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The Barbara Walters Special – March 27, 1995 (Interview with Jim Carrey)

Back in early 1995, Jim Carrey was a star on the rise. Fresh off of four years on In Living Color, and with three feature films under his belt (and a fourth on the way), Hollywood loved this rubber-faced comic.

He wasn’t for everyone (and still isn’t), but in 1995, he was pretty darn popular!

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And I loved him! What kid didn’t?

Barbara Walters has always been known for this unique way of interviewing celebrities. Armed with her Vaseline camera lens and ability to make celebrities cry, it seemed like she was unflappable.

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That was, until the tables were turned and Jim Carrey nearly got her in an interview that aired as part of The Barbara Walters Special on March 27, 1995.

Yes, I looked that date up.

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It’s a nice interview – Carrey and Walters discuss his career, his family, his struggles in both life and his rise to fame, we see some of his impressions, he’s candid…and he’s heartfelt. When you get to the end, you’ll see why.

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Come for the nostalgia, movie clips, and a good interview that doesn’t show Carrey acting like his goofball persona…and stay for the heartstring tugging.

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Click play below, and witness all the feels!

The commercial at the end of the video was not cut off by me for the purpose of this article. My mom really did stop the tape right there.

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

Allison loved to turn the tables on unsuspecting readers – luring them in with the promise of laughs, and something else happens entirely (aside from the laughs, of course!). If you like what you’ve seen here, she culls from her archives on a regular basis over on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and give her a shout out on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut. You’d love what she tweets – lately, they’ve been about #SharkNado4 and #BabySittersClub.

This is normal, trust Allison.

She agrees that this interview has all the feels.

Joe Santuli - National Videogame Museum

Interview With National Videogame Museum Co-Founder Joe Santulli

FRISCO, TX-North Texas is a mecca for museum patrons and a Valhalla for videogame fans.

In addition to such world-class facilities as the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, the area is home to the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, a rapidly growing city north of Dallas.

Occupying 10,000 square feet of the Frisco Discovery Center, the NVM, which is set to open April 2, contains thousands of videogame consoles, cartridges, discs, handhelds and other artifacts on display, including such rarities as an unreleased Atari Mindlink controller, a vaunted Stadium Events cartridge for the NES, an unreleased Barbie-themed Nintendo Game Boy Pocket system, a 1990 Nintendo World Championships cartridge, and an RDI Halcyon laserdisc-based console.

While these and other scarce, highly valuable items will remain behind lock-and-key, much of the museum, including such coin-op classics as Asteroids, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders, is interactive.

With anticipation and excitement building for the opening of what is one of the coolest places in the country, I interviewed NVM co-founder Joe Santulli.

BRETT WEISS: What is your first videogame memory, and what impression did it make on you? Did you fall in love with the medium right away?

JOE SANTULLI: My best friend Kevin Oleniacz hopped aboard the videogame phenomenon right off the bat. He had the original Odyssey and a couple of the early Pong variants. Kevin and I used to hang out at alternating homes every Sunday. I secretly disliked the alternating week that was at MY home because Kevin had the coolest stuff. We were both hooked, and we had some fierce matches in the early ’70s.

WEISS: What made you go from mere gamer to fanzine publisher [Digital Press], convention coordinator [Classic Gaming Expo], webmaster [digitpress.com], store owner [Digital Press Videogames], and now museum curator? In other words, what is it about videogames that made you devote a significant portion of your life to them?

SANTULLI: I’ve been asked this question before, but I don’t have a proper answer. From the thrill of competition to the spirit of adventure to the challenge of collecting to the wonder of the art, videogaming was and probably always be a necessary companion in my life. Each of those progressions you list just sort of “happened.” One flowed into the other as if it were a natural path. It’s very “zen”!

WEISS: What is your favorite arcade game of all time and why?

SANTULLI: I think anyone from my generation who grew up in the arcades has a long list of favorites. There’s the one you competed with your friends or an arcade rival for the high score on. There’s the one that blew your mind with its originality, graphics, or sound. There’s the one you actually got your girlfriend to play with you. There’s the one you pumped so many quarters into that you didn’t have money to pay for [insert important thing here]. And, of course, you never forget “your first.” Taking all of these things into consideration, I’m going to choose Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! as my favorite of all time. I mastered it to the point where I would stop punching when the score read 999,990 just so I wouldn’t set it back to zero. I loved that there were quality home versions of it. I eventually bought one for my home, the only arcade machine I’ve ever had in my house. Later, I bought another one for my store. I loved the characters, the massive sprites, the clever balance between reflexes and memorization, and I loved the sport of boxing growing up, so this game had it all for me.

WEISS: What is your favorite console game of all time and why?

