Simple Steven [Artist]

Simple Steven3Here at Trainwreck’d Society, we are probably only slightly known for our support for the hip hop community.  While yours truly is a HUGE fan of hip hop music, especially the thought driven and lyrical bliss that can be accomplished in a simple 16 bars.  We’ve covered several hip hop acts, called out one artist as Person of the Year, and there is always a handful of hip hop albums on our end of year lists.  Still, it still feels like we don’t do enough.  That is exactly why I am so happy about this new feature.  I am so happy to (possibly) introduce one of the finest artist I have heard in so damn long, Simple Steven.

Somewhere in the vein of the Bodi, Sadistik, or Cas One….we shall find Simple Steven.  And this is not to say they have similar sounds, although they sort of do.  If anything they are similar in how different they are form everything you are used to hearing the hip hop world.  A Simple Steven song might be a bit less hook heavy when compared to his label mate Infidelix, and his lyrics a bit more complicated than fellow label mate Twitchy, and possibly not as dark in nature as the aforementioned Sadistik or Cas One.  So what does he sound like?  Exactly.  He sounds like Simple Steven.  He is man all on his own who has proven himself worthy of walking with the giants.  And walk he shall when he hits the road this summer in support of his new album Abandon All Anchors, which will be released August 5th, with the likes of DJ Abilities and Jake Spike.  And if the recently released music video for the album’s first single “Dormant” should act as a sign of how great this album and accompanying tour may be, you all are in for a real goddamned treat to say the least.

 

Simple Steven is, whether he knows it or not, a truly gifted lyricist by what almost seems like a birth right.  Should this brilliant young man decide to continue down a path guided by his ability to spit a flow that leaves your legs weak and mind fucking blown, he is almost guaranteed success and massive gratification.  There is little doubt in my mind that Abandon All Anchors will be a beautiful little building block that will piece together the beginnings of a very bright and definitely earned career for Simple Steven in the hip hop game.

 

Abandon All Anchors will be available on August 5th.  Check HERE for more details.  Also be sure to check out Simple Steven when he tours a city near you:

Simple Steven1

Herschell Gordon Lewis [Interview]

HGLAnd off we go again here at Trainwreck’d Society with another round with the world of horror.  But this time, we have something exceptionally wonderful for you fine readers.  True admirers of the world of horror should know exactly what I mean when you catch the name of who we are honored enough to have featured in our digital pages today.

Back in 1963 a little film called Blood Feast was released that truly shook the world.  Horror films had ben existence for decades before, but not quite like this.  The pure shock value of this film would lead independent filmmaker Herschel Gordon Lewis to be deemed “The Godfather of Gore”, a nickname he truly deserves as set forth with other great films like Two Thousand Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red.  Whether through splatter horror films or sexplotation romps, Herschel Gordon Lewis has had a long and historical career of creating films that simply entertain.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just good old fashion sex, violence, and hilarity.  And what more do we really need, sometimes?  Mr. Lewis took a bit of a hiatus from the film world, but returned in 2002 to direct the anticipated sequel to Blood Feast, and actually has a grand new project that is beginning production this summer entitled BloodMania, an anthology consisting of four parts.  One segment was co-written by HGB, and he is slated to direct two of them.  It is so exciting to see The Godfather back in his element, and this damn project has success written all over it.  Learn more HERE!

After such a long hiatus, how did it feel in 2002 when you got back into the director’s chair to make the sequel to Blood Feast you had always wanted to do?  Did it feel natural or nerve-racking? 

I had phantom-directed just about every film I viewed during that hiatus. The mind-set was ready and natural.

What do you believe it is about the exploitation genre that continues to have a large cult following among film buffs?  What makes them different from more mainstream films from the 60’s and 70’s, and even beyond?

Exploitation films grab attention, roughly and mercilessly, to the action rather than to the actors. Viewers feel they’re in a back-alley, sharing a primitive creative experience.

What sorts of things were going through your head when you decided to release Living Venus, which was extremely risqué for its time.  Where you ever nervous about how the public was going to take it?  Where you targeting an audience at all?

I had determined that for a production whose values couldn’t compete with polish, we could compete by showing a limited number of brave theatergoers the kind of visual experience in which they could envision themselves being immersed. That formula still exists.

HGB2What do you think it is that keeps your hit film Blood Feast a relevant work of horror art that his hailed and praised to this very day?

Blood Feast has been criticized for every facet of production from lack of acting talent to shoddy camera work. But no other film can match its place in motion picture history: it was the first of its kind. Those who see it today sometimes say what they don’t say after viewing a hundred-million-dollar product: they got their money’s worth.

If you were given $5 million dollars in 60’s to make a film, do you think you would have gone a different route with your work?  

You bet I would. But I wouldn’t be regarded as a pioneer.

In your personal opinion, what is an “independent film”?  And do you think there is any hope in revitalizing a fearfully dead way of making films?

An independent film is produced outside the sacred gates guarded by Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild and controlled distribution. Regrettably, since fewer and fewer theatres will book this type of product, the independent has to compete in the semi-closed world of DVDs. That means aping what the major companies do.

If you were to attempt to modernize any of your films from the past, which would you like to see done?  Furthermore would you even really want to do so?

I’d rather move forward. I have scripts that haven’t been produced yet, so why should I remake movies whose history is firm enough to resist re-making?

HGB1After several decades in the horror business, how do you feel about the obvious changes that have occurred in the world of film?  Are things better?  Worse?

Production is light-years easier. Distribution is light-years more difficult.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Opening a package of Gummi-Bears.

 

Be sure to stay up to date with Bloodmania at the film’s WEBSITE.  You can also film’s page on Facebook.

Rocket 3: Burn [Album]

Rocket 3 - BurnWhat do you get when you combine saucy lyrical goodness that is thicker than Taco Bell hot sauce with a delightful jingly jangly pop/rock sound that can induce bouts of joy at any given moment?  Well, I would say you would easily have the Rocket 3’s debut album Burn in all its greatness.  I’ve covered a whole bunch of great pop rock groups from across the pond that I adore and admire, but this time I am able to display a beautiful new group right from my old stomping grounds of Portland, Oregon.  Their sound is as delightful as old Hot Hot Heat song, just a bit milder, and all the better I might add.

Burn might be a very perfect and fitting title for the speed and pleasantry this album can bring you.  The songs are quick, anthemic, and just a whole lot of fun to listen to.  By the time I made it to “Good Enough”, I knew I was going to be hooked on this wonderful threesome just as much as I have been on the Pastime Records crew over in Exeter.  The sounds are very similar, but definitely quite different.  Rocket 3 is a band that hits hard with sometimes bass heavy riffs that bring to mind some of the sort of pop punk that established itself as a mainstay in the mid 90’s.  With all of these different types of sounds being mixed together like a wonderful seafood gumbo, it seems as though it might be something very easy to screw up.  But, Rocket 3 did far from that.  With their wonderful ingenuity and obvious talent, this is a band that seems to know all the right cards to play, and have laid down a wonderful hand with their debut album Burn.

