Ross Hull reflects on his role in “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” & his work as a Meteorologist

Ross Hull is known best for the role of Gary, aka the leader of the Midnight Society, from the TV series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.

Ross is also currently a Meteorologist for Global News in Canada.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” with Ross and also his work as a Meteorologist.

George McGrath talks about his work on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and writing the movie Big Top Pee-Wee

George McGrath is known for voicing the characters Cowntess / Fish / Globey / Flower / Pterri in “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”. He is also the writer of various episodes of the show including the theme song.

George also wrote the film “Big Top Pee-Wee” and was a writer on the HBO series “Tracy Takes On”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and his work on the show.

Best wireless Headset for music and office work

In the event that you as of now just spend more than 5-10% of your day on the telephone while getting a remote headset for some different assignments for performing various tasks, this is a simple and successful path for you to build your efficiency anyplace. ۔ 1 day at generally 10% (or a greater amount of) the manner in which you are at present working. On the off chance that you are thinking about purchasing a remote headset however you don’t have a clue whether the remote is directly for you, set aside the effort to stop and think about a portion of the advantages of picking a remote headset over wired. Notwithstanding the need to stress over tapping the headset wire or expelling it coincidentally, remote headsets permit you opportunity of development that you would never do while associating straightforwardly to the equipment. If you want to get the awesome and attractive headset to work properly then review here.

There are basically four different types of wireless headsets that they are

Digital Enhanced Carded Telecommunication (DECT) 

Utilized are for checked prepared telephone frameworks. The most generally utilized profile for DECT is the Nonexclusive Access Profile (Hole). The Whole profile is utilized to empower correspondence between any whole empowered DECT base station and its remote handset.  Through this uniform profile, developers such as Plant Electronics, Ecotone and Jabra have developed wireless headsets that can pair directly with GAP-enabled DECT telephones.

Sony WH-1000XM3

It is the best and one of the astonishing commotion dropping headset for the two purposes with respect to office work and furthermore for music. This enables anybody with a DECT headset to match with their home or office DECT phone and appreciate remote correspondence utilizing a remote headset instead of a handheld recipient.  

2.4 GHz headsets 

This is a radio recurrence (RF) remote unit intended to work. This is an open recurrence for remote gadgets anyway different frameworks use it, (for example, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, remote LAN) which can mess obstruction up. Since the 2.4 GHz headset works at various frequencies, the headset requires an extra base unit to speak with the third phone base unit.

The headset communicates with the base unit and the base unit communicates with the telephone base unit (landline). An automatic handset lifter with some 2.4 GHz system can be used to allow the handset to be lifted wirelessly by pressing a button on the wireless headset.

Bluetooth headset

This has become a typical remote profile for remote cell phone headsets. Bluetooth likewise works at 2.4â GHz recurrence like Wi-Fi however since it is intended for low force utilization, its transmission extend is negligible.

The Savi 8220

It is actually a binaural wireless headset that connects to desk top telephone, computer, softphone and the cell phones. It is actually a way that allows people to select the best communication and effective working performance. While using Savi 8220 you can enjoy the music when you feel good.

The Apple AirPods Pro

It is the best and one of the stunning headsets we have and it is extremely reasonable as well. In general best decision is this to utilize while working in office or for getting a charge out of the music.

We should utilize all options

This alternative, when utilized related to a multi-point Bluetooth headset, enables you to utilize the equivalent Bluetooth headset to convey between versatile, phone and PC, utilizing Bluetooth innovation. Full remote correspondence can be utilized to offer work area arrangements. Presently the best producer of top notch remote headset for practically any remote correspondence needs.

“CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!” Blindspot’s Heidi Schnappauf Speaks About Stunt Work

Heidi Schnappauf at Sword Class NYC

When Blindspot enters its fourth season this Friday on NBC, it will of course be bringing the action that has garnered the series multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. While last year burst onto the scene with, amongst other things, Jane Doe and Co in a tank, this year’s premiere has taken Jane (Jaimie Alexander) to Tokyo where she engages in some impressive swordplay with a new adversary. Behind Jane’s hardest hits is Alexander’s stunt double, Heidi Schnappauf, who has been with the show from the first season. Speaking with me at New York Comic Con*, Jaimie Alexander said of Heidi: “Just the hits she takes, the body slams…I don’t know how she’s OK. Half the time I’m terrified for her because she does a lot of the heavy lifting in the fights…And she’s just incredible, she’s an incredible lady.”

Besides Blindspot Schnappauf has an impressive credits list that includes Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Broad City and Orange is the New Black. I was lucky enough to speak with Heidi about her action-packed job this past weekend when Warner Brothers sent us along with her and Jaimie to, fittingly, a beginner Kendo sword lesson!

Lauren Damon: How long have you been with the show?

Heidi Schnappauf: I’ve been with the show all the four seasons, however, I came in toward the end of the first season. I think episode twenty. So right at the end kind of filling in for her old double [Ky Furneaux].

LD: What are your favorite types of stunts?

HS: I love to fight. My main background was fighting. This, sword fighting, was not something I grew up with, but definitely something I picked up on the way and trained a little bit. But fighting, which includes all the falling that we do—getting thrown around—I started at such a young age that I got thrown around a lot when I was in karate as a kid, moving into college years. But I really do love all the hard hits and driving. I’ve been doing stunts driving now for about eight years. So yeah, anything where I’m maybe flying through some glass or getting thrown out of a car, I totally dig it! Any of that.

LD: Have you ever had any major injuries?

HS: I’ve had a few. Biggest injury was not on Blindspot, actually it was right before I got on Blindspot. I was recovering from my biggest injury which was I was doing a high fall and there was faulty landing equipment, it was nobody’s fault, just a one in a billion chance I ended up injuring my neck pretty badly. I was out for about ten months from work, which was a really big bummer actually. And the doctor—I was in the ER from that injury and with you know, on morphine and valium and a neck brace and tears coming out of my eyes—the doctor’s like ‘Oh I guess this is gonna put a damper on your career’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, I really know what I’m going to do next time so I don’t hurt myself’ and he’s like ‘Next time?! Are you nuts?!’…I’m like ‘Well, yeah, I’m just bummed that it’s gonna be a while!’ So that was my most devastating injury. Everyone wanted to cut me open, everyone wanted to do surgery, they wanted to replace my disc, or fuse my spine and all this stuff…I kind of basically talked to doctors until I got the answer I wanted and then I found more doctors to support that.

LD: As a viewer, what are some of your favorite films or tv shows for stunts?

HS: Um…Blindspot? [laughs]…Oh, I really like Supergirl, is that WB? I do like Supergirl. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t watch a lot of TV because I work and I sleep and I try to watch Blindspot. But I do, actually, this new season of Iron Fist is probably my favorite bit of action on tv or Netflix…Blacklist, I love Blacklist. They just have such a variety of stunts on that show. And Game of Thrones. Come on, man, you can’t deny that setting like seventy five stunt people on fire is NOT cool. From a DRAGON. It’s insane.

LD: There’s a faction out there that is pushing for a Best Stunts category at the Academy Awards, how do you feel about that?

