New Music Tuesday: Blitzen Trapper – Holy Smokes Future Jokes [Album]

Hello Folks! So, to kick this thing off, I have to go on a rant. For regular reader(s) here at Trainwreck’d Society, it will come as no surprise that I am so excited for a new Blitzen Trapper record. I’ve said it time and time again: they are my favorite band. Quite frankly, there isn’t anyone quite like them. For close to two decades, and a full fledged decade for me personally, they have been putting out an absolutely incredible blend of folk, country, rock n roll, singer/songwriter, all of the above really. Hell, as we will get into later in this sure to be long winded review, they get a little jazz infused sounds going. There seriously is nothing these incredibly brilliant musicians cannot do.

I first came across the work of Blitzen Trapper as a young intern-like writer for Fensepost.com 10 years ago when my then boss (of sorts) Andy Fenstermaker sent me a link to a press release for a track from a band that was hot off of having their last two albums featured on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums of the Year lists, and according to the label they were represented by at the time (Sup Pop) they were on just about to release their greatest record yet. And while that album may not have hit Rolling Stone as hard, said album Destroyer of the Void remains one of the greatest albums ever made, in my own opinion. It’s actually sort of odd that the song that was in focus on the press release was their track “Heaven and Earth”, which was my least favorite track from the album, but still an amazing song. I sincerely hold this album so close to my heart. My wife even has a tattoo with lyrics from “The Tree”. It’s that fucking serious.

Over the years, I have had some pretty memorable experiences with this wonderful group. As mentioned before, I became pretty intrigued by Destroyer of the Void. But the album that most came to love Blitzen Trapper for was Furr, which I honestly didn’t become truly familiar with until I found myself as a stranger in a strange land myself (I hope some of you get this pun) out in the desert of Qatar where I listened to that album on repeat for at least 45 minutes a day for close approximately 100 days of a 180 day deployment. Shortly after that, American Goldwing became another classic for me during a pretty dark period of my life (right around the time this site was created, no correlation, I promise), in which another woman I thought I might have cared about also inked Blitzen Trapper lyrics into their body based somewhat on my influence. But, that’s neither here nor there. And then there was their seventh album, cleverly titled “VII”, which served as the soundtrack to dozens of drunken nights in the South Korean village of Songtan that led to my official favorite BT song of all time, “Ever Loved Once”, which I’m not sure can ever be redacted when I think about all of the wonderful memories I have had revolving around this song.

I understand completely that I am probably not doing a real service to Blitzen Trapper and their wonderful new album by dipping my feet into the nostalgic sea of BT past, but, I can not help getting into how important this band is to me. I will get into the new album very soon, but I realized that I have had a couple of experiences with the band that I really have to get to digital print. Here we go:

In 2012, I saw Blitzen Trapper live three different times. Twice at the Pickathon, an incredible festival that takes place each year in Happy Valley, Oregon. I highly recommend it. They’ve even introduced stand up comedy to the event since I was there. Past guest and two of my favorite comedians, David Gborie and Amy Miller have done sets there. Their set at The Woods Stage from then is all over the internet if you look for it, and it was one of the greatest show-going experiences I have ever had. Fucking Christ, I can’t tell you wonderful it was to be there. Their second set was on the big stage right before Nico Case, and while it was less intimate and exciting as that first set, it was so incredible to share that experience with thousands of on-lookers who may or may not have given a fuck, and were just trying to get a good sea for Nico.

Another fun fact, I happen to see Blitzen Trapper drummer member Brian Koch carrying a piece of a equipment up a hill in the camp area that of Pickathon and recognized him, but didn’t feel as though I should bother him, he looked busy. 8 years later, I saw him completely dick to ass naked in my favorite film of 2020, Escaping Freedom. I’d love to share this with him.

Shortly after that Pickathon, I came back for a brief break from those Songtan nights to the country in which I was birthed, and saw Blitzen Trapper at Doug Fir in Portland, Oregon. At this show, My wonderful wife Melissa and I were actually able to corner leader singer Eric Earley into a couple of minutes of conversation, and even with knowing that these interactions have to be annoying as shit, he was hands down the nicest performer I have ever spoken with post-performance ever. The comedian Gareth Reynolds is a close second, but that’s for another time, I suppose.

In short, and close to a thousand words before getting to the actually album at hand….I fucking love Blitzen Trapper. There have been very few bands that I was asked to cover that ended up being staples in my life. Blitzen Trapper is definitely the number one of them all. I’ve had that, “I interviewed them when they were small, now they are huge” moment time and time again (Portugal. The Man, St. Vincent, etc.), but none of them have made me as proud as Blitzen Trapper in their camp asked me to cover their new album, I just fucking want to. And being this independent, I definitely will.

I’ve spent a decade loving this band, and I will pray to whatever deity is necessary to think that I may be able to hear new music from them until I perish from this white washed world.

Alright, about Holy Smokes Future Jokes……..

Fuck yeah.

 

Don’t Let Me Run = Girl from IpANEMA vibe

Deepfake by Sarah Darer Littman [Book]

 

“Dara Simons and Will Hochman have everything they’ve ever wanted. They are the rulers of Greenpoint High’s geekdom, overachieving in every way, and it’s an intense competition to see who will be valedictorian. One the entire school is invested in. That is, until Rumor Has It, the anonymous gossip site, posts a video of Dara accusing Will of paying someone to take the SAT for him.

When the video goes viral, suddenly Will’s being investigated, and everyone’s wondering how he pulled off cheating on the SAT. But Dara swears that she didn’t say any of those things, which seems a little hard to believe since it’s her in the video.

Did Will cheat?

Is it Dara saying he did?

Who’s lying, and who’s telling the truth?

The answer is more shocking than anyone realizes …” – sarahdarerlittman.com

 

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Hello Folks! Today we are taking some time away from our regular weekly interviews to tell you all about a wonderful new book that will be available next week that I feel as though you should all read, enjoy, and take heed to just how frightening the future can be despite all the good that technological advances can be. We will get into the latter in a minute.

For those of you who are unaware, I am the father of two teenage daughters, and a pre-teen daughter right behind them. As a 35 year old male, and probably any father of teens at any age I would imagine, it can be increasingly difficult to relate to what young adult females are interested in. That is why, a couple of years ago, I asked my then soon-to-be 13 year old daughter, Ava, who some of her favorite authors were. She immediately shot back with Sarah Darer Littman. I believe she was just off the cusp of reading one of her earlier works and was extremely intrigued by not only the story, but the way in which it was written. Thus, I decided to reach out, and to the great glee of then pre-teen Ava, Sarah was kind enough to grant us an interview. Not only that, she was even kinder to pass along a pre-release copy of her book Anything But Okay. Check the links to see what awesomeness came out of that.

