Powerman 5000’s Spider One talks about new album “Builders of the Future”

Spider One is the lead vocalist for the industrial metal band Powerman 5000. The group has just recently released a brand new album of original material titled “Builders of the Future” and will be hitting the States this summer with (hed) p.e. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Spider about the new album, the bands creative process and their upcoming video release.

AL: Can you give us some info on the band new album “Builders of the Future”?
Spider One: We are so bad about putting out new material in a timely way. The last album of original material we put out was in 2009 and then we had an album of covers come out which was a bit weird. That covers album was a project that I thought was never going to come out. I didn’t want it to be a record but somehow it ended up being one.  I had thought we were going to do some songs for licensing purposes but then it turned into more than that. That album took up some time but in reality the band doesn’t work in the traditional schedule of record and tour then repeat. We sort of work more off and on. This record was made in bits and pieces and probably if you added up all the time we put into the record it would all even out but this one did take a little longer. I like how we work as it give me time to think about the songs and even try stuff out on the road. We actually started playing the first single off this record “How to Be a Human” over a year ago. We were able to get a good test of how people reacted to it. By the time it came out as a proper single people were expecting it and knew it. We create things sort of erratically.

AL: By working in the way you described do you find yourself revisiting material that at one time you felt was completed and reworking on it?
SO: Sometimes. We do a lot of self editing. You always hear about bands recording 40 plus songs and then narrowing it down to 11. We edit things as we go so by the time we get to the end we have the songs that are going on the record. We don’t end up with a lot of extra material. If something isn’t working we just scrap it. There are some older ideas that made it on the album but for the most part we don’t keep a lot of extra stuff lying around.

AL: Does everyone bring in song ideas or are you the primary writer for the group?
SO: I usually work in conjunction with at least one other member. I play a little guitar but not enough to where I can do everything on my own. I write a majority of the lyrics and handle the arrangements but as far as guitar parts go I might lay out something very primitive and then give it over to the other guys to give it that little something extra. I’m definitely not in the studio creating these songs on my own. Everyone works on the track to make it their own.

AL: Being known as a visual band has there been any talks of releasing a new music video?
SO: We released a lyric video for “How to Be a Human” and we also have a more traditional video set to release for that same song. Things are much simpler these days when it comes to shooting a video. The days of making million dollar videos that at the time were considered “cheap” are long gone. If you can scrounge $5,000 to do a video today you’re doing ok. We went very stripped down with this new video and I think it looks really cool. It was kind of a relief to make a video that basically just shows the band playing.

AL: Did you find it harder to capture what you wanted to get across with that limited budget?
SO: You have to be smart about what you are doing. You have to know that you aren’t going to be able to make “Star Wars” on a $5,000 budget. You have to approach things correctly. I have shot videos for other bands as well and it’s pretty amazing what you can do with a smaller budget. You don’t need a huge budget to make a quality video. Things can certainly be more challenging but there are a number of elements that are a lot easier.

AL: Can you tell us about the two versions of the album which are available?
SO: A lot of times with certain retailers they ask for different versions of an album that is sold exclusively in their stores. Obviously the idea is to get the person buying the album to come to their store. We don’t generally have a lot of material lying around but we were able to come up with a couple bonus tracks for a deluxe version of the album which will be available exclusively at Best Buy.

AL: Are there plans to tour behind the release?
SO: We just wrapped up a 6 week U.S. run and we getting ready to head over to Europe for a run of shows over there. We will be hitting a number of the big festivals over there which puts us on bills with ands like Metallica, The Rolling Stones and Prodigy. When we get back from there we will be hitting the States again with the band Hed P.E.


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Ray Wise talks about “Big Ass Spider!” and reveals Blu-ray plans for “Twin Peaks”

Ray Wise is a well-known actor in the business. He is known for roles including Leland Palmer in “Twin Peaks”, Leon C. Nash in “RoboCop” and the Devil in “Reaper”. Ray has a great role in the recent creature feature “Big Ass Spider!”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about his role in that film and he also was able to reveal plans for a complete Blu-ray box set of “Twin Peaks”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up working on a film like “Big Ass Spider!”
Ray Wise: I worked with Mike Mendez, the director, briefly before this on a project. I knew that he wanted me to play this military man, which was fine with me. I read the character description and I taught it was good role for me. He is not too over the top and conservative in his approach. It was also a nice contrast to Greg (Grunberg) and Lombardo (Boyar)’s characters. They supply a lot of the humor in the script, which was really well written. Mike Mendez did a really good job with it and I responded well to its humor. I saw a lot of possibilities in it and I thought if he could pull it off it would be a good film. I think he did just that and even exceeded expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the first cut of the film. I think it is very funny and very effective. I think people are going to love it.

