Monday, May 31, 2010
From his time with Dope and the Murderdolls, to his days fronting TrashLight Vision, to his newest band, The Dark Party, Acey Slade has brought true heart and passion to every project that he has been involved with. Recently I had the pleasure of asking Acey some questions about his amazing career.
After checking out your latest endeavor, The Dark Party (http://www.myspace.com/aceyslademusic), I was struck by how divergent it is from your past work. The music is gothic, mature, and at times strikingly beautiful. I love the fascinating fusion of electronica and dark rock and how that differs from the raw, pure, guitar driven rock sound of your past. What was the inspiration behind the formation of The Dark Party, and what influences the new sound?
Acey: Well for me, when you play 'raw, pure, guitar driven rock' for a long time, it starts to seem like a 'day job' if that makes sense. So, for me, when I am home I would throw on some electronic, pop, 90's alternative..just stuff that didn't have to be guitar driven to be good. This was an extension of that. I also want each Dark Party album to be unique from the previous one..so..that was the direction this time. The new album is already shaping up to be different from the 'Dark Party' album.
Do you have a particular favorite song from the new album, and if so, what makes it your favorite?
Acey: She Brings Down the Moon and Sugarcum. Maybe 'Sanctuary' because it was a pretty brave song to cover and we did a kick ass job on it!
What gear do you currently use, and conversely, what is your favorite guitar you have ever owned?
Acey: I can say in all honesty, I love my rig now. And they are all brands I never thought I would be touting. My Peavey Penta rig is kick ass and the ESP Phoenix is just slammin'! I mean I have done the classic vintage American made guitar though a high end California amp thing..but,this combination is just amazing. And me..ha,ha...
Taking a step back, I first became aware of your music when I caught you on tour in 2005 fronting TrashLight Vision. I had no idea what to expect from the band, but was amazed by the hard hitting, high energy rock you performed that was, to me, like the spiritual successor to Appetite for Destruction era Guns N' Roses. Can you tell us a little about the journey TrashLight Vision took from formation to the eventual demise of the band?
Acey: Well I don't regret the past nor do I wish to relive it. It was a great band that worked its ass off and did things that exceeded most of our expectations. But those that burn brightest, burn fastest. We just burned out really. My only regret with that band..the only thing that I look back on with some sadness, is knowing this, our 2nd album would have been amazing!
I adore the TrashLight Vision album, Alibis and Ammunition. Are there any unreleased tracks from the recording sessions for the album, and why doesn't the song "Alibis and Ammunition" appear on the album that bears it's name?
Acey: Oh wow..I forgot about that. I don't know why. I think I thought it might be predictable to put that track on there. I'm known for doing the exact opposite of whatever is logical, ha,ha...
Another thing about you that really took me by surprise was your accessibility to your fans. After you performed, you took the time to speak to all of the people that came to see you (and not just a "hello" either, you carried on long conversations, posed for pictures, signed merchandise, etc.). I'm sure in your career you have had the chance to interact with artists whom you admire. Who would you say is the most influential artist on your creative process, and have you had the chance to meet that person?
Acey: In the creative way..well..I don't know for sure. I'll say this much-Nikki Sixx is an awesome guy. But for where I'm at now, I'm trying to draw inspiration from different places. World events, street artists, there are a million things that inspire me to write a song now, that have nothing to do with songs written by other people. I'm really striving for originality with this project, even if it is at the cost of not being what's current. That's the problem with a lot of musicians. They are more concerned about being current then they are about being creative.
Another project from your past that I truly love is The Murderdolls, which blended horror movies and hard rock in a way that hadn't been done correctly since the halcyon days of Alice Cooper. It seems that since the time of The Murderdolls, the prevalence of horror influenced bands has increased exponentially. How do you view the current state of "dark rock" or "horror punk", and what new elements do you feel it must adopt in order to survive as a genre unto itself?
