Ted Russell Kamp [Interview]


Hello Folks! And welcome back to another beautiful Wednesday here at Trainwreck’d Society. While I am usually always so excited to share interviews with you fine folks, today I am particularly excited for a somewhat singular reason. Not only is our guest today and amazing and talented human being, but we have a musician back in the house, Folks! It’s the wonderful Grammy award winning musician Ted Russell Kamp, Everyone! For those not in the know, TWS was essentially just a music blog. That was where I laid my original roots and will always be proud of the fact. But, the main reason I started this site was to move into other categories. Now here we are, close to 700 interviews later, and musicians just don’t show up as much as they used to. I guess we are starting to change that, right now!

Ted Russell Kamp is a long time bass player, songwriter, guitarist, just about everything you could imagine. Regular readers of the site will remember that Ted appeared on our 2020 year end lists for both a song as well as his amazing album, Down in the Den, which landed at #40, as well as our favorite track from the album “Home Sweet Hollywood” landing at #45 on our Top 100 Songs list. And Folks, while it is very early on, it is damn near safe to say that we will be seeing more from Mr. Kamp at the end of 2021. Our man has a new record coming out on May 7th that I was fortunate enough to get an early listening to and, Folks, he’s only getting better. Being his 13th album is proof that Ted is in no way aging out and continues to put out fresh shit on an extremely fast pace.

So Folks, be on the lookout for his album, Solitaire, available everywhere on May 7th (we will be talking about the album more in the future, I guarantee it), and please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Ted Russell Kamp!




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

I started playing trumpet in the 4th grade in the school band. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and at the time it was New York state law that every student had to join the choir or start and instrument. At the time I was deathly afraid of singing, so I started with an instrument. My dad actually played in some big bands when he was in college so I asked him if I could just use his old trumpet. And that’s still the trumpet I play on a lot of my recordings.

When I got to High School, I got a bass guitar and started playing in rock bands and the high school jazz band. I was hooked for life.

What was your first paid gig in the world of music? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I had been playing bass for a year or two, so I must have been a Sophomore or Junior in High School. A Senior bass player who I really looked up to, asked if I would sub for him and play a gig with a band he worked with. They were mostly guys in college and they had a small-town festival in a field a few towns over from where I lived. They were a New Wave band and I remember learning Duran Duran, the Cure and Howard Jones covers. I had heard some of that music but was not a fan. I was a classic rock guy and mostly avoided music with too many synths. I really did my homework but was so nervous I could barely deal with it. They were older than me, cooler than me and I think I got paid $25 or $50. It was a huge deal and it was the first time I played in a band with people I didn’t know.

Back when you were able to tour the land doing shows all over the place, what were some of the more off the path types of cities and venues that you performed in that most people may not realize are wonderful towns for live music?

I love traveling and trying to get to know the people and heart of every city I go to. Some of my favorites are the small cities you don’t hear about until you get to them. Tuscaloosa Alabama is great. Norco California. Amal Sweden is another. Nokia, Finland. Some of the best gigs are when you go to a small town or city where they don’t get much live music so your arrival is a big deal you become the big show in town. You really feel the heart of the people and the deep appreciation that you don’t often get in big cities.

You have a new album coming out in May that is already shaping up to be one of my favorites of 2021. I’ve enjoyed your work for years, but Solitaire feels special for some reason. Can you tell us how this record came to light? What made you want to put these tales out into the world?

Solitaire is my 13th record as an artist and front man. I played and recorded it by myself, almost entirely in my home studio, The Den, during the last half of 2020 in the COVID quarantine. This is record deals with the isolation me and many of us have felt this last year so there are more than a few sadder and more introspective acoustic songs on it. Overall, I’m an optimistic type of person so I also wanted to have some songs of hope and inspiration on the record because we are all trying to find ways to stay sane and pull through. I have definitely had ballads on my records before but this album as a whole shows a moodier and more introspective side to my writing and playing. It’s as much of a classic folk and singer songwriter record as I have ever made and it really shows my folk influences like early Dylan, Guy Clark and Nick Drake.



