Guitarist Paul Gilbert talks about Great Guitar Escape 3.0

Paul Gilbert is probably best known as the guitarist/co-founder of the rock group Mr. Big a band who dominated the airwaves in 1991 with their acoustic ballad “To Be With You”. After the group broke up in 1996 Gilbert embarked on a solo career while also performing in numerous other side projects and groups. Paul recently announced the 3rd installment of his “Great Guitar Escape” which is set for late July. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Paul recently about the upcoming event and what those who attend can expect.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the recently announced Great Guitar Escape 3.0?

Paul Gilbert: It’s the most fantastic, inspirational and unforgettable guitar event of all time! There will be concerts every night, Seminars every day and lots of opportunities to jam. It’s just going to be great mix of good food, the California coast, and great times with people who love the guitar.

AL: With this being the camps 3rd yr are there things you have planned which weren’t possible during the camps previous 2 sessions?

PG: The first two Great Guitar Escapes were both really great, so I don’t want to make any drastic changes. The biggest difference would be the location. The Cambria Pines Lodge is about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, so it’s an easy drive for people who live in California. But for the last two camps, I had people fly in from South America and Russia, so I know that nothing will hold back guitar players who really want to rock.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s guest counselors and how you went

PG: Andy Timmons and Bruce Bouillet are both incredible guitarists that I’ve spent a lot of time with. Bruce and I played together in the band, Racer X, and Bruce toured in my band when I did Joe Satriani’s G3 tour. He’s a monster player, and a great teacher. Andy is an Ibanez endorser like me, so we’ve played together at a lot of Ibanez events, and of course, Andy was at my last Great Guitar Escape camp. He’s one of my favorite guys in the world to jam with. He’s somehow intimidating and generous at the same time. I’ve met Kiko Loureiro several times over the years, and he’s always been super cool. He can play a lot of different styles, but I’m happy that he’s getting a taste of big gigs with Megadeth. Dave Ellefson, who plays bass with Megadeth, is from my generation of musicians, so he’ll have a head start on the songs that I’ll be playing in the jams. And Bumblefoot has a reputation for being creative and surprising… and still rocking hard, so I’m excited to finally get to jam with him.

AL: Is this camp designed for all level of players or is it geared more towards advanced players?

PG: The GGE is good for anyone who wants to get motivated. You can sit back and enjoy the concerts and seminars, or you can plug in and join the jams. We’re all there, in person, so I like to be flexible enough to work with anything that people are interested in. Also, my idea of “advanced” has really changed over the years. To me, an advanced musician is not necessarily somebody who can play fast or complicated, but just a person who can sound really good. I could talk about this sort of thing for the next 10 hours, so I’d better save it for the camp!

AL: As we start to see more and more interactive camps taking place how do you go about keeping things fresh and making your camp stand out above others?

PG: There are some musicians who are best known for what they do visually. They’ve got the best leather jacket, the most explosions in their stage production, or just an astounding number of consecutive good-hair days. I’ve got legendary musicians at my camp, but they are legendary for the way that they play. And they’re good people. No bodyguards or attitudes. Just a great time being immersed in music, and the guitar.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on outside of Guitar Escape 3.0?

PG: I’ve got a new solo album coming out soon called, “I Can Destroy.” Kevin Shirley produced it, and it turned out great. The opening track is called, “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” and I think I might actually save a few lives, if people heed the message of this song. I’m also nearing my fourth year with my online rock guitar school for Artistworks. I’ve recorded nearly 4000 Video Exchange lessons, and I’m still having a great time, so I’m going to keep going. And later this year, I’ll be going on tour with my solo band to play my new songs, and my favorite songs from my previous albums. Life continues to rock!

For more info on Paul’s Great Guitar Escape 3.0 you can visit


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Blu-ray Review “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”

Starring: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Neal McDonough, Shirley Knight, Eduardo Verástegui, D.B. Woodside
Director: Andy Fickman
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 14, 2015

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

There is no denying that Kevin James is talented. He has his moments where he is quite funny. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was a decent film at best but it never warranted a sequel. Even though I love Vegas, this film was a complete waste of time and really unnecessary. Just like “Grown Ups 2,” another film that James was in that wasn’t needed. Still though, if you liked the first film you might, stress might, enjoy this film.

Official Premise: In this sequel, in which Kevin James reprises the role of Paul Blart, the security guard is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) before she departs for college. While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist – and it’s up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.

The Blu-ray comes with a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet copy included. The 1080p transfer is sharp, courtesy of Sony who consistently delivers impressive releases. Even though not a film needed to be mastered in 4K, Sony definitely takes pride in their Blu-ray transfers. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds good and works well even with the cheesy action.

The special features are nothing special but include a gag reel, some deleted scenes, and a few very short features. The first is “Security Force: The Cast of Paul Blart 2” has cast chatting about the sequel. “Back in the Saddle” discusses the use of the Segway back in this film. “How to Make a Movie” is a chat with the director Andy Fickman. “Le Reve” introduces the Vegas location into the mix. “No Animals Were Harmed” looks into the bird fight scene. Lastly there is a photo gallery included and trailers.

Blu-ray Review “A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney”

Stars: Paul McCartney
Number of discs: 1
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Shout Factory
Run Time: 60 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney” is a collection of never-before-seen performances by a slate of all-star artists ranging from Alicia Keys and Coldplay to Neil Young, James Taylor and McCarty himself. The songs all pay tribute to Sir Paul McCartney an artist whose lasting impression in music and on the world as a whole is unmatched. Proceeds from the sale of the disc will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need. If you are a fan of The Beatles and Paul McCartney the latest release from Shout Factory has you covered. “A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney” has some of today’s hottest artist combined with legendary performers which I found gives this release something really special.