Acey: Well I can tell ya right now-Stop with the Danzig/Misfits shit, ha,ha..IT"S OLD AND TIRED! ha,ha..unless you are Danzig or the Misfits. Maybe all the Misfits 'wanna be' bands should do smash ups with Shakira, ha,ha...I dont' know. I mean...Nick Cave is one of THE darkest motherfuckers out there..check him out..I was always proud of how the 'dolls were a horror rock band that didn't sound like a b rate Misfits.
On a horror related side note, we talk a lot about horror films on this website, and I always love to hear about other people's favorite horror films, and also to learn about films I may not be that familiar with. What is your favorite horror film of all time and why is that particular film your favorite, and do you have any recommendations for a horror film that blew you away that is maybe not well known by others?
Acey: Fave? Well...that's tough. I like a lot of weird shit. I'm not as into the main stream stuff. I love a lot of asian horror movies. Oldboy is pretty sick, but not horror I guess. I just saw Taxedermia..that's more along my lines. Twisted ride that movie is! I like stuff that fucks with your head a little more. Hitchcock, Poe, even David Cronenberg.
Strong visuals can make a huge impact on initial public perception of a band to a degree where it at times can overshadow the music (ex. Everyone knows the Crimson ghost Misfits logo, but a portion of the individuals wearing the logo can not identify the music of the Misfits, and some are not even aware the logo represents a band at all). As both a musician and visual artist, how do you find a balance in your work between the visual and the sonic, and do you think that t-shirts and strong graphic design can be effectively utilized to draw in new listeners, and do you think there is a way to eliminate the disconnect between the two that exists for some?
Acey: I see it 2 ways. 1-as a fan, it pisses me off seeing people in Ramones, CBGBs, Misfits T-shirts who have no idea what or who it is. Drives me nuts and I see it in NYC all the time. Trust fund kids spending 300.00 on a 'vintage' Ramones T-shirt and can't name 1 song by them!
But...2-As a musician, I'm glad to see people get paid. In the case of the Ramones for example, they don't even have a gold album, ya know? Their legacy is bigger than their actual sales. So from that stand point..all the power to 'em.
I notice you are featured in the upcoming book "Sex Tips From Rock Stars" . Any words of wisdom for our readers?
Acey: Be safe and buy the 'Golden Ticket'.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
The legendary Marky Ramone has recently unleashed an incredible new musical venture entitled Blitzkrieg (featuring Marky on drums, Michale Graves on vocals, alex Kane on guitar and clare on bass). Now the time has come for the bands first video for the hit single When We Were Angels. The video is being produced by an exciting production company based in France known as Callicore Productions. Read on as Callicore’s own Laurent Mercier fills us in on all the details!
Tell us a little of the background of Callicore Productions?
Laurent: Callicore is an independent production company specialized in animated music video and publishing. The studio recently worked for Arrested Development, John Lee Hooker Jr., and Carbon Silicon. It defends freedom of speech and doesn’t want to depend on any formatting cultural system.
How did you come to be involved with Marky Ramone and Blitzkrieg?
Laurent: When I was around 10 years old, I played hooky on Wednesday to go to the cinema, and I discovered the Ramones with the movie Rock’n’Roll High School. It was amazing, a true revelation! And a weapon to start my adolescence; where I’m still in! But now I can realize my fantasies… So we’ve contacted Marky’s management and we proposed to illustrate one song of his choice. They liked the concept; and that’s how it began…
What is the concept behind the video for “When We Were Angels?
Laurent: The song brought us in a kind of dark universe where each member of the band is searching, discovering something in his own nightmare.
What software are you using to create the video?
Laurent: We use the software 3d studio max.
Did you do any pre-production concepting (character designs, storyboards) in 2D first?
Laurent: It was a real challenge to work graphically for Marky Ramone, because the Ramones have already been done in many different graphic styles. Marky was also immortalized in The Simpsons.The only thing that we hadn’t found was a semi-realistic representation and that’s what we proposed. We started from classic drawings that we transformed into 3D models. We proposed those models to the band and to Marky because we wanted that he could see what would be done [with his likeness].