One track from Solitaire that has really hit me hard on a very personal level is “Birds That Sing at Dawn”. For reasons that I don’t really care to get into, this one hits me, Man. I’m curious to know what it is like to deal with this scenario. When people personalize your already very personal lyrics to themselves, how does that make you feel? Is it a good thing in your opinion? Why or why not?

I wrote this one with Brad Raisin, who is an artist i have played bass on a bunch of his records over the years. He actually loved my record Flying Solo and started to learn one of the songs on that album so he could start playing it. It’s “The Way Love Burns”. So, his messing around with that evolved into this song. Then he sent me a recording and i tweaked it a little more to get it to what you hear on this version. I love this one. A relationship has fallen apart and the narrator is left reliving the memories and trying to start again. He’s up all night thinking and drinking and wondering what’s next. That’s someplace we have all been.

I’m honored that you relate to it and that this song stands out to you. One of the things I try to do with certain songs is to give a lot of detail and feeling but keep it vague enough that listeners can see themselves in a song. We’ve all had lonely times like that and worried about what we did wrong and missed a better time. I hope this one helps you through those memories.

You received a well-deserved Grammy last year for working with the legendary Tanya Tucker on her wonderful album, While I’m Living’. We always like to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you physically keep your Grammy? And does its location have any sort of symbolic significance?

That was a truly amazing and inspiring record to be a part of. Not just working with Tanya Tucker, who is a legend, but also being in the room with Brandi Carlile, Shooter and the rest of the team. It felt magical from beginning to end.

I didn’t know this, but when it’s an artist and not a band, not everyone gets an actual Grammy statue. I believe the producers, engineers and artists get a statue. The musicians get a pretty awesome commemorative certificate. My wife framed it for me as a gift and it’s hanging in our living room.

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

This record comes out on May 7. I won’t be doing any touring of course but I’m excited to get this music out into the world.

As of now I am booking a tour in Europe for February of 2022 and then I hope to do some traveling and playing with Shooter Jennings next year as well on my own.

I also have a few records that I will be producing and we are figuring out the best way to start them while in quarantine.

Aside from that, I just hope to keep making music for a living whether that’s playing live or in the studio.

And you know I’m going to keep writing songs and putting out records.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My wife is a high school teacher and is just starting her own podcast about education and critical thinking. It’s called Think or Thwim and the first episode just got put on Spotify a few weeks ago so she is really excited about it. I have been working in the studio recording and editing her first few shows and I even wrote a theme song for it. We laugh a lot while we are working together. Since our professional lives are usually completely different, it’s great that I can use my musical and studio skills to help her.


Gabriel Theis [Interview]


Hello, Folks! I hope you all had a nice spring break. We took a little time off to move our headquarters to Anchorage, as we previously discussed. And if I’m being honest, I truly needed a break. But, we shall show you that the wait was worth the….well, wait. So here we go!

Today we have a wonderful interview with a bright young filmmaker that we are so excited to have on the site. It’s Gabriel Theis, Everyone! Gabriel has been working in the world of film and television in several different capacities over the last few years, and has made great strides to becoming one of the greats. His latest project is one that was brought to my attention by our dear friend, cinematographer Brad Rushing, and we are so happy he did. This project is known as The Curse of Professor Zardonicus, a film about a young man who recruits a film student to help him prove the existence of an urban legend. It is a truly intriguing story that I am so excited to check out, and possibly share with you all here.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the newly beloved filmmaker, Gabriel Theis! Enjoy!




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

 My father was a film critic, so cinema was ubiquitous in our household. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been hooked on movies, classic and new, arthouse and blockbuster, really good and really bad (my list of guilty-pleasures is insane).

So because of that, I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker, even when I was too young to really understand what that meant.  I had no idea how films were constructed, all the nuances that go behind a successful production. If I’d had any appreciation for how difficult filmmaking could be, or how much failure I would experience in that quest, I might have been discouraged.