And alas, here we are again, Folks. Sarah has a wonderful new book coming out that is just as shocking a revealing as anything she has written in the past. As the world advances, so does Littman’s ability to capture the youth in an honest and credible way. And on a personal level, Deepfake had be shook primarily because I had NO IDEA THIS WAS POSSIBLE. Yet, when I asked Ava, as well as her younger sister Sophia about the concept, I got the “yeah, I know” reaction that I wasn’t expecting. How terrifying is that? It’s a true clueless dad moment for sure. Yet I am fortunate that I have (somehow) raised three kids who are very self-aware of the dangers that surround them, and choose the path of enlightenment towards the greater good rather than the sometimes easier path of selfishness and evil. This is not a humble brag. It’s complete bemusement. I guess credit to my wife? As I was a terrible teenager. But, we don’t need to get into that…..

 

author of Deepfake, Sarah Darer Littman

 

Anyway, Deepfake takes us on a journey of modern teenagers who a desperate to excel academically (Fellow former terrible students, I know, it seems impossible, right?) and who also happen to have the power of technology at their disposal. And as unfortunately as we all know, the power of technology also comes with the power of anonymity. Which if you have spent any time on Twitter, you know exactly what I mean. But, we have reached an era where we can make actual videos of people saying things that are completely untrue. And quite frankly, and should be unsurprisingly, that scares me so much. And if you were as clueless to this idea as I was before going into this book, I highly recommend that not only every high schooler across the globe read Deepfake, but parents as well. The cause and effect of modern technology being used as a tool of revenge, backlash, or terror is very real and perfectly detailed in this incredible book.

I will admit, I do not partake in much reading of Young Adult fiction on a personal level. But, I have been validated by the previously mentioned young adult, Ava, that Littman’s writing is top pier in the YA world. I feel as though what makes her special is her ability to not mock the youth. She uses language that feels very real in terms of dialogue, and she uses descriptors and characterizing in a way that presents imagery that will not confuse the youth, but with intrigue adults. The YA world has become one of the most fascinating means of communicating messages to the world, especially to the youth, which are, as we are consistently told, are the future.

Check out Deepfake, Folks. It’s not just a book with a powerful message, it’s a well-written novel for the modern age, and I simply can not recommend it enough. Enjoy!

 

 

Deepfake will be released on October 6th, 2020 from Scholastic Press. Find it wherever you buy your books. For more information, visit sarahdarerlittman.com.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: The New West and the Politics of the Environment [Film]

 

“The film explores how iconic Nevada Senator Harry Reid set the foundations for a green new deal in the state using power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and usher in a just transition to renewable energy.” – PRANA PR

“A quiet, little-known revolution is taking place in American environmental politics in a most surprising place—Nevada. In this feature-length documentary, Earth Focus tells the story of Harry Reid, a politician who grew up in an Old West mining town, saw the possibility of a New West emerging in Nevada, and rode that change to power. Reid used power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and wilderness, and usher in a just transition to renewable energy. Could this western green new deal set an example for the nation?” – KCET

 

******

In the military, at least the Air Force that is, several e-mail correspondences will begin with something called “BLUF”. It stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. And now that I am typing this out, it may be something used in several other industries, but I really do not know. Either way, I feel as though it is an appropriate addition to this article.

BLUF: Nevada is an immaculately beautiful state, and Senator Harry Reid is a major reason that it has remained as such. But, there is so much more to be done. And this documentary will explain it all in great detail.

 

Still a bit wordy, huh? Well, I think you all get it. The New West and the Politics of the Environment attempts, and succeeds, in demonstrating just how important it is that our political structure (as crumbling as it may seem) is crucial to the idea that human kind may be able to continue to reside on this giant rock for the foreseeable future, if the right people take action. It’s literally the most important issue to date, although it seems as though it is constantly being side-stepped by issues that, while surely are important, shall remain null and void if we don’t have an earth that is functioning for humans because humans just want to screw the whole thing up. I am not the most informed person on the matter, and beyond donating a few bucks to organizations attempting to fix the situation, I could never rightfully call myself an “environmentalist”. But, I do understand that bringing a snowball into a congressional hearing does not prove that Global Warming is a hoax. And I am not lost in the irony that the most legendary “Not A Crook”, crooked Presidents of all time also agreed that saving the planet should be a bi-partisan effort. Which always leads me to wonder…were oil lobbyist just not as prevalent? How did he do that? But, I digress.

While the concept of saving the earth from shitty humans and our inhumane ways is definitely the overall concept expressed in this film, there is one character that truly needs to be addressed. And before you begin to think what I am getting to next, it’s not Harry Reid. Sorry, just had to jump out with that. Harry has done incredible things, and we will get to that later. But, it’s important to stay focused. No, the most important character in this film is actually the state of Nevada. BOOM! (Oh no, that might be inappropriate, please let me explain).

Like so many of the 300+ million Americans living in this land (and the rest of us residing outside of it), when I think of the state of Nevada, I think of one thing only: the hit Comedy Central & now Quibi show Reno 911. Alright, I kid. Yes, it’s Las Vegas. It’s “Sin City”. It’s the home state of arguably the greatest film ever made by Martin Scorsese (arguably by me, and probably no-one else, but I’m ready to argue). Which I would learn in watching this documentary, Harry Reid was a major part of taking all the fun out of, but we shall forgive him because he is making the earth better, which is cool I guess. It’s the only part of the state that I have ever been to for a 3 day stint that involved a time-share presentation that earned free money at the Luxor in which nothing was earned, a surprised topless acrobatic show, and the best Brazilian steakhouse I have ever eaten at thanks to Groupon and their 2 for 1 coupons. But, I have actually have had a couple of close relatives die in the state of Nevada. Others have had their ashes spread in the state of Nevada. And some that have moved to the state of Nevada to wait to die, and most likely have their ashes spread in the state of Nevada. So, the state is a bit more important to me personally than a topless show hosted by the 6th runner up of America’s Got Talent and the best fucking steak I’ve ever eaten in my life, seriously, I believe it’s at the Venetian with the sky on the ceiling and stuff, it was SO good.

 

 

But, it is for certainly not self-involved reasons such as I mentioned above that I have become such a Harry Reid stan. I honestly wish that Harry could watch all 4 of the Lethal Weapon films and realize that he’s “not too old for this shit”. And maybe he has? Not that he watched all of these films, although I hope he has, but that he has noticed that while he has retired from politics, he has been able to focus on the subjects that worry him the most. It’s pretty evident with The New West and the Politics of the Environment. He clearly believes in what he has said in the past as he continues to do so. We all know that there is money in politics to be made, even when they are not active in the matter. But, the idea of saving the planet has never been a factor that leeches to the untamed mind as a way to make a great deal of money. It’s possible obviously, but I truly believe that it is not foreseen in this instance.

Senator Harry Reid is, let’s face it, is an OG “one of the good ones”. Despite your possible stance on the idea of letting the mob continue to run Vegas because you are a regular dude who loves Scorsese so much, you have to admit that he is a phenomenal figure. His appreciation for the cultural traditions of the Native American tribes of Nevada are stupendous. His stance agains the nuclear testing that the USAF is doing to his native land is heroic (yes, I understand the contradictory affects of this statement because of my opening statement, but I shall continue).