From what I have gathered, Rocket 3’s front woman, Ramune, is relatively new to the music game.  But, you would never be able to tell with the way she slams the electric guitar down with the greatest of ease, and provides a beautiful line of vocals that are just oh so damn appealing.  Rocket 3 is definitely not a band to sleep on, and I am certain the future will prove this to be a solid truth when the world gets ahold of Burn, and is sure to fall in love after just one listen.

Burn will be available for purchase November 4th.  Stay in touch with the band on their Facebook Page.  Be sure to discover where they are performing one of their magnificent live shows near you! 

Diane Franklin [Interview]

DF_070The 80’s were obviously a sort of silly time in history when it comes to the world of film and pop culture.  Of course, in retrospect doesn’t every decade have some hilarious little quips that we make fun of once time has passed?  Each decade has that band or that film or what-have-you that probably wouldn’t work in any other decade.  One great thing that the 80’s had, was some pretty stellar babes in the acting world!  And I like to think that a beautiful and talented actress is timeless!

And few actress embody this spirit as the wonderful actress Diane Franklin!  As the star of such classic 80’s films as The Last American Virgin, Better Off Dead, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, she is on par with the likes of other 80’s babes like Molly Ringwald, Jennifer Jason Lee, etc.  And even more so to me personally, as I absolutely loved this woman (well, in the 90’s, while I was watching 80’s movies) more than all the rest after I saw her in Better Off Dead.  Now that was timeless smoking hotness!!  And I am pleased to see that Diane has continued to work in one way or another, even with a bit of down time in between gigs. I was very interested in seeing what exactly she had going on these days, so I am so pleased to announce that this brilliant actress agreed to have some fun with us and answer a few questions.  So Ladies and Gentlemen….Diane Franklin!

 

I have come to understand that besides acting, you have also studied biochemistry, which is definitely a very cool and different thing to hear of an actress doing.  Tell us, what draws you to the world of biochemistry?  Do you find any similarities to the world of acting?

If you had asked me in college if there were similarities between my interest in science and acting, I probably would have said none except for the fact that one day I may play the role of a doctor. But, today? Yes! I see so many connections that, as you know at Trainwrecked, it has taken me a while to get back to you. In essence, my approach to acting has always been somewhat scientific.
When I started acting at the age of ten, industry professionals frowned upon drama training. It was thought to make kids stiff and unnatural. I still, however, had to figure out a way to memorize lines and connect. So, the first thing I needed to do was find a method (or process). Adult actors were trained at the time to work from the “inside-out.” I, of course, didn’t know this. I had to figure out something on my own. Something that made sense to me, and that I could connect with. My own method. I worked from the “outside-in”. I would look for a real person who I thought represented the role.
Which brings me to my next scientific/acting love: analysis. I have always enjoyed breaking characters. What makes this character the way she is? What does the she do? What doesn’t she do? The funny thing is, I remember thinking like this since I was little. Maybe 5. It found it fun! I would watch TV without the sound and think, ”Is this person believable? Why? Or why not?”
Then comes the actual practice or experimentation, which involves hard work, creativity and spontaneity, all of which, I really enjoy. I just love the feeling of when I am in the moment so much, that I don’t remember acting at all. That’s when I know it’s right. And of course, with every experiment, (or scene) there is the potential of a discovery. It’s so cool to bring written words to life, and then push further to perhaps create a role that goes beyond words.
Yet, with all these scientific tools, I still am drawn to human nature. My personal passion is to express human emotion, heart, energy, instincts, and share it with others. So, I guess looking back I didn’t changed my scientific interest or give up on my acting dreams. I just found a way to make them work together.

In your own recollections and opinions, what do you believe it is about pop culture in the 80’s that has kept it a relevant metaphorical being to this day and age?

Every generation gets its time to be the role model for a younger generation. Today, the 80s generation is middle-aged and now in the limelight. What does this mean?! 80s music is back! 80s celebrities are being celebrated! 80s fashion is back in style! But perhaps, the most interesting callback is the VALUE of 80s culture!! Yes, TOTALLY!! The 80s was a time of freedom, self-expression and well…fun! There was an excitement to growing up. Not panic. There were work opportunities, so you could move out of the house at 18 and support yourself. Being different was in, and holding your own was important. Assertively sexy women were admired. (OK, maybe not when they were wearing power suits and sneakers) And there was an open, (and yes tolerant attitude) towards drugs, sex and abortion, (which ironically were areas one had to be a real adult to navigate.) Today, to my surprise, things are not the same. I think economics have a lot to do with it. The 80s adult generation looks back and thinks, “What happened? Where did all the freedom go?” Well luckily, we at least have totally excellent 80s films to remind us to keep having fun;)

LAV 25What do believe it is that keeps so many of the films (i.e. The Last American Virgin, Better Off Dead, etc.)  you did during that time so relevant to this very day, as they have proven to be?

The Last American Virgin was made in the early 80s. It is the perfect example 80’s fashion, 80’s fun and 80’s realism. If you watch the film and it makes you feel uncomfortable, it should. It was not made for entertainment. It was made to speak to speak the truth of teen heartbreak. That truth is the cake of 80’s films and is what grips us today. The upbeat, colorful, fun style of 80s films is the icing. Put a candle on it and you’ll see the passion and fire that went into the filmmaking;) Better Off Dead was mid 80s, breaking the sexist mold and suddenly giving the audience an option to watch a teen film without sex in it. This word of mouth iconic hit eventually brought it’s style to television, with Danny and Savage at Nickelodeon, producing The Amanda Show, iCarly, Drake and Josh and Zoey 101. Entertainment could now make live action staged as cartoons, using double entandres that were used in all the classic cartoons. Finally, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Now in 1989, here is a film that not only homage’s the 80s, while being made in the 80’s! Bill and Ted bring the Spicoli character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High back. Teen films in the 80’s were about friends and Bill and Ted where friends you wanted to hang with. I totally get that!

You released an autobiography in 2012 entitled The Excellent Adventures of The Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80’s.  What compelled you to write this book?  Can you give us a bit of a preview if you would?

I decided to write this book off several realizations. One, Paul Newman. Famous actor or salad dressing? It all depends on the generation you grow up in. I know him as both. I realized that fame is relative to the people that know you, so I thought I better put this book out fast! Second, I originally was going to save all my memorabilla for my kids, but then I realized I will always be mom to them (as I should be!), so then I thought “OK, I better write all this down before I forget!”. Third, I wanted to make a book I could be proud of, that told the truth about my life and my experiences. I wanted it to be the kind of book a college student could use as a primary source on the 80s, and it didn’t have to be boring. And I wanted to make sure it was written in my cadence, like I was taking to you at a coffee house after having an espresso, AND that the book expressed my upbeat personality and point of view.