HS: I think that’s a good idea since like every other category is out there. I mean, I don’t know how you’d delegate that but I think that’s a good start to just recognizing it. I don’t do stunts, obviously, to be recognized. I love it because I get to kind of be the magician of the action world of film and tv. You don’t really want to give your tricks away, you want to make it an illusion…most, some people I know anyway, don’t do it for the glory. It’s not really about that. It’s about making good work. I would love to see it so it’s recognized as an art and as you know, that magical things that happens isn’t actually magic. It’s people that are putting their bodies and their lives on the line to bring everyone a cool product. CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!

Blindspot season 4 premieres Friday October 12th at 8pm on NBC.

*Check out our full chats with Blindspot stars Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton!

Book Review “The Avengers Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid. “The Avengers Storybook Collection” is a must have for any parent with young boys or even young fan girls for that matter! There is nothing like getting ready a story filled with heroism, adventure and action just before going to slip. These stories are fun, exciting and feature some of our favorite Marvel superheroes. Even though, my daughter is a little young for this one, she still loves it and already came name every character on the cover!

Official Premise: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon are Earth’s Mightiest Marvels-the Avengers! Join them as they work together to battle against sinister Super Villains such as Ultron, Thanos, the Masters of Evil,and more, to keep the Earth safe. Featuring 20 explosive stories of good vs. evil. Avengers assemble!

Let’s hope that this Storybook Collection is the first of many. There are literally an infinite collection of characters that they can include in future collections. This one has 20 stories included with all of the favorites like Iron Man and Captain America but I would love to be able to introduce my daughter to some of the lesser known characters as well. They could even do a female superhero only book OOHHHH OOHHHH or even better a villains only book. Who wouldn’t want to read a new story featuring everyone’s favorite Avenger villain, Loki! Fingers crossed!

Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick talk about their work with group Metal Allegiance

Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick are probably best known for their work in Megadeth however over the past couple of months the duo have appeared as part of Metal Allegiance. The all-star group along with Ellefson and Broderick the group features Alex Skolnick, Chuck Billy, Frankie Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian and a long list of others. The who’s who of metals top players performed their first show as a part of Motorheads inaugural “Motor Boat Cruise” this past month. Media Mikes spoke with Chris and Dave about the creation of the group, experiences from that first show and what they are most looking forward to about performing with the group here in the States in January.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how a group like this came together?
Dave Ellefson: Mark Menghi is the guy who put this thing together. Back when we were doing the Big 4 shows with Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, Mark had put me and Frank Bello from Anthrax together for a couple of bass clinics. That developed into a couple shows put on by our sponsors called “Metal Masters”. After we finished those dates up Mark and I kept talking about keeping the concept of the shows together but develop a little bit further. “Motor Boat” was where the first real chance to try this idea happened. It was very last minute as there was a ccancellationby one of the headliners. I knew Chris and I were going to be there as was everyone else we had talked about so I called Mark right away. The show was really great and set a lot of what we are going to be doing in the coming months in motion.

AL: Was there any nervousness to get up their being everything was so short notice?
Chris Broderick: Absolutely none! (Laughs) I was so ready to get on that boat and just play. I thought the Metal Allegiance idea was great. It helped keep my ticket on the boat. (Laughs) We had such a great time jamming with everyone. Very rarely do you get an opportunity like this one to play with all these different guys. It’s a killer opportunity to play and hang out with some great people. I do have to say the only reservation I had was hanging out with Mark Menghi. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like performing a set that was mostly improvised?
DE: We usually start determining some sort of set list through an email thread. You can only imagine what an email thread made up of 12 metal heads looks like. Things get crazy quite quickly. At one point playing the “Love Boat” theme was mentioned. The cool part is that everyone involved is really talented and between all of us we can play just about everything. We of course throw in some of our band’s songs but we wanted to go back to playing some of the songs we grew up listening to and learning. Songs by Kiss, Deep Purple and Judas Priest were all mentioned. Of course the set changes from night to night and after the first night we did this we were having dinner with Alex Skolnick and we asked him to come up and do some songs. Alex brought in a whole bunch of songs he knew. Before we knew it we had the entire first side of Van Halen 1. Right before we walked on stage we all sat down at this little table and figured out what we were going to do. We are all like a bunch of kids when we get up there. It’s like forming a band and you keep adding all these amazing players. It’s fun to have those types of moments.

AL: Is there one guy who sort of runs the show when you are doing these type of shows?
DE: We default to Mark Menghi. He is sort of the voice of reason and sanity. When you throw a bunch of gun slinging, metal heads together it tends to turn in to one giant beer drinking brawl. Someone has to come in and make sense out of everything. You do really need that one guy to be the musical leader because I feel it’s important to stay within certain parameters. We don’t want this to come off as being too watered down so the music we do is all metal and hard rock. Its music fans of our regular bands might be into as a lot of them are our age and grew up on the same music.

AL: How does playing in a setting like Metal Allegiance differ from that of Megadeth?
CB: There is a lot more improvisation going on. We rehearse the songs on our own and then we just get up there and do them. When we go up there with Megadeth were doing the same songs night after night. It becomes almost like rope memory. With this you never know where everyone is going to be and there is a much freer flowing feel to things. Each performance is a onetime thing which gives you moments that can never be duplicated.

AL: Is this project something we could be seeing more of in the near future?
DE: Once we did the first show the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. It’s going to be great bringing this show to the House of Blues to kick off NAMM. This type of group is perfect for these events. Outside of those bigger event settings promoters want us to do tour dates all over the world. Our bands separately would tough to get on one bill at one time. Metal Allegiance makes things a little more possible because you bring in the key members from these bands and we can just keep everything loose with a jam feel. The whole thing is about getting a specific vibe.

AL: With you guys being a part of NAMM will you be unveiling any new music equipment at this year’s shows?
DE: I have a brand new signature bass coming out called Kelly Bird 5. This is my 4th signature model with Jackson and lots of them have been rolling out which is really been great. The new model just came out and I am really excited for people to check it along with the other gear I endorse.
CB: I have a hard tail version of my Chris Broderick signature series guitar. This model is going to be offered through the USA custom series. I am not sure if it we will be completely ready by NAMM but it will be out the early part of 2015.

AL: Can you give us a quick update on the new Megadeth album?
DE: The plan is to go into the studio in January. Generally there is never a specific date we put on an albums release as we want to make sure the songs we choose are the best fit for our style. We have quite a bit of material to go through right now.