While Las Vegas and a popular improvised Comedy Central series may have put the state on the map, Harry Reid has been crucial to keeping the state, and this planet, on the actual map. His work in Congress to make the the state of Nevada, the country, the world, a more sustainable place to exist upon can not be forgotten. And it is of the upmost importance that we honor him and continue to head the message he is providing. He’s still with us, Folks! Often times we seem to “treasure” the ideals of those who have come before us. Which is great. But, let’s honor the wishes of the great Senator Harry Reid while he is still living and being so damn cool amongst us! How do we do that?

Well, start by checking out The New West and the Politics of the Environment. Learn from it. And do as they suggest. Vote. Donate. Activate. That is actually one of the most fun things about this modern age. There are SO many ways that you can help out. Shit, just recycle, if you haven’t already been doing that. It feels weird to think that the latter is such a revolutionary concept, but I promise to you all living on either coast, it’s not an entirely regular practice. But, I digress.

Alright, I feel as though I have sad enough, and definitely more than I intended to say. I am just so excited about the possibilities that this film has brought to the world and the continuation of human kind residing upon this rock. Thank you so much Jaime Monez for directing this gem of a documentary that I hope gets world wide recognition.

If we can start with Nevada, we can continue moving forward with the rest of the planet.

 

 

For more information and how you can watch the film, see dates below and visit KCET.org for details.

 

AIRDATES

  • TuesdaySep29 8:00 PM PT
    KCET-HD
  • WednesdaySep30 12:00 AM PT
    KCET-HD
  • SundayOct4 6:30 PM PT
    KCET

 

 

Taking Your Violin Bowing Technique To The Next Level [Exclusive!]

 

Spicing up your bowing technique is the most fun and thrilling part of being a violinist. The long hours of practice, correct bowing, until you finally get used to the right technique are the most fulfilling part of the process.

There are a lot of bowing techniques you can do on your violin bow but we will focus on the most essential ones that can spice up the way you play. These are the sun ponticello, sul tasto, col legno, and ricochet. These said techniques have leveled up different violinists in their playing field which you can use as well to get you to the next level.

Sun Ponticello 

Moving the bow down to level with the bridge or to be right above the bridge means the Sun Ponticello. You may notice that when you execute this technique, the sound is totally different than the usual. It vibrates nicely, aiming for a higher pitch. It almost sounds like you are in some sort of horror movie. Thus, the haunting sound. You can control the volume of the sound by adjusting the pressure. 

Sul Tasto 

On the other hand, aligning your hand to the opposite side of the fingerboard creates the Sul Tasto. To achieve a serene, subtle, and rich sound, you may use this technique. This is commonly used on ethereal scenes, given the lower harmonics. Sul Tasto is the complete opposite of Sun Ponticello. 

Col legno 

The Col Legno is the Italian term for “with wood.” It is a unique bowing technique that literally means to play with wood. How do you do it? Turn your bow upside down and play using the wood or the side of the bow. 

There are different styles on how to play Col Legno. Like when doing long bowing, it is called “tratto.” Another style is similar to a percussion called “batuto.” 

Ricochet 

Similar to the percussion technique of Col Legno is another bowing style called Ricochet. It is also known as “jete.” In executing the Ricochet, you bounce the bow as it moves in a single path intentionally. You may notice that the upper part of the bow bounces more quickly while the middle part is slower. This is because of the physics part of the violin. One tip in doing the Ricochet is that the bow hair must be laid out completely flat. 

Conclusion 

If you have come to leveling up your bowing moves, then congratulations! You have come so far. From learning the basics, practicing, and sometimes failing, your journey is worth every hardship. And now that you have arrived in the advance part, we are glad to be with you every step of the way. 

These bowing techniques will deepen your commitment and passion for playing the violin. It can be difficult in some parts, but hey! Practice makes perfect. We hope that with these bowing techniques you can take your violin bowing to the next level. 

 

Visit https://fiddlershop.com/collections/violin-bows to learn more!

Mary Birdsong [Interview]

 

Hello, Folks! Well, as I am sitting here on a dreary English Saturday morning, a revolutionary figure has died, the earth is shaking, the air is unbreathable, and of course there is still this pandemic thing happening in which people are refusing to take such simple measures to prevent from spreading the globe. But, hey, let’s try our best to cheer ourselves up, shall we? Take a moment to check out this incredible interview we have from a brilliant actress that we love and adore so much. It’s Mary Birdsong, Everyone! Trust me, the sadness will come back shortly afterwards. Try to be a little bit happy?

If you can remember back into time to August in the year 2020 (I know, feels like an eternity, right?) you may remember that we had a wonderful guest from one of the greatest televised programs ever, which would be Reno 911!. That guest was Carlos Alazraqui, and he was great. Well, if you for some reason already couldn’t tell (how dare you?) we are headed back to the land of Reno again today! Mary Birdsong  jumped into the series portraying Deputy Cherisha Kimball and rocketed the show to even higher highs with her brilliant performance as the tough but maybe a bit clueless deputy amongst a whole batch of tough but maybe a bit clueless deputies.

Mary has also been involved with some other amazing work, and we are so excited to have her on the site today to tell us about what she is up to, her work on Reno 911!, singing in ice cream shops, being Judy Garland, and more. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Mary Birdsong!

 

******

 

 

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment?

It’s surprising even to me, but I had to be kind of pushed into it by other people who seemed to believe I had talent way before I ever thought I did. My best friend in highschool said we should try out for the play, so I did (it was The Mouse That Roared). And I also had a few teachers who took me aside and said “You know, you should really think about pursuing this professionally, or at least studying it in college. In acting, writing, and singing I got that kind of encouragement from very special teachers in highschool — Joseph Echle, Larry Delmasto, Michael Lorenzi, Fred Waters…

Was it something you had aspired to do since your youth?

No, not at all. I was painfully shy as a kid. I still am.  But acting and performing helped me find a way out of that shyness self-consciousness, and social anxiety. If I could make people laugh, or entertain them in some way, I think I felt like I was making myself useful to them, assigning some value to myself. And on some level- I do believe there’s an element of control involved in all of the arts. There’s an implied demand or directive (i.e., “Look at me,” “Listen to me,”) in anything one does creatively.

Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

At the urging of my best friend and my teachers and my mother, I decided to major in performing in college (initially I was going to study singing or musical theatre, but unforeseen circumstances led me to studying acting instead (acting with a capital “A!”). I found it VERY intimidating, but I hung in there– the discipline of it, and the exposure to all kinds of culture I’d never known about before were very good for me.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of entertainment?

