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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Review “Cracker Barrel: Snowman Wood Sleigh Wall”

I am sure you are thinking that how much can I saw about a wooden sleigh, right? Well, what I can do is tell a story. When my wife set eyes on this sleigh, she literally said “Wow, I love it”. When you get a response like that you know that you certainly have something special. The craftsmanship of this product is high quality. I love the detail and the design. The colors are so vibrant. There is even nice touches like fake snow and glitter throughout. This is going to have a prominent place on my wall this Holiday season.

Official Product Description: Hang our charming Snowman Wood Sleigh Wall decor anywhere in your home for an instant splash of holiday spirit and Christmas cheer! This 17 x 6 Cracker Barrel exclusive features fun, collage-style painted snowman art, bright red color and a dusting of artificial snow for the perfect winter touch. This indoor wall decoration is sure to create a jolly look all season long!

Book Review “Over the River and Through the Wood”

Author: L. Maria Child
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

L. Maria Child’s verse about Thanksgiving Day has been given new life in this Matt Tavares-illustrated new book. Matt Tavares’ illustrations have given new life to this classic poem. His beautiful take on a family’s trip to Grandfather’s house through a blustery cold and snow-filled Massachusetts of yore, is reminiscent of any antique Christmas card.

There have been so many ways in which Child’s verse has been put to use throughout the past, but with this beautifully illustrated book, it speaks to a new generation who will benefit from seeing what it was like to have to travel to Grandfather’s house in a horse drawn sleigh. This is something that can bridge the gap and bring families together each year to read the poem and enjoy these beautiful illustrations on a cold, Thanksgiving night. It helps bring back tradition and really would be a fantastic addition to any holiday season.

Matt Tavares outdoes himself with this particularly detailed book. Each page creates a sense of nostalgia and warmth. Whether you are in the mood for the holidays or not, you will be in full-on holiday mode after immersing yourself in this delightfully engaging holiday classic. There is also a very nice nod to L. Maria Child at the end of the book and it allows the reader to understand where this holiday classic came from and more about the incredibly talented author who penned it.

Elijah Wood talks about Season 3 of FX’s “Wilfred”

Since his film debut in “Back to the Future Part 2,” Elijah Wood has grown up before our eyes. From the young boy dealing with life in films like “North” and “The War” to the adult hobbit Frodo in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he has never failed to impress an audience. This week he continues the third season of the highly popular television show “Wilfred,” which airs Thursday nights on FX. While promoting the show, Wood took some time to answer some questions.

Media Mikes: Do you sometimes have a hard time just holding it together and keeping a straight face when you film?
Elijah Wood: Oh yeah. I would say even more this season oddly enough than other seasons. For some reason I sort of busted up more this season because of what Jason [Gann] was doing than ever before. I’m so used to seeing him in the dog suit and to a certain degree the context of a lot of the situations I’m very used to but it still definitely serves to make me laugh. It’s a wonderful environment to work in. It’s something that all of us as a crew are kind of constantly laughing so it’s a pretty wonderful thing to go in to work to that every day.

MM: Do you think Wilfred should have a fixed ending point or can it just continue on indefinitely? EW: That’s a very good question. I think that the structure of the show that’s been created is such that it’s about a guy who is essentially in recovery and trying to figure out what his path in life is. This manifestation of ‘Wilfred’ has provided essentially a push for him to kind of figure that out. I think that can only really last for so long to believe that we are dealing with a man who is kind of struggling for answers to these questions and in this sort of existential question period of his life and in recovery. I don’t know that we can believe that for ten seasons. I think to a certain degree there has to be a resolve or a move in a certain direction, so I don’t know. I think…to the fairness of the construction of the show… I think it can only survive for so long. I would hate to make the show kind of carry on for too long and it not necessarily support what we’ve created, if that makes sense.

MM: Definitely. When you play Ryan, do you have in your mind an answer to why he sees Wilfred in order to help you play him?
EW: I do yeah. I have an idea. I’ve kind of made up my mind as to what I think Wilfred is. I don’t know that that’s reflective of what the character has decided though, and to a certain degree I think Ryan—when Ryan meets Wilfred in the first season it’s really within an episode in a way that he sort of accepts Wilfred’s existence. I think from there on out even though there are these questions and he does question what ‘Wilfred’ is—I think there’s a deeper level of acceptance and recognizing that ‘Wilfred’s’ purpose albeit uncertain as to where he’s manifesting from and what it means—his purpose is ultimately positive and that is helping him. I don’t know what Ryan has decided because I think Ryan is clearly questioning, but I have an idea. I think that perspective probably does help me in playing the character, but I think overall there’s just a sense of general acceptance for Ryan.

