall especially her albums “The Greatest” and “Sun”. I started doing the song “A Little Help” and realized it was similar to “The Greatest” and asked Chan if she would sing on it with me. With the song “Go Baby Go” I reached out to Debbie Harry as X had toured with Blondie and I had asked her before that if I ever had something I thought she would be good for would she do it. That song is a fun rock song and it worked out great. I am very fortunate that I am still around and that people want to come and play.

    AL: Having been in the music industry for some time now aside from digitalization and the internet what has been the most notable change?

    JD: MTV was really big when it first came out. All the other stuff out there I don’t really concern myself with. I have Instagram and my manager does Facebook so I have a small to moderate presence with social media but if people really want to see me then I think they should come out to show as I am generally hanging around. There is so much great music out there these days that it’s hard to rise above the static. Think of the old music business like an hour glass. You had the music at the top, at the pinching point was the business at the bottom was the public. Over time the shape of the industry changes to where now it’s square. There is just so much stuff flooding people ears these days.

    AL: What can you tell us about your new book “Under the Big Black Sun”?

    JD: Tom DeSavia who is the co-author and my sweet heart were both telling me that I should write a book. I thought it was going to be just too much work so I didn’t really pay attention to them. One day I had this brilliant idea about how the scene in L.A. was about community and collaboration. With that I knew that I wouldn’t have to write this book all by myself or suffer the pain if people didn’t like it I could just blame it on somebody else. (Laughs) I didn’t have to be the authority on things. I liked book such as “Please Kill Me” and “We Got the Neutron Bomb” however there is not a lot of fact checking that goes into oral histories. Los Angeles was sort of a romantic place in that era so I thought it was important to have it be its own character. I really feel that everything that is Los Angeles from the weather to the cars affected the way the music sounded. After Tom and I decided to do it we got a book deal and things became real. We got paid a pretty good advance and then we knew we really had to go through with it. We started getting people together and selecting topics based on what was important to that scene and what would make people care. The big one was it was that what happened was a cultural revolution. That was Exene’s big part of the book. Dave Alvin was part of the roots scene which got pulled into punk rock so he is the expert there so, that’s where he tells his story from. Robert Lopez was in a Latino band called The Zeroes. He was not out at this time but he was obviously gay so he was able to talk about that aspect of things. Jane Wiedlin talks about where people lived and how that played a role. By doing things this way we were able to give the book a much broader perspective.

    AL: The book shines a light on the L.A. punk scene as it was/is often overshadowed by what was going on in New York and London around the same time. Can you tell us a little about that?

    JD: I think at some point the media picked up on The Sex Pistols and few other bands that were young and/or un-experienced who said “Fuck You”. The media then said “Ok, Fuck you” which caused them to not cover things as much. When the L.A. scene finally came around about a year and a half later they possibly had enough images and maybe had made up their mind that we weren’t going to play ball. I think bands like Blondie, Talking Heads and The Ramones just wanted to be part of music and have a career. That’s what we wanted also. It wasn’t until the hardcore scene that people felt like they had been abandoned leading to bands doing things on their own. That’s when labels like SST started popping up. Everyone had sort of a chip on their shoulder and over time L.A. punk has started to carve out its own niche which has been good. Twenty or thirty years ago I would have probably been pretty bent out of shape about how the L.A. scene was looked upon but these days I couldn’t care less.

    AL: Was there a present rivalry between the two coasts/scenes because of this?

    JD: Sure. I think there was a healthy rivalry between New York and L.A. and L.A. and San Francisco but it wasn’t anything to wild. I do remember Exene getting into a fight with Handsome Dick from The Dictators once. (Laughs) What we loved about the whole thing was that almost all of those bands came out to Los Angeles to play at The Whiskey. We saw The Ramones, Blondie, The Damned, Television and a few others who played out our way regularly.

    AL: What was it like for X when they would travel to the east coast?

    JD: It was rough at first. Exene’s sister got us three shows in NYC in 1978 after we put out our first single. We basically drove from L.A. to New York with all of our gear, played three shows and then drove home. There is a little of that in the book but it was sort of a lukewarm reception. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein came to the shows at Studio 57 and later on we got to be pals with The Ramones. It took a little while because everyone thought L.A. was just swimming pools and Farrah Fawcett. You weren’t just given a Mercedes when you moved there. It was a pretty hard scramble. It was cheap to live there at the time though so there were a lot of young people with nothing to do but create stuff.