Another interesting venture you have gotten into is broadcasting.  Can you tell us a bit about your show Babes of the 80’s?  How did the idea for this show come around (besides being a total babe from the 80’s)?

One day I was contacted by Cult Radio A Go-Go to do an interview, and it went so well they asked me if I ever thought of hosting a show. I think they probably thought that I would only want to do one, but I had this really cool idea and I think they were kind of surprised. In the 80’s there were so many beautiful and talented teen actresses. I would generally see the same girls at each audition, but never get to know them because we would be competing for the same role. Yet, I have always had such respect for my peers because in order to be a teen actress you had to be a combination of smart, vulnerable, dedicated and hard working. There is not one actress from the 80s that did not work really hard to stay in it, and these young actresses each made very cool contributions to film and television. So I pitched them Diane Franklin: Babes of the 80s, wrote a sample script and they totally got it! I wound up doing 4 shows including such 80’s babes as Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, E.G. Daily, Betsy Russel, Claudia Wells, Jennifer Runyon, Laura Leigh Hughes and Mary Wornov and Kimmy Robertson. I even did a dude special with Curtis Armstrong, Christopher Atkins and Rex Smith. My next vision is to bring from radio to live action, but for now the shows can be heard on Sound Cloud under CRAGG.

BOD 11When you look at back on your career as an actress, what do you believe to be your overall greatest accomplishment?

There are moments as an actress, when you do something that is beyond what you think you can do. Some of the greatest acting I ever did was in screen test. I think this is because a lot was on the line and I really had to give my all. There is no better feeling as an actress to memorize your lines, know your character inside and out, and then just be in the moment. When I don’t even remember performing, because I was just being, that is the best. Reading for network executives and producers for SummerGirl was like that. I came out of the audition feeling like I knew my character so much more than anyone else in the room. It was cathartic. That feeling also happened with getting the role of Monique Junet in Better Off Dead. I knew the character of Monique so well; I could improvise being her in any situation. Of course, that still does not get you the role. You get the role when the director, producers, financiers all agree that you are what they want. So that said, I would have to say my accomplishment was GETTING the role of Monique, because convincing that many people that the role I want is what they should want is an accomplishment!

Your daughter has begun making her own way in the film world, in front of and behind the camera.  What is some advice you have given her to help guide her in her own direction?

The one thing I have always told my daughter is “trust your gut.” You know when something is right and when it is not. This goes for career, relationships, school, and friends.

What is one portrayal you have yet to do, but would absolutely love to?

For drama, I’d love to play a leader. This could be in the form of a doctor, teacher, investigator, commander, or even mom. Someone faces their fears and deals with problems using bravery and insight. I know I would bring great depth to this kind of role on the comedic side; I’d also love to play a “Mrs. Robinson” type character. Someone who brings sexuality and fun into being an older woman! AND if possible, as a celebrity, I would LOVE to host Saturday Night Live!

B&THjpegSo what does the future hold for you?  Any new projects in the work you would like to talk about?

I presently completed a role in my daughter’s newest film project, Devon Bright and the Sensitive Boys. It is a boy band parody and I play a crazy stage mom! VERY fun and she wrote a hilarious script. Olivia (DeLaurentis) writes, directs, acts and edits her films. She just turned 18 and the one to look out for! She is just…amazing. We will be submitting this film to film festivals, but in the meantime you can catch some comedy sketches she is doing with a friend on Funny or Die under Barely Legal Comedy. Other shorts and trailers she has done (and some of which I am in also) are on You Tube: Agouraphobia, My Better Half, Humanized, Lovechild, Recruiting Violations Olivia, Royal Effups, and Dad (llama), which has a baby llama in it;)

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Swashed in bed with my family, cat and dog, watching Ghost Adventures. ;)

Pawns or Kings: Pomme de Terre [Album]

Pawns and Kings - Pomme de TerreAh, yes.  Americana.  A genre of music that is no stranger to us here at Trainwreck’d Society.  I mean, we are a site that is centered around a train, right?  What is more symbolic of Americana life than a train headed out to nowhere?  Well, I will tell you – the damn Ozark mountains!  Just as there may have never been real “blues” without the days down in the Delta, there may have never been true Americana/Folk music without those truly talented folks hiding out in the Ozarks and the Appalachians.  And I believe I may have just discovered one of the finest acts to pour out of those majestic midwest mountains.  Allow me to introduce the immaculately talented group Pawns or Kings, and their brilliant new album Pomme de Terre!

Pomme de Terre is an album that has been long overdue.  A series of tragedies and misfortunes kept these sweet tunes out of our grasp for quite some time, but the diligence and determination of Pawns or Kings proved to be much stronger than any sort of damnation could be.  Now we are fortunate enough to have tracks like “Names and Maps”, “Shadow of a Man”, “Late Have I Loved”, and so many more, right at our disposal when in need of some seriously amazing new age folk goodness.  Somewhere between the new age obsession with simple folk music and the glory days of simpler times on a front porch somewhere out in the Ozarks is exactly where you will find a band like Pawns and Kings.  Each song is a beautiful story.  Each song is a treasure!

With so many things obviously wrong with the land in which I came, it is so great to hear a truly gifted Americana act.  To have this brand of music associated with Americanisms is a true gift.  Especially when a band like Pawns and Kings is out there to perfect it so brilliantly.  And with Pomme de Terre, these geniuses from the back country have not only created one of the finest Americana albums of 2014, but one of the finest albums in general.

Pomme de Terre will be officially released on July 25th, but head on over to the band’s Facebook page to find out how you can listen to it right now!

Brian Vander Ark [Interview]

brianvanderarkAs a kid growing up in the 90’s, there were some very important folks in the world of music that entirely embodied what it meant to be a rockstar and an artist all at the same time.  I’m sure every generation has this feeling, but this one is mine dammit, and it is all I know.  I have actually grown into adulthood during a strange time when I still clearly remember the joy of rushing off the mall each Tuesday for New Release day, but have grown into the digital age where “streaming” and “downloading” is real and undeniably convenient. It has been a rather strange and savage ride to this point, but there are some obvious perks.  One of them being that I still get to hear wonderful groups from my childhood days rocking out, and being thoroughly loved by the next generation.  And one group that completely embodies this wonderful spirit is definitely The Verve Pipe, including the diligently hard working frontman Brian Vander Ark.

Brian Vander Ark may very well be one of the last great lead singers of our time.  If you have ever had the chance to see him and his equally talented and entertaining crew perform, you should know what I am talking about.  When you see The Verve Pipe, you are seeing a SHOW!  Watching Brian and crew perform is as far from simply watching a few dudes play songs you heard on the radio as it can possible get.  It is electrifying, to throw out some good old fashion cliques, and a phenomenal experience.  If you haven’t had the chance to catch a viewing, you are definitely in luck!  The Verve Pipe recently released their first adult-oriented album in 13 years, and will definitely be touring the hell out of this album!  That is not to say that they haven’t already been performing all over the world for so many years past.  But now we have even more tunes to love and enjoy!

