Tag Archives: interview

Black Affair, Stephen Mason – Interview

Many moons ago I conducted an email interview with [Black Affair](http://www.myspace.com/blackaffair) frontman Stephen Mason. Formally a member of the now legendary [Beta Band](http://www.myspace.com/thebetaband) and his own solo outing [King Biscuit Time](http://www.myspace.com/metalbiscuit), Black Affair resonates as a project distinctly Mason’s, yet a very different beast from his previous musical efforts. Since this interview was conducted, the [Black Affair album, “Pleasure Pressure Point,”](http://www.amazon.com/Pleasure-Pressure-Point-Black-Affair/dp/B0013XVBQA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1219604428&sr=8-1) has been released. However, it is currently only available on import. Here’s hoping that it gets stateside distribution!

Interview Follows

I have really enjoyed the songs you have been putting up on the Black Affair Myspace page (there have been a number of them). Can we expect an album anytime soon?

Yes! the album is done and sounds incredible. Once the business end is fixed i can put it out. Soon i hope.

Continue reading Black Affair, Stephen Mason – Interview

Interview with Alexander Louis Grass

We came across the artist Alexander Louis Grass posting on Craigslist1. I conducted the following interview with him.

What are your influences?

That’s too hard, man. That’s too hard. You can’t ask a question like that. Well, when I first started, I had the rock ‘n’ roll and acid jazz base that most people did. Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, Black Sabbath, Mahavishnu Orchestra, 10 Years After.  Black Sabbath was a huge influence on me, and from there I really delved into heavy metal. I’m not really headed in that direction at all any more (metal, that is), but I’m very thankful I put the time and effort into learning the licks and the history. It’s important. All that minor key stuff, the staccato and legato and subtle hints of classical music, that’s all very important in developing a sense of dynamics. Which is why I’m a huge fan of Tool, as most people with any sense are. Randy Rhoades and Cliff Burton left an indelible imprint on my brain. Especially Cliff Burton. No other bassist has influenced the way I learned about music the way that he did. Les Claypool is great, too, although I was always a fan of his more commercial stuff. I really loved the Primus album produced by Tom Morello. I love Iommi’s more obscure stuff from Sabbath, like “Tequila Sunrise” or “Changes.” I mean, I couldn’t really tell you ALL of my influences, but there is definitely a source. Middle eastern music means a lot to me as well. I lived in Israel for a while, and the different modes they use are just so unconventional. It’s so boring to stay in that little pentatonic box, especially when you’re writing. My influences are too great to name. I just try and pay attention to good songs and great musicians. I try to imagine their thought process in coming up with what they did. I try to put myself in their shoes. Otherwise, if I hear a cool sound, I’ll put it in my memory bank to use later on.

Alexander Louis Grass

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Interview with Steve Barnett, Director of Mindwarp (1990)

Ever so often a B-movie comes along that goes beyond its modest budget and genre trappings to do something more, something unexpected, something prophetic and just sometimes even better than the films it predicts. The virtually unknown Mindwarp (1990), directed by Steve Barnett, is one of these movies. Showing a debt to author William Gibson and pre-dating films like *The Matrix* (1999), directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, unlike the *The Matrix*, *Mindwarp* does not fall prey to romantic triteness. Whereas *The Matrix* naively suggests that the global-everyman (or nondescript-mannequin as played by Keanu Reeves), could fight and change the system, *Mindwarp* realistically posits that ideals put into practice are more apt to fail than they are to succeed. *The Matrix* remains at its best, like *Star Wars* before it, a cultural event, and at worst, a hackneyed intellectual hodgepodge told and sold with martial arts and leather trench coat cool. *Mindwarp* conversely is never easy to swallow. Hiding its compelling story in high-concept gore, the film features the legendary talents of both Angus Scrimm and Bruce Campbell. With its supergroup cast, you would expect that the film would be as well known as Scrimm’s and Campbell’s respective calling cards, *Phantasm* (1979), directed by Don Coscarelli, and *The Evil Dead* (1981), directed by Sam Raimi. Yet the film has yet to even see a proper DVD release. And it needs one desperately along with a commentary from its director Steve Barnett. For now Mr. Barnett, who is no longer directing but is working as a vice-president of post production at 20th Century Fox, has kindly answered a couple questions here.