How involved was Blitzkrieg in the video’s creation?
Laurent: They are very available even if they are on tour at present. We send them proposals and wait for their comments for edits.
When will we get to see the finished video?
Do you have any plans for a follow up?
Laurent: If you are talking about another adventure with Marky Ramones Blitzkrieg, we don’t know. For the moment we are concentrated on the video…
This may sound weird, but has anyone considered producing figures or maquettes based of your designs for the video to sell to the fans?
Laurent: No we haven’t thought about it! But well, it’s a good idea! We have so much drawings and models! How can we proceed?
Any final words for our readers?
Laurent: Marky Ramone is a legend; it’s a great honor to work with him and Blitzkrieg. I hope that the fans will appreciate the video, we think of them on each step of the production.
Head here to keep up to date on all of Callicore Productions projects: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/callicore?ref=ts !
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Filmmaker Pawl Bazile is working on a film entitled “Living the American Nightmare” that promises to be a must see for anyone interested in dark or horror related music (or any one pursuing a career in art in general). Pawl recently talked to us a little about the film’s content and the plans he has in store for fans of the genre.
Can you fill in our readers on your new documentary "Living the American Nightmare"?
Pawl: "Living the American Nightmare" is about anyone who's ever wanted to be a career artist... or for that matter, anyone who has ever worked their ass for something and for some reason it didn't happen. Our story focuses on Myke Hideous (Empire Hideous, Misfits, Bronx Casket Company) trying to create a career and a life in the Gothic/Horror Punk/Death Rock/Dark Metal world. If you want to be an artist, you have to be prepared to give something up and get nothing in return.
Did you know Myke Hideous prior to beginning the film?
Pawl: First time I heard of Myke Hideous, was about 5 years ago. I was looking up information on the Misfits and came across his name and image. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of him because he had a great look and I wanted to know more. My chick is a model and posed for Myke and we met through that. Soon after I found out he was thinking of making a film and I tricked him.
You have interviewed an impressive array of legendary musicians for the film. Was there anyone in particular that made you think, "Holy shit I can't believe I'm interviewing him!"?
Pawl: Yeah, right off the bat I was really star struck by Arturo Vega, the Ramones art director. "Please Kill Me..." by Legs McNeil is one of my favorite books ever, and Arturo gave an awesome contribution to it. While I was setting up the interview in his loft, I was obsessed with the thought that I was in the house where Dee Dee & Joey lived. I took a piss there and while staring at my stream kept thinking "Every Ramone, (and probably most of the legends from the early days of CBGB's) has pissed in this toilet... and now ME! I was humiliating myself trying to stay cool, and Arturo is a sharp guy, I'm sure he saw through me.
The trailer of the film is really awesome (check it out right here…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgEaZAC9sNs), but I want more! When can we see the finished film?
Pawl: I'd like to think by Halloween, if the film isn't ready, at least we'll have way more for everyone. Part of the beauty of having nothing, we have no one to answer too. And while we have that luxury, and no time constraints, we'll take as much time as we need to make something that we will like now, or 50 years from now. We'll try not to push it with the fans though.
Any plans to have screenings of the film in conjunction with some live performances (not unlike what they did with Anvil)?
Pawl: We sure do. The Undead, Merle Allin's version of the Murder Junkies, and some guys from Mister Monster have already volunteered their services. Blitzkid, and the Bad Whoremoans would probably somehow get involved... I hope we can get one huge "Black Carpet" premier together and make a real Rock 'n' Roll moment for everyone.
I know it's a bit early, but can you tell us if you have any special treats in store for the DVD release as far as special features are concerned?
Pawl: We definitely want to put extended interviews on the special features. Especially in light of Peter Steele's death, we know a lot of people want to see extra interview footage that doesn't necessarily fit into our narrative. Commentary with me and Myke Hideous can be counted on. Extra live performances from any band wanting to contribute footage will also be considered.
Any plans for merchandise such as t-shirts or a companion album?