I was as a singing waitress (does that count?) at an ice cream parlor where I grew up — on Long Beach Island (LBI), New Jersey. The parlor was sort of a “spin-off” business that grew out of the Surflight Theatre (a decades-old summer-stock theatre on the Island that put on a different musical every week, all Summer). I would’ve gone for a job at the theatre instead of the ice cream parlor, but I couldn’t AFFORD to live off the tiny salary an actor got paid for summer-stock. So I auditioned to be a singing waiter for the ice cream parlor, and I LOVED IT!!!

 

And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I learned SO MUCH! I didn’t know it at the time, but we were basically getting paid to be in comedy boot camp all summer. It incorporated lots of improv, sketch comedy, choreography, singing, writing, etc. I am still drawing from the same well today, no matter what I’m doing.

 

We recently had the opportunity to share some words from one of your former (and current) co-stars, Carlos Alazraqui, whom you worked on the absolutely legendary series Reno 911! We said it then, and we will say it again, it’s one of the greatest of all time. So what was it that drew you to work on this project?

The same thing that draws most actors to a project— paying rent! 🙂 It’s such a luxury for an actor to be able to pick and choose which roles they say yes to and which they don’t.  I have been lucky enough to get to that stage many times in my career, but it’s a cycle of feast or famine.  At the time Reno 911 came along, I really DID need a job, and I had to audition for the role just like anyone else. I think the role opened up because Kerri Kenney was pregnant, so they needed another female deputy on hand, just in case there were things physically that Kerri might not be able to handle while pregnant. And luckily, there were LOTS of things that really did draw me to this project (even if I hadn’t needed to pay rent at the time)— the amazing talent behind it, the requirement to improvise 99% of the dialogue, the edginess that the show was able to get away with, the amazing fan base it has… I could go on and on.

 

 

And after the show was off the air for over a decade, what was it like coming back into playing around in this incredibly unique world? Was it a tough transition back, or would the bicycle analogy be a better fit for your experience?

I was a little nervous coming back for the new season on Quibi, because it had been so long, and I had hardly done any improvising in those 10 years. But I was delighted to find that I had MORE FUN THAN EVER this time around. I loved getting to work with the two actors I hadn’t worked with on Reno before (Ian Roberts and Joe LoTruglio). They’re fantastic actors and comedians, and just plain NICE, COOL GUYS. I just felt a lot more relaxed this time around, which was just a joy.

 

If you were handed the opportunity to create and/or portray in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Judy Garland, hands down. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to do just that, several times already — I even got to play Judy Garland on Broadway! Judy Garland was one of many roles I played while performing with Martin Short in the Broadway musical, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. And before that role came along I devoted a few years of my life writing and performing a one woman show about Judy that I did in NY, in LA, and in Colorado at the Aspen Comedy Festival.

But since I’’ve already checked Judy off my list, I’d love to play Jackie O’, or Loretta Lynn, or Dolly Parton. Or ANYONE that would require me to wear a bustle, a corset, and/or a powdered wig. (I’m a total history nerd, and I’m vintage-clothing/costume obsessed, so period pieces are my FAVORITE!!).

Honestly, the roles I love playing the most are people who AREN’T famous or historically significant— they’re anonymous people you encounter on a typical day (the weirder the better, too).

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well, there’s more Reno 911 to look forward to— Quibi just announced that we’ll be doing a second season for them! And I’m currently pitching a 1/2 hour tv show called Hot Mess — a dark comedy about my mom and me. At this moment, I’d say it has a Grey Gardens meets AbFab vibe. 🤣 

And I just finished writing a feature film with my best friend Katty Biscone that I’m very excited about and proud of— it’s an adaptation of a great novel. I wish I could say more about it, but right now I can’t.

Other than that, I hope people check out my YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/marybirdsongtv where they can see my series of characters “365 Characters in 365 Days” (which I’m STILL working on finishing!!)

Other social media:

http://twitter.com/marybirdsong

http://instagram.com/marybirdsongofficial

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Will Hines.

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Honey Gentry – H.G. [Album]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to our first New Music Tuesday in quite some time. We have gone away from this segment over the last few months, but today we have an album to talk about that is simply too good to pass up the chance to boast over and tell you all to rush out and get ASAP.

If you all could think way way back to the year 2019. August. A mere 13 months to the date, but feeling like a lifetime ago, we showcased a brilliant singer songwriter and their EP, Dreamlover. It was an absolutely masterpiece of an EP with tracks landing solidly on our Top 100 Songs list. Well, that singer songwriter is Honey Gentry, and it appears as though she is back to steal and/or break our hearts again with her beautiful sad pop songs that evoke just the deepest of emotions. And while escapism is always an option in your musical choices, maybe some times it is best to reflect on the chaos and how sad things can get, in order to make them better. Well, if the latter is to be believed, I can not recommend Honey Gentry’s full length album, H.G., to you enough. It’s a delicate yet impactful album filled with blissful tales of tragedy yet also triumph.

One quality of Honey Gentry’s work that seems obvious to me is her amazing voice. It’s one of those collection of vocal elements that is very familiar, yet incredibly unique, and all around pleasant. She is also one hell of a songwriter. Whether she is tackling subjects like identity, isolation, mental illness, or loss & beyond, Honey makes it an audible experience for the ages. She’ll even bring a low-key Madonna in the 80’s tone on a track like “Losing My Charm” that is beautiful! But, as we tend to lead towards the more catchy and melodic tracks around here, and I love every every song on this album, much like having multiple children….you have to chose a favorite. Sorry, this is just the truth. So for me, it’s a tie between “Valentine” and “The Bell Jar” for the stealing of my heart.

So, listen to it for yourself, Folks! It’s available today. It also happens to be Honey Gentry’s birthday! So let’s make it one that she is not surely to forget. You get to hear one of the best (if not THE best?) albums of 2020, and Honey can continue to bring her magic into the world. Everybody wins.

Seriously Folks, the sky is the limit for this incredible artist, and you are going to want to get on board now. So take a nice look back at her two previous EPs, and check out H.G. today! You truly will not regret it.

 

To grab a copy of H.G. today, head to wherever you listen to music or I would recommend heading to honeygentry.com to get it on digital or limited edition vinyl. Enjoy!

 

Chad Opitz [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today we have an absolutely wonderful comedian that I love and admire so damn much. It’s Chad Opitz, Everyone! I discovered the brilliant comedy of Mr. Opitz in a pretty specific way that happens to be the way I have discovered so many different comedians that I enjoy and have had the pleasure of having on the site….it was Doug Loves Movies. It’s actually incredible how almost my entire comedic enjoyment experiences are based around this one program. But, we’re not hear to talk about DLM, we are here to share some wonderful responses from Chad, who is a genuinely sweet and absolutely hilarious human being.

This COVID bullshit, for a while, has put some facets of the comedy world to an absolute halt. But the laughter has not completed ended. It just went on line. It has been a real testament to which comedic warriors will make it out of this thing, with at least another 30 minutes of material to show for it. And I firmly believe that when the world is back to “normal”, Chad Opitz will be back on track to being a household name. Hell, he already is in my house! Trembath Manor is loaded up on Opitziods (does that work? Do you get it?).