Presented in beautiful 1080p Hi-Definition with DTS-HD sound you are getting the best sound and picture quality available which only adds to incredible performances such as Alicia Keys rendition of “Blackbird” to James Taylor and Diana Krall’s version of “Yesterday”. Probably my personal favorite of the whole performance is that of Paul McCarty, Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh. The three artists seem to mess flawlessly creating a performance every music lover has to experience.

Though the disc doesn’t really include any special features or additional content I found the concert to be strong enough to stand on its own with no real need for extra footage though it would have been cool to see what was going on behind the scenes and possibly some of the rehearsal footage. That aside proceeds from this release will be donated to MusiCares which is a great organization that helps musicians in their times of need so they can keep providing us with the music we love. If you want to get a great performance you can watch over and over again while supporting an equally great cause then this is the release for you.

Performance List:
1.) Get Back/Hello Goodbye/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band- Cirque du Soleil feat. The Beatles “Love” Cast
2.) Magical Mystery Tour- Paul McCartney
3.) Juniors Farm- Paul McCartney
4.) Blackbird- Alicia Keys
5.) No More Lonely Nights- Alison Krauss & Union Station feat. Jerry Douglas
6.) And I Love Her- Duane Eddy
7.) Oh! Darling- Norah Jones
8.) I Saw Her Standing There- Neil Young and Crazy Horse
9.) The Fool on the Hill- Sergio Mendes
10.) We Can Work It Out- Coldplay
11.) Yesterday- James Taylor w/ Diana Krall
12.) For No One- Diana Krall w/ James Taylor
13.) My Valentine- Paul McCartney
14.) Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five- Paul McCartney
15.) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/ The End- Paul McCartney feat. Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh

Win a Blu-ray of Paul Rudd & Amy Poehler’s “They Came Together” [ENDED]

To celebrate the release of Paul Rudd & Amy Poehler’s “They Came Together”, Media Mikes is excited to giveaway one (1) copy of the film on DVD to our readers. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of this prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Paul Rudd film. This giveaway will remain open until September 12th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to all of our Media Mikes readers worldwide. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

When Joel (Rudd) and Molly (Poehler) meet, it’s hate at first sight: his big Corporate Candy Company threatens to shut down her quirky indie candy shop. Plus, Joel is hung up on his sexy ex (Smulders). Amazingly, they fall in love, until they break up about two thirds of the way through, and Molly starts dating her accountant (Helms). But then right at the end…well, you’ll just have to see. (Hint: Joel makes a big speech and they get back together.)

Paul Teutul Sr. talks about new series on CMT “Orange County Choppers”

Paul Teutul Sr. is the President and CEO of Orange County Choppers, which he formed in 1999. He was introduced to the world of reality TV in 2002 with “American Chopper”, which aired for many years on Discovery Channel and later on TLC. Paul returns to TV with this latest show “Orange County Choppers”, which premieres on CMT on November 16th. The show has him continuing to do what he does best…making bikes. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about his new show and his love for what he does.

Mike Gencarelli: How does “Orange County Choppers” differ from “American Chopper”?
Paul Teutul Sr.: One word. Freedom.

MG: Tell us about this freedom with working with CMT this time around on “Orange County Choppers”?
PT: What the cool part is that when the station decided to take us on they wanted this to show who we are and for us to do what we do. They didn’t ask us to fill this certain format or change this or that. They told us to build some cool bikes and just go crazy.

MG: What are some highlights that we can expect from this season?
PT: First of all, I think you are going to see a different style of bikes, not major but I want to go more basic this time. Even though we do themed bikes, I want the bikes to actually look like bikes, not crazy but still cool looking. I think some of the bikes we did in the past stopped looking like actually bikes…

MG: Well some people want over the top and people want old school, I understand that…
PT: Absolutely and there is a balance there. I think for me personally, I just want to build some really cool bikes and I want some more hands-on work.

MG: You have been on TV for over a decade now, what do you enjoy most about reality TV?
PT: I enjoy it most because it IS reality TV. You come into work in the morning and you do pretty much exactly what you would do whether the team is there or not. I think if it was scripted it would have been gone a long time ago. I tell people it is like a form of discipline also since when you are filming you have to make certain commitments. I think that this is good and it helps discipline yourself. I am 64 years old, so I can pretty much come and go as much as I want. But I love the shop and I love building bikes, so I will always do that regardless whether the filming crew is here or not. There was though about a six month gap from when we stopped with Discovery and started filming with CMT, so we came to work and it just felt different. It was like “Where did everyone go?”.

MG: You weren’t the only ones going through withdrawal Paul! We were all there with you man!
PT: Oh yeah! You know what is funny we have been on Twitter and everyone just seems so excited to see the show. They are like junkies, they need their fix! [laughs]

MG: What is your favorite activity related to owning OCC?
PT: Hmm…that is a great question Mike. I guess there are multiple answers to that. I guess it is honestly the freedom to being able to do whatever you really want to do. It is a business but it is also an opportunity to reach out to people and do good things and that is very important to me to be able to do those kind of things.

MG: Now for the opposite, I have ask what is your least favorite activity related to owning OCC?
PT: Paying the bills…[laughs]
MG: You are a business owners for sure, I would have said payroll myself!
PT: Well, it is all part of it. [laughs]

MG: What was your all time favorite build?
PT: It has to be the POW/MIA bike. That was my favorite.
MG: Yeah, that was a great bike!

MG: What do you like to do most when you are not on camera?
PT: I’ll tell you what my life is…building bikes, riding bikes, fishing and working out. [laughs] That is it!

MG: You got into to this business to build choppers, do you get to do what motivated you as much as you would like? Or is it just a business now?
PT: You know what Mike, around the shop here it is a little difficult. But I have a shop at home and I build at least three choppers a year out of my home shop. But I build the kind of bikes that I would want. I build the regular David Mann, 60’s/70’s-type choppers that are streched out with springer foot ends. That is what I do all winter, I build bikes.