    AL: What was it like revisiting a lot of the memories from that time period, especially the ones around the time of the death of Exene’s sister?

    JD: That specific event wasn’t hard to dig into as I had experienced it so deeply in the beginning. It changed everything for Exene and by relation me too. It wasn’t too hard to look back. I don’t necessarily wish I had kept diaries or anything. It might have been good? You sort of start channeling towards a certain direction and things start to come back. I think it’s all about the details. I worked with everyone who wrote for the book and I always asked for more details. I think everyone was happy to tell their story and I was surprised by quite a few of them.

    AL: With your current solo tour coming to end do you have planned for the coming year?

    JD: The fortieth anniversary of X is coming up next year. We have the initial schedule which consists of around one hundred shows! Usually we do between thirty and fifty shows a year so this is quite a bit more. I think it’s great! Forty years ago we put a big investment into the bank of punk rock. At the time everyone though it was bullshit but we all have been able to make pretty good careers out of that initial investment. We are one of the few remaining punk bands from that time with its original members. Everyone is healthy now which is really great. We also will be looking to put out some live material and if Exene will write some more lyrics will put out some new songs as well. (Laughs)

    Concert Review: John Doe

    John Doe, Anna Coogan

    Friday, November 4th 2016
    The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

    Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    John Doe founding member of the legendary Los Angeles punk band X made a stop in Ithaca, NY on November 4th as part of Cornell University’s “Punk Fest: Anarchy in the Archives” a week-long event which included various speaking panels and music performances which coincided with the opening of the Universities “Anarchy in the Archives” exhibit which showcases a vast array of rare punk artifacts. The performance was second of three performances the venue was schedule to host and fans who attended were treated to a great night of music which was highlighted by a guest appearance by X front-woman Exene Cervenka.

    Little did I know when I walked through the intimate river side venue doors that on this night I was going to witness an amazing performance by not one but two! Legend’s in punk rock music. The venue was buzzing with excitement as people had heard that X front-woman Exene was in the building after being asked earlier in the day by John to perform with him. After a brief yet eclectic opening set from singer/songwriter Anna Coogan who despite battling some seasonal illness put forth a solid effort which the Ithacan crowd seemed to quite enjoy from the local artist who just returned from a tour with Alt/Country artist Johnny Dowd. After a very quick set change over the man himself John Doe was front and center where he announced his plans for the evening and confirming that Exene was in-fact in the house and that she would be performing with him this night. This announcement only further electrified the crowd as everyone in attendance now knew just how special this night was going to be. To start the set off Doe played selections from his solo career including a handful of new tracks from his recently released “The Westerner” album. Mid way through the performance Doe welcomed up his X cohort Exene to the dimly lit stage. The long time collaborators then proceeded to take the evening to the next level. Though the portion of the set with Cervenka was impromptu the two veterans armed only with one acoustic guitar and their voices delivered a mesmerizing performance that went off as though they had done it hundreds of times before. Much like their work in X the duos haunting voices complimented one another and despite the minimal instrumentation the music was equally if not more powerful in its raw form.

    Doe took the stage like a pro and with the help of his long time band partner Exene Cervenka held the Ithaca crowd in the palm of their hands.

    Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with John Doe in the interview section of the site.

    Singer/Guitarist John Corabi talks about the latest release from The Dead Daisies “Make Some Noise”

    For over 20 years singer/guitarist John Corabi has been recording and performing with a number of hard rock acts ranging from Union and ESP to being the replacement for Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil for a period of time in the mid 90’s. Since that time Corabi has embarked on a successful solo career and also joined the group The Dead Daisies a group whose current lineup also includes Marco Mendoza, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy and David Lowy. Media Mikes spoke with John recently about The Dead Daises upcoming album titled “Make Some Noise” which is due out on August 5th and also about the groups upcoming U.S. Tour with Kiss.

    Adam Lawton: You joined The Dead Daisies in 2015. What has the first year of being in the band been like for you thus far?