Pawl: We will whore whatever flat surface we can write the title of the film on! But seriously, yes of course. First thing that comes to mind for me is we have some phenomenal original poster art from Mike Norse, Andrew Froedge, and Rebecca Cliborne among others that we will make available to the fans as soon as they're ready. Morgan Hodgen has been on most of the shoots and taken phenomenal pictures that we'd like to print out in a book (along with journal entries from Myke and myself). Albums are a bit harder, but not out of the question. Stickers, pins, T-shirts, and whatever else people might be interested in will be available as long as we have worthwhile ideas for them. Of course, any merchandise sold will be used to help get us into festivals, promote the film and have more screenings in more cities. I hope our merchandise sales will be a testament to how alive support of independent art is.
On a more personal note, what made you pursue film making?
Pawl: I make films because there is nothing else I would be happy doing. It’s almost a religious vocation for me, like being a priest. If a priest could see himself doing anything else, he should do that... I believe being a filmmaker is the same. I like telling stories, I enjoy being a God in my own world, creating moods, situations, bringing light to incredible characters the world forgot, fighters, such as Myke.... and let's face it there may not be much else I'm skilled enough to do.
What is your favorite band in the dark rock genre?
Pawl: How can I not say early Misfits? Glenn Danzig is a genus and sublime. I love all of Danzig's work, he is invincible and brilliant in every project he undertakes. He takes risks. I love Black Sabbath. I love Type O. I love Son of Sam & the Undead. Calabrese, Blitzkid, and Mister Monster are totally underrated acts. That being said, if we're going to talk about DARK rock, there is no DARKER rock album in history then John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band".
Any final words for our readers?
Pawl: Luck is for Losers.
Thanks Pawl! Everyone should head here for up to the minute news on “Living the American Nightmare”…. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Living-the-American-Nightmare/108951772481461?ref=ts
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Last Friday night I got home from work and decided that this night it would be a little different. I hadn't had a movie marathon night in some time. The time seemed right. Now the what would it be? I narrowed it down to three possible choices. Sergio Martino, Lucio Fulci or a giallo marathon? I had a stack of unseen films for all three. After a little internal debate, I decided on a giallo themed night. But it didn't mean I couldn't still kick it off with some Sergio Martino.
All the Colors of the Dark (1972)
"Strange men have been following women since the Stone Age, Jane."
I've never seen this Sergio Martino giallo before. Ahhh Edwige Fenech. Is there anyone better to have in a giallo. she plays Jane, who's having freaky nightmares about her mom's murder. Her love-in lover Richard (giallo great George Hilton) thinks it has to do with jane's recent miscarriage. She keeps seeing her mom's killer (Ivan Rassimov) everywhere she goes. Her sister Barbara (Nieves Navarro aka Susan Scott) works for a psychiatrist that Jane is seeing. But Richard thinks that's all crap. Jane meets a new tenant in her building, Mary (Marina Malfatti) who suggests a different approach to curing her. Black magic. Soon Jane and Mary are hanging with a satanic cult! One cup of dog blood later Jane is boffing the satanic high priest (Julian Ugarte). The next day she wakes up thinking the Black Mass was just a dream. Till she finds the cult's symbol on her arm. Jane starts having visions of the future that come true. She also starts to suspect everyone around her is involved in the cult. Is everyone out to get Jane or is she plain bonkers.
I love the mix of the typical giallo elements with the London setting and the satanic cult plot. It felt like an Italian made Hammer film. Fenech, Martino, Hilton, Rassimov and brillant score by Bruno Nicolai make this is a giallo fan's wet dream! Add to that the gorgeous Malfatti and Scott, it's near perfection. Martino does a great job of cutting back and forth between fantasy and reality simply and effectively. He packs each scene with energy and beauty. You never feel bored as his camera is always in motion. One of Martino's most satisfying gialli and a great way to kick off the night.
Murder Mansion (1972)
"I just want to get to the bottom of this God damn mystery!"