Steven Blum talks about voice work and his role of Zeb in “Star Wars Rebels”

Steven Blum is one of the best in the voice acting business. He has such amazing range working on shows such as “Cowboy Bebop” voicing Spike Spiegel to “Doc McStuffins” voicing Commander Crush to “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” voicing both Red Skull and Wolverine. Recently he is taking on the role of Zeb in “Star Wars Rebels”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about “Star Wars Rebels” with Steven and his a few of his other voice roles.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got the role of Zeb in “Star Wars Rebels”?
Steven Blum: Well, I auditioned for it like everyone else in town. I didn’t even know what it was for when I showed up. They called it a completely different name and edited out any of the information that would have made us know it was “Star Wars”. I didn’t actually know it was what it was until I booked the role. I was in England at the time at a “Transformers” convention when I got the email that I landed the job and I needed to record it there. So I had to find a studio in the middle of the countryside at this guy’s house and started recorded. About 10 minutes into the session, I am looking at the script and I see Stormtroopers in the copy and I said “What a second…this is Star Wars…THIS IS STAR WARS!!” It was a huge surprise. I just didn’t know the scope of this show. I have done “Star Wars” projects before but it was only in the video game context, so to get to work on the franchise on something this big is just an incredible thing. I got to introduce not only a new character but also a new species into the “Star Wars” universe. It was incredible.

MG: Where did the find the voice for him?
SB: We played with it a little bit. (Speaking in character) “It started out in the lower range” and we ended up tried a bunch of different accents. We did Eastern European, Australian and all sorts of different things. We landed on something that is sort of English with other ascents peppered in. It is sort of like a bad English accent [laughs]. I am apologizing to the entire UK for my bad accent [laughs].

MG: You also voice Shoe and Sparky in “The Boxtrolls”, out now.
SB: I am very excited about “The Boxtrolls”. It is an amazing piece and I have been a fan of LAIKA’s work for a long time. I even got to go to the studio and play with the puppets and see how these amazing people have put this film together. Every single bit of this film is hand made. It is phenomenal. They made like 3,000 different faces for this film with magnets on the back so that they can swap them out for each shot. It is uncanny.

MG: Since you have voices hundreds of characters like Spike Spiegel in “Cowboy Bebop” and Wolverine in various projects; if someone asked you to do a voice what is one of the first that comes to your mind?
SB: It depends on what I am working on that day. I always have a million voices going on it my head [laughs]. I need to do this job so I can let them out and not explode. So, it depends on the day. People can usually just point at a character and I can remember their voice and speak it.

MG: You have done a wide mix of villains and heroes; do you have a favorite type of character to voice?
SB: [laughs] It also depends on the day. If I am really pissed off and sitting in traffic, I will let a lot of that energy out. I do love playing the heroes too though. I love working on kid’s shows also now like Disney Junior’s “Doc McStuffins voicing Commander Crush and the two Karate Kangaroos. It has been really fun to work on something that is so child friendly.


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Terry Gilliam and Lucas Hedges Work Out “The Zero Theorem”

Now available on VOD and in limited  theatrical release, Terry Gilliam returns to his Brazil-dystopic roots with Zero Theorem. The highly energetic director and member of Monty Python gleefully joined young actor Lucas Hedges to discuss the film at length in New York.

Zero Theorem finds Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) in a neon-lit Orwellian nightmare. He is a cog in a massive corporate machine, Mancom, who is desperately awaiting a phone call that will reveal the meaning of his life. Counterproductively his menacing boss, referred to simply as Management (Matt Damon) charges Qohen with proving the Zero Theorem which states that the entire universe will eventually collapse in on itself rendering all existence meaningless.

While Zero Theorem arguably completes a trio of dystopian films after Gilliam’s own Brazil and 12 Monkeys, it now joins a host of modern future-set films that are increasingly Orwellian or apocalyptic rather than hopeful, I asked Gilliam what he thought of this trend of humanity not exactly looking towards The Future as idealized. The director cheerfully threw his arms open and “defended” Zero Theorem’s busy, candy-colored vision of the future:

Terry Gilliam: “This is not a dystopia! It’s Utopia. It’s a wonderful world! C’mon! Everybody’s out there, they’re dressed smartly, they got a lotta color. They’re bouncing around the place, cars are zipping back and forth–Shopping is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week–what more do you want?! I mean, the workplace, Mancom is FUN. Roller blades, scooters, zippy clothes, lots of primary colors. It’s a fantastic place. There’s only ONE guy who’s the dystopic element [laughs], miserable guy, called Qohen. And he needs a kick in the ass. And [Lucas] is one of the kicks!”

Lucas Hedges: “Yes.”

Gilliam: “It’s really that. I mean everyone keeps referring to it as dystopia. If you think the world we’re living in now is a dystopia, then you may be right! But we’ve been looking forward to this time for so many years! We got all the goodies.”

Hedges: It’s a matter of what perspective we see it from. And we see it from Qohen’s perspective and he has a–I guess his perspective is very much nihilistic and dystopic and sad.

Gilliam: “That’s really it. He’s the odd man out.”

Hedges: “I’m sure there’s a way of looking at the world we’re living in now from a certain perspective that makes our world look dystopic. I mean, maybe it is or maybe it isn’t but it depends on whose eyes you see it from.”

Gilliam: “I mean my tendency in films is to see the less good things in society. And the world we’re living in. Because at least those are the things you can criticize and possibly comment on and possibly it might change something in some small ways. Not likely [laughs] but we can pretend we have some potency in our ability to help change the world. [Lucas has] got to believe things like this . He’s got a whole life ahead of him, I’m old, I know the truth! [Laughs]”

Gilliam later elaborated on the world as it is today, where the amount of clutter is not exactly far off from his designs in Theorem.

Gilliam: “My complaint, it seems we’re becoming more and more infantile in the fact that ‘Oh! there’s something interesting! I’ve got to put that in my mouth!’ We don’t, but it’s effectively that ‘I WANT IT NOW’ not, I’m not going to work towards it, I’m not gonna wait. I need it now. And that’s in fact infantile. But that’s what we’ve become. I mean a lot of the film is a resistance to that, to escape it. I mean for me, coming to New York, it’s like Qohen going out his front door. I mean it’s just like WHAT?! In London we’re overwhelmed with stuff but it’s provincial and pissy-small compared to walking into Times Square.

And you think, ‘what is this about?’ and where do we fit in to it. I mean are we just these little dots that connect around the way? Are we just becoming social insects like worker bees? You  know our job is to keep tweeting and connecting, spreading those pheromones, they sort of go through the ether as opposed to antenna going [wiggles fingers at Lucas]…So nobody really has to have an individual opinion, people are sort of constantly communicating ‘Should I say that? Is that right? Have I gone too far? Have I offended? Am I rude?’ All these words keep coming up and mine are just FUCK THIS! People have got to start being individual and offensive.

I’m obsessed about offending people [laughs] Because it’s when you get a discussion going now, maybe. You might start talking about things rather than ducking and diving. I’ve watched my daughter say ‘oh that was very rude’ AND? [laughs] What do you think about that thought? You wanna talk about it?”

Hedges plays Bob, Management’s teenage son who is there to speed along Quohen’s progress. From this press conference, it was obvious that teenage Hedges and Gilliam were so pleased to be working with each other, and they elaborated on how he was cast in the film:

Lucas Hedges:  “I sent in a tape to Terry as an audition and then a week later I got cast. Which is very strange. Especially for a role of this proportion…that doesn’t happen. And we arranged to talk on the phone and [Terry] called me up…we spoke and it was–his energy was absolutely incredible. It was absolutely incredible! And he was insane! Absolutely insane and he was going on about what was going on in [Bucharest, Romania, where the film was shot] and about Vlad Tempish and about Dracula and it was lovely. And it was clear right off the bat that this is a man who doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Really. And he’s an individual artist and I guess that’s my origin with Terry…Meeting Terry–I mean hearing [him] for the first time was something I’ll never forget.”