But, too late now. It’s the only thing I could imagine for myself, which has been an absolutely essential mindset. If I had the ability to really consider another career choice, I might have given up by now and gone on to become, I don’t know, a doctor? Accountant? Something more financially reliable as a career path. But filmmaking is too ingrained in my identity now, so I’ve never considered trying something else, even if that might have seemed like the more logical move. 

What was your first paid gig in the world of film? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

My first gig was being a Production Assistant on the “Sicko Mode” music video. I was a sophomore in college, and got the gig through one of my film professors (appreciate it, Professor Houk).

It was a 16-hour shoot day, and was the first set I had been on where the camera wasn’t something that anyone could get at a Best Buy. I went from making amateur short films to being on set for a music video featuring two of the most high-profile artists of my generation.

So it was both exciting and overwhelming at the same time, for exactly the reasons you’d expect. I got some extremely helpful pointers on being a production assistant, though, and the crew was very patient with me, knowing how green I was. 

The number of things I learned on that shoot was so long, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. It ranged from learning what a line producer was, to what Travis Scott’s favorite flavor of Fanta was. But the lessons I carried with me were all about work ethic and maintaining the rhythm of a functioning set.

While I’ve never produced a project of my own at that scale, the principles remain the same, of always being alert and prepared for a problem to arise, of staying in your lane and never interfering with someone else’s responsibilities.

So shout out to Drake and Travis Scott, my old bosses. And especially a huge thanks to Travis Scott, who was part of the reason why the music video was being filmed in Houston.



Can you tell us a bit about your exciting new project, The Curse of Professor Zardonicus? What made you want to bring this story into the world, and what can people expect to see?

The Curse of Professor Zardonicus is… honestly, I still have a hard time explaining exactly what it is. And that’s part of what I loved about making it.

Simply put, it’s a mockumentary dark-comedy about an eccentric young man who recruits a film student to help him prove the existence of an urban legend named, you guessed, “Professor Zardonicus.” It was shot with my colleagues, Alec White and Lucio Vasquez. While there are people to thank, including the rest of the cast, and many people who helped with production, most of the film was shot with just the three of us. Lucio was the Director of Photography and Editor, Alec played the lead character, as well as serving other services such as being a casting director. Without either of them, there simply wouldn’t be a movie. And without the enthusiasm to overcome all of the challenges to produce a film with such limited resources, I don’t know how we could have gotten it done.

Dating back to my freshman year, I had known that Zardonicus would be my debut feature film. Since it’s a mockumentary told from the perspective of a college student, it had the perfect framing device for my limited resources. It was also a chance to satirize the found-footage genre, and “monster-hunting” shows.

It was going to be a comedy, through and through. But then, as I started writing the screenplay, other themes started to creep in, ones about mental illness and conspiracy theories. The screenplay was written long before Qanon became a household name, I can’t imagine a more appropriate sociopolitical context for the film to be released.

We were never sure how audiences would respond, and that anticipation was the most suspenseful aspect of production, at least for myself. With such an off-beat sense of humor, frankly weird lead character, and bizarre title, I knew we had limited our audience. But John Lennon once said “being yourself may not get you a lot of friends, but it’ll get you the right ones,” and the same philosophy applies to creative endeavors and their audience. While Zardonicus has had a polarizing response, the people who have enjoyed it seemed to have had a unique experience watching it, and formed a very personal relationship with the film, it’s themes and characters. And that alone makes it worth it, even with the endless amount of frustration and disappointment that can ensue when you’re producing a film.

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any famous figure from American history, who would it be?

I think the best biopics cover specific events of the subject’s life, rather than try to condense their entire life story into a single film. With that being said, there’s always been a specific moment in Charles Manson’s life I would love to cover, and that would be his relationship with Beach Boys’ drummer, Dennis Wilson.

It seems that most people are aware that Charles Manson was associated with the Beach Boys in some vague fashion, but his relationship with Dennis Wilson was so much deeper than many people realize. They didn’t just do drugs together, they lived together, they worked on music together. Charles Manson is actually a co-writer on a Beach Boys song, “Never Learn Not To Love.”

But, most disturbing of all, Charles Manson’s relationship with Dennis Wilson was the catalyst for a key turning point in his life, one that would set him on the path to really becoming “Charles Manson.”