Beautiful heiress, Elsa (Analía Gadé), traveling to meeting her hubby crashes her car near an old cemetery. Investigating the cemetery Elsa is menaced by two ghostly apportions. She screams her head off. She's heard by a young couple, Fred (Andre Resino) and Laura (Anna Lisa Nardi), who come to her aid but find no trace of the ghosts. After some wandering in the fog out threesome find themselves outside a large mansion. they knock on the door and Mr Porter who previously that day nearly ran Fred down and had tried to grope Laura. Also there with him are Mr and Mrs Tremont (friends of Elsa, who were involved in a car accident in the fog with Mr Porter)...plus the owner of the house, Marta (Evelyn Stewart). She explains too all her guests that they'd better stay there for the night, since the fog is so bad. Just to put her guests at ease she relates to them the story of her Aunt, a self-proclaimed witch who with her chauffeur died in 1942. She also mentions how fear of vampires have kept the locals away. So after that they settle down for a good nights sleep. Things begin to heat up. Sort of. People wander around and then some start dying. Who or what stalks the halls of the mansion?
A giallo that's equal parts Scooby Doo and Old Dark House film. I really dug this film. I doesn't do anything amazing but it held my interest and I had fun with it. The plot behind everything is very ridiculous, something involving incest and inheritance. It's convoluted, but sort of fits the Scooby Doo atmosphere of this film. If it wasn't for those melding kids...
I was starting to get tired, but I felt I could squeeze one or two more in. Something short. So I picked...
The French Sex Murders (1972)
"A case like you should be considered psychpathological ... you depraved filthy pig!"
It starts with someone falling off the Eiffel tower. The we flashback a few days and meet Antoine Gottvalles, a violent schizophrenic who may have killed a prostitute. Humprey Bogart clone Inspector Pontaine (Robert Sacchi) hunts him down and brings him to justice. During the trial Gottvalles swears his innocence and swears revenge on those that accused him. "...all that condemned me will die violently!". Gottvalles escapes from custody and, after stealing a motorcycle, gets into an accident were he loses his head! Pretty soon the people he ‘cursed’ start dying and I start snoozing.
This is my second time watching this sucker and it didn't not get any better! Inspector Bogart, why do you hate me so. This film drags on and on, once in awhile throwing some nudity or poorly staged murder at the viewer. I now believe in movies making one violent because by the time this was over I wanted to hit someone in the face! Damn it!
Hopefully the next film would end the night on a high note...or not.
Slaughter Hotel (1971)
"Your desire to make love is excessive. Now go take a shower."
A high class sanitarium located somewhere in Europe, where the only patients, are scantily clad Euro-babes. Run by Professor Dorian (John Karlsen) and Dr. Clay (A wild looking Klaus Kinski). Their charges run the gamut, from nymphomaniacs to suicide risks. After what seems like hours a masked figure in a long black cloak shows up and starts killing people with weapons from the sanitarium's well stocked armory!
Man this is one hell of a sleazy movie. It's even sleazier then I remembered. Back in the days of VHS I rented this under the title Asylum Erotica! It appears that the video tape version of it was heavily edited. I've never see so much female self-gratification on screen...ever! Kinski is somewhat restrained here but still fun to watch. Rosalba Neri as the resident nymphomaniac is incredibly hot. If there's one reason to watch this film it's her. But I'll never understand why they keep all those deadly weapons are a bunch of mental patients. Not great by any means but fun.
Well I wish the night could have ended better but I was entertained for most of it. If it wasn't for that damn Inspector Bogart!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Director Craig Singer should be well known to fans of the After Dark Horrorfest. His films Dark Ride and Perkins 14 were among the strongest offerings the festival has offered. He is also the director of animal Room, a film that will resonate with anyone that has experienced the traumatic effects that bullying can have on our youth. I recently was afforded the opportunity to ask Craig some questions about his films and creative process.