Terry Gilliam: “When I saw him in Moonrise Kingdom, there was one guy that kinda popped off the screen for me. And it turned out to be this one. I’d never seen him before or anything and then [he] sent that tape in. I had only taped one kid in London. There was one kid who was kind of interesting, he was the only person I started putting on tape. And Lucas’s tape came in and I said that’s it! Done. Magic. It was simple as that. I didn’t have a single doubt. He just cracked it, boom. That’s the character. Then I called him and I tried to frighten him off and I failed. [Laughs] And it was wonderful I mean [he] was really thrown in the deep end with someone like Christoph.”

Hedges: “Yeah and it was a scary transition both from Brooklyn to Romania to working with Christoph and in a world that was very foreign. Both from a filmmaking standpoint and a social standpoint. But it really became a home and it really worked out.”

Up next for Hedges is playing Jeremy Renner’s son in Kill the Messenger.
Meanwhile, the internet has recently stirred up a renewed interest in Gilliam’s long-gestating Don Quixote project which was last addressed in the 2002 doc, Lost in La Mancha. Unfortunately, this conference took place just a couple days too late for hopeful news:

Gilliam: “Today, I don’t know. I knew two days ago. Today I don’t know anymore. I got an e-mail the other night. So I’m not gonna say anything. Things are [Gilliam wavers his hands in the air]…gone liquid again. We shall see. It’s something for me to think about when I don’t have a job. That’s the important thing. A man’s gotta keep the mind occupied. And pretending is the best way there is to go through life.”

Ralph Steadman talks about his work with Hunter S. Thompson and film “For No Good Reason”

Ralph Steadman is a British Gonzo artist that is best known for his work with American author Hunter S. Thompson, author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. After meeting each other in 1970 to cover the Kentucky Derby, Steadman and Thompson formed a long-time relationship. Steadman’s did the artwork for Thompson’s books over his career. He is also an author himself having written numerous books focusing on his drawings…or as Hunter would have called it his “filthy scribblings”, according to Ralph. This April, “For No Good Reason” makes its U.S. debut in NYC, which is a documentary on Ralph’s career. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ralph about the film and his work with Hunter S. Thompson.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you got approached for the documentary “From No Good Reason”?
Ralph Steadman: The director Charlie Paul initially came down to see me, then the producer Lucy Paul. This was over a period of twelve years, you know. They would stay for lunch, we would talk and then we would carry on. So over twelve years, we made this film. It just seems so long ago from when we first started it. They got Johnny Depp involved, which was good because he has become a personal friend of mine over the years. He is such a great guy, easy going, warm, genuine and terrific fellow…
MG: I loved Johnny’s narration in the film as well, very nice touch.
RS: Oh yeah, it was lovely. I agree.

MG: How did you feel about having a documentary about your life done?
RS: I first thought “For God’s sake…why?” “For no good reason”…that is what Hunter would have said. I used to always ask “Why are we doing this Hunter?” and he would always say “For no good reason, Ralph” [laughs].

MG: How was it seeing some of your drawings brought to life and illustrated in the film?
RS: That was quite interesting. I couldn’t be an animator in old Disney way when they used to draw one picture and then other but slightly different and then you would put them together like a flip book and they would actually move. The only thing I liked like that was doing something simple like a dot or a splat and putting it in a book form and flipping it and watching it move, that to me was magic. I like doing that kind of thing. But seeing my drawings in the film was really great.

MG: I find it so interesting that you said in the film that your work is unprofessional and “it is as unexpected to me as it is to anyone else”; can you talk about this aspect?
RS: Yeah, that is because I don’t do any pencil work. I never plan anything. I just begin and the drawing becomes what it becomes. My reaction every time is “I don’t know how I did that”. I am always amazed. “How the fuck did I do that?”, I usually say. It’s like Ludwig Wittgenstein’s idea that only thing of value is that thing that you cannot say but you can see it. I like that a lot.

MG: So how did your splatter technique come about then?
RS: Oh that was clumsiness. I was clumsy. I said “Oh shit” when I flicked my wrist with my pen but I realized it made this beautiful sweep of blots. I thought to myself them “Oh I like that, it’s quite nice” So I started to use it more deliberately. I would spill ink all over the place. I liked the idea of putting a sheet of paper on the studio floor taking a bottle of ink high on a ladder and dropping it. Not all of it…but just enough. It would make terrific, radiating splatters of different designs. Then you look and think “Hmm, it could be a spider” and I would go from there.

MG: Looking back at the film now, how do you feel that it has come together?
RS: I was amazed by it actually. After twelve years, it was nice to see it all come together. They did cut out a few things that I would have liked them to keep in like my art teacher, Leslie Richardson. This was a pity since I really wanted him in it. What they were after was the notoriety including the fame of Johnny Depp. So poor Leslie Richardson, who is now 93, was left out. But he still goes around kicking old ladies and children in the streets [laughs].

MG: Tell us how you originally crossed paths with Hunter Thompson?
RS: When I was planning to come to New York in 1970, I had some friends that invited me to stay with them in the Hampton’s. They were soon to be married, so I felt a little uncomfortable saying with them for a long period of time. So after staying a little while, I was going to leave for the city and I was about to leave when there was a cal from a guy named J.C. Suarez. He was an editor from Brooklyn. He wanted me to come to Kentucky and meet an ex-Hells Angels, who just shaved his head. I asked why did he do that and he said “Why? Because he’s a Hells Angels. He is a rebel”. So I asked “What for?” He told me that he was not only looking for a photographer but for an artist and they saw my book of pictures called “Still Life with Raspberry”, which was my first book of collected drawings. Don Goddard was the foreign editor of The New York Times and he had found the book in England and then came back and said that they need to put me with Hunter Thompson. So that is how it happened.

MG: Do you feel that your career would have been different if your path’s didn’t cross?
RS: As far as I was concerned, meeting Hunter and going to Kentucky was a bulls eye for me. For all the people that I could meet in America, he would be the one…go figure. Meeting Hunter was the best thing for me in terms of making a career. What we did for journalism was that we became the story and that became know as gonzo journalism. That was really what was so good about it. One day, this guy Bill Cardoso told us that the Kentucky Derby piece we did was “pure gonzo”. Hunter never heard the word before and it really stuck. He used to say “Don’t do those filthy scribblings”. He used to call my drawings filthy scribblings [laughs]. He used to also tell me “Don’t write Ralph, you will bring shame on your family”. But he always loved to sort of go against you but on purpose because he would know that it would provoke me and my work would benefit.

MG: “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is one of my favorite books and the movie is great as well…
RS: The thing is people get too sniffy about the movie and things like that. They say that it is not quite this or quite that. No! It is a version of the book. I didn’t mind it, especially since the whole damn thing, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was a crazy idea to begin with.