MG: You play hard-ass Major Braxton Tanner but you are still quite funny; what is your process for balancing the comedy for the role?
RW: It came intuitively for me. It was sort of natural. That is the way I liked to approach all of my roles actually. I like to find the humorous aspects of the character as well as some of the more dramatic and create that blend. That is way I like do things naturally. Fortunately, it works out most of the times and translates well on screen.

MG: There has been quite the positive response around this film; I have a feeling it is going to stick around…
It is going to have legs…
MG: Literally [laughing]…
RW: Eight legs [laughing].
MG: [laughing] Exactly!

MG: If they decided (and hopefully they do) to make a sequel to “Big Ass Spider!” would you be on board?
RW: Absolutely! Yeah, I am on board. Absolutely!

MG: Tell us about joining the cast of “The Young and the Restless”?
RW: I am playing this Ian Ward. He has come in from out of town as is a past cult leader. He has these individuals that follow him religiously because he has this special philosophy of life that can help everyone achieve their own dreams. They are thinking that he is responsible for the pregnant of the character Nikki many years ago. Allegedly responisble. So, he comes to town to really stir things up. You know, it is another one of those characters for me.

MG: And you are no stranger to playing the baddie like with the Devil in “Reaper” etc; what draws you to these characters?
RW: I think it is because they are always so well-written. When the writers try and write the bad guy, they try and put in a little extra umph in these characters. They add a little extra than a rather bland and mundane good guy [laughs]. I think my own personal physicality and demeanor plays well to that aspect of the writing as well. When you see me, you think “Well he seems alright…but there is something going on here” [laughs]. That suspense and anticipation is really great for the audience.

MG: Do you enjoy going from a bad guy like those to funny roles in films like “FDR: American Badass!”?
RW: First of all I love Barry (Bostwick) and I thought his FDR was really great! I played Douglas MacArthur, so that might have been the beginning of my military chops [laughs], I am not sure. I enjoyed that experience very much actually. There was a lot of laughs and it turned out pretty well also like “Big Ass Spider!”.

MG: I heard you broke the news about an upcoming “Twin Peak” series Blu-ray; can you give us the scoop?
RW: It will be a new box set of the pilot and episodes combined with “Fire Walk with Me”, the prequel movie. It is everything. Everything! Also included will be deleted scenes from “Fire Walk with Me”. I think David (Lynch)’s original cut of the film was about 3.5/4 hours long, so there is stuff that no one has ever seen that is going to be on this new box set. I think it is pretty great. So stay tuned.

Greg Grunberg talks about his new film “Big Ass Spider!”

Greg Grunberg is best known for playing Matt Parkman in “Heroes”. He also played Sean Blumberg in “Felicity”, the pilot Seth Norris in “Lost” and Eric Weiss in “Alias”. His latest film is “Big Ass Spider!” and it is one hell of a fun movie. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Greg about the film and how he ended up fighting a “Big Ass Spider!”

Mike Gencarelli: Congrats in advance for the early success and positive reactions to “Big Ass Spider!”
Greg Grunberg: Thanks! It one of these films that we just need to get the word out and I know it’s going to have some great legs. People are going to watch it and spread the word. I am so proud of it. Mike (Mendez), the director, did some a great job putting it all together. He let us improv and have fun and it really came together great.

MG: What was your first response when the script for “Big Ass Spider!” lands on your desk?
GG: My initial response is “HELL NO” [laughs]. I read everything and tell people to send me whatever and either I or my manager will read it. I received and this immediately thought that it was so ambitious that it would never work. There are more effects shots in this film then “Hollow Man”…and I was in “Hollow Man”. Kevin Bacon was invisible the entire movie. So I thought how nobody was going to be able to pull this off. So I gave a polite “No” along with a few notes and caveats that I had. They came back to me and just asked me to meet with the director Mike Mendez. He is one of these guys that you cannot say no to him. He has such a singular vision and is such a talented filmmaker. He seemed to have everything planned out in terms of effects etc. He was also willing to consider my casting suggestion for Lombardo Boyar, who I worked with on my movie “Group Sex”. It just all ended up working out and we were all on the same page.