MG: If you could have one thing that you don’t have now, what would that be?
PT: Wow, these are some good tough questions Mike! [laughs] You know I am a big car collector and I am always on the look out to buy another car. I have some of the Vette 01Z and the Camaro ZL1 and stuff like that. I am not a Ferrai or Lamborgini guy. I am not sure…but it will definitely be a car. I have to admit, I am very blessed I got a lot more in life that I ever expected. So I don’t have a lot of needs.

“The Final Moments of Karl Brant” Starring Paul Reubens and Janina Gavankar Debuts on

Los Angeles, CA July 30, 2013 — After much anticipation, The Final Moments of Karl Brant exclusively premieres on today. The short film was unveiled last week at Comic-Con in front of a packed crowd. Written and directed by M. F. Wilson— the visionary behind the cult graphic novel Fluorescent Black—this enigmatic sci-fi thriller stars Paul Reubens [Pee-wee Herman, Blow] and Janina Gavankar [True Blood,The L Word].

The film is set in a dark future where experimental technology allows two detectives to bring a murder victim back to life in a digital state so that they may question him about his final moments. Brant is based on Wilson’s feature script for Digital State, a complex sci-fi crime drama set in the gothic and stylish world shown in the short film.

“I’m excited about the idea of copying memories into code,” says Wilson. “Imagine for a second that, after your body dies, you can go on living in a digital state. This technology, which is currently on the horizon, will challenge our definitions of life and death. It makes a great basis for a high-tech crime story.”

The Final Moments of Karl Brant is now online at and PaulReubens stars as Dr. Bennett Ferryman, a scientist who dabbles in digital immortality. The film also features standout performances from Janina Gavankar along with Fay Masterson [Eyes Wide Shut, The Lost Skeletonof Cadavra], Jon Sklaroff [Three Kings, 24, NYPD Blue ], and Pete Chekvala [The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks ]

Scott M. Davids, the producer of The Final Moments of Karl Brant, owns Level 256 VFX which provided editorial, post-production services and designed all of the visual effects in the film. “We developed a way to make the Brant digital character with a Microsoft XBOX Kinect Camera and a Canon 5D,” adds Davids. “The end result is a fully 3D holographic persona shown in the film.”

Producer Neil Ellice continues, “Each member of our team invested their talent and time to help us create something far beyond the scope of our budget. I’m very grateful to Nerdist for supporting us. And there’s more to come!”

Paul Sorvino talks about new his film “Precious Mettle”

Paul Sorvino is probably best known for his authoritative heavy roles, most notably mob boss Paul Cicero in “Goodfellas.” But when he started out on his show business career he had dreams of being a famous opera singer. Classically trained he discovered the acting bug while attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. In 1972 he landed a starring role in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama “That Championship Season.” His work here got him noticed by Hollywood and he soon found himself getting small roles in such films as “The Panic in Needle Park,” “A Touch of Class” and “The Day of the Dolphin.” In 1975 he found himself starring in his own television series, “We’ll Get By,” which was created by Alan Alda.

The first time I saw Mr. Sorvino on screen was in the film, “Oh, God!” As the Reverend Willie Williams (if you watched religious television programming in the 1970s it’s clear that he was based on Ernest Angley), he is the man behind a lawsuit claiming defamation after John Denver’s character tells him that God wants him to stop ripping people off. The next year he starred in director John Avildsen’s follow-up to “Rocky” entitled “Slow Dancing in the Big City.” As a New York City reporter who falls in love with his neighbor, a ballet dancer, he gives one of his greatest on screen performances. He has continued giving great performances in films such as “Reds,” “Dick Tracy,” “Goodfellas,” “Nixon” and Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.” He co-starred in the film version of “That Championship Season,” as well as a later television adaptation that he also directed. Besides “Goodfellas” he is probably best known for his two seasons as Sgt. Phil Cerreta on “Law and Order.” And lest you think he gave up on the singing career, you can hear his amazing voice in such films as “The Cooler,” “Repo! The Generic Opera” and “The Devil’s Carnival.”

While in Chicago filming his latest project, the drama “Precious Mettle,” Mr. Sorvino took time out to speak with Media Mikes about his career, justice at the Oscars and the fine art of slicing garlic.

Mike Smith: Let’s get the important question out of the way first, which comes from my wife. Was that really you slicing the garlic so fine in “Goodfellas?”
Paul Sorvino: That’s an interesting question. A lot of people have asked me that. But I’m curious why she thinks it wouldn’t have been me! (laughs)
MS: I think it’s because she’s a great Italian cook and she remarks every time we watch the film that it takes a certain skill to do that.
PS: Tell her that I’m also a sculptor and a pianist. I also play the guitar. My hands are pretty well educated. Indeed that was me.

MS: Can you give us some insight into the character you’re playing in the film you’re currently shooting, “Precious Mettle?”
PS: It’s a wonderful script. The character is very rich. He’s a strong man…a police commander. But he also has a big heart. Without giving too much away I can tell you that it becomes a father/daughter story…a very, very emotional story. I like it because there’s a lot of emotion in it and a lot of tough guy too. And I like playing parts like that.

MS: Is that what attracted you to the film?
PS: It was the overall quality of the script. As a writer and director myself, I don’t just look at a script from the point of view of the role I’m going to play. I look at the totality of the quality of the script. I know if the script is good then we’ll make a good movie. This script is very good so I know we’re making a very good movie. And, again, the role is excellent.

MS: You trained to be an opera singer and have performed in some of your films. Did you ever release and album or CD?
PS: I have and you can probably get it off eBay. It’s called “Paul Sorvino Sings” and I recorded it with the Seattle Symphony as a PBS special. I can also be heard on the cast albums of “Carmalina” and “The Baker’s Wife.” Those are the three recordings you can hear me on. I’ve sung with the New York City Opera. I’ve sung with the Seattle Opera. I’ve done a gala at the Metropolitan Opera. I’ll also be doing a concert tour in Canada in the fall. We start in Montreal in September.