MG: Do you recall how long it took you to complete the illustrations for the “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” book?
RS: I think I did nine pictures in a week and it was done. The rotten thing was that I ended up selling all of the originals since I was told it would be a good career move. I think I got $75 dollars each for them. Can you imagine what they are worth now?

MG: Has your drawings been affected since the death of Hunter S. Thompson?
RS: No, not really. I have been doing bird drawings for the last few years. I don’t like drawing politicians any more, I can’t be bothered. They are so awful. I don’t feel so bitter about it. I do not feel like I am trying to change the world. I have changed the world enough since I started and it is worse now than when I started [laughs]. So good, I have done what I had meant to do [laughing]

MG: Yeah, you start off the film saying you set out to “change the world”; I was going to ask if you felt that you have accomplished that goal?
RS: We’ll you look around, I have done my part but bloody computers have changed everything.The business and also people in general. You can’t walk down a side street without somebody passing you by and they are not looking at you or around them, they are looking down at their phone. I had to go on a train recently to Halifax for a show of my drawings and there was this woman on the train that was a good example. She had red hair which was long down one side and shaved on the other side. I have a drawing of it in my book here. She was so awful, I had to draw her. But she had her makeup out in one hand and her phone in the other from the moment she got on the train. That is the problem about the invasion of the computer, like Twitter. Everyone wants to tweet you now. So that is very weird to me.

MG: Tell us about your latest book “Proud Too Be Weirrd”?
RS: I collected together a bunch of things that I never had no good reason to use [laughs]. I thought I would start with the first page and go through my studio finding this and finding that and just building the book from there and that is how I worked on it. This guy Steve Crist from AMMO Books got in touch with me about doing it. He used to work at TASCHEN. Benedikt Taschen rang me after the book was made and said he was actually very disappointed because he wanted to do the book, but at the time I didn’t know this. He did my book with Hunter, “The Curse of Lono”. Steve Crist used to work with Benedikt and that’s where he began. He sort of adopted the style of big book like TASCHEN did. I really like the title “Proud Too Be Weirrd” and it is a great book

MG: What are some of the artists that inspire you?
RS: I love Picasso. He is such an inspiration for me. There is a film called “The Mystery of Picasso” that is really worth seeing if you can get a copy. It is fascinating for me to watch him at work. The director, who made the film, was allowed to by Picasso to be in the studio with him. This is what Charlie did with me as well for our film. Picasso would set things up for him including painting on glass and having him film from the other side. This is amazing work and it really continues to inspire me.

MG: Are you working on anything else new currently?
RS: I got a new book of creatures that I am working on right now. These are completely made up creatures for example instead of a pelican; you do a pelicant [laughs]. You have to keep doing something otherwise what is the point. I guess I am taking advice from my father, who couldn’t bear to just sit about. I am also learning how to etch steel plates as well. So I suppose I should continue to carry on.


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Disney Legend, Floyd Norman talks about his work on “The Jungle Book”

Animator, Floyd Norman was named a Disney Legend in 2007. His first feature for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. He worked under Walt’s personal supervision on story sequences for “The Jungle Book”. In 1997, Norman moved to Pixar Animation Studios where he joined the story crew for “Toy Story 2” and “Monsters, Inc.”. He continues to work for The Walt Disney Co. as a freelance consultant on various projects. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Floyd about “The Jungle Book” and working personally with Walt Disney.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what it is like to see a film like “The Jungle Book” restored and presented on high definition Blu-ray?
Floyd Norman: It is delightful to know that people still appreciate this film. It continues to amaze us that worked on it nearly 50 years ago that it is still loved by audiences. It seems to have a life of its own and I love that.

MG: Have you seen it yet and if so how do you feel it looks having worked on it?
FN: I do not really see that much of a difference. I know that the film looks clean and pristine. The guys who did the restoration have done a terrific job, so no complaints there.

MG: You worked under Walt Disney’s personal supervision on story sequences including the song “Trust in Me”, tell us about that process?
FN: It was very simple [laughs]. In a way it was simple, yet also very complex. When I began working on this particular sequence, I was handed some rough notes from Larry Clemmons, who was credited on the film for the story. I called him our writer because he has an actual typewriter and that made him a real writer [laughs]. So he wrote me notes about the sequence and for this one it was going to be Mowgli’s meeting with Kaa the Snake. So that is pretty much all I got. We were told that Kaa was going to try and hypnotize him and then funny stuff would happen. So that is what I had to go with “funny stuff was going to happen”. I had to come up with that “funny stuff”. So like I said in one sense it was a very simple job as well as being very complex because we had to figure out what was that funny stuff and how was it going to happen. They just kind of turned you loose and let you do your job.

MG: How long did a scene like that take to complete?
FN: It is difficult to remember. I would say a few weeks, maybe three weeks to completely storyboard that sequence. That was considered normal during that time. I had no real rush because Walt Disney was either in Europe or working on other matters and wasn’t able to review it right away. So I definitely had amble time to work on it.

MG: Did you find that working directly with Walt Disney did you have any creative freedom or did you follow a set path?
FN: Oh no, I found that I had a good deal of creative freedom. Surprisingly more than I ever realized. I initially came in expecting to be told exactly want to do and that was not the case at all. I came in and they said “Here is the sequence and just go do it” [laughs]. So given very little guidance or direction, I just went off and did what I had to do. The good news was that whatever I did, they seemed to like it [laughs]. The main thing, and the most critical, was that Walt liked it. So as long as Walt likes it you are safe [laughs].

MG: Can you compare your work on “The Jungle Book” to some of your other earlier films including “Sleeping Beauty”, “The Sword in the Stone” and “Robin Hood”?
FN: It was actually totally different because on those films, I was actually working on the animation. For “Robin Hood”, I was an animator and didn’t do any storyboard work at all. It was just animation. Having said that, I feel that the story in “Robin Hood” was pretty terrible [laughs]. I can afford to say that because I didn’t story work on “Robin Hood” [laughs]. But I did have a lot to fun animating it. I worked on animation also with “The Sword in the Stone”. The cool thing about that project was that I got to work personally with Milt Kahl, who was acknowledged as being one of the finest Disney animators of all-time. Milt is a giant in the world of animation, so that was a big deal for me. I was still a kid when I worked with Milt; I was only in my 20’s. Milt was a tough guy but it was such a great experience.

MG: Unlike some animators you embraced the digital age by working at Pixar and definitely software for animation; tell how you feel animation has changed?
FN: Oh, there is no doubt that animation has changed. Once again, following in Walt’s philosophy, “You have to embrace change, not run from it”. When I saw what Pixar was doing, I thought that I had to work for these guys. So when the opportunity came for me to go to Pixar in 1997, I was ready to pack up and go. Not everybody was, mind you, Pixar was at that time not a well-known studio. They only had made one film, which was “Toy Story”. I think that you have to move forward as Walt believed “Don’t fight technology. Embrace it and learn how to use it”. That is what Pixar did and they are continuing to do that. Certainly that would have been what Walt would have done as well.