MG: How do you approach a role like this to make it funny without being too cheesy?
GG: No matter what people do in their life, everybody takes what they do seriously. I wanted to approach it that was but not in a cartoony way. I have seen characters like this in movies and they go above and beyond and are really nuts are killer spiders. It is entertaining but if you don’t believe it then you are not going to take the ride. I know that the unbelievable factor is obvious for this film, there is a ten story
spider but you want the characters to be real and relationships between them to be real. I think that is what we did here and it really worked. It was a really fun and I had a great time. Lombardo was fun to work with and I felt like we both stole the movie. It is one of those things that at the end you are talking about Lombardo’s one liner as much as you are the spider.

MG: What was the most demanding aspect of working on a film like this?
GG: It’s funny because when I am approached to do a film like this there always like “Look there’s not going to be trailer, it’s really low budget so…” I say “Who gives a fuck about any of that shit”. I want to make a great movie. I am always on set anyway and never in a trailer. I just love making movies. I love acting in them and every aspect about them. So that stuff doesn’t scare me. The hardest part is making sure that you have good people and they are prepared to do their jobs. Every single aspect and department matters. Mike Mendez is an incredible studied filmmaker and I can’t wait to see what happens when he is given a real budget. He is going to explode like James Wan and hopefully I get to work with him again.

MG: Why do you think sci-fi/horror fans are going to dig this film?
GG: The cool thing about this is that I have three boys, 10, 14, and 17 and all of them can watch it. This is a family movie and nothing in here is inappropriate. The scary parts of fucking scary and the funny parts are funny. It is a great combination in a very relatable way. If shit when down like this in L.A., this is how it would play out [laughs]. Is it the best movie in the world? NO! But it is damn close in terms of low budget spider movies are concerned.

MG: “Big Ass Spider!” was left off nicely for a sequel; any word of that happening?
GG: We have talked about it and are certainly thinking about what that next movie would be but it is all up to the financiers. It is doing well for Epic Pictures and they are pleased so far. Hopefully it will be the type of thing where the fans just demand it. I would love to make another one.

MG: You also recently wrapped on two very different films “Burning Dog” and “A Tigers Tale”, tell us about these?
GG: “A Tigers Tale” is a complete family movie. It is really sweet and has these two Bengal tigers in it. I did that because I really wanted to do something different. I mean I got to work with real Bengal tiger cubs and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that. It is a straight forward family film but there are some really amazing moments in it. It just mixes things up. Then I also did this film called “Burning Dog”, with Trey Batchelor directing, which was super cool. I produced the film as well. It is like a first person shooter movie. So the main character is the camera and you ride along with these two cops and I play one of the cops. It was awesome. So keep an eye out and spread the word about “Big Ass Spider!”


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Blu-ray Review “Big Ass Spider!”

Actors: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Ray Wise
Directors: Mike Mendez
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Epic Pictures
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Run Time: 85 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When you hear the title “Big Ass Spider!”, you would probably think that this film was just another Syfy original movie but you would be wrong. This film is definitely a low-budget creature feature but it packs some solid production values. This comes quite polished and packed with great CG creature effects, solid action and also funny as hell. If you are looking for a fun and exciting ride, I would recommend checking this film out. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Official Premise: “An exterminator (Greg Grunberg) and his Hispanic sidekick (Lombardo Boyar) are caught in an epic battle when a military assault fails to contain a giant alien spider rampaging through the city of Los Angeles”. Epic right? But seriously do you really need to read what this film is about with a title like “Big Ass Spider!”, I mean come on, the title sells itself.

“Big Ass Spider!” comes with a solid cast including Greg Grunberg (TV’s “Heroes”), Lombardo Boyar (“Happy Feet I and II”) and Ray Wise (“X-Men: First Class”, TV’s “Twin Peaks”). Greg really nails this role, he is funny and he knows this film is a stretch but really has a blast with it.  Lombardo Boyar is over=the-top and a laugh riot. Ray Wise is Ray Wise and steals the show (as always). The film is directed by Mike Mendez, who is best know for his 2006 horror feature, “The Gravedancers”. I can’t wait to see what he follows up this film with.

“Big Ass Spider!” really does shine on Blu-ray with its solid 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation. The production value really stands up and looks solid and the visual effects look very impressive. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also packs a nice punch. The dialogue is sharp and action is well represented. The only thing that I would have loved to seen with this release was a combo pack release with a digital copy.

In terms of special features, I was a bit let down. I would have loved to see the focus on the visual effects. We do get a solid commentary track with stars Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, and director Mike Mendez. You can tell that these guys had a blast with this film and this is a really fun track. The only other featurette is the “‘Big Ass Spider! Premiere'”, which takes us to South by Southwest Film Festival. Lastly, there is a very short collection of “Interviews” from cast/crew as well as a theatrical trailer, international trailer and TV spot included.