So, we are extremely proud to announce that Brian Vander Ark agreed to chat with us a bit about his experiences as a musician, the upcoming album, and why he REALLY needs some damn sleep!  Check it out!

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician? 

3rd grade – I got my first guitar and learned “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” by Glenn Campbell.

What were some inspirations that led you to this world?

My older brother played guitar, which was very inspirational.

With you being a long time musician, and an obvious professional, I have to ask – How do you feel the music industry has changed since entering the digital world?  Is it better or worse, would you say?

Much better in most ways.  I enjoy the immediacy of the digital delivery.  I also think that file sharing has helped spread the word on my music for years.  It’s helped me grow my fan base immensely.  Although I do still buy and enjoy vinyl.

The Verve Pipe’s live performances are absolutely stellar, some of the most fun I have personally watched happen.  Tell us, what makes a great show for you?  

The audience is usually the key to a great show, but some times the crowd is light.  And when that happens we always try to rise above it.  Those people took time out, paid a babysitter, and chose to spend the evening with us.  I take that very seriously.  As long as everyone in the band keeps that in focus, and stresses that we are there to ‘entertain’, we will rock.  What sort of ingredients goes in the mix of a successful gig?    Honestly?  A couple of drinks loosens things up.  People play a little more relaxed, in the pocket of the beat.  There’s less urgency to it, and that can be a good thing.  Having a great setlist helps as well.  And not eating at least 3 hours prior to the gig.

TVP_2014_BandPhoto_HRZ_1920pxWhat was it like having a track like “Freshman” hit number one?  Where you surprise by how insanely popular it became?

I don’t remember being all that ‘surprised’, though it was a good feeling.  Actually it only felt good for about a minute or two.  I immediately started worrying about the follow-up.

How did you manage to get involved with the 2001 film Rock Star?  What made you want to get into the world of acting on top of being a prized musician? 

I was asked to write something ‘Seattle-esque”.  I read the script and wrote 2 songs.  One was supposed to have a lot of gay innuendo, since the lead singer was coming out in the movie.  That song was called “Mother Load”.  It was really awful, and it was clear that EMI was not into it at all.  But Colorful followed that one on the demo tape, and they were very excited about it.  As far as acting, it seemed like it would be fun.  I spent so much time in my trailer, however, that it was very boring.  Although I did write most of the songs from Underneath during that down time.

It has been 13 years since The Verve Pipe’s last adult oriented release.  But, How did it feel to get back in the studio in such a manner?  And what can fans expect to hear on the new release?  

It felt really good to be working with the band again.  I was interested in producing this time out, and having that control was odd at first, but very liberating as well.  Once everyone was on board with it, things started to flow nicely.  Fans seem to really love the record, which surprised me a bit, because I was under the impression that everyone wanted Villains 2.

How did you manage to hook up with actor Jeff Daniels to work on the title track for Overboard?  

Jeff and I met a few years ago.  We share an admiration for each other’s work.  He’s another Michigan guy.  Very accessible, helluva work ethic, like me.  He’s a tremendous story teller, or at least knows a good one.  I imagine that’s how he chooses the work he gets involved in.  So when I sent him the idea, I was looking for his opinion of the story, which he seemed to really like.  He had a lot of great suggestions and wrote come terrific lyrics for it.  Most of all, he helped me with the ending.  It just didn’t make sense the way that I had it.  It was unfocused, unfinished and he helped finish it.

The Verve Pipe - OverboardWe always have to ask this one:  Where do you keep your platinum record?  

Our piano/bar/music room.  Very manly in there, with books and cigars and bourbon.  My favorite room in the house – I love it.

So what else does the future hold for you personally, as well as The Verve Pipe?

I’m hoping sleep!  Trying to get on the road with the band as much as possible.

What was the last thing that made you smile?    

Thinking about that answer I just gave you about getting some sleep.

Tony Watt [Interview]

Tony WattSometimes, it is great to be weird.  Sometimes it is so much fun to be strange.  But to be weird and strange, that is when shit just gets beautifully complicated.  One of the most wonderful things about the world of film is that it can be a forum for truly talented people to celebrate the weird and the strange.  And I can think of very few filmmakers who have managed to showcase how delightful the deranged and demented can look on film than legendary indie filmmaker Tony Watt.

Tony Watt is a guy who has made some films that would make Lloyd Kaufman seem like Stanley Kaufman, or John Waters seem like Steven Speilberg making another movie with Tom Hanks as yet another lovable asshole.  Watt’s filmography is littered with nothing less than some of the most creative and bizarre scenarios that will leave you wondering:  Is there something wrong with me for really loving this sick shit?  The answer is no.  Celebrate the weird!  Celebrate the strange!  And on that note, I am very happy that we got to ask a few questions from this amazing multi-media mastermind.  Ladies and Gentlemen…..Tony Watt!

So much of your work is build around an obvious love for all things bizarre.  Frankenpimp and Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter alone sound incredibly strange and awesome just by the title.  Tell us if you would be willing to answer a simple but maybe complex question…..How do you come up with this shit?

-Before the Internet— I wanted to become a rock star, or a cartoonist…. I thought that the miracle of Film-making came like magic, to an elite, lucky few in  Hollywood,  U.S.A. ,from God’s personal blessing  (When film equipment, analog film-editing & analog sfx, was more expensive; pre-YouTube days…) I covered all  this ephemera, in my book Kount Kracula’s Twisted Sinema,available on Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com..and the finer e-book stores, near you (*Smiles*).

…As movie influences; my mom & Raymond, my Dad; used to throw laundry on top of me and my younger my brother, in the back seat of their car & sneak us into the Jamaican ‘Harbour View’ Movie Drive-In, to see a Mainstream & sometimes Exploitation movies. I remember them gently pushing my & my brother’s head down & telling us to go to sleep, whenever a titty scene came on).

In the late-70s & ’80s  on theToronto-based, Elwy Yost hosted the Magic Shadows public television, movie showcase series [ I viewed such cinematic ephemera, like Mighty Joe Young, 'Animal Farm & Buster Crabbe's 'Flash Gordon..etc..] and regular American tv shows [Like Adam West's Batman, Redd Foxx's Sanford & Son, Gabe Kaplan's Welcome Back, Kotter'Starsky & HurchWhat's Happenin', Diff'rent Strokes, The Dukes of Hazard, Elizabeth Montgomery's Bewitched & Lee Major's Six Million Dollar Man... Britain's Red Dwarf and the Monty Python series...etc..], as well as the WUTV Buffalo U.S.A.-based (and Canadian seen) Creature Feature and Sci-Fi Theater’ afternoon Showings of Japan’s Mothra, Godzilla and Gamera-type movies.