MG: Do you still do any animation for Disney today?
FN: No animation. But I have worked on Disney storybooks from time to time. As I have time I work on Disney projects. Generally, I wait for them to call me. I don’t go looking but every now and then someone will call me. I had the opportunity to work on an electronic device that they were developing. I asked one of the Vice President’s how did they get my name and they said “John Lasseter recommended you”. I do not think that you can do any better than that getting a recommendation from John Lasseter [laughs].

Choo Choo Soul’s Genevieve Goings talks about her work with Fisher-Price’s Little People

Genevieve Goings is known best for her role in the children’s music group Choo Choo Soul. They can be seen daily on Disney Junior with their catchy and fun yet educational kids songs. Choo Choo Soul released a CD of classic “Disney Favorites” earlier this year as well. She also started working with Fisher-Price and creating new music for their Little People brand. Genevieve took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again about her new gig at Fisher Price and her love for creating music.

FL Resident? Click here to enter to win tickets to an upcoming show for Choo Choo Soul in Miami, FL!

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us some background on how you got involved with Fisher-Price to write and produce brand new music for their Little People brand?
Genevieve Goings:  I was actually brought in by the incredibly smart and talented guy, Kevin Mowrer, who was consulting with Fisher Price on the re-branding of the iconic Fisher Price “Little People”. The Little People Brand has been around for 50 years, and is very well known, so they wanted to build on that by creating new characters with distinct personality traits. They put in a ton of work and are excited to introduce – Eddie, Tessa, Mia, Sofia and Koby! These wonderful characters are celebrated in their own ways, and all of us are sure to find a bit of ourselves in one, if not all of them! Fisher-Price really wanted music to be a big part of the re-branding, and that is where I came in. My first order of business was a to write a theme song for the overall brand. So we started from there and it sort of expanded into more work as we kept brainstorming and having a blast..

MG: Tell us a little bit about the characters?
GG: We decided to give each character their own song that explained their personality. Eddie want to run and jump and zoom everywhere. Tessa is the twirling ballerina, the girlie girl. Sofie loves art. Koby is super silly. Mia is shy and quite and likes to collect things. All these characters are really cool and have their own distinct personalities. I think that kids playing with them will find one that they relate to as well. They are on YouTube right now for everyone to enjoy and you can also visit Fisher Price’s website to learn more.

MG: What do you have planned next with Fisher Price?
GG: I am so excited to announce that The Fisher-Price “Little People” have their very own animated web-series on YouTube! I scored the episode as well as writing the original songs within the show. I am also the voice of the teacher, Miss Hugg! Miss Hugg is sweet and very fun. She is a super cool teacher and is in charge, but is so nice and has a little bit of magic to her. While the children go out on their discovery adventures, she is there to keep an eye on them. She is musical and definitely sings while creating some magic around their discoveries. I am working on other interactive media for them as well, more coming soon!

MG: You wrote, recorded and produced these new songs, what was your most challenging aspect?
GG:  We say if it is not broken, don’t fix it right? So with Little People they are already so iconic and Fisher Price is the epitome of children’s toys. So I just wanted to make sure that it was really something great. So I tried to think outside of the box but also remain true to the brand and the company’s values. There was a little pressure in finding that perfect blend. They have been so awesome to work with since they do want to push the envelope a little bit outside of what is “traditional” music. But as you know, that is kind of what I do, which is create contemporary kids music that is kid cool and parent approved [laughs].

MG: Do you tap into your inner child to create these songs?
GG: Oh yeah! Absolutely. My song writing process is hysterical. I have my two dogs with me that total about 30 pounds together. So I will start like I am just singing to them. Then I am dancing around and I have to think about if this would be fun to perform. I think if it is fun to listen to and also sing along to. When I write a song, I try and think about a child singing it. That is my goal to have that resonate with them and have them wanting to sing them after hearing it.

MG: I know you are touring with some shows this Fall, do you get to play your new Disney Favorite as well as your classic tracks from Choo Choo Soul?
GG: Yes, we do a mix of both. We do our Choo Choo tracks and also the Disney classics, since we don’t want to move too far from our train theme. We just did this great gig in Boston and we had backup dancers and we had these amazing big dance numbers to “Be Our Guest” and Under the Sea” and it was really fun! So keep an eye out on our “Events” tab on Facebook as we may be coming to a town by you.

MG: Tell us something cool about yourself that your fans may not know?
GG: Cool question! I actually write for Disney English, which is a school in China that teaches English as a second language. I have been writing for them for over four years and have done over 100 songs for them. This is like a whole other realm that I have been working on. It is so much easier to learn to speak another language if you can sing it. So that is something that has been a really amazing growing opportunity for me. It is such an interesting way to right songs. I am given a vocabulary and the words that I need to incorporate into the songs. I am also told that I am only able to use those words since its the only ones they know in English…and to make it song like a song from “Aladdin” [laughs]. So I get amazing assignments like that. I also wrote an entire phonics program for them to learn through sounds. I know they started airing these on Disney Junior France. So I am happy for others to get a chance to see these finally.

MG: Any more music projects in the works?
GG: I have thinking about doing my own project for a while. I have been doing this for other company, which has been absolutely amazing. I have covered tons of great topics ranging from vegetables to jumping to counting with Choo Choo Soul. We have the emotional expression songs about twirling, loving art and not being afraid to be shy with Little People. So there are a few other topics available [laughs]. I am going to be working on some songs and releasing them individually. I reached out a while ago on various social media sites and asked parents what were some of song topics that they wished we available and some great responses. That is the beauty of today’s media is that you can do stuff like this now without a big record label. So that will be coming up soon and I will definitely keep you posted Mike to share with your readers.

MG: I just wanted to close with saying “Thank You” because my daughter loves your music so much!
GG: Oh thank you, that’s so sweet. It’s amazing to just think how long it has gone. I do not think that Disney had in mind that it was going to last this long. Somehow though, with that combination of trains, the awesome animation and the music is really working out. We have such a blast performing and hope to continue for many more years to come.


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World Champion Magician, Lance Burton talks about his work on “Oz The Great and Powerful”

Lance Burton is one of the greatest stage Magicians of the past century. He has starred in numerous TV specials including “Lance Burton Magic Magician: The Legend Begins”, which aired in 1996 on NBC. His show “Lance Burton Master Magician” opened at the brand new Monte Carlo Hotel in the Lance Burton Theatre also in ’96. He has also performed over 15,000 shows throughout his 30-year career in Las Vegas. Today Lance Burton is happily retired and is currently working on a number of documentary and narrative film projects. Lance was also Magic Advisor on Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful” and taught magic to James Franco on the film. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lance about his role on the film.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how did you get involved with the production “Oz the Great and Powerful”?
Lance Burton: I got a call from Grant Curtis, one of the producers on “Oz”, a few years ago and he explained that they were doing. He told me about this character, which was a stage magician and they were looking for someone to help with the magic. So I asked for the script to see what they were talking about. I read it and I just fell in love with the project. I thought it was just fantastic. I flew out to Michigan where they had the operation setup and I met with Grant and Sam Raimi. Sam explain his concept of the film to me and introduced me to all the people involved with the film. From there we just went to work.