MS: If you had a choice would you rather be singing or acting?
PS: (laughs) Both!

MS: My two favorite performances of yours are, ironically, the first two films I saw you in: Reverend Willie Williams in “Oh, God!” and Lou Friedlander in “Slow Dancing in the Big City.”
PS: You remember those? (laughs) Wow, you go way back.
MS: They’re also two very different roles. One is played for comedy and the other is quite dramatic. Do you have a preference of doing comedy or drama?
PS: Not really. If I’ve done a couple of comedies I’ll try to follow them up with a couple of dramas. I like to do both. I’ve just shot three very serious movies in a row. I’d love to do a comedy next. In fact my next film will be “The Devil’s Carnival 2.” That’s going to be zany! I probably wouldn’t call it a comedy but it’s a very different style.

MS: Besides that project what else do you have coming up?
PS: There’s a project of my own that I want to do called “Marietta’s Song,” which would star my daughter Mira and I would direct and write. It’s based on the story of my mother and I. I’ve always written. I was a copywriter in advertising and became a creative director. In 1985 I wrote the book “How to Become a Former Asthmatic” (NOTE: Mr. Sorvino has battled asthma his whole life and is the founder of the Sorvino Asthma Foundation in New York City). I’ve written many scripts but this one is a true labor of love.

MS: Speaking of Mira, one of the most genuine emotional moments EVER in Academy Award history came when Mira thanked you from the stage after winning the Oscar for her role in “Mighty Aphrodite.” Can you describe what you were feeling at that moment?
PS: Nothing was going through my mind, I can tell you, but my heart….I was just so happy! Happy that justice had been done. She’s a great actress who gave a great performance. Oscar justice is not always done… as we all know, life is not fair. But that night justice was served. My heart was overflowing with pride and happiness. I wasn’t thinking anything but I was feeling all of that. I couldn’t believe that she said that…it was a wonderful time where a billion people saw the wonderful relationship between a father and a daughter that’s very rare to see on television. I was just so proud of my daughter. I’m proud of all my children.


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Paul Kanter talks music within his bands Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship

Paul Kanter is one of the founding members of bands Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Currently he is touring with Jefferson Starship and shows no signs of slowing down.  The band recently released a new live album titled “Tales from the Mothership” through Gonzo Multimedia. Paul took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about his love for music and touring.

Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel music has changed since you first started?
Paul Kantner: It will always be in the province of the young. For some unexplained reason we have refused to go away. Could be that I don’t have anything better to do. (Laughs) When you go to work and play that’s sort of the idea of my upbringing.

MG: How do you think that psychedelic rock is still relevant in today’s music scene?
PK: The concept of what is called psychedelic music came from a whole bunch of bands that were differentfrom each other particularly here in San Francisco. I think that has been fostered in the current music scene in that you don’t have to play one kind of music in order to besuccessful. It allows room and broadness for any number of people to make music. Psychedelic is very general concept to me because all of the bands were so radically different from one another. I just think that is really the main part of the adventure that holds over to today.

MG: Is there one concert or event that stands out as a favorite?
PK: With all those events that went on each one is like your child. People don’t ask who your favorite child is so I think that’s the similarity with that question/answer. We are still continuing to have a great time every time we go on stage. The architecture of music is so radically joined with the human mind that I am still in awe of it. I am swept away every time I play.

MG: What do you enjoy most about still playing?
Having the adventure go on is always unique. We are playing quite good these days and the band is really great.

MG: Can you reflect Jefferson Airplane’s break-through album “Surrealistic Pillow”?
PK: That album did quite well and sort of took off from the first album. We would just get crazier and crazier each album.  Every album was radically different and we are not locked in to sounding a certain way. The record companies still don’t know what to do with us to this day. (Laughs)

MG: Is there a song in the live set that really gets you going each night?
PK: Just about all of them do that! We have been experimenting live lately with “Blows Against the Empire”. We also have been working on combining the music from the “Blade Runner” film with my science fiction album. The show will be kind of a combination of both of those. I am looking forward to experimenting more with that when we get back from touring Europe. The first time we tried something like this was at a Sci-Fi convention in Roswell, NM.

MG: What was the idea behind the your recent release “Tales from the Mothership”?
PK: My love for science fiction was a big part. I can remember falling in love with the genre as early as second grade when I was in military boarding school.

MG: Do you have any future plans to do more with “The Windowpane Collective”?
PK: I am working on one that may turn out to be an album. It has to do with civil war songs. I am really fond of the writing of Stephen Foster. I am looking at those as we speak. We are also putting together another focus album in the mode of “Tree of Liberty”.

DVD Review “Paul McCartney: Live Kisses – From Capitol Studios in Hollywood”

Actors: Paul McCartney
Directed by: Jonas Åkerlund
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Run Time: 120 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

Paul McCartney is showing no signs of slowing down since his days The Beatles. This latest DVD release is a capture of one of the most intimate concerts as he performs his songs from his critically acclaimed album “Kisses On The Bottom”.  It was recorded and filmed at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, February 2012.  The new album has this simple yet addicting factor to it.  I have been listening to it on loop since it’s release.  It has every inspired art creations from my mother-in-law from the track “The Inch Worm”. The release is another gem from Eagle Rock and a must purchase for all Beatles and fans of McCarthy.

The packaging on this release is very notable as well.  The DVD comes in a really great book format including spectacular a sweet 40 page hardback book, which features an extensive collection of photographs from the event and rehearsals. This concert includes 13 tracks from the album and also reunites McCartney with the all-star musicians who joined him to record the album originally. The audio and video on the DVD are great and really capture the charm from this very intimate concert film.