Thankfully, in the early 2000’s when I was just starting out in film; I was able to transfer my expensive  analog-based film-making footage efforts to the cheaper digital medium (and to also edit in that electronic medium (as analog film editing took way longer and infinitely more expensive). I think my film-making is an amalgamation of my self-taught, self interest ‘sequential arts’ studies.

Tony Watt2What is it about the bizarro category that intrigues you?

-As a kid-to- teenager in the 70s & 80s ( when an average kid’s meager disposable cash was only able to go so far, towards, say 45 vinyl records..candy & comic-books ), I had a $1.50-$2.50 weekly allowance.Thankfully I wasn’t interested in video games.

And with such a meager allowance; personally going to movies, in the local mall-theaters, was a rarity. So I really wanted to focus become an animator, or cartoonist… moviemaking thoughts were a million miles away…though I fancied acting very much…even took courses….anyhow, lost the plot..where was  I..oh, drawing became my main hobby.

I only needed a pencil and clean paper, to be a happy boy….. But, my art skills then, were OK for impressing my friends with sketchy porno & Hulk drawings…but, as far as being professional , I was far below par. And also, I had many artistic focuses, in music, acting, writing,,drawing… which pissed off my hard-working, blue-collar father to no end.

…But, I could afford comic-books…. kept drawing for years…. trying to create better form.. studying the art books and looking through various comics helped me find my own personal style…… I prowled flea-markets and got a lot of the classics, near classics and non-classics…. My early artistic entertainment mostly came from  comic-book reading (mostly compiled from my mom’s brother: Uncle Charlie who had a lot of Cracked Eerie & Mad magazines, as well as DC, Charlton & Marvel Comics…My mom’s sister Aunt Jill, had a lot of Harvey , Disney & Archie stuff) & I dug  reading Sunday Paper Funnies (a lot of it [the Weekend Newspaper Color Comic Strips] were collected & compiled together and placed inside each other, like a huge ash-can comic, minus staples), gotten from my  Grandma Gwendolyn[aka Precious], who over months, slipped them all into one honkingly huge comic-strip omnibus, and also  , who I credit, as being very  integral in fueling my artistic hunger (as well as being the real creator of the trade‘graphic-novel’) *Laughs*…

…The comic 70′s and 80′s color weekend strip pages were larger, and more colorful than today’s—- & had many, many ‘genres’ in those days. …. not just the funny sitcom stuff.

In the late- 1970s, I had a buddy, in Brampton Ontario, Canada; named Stuart, who’s older brother Collected Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, & Gilbert Shelton…mostly  ’60s-70′s ‘Underground’ stoner comix…And my mom had her crazy Mickey Spillane & Harold Robbins books… Good times!

.. In school, I also loved reading biographies, Mark Twain, Dickens, Southern USA & West Indian folklore and Norse / Greek mythology books( as well as the epic tales from the King James’ children’s bible) ..so you see, before films: books, t.v. and comics where my main source of entertainment and storytelling influences) …. Even more so, when VCRs came in, in the 1980s…But, I’d say mostly comics…mainly Heavy Metal Magazine..I’d put on a cassette of Zeppelin, Queen , Pink Floyd, or Genesis, or whatever..and slip away.
..Later, as a teen; (in the mid-80s to Early ’90s), before I dropped cartooning,& grew my hair long, to start rock bands, for chicks.  I studied almost every major comic creator (even from old 50’s E.C. & Gold Key Comics), from Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko, Carl Banks, Frank Miller, to Engand’s 2000 A.D. Magazine‘s Alan Moore and Alan Davis, to Heavy Metal Magazine‘s Jean Giraud (aka Mœbius), Philippe Druillet, Richard Corben & Simon Bisley…. so, to answer your question about my intrigue, about the bizarro category…. I look at my film  projects as living comic books… Something to take you out of this serious world for an hour and a half..or , in the case of my comic books : 20 minutes, to  half hour,

…When I firmly decided to become a comic ‘creator’, back then (in the late-70s), as a kid; I first looked through a lot of related ‘artist’ books at the local library….Walt Disney, Frank Frazetta, Chester Gould, Al Capp, Walt Kelly, Milt Caniff, Alex Raymond & Burne Hogarth (etc.) stuff was the amongst first  library books that I borrowed, based on art ( I was hooked on the sci-fi fantasy world within the worlds and  works the artists created)…Their fine art, in the comic strip & book  medium (Hogarth and Raymond’s Tarzan & Flash Gordon), really took me to other worlds; that I saw in the movie theater (My mother took me to a lot of Johnny Weissmuller ‘Tarzan’ movies, in a velvet-curtained theater… which was awesome) in the early-mid 70s.

In turn, from these cartoonists’ initial influences (as well as EC/DC/Marvel/Charlton & 60s-70s underground comix), inspiring my late 80s and ’90’s foray into creating  T&A fantasy comics, for various Canadian ‘gentlemen’s’ adult magazines..up to my own recent ’10s indie graphic-novel output..like: Code Name: King, Bird of Steel and also my Space Chick & Nympho:Vampire Warrior Party Girl comix series (all upcoming , or available on Amazon, BarnesAndNoble .com and others of the finer e-book stores near you, Sir, don’cha know!?* laughs*).

I know you are probably sick of explaining this, but I have to ask…..Where does the nickname “Tex” derive from?

- I served in the U.S. AIR FORCE , in Fort Worth Texas, a while back…..and that….

…. So, when I came back to Canada, ‘Tex’ the nick-name stuck…It’s a hell of a lot better than ‘Toronto’, I guess.

What was not so insane, but still strangely brilliant was your 2009 Documentary, Dobbie Dobson: An Interview with Jamaica’s Music Ambassador.  This seems like such a stretch from your normal works.

I believe folklore culture is important in all societies… even the mindless smut I create, takes a lot of personal  research into getting a drift, on anything I’m writing about script wise, and that..

… A lot of the vintage West Indian ‘music scene’ is not documented, very well…Especially seeing from my research & interviews; how a mixture of African Culture and North American culture (both of which I grew up in), can make such a sweet gumbo, of the Jamaican music styles…and how (just like my art was partly influenced by Japanese monster B-movies, that wafted from an American tv station’s airwaves into Canada) these talented West Indian artistes adapted the North American pop music sound, which wafted over from Miami, U.S.A.’s radio-wave signals,  into their own various music sounds and stylings; like Jamaican doo-wop, reggae, ska, lover’s rock,roots rock, rocksteady, toasting (early rap), dancehall and other such delights, Mahn…T-tt! (“Laughs*)

Dobby Dobson records were also a part of my family’s vinyl collection..I especially remember digging the East Indian-looking lady, drinking milkshake with him, on his ‘Sweet Dreams’ album cover picture, when I was 6, or 7…. Very Talented man, that Dobby Dobson… He is a musical amabassador….. In concert he sings in all the Jamaican styles I mentioned, even gospel.  (these days…..google, youtube, , I-tune, or Catch his stuff live, you can…… There’s more than Marley, out there kids.. Yuh bet yuh Bumbo!!..Big Choons , Sah!..Chuss I-yah!… His site is at DobbyMusic.com! (*Laughs*)

 So, how did your manage to hook up with the reggae legend to make this thing happen?