MG: How was it working with James Franco and teaching him some tricks?
LB: I met with James for a day or so and worked with him on a couple of slide of hand tricks, a couple of months out and I gave him some homework to do. Then we all moved out to Michigan. The good thing was that we had about two weeks before filming started to practice every day. So we had a regular rehearsal schedule to work on the magic that was going to be throughout the film. So since we had a couple of weeks before filming started, that became very valuable time. James didn’t have any prior education with magic but he is a fantastic actor and that is about 90% of the battle. Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic, has said that his classic definition of a magician is “an actor playing the part of a magician”. Sam wanted the magic to be authentic and he wanted James to play the role as a magician. Sam wanted to me to work with him on the way that he carries himself, as well as the magic. The flare of a magician, both on-stage and off-stage. So I worked with him on little flourishes that he can incorporate into different scenes. When I was on-set, I was able to chime in and throw out ideas during shoot, which was great.

MG: For you being the one always having performed the magic; how was it being on the other side of it?
LB: It is a completely different type of satisfaction. When you go out and do a show, whether it is live or a TV show, you do a good job and you feel good. In this case, I wasn’t the one performing it. But again when I saw the finished product, I felt very proud. I felt lucky to be able to contribute to this sure-to-be instant classic, “Oz The Great and Powerful”. It is almost like a pride that a parent feels about a child.

MG: How long would you say you worked on the film?
LB: We had a fun time. It was two weeks in preparation and then I was on the set for about a month during filming. I was there for the scenes in Kansas and then a little bit of when they get to Oz.

MG: What was your most memorable experience from your work on the film?
LB: I will tell you one thing to look for in the film, which was one of my most proudest moments. I had been teaching James how to twirl a cane between his fingers like a baton. I was thinking that this would be something usable that we can work into the film. The first time that he goes into Emerald City, goes into the throne room and sits on the throne, he picks up this scepter. In the script, it says Evanora is sitting there and is enraged. I thought “Ah, what if he twirled that scepter between his fingers?” I thought it would be very disrespectful and could help help get her enraged. So I went to the prop department to see the scepter. I asked them if there was anyway to make it a little longer and they said “Sure”. I talked it over with James and Sam and everyone seemed to like the idea. I wasn’t on the set when they filmed that scene but when I saw the film in theaters. I was very excited to see that twirl in the film.

MG: After this experience, do you see yourself taking on this role again?
LB: It was a very satisfying experience and it was very interesting work. “Oz” was such a huge hit. My prediction is that there is going to be a whole franchise.  So who knows what the future holds.


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Ian Somerhalder talks about his work with

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his role of Damon Salvatore on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries, which is gearing up for its fifth season this Fall. Besides acting Ian is very involved with various charities including The IS Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. He also recently got involved on the advisory board of, which is a website that is working to get young people to be engaged with the news. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian again about new role and what his fans can do to help.

Mike Gencarelli: Honestly Ian, I have to ask with being an actor, activist and co-founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation; what do you do to balance your time?
Ian Somerhalder: It’s easy. I am energized by all the love and enthusiasm and positive energy around me. I meet amazing people every day that blow my mind with their wisdom and ideas. I believe that I become part of everyone I meet and they all become part of me – so that’s a lot of energy churning around in one body! But I do love spending time with my family – they keep me grounded and there really is no greater source of comfort than being at home.

MG: How did you get involved on the advisory board of
IS: I’ve been friends with co-founders Bryn and David for years. The idea for RYOT came out of dozens of late-night conversations about the helplessness we all felt when reading the news. We wanted to find a way to make news empowering rather than depressing, so we spent a year building the site and launched it in October. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and see how many people love it and use it every day.

MG: The philosophy behind is that there are many ways to make a difference. How important is it for you to “make a difference”?
IS: RYOT’s founding principle is that everyone can make a difference. RYOT means “peasant” in Hindi and part of our inspiration was the MLK Jr. quote “A riot is the language of the unheard.” The way we see it, you don’t have to be rich or famous or an aid worker on the ground in Haiti or Africa to make a difference. There are ten thousand ways you can make an impact every day in your own community, or in many cases, right from your computer or phone. I try and make a difference by working on environmental issues: Supporting products that are sustainable and energy-efficient, and organizations/legislation that are working to preserve the planet. Taking action to help others is so important to our own fulfillment in life. We actually have a really great, recent article about this on, click here.

MG: Why do you feel that it is important for young people to be engaged with the news?
IS: This is our future we’re talking about! The more engaged we are, the better we understand other cultures and points of view, and the better our understanding, the more compassionate we are to others’ stories and struggles. Compassion is a necessity in this world, not a luxury.

MG: Tell us what your fans can do to help out with and ISF?
IS: We are always looking for volunteers who want to join the ISF family. We have an AMAZING team right now who work tirelessly to keep our mission moving forward and to educate the world about what we do. You can head over to to get in touch with us. You can make a HUGE impact by setting as your homepage. RYOT gives a portion of all revenue to non-profits so just by getting your news from RYOT and sharing stories, you’re making a difference. Last but not least, make sure to follow RYOT and ISF on social media! (@ryotnews, and @is_foundation,

Jon Zazula talks about his work with Megaforce Records and SuperStorm Sandy Benefit Concert

Jon Zazula affectionately known as Jonny Z by the heavy metal masses is a true living legend. As one of the founders of Megaforce Records,  Jonny and his wife Marsha are responsible for launching the careers of bands such as Anthrax, Testament and Metallica. Together with the Old Bridge Metal Militia Jonny and Marsha are putting on a benefit show in New Jersey to help people still feeling the effects of  Super Storm Sandy. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Jonny recently about his career in the business and how the idea of the benefit came about.

Adam Lawton: For those not familiar with your history can you tell us a little bit of how you first got exposed to the heavy metal music scene?
Jon Zazula: My wife Marsha and I started a record store in 1981 with only about $180.00 in our pockets. Six months later we already were up to about $60-$70,000 worth of merchandise from successful sales. Those sales brought in demo’s which resulted in Metallica coming to us. We contacted them and invited them to do 12 shows here in the NJ area as Marsha and I were also promoting shows. Metallica came and did those shows and from there we started talking about putting out a record. No one wanted to put this thing out so we decided to do it ourselves and started Megaforce Records. The label through its licensing and such has gone on to sell about 40 million records. We have worked with everyone from Metallica and Anthrax to Warren Haynes and Ace Frehley. We also had the pleasure of signing Kings X. That was one of the labels proudest moments were signing that band.

AL: Was your wife Marsha always in to what you were doing?
JZ: Marsha was knee deep in everything with me. When we decided to open the shop we were both working regular jobs and wanted to do something were we could at least make $500-$600 per week. We decided on buying and selling rare records and hoped we would make that money on the weekends at the store. From that everything just grew.