Official Premise: Live Kisses captures Paul McCartney performing the songs from his acclaimed Kisses On The Bottom album live from the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Paul is joined by a virtuoso group of musicians led by Diana Krall on the piano in these sparkling renditions of classic songs from the American songbook and the wonderful new song My Valentine. In between the songs there are interview clips with Paul, Diana Krall and many of those involved in the recording of the Kisses On The Bottom album. This is an intimate and charming performance which adds yet another facet to Paul McCartney’s already broad canvas of talents.

The special features included are quite impressive as well.  There are six different versions of the “My Valentine” music video, which are directed by Paul McCartney and starring Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman.  There is a featurette on the “Making My Valentine”. There are two short films with behind-the-scenes footage filmed at the album photoshoot for “Kisses On The Bottom”. Lastly there is an interview with Paul McCartney and producer Tommy LiPuma discussing “Kisses on the Bottom”.

1) I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
2) Home (When Shadows Fall)
3) It’s Only A Paper Moon
4) The Glory Of Love
5) More I Cannot Wish You
6) We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)
7) Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
8) My Valentine
9) Always
10) My Very Good Friend The Milkman
11) Bye Bye Blackbird
12) Get Yourself Another Fool
13) My One And Only Love


Concert Review: Paul McCartney: On the Run Tour – St Louis, Missouri

Paul McCartney/On the Run Tour
Date:  November 11, 2012
Venue:  Scottrade Center, St Louis, Missouri

Even at age 70 Paul McCartney can bounce around like a youngster.  Despite a trip off of a riser towards the end of the show (Macca quickly hopped up, struck a pose and began his guitar duel with Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray on the solo riffs during “The End”) McCartney and company played for a solid 3 hours, introducing some new Beatles and Wings songs to their live catalog.

After taking the summer off, St. Louis saw the beginning of the second leg of the “On the Run” tour.  The Fab Five (besides McCartney, Anderson and Ray the group included longtime members Paul “Wix” Wickens (Keyboards) and drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr.) kicked off the show with “Magical Mystery Tour.” before sliding into “Junior’s Farm.”  After a rousing “Drive My Car” – with the audience supplying the “Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep YEAHS – McCartney removed his jacket.  As the woman in the crowd began to “Woo” he smiled and informed them “That is the wardrobe change of the evening.”

With a playlist full of Beatles and Wings classics, the band managed to sneak in some lesser known songs, including “Sing the Changes” (The Firemen) and “My Valentine,” a song McCartney recently penned for his wife, Nancy.  After the first group of songs McCartney held aloft what has to be the most recognizable musical instrument in the history of rock and roll:  his Hofner 500/1 violin bass.  Later in the show McCartney strapped on his old Epiphone Casino guitar to introduce the song he wrote on it, “Paperback Writer.”  There were other song snippets played as well.  “Let Me Roll It” ended with a quick, loud snippet of “Foxy Lady,” with McCartney giving a quick shout out to the other left handed musical genius, Jimi Hendrix.  Later, during “A Day in the Life” the song evolved into an audience inducing “Give Peace a Chance.”  He also paid tribute to his former Beatles mates no longer with us.  A touching accoustic “Here Today,” a song he wrote to John Lennon, had him brushing away a tear at the end while a simple version of “Something” on a ukulele given to him by George Harrison ended as a full blown rendition.

As with everytime I’ve seen McCartney (this makes number six since the 1980s), his back up band was tight.  But even they are not above reproach.  Deducting that Rusty Anderson had made a minor mistake during his solo on “And I Love Her,” Paul admonished him and had him play just the solo over again.  And I’m pleased to say that the one song I’ve wanted to hear live and never have, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” was finally played.  I can now die happy!

The audience was packed with music fans of all ages – from senior citizens to teenagers to a young boy in his stroller whose parents were staying in the same hotel we were.  He may not remember the music he heard but years from now he can proudly tell people that he saw Paul McCartney live!

Magical Mystery Tour, Junior’s Farm, All My Loving, Jet, Drive My Car, Sing the Changes, The Night Before, Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady, Paperback Writer, The Long and Winding Road, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five, Maybe I’m Amazed, I’ve Just Seen a Face, And I Love Her, My Valentine, Blackbird, Here Today, Dance Tonight, Mrs. Vandebilt, Eleanor Rigby, Something, Band on the Run, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Back in the U.S.S.R., I’ve Got a Feeling, A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance, Let It Be, Live and Let Die, Hey Jude.

Lady Madonna, Birthday, Day Tripper, Get Back

Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End 

Photo Credit: Rob Pue

Troll 2’s Michael Paul Stephenson talks about his follow-up to “Best Worst Movie” called “The American Scream”

Michael Paul Stephenson is known best for his role in the cult classic horror film “Troll 2”. Since then, Michael has written and directed the documentary about the film called “Best Worst Movie”, which takes a look at the fandom and his experiences with the film. His newest documentary is called “The American Scream”, which premieres on the Chiller Network on October 28th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Michael about his passion behind his films and comparing “Best Worst Movie” to “The American Scream”.

Mike Gencarelli: I am a big fan of your documentary “Best Worst Movie”. Tell us about how “The American Scream” was born?
Michael Paul Stephenson: The short answer is that we got really lucky. The long answer is long so bare with me but it is meaningful in terms of how this happened. Not this summer but the summer before we were working on a narrative feature called “Destroy”, which we are planning to shoot next year. So we were in the middle of that, when Chiller Network contacted one of my producers and told him that they were big fans of “Best Worst Movie” and asked “What is Michael doing next?”. My producer kind of scratched his head and said “Let me get back to you!” He called me and told me about this idea for a documentary on people that create home haunts for Halloween aka homemade haunted houses. Right off the bat connected with the idea. When I had originally planned to do “Best Worst Movie”, there was never a question of if it would be good or bad. It was something of a feeling that I had to do it. That is the way I felt about this project. It felt as a director that it would be a very playful place to work. I wasn’t interested in the commercial haunts or the haunting industry but the home haunter is an artist of sorts. True, these people decorate for Halloween but all of that is rooted in creativity and passion for the holiday. I also connected emotional to this, since I grew up in a small town and my neighborhood was very into Halloween. So I had some great memories as a kid.  And so this project just grew from that.