MM: When you approach a character, as far as developing it, do you take a different approach as opposed to when you’re working on a film and episodic television?
EW: Not really. I mean the only real difference between television and film—I mean there are a few I suppose, but predominantly it’s the pace to which you work. But the development of the character or the process for playing the character isn’t necessarily different. The other main difference between film and television is that you have the opportunity to flush out a character over a longer period of time whereas a film you’re confined to two hours, three hours, whatever it may be. But really it’s very much the same approach that you would take when you play a character in any medium I think.

Blu-ray Review “Ed Wood”

Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones
MPAA Rating: R
Disney: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Running Time: 127 minutes

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

I remember counting down the days until the release of “Ed Wood”. After watching Depp/Burton collaborate in 1993’s “Edward Scissorhands”, I became a lifelong fan of both. I was also a big fan prior of “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, despite how “bad” it is. This film was like nothing like I had ever seen at the time. Depp’s performance in the film is honestly one of his best. He completely embodied the role of Edward J. Wood Jr. Although “Ed Wood” didn’t muster up a wide audience and the film wasn’t really given a proper background. In 1994, Depp still wasn’t considered a sure-fire for hits back then. I loved the fact that this film was shot in black-and-White and just screams Tim Burton. Fans of his work and this film should not miss this great HD upgrade. Good job Disney!

The 1080p transfer looks great with this black-and-white film. Cinematographer Stefan Czapsky actually shot the film on black-and-white stock, which is something that is not as widely available in today’s times. The film has it spots here and there of slight noise but I feel that it plays with the film’s indie aspect. The audio track includes an excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1. It features clear dialogue and works well with Howard Shore’s score. Note: this is rare that Tim Burton didn’t use Danny Elfman for his score.

The special features are ports from the 2004 DVD, but are still very impressive. There is a jam-packed commentary track (well sort-of) with Director Tim Burton, Actor Martin Landau, Co-Writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, Director of Photography Stefan Czapsky and Costume Designer Colleen Atwood. These are various interviews complied together into the track. There are five short deleted scenes, all which I enjoyed. There is a music video composed by Howard Shore for the title theme. “Let’s Shoot This F#*%@r!” is a behind-the-scenes look tracked with Depp. “The Theremin” focus on Shore’s score. “Making Bela” shows how Martin Landau transformed into Bela Lugosi. “Pie Plates Over Hollywood” features Tom Duffield discussing about his own challenges on the film. Lastly there is the theatrical trailer included.

Interview with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is known best for her role of Steffy Forrester on “The Bold and the Beautiful”.  Jacqueline is also co-starring in “Final Desination 5”, her character is Olivia Reynolds.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jacqueline about her role in the film as well as her show.

Mike Gencarelli: What can we expect from “Final Desination 5”, how does it up the ante for the series?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: With Steven Quale as the director (James Cameron’s assistant director for over a decade), adding his intensity for detail and creative vision, all of my expectations for this series were over-amped! Being a fan of the series myself for many years, even I wondered how they would top the past four. Well, get ready to sink your teeth into Steven Quale’s vision of “Final Destination 5”, he will not let anyone down.

MG: Tell us about your character Olivia Reynolds and what we can expect from her?
JMW: She is a straight shooter, a girl you want to know. She is very honest, perhaps a little too honest sometimes. However, she doesn’t say to thing to intentionally hurt anyone. She just doesn’t have a filter. She walks the talk, and is the kind of gal every man and woman would want as their BFF.  She looks at life like a front line soldier: she would rather fight to the death, rather than hide in a hole.

MG:  Tell us about the 3D in the film, was it a difficult shoot due to that?
JMW: It was very complex to film, but once we grasped the concept of the ultimate effect, we understood the power of each movement. If you are going to shoot in 3D, this is the only way to go. The 3D aspect of the film was not an after-thought. The audience will feel as tied-in to the story as the characters are on the screen, because we will literally be on your lap. So sit back and enjoy!

MG: How was it working with the rest of the cast?
JMW: Every day was outstanding. We all had our fears with certain scenes, but at the end of each day we were like, “Wow! Did we just do that?”.  It was like a triathlon of extended fear.  We grew very close and we all still hang out.

MG: You worked on “The Bold and the Beautiful” for over three years, tell us how it compares to film?
JMW: On the daily “The Bold and the Beautiful,” we can shoot up to 90 pages, that’s 8 to 12 episodes, in 4 days with sometimes no rehearsal! In films, you shoot 100 pages in 4 months. If you do a prime time show, it takes a whole week to film one episode. In a big screen film like this, I had to learn to slow it waaaaaaaaay down. It’s all about the perfection of the shot.

MG: What do you like most about playing Steffy Forrester?
JMW: Steffy is a rich bitch [laughs]! I love playing her and developing her character. She is so different from me. It’s rather cathartic, and it allows my alter ego to come out on “The Bold and The Beautiful” set five days a week.

MG: What do you have planned next? Any films in works?
JMW: I am still contracted on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” but when my schedule allows, I am able to work on other projects. So, we will see what the future brings. I have several irons in the fire and music is one of them!