-Dobby & I met in the late 2000s, at one of his Toronto area concerts & he knew I was a filmmaker…
…. so, we chatted & I found out that he wanted his music in my movie (Vixen Highway 2006: It came from Uranus) & I also helped him with his ‘rockumentary’, that you mentioned. Also, by coincidence,  my aunt, Dr.Mavis Burke, a Jamaican educator/author ,  taught Mr. Dobby, in Kingston College, when his was a youngster…. Life is stranger than fiction, man!

Check out the entire documentary, free at IMDB.com.

MV5BMTI5MTk5NTA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTY1ODc5Mw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_You have worked side by side with your partner, the wonderful Vivita for quite some time. 

-We met on the internet  …now, before you get the wrong idea we found each other in the filmmaker section of Meetup.com and she became my wife a few t.v. shows and movies later.

 What do you believe it is about this relationship that works out so well professionally? 

… I was a filmmaker.t.v. producer looking for a female editor, who could hopefully act ..and she was an actress who just took up editing, right…..

We hooked up to work professionally, and the… well, shit happened, y’know! Not exactly a text book romance though…I came on a bit heavy, on our first meet-up and she told me to agitate the gravel, eh.

So, later, after I was in a major car accident and she stalked…er… visited me… strangely ver-ry often., at the Toronto area St. Michaels Hospital… then love was in the air…..ah, the smell of hospital urine and formaldehyde, must’ve done it… and things grew from there….actually I grew from there…She’ll kill me for saying this, but she once took me, on the hospital bed, behind the screen.. and when we were done..er..communicating… I was back in my sexy blue backless nightgown, literally a few seconds before hospital security showed up, behing my tented casbah— thank God! But, at least it got me released from the hospital, earlier! (*laughs*)

Is there some sort of spirited connection that gives you two the ability to create such great entertainment/art together?

Our mutual lust for glory…..and bread!

Another individual you “work” with is a little somebody named Sophia The Cat.  Who exactly is Sophia The Cat?

-Sophia The Cat?… Sophia The Tabby….Sophia The Super-Bitch Diva?…She owns Vivita and I…We are her ‘humans’…she let’s us (and her little felin- friend, Dino) live with her.

She’s our Pussy Queen.. When she was a kitten, last year…..we were filming a t.v. & online crowd-pledge fundraiser for, our upcoming Pam Grier-influenced ChickRevenge flick Violet Is Blue & Sophie hopped up on the synthesizer keyboards (with an old-time organ sound), which happened to be on at the time and walked across it (the video is on Youtube)..

We then used the tune in Nosferatu vs. Father Pipecock & Sister Funk (in the scene when the hero, Hutter wakes up & checks a second time to see if Count Orlock the shape-changing vampire is still alive, before he ran up to his room, being followed by the demonic, sexually ambiguous,  homicidal bloodsucking aristocrat)…We also got the cats to act in the movie, as well.

Tony Watt4Can you tell us a bit about your latest film Nosferatu vs. Father Pipecock & Sister Funk?

…I re-dubbed, reedited and added scenes to  the original director: M F.W.urnau’s  classic, Nosferatu (1922) movie…… big fan of the original film

 What exactly is this film about?

Well, according to Amazon.com , in Nosferatu Vs. Father Pipecock and Sister Funk (2014)’  the  ‘Original 1922 star: Max Schreck plays  (in newly tinted archive footage, mixed, with new) Count Orlock, a deviant, adulterous, shape-shifting Transylvanian vampire aristocrat & super creep, who is tearing Bremen, a new corn-hole & it’s up to a ‘brotha-in-a-collar’ and a creole nun with a flamin’ gun, to stop him, in this ‘creature-feature’ fang-fest! Co-Starring Canadian Scream Queen: Vivita, with new footage shot in tantalizing Watt-a-Rama & dubbed in Tex-O-Phonic Super-Sound; Nosferatu Vs. Father Pipecock and Sister Funk , kicks ass! ‘…. Basically I added naked tits & rumps…..and some colour sequences…Just like Murnau intended , but, was born 100 years too early…I also sexed up the Count and gave him a few lusty, nublile vamps for his wives…now, the old boy is pimpin’ , necromancin’ and getting some sweet tail!

What would you say is the biggest difference between Tony Watt in 2004, when compared to Tony Watt in 2014?

Older , fatter, & not as smart as I thought I was, as a youth… less starry-eyed …but, I feel more accomplished artistically, and also it so pleases me to be aesthetically satisfying my one, or two fans, out there… and that fact means more to me, than anything else.. other than my marriage to the lovely, infamous, uni-named Vivita, of course (she’ll be reading this, so I’ll be forced to mention that)…. and spending time with Dino & Sophia, the wonder-cats!…And sneaking out junk food, to nosh on!

…Thankfully I can hit the gym to loose the weight, though, when I get the notion…not really interested in getting smarter, or more starry-eyed ..just to get more commercial…and richer, these days; is my main focus, now that I’ve got a few people’s attention…. I definitely smell better … shorter hair and more expensive suits…. just a more conservative a-hole, these days.

What is one project or idea you have yet to had the chance to tackle , that you hope to complete before you are worm food? 

- I’ve pretty well done everything I wanted to do, artistically…..um….After I finish drawing/publishing Space Chick & Nympho: Vampire Warrior Party Girl Comix #2 and my & Vivita’s  ‘Frankenpimp’s Revenge’, ‘Violet is Blue’ & ‘Bird of Steel’ movies  (updates will be on my IMDb.com,or TonyWatt.com pages, by the way)..also,  my wife intends to put me in pumps— and make me work the street-corners; to pay for cat-food….so, I guess shopping for a  couple strong knee pads, work on my fluffer technique….and hopefully work on, or act in a Major Studio movie, with the help of Anik, my new agent.. Oh, and to complete a few more Kount Kracula t.v. show episodes with V. and ‘Jazzy’ Johnny Migliore..seen on  www.Blackflag.tv, of course!

What else does the future hold for you?  Any new projects you would like to pimp out right about now?

My three movies,:  Frankenpimp’s Revenge, Violet is BlueBird of Steel  & also, my upcoming Space Chick & Nympho: Vampire Warrior Party Girl Comix #2 ..all on Amazon and finer e-stores, baby!