MG: So this project was more of a labor of love for you. Do you find that aspect makes it easier when doing a documentary?
MPS: I think you have to have that aspect, especially with a documentary. I think you have to really love the subject matter and connect with it emotionally. That is one of the fears I had coming off “Best Worst Movie”, there is no way that I am going to find another documentary project that feels as personal or meaningful in the same way. In my opinion, you can’t set out to make an effective documentary if you are not personally invested into it. I feel very lucky that this subject spoke to me in such a personal way. It just seemed like this project was meant for me. The Halloween before this was project was born, my wife and kids live in Los Angeles and we were complaining about our neighborhood. We didn’t know our neighbors and complained that our kids are not going to have the same Halloween that we had growing up. We figured that was the price for living in the city. We ended up though finding three streets in Los Angeles that celebrate Halloween and trick or treating in a very big way. Everyone goes to these streets during the holiday. We actually then moved into that neighborhood! So the timing is just weird but seemed to really work out.

MG: What do you think is it about horror fans that they are so devoted?
MPS: It is passion man. And heart. With horror fans, these are people that love movies. They love the experience that the movie gives them. It is the same thing with hauntings. And it is same thing with anyone that is doing something with heart and passion. You can really get behind these people. It can be boring subject matter but if you find someone that is passionate about it, it is infectious and that is something that everyone thrives for. For “The American Scream”, it just so happens to be about things like home made Halloween decorations and with “Best Worst Movie” it was about a bad movie. At the heart of it all, it is that passion ultimately.

MG: How do you feel that “Best Worst Movie” compares to “The American Scream”?
MPS: That is a good question. There are obviously parallels between both worlds. Ultimately with “Best Worst Movie” it is about passion and also artistry. The same thing for “The American Scream”, there is an artist, there is creativity and also passion. My editor and I joke and say that we have to make one more film in order to complete, the trilogy of artistry in unexpected places. It is true, they are very similar in many respects. The challenging aspect in comparison to “Best Worst Movie” was that it was filmed over the course of four years. It was a hard push, then a break. It was challenging but it was just me and there was not rush. With “The American Scream” I had one month, a ticking clock, from the time we started until Halloween finished. There was no luxury like “Let’s come back next Halloween”. It was a shrinking window every day. My favorite documentaries always have strong arcs. Sometimes with characters a good arc takes time. I wanted to see certain character’s arcs but we had this ticking clock. Also with “Best Worst Movie”, there was no expectations or very low expectations. With “The American Scream” I had to follow up something that really worked. So there were heightened expectations and a lot of pressure with that.

MG: Can you tell us about your other upcoming projects?

MPS: Yeah! We have two projects in the works right now. There is the narrative that is a mix of dark comedy and horror, though more dark comedy. It is called “Destroy”. We announced it now about a year and a half ago. The script actually came to me from Zack Carlson, who is one of the programmers for the Alamo Drafthouse. I got the privilege to know Zack when I was filming “Best Worst Movie”. He was the first person to show “Troll 2” on a big screen. We read the script and just fell in love with it. We start filming looks like around May next year. It is terrifying and definitely a big step. But it is material that I have connected with. It doesn’t hurt that it comes from a writer that I also connected with as well. Then we also recently helped executive produce a low-budget comedy called “Zero Charisma”. It was filmed in Austin and was directed and written by our dear friends and collaborators Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews. Andrew was the editor of “Best Worst Movie” and “The American Scream”, so he is like family. Katie has been a DP on both movies as well. After “Best Worst Movie” premiered, they wrote this film and brought it to us. It is their baby but we have helped them make it. And it should start being submitted to festivals shortly.

Dr. Paul Frommer talks about developing the languages for “John Carter” and “Avatar”

When writer/director James Cameron needed someone to create the native language of his Na’vi characters for the film “Avatar,” he turned to renowned linguist Paul Frommer. Impressed by his work the filmmakers behind the recent film “John Carter” asked Dr. Frommer to develop the Barsoomian language for that film as well. Dr. Frommer is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Management Communication at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Prior to joining Marshall, he lived and taught in Malaysia and Iran and completed a doctorate in linguistics at USC. He followed that with a ten-year sojourn in the business world as vice president and strategic planner for a Los Angeles corporation. Returning to USC, he joined the faculty of Marshall’s Center for Management Communication, serving as Director of the Center from 2005 to 2008. His teaching at USC included courses in Advanced Writing for Business and Cross-cultural Business Communication for Non-native Speakers. Dr. Frommer is co-author, with Edward Finegan, of Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics, currently in its fifth edition. To celebrate the release of “John Carter” on DVD, Dr. Frommer took the time to speak with Media Mikes:

Mike Smith: For “John Carter” was it important to incorporate a lot of the Barsoomian words that Edgar Rice Burroughs had created for his series of novels?
Paul Frommer: Yes, it was extremely important. And that’s what made this assignment unique. In the series of eleven books he came up with around 420 words. There is a large fan base out there that regards those texts as sacred and I wanted to respect that. I wanted to incorporate everything that Edgar Rice Burroughs had done so that therewould be no inconsistencies. That being said there was still a lot of guess work that had to be done. Just because you see the written form of a word doesn’t mean you know the exact pronunciation. For example, he had used “ch” in a lot of the words. But what does it mean? It could be “cha” like “chair.” It could also be “ka” like in “chorus.” It could be “sha” like in “machine. Those were some of the decisions I had to make. When you have “th” is it “thh” as in “thin” or “thuh” as in “then?” They both have different sounds. And even though the words were there, there were still a lot of decisions to be made. In terms of grammar we used virtually nothing from the book…it’s just isolating words.