Alright Folks, I am going to shut my proverbial mouth and let you all get to this incredible interview that we are so excited to share with you all. Please enjoy some words from the brilliant, Chad Opitz!

 

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What initially drew you to the world of comedy? Was it something you have aspired to do since your youth or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I was initially drawn to the world of comedy via music. I had a one man band called Nervous Energy which I had come up with during my time at Central Washington University and many (not all) of the songs were of a comedic nature. The shows that typically worked best were when I would also be working with humor driven bands or opening for comedians. I was a fan of stand up comedy before and would go every month at college to the comedy showcase they had there just to watch. Never even really thought of doing it myself though until I moved to Santa Cruz, CA and was having difficulties getting booked to perform music more than like once a month. I needed a creative performance outlet and decided to check out a show at the Blue Lagoon and after watching it for a month or so, I asked the booker there, who goes by the name DNA, if I could do a set and there ya have it.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impact your work today?
I distinctly remember the first time I got paid to do comedy because I was like “Huhhhhh?” It was at a restaurant in Gilroy, CA. called Station 55 and Sam Meeker ran a weekly Wednesday show there. It was an old fire station so I was very amused at the fire pole you could slide down near where we performed on the second floor. I think I got $25 and a free dinner which was honestly more exciting than the money at that point. Just knowing that I didn’t have to lose money on gas and food in order to showcase my jokes made me feel great. I really learned how to appreciate a comped meal from that show.
I am curious to know about what some of the “off the beaten path” type of areas in the country are surprisingly wonderful places for comedy? So, when the world is safe again (maybe), and you hit some spots maybe not on the coasts, what are some wonderful cities out there that some people may not know are wonderful places for comedy?
I have not done NEARLY as many spots as I would like to do in comedy so far, but it’s also taken me to some really awesome places too. I was actually going to be in Oregon back in April headlining some shows in Eugene and Salem, so hopefully when things return, I can schedule that back up. All the shows I’ve done up in Tacoma, WA have been very fun and there was this spot at Tony V’s Garage in Everett that I had a blast at. Jai Thai in Seattle is very special too. Missoula, Montana was amazing when I visited there. Myself, Chris Conatser and Jeff Zamaria went on a northwest tour a couple years back that was “sponsored” by TANG. We sold small baggies of it for $1 which looked like orange cocaine. In select cities we dumped TANG in the back of toilets so when they flushed it created an orange waterfall to promote our shows in the bathrooms. WHAT A TIME.
I’ve only been to the east coast once for shows and Portland, ME stuck out to me as an awesome city. The show we did there in the top floor of this awesome bar called Bull Feeney’s was great.
Hopefully I can add to this list more soon.
We have featured quite a few comedians that have either come from or started in the Bay Area doing comedy (Amy Miller, David Gborie, etc.). In your obviously expert opinion, what do you believe it is about this area that manages to turn out such amazing comics such as yourself? What makes the Bay special, basically?
I think what makes the Bay special is the sheer amount of stage time you can get and the diversity here really makes you have to be creative in how you can stand out amongst the crowd. There are a lot of mics/showcases here and if you have a unique and interesting perspective and aren’t a total turd then you can get a lot of time to work on your stuff. The locations of shows are often really interesting too. There was a spot called Chillarious run by Mikey Walz which was a show done in a mattress store in Berkeley which was a favorite of mine where they put the beds around in a circle and people just laid down and watched. It was always packed and BYOB, but no red wine or dark beers so you didn’t stain the sheets. Spots like that that utilize interesting, unique performance spaces are another reason I love comedy.
So, I have to ask….and I hope we can still be friends…..but in your Twitter bio you state that you are blocked by Kevin Smith? I hope you don’t think less of us for featuring several people from the View Askewniverse, but I am curious to know what events may have led to this happening? What is the beef good, Sir?
Haha, don’t mind you asking at all. I don’t have any beef with Kevin Smith, but I did really dislike a couple of his movies and was cracking wise on his page about Tusk I think and he just blocked me because of that. Shit, I get it. I probably would have done the same. If somebody is giving you grief on social media, blocking them makes sense and I don’t blame him at all. But I just felt the need to flip him some shit for that one regardless of the outcome.
If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?
I think a biopic about Harry Nilsson might be good. I think most biopics are generally awful though. They tend to focus on the least interesting stuff. I did really like the Brian Wilson one, Love and Mercy, though. I thought Paul Dano and John Cusack were both great playing that role. It got some grief for having two actors play the part, but I actually thought that was an interesting and cool choice that paid off. With Nilsson, I think delving into the life of somebody who is so talented and amazing musically and performance wise but is completely terrified of live performance is something I find fascinating. I’d love to see something done about that concept in a movie, I cant think of any off the top of my head and that could be a really effective story for a film.
What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
Well, COVID has brought stuff to a very strange place right now. I’m doing small projects here and there, solo and with friends, that are bringing me joy. I have been making little funny videos more frequently to post on my Instagram and writing a decent amount of jokes for performances over Zoom and eventually onstage. Definitely follow me on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like (@chadopitz) because I am frequently putting jokes and content out there.
I’ve also been doing a character actor retrospective thing on Facebook that has gotten a lot of good response. If I were to do a podcast, it would definitely be about underrated actors who people know but rarely got their due.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
The last thing that made me smile was waking up to a notification that I had been followed on Instagram by a PUGS page called PugsParadise. I was like “Damn, this is why I got into the damn game right here. Gimme those squish face cuties!”
Learn more about what Chad is up to at his website, chadoptiz.com . Also check out this wonderful video of Chad doing stand up last year, when the world was normal, live at The Chatterbox in West Covina, CA.

Greg Warren [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all. I am very excited about today’s guest. I’m not only excited because we have the very funny comedian Greg Warren with us today. That alone would be fantastic, as I truly love his work. But, today’s interview showcase is even more exciting for me personally. And I will tell you why:

While I find Warren’s comedic sensibility and material to be genius in it’s own right, I happen to know somebody that I respect and care for so much in this world who absolutely LOVES the work of Greg. And I was excited to reach out to this person to see if they had any inputs. Now, I am collaborated on several interviews in the past with comedians, musicians, the brilliant filmmaker Chris Eaves (who I will take any chance to shout out at any time), etc. But, there is one person who has inspired me in so many different ways, and I, for whatever dumb reason, hadn’t gotten to work with….until now.

It’s my dad. Who happens to be conveniently named Ron Trembath (you know how it works). And when I told him that Greg had responded to my invite, he was obviously very excited. Dad has watched Greg perform stand up in St. Louis on several occasions, and various different formats, and has continuously told me to check out his work. As I stated earlier, my dad has been a constant inspiration of mine, which extends specifically into comedy viewing. I distinctly remember watching a whole lot of stand up comedy when I was but a wee child. As I age rapidly, I find it harder and harder to remember exactly who we were watching. But, I can vaguely remember some hints of Paula Poundstone, Rosie O’Donnell, and, of course, the great George Carlin. Also a lot of Gallagher, but hey, I was again but a “wee child”. This love for all things hilarious extended into my obsession with everything that Comedy Central could produce, and would lead to even more shared comedic sensibilities between Dad and me.