SANTULLI: That one is a little easier to answer than arcade game. It’s Bethesda’s Skyrim. Until that game came out, it was Atari’s Adventure for the 2600. There are a lot of parallels: the game is focused around the threat of several dragons. There are many locations with things going on in real time in places other than where you are. The games have a start and an end but everything in between is non-linear (at least in the best mode of Adventure, “game 3”). Skyrim wins because it’s really big, really beautiful, and you can play the game however you want: as a good guy or bad guy, through brute force or stealth, using any number of weapons or magic. It’s a great place to lose yourself after a busy day of work!

WEISS: Other than the obvious theme, what is it about the National Videogame Museum that sets it apart from other museums?

SANTULLI: Although tech museums are making great strides at being as interactive as possible, we’ve made each exhibit interactive by default. If you find yourself peering through glass and reading endless text, you’re not in our museum. We left the long, detailed stories up to Wikipedia and instead decided to present our visitors with great stories bundled into rich, colorful, interactive exhibits. You’re going to be able to touch things. Experience the tactile stuff that gamers have experienced for the last 40 years. And you’re going to play. A lot.

WEISS: What is the admission fee to the museum, and what will that get you?

SANTULLI: Twelve dollars gets you an admission ticket and four tokens to “Pixel Dreams,” the museum’s embedded arcade. There are 10,000 square feet of sheer joy here for videogamers. Exhibits are themed and interactive: in “Pre-Historic,” you’ll play on the world’s largest home Pong console while surrounded by walls of ’70s home systems. In “Evolution of The Controller,” you’ll get to try out some of the more unusual controllers throughout history while facing a literal armada of interesting and innovative controllers. There’s an ’80s living room, a signature of ours from the Classic Gaming Expo days. And we’ve brought in North Texas’ most talented artists to bring your favorites to life. There is so much to see and do that we’re wondering if anyone will voluntarily walk out.

WEISS: Talk a little bit about the museum’s arcade? Will it use tokens? Quarters? How many games does it have, and what are they? What is the atmosphere like?

SANTULLI: We wanted to build an ’80s-themed arcade like the ones we grew up with. The ones that the industry grew up with. That’s exactly what we’ve done. “Pixel Dreams” has 40 arcade games, primarily from 1980-1986. The most popular classics are present: Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, Dig Dug, Joust, Missile Command, Frogger, Q*Bert…but also a few rare surprises like Mappy, Zoo Keeper, Road Runner, and Red Baron. The room is bathed in black light and florescent paint, neon signs and lots of trippy artwork. Eighties music plays on a quad stereo system all day and all night. And all of the machines run on custom tokens that bear the museum logo on one side and our mascot “Blip” and the arcade logo on the other.

WEISS: What about the console area?

SANTULLI: There isn’t really a “console area,” though we did dub one of the walls “The Head to Head Hall.” In this hall, 10 game systems will be set up in various formations depending on the day. For tournaments, there may be 10 Street Fighter IV setups. For special events like the week of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary, 10 different Sonic the Hedgehog games. On any other random day of the week, any other random systems, maybe some you’ve never had the opportunity to play for or even knew existed! One wall has a long table of old tech?can you run a Timex Sinclair game? There is a whole room dedicated to handheld gaming with four play stations to try them out.

WEISS: Why is it important to remember the history of videogames?

SANTULLI: It’s a national treasure! Like any other history, we need to remember where it all began and how the story unfolds. We are heading into a digital age where physical media is becoming extinct. You don’t actually have to go to a game store anymore to get your favorite videogames. We want to make sure that the past is captured somewhere. I would like to point out that this museum isn’t only about videogaming past, it also celebrates the present and future of the industry!

The National Videogame Museum
8004 Dallas Pkwy
Frisco, TX 75034
972-668-8400
http://www.nvmusa.org/
Admission: $12; arcade games cost 25 cents per play.
Opening date: April 2

100 Greatest Console Video Games - Brett Weiss
Brett Weiss is the author of the “Classic Home Video Games” series (McFarland Publishers) and of The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 (Schiffer Publishing). For more info, check out his blog: www.brettweisswords.com.

Friday the 13th the Series - Alyse Wax - Bearmanor Media

Interview: Curious Goods Author Alyse Wax!

Just last week I had the good fortune to be able to review Alyse Wax’s in-depth look at Friday the 13th the TV show with her fantastic new book Curious Goods – Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series!

Well, since the Projectionist has been missing for the last few weeks so to speak I was emboldened to invite the talented Author down here to the Retroist Vault for a little Q and A about her work and the Television series itself.