    John Corabi: It has been crazy! I got the call originally from Marco as they had been working with someone prior to me and things weren’t working out. They had plans to go over to Cuba and they asked me if I would be willing to go with them. I went and did that and we had an amazing time there. I think that was sort of a way for the guys to feel me out a bit. I think they wanted to see if I was a good fit or not. After that trip I got a call from the guys asking if I wanted to go to Australia and do an album. We got together in March of last year and wrote and recorded the “Revolucion” album in about 33 days. After flying home from that I did some solo shows with my band and the next thing I know I was in California doing a video with guys and also rehearsing for some upcoming European shows with Kiss. We then came back and did a run with Whitesnake after which we went back to Australia with Kiss. We then did the Kiss cruise and went back to Europe again but this time with Whitesnake. I got home at the end of December and by January of this year we were back in the studio working on the new record “Make Some Noise”. Things have been pretty busy. When I’m not out with The Daisies I’m out with my solo band which has a live album coming out in October.

    AL: What has the addition of Doug Aldrich been like for the band?

    JC: When Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus got the call to go do the Guns N’ Roses tour we reached out to Doug. He is a really great player who has just jumped right in. I have known Doug since he was about 17 as we grew up in Philadelphia together. With this band it’s about friendship as we all hang out and have known each other for a long time. Doug was able to step in to that as he has a great sense of humor to go along with his amazing playing and song writing ability. With this new record we wanted to go in and do a straight forward 70’s era type rock album. All the guys in the band have similar influences so for us to be able to go in and do that with the addition of Doug was really great.

    AL: How did the writing for “Make Some Noise” compare to that of your previous album with the band?

    JC: When you bring in a different member things do change a little. Doug fits in with everyone and we all have similar interest so that certainly helped. I think the biggest difference with the new record wasn’t really anything with the guitars but it was more so the fact that we didn’t add keyboards this time around. That allowed the guitars more room to be a little more aggressive. David Lowy made that decision as doing a band similar to the style of AC/DC was his original idea for the band. When Richard and Dizzy left it was decided not to replace them so Doug and David had a little more space to expand on their parts in each song.

    AL: Do you prefer working on material that is more stripped down and straight forward as opposed to something with a lot of layers and instrumentation?

    JC: I think the song really dictates how much or how little it needs. There was one song we did that we didn’t end up putting on the album that I want to put on my new solo album that had a lot of stuff going on within it. When we looked at what we had this song didn’t really fit in with the others because they are all very straight forward. Again the song really decides what it needs in the way of production. I think back to the first album I did with Union which is a pretty stripped down album as that’s what most of those songs required but there is one on that recorded titled “Let It Flow” which has a bunch of cool over dubs and instrumentation on it because that’s what it sort of dictated.

    AL: How was it working with producer Marti Frederiksen this time around?

    JC: I had known Marti since he opened for my band The Scream in the early Nineties. I always sort of kept an eye on his career. I realized when he started working with groups like Brother Cane and Aerosmith that he was going to do a lot of cool stuff. We were looking for not just a producer but also someone who understood the writing process and would actually listen to what we were doing with a fresh set of ears. Marti was very open to suggestions throughout the process. We have all been making records for quite some time now so things worked well. We would just record things and if for some reason if something didn’t work we would just take it out after the fact. Marti was great in that he knew when to reel us in and also we to let us keep going. It was a two way street that worked pretty effortlessly.

    AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour with Kiss and any other plans you and the band have scheduled?

    JC: We start in the states with Kiss on August 10. Those guys have been really great to us. The shows are going to be very high energy. I am not sure how long we are going to be playing just yet but no matter how long we play its going to be pedal to the metal. We plan to do a mix of both old and new material along with a few covers to get the crowd riled up. That tour goes through mid September then we have a headlining show set in Los Angeles. After that I start rehearsals with my solo band and then we go out on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. From there The Daisies head over to Japan for the Loud Park Festival and we are booked all the way through December. We will be hitting a bunch a places all over.

    For more info on John Corabi and The Dead Daisies be sure to head over to http://www.thedeaddaisies.comand also www.johncorabimusic.com

     

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    A Tribute To John Lennon Benefits Local Families Living with Disabilities

    Imagine John, a benefit concert for Lift Disability Network, will be performed Saturday, May 21st at 6:00pm on the lawn of The Bear Club at Keene’s Point in Windermere, FL.