Interview follows:

How did your involvement with *Mindwarp* come about?

After editing trailers and features for Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures, I directed BACK TO HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD for him in 13 days. Rodman Flender, the executive on that film, recommended me to the producers of MINDWARP. This was the first movie for Fangoira Films and they needed someone who could bring it in on time and looking like a real movie. I had a pretty good take on the material, and I took a chance in telling them that the script was a terrific yarn that fell apart in the second half. I guess they agreed, since they hired me. I worked with writers Mike Ferris and John Brancato (aka Henry Domonick) and the producers to get the story working better in the second half and then beating it to within the confines of the very limited budget. My wife had turned me on to William Gibson cyber-punk, and this show fit into that world very neatly. Ferris and Brancato created a wonderfully twisted world (five different worlds actually) filled with bizarre and memorable characters. I managed not to screw it up too badly.

Continue reading Interview with Steve Barnett, Director of Mindwarp (1990)

Interview with Dennis Dragon of the Surf Punks

Formed in 1976 and borrowing elements from punk and surf rock, the Surf Punks were a completely singular if not unique musical phenomenon. Irrevent, funny and totally original, the Surf Punks would release five albums, Surf Punks (1976), My Beach (1980), Locals Only (1982), Oh No! Not Them Again (1988) and Party Bomb (1989). In the following interview, Dennis Dragon, drummer and founder of the Surf Punks, talks about the band.

Dennis Dragon 1985

Dennis Dragon 1985 – Click on image for a bigger version.

For more information on Dennis Dragon’s current work, visit his website by clicking here.

Interview follows.

With all the information out there on the internet, surprisingly there isn’t a whole lot about the Surf Punks. Additionally, your albums are quite hard to come by. “Surf Punks” on Day-Glo is next to impossible to find, and compact discs of “My Beach” go for 90+ dollars on Amazon used vendors. Do you think any Surf Punks albums
will see rereleases?

Since Epic Records owns the rights to the “My Beach” album, the ball is in their court. I personally have a few unopened copies of our original Day-Glo record and would consider selling some if the price is right. I have recently re-acquired the rights to “Locals Only” and will probably re-release that one at some point.

Continue reading Interview with Dennis Dragon of the Surf Punks

Interview with Takaharu Saito, Filmmaker

Takaharu Saito is a filmmaker residing in Sendai, Japan. His works include A Memory (2001), Portrait of a Day (2003) and ONE/S (2004). In the following interview, he talks about his latest film, Pre/sense (2006).

From Pre/sense

Mr. Saito has been kind enough to allow us to host his movie. Please take the opportunity to download and watch the movie by clicking here.

If you have trouble watching the film, please download Quicktime 7.

Interview follows.

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Interview with Gabe Weisert, Director

Gabe Weisert is the director and co-writer of the two classic independent films Fishing with Gandhi (1998) and Cow Monkey (2001). For anyone interested in film, both works are must-owns and for low-budget filmmakers, they are mandatory viewing. Shot in relatively short amounts of time (each film was shot in 9 days or less) and with limited locations, the films demonstrate just what one can do with zero-budget, inventive story telling, dedication and talent: make damn fine art.

Weisert’s directorial debut, Fishing with Gandhi, is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Fishing with Gandhi is one of those rare films that balances profundity with side-splitting laughs and presently remains criminally under-appreciated. Its story follows Danno, played by Dan Klein, who has just returned from the wedding of his mother and uncle. Now traveling to see his too-cool-for-school friends Stephen, played by Weisert, and Giles, played by William Birdthistle, Danno hitches a ride with brothers Roy and Gil, played by James Reichmuth and John Reichmuth respectively.

Weisert, the Reichmuth brothers and Klein followed Fishing with Gandhi with another film truly after my own heart, Cow Monkey. Cow Monkey returns to characters Roy and Gil as they go on a quest to avenge the murder of their dog, Wanda II, by Bigfoot, or the mythical ape-beast the “cow monkey”. When Roy and Gil arrive at the Bigfoot site, they meet the woodsy Grover, played by Klein, and an anthropological student named Sydney, played by Bridget Schwartz. What ensues is 88 minutes that, like Fishing with Gandhi, is as funny as it is philosophical.

For more information on Gabe Weisert, visit his photography site. For more information on John and James Reichmuth and Dan Klein, visit their website of their extremely funny comedy troupe, Kasper Hauser, and check out their new book Sky Maul.