AL: Signing to Megaforce Records was really the first big step for Metallica. Knowing the band through their entire career how do you think they have evolved as a band?
JZ: The only way I think Metallica has evolved is that they have written more music and become fine craftsman at their tools. When I go and see Metallica these days I really don’t see much different from when we had the band. They are the same guys up on that stage and that’s what made them successful. They were the fans and the players and they never changed. I think now more than ever they resemble the band I first saw in the early 80’s.

AL: Can you tell us how the Benefit for SuperStorm Sandy Concert first came about?
JZ: Everything really started through Facebook. We just decided to get on their in December and we got in touch with the Old Bridge Metal Militia through there. They started talking about wanting to do some sort of reunion or party. Marsha and I talked about it after having this dream one night that really put things in motion. Marsha said “Let’s do it!” so we posted on Facebook “Let’s do it!” Things just blew up and we received between 200-300 comments. The line up for the show came together very fast as we have known Raven and Anvil for many years. They agreed to come and then Rockin’ Ray from the Old Bridge Metal Militia mentioned he would like to have The Rods perform. I didn’t even know they were still together. It took me about a week to track down Carl Canedy who is the drummer for The Rods and after a few days those guys agreed to be a part of things. We first looked at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park as a venue. That place holds about 800 people and we were looking to draw around 500. The date of May 11th got announced and we then signed on for a bigger venue in Freehold that holds 1,800 people. We didn’t know how we were going to fill it. Next thing I know I am talking with Eddie Trunk from “That Metal Show” about how

Twisted Sister were looking to do something like this in NJ. The next day I got a call from JJ French asking if we had room for them on the bill. Tickets have been selling well and even before we started promoting we had 800 tickets sold virally. We are now close to sold out. The other cool thing to come out of this at 12:55pm on the same night TT Quick will be doing a reunion show which is going to be just killer. Also the band Lord’s of Mercy who are opening that show are a great act as well. It is going to be one hell of a night!

AL: Where you and Marsha always aware of the Old Bridge Metal Militia?
JZ: Oh yeah. We have been aware of them from the very beginning. Rockin’ Ray always used to come in to Rock and Roll Heaven and by anywhere from 10-20 albums at a time. He would drop like $200 every Friday on records. We asked him one time what was going on and he invited Marsha and I to a party he was throwing. These parties ended up getting really big as they had this giant PA system that required them to pad the walls so the neighbors wouldn’t call the cops. These guys would have private shows in their basement with bands like Slayer and Metallica. Parts of Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning” album was written at Metal Joe’s house when the band was in town.

AL: How did the idea to make the show a benefit come about?
JZ: That was Marsha. She and I were always discussing what we could do for New Jersey as they had done so much for us. We decided to give the money to charity which made everyone happy. Everyone who is involved with this event is working for free. 100% of the profits made from this show will be donated directly to the people. We hope to raise around $50,000 and if we do we are going to do a bunch of $100 gift cards to Home Depot so people can take those and get the things they need to repair their homes. We are just going to knock on doors and give people these cards to help make repairs on their homes that were damaged during the storm.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the amazing raffles that also will be going on during the show?
JZ: People are going to be able to walk away with guitars like you have never seen. We have Tom Araya of Slayer’s signature bass signed by the entire band including the late Jeff Hanneman. We also have a couple custom Oktober Guitars up for raffle as well. Stuff has been coming in everyday. Just recently we received a Jackson guitar signed by Anthrax and last night we got word from Metallica that they also will be sending a signed guitar and Lars is sending a signed drum head. The people who win these raffles will have to sign a disclaimer stating they will not sell them on EBay the following day or they will need to be returned to the Old Bridge Metal Militia. We really don’t want to see this stuff selling on EBay the next day.

AL: Do you and Marsha see yourself getting back in to putting on shows again?
JZ: Well I have to tell you my mind is very fragile you see so we will have to see how we do during this show and take things from there. Bands and people are coming from all over the world for this thing. It’s a real throw back to how things were in the 80’s and I don’t think you will ever see another one like unless we do it again. You never know what Marsha and I may walk in to next.


Denise Crosby reflects about her work on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

Denise Crosby is best known for playing the roles of Security Chief Tasha Yar and Commander Sela in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. She was also the granddaughter of entertainer Bing Crosby. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Denise reflecting on the show and the fans support over the years.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on being a part of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” universe and it still being relevant today?
Denise Crosby: I feel like “Star Trek” is a much larger entity and we are all little pieces of it. It continues to reinvent itself generation by generation. You have a younger generation now discovering it for the first time, whether it is through their parents who watched it. It also continues to play endlessly on syndication and cable. It is ever present and never goes away. There are always fresh eyes seeing it for the first time. I think that is what keeps it new and exciting. I am always touched by the stories that I hear from people all over the world and how much the show means to the and how they were inspired by the characters. I am always fascinated by how many far reaching corners it has touched. All of that continues to keep it relevant.

MG: That describes me, I got a young daughter and I am started her young with the show [laughs]
DC: That’s what happens. You bring your kids into it. The beauty of it is that has become much more in the open and embraced by people. You are not hiding your Spock ears anymore and pulling them out on special occasions. People are able to be out of the “Trek-closet”, so to speak.

MG: You get to play two different roles in Security Chief Tasha Yar and also Yar’s own daughter, the half-Romulan Commander Sela; how was that aspect for you?
DC: It was really cool. I don’t know that anyone else has been able to do that. I mean, how many people can get to play their own daughter? Only in sci-fi, can you pull this off. It was great for me as well since I was actually very involved in creating that story line  It is wonderful to get a chance to continue being a part of this show. Fans were really delighted with that as well.

MG: What was it like working with such a legend as Gene Roddenberry?
DC: We were the lucky ones that were able to work with Gene and be a part of his vision. That was very thankful for all of us. He was a big cuddly teddy bear of a man. He was very protective of this franchise and all that it meant. He got how popular and how much it meant to the fans and he really embraced that. He also was very open with us. He wanted to know what our thoughts were and what our questions were. He wanted us to really define these characters and to help us do that in any way that he could.

MG: What made you getting involved with the “Trekkies” films?
DC: My thoughts always were that there is no “Star Trek” without the fans. It is the most symbiotic relationship with a television show that I have ever seen. There is something very unique and specific about being on one of the “Star Trek” shows. You enter into a world that is very exclusive. You can’t be talking about “Star Trek” without talking about the fans. I felt that the fans needed a voice. When set out to make the first “Trekkies” movie, the timing was perfect. It during the prime of sci-fi and comic books and it was suddenly cool to be a geek. The nerds were taking over. Everybody was a “Star Trek” fan and I felt the “Trek” fans needed a voice. I couldn’t believe that nobody had done this before. I just jumped on it, had no idea what I was doing, took a camera wherever I went and before I knew it…I had a movie.

MG: Any chance you would be making a new “Trekkies” film in the future?
DC: My partner, Roger Nygard, and I talked and we have some ideas. We really would like to do one more and make it a trilogy. It would be great to pass it on to the next generation with the JJ Abrams films and new fans. So we are hoping that we can do that in the near future.


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