    Lift Disability Network’s desire is to elevate life in the disability family. Their passionate mission is to inspire individuals and families living with disabilities to discover a new vision for their future. They do this through camps, community events and groups and family care. The Imagine John benefit concert, hosted by Promoting People, will raise funds to help Lift Disabilities provide a permanent home for their outreach and service activities in the West Orange County community.

    The artist, Carm Castiglione is a versatile singer and songwriter. He was been performing in cover bands for over three decades, and has impersonated artists such as Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), John Lennon and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) across North American venues. He writes and produces audio for film and licensing placements as well as arranges and composes Classical sheet music. Castiglione is also a secondary school music educator in Canada.

    Tickets are available for $40.00 online at liftdisability.net/imagine-john/ or at the door the night of the event. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be available for purchase.

    Come enjoy a great evening of music and fun and elevate life in the disability community at the same time.

    When:              Saturday, May 21, 2016 | 6:00 PM
    Where:             The Golden Bear Clubhouse at Keene’s Point
    Tickets:            General Admission:  $40      
    https://liftdisability.net/event/imagine-john/

    Reserve your tickets: (407) 228-8343 at the door May 21, 2016.

     

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    Howie Fields and “Big” John Wallace discuss music and Harry Chapin

    As much as I admire many of the actors, musicians, ball players and others that I’ve grown up watching, I’ve only cried at the death of four of them:  John Lennon, because it was so senseless; Roy Scheider, because he was my friend; Ron Santo, because he was my first “idol” and Harry Chapin… just because.

    When I was 13, Chapin’s song Cats in the Cradle came out.  It struck a chord in me that I never forgot.  It was almost like Harry was singing about my father and me.  My son is going to be 31 later this month, and that song still rings true.  Where I was once the little boy that wanted to spend more time with his dad, now I’m the father who has to accept that my son now has a family of his own.  As I got older I became a fan of Harry Chapin’s music and I was crushed when he was killed 34 years ago today, July 16, 1981.

    Today, Harry’s music is still being played, the torch being carried by his brothers Tom and Steve and the members of Harry’s band.  I recently asked drummer Howie Fields and bass player “Big” John Wallace a few questions about Harry Chapin and his music.

    Mike Smith:  What were your musical backgrounds before joining up with Harry?
    Howie Fields: Drum lessons at age 15 followed by a parade of teenage basement and garage bands playing Beatles, Stones. Rascals, Dylan, Kinks, Hollies, Who, etc. Better bands WITH PAY in my college years leading up to my entry into Harry’s band in 1975.
    John Wallace:  I started out as a vocalist in the Grace Church Choir in Brooklyn, New York, where I met Harry and the other Chapin brothers.  I dabbled with the bass guitar in my teen years and my first public appearance on bass was in my teens when Harry asked me to perform his songs with him in people’s homes in Brooklyn. Fast forward approximately 10 years when he asked me to join his band.

    MS:  When did you join the band?
    HF: 1975
    JW: I was a founding member, 1972.

    MS: How was Harry to work with – was he open to collaboration when working out his songs with the group?
    HF:  That ran the gamut. Sometimes Harry would run down a new song or two and ask us to come up with some ideas during concert sound checks (which he rarely attended) and at other times he would come in with a song and have very precise ideas. The rest of the time it would be pretty equitable collaboration in the recording studio.

    MS:  Is there a favorite song you enjoyed playing live?
    HF:   “Mercenaries,” “Odd Job Man,” “The Mayor Of Candor Lied”
    JW:  Too many to choose from.