I could go on and on about some of these experiences, and maybe I will one day, but for now, let’s get to the reason that most of you are here. The amazing Greg Warren is here today to join not just the TWS family, but the beautiful gathering of wonderful comedians who have been kind enough to share there experiences and wisdom with our readers. He is a damn fine comic, and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Greg Warren!

 

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You were doing very well in the corporate world when you decided to do standup full time.  What were your parents reaction when you made that decision?  

 My Dad thought I was an idiot.  I was making a lot of money.  He yelled at me and then later apologized.  It came from a good place.  I think he just wanted me to be safe and happy and I think he wanted me to have a family.  He’s always been supportive of me though.  My Mom was all for it.  She was a writer and a big advocate of following your dreams and doing what makes you happy.

 

Back before Covid you spent a lot of time on the road.  What did you do during all the off time, and are the comedy condos really as nasty as we hear about?

Comedy condos are sort of a thing of the past.  There are a few left.  Some are bad.  Some are really nice.  I look forward to staying in the condo in Myrtle Beach with The Comedy Cabana.  It’s nicer than a hotel.  Some of them were a lot of fun.  You got to know the other comics a lot better.  I made some good friends in those condos.  Boise was always a fun one back in the day.  Omaha was and is great.  I think I’ve laughed harder in the Omaha condo harder than I ever have in my life.  I was with Shawn Gnandt and Sean O’brien in the Omaha condo and I lobbed an Avocado at Obrien as we was going down the stairs.  Not hard.  It landed perfectly and hit him softly between his hairline and his T-shirt.  I’ve never seen him that angry and I’ve never seen Gnandt laugh so hard.
The quarantine has been a mix of a lot of things.  I’m working on an animation project with some friends in LA and another animation project with a guy in NYC.  I’v been able to do some standup and some writing for standup but not a ton.  My buddy Brendan Eyre and I launched a podcast called One Down.  It’s a weekly review of the NY Times Crossword puzzle.  I just started playing pickle ball with some of the St. Louis comics – Sean Obrien, Nikki Glaser and Tim Convy.  I had a special come out on Amazon Prime in July so I spent a lot of time talking to radio stations and doing podcast to try to get more people to watch it.

You are one of the few comedians I’d love to take my mom and granddaughters to see.  In fact, I’ve seen you do an all-ages show in St Louis.  It was fun to see what the 8 and 9 year old kids laughed at.  Did you make a conscience decision to be a “Clean Comedian”?  

I was never filthy but sometimes profane.  Jack Vaughn at Sirius/XM urged me to go totally clean about 5 years ago.  It was great advice for me and I should have done it years before that.

I’ve been listening to you on the Bob and Tom radio show for years.  How important is it for comedians to do morning radio?  

I love Bob and Tom.  They have done more for me and my career than just about anyone.  The gang there are really funny and really good friends.  They make me laugh hard.  I love doing morning radio.  It’s something I think I’m good at.  It used to be more important than it used to be.

 

 

Speaking of the Bob and Tom show, did Josh Arnold really bomb as bad when he opened for you?  Did you have a similar incident?  

He ate it hard.  it was a tough week for him.  He went into a tough room a little before he was ready.  It was partially my fault.  I took him out too early.  He’d kill there now.
I’ve eaten it plenty of times.  Most everybody has.

 

 

You’ve performed all over the USA, including cruise ships.  Are the crowds different in the Midwest, compared to NYC or the west coast?

Slightly different.  Crowds in the heart of Hollywood can be the most different.  They get a little suspicious  of prepared material.  NYC crowds reward jokes but you cannot have any fat on your act or you’re going to struggle.

 

 

You have a podcast with Brendan Eyre about the NY Times crossword called One Down.  How did that come to be?  Any chance the Trip to the Lou podcast will make a return?

Brendan and I have been friends for along time.  We both have been doing the NYT puzzle for 6-7 years.  We used to call each other all the time and complain about what we thought were unfair clues.  We talked about doing a podcast but we couldn’t figure out the tech.  We both live in different cities and we did not want to sacrifice one iota of sound quality.  Poor  audio is a pet peeve of mine.  The guys from my record label, 800 LB Gorilla, helped us with the tech.  It’s been really fun.  Although I missed the Friday this week and I am struggling mightily with the Saturday. I’m sure Brendan will go 7 for 7 this week.  he’s much better than I am.  I might throw this computer in a river before I send this email.
Probably no Trip to Lou return.  I loved it but it was really tough to produce and not a lot of people listened.

 

 

Recently watched you, via Zoom, perform a show in Bloomington, Indiana.  You had a lot of new content.  Was most of that written during the Covid shutdown?  

 Some of it.  I categorize anything that is not on a CD or a special as new.  Ninety percent of that material was new to me.

 

 

What would it take to get you to do a standup show in my backyard or mancave?  O’Brien can open and I’ll cook steaks for all of us.

If it’s during Covid, lets do it.  If you can get us a decent crowd and a decent sound system, we’d probably do it. Obrien has nothing going on.  Backyard.  No mancave.

 

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Maybe this question.  It’s a nice question.  I think I smiled at the girl working at the coffee shop that I am sitting in.  It was maybe a little bit of a fake smile but I think I was convincing.

 

Check out Greg live at the below cities near you! And check out his WEBSITE to see what future shows may be coming to your area!

December 10th-12th, 2020: Omaha, NE @ The Funny Bone

December 17th-20th, 2020: Columbus, OH @ The Funny Bone

 

Steve Hernandez [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I simply can not tell you enough how damn excited I am to have today’s guest here on Trainwreck’d Society. I’ve been wanting to have this wonderful human being on the site for quite some time. And I will admit, I sort of bought his participation in a way. It’s Steve Hernandez!

Steve is a brilliant comedian and podcaster who, amongst many others that we will discuss further, is the co-host to my absolute favorite podcasts, Who’s Your God? alongside our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller. Nary a Friday goes by that I do not listen to this incredible show. In fact, many of the guests we have had here on the site, I discovered from listening to this damn fine show. Folks like Lydia Popovich, Jackie Fabulous, Billy Wayne Davis, Bri Pruett, and Steph Tolev entered into my own personal comedy fandom and the TWS family. Other wonderful comedians we have shared proverbial stages with have included Sarah Tollemache, Shane Mauss, Allen Strickland Williams, Kyle Ayers, Martha Kelly, Brendon Walsh, and more!