What kind of advice would you give to young filmmakers out there looking to break into the underground world of film?

-Quit!!…no, I’d say to you aspiring film-makers….”get rich..get popular, from my sage advice ..Then hire me as an actor and pay me millions of dollars, as a grateful homage.
AND…For God’s sake…. DON’T FORGET my own fucking trailer, you pompous ass-holes!!!..and I need classy, big-boobed hookers, Sirs…and very cle-e-e-an!!!!!” …. Then my humble, kino-matic mission on this planet, is done.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

-That’s very personal…How dare you, Sir!…… but, I’ll tell you…whatever I did…it made my wife smile, also! (*winks & smiles*)

Sadistik: Ultraviolet [Album]

sadistik-ultravioletSo, your favorite indie rocker’s favorite rapper is back!  Already!  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was feeling amazed by 2013’s Flowers For My Father.  And honestly, the album hasn’t really left my regularly scheduled playlists to date.  But, the diligence and constant artistic efforts of Sadistik are impossible to ignore, especially when he releases such an amazing record as Ultraviolet almost directly (well, figuratively directly, anyway) after releasing one of the finest hip hop records I have ever heard.

Ultraviolet has so many high points, it’s almost not fair to point them out individually.  There are a few things missing from the record that I would have loved to see (appearances from Kristoff Kane, Bodi, Cas One, etc.) but I know the back story of this album, and I now that this album was oh-so-carefully constructed in the mind of Cody Foster a.k.a. Sadistik, that I easily set my own bullshit personal wishes aside, and enjoy the beautiful things about this amazing album.  First of all, “In the Night” is by far the most brilliant piece of work I have heard from this fucking guy to date.  I simply can not get enough of it.  Second, we get to hear from Trainwreck’d Society’s 2012 Person of the Year, Anna Lynne Williams, a.k.a. Lotte Kestner, once again on “Chemical Burns”.  Which, oh-so-incredibly, features the late wonderful artist Michael “Eyedea” Larsen, who is also no stranger to the TWS world, and more importantly one of the single greatest hip hop artist to have ever lived, and was taken from us far too quickly.  Finally…. guest appearances from legends like Sticky Fingaz and Tech N9Ne on “Death Warrant”….are you fucking kidding me?  Such brilliance!  Throw a wonderful cameo with Yes Alexander, some return production from Kid Called Computer, and Sadistik continuing to spit his wonderful poetry just as well, if not better than, as he always does, and you may very well have one of the finest records of 2014.  Easily the finest hip hop album of the year, but Sadistik’s music extends beyond the idealism of any sort of genre.  This is indeed hip hop, but more importantly, this is art.

You can stream Ultraviolet now at DJBooth.net.  Official release date is July 1st, and you can pick up a copy for yourself right HERE.

Fred LeBlanc [Interview]

Fred LeBlancSo, there has been this great band I have been listening to for as long as I can possibly remember.  Actually, we just covered their latest release a few days ago.  They are Cowboy Mouth, and they are amazing.  In fact, one of the main reasons I even started this little website that has blossomed into something beautiful was to be able to ask a few questions with certain folks, one of them being the man behind the creation of Cowboy Mouth, the absolutely and incredibly talented Fred LeBlanc.

And now I have finally been able to wrangle up a few words from Master Fred.  Mr. LeBlanc has been the drummer/front man of Cowboy Mouth since their inception, oh so many years ago.  And in the 20+ years he has been rocking stages and stealing hearts, he has never seemed to miss a beat.  Cowboy Mouth music is about as perfect as music can be.  Fred & company great good time vibes through “hell yeah” beats that are reminiscent of the glory days of rock and roll past, but always seem fresh and original.  And most of all, just damn brilliant.  And we are so excited that we were able to ask a few questions from his greatest, the wonderful Fred LeBlanc.  So, throw on your new copy of Go!, and check out this awesome interview from a modern day living legend.  Enjoy!

How did you initially get started in making music?

Apparently, I was a pretty sick kid. Due to a birth defect my tonsils and adenoids were overgrown and blocked my hearing passages for the first three years of my life. And since my lungs were underdeveloped at birth (oh, the irony), the doctors were not able to correct my hearing issues until I was three years old.
Since I couldn’t hear, I did not interact with the world too much. In an effort to draw me out of my shell, my parents would lay my head on the stereo speakers and crank classical or movie showtunes which was what they were listening to the time. The old family story is that I could actually sing before I could talk, belting out “Mary Poppins” at church when I saw other people singing.

All I know is that music has always been my first method of communication. It has always been easier for me to express emotions with music than with conversation. Which is nowhere near as fun as it sounds sometimes…

What were some of your early inspirations?

That’s a pretty far ranging question, but I’ll give it a shot; I’ve always loved classical music as well as the old dirty rock ‘n roll of my youth. One of my first jobs was when I was 11 years old working in a used vinyl record store… Remember those? My job was to alphabetize and catalog approximately 250,000 vinyl albums and singles. Since there was a steady stream of records coming and going, my job that was pretty constant. So I would always pull out whatever looked interesting and play listen to it. Patsy Cline? I’ll listen to it… Howling Wolf? Sounds interesting… And it all just grew from there.

Also, growing up Catholic, I was pretty tired of being told in what was supposed to be a spiritual setting that I was “original sinner” and that there was no hope for me, all the while being gouged for money and intimidated by supposedly well-meaning clergy. I intuitively realized that the church had nothing to do with spirituality and was more of a system of control. Pretty heady stuff to realize at the age of five, but I guess I was a little different than the average kid.

Anyway, there was a local television show that aired right before the Saturday morning cartoons in New Orleans where i grew up of a black Baptist church service that I loved to watch. I those church services, the tangibility of their expression of faith, and it’s cleansing and purifying effect was very hypnotic to me. I saw that that was something that I wanted to do with, and for people. It seemed to me that the folks who got the crappy end of the stick (i.e. the African-American culture at the time) were able to experience a much more clear and cleansing sort of faith that seem to be focused on the soul and its uplifting, as opposed to something that beat down their parishioners in order to just keep them in line. I was really drawn to that on a very primal, emotional level.

Fred LeBlancIn your own personal opinion, what is it about a Cowboy Mouth show that makes it special and unique?

This is something that even most of the people who have been in the band have never understood about it; Cowboy Mouth has never been about the people on stage, it’s always been about the feeling in the audience. It’s that simple. This band is a very real conduit for a vital sort of energy that exists in our shows – the sort of energy that people remember they have within when you ask them to give the very best of themselves in a completely secure and freeing situation. Using that as a foundation, there is no limit to where you can go.

How do you maintain the enthusiasm you are so well known for having during your live performances after so many years? What keeps you motivated?