    MS:  Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share?
    HF:   Quite notably for me, within the run of the show (NOTE – in early 1975 Harry and the band performed on Broadway in a show titled “The Night That Made America Famous” with words and music by Harry.  The show went on to earn two Tony Award nominations), was the night of March 1, 1975. Both Saturday performances were completed and Harry entered the band dressing room and asked Big John if he would come with him to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony at The Uris Theater for which he had one extra ticket and for which he had been nominated as Best Male Vocalist for “Cat’s In The Cradle”. He was also performing the song that night but John politely declined. Harry then put the ticket up for grabs and only after it appeared no one else was taking, I found myself in a cab with Harry, his wife Sandy, and his dad Jim, rushing over to the Grammy’s which had already begun. We entered the building and as we approached the doors leading from the lobby into the actual theater, a young usher (about 20) noted that Harry was overburdened with a guitar (not in its case), a leather bag, and one or two other items. He offered to take the guitar which Harry gladly gave up and then, somehow, as the usher was holding the guitar and at the same time attempting to open the door to the theater for us, he simultaneously dropped the instrument and tripped in such a way that one of his feet came down right on the guitar. So…there the guitar lay…smashed on the ground. It happened in a nano-second and it wasn’t pretty. All I remember at that point was Harry putting his arms around this devastated and horrified kid, saying “Don’t worry about it bro”. He could be like that.

    MS:  Harry was killed on his way to perform at a benefit concert.  Did that show ever go on?
    HF:  No, that show did not occur but one year later the band plus Tom Chapin did a memorial show on the same stage in Eisenhower Park in Long Island.

    MS: Are you amazed that, three decades after he passed away, Harry’s music continues to gain new fans?
    HF:   I am, as it’s pleasantly remarkable to me that Harry’s music has endured AND in many circles/families has been passed down to younger generations. The variety of age groups are evident at many of our concerts.

    Rock and roll fans take notice:  I first “met” Howie when I was working on a screenplay about Harry’s life.  I contacted Howie and asked him if he had any idea what the set list was at Harry’s last show.  He sent me a copy of it.  Not a list of the songs, but a copy of the actual set list.  Howie runs a web site called “Rock Paper” and I’ll let him tell you about it:

    HF:   Rock Paper is a business I have had going for over 20 yrs. It’s an archives of rock music and its two main entities are a complete archives of Rolling Stone magazine, whereby ANY article, record review, concert review, advertisement EVER published in the magazine can be located. Rock Paper has over 10,000 back issues o the magazine going back to the issue #1 (1967). There are also thousands of other back issues available of other classic rock magazines….Crawdaddy, Circus, Creem, etc, etc, etc,

    It also has an archive of concert ads cut from newspapers from NYC & the UK.

    You can search for whatever you’re looking for at www.RockPaper.net.

    All photos copyright www.harrychapin.com

     

    Director John Maclean and Stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn talk about “Slow West”

    Slow West held its New York premiere on April 19th at the SVA Theater during the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival. Writer and director John Maclean joined stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in speaking with me about the Michael-Fassbender-lead western on the red carpet.

    Ben Mendelsohn is a renowned Australian actor who in Slow West takes on the larger-than-life role of Payne. Payne, in his oversized furry coat, is the leader of a vicious gang that Fassbender’s character Silas used to run with, and like his character, Mendelsohn seemed a bit bitter at the abandonedment of his gang-mate…

    Lauren Damon: Can you discuss the relationship of Silas and Payne
    Ben Mendelsohn: Okay, so Silas and Payne rode together back in the day and Silas essentially decided he was gonna go his own way–you know, he’d had enough, like ‘Yeah yeah, I’ve got what I wanted, I’m off doing my own thing’ Which, when you think about it is sort of a really punk move, you know? Because essentially Payne you know, gave this guy A LOT. Now, I’m not saying Silas isn’t a talented man, he is. But basically, he packed up and he got his tail between his legs and off he ran. And you know, time’s come now where our paths  have crossed again and [Silas]’s got this fine little bounty he’s traveling around with and really I just wanna know what’s up with that? Are we gonna share this spoil? Or are you gonna TRY and take it all for yourself? Or are you gonna try and be “a good boy”? So that’s a lot of what that’s about.

     

    LD: And how did you all develop the look of Payne?
    Ben: Oh the coat is genius. The very talented wardrobe lady [Kirsty Cameron] had it made and showed me all the pictures of trappers and what not from that period with these massive coats on. So once you put that coat on and that hat and you’ve got the tattoos, the rest of it’s a cake walk.

     

    LD: How was it to shoot in NZ and with that wardrobe?
    Ben: It was…yeah, it’s really crazy open wide spaces. It’s very desolate, it’s harsh. It’s a harsh sort of enviroment but very beautiful too. New Zealand’s a great place to shoot, it’s really got an extraordinary array of you know, locations and looks and feels…it’s all there. It’s a beautiful place to shoot.