MS: When you’re creating a language for a film do the screenwriters and director contribute their ideas as to how the language should sound or how it should flow?
PF: Yes. In fact, Andrew Stanton (director of “John Carter”) had come up with a few words of his own and when I could I would incorporate those. I had come up with some possibilities as to how the language would sound when spoken and I past those on to Andrew for his approval. In the initial go ‘round there were certain things he liked and certain things he didn’t. So we played around with things until he was happy with how the language sounded.

MS: Using Klingon as an example, since Klingon’s are outwardly very rough…their language is very guttural. When you create a language do you base how it will soundon the character’s perceived on-screen appearance?
PF: For the Na’vi language in “Avatar” Jim Cameron wanted the language to sound appealing and beautiful but also to sound somewhat complicated. In terms of the Barsoomians, they’re kind of a rougher people and so maybe the language reflects that.

MS: Since you brought up “Avatar” are there any new species you’ll be creating languages for in “Avatar 2?”
PF: Well, I wish I could tell you but I’m as curious as anyone. All I can tell you is that the film has been announced and that it’s slated to come out in 2016.

MS: To close on a humorous note, have you ever had a bad experience at a restaurant where you’ve just lambasted the waiter in Barsoomian?
PF: I haven’t done that yet (laughs) but there are times when I’ve said some things to myself in Barsoomian or Na’vi but I haven’t pulled that on any people yet. I’m sure there are fans in the audience for both languages that have done it and I think that’s great!

Jason Michael Paul talks about “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” Tour

Jason Michael Paul is the producer of the new show “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses”, which is currently on tour and heading to a town near you.  If you are a fan of Zelda, this is an event you will not want to miss.  Jason Michael is also known for his work with the show “Play: A Video Game Symphony”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason Michael about the Zelda show and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about bringing “Legend of Zelda” to a symphony tour?
Jason Michael Paul: I have been doing things like this since 2004. I first did it with the music from “Final Fantasy”. Since then I have created a show called “Play: A Video Game Symphony” which premiered in Chicago in 2006. I have developed a track record and worked with Nintendo along the way. With the 25th anniversary of “Zelda” coming up I had the idea to do a “Legends of Zelda” Symphony tour. It just so happened that everyone was interested. We had just planned to do a symphonic recording which was going to be part of a bundle that included the newest installment of Zelda “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”. From there we initially planned 3 concerts which were going to be held in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London. Those ended up selling out in record time and we decided to put together the “Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” tour. This tour is exclusive to the Zelda property.

MG: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of creating the tour?
JMP: This project has been a joy. There haven’t been a lot of obstacles. It has been a phenomenal collaboration between my company and Nintendo. They have been really great to work with and have given us all the access to the likenesses of their characters. It’s been really great and smooth sailing.

MG: What do you enjoy most about the music from Zelda?
JMP: I have done a lot of concerts as I have been in this business for 15 years. I have always had a problem watching my own shows because I see everything. This show I have been able to sit back and watch from beginning to end. To me that is really the most truthful testament to this project. I feel so confidant and am so proud that I can watch it from beginning to end. That is the best thing for me.

MG: How does your work on this project differ from your previous work?
JMP: I have been very fortunate enough to work and develop a relationship with Chad Seiter. He has single handedly put an amazing touch on this project. Hands down he is one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He has been the real difference in this project. I feel honored to work with him.

MG: What is your favorite game series?
JMP: I would have to say that “Grain of Time” is right up there but “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is very close to my heart. I actually worked on that game. We did the orchestration that accompanied the game. This was the first time that Nintendo had done anything like this. Being asked to create something like this for them really resonated with me. That title is closest to me because I participated in creating it.

MG: What do you have planned next?
JMP: I am busy with “Play”. When I am not doing Zelda I am doing that. I am sort of a serial entrepreneur as I always have several irons in the fire. I love to create brands and identities. I am just going to continue with what I am doing.

Interview with Paul Bunnell

Paul Bunnell is the writer and director of the new film “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”. The film is tribute to the 50’s B&W sci-fi genre. It recently premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Paul about his film and it’s road to the big screen.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about the origin behind “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X”.
Paul Bunnell: “Johnny X” came about after a few failed attempts to get other projects off the ground. Time had been ticking away and I felt too much of it had been wasted since the completion of my previous film, “That Little Monster”. I wanted to make a movie that would be completely original and fun — a movie with all the things I love: drive-in theaters, diners, movie palaces. It was kind of like my life all rolled into one movie. It’s who I am.

MG: How did you manage to pay homage to the 50’s B&W sci-fi genre without spoofing it entirely?
PB: By simply being sincere and true to the things that I love and what the characters in the movie love. It’s their world. They (the characters) aren’t making fun of the things in their universe. I had the actors play every line of dialogue with the utmost sincerity. That’s the key. Believability.

MG: How were the songs in the film created and were they difficult to shoot?
PB: The songs began as an afterthought to the story. I wasn’t always happy with parts of the script. I felt it either needed to be trimmed or rewritten. I decided to try out one song, which Scott Martin wrote. I loved it so much that I started combing through the script to find other places to switch out dialogue with a musical telling of the story. This became the rule: the songs had to move the story forward or they would not be in the film. Period. The only time where a song does not move the story forward is when Mickey O’Flynn (Creed Bratton) sings, but he is performing the song in concert. The songs in Johnny X were not any more difficult to shoot than the rest of the movie. One thing was certain, the crew seemed to be having fun whenever we had a song to shoot. So if anything, they were a breeze.