Enthusiasm, plain and simple. A basic love and appreciation for what I have been blessed to be able to do for my entire adult life. The thing about energy that many people don’t understand is that it all comes from the inside out – not the other way around. With that as your basis, you understand that energy and enthusiasm are actually limitless in supply and scope, so therefore they can be used to move huge groups of people to the point of finding that in themselves if you choose.

So much of today’s world is specifically designed to make people feel “less than.” That is the basis of how many products and services are marketed and sold, albeit very subtly. I’m not one to judge anybody just trying to make a buck, but I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be part of something that would uplift the human spirit as opposed to something that would break it down, no matter how seemingly insignificant my efforts might be. That was a personal decision I made for no one else but me. And it was also a specific, conscious decision I made in putting this band together all those years ago.

One of my all time favorite Cowboy Mouth songs, and one of my favorite songs in general, is “How Do You Tell Someone” from 1994’s It Means Escape. And with that in mind, I have waited 20 years to finally get to ask you…. Is this a very personal song? And what made you want to create such a light hearted gem of a song with such a dark context?

My entire song catalog is pretty much a diary of my life. Some of it is very obvious and outfront while other songs can be obscure or abstract – which may be related to aesthetic/creative decisions or personal ones, depending on the song. You do what you feel is right in the moment to get across the idea and/or emotion that you’re trying to convey. Sometimes you can convey a certain feeling by not being as direct which can involve the listener in a communal experience of a similar journey more than the specific retelling of a certain history. You can actually relate the emotion to the listener by having them relate it to their own experience as opposed to your own. Get it?

“How Do You Tell Someone” is an actual, direct, and true story. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Also, the real story was a good bit darker. The original song was played at a much slower pace in the key of F, which is a much more somber tone. When I started playing it with the band – since I’m a drummer who likes to play fast and the key of G (which is a much more happier sounding chord) is easier to play on guitar than the original F chord (owing to the F barre chord finger formation on guitar which can become quite grueling during a two hour show) – the song’s arrangement just came out sounding a lot more happy and chipper than its lyrical content. Luckily, that makes me sound a lot more clever than I really am!

What do you believe it is about New Orleans, and the entire state of Louisiana that makes it such a happening place for music? What do you love the most about the state?

There is a certain “live and let live” vibe to both the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana that is unique to American culture. I think it’s a generational thing that goes back to the time long before air conditioning when people had nothing to do during the summer but just sit around, be hot, be sweaty, drink, think, create drama out of boredom, and watch the time pass… hence the name, the Big Easy.
It’s a good place to woodshed away from the spotlights of either New York, Los Angeles, or Nashville; the three big musical and cultural centers in the country right now. New Orleans is a place you can try different things until you figure out what works for you and then to decide to present it to the world.

Being born and raised there, as well as my relationship to the state – not just the city – gives me a certain unique look that is linked to the area’s past and present, as well as its future. I have an understanding and love for the state’s history that goes back to my family being involved in state politics throughout the 20th century to my own cultural involvement with the city/state over the years. I was a Louisiana advocate long before it was the trendy thing to do, and I will still love the place long after the cultural carpetbaggers have all cleared out. But I love all the aspects of it, not the ones that are just focused on by the media these days… There’s a large swath of rich heritage and experience there that is purposely ignored by the cultural powers that be. Oh well, their loss. That’s the New Orleans and the Louisiana that I love.

What can fans expect to hear on the latest Cowboy Mouth release, Go!?

This album turned out so much better than I expected, and I expected a lot! It has the same feel of an old album of ours entitled Are You With Me?, but the guitars are heavier and the band is a lot stronger now. But it has that kind of vibe; pop melodies, big beats, and lots of energy and emotion! Sounds like Cowboy Mouth to me…

Fred LeBlanc2Now that Go! is out and available, what does the future hold for you personally and for Cowboy Mouth?

I have a saying that sometimes frustrates our crew. When confronted with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle or problem relating to a show I’ll just smile and say, “I’m Fred, things work out.” Ad they always do.
Every time I try to make plans, God laughs. So I just do what I do and have faith that it will all work out. And it does.

I’m Fred. Things work out.

Who is one living artist that you would love to perform with, but have yet to get the chance to do so?

I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve gotten to play music with many of my heroes; Bo Diddley, Ziggy and George from the Meters, etc… I think it would be fun to play with Mike Mills from REM, a very talented bassist with his own total center and groove… I think Springsteen and Cowboy Mouth could make a fun noise tearing up a barroom…

What was the last thing that made you smile?

This question.

The Verve Pipe: Overboard [Album]

The Verve Pipe - OverboardA couple of summers ago I attended another Pig Out In the Park at Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington just as I had several times throughout my youth and during my 3 year stint living in the city.  But the summer of 2012 was very different.  That year a blast from my past was performing, and I knew I had to be front and center.  The Verve Pipe was there to rock the park like few have done in the past.  And at some point it occurred to me just how surreal it was to be standing in the middle of this park with my wife and three daughters, hearing “Freshman” live and in person, when it seemed like just yesterday that I was rolling around this very city with my old man hearing this wonderful track routinely played on the down extinct Z-Rock, and falling in love with these guys.  For 90’s kids, you won’t be surprised that I used to sit next to the radio, blank cassette tape on deck, just waiting to get a chance record both “Freshman” and “Photograph”.  And of course, saving my allowance to run to the nearest Sam Goody on the Tuesday that Villains dropped.  Remember when we had to do that?  Well it has been quite a few years since Villains, and 13 years since The Verve Pipe dropped their last album, Underneath, but the boys are back!  And I will be hot damned if their latest release doesn’t take me right back to those good old days of Z-Rock and rocking out in Riverfront Park.

The Verve Pipe is a band that you absolutely must see live to truly appreciate it.  But, we all know this isn’t always possible (although they are constantly on tour!), so they have been oh so kind to put their brilliance on wax, and produced an amazing new album with their latest release, Overboard.  Tracks like “Here In the Dark” and “I Want To Bury You” are very reminiscent of their glory days in the 90’s, while “Carry On” brings us back around to 2001 with their signature pop rock sound that is simply delightful.  Whether you are a long time fan of The Verve Pipe, just discovering them, or just like damn good music, Overboard is a brilliant work of art that simply must be admired.

Recently I reviewed the latest release from Cowboy Mouth, and I made a statement about the mixed bag of emotions there is in learning of new releases from some of your favorite artists from the past.  Well, much like Cowboy Mouth, this is yet another band from my youth that is an obvious exception.  These cats simply rock, no matter what decade they are in.  And Overboard is a brilliant album that could forge a brilliant set list on its own, voiding “Freshman” all together.  Although, admittedly, I was a giggling fool when I finally got to hear it live on that beautiful summer day in 2012.  But, times have changed, and a new era is upon us.  And The Verve Pipe are going to be here to usher it all in.  And that is a damn good thing!

Head on over to the band’s WEBSITE to find out how you can pick up a copy of Overboard for yourself.

 

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