To purchase and view the films, visit Film Baby, which currently offers a signed double DVD package of the films, both which have extremely illuminating commentaries and are full of great outakes, cartoons, and Kasper Hauser troupe standup.

In the following interview, Weisert talks about the two films.

Interview follows.

I’m shocked that Fishing with Gandhi isn’t a better known film. It’s well written, well acted, extremely funny and quite touching. When it was released, did it get a lot of attention?

Thanks for the kind words! When it came out in ’98, FWG [Fishing with Gandhi] bounced around some of the smaller film festivals then got picked up by Hollywood Video. We got a nice write-up in Variety, and some great local press, and good word of mouth around the hip indie film fest circles, but by no means was it on any kind of grand national Entertainment Weekly type scale. But honestly I was pleasantly surprised — it’s more of a student film than anything else, so I was happy to see the small but very favorable attention that it received.

John Reichmuth as Gil and James Reichmuth as Roy

Continue reading Interview with Gabe Weisert, Director

Interview with Gary Gustin, Actor

Gary Gustin is an actor who works in the Pennsylvania area. In the following interview, Gustin talks about his experiences as an actor. His most recent film is Sean McKnight’s Disturbing Images (2006).

Gary Gustin

Interview follows.

I am familiar with your work from Sean McKnight’s film Disturbing Images where you played the character of Byron Lloyd. How did you come to be involved with the film?

I learned of Disturbing Images after Director Sean McKnight started casting notices. At that time he was being assisted by Dave Von Roehm of Ningun Films. I met Dave when I worked on a trailer for the film Two of One Heart. You know working on Independent films is a pretty small universe, seems like everyone knows everyone.

Continue reading Interview with Gary Gustin, Actor

Interview with Sean McKnight, Director of “Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K.”

Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K. (2006), directed by Sean McKnight, paints the portrait of the artist who is questionably consumed by fires his art ignites. Previously a schlock filmmaker, Helmut K. turns to the world of photography in search of his muse. When some of Helmut K.’s photos of scantily clad young men and religious imagery come under attack from a right wing religious group led by Byron Lloyd, rather than shy away, Helmut meets the challenge by adorning his best ring-leading hat. “Be, like the monkey,” chants Helmut K. throughout the circus that boils around him. And it is such a hypnotic circus that Helmut’s art takes back seat to his outrageous performance.

Helmut K.

Norm Macera as Helmut K.

Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K. balances artiness with comedy and philosophy for one entertaining ride. In the following interview, the film’s director, Sean McKnight, gives some of his insights into the film and the making of it.

For more information on Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K. visit the Cinema Alliance website.

Interview follows.

In the opening shot of Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K. the viewer can see a microphone and the back of the head belonging to someone who is presumably a crew member, if not a person meant to represent the filmmaker him/herself. Throughout the film, similar acknowledgments of the artifice of the fiction of the film occur. Was this something that was in the screenplay, or something that you chose to do as director?

McKnight: The film crew is mentioned briefly in the script but I wanted to
emphasize and expand that concept a bit more as a way of telling the story. I think one thing that’s important from a director’s standpoint is to place a lot of emphasis on how you tell the story. While reading the script for DI, a documentary approach to it just made sense.

Continue reading Interview with Sean McKnight, Director of “Disturbing Images: The Story of Helmut K.”

Interview with Mark Tapio Kines, Director

Recently I conducted an email interview with Mark Tapio Kines, director of Claustrophobia (2003) and Foriegn Correspondents (1999) (to our female readership over at the Wheaton-club on Theology Girl and The Result of a Sleepless Night, Foreign Correspondents stars Wil).

While the interview touched on a number of topics ranging from Kine’s experiences as a director to his current work, it also cleared the water on Claustrophobia (2003), a film that I feel has not received the critical attention it deserves due to its marketing by Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Claustrophobia tells the story of three women who are held hostage in a house by a killer with a crossbow. A suspense film with a nod to Hitchcock, unfortunately it was released by its distributor, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, as a slasher flick. This meant changing the name of the film to Serial Slayer (a truly awful name) and coming up with misleading cover art. In my mind, the result of these decisions has been the prevention of the film from reaching its intended audience.

Continue reading Interview with Mark Tapio Kines, Director