So, that Beach Boys song? Manson didn’t realize that Wilson would rewrite his lyrics. And when he learned that, he… didn’t take it well.

He literally handed Dennis Wilson a bullet, and said: “Every time you look at it, I want you to think how nice it is your kids are still safe.” And then… Dennis Wilson beat the shit out of him.

Then, later on, Manson would order his followers to go to a house and murder a record producer who turned him down. Except, that producer had moved out. And the new resident was… Sharon Tate.

The more research I did into their relationship, the more of a narrative I could see. These two infamous figures, representing two very different cultural movements of the ‘60s. Dennis Wilson, one of the Beach Boys, was a key figure in the development of Charles Manson, who would change the cultural perception surrounding the “Free Love” movement forever. 



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

Currently, I’m helping to develop a science-fiction screenplay with cinematographer Brad Rushing and director Shaun Paul Piccinino. I’m also in post on a horror short-film, The Face You Took Away, which we expect to be releasing around late April, early May.

If you’d like more updates, you can follow me on social media. When I’m not developing my own projects, I’m working on others, and I’m honestly just grateful to be working on sets after the misery of 2020.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Last night was the Golden Globes ceremony. While I’m not typically impressed with awards shows, there was an amusing bit where a bunch of kids are asked about movies, and give these very cute, silly answers.

But then the interviewer asked them, “who is Chadwick Boseman?” And every single kid shouted Black Panther!

It was such a moving way to honor Chadwick Boseman. It also took me back to when I was their age, seeing Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, or Christian Bale as Batman. It was a beautiful moment to remind us of just how much value cinema has in our lives, and how much they can inspire the imagination.


Sean Donnelly [Interview]


Hello Folks! And welcome to another exciting week here at Trainwreck’d Society. We are keeping the laughs going this week my kicking things off with a very hilarious human being. It’s Sean Donnelly, Everyone! Sean is an absolutely hilarious come NYC-based comedian that I have been hearing about quite a bit over the last few years. In fact, much like our recent guest Steven Rogers, I happened to learn about Sean’s existence through our old pals Mark Normand and Joe List on Tuesdays with Stories. This is how it works, Folks! When the comedy community supports one another, word gets around. And boy was I happy to learn about Sean’s incredible act!

Sean, much like the rest of the world, also has a wonderful movie podcast entitled DYM that I sincerely cannot recommend highly enough. Alongside fellow hilarious person Andrew Fiori cover so many different facets of the world of film. It’s a true delight. The description of the podcast on The Laugh Button site is also very spot on: “Never before have two 40-something, bearded white guys made such an impact on pop culture.”

So, Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Sean Donnelly!




What was your first paid gig in the world of comedy? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

My first paid gig was a road gig. It was a joining bachelor/bachelorette party in Jersey. I did 30 minutes of crowd work. The lesson I took away from that day was to always make sure you stay in the moment.

I always like to ask comedians who (used?) to travel across the globe making people laugh this one question: What are some of the more obscure cities and/or venues that you have enjoying performing in? What are some places that most people may not realize are wonderful places for live comedy?

One of the best places I have been to which a lot of people probably don’t realize is great is Madison, Wisconsin. It has Comedy on State one of the best clubs in the country. Smart college town where people have a sense of humor about themselves



Besides the fact that it is practically required for every comedian to have a podcast, I am always curious to know the origin behind fine shows such as yours, DYM. So what made you want to put this show out into the digital either?

Me and Dan St. Germain ended another podcast called My Dumb Friends and I wanted to do something different from that. I am obsessed with movies so I figured that would be the best way to go.

If you were greenlit & received an unlimited budget to create the biopic (series, film, etc.) of any figure from the days of comedy past, who would you choose?

I would have to choose Patrice O’Neal because he was the best to do it and he was a super interesting guy that a lot of people don’t know about.

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

I will be in an episode of a show called Girls 5 Eva on Peacock which should be coming out soon. Oh and please check out my radio show on Sirius called Celebrate every Wednesday at 4pm!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My girlfriend.