     

    LD: What attracted you to the film? I mean for a western it had a sense of humor about it too that I didn’t expect at all.
    Ben: Yeah, I wasn’t sure how that would go. Michael Fassbender had started with John Maclean and they’d done a couple of short films and essentially the fact that you know that Michael Fassbender had sort of backed this to the degree he did was a very good sign. I’d seen his short films that John Maclean had done and they had something. You know, you could feel there was something there, western, it felt pretty cool. It felt like a good bit of fun with a decent chance of it working.

     

    Director John Maclean had previously worked with Michael Fassbender on the short film Pitch Black Heist, which was shown at the 2012 Tribeca Film Fest.
    LD: Can you talk about how you initially came to work with Michael Fassbender, what drew you to him or him to your work?
    John Maclean: I think it was around the time that he was shooting with Tarantino [on Inglourious Basterds], I knew his agent. And his agent had given Michael some of my early short films I was making on my own. Michael saw something in them, came to me and said you know, if you want to do something, I’ll give up a day. So we started working together there.

     

    LD: And when you approached this script, there’s a lot of dark humor in it—did you primarily come at it as a comedy or a western first?
    John: I think, like my favorite films—I mean you look at a film like Fargo and it’s not a comedy, it’s not a thriller—I think some of the films I’m interested in, I think you just have to try and be truthful. And like life, comedy comes in to sad moments and sadness comes in to comedy moments.

     

    LD: And it’s unconventional that your young romantic lead, his love interest doesn’t actually like him like that back!
    John: I think “spoilers” here!

    LD: I know, I’m sorry, my review says he’s been friend zoned
    John: I just I mean, maybe that was from personal experience (laughs) when I was younger. But that’s what happens with young boys, I think. I guess it was for personal experience actually but um, I think he was never right for her. I think she was always more practical and he always too much of a dreamer. So from the beginning, I guess it’s doomed.

     

    LD: How do you describe the back story between Payne and Silas?
    John: Yeah, I think that’s the hard thing with wanting to make a shorter film—you can’t branch out into too many of the backstories but…I just imagined that the wild west, there wasn’t that many people at that time. So people sort of crossed paths much more often than you’d expect. I imagine they travelled together and [Silas] was part of Payne’s gang and then didn’t like the senselessness of some of the violence and left and went to go alone and Payne’s trying to draw him back into it.

     

    Kodi Smit-McPhee was recently cast as Nightcrawler in next year’s X-men: Apocalypse, seeing as his previous film co-starred Nicholas Hoult (“Beast”) and this one he shared the screen with Fassbender (“Magneto”) I had to ask about joining them as mutants.

    Lauren Damon: Have you contacted your past coworkers here for advice on joining the X-Men?
    Kodi Smit McPhee: I haven’t contacted them yet. So we got Nicholas Hoult, Ty Sheridan and Michael Fassbender whom I know well. And I really can’t wait to get on set and work with them. And I haven’t said a word to them.

     

    LD: What’re you most looking forward to about playing Nightcrawler?
    Kodi: I really love the warmth that comes with the passion behind his character. And the novelty within just the tradition of him. I don’t necessarily have a desire to bring new things to it, but just show the world that they love.

     

    LD: And are you familiar with Alan Cumming’s take on it from X2?
    Kodi: Yes, absolutely. Usually, I mean if I don’t need to–like for Let Me In, I didn’t look at Let the Right One In–but for something like this, I thought it  was right to just find all the roots, you know, see how Nightcrawler evolved into who he is now.

     

    LD: If you could choose your own X-power what would it be?
    Kodi: I would love to physically, and within my own body, be able to travel back and forth and time. See how the history and the future plays out.

     

    LD: Back onto Slow West, I was rewatching The Road recently and I saw your character there sort of as the young optimist to an older guide, like Jay in this film, did you feel that connection there?
    Kodi: Absolutely and maybe in fact this whole story itself and the concept of a western story, it was very much like that. Like desolate and moving towards something hopeful. So yeah I really loved that idea and that was never intentional, but I guess it’s something that I’m just great at expressing and hopefully with Nightcrawler, I can move onto other things.

    Next week: A more in-depth discussion with John and Kodi, meanwhile, you can check out my review of Slow West here.