I’d like to start off talking a little bit about Perkin’s 14, which is a film I just loved the hell out of (even my wife, who isn’t a horror fan really enjoyed it…she came for the Graves but stayed for the story!). Can you fill us in a little on the unique creation of the film?
Craig: I had been toying with the idea of a "Fan Crafted" film for a long time by "Fan crafted" I mean giving true horror fans a chance to have some voice in the direction of a feature film that was going to get a theatrical release. Dark Ride was experiencing a remarkable success for a small film and I was asked to direct another film for the studio. I decided to combine my idea of a "Fan" film with what became Perkins 14.
Do you find that shooting overseas presents a more challenging shoot then if you filmed here in the states?
Craig: Many more challenges. The language issue being one - producers often overlook the benefits of allowing a director to work within his comfort zone - the ability to call in favors as well as having the ability to creatively solve production problems and issues that pop up all the time. Looking back it was a wonderful and challenging life experience
Was the character of Eric always intended to be a musician in the film, or was this decided later after Michael Graves (Gotham Road, Misfits) had been cast?
Craig: Eric being a musician was directly attributed to Michael being a musician.
Speaking of Misfits related things; I was introduced to your work through the excellent film Animal Room, which I rented because of the Misfit’s involvement. How did they come to be involved in the film?
Craig: My cousin knew Jerry from the band - I think one of the other members grew up in Lodi, NJ where my cousin is from. I met the guys at a local diner. I wasn't familiar with the band and you can imagine my surprise when they showed up on set in Full Costume! They were all great and very professional. I did speak to the boys years later about doing a full length documentary - perhaps one day.
Animal Room features veteran performers such as Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Lillard, plus you wrote, produced and directed the film. The pressure of this must have been intense. How did you handle all of these challenges as you brought the film to life?
Craig: Shear terror and a dose of panic. It was my first film and I was being pulled in many directions - we didn't have enough time or money or anything other than a really terrific cast and a ton of grit and determination. It was a real baptism in fire - I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy. But the film got made and the story resonates with certain people. Some fans connect to Animal Room in a really meaningful way.
What inspires your creative process the most?
Craig: Interesting question. I really don't know. It can't be forced. Sometimes my muse just taps me on the shoulder and away we go. It's really a process of discovery and usually what I am after gets clearer as I move further down the road.
An aspect of your films, in particular Dark Ride and Perkins 14, which I enjoy a lot, is that they feel like classic horror from the 70’s and 80’s. Do you have any particular genre favorites from that time period, and while we are on the subject, was there a particular film or director that made you choose to become a professional film maker?
Craig: Kazan is the director who influenced me most. East of Eden was the first film I really fell into - by that I mean I fully immersed myself into that film in the sort of way one falls into great theater - it’s hard to describe. Night of The Living Dead is a film I saw when I was six years old at a drive-in movie theater in the middle of the woods. My parents took me to see all sorts of films and many of the great films of the seventies became my film school.
Another large part of genre conventions of years past is endless sequels. Would you ever consider producing a sequel to one of your films, and if so which film would you choose, and which direction would the story take?
Craig: I've been asked to do a sequel for both Animal Room and Dark Ride - actually a prequel for Dark Ride - my writing partner Robert Dean Klein has an interesting take. I would love to do a stop motion sequel to Dark Ride - how cool would that be? :)
Another project of yours that sounds amazing is Paradiddle. What can you tell us about it?
Craig: Paradiddle is a wonderful drama that is being produced Off Broadway by the Theater For The New City in NYC - it’s the story of three brothers who are dealing with love, life and heroin addiction. Much of the story is true and I am thrilled that the folks at the Theater decided to put it up on the stage.
If someone gave you unlimited money to make a feature and complete creative control, what would you create?
Craig: I plan on full creative control for a drama I am working on called "Faker" I'm not sure "unlimited money" ever necessarily results in the greatest films. History provides too many examples of big budget flops - the best work in my humble opinion comes from the best teams and a strong vision. Sprinkle in some passion and a dash of endless tenacity and perhaps you may end up with something with a bit of imagination. Perhaps…