MG: How did you get Will Keenan, Kevin McCarthy and Reggie Bannister involved?
PB: Will Keenan was suggested to me by filmmaker Ramzi Abed. I saw Will’s reel on YouTube and decided to get in touch with him for an interview. I was not familiar with his work prior to meeting him but I brushed up before we met and screened a few of his “classics” like “Tromeo and Juliet”. He was an interesting fellow and had the exact look I wanted for the role, so I gave him the job. Kevin McCarthy was a guest at Cinecon, a classic film festival I attend every year with my wife. I introduced myself to Kevin and told him about my new project. After several phone calls and meetings he finally decided to take a chance on Johnny X and said he would do it because he “didn’t want to disappoint my wife.” As for Reggie Bannister, he appeared in my 1994 film, “That Little Monster”. I wanted to continue the tradition and offered him the role of the dead rock star, Mickey O’Flynn (that Creed Bratton plays). But he didn’t want to do that. He really liked the King Clayton character, so I gave him that role and boy is he great!

MG: You wore a lot of hats in this film, what was the most difficult task?
PB: Wondering if I was ever going to find the money to finish the movie. Six years of wondering! The planets aligned and a very good friend stepped forward and gave me the money. “Miracle” is not a word I use lightly, but in this case I think it applies.

MG: What is the release schedule for this film?
PB: For now, The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is having its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California on March 3rd, 2012. There are two other screenings at Cinequest on March 6th & 10th. For tickets go to:

MG: I am sure people would love a soundtrack released, any plans?
PB: As a matter of fact, yes! “Kritzerland” is releasing it on their independent label in a few months. Stay tuned for more news.

MG: What do you have planned next?
PB: A little sleep and then on to the next project! It’s kind of top secret at the moment but if you’re a fan of fantasy and Victor Hugo, I think you will enjoy it.


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Interview with Harry and the Potter’s Paul DeGeorge

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe started the band Harry and the Potter in 2002. Since that time the duo have been the subject of a documentary titled “We Are Wizards” a film that delves into the impact of the Harry Potter book series on its fans. The group has also been credited with the creation of “Wizard Rock”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to talk with Paul about a variety of things related to the band.

Adam Lawton: What led you to starting Harry and the Potters?
Paul DeGeorge: It kind of started with reading the books. My brother and sort of pop culture at large turned me onto the books. I just thought there was something about the Harry Potter character that was similar to some of my punk rock heroes. I figured it would be cool if Harry had his own punk rock band.

AL: Can you tell us what some of those influences were?
PD: I would say as far as punk rock goes Fugazi as well as Adam and his Package were both real big influences. The thing about Adam and his Package was that they played really fun and goofy punk rock songs that were also smart. I remember being in college reading their tour diaries which made it sound like anyone could get out on the road and have a band.

AL: How did you guys get involved with the “We Are Wizards” documentary?
PD: We had received an email from the directors of the film telling us that they were interested in us being a part of a film they were planning that was going to talk about Harry Potter fans and different theories and phenomena’s related to Harry Potter. We said sure we would be interested and then one day they showed up to film us at our parents house.

AL: How was your experience with the filming?
PD: It was fun! Every two or three months the guys would pop up at a show or something and start shooting. As with most documentaries they use only a small portion of what they shoot. They shot some of our coolest shows ever played and I wish I could see some of the footage. I remember they were at one show in Brooklyn and it was a bigger show at a newer venue. At night I guess it’s a pretty intense place so they had their normal security crew there who were these huge dudes. These guys were patting down every 12 year old that was trying to get into the show. It started to freak everyone out so we moved the show to the space next door and it was really great. The place we had the show at now has shows pretty regular and is called Death by Audio.

AL: What is your take on being dubbed the originators of “Wizard Rock”?
PD: I guess we were in the right place and right time. (Laughs) We didn’t set out with any purpose to create a genre. A lot of what our band is about fostering the DIY punk spirit of doing things for yourself.

AL: Other than the show you already mentioned are there any others that stick out?
PD: We are all about pushing the boundaries of what you would expect a concert to be. From the start we were trying to do rock shows in libraries. The library is already a safe all ages places for anyone to go to. No one gets turned away at the library. We don’t want people to be turned away from our shows and the library is that kind of space for us.

AL: Can you tell us about the Harry Potter Alliance?
PD: The idea behind the Harry Potter Alliance was to form a real world Dumbledore’s Army and become the heroes that we read about. The books are really empowering and tell the storey of teens who all stick together to help change the world. We wanted to use the premise of the books to get youth involved with social activism and social justice issues. We try to draw parallels out of the books and relate them to real social and political issues. One of the current campaigns we are working on is that we are trying to get Harry Potter fans to lobby Warner Brothers who control all the merchandising related to the films to make their Harry Potter chocolate fair trade chocolate. Chocolate is notorious for really bad working conditions especially along the Ivory Coast where about 2/3rds of the worlds chocolate comes from. The main idea behind the campaign is to educate Harry Potter fans about the fair trade issues. We also have the opportunity to use our power as Harry Potter fans to maybe affect change on a large corporate level. We can use our leverage as an organization to get our message into the press which will hopefully influence Warner Brothers to change their business practices. We really want to tryand use Harry Potter as a tool to create global citizenship.

AL: What other upcoming plans do you have for the band?
PD: We just finished a two month summer tour and we are going to take it easy during the fall. I think the biggest thing on the horizon for us as of right now is we are in the planning stages for our annual Christmas shows. We have been doing these shows for a few years now in our home base of Boston, MA. This year will be our 7th annual Yule Ball in Boston. Last year we branched out to New York and Philadelphia which we plan to do again this year. We might possibly being do one other city but I can’t say too much about that just yet.

For more info on Harry and the Potters you can go to