As I mentioned previously, I sort of bought Steve’s attention. And it was in a way I would recommend everyone do! Who’s Your God? has an absolutely wonderful Patreon that I need you all to get on. It’s absolutely wonderful. And that, Folks, is how I managed to essentially bribe this kind soul into being a part of the TWS family. I am still a patron, and I will forever be

If you are familiar with Steve’s comedy and work in general, it is obvious why he is an absolutely wonderful and kind human being with so much to offer the world. We are so happy to have him on the site, and the world should feel lucky that he is out in the world (well, when it’s safe to do so) entertaining the world with his art. And he gave us some wonderful and thoughtful answers below.

So Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Steve Hernandez!

 

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What was it that initially inspired you to get into the world of comedy? Was it something you’ve aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

A lot of things had to go wrong for me to get into stand-up comedy! I grew up in the evangelical church and was a youth minister until I was 23, but then I left that all behind to work at gas stations and liquor stores and finally, restaurants and bars. I got married when I was 30 and after some prodding from my then wife, I went back to school to become an English professor. And I liked it! Ive always loved reading books and analyzing literature (like the Bible), and I was used to teaching in front of an audience, so it was really a no-brainer. Going back to school as an adult was a lot of fun and interesting and I had a goal and everything was going pretty well. In the summer of 2010 I needed to take just ONE more class and I’d be able to transfer to UCLA. I couldn’t be more excited! I registered for the class, but thanks to a clerical error, I DROPPED the class. Because that particular class was only offered during the summer, I would have to wait a couple more semesters to transfer. Man, I was BUMMED! 

But I also had a free summer for the first time in a couple of years. I had recently gone to my buddy Scott Luhrs’s first comedy show (a bringer show at El Cid) and he did great, and he said he was going to start doing open mics. I thought, “I guess I could just do open mics with Scott, it can’t be that different than preaching”. And I was right, it wasn’t! What I didn’t expect was in just a couple of months  I would be willing to throw away any previous plans just to get up onstage and tell jokes in front of strangers. Boy, what a dummy!

 

I have been a huge fan of your podcast you co-host alongside our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller, entitled Who’s Your God? I seriously can’t miss a week! I am curious to know why you think the show works so well? What do you believe it is about your chemistry with Amy that makes it work so well?

Thanks, Ron! Those are very kind words! I can’t tell you why people  like this damn podcast so much, but my guess would be Amy Miller. She is very funny and very smart and I am not lying when I say that there are very few people I would agree to do a God podcast with, especially when we started a few years ago. I think both of us are truly trying to be the best version of ourselves and the podcast really is about our spiritual journey and I think are listeners appreciate that. We’ve had real fights on the show and I got sober on the show and there’s really not a lot that we DON’T talk about . We’ve also have had the real pleasure to interview some of the best comedians on the planet and they usually come on the show ready to play ball and get deep and be funny! Now that I think about it…of course everyone loves this podcast! 🙂

 

 

In your obviously expert opinion, do you notice any similarities between stand up comedy and being a mega church pastor? Are there similar forms of manipulation involved?

There’s a lot of different aspects to being a youth pastor at a mega church, preaching being one of them, and yes, I do think preaching and stand-up are very similar. Both audiences want to be seduced, but they’re not trying to hand themselves over to just anyone! I think the word “manipulation” implies that there is some kind of deception going on and I believe people come to church and comedy shows wanting to FEEL something, so everyone chooses to  suspend belief about where they are and what’s really going on. Whether it be at storefront church in a strip mall or a dive bar in Covina, people go wanting to feel the presence of God. All that to say, it’s not really manipulation if you want to get manipulated! You’re not being deceived if you want to be lied to! And as someone who has experienced both, it’s really not that different when a comedy show gets rocking and church gets rocking. 

At it’s most basic, they’re the same because you tell safer, funny shit up front, gain the audience’s confidence, and then wack them in the end with the good shit once they decide to trust you. And the better you become at preaching/stand-up the quicker you can be your authentic self onstage 

 

You have another podcast that you co-hose alongside another friend of the site & past guest Allen Strickland Williams entitled The Male Gaze. I am curious to know how the concept for this show came about? What made you want to venture down this path with Allen?

I’ve been doing podcasts longer than I’ve been doing stand-up, and I always start with the same question: who do I want to work with and talk to every week? Allen and I have been friends for many years and we get along really well and make each other laugh a lot, so I’ve always tried to think of a project for us. I’m a big podcast fan and I noticed that New York had a slew of podcasts where  guy comics just sit around and shoot the shit and even though I enjoyed some of them, it didn’t sound like when me and my friends get together and talk. I’m queer and I’m non-monogamous and like many of my friends, I’m trying to cut away the misogyny that I know I have in me, so how would it sound if you had guys talking like that WHILE being funny? That’s how The Male Gaze was born. I really love talking to Brodie Reed and Zed Cutsinger and Allen every week about celebrity gossip and our sex lives and video games and movies. We took a month off when the pandemic started because up until that point we really tried to make  The Male Gaze light and fun, but we’ve sort of morphed into more of a news cast against our will. And I’m glad we did! It’s been super rewarding and I’m reminded every week how funny and smart these four guys are

 

I understand that you would have celebrated a full decade as the founder and runner of the Chatterbox Comedy Night. While the last few months of probably ruined any celebratory events, a full 10 years is still VERY impressive. When you look back to the early days of the show existing, what do you find the most impressive? When you look back on your time at the Chatterbox, what makes you think “Damn, I fucking DID THAT!”?

If I were to never do stand-up again, I think the thing I would be most proud of is Chatterbox Comedy Night. I started it as a monthly show for the first year, brought Scott Luhrs aboard the second year when we did it twice a month, and then in the third year we went weekly. Currently Scott, Lisa Chanoux, Julia Loken and myself are the producers with Ellie McElvain, Johan Miranda, and Brian Barlow helping through the years. 

The Chatterbox is a dive bar 23 miles outside of Los Angeles. It looks a little scary from the outside. It has no business being as good of a show as it ends up being most of the times. I think that it’s great for a few reasons. First, all of us involved with the show really gives a shit about the show. We get there early to set the room up, we shut down the pool table and the televisions and once the show gets started, we’re not afraid to kick out people who are disruptive (big shout out to Ralph the owner for always having our back). We’re booked two months out and try very hard to book diverse line-ups (gender, ethnicities, styles) while also creating a space for new comics to flourish. Our audience is the best audience in Los Angeles. They’re working class people that have become incredibly savvy about stand-up, so they know good comedy when they see it. Chatterbox is one of the few places in LA where you can really get the room cooking. This is not about industry, no one cares if you’ve been on TV, they only give a shit if you’re authentically being yourself and if you’re FUNNY. Comics that usually do well can have just okay sets and someone relatively new can have the set of night. It’s mostly good but when it’s great…there’s nothing like it.

Without the others producers this show would have shut down four years ago. People really always mention me with Chatterbox, but it is absolutely not MY show anymore. When I quit drinking almost two years ago, I didn’t get on that stage for three months and the shows remained incredible. I love Scott, Lisa, and Julia and I love our damn audience and I cannot wait to do stand-up in Covina again

 

What else does the future hold for you? Anything else you would like to plug to our readers?

I’ll be launching my fourth and final podcast Put It in My Mouth with Steve Hernandez within the next month and Julia and I are in the process of turning are second bedroom into a video studio, so you’ll be seeing my face more on the Internet. But other than that, just follow me on Twitter at @BigHern and on Instagram @Hernia! Thanks for having me, Ron!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

When the pandemic hit, we started going to this little corner market a few blocks from our house. Like two months ago, they stopped carrying these round tortilla that I’ve never seen sold anywhere else. This really bummed me out. Well, anyway, I went to the market yesterday and they had the chips again! I was legitimately happy and excited. This is my sad story about the last time I smiled.

 

Be sure to check out Steve’s current podcasts, The Male Gaze , Views from the Vista (latest episode features our dear friend Alana Johnston!), and of course, the wonderful Who’s Your  God? !!  I also HIGHLY recommend you become a Patreon Member as well. It’s totally worth it. And when the world reopens (maybe) be sure to look out for Steve in L.A. and possibly on the road, and definitely at the Chatterbox in West Covina.

Frank Whaley [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! I hope this week is finding your safe and healthy and not to fearful of the possible pending doom that surrounds us. Today we have a guest that I have wanted to have on the site since I started this thing almost a decade ago. It’s the brilliant Frank Whaley, Everyone! Frank is an absolutely legendary actor who always tends to show up in just about everything you are watching. In fact, the very night that I received Frank’s amazing answers, I was pretty stoked and felt accomplished enough for the day (as if I actually did anything) and decided to finally watch the film Hustlers that rocked the world last year. And lo and behold, wouldn’t you know it, along comes Frank portraying one of the hilariously duped millionaire roles! It should have felt a bit more serendipitous I suppose, but as I said, Frank is always around!

Obviously everyone will recognize Whaley as Brett, the man who shared his hamburger with a fella and ended up hearing scripture just before being shot all to hell from two angles in the legendary film Pulp Fiction. His portrayal of fear was absolutely incredible, and he will be forever noted as taking part in one of the greatest scenes of cinematic history. And beyond that one project, Frank is also an accomplished writer and director with some amazing work under his proverbial belt. We will get into much of it below, so I will sign off right about here, and let you all just get right to it.

Folks, please enjoy some amazing words from the legendary Frank Whaley!

 

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What initially drove you into the world of performance? Was it something you have always wanted to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

 

Acting, being on stage, performing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I certainly did not come from any kind of show business or performance family or environment. I’m not sure where it all came from. Some of my earliest memories as a child are watching The Tom Jones Show or The Flip Wilson Show or famous people being interviewed on Johnny Carson and thinking that’s what I wanted. When I was really little I wanted to be Tom Jones. I would practice my moves in the mirror and insisted on wearing my shirt open and long necklaces to Kindergarten. My family didn’t go to the movies. The first film I saw in a theater was Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon when I was about thirteen, which completely transformed me. I fell in love with acting and films from that moment, and it remains one of my favorite films.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this particular project that still affect your work to date?

 

My first paying job was an off-broadway play called Tiger’s Wild by John Rechy. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I couldn’t fathom that I was actually being paid for doing what I loved. It was a very strange and difficult play about four messed up teenagers hiding out and taking acid in the desert. Nothing about it worked.The New York Times review declared “Don’t go, send an enemy.” The play closed after a handful of  performances. I was devastated and had to go back to waiting tables. I was convinced that was it for me, and that I would never be hired again,  but eventually I got over it. The lesson I learned: things will undoubtedly devastate you and disappoint you and shatter your little heart into a million little shards but you will eventually get over it. That and never take your clothes off on stage.

 

 

You famously portrayed Brett with the “big brain” in one of the most renowned films of all time, Pulp Fiction. Your scene is absolutely legendary. I am curious to know what it was like to do the scene and did you get the sense that you were a part of something legendary? Also how many times a week does someone say ‘Check out the big brain on Brett”?

 

As I recall the scene took about a week to shoot. It was thrilling to be there. I idolized John Travolta. His performances in Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy are brilliant. And the minute I started working opposite him and Samuel L. Jackson I knew I was a part of something great. At the time of the film’s release I was living in Manhattan and it was astonishing to me how many people recognized me from it. It remains and probably always will be my most recognizable role.

 

In 2016 you appeared in one of my favorite films of the last 5 years, alongside many wonderful performers we’ve had the pleasure of having on the site (Joe Chrest, Laura Cayoutte, Chester Rushing, & Rachele Brooke Smith) entitled Cold Moon. While it isn’t singularly a horror flick, it was pretty terrifying. We are huge fans of the world of horror here at TWS. So with that, i was wondering how you enjoy working on projects that are a big darker? What sets them apart from the plethora of other genres you have worked in?

 

I loved working on that film, many very talented actors and a really talented director. I prefer working on darker material and exploring those types of characters. One of my personal favorite roles that I have done is in the film Vacancy, were I play a very dark and demented motel clerk.

 

 

In 1999 you directed your first film with the wonderful film Joe the King. What made you want to move behind the camera? And how do you enjoy appearing in your own work?

 

I wrote Joe The King thinking I would try and get someone to direct the film. I reached out to a few established filmmakers like Robert Benton, Sean Penn (I had just seen Indian Runner, which is truly amazing) and Penny Marshall. No one I reached out to responded so eventually I figured why not do it myself. Little did I know how grueling and difficult making a low budget film with a bunch of kids would be. At the time I was acting in a television series (Buddy Faro) while battling with the film’s producers who hated it and were trying to take the film away from and re-cut it. Thankfully, in the nick of time, the film was invited to premier at the Sundance Film Festival and magically all the producers loved it. I only appeared in Joe The King briefly, (the guy we hired to do the part didn’t show up).

 

It wasn’t until my second film as writer/director, The Jimmy Show that I really had  to direct myself.. That was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. The film was very low budget and I am in practically every scene, many of them very difficult emotionally. Fortunately, it turned out great and was also selected to premier at Sundance. I highly recommend it though The New York Times (damn them!) said in their review, “A must to avoid on a bad day.” Needless to say, that less-than-glowing review did not result in box office receipts.

 

 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

 

I was gearing up to start something just as everything was shut down due to the pandemic. Unfortunately the project was scrapped. Things are slowly beginning to get up a running at the moment so I look forward to getting back to work when things are safe to do so. Meanwhile I have been keeping busy writing and doing a daily podcast THE WHALEY FAMILY HOUR with my wife and writing partner Heather Whaley. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pod-emi-cast/id1503588579?uo=4

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 

Waking up this morning next to my amazing wife, knowing that she and my two beautiful kids are all okay, and that soon (November 3rd) this long national nightmare will end so long as everyone gets out there and VOTES.