Vic Sage: Hey, Alyse! Welcome to the Retroist Vault. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come down here and chat with me about your fantastic new book, Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th the Series.
Alyse Wax: Thanks!
VS: Would you mind telling us what gave you the idea of publishing a book that not only details all 72 episodes of one of my favorite 1980s television series but also offers interviews with the cast and crew of those episodes?
AW: I have been obsessed with Friday the 13th: The Series since I was about nine or ten years old. I mean, obsessed. In the early 1990s, at the dawn of the internet, I started the first F13 internet fan club. In the late 1990s I made my own fanzine. Flash forward to my 30s, and I am a journalist who specializes in the horror genre – something that I never even imagined was a “thing!” Being surrounded by dedicated horror fans, I found that I was not the only one who loved the series, and I started toying with an idea to write a book about the show. I figured I was covering 10+ TV shows per week for FEARnet.com, on top of other articles for the site, so I figured, how hard could it be to write a book? LOL. A friend who has been published referred me to Bearmanor Media. A page-long proposal was met with an email a few hours later that said, “Guess what? You just sold a book.” It was almost too easy!
VS: I really was blown away by the interviews in your book, it gives some great insight on not just the fun of what it was like on those sets but also the difficulty in bringing such a quality show to television. How easy was it to secure interviews with the likes of Louise Robey, John LeMay, and Executive Producer for the series Frank Mancuso Jr.?
AW: Surprisingly easy. A little bit of internet sleuthing led me to their agents, and their agents set me up with them. Both Louise Robey and John LeMay were more than happy to help. In fact, almost everyone I reached out to was more than happy to contribute. The only one that was tough to get was Frank Mancuso Jr. He is very busy and I suspect he thought that this was just some silly fanzine interview or something. Luckily a friend of mine was able to get his agent to contact Frank’s agent and in the end, I got a solid hour on the phone with him.
VS: In Curious Goods you have some amazing and heartfelt interviews supplied by The Twilight Zone Companion’s Marc Scott Zicree, in particular for the first season episode “Doctor Jack”. I am a huge fan of the Twilight Zone and I have shared a project or two of Zicree’s on the Retroist before. Are you too a Twilight Zone fan? What is your favorite episode?
AW: Of course I am a fan! You are not allowed to be a horror fan without being a fan of The Twilight Zone. It was Zicree’s Twilight Zone Companion that showed me that you could actually write a book about television. “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?” was always the episode that stuck with me, more than any other. I liked the “double whammy” of an ending.
VS: For myself when I was watching Friday the 13th the Series the character I most identified with was Ryan Dallion, he was a kid at heart and I found myself really looking up to him, and to be fair the rest of the characters who were putting their lives on the line to wrong evils. Sorry for the spoilers for our readers but in the Season 3 two-part episode entitled “The Prophecies” by the end of the second part Ryan is transformed back into a child and though he was alive and would be fine…I found myself almost in mourning for like a week after the episode aired.
AW: I remember mourning over a LOT of episodes!
VS: In Curious Goods you make a mention of how you were hooked on the series thanks to Louise Robey’s portrayal of Micki Foster, would you mind telling our readers what it was that made her your favorite character?
AW: Though I didn’t realize it when I was a kid, Louise was the first redhead I ever saw on television. As a redhead myself, I identified with her immediately. The 1980s didn’t have many redheaded heroines. Of course, it was more than that. I grew up watching 1980s slashers and Married With Children, both of which do not have a great history with strong female role models. Micki was nothing like that. She was intelligent, she was strong, and she managed to save herself more than the boys ever saved themselves. “Bedazzled” and “And Now the News” are the two episodes that best demonstrate Micki’s strength to me. “Wedding Bell Blues” was also hugely influential to me, with the way Micki handled Johnny. She was never whiny, never weak. And she was beautiful. I always wanted to look like Micki.
VS: As I mentioned in the review of your book this series was a huge part of my young adulthood. My top three favorite episodes are “The Inheritance”, not just because it’s the first episode and I think strongly sets up the rules of the series but you also had that incredibly horrifying porcelain doll named Veda.
AW: She was a bitch, that doll! Apparently, that episode gave Channing Tatum a life-long fear of porcelain dolls. (And it did an excellent job setting up the “rules” of the series, something which the show did a great job sticking to.)
VS: My second favorite is probably “And Now the News” where Micki and Ryan have to track down a cursed radio that offers solutions to problems thanks to a broadcast announcement…heck…the radio doesn’t even have to be plugged in to work. Of course being a cursed antique means it needs a horrible death to offer a solution to the owner which in this case is Dr. Carter, a “miracle worker” at the The Maseo Institute for the Criminally Insane.
AW: This was also a favorite of mine, although the snake scene at the beginning of this episode was one of the main factors that made me phobic of snakes! This episode also had some of the best anecdotes.
VS: Last but not least for myself is “Scarlet Cinema”, being a huge Universal Monsters fan even in my youth I kind of couldn’t be prepped to love this episode where the gang of Curious Goods are after a film camera that after being given three victims will grant the wish of the owner. Which in this case involves a big fan of Universal’s 1941 classic The Wolf Man.
AW: This one never really “spoke” to me as a kid, and I don’t know why. It is a great episode.
VS: Alyse, I totally understand if this is a case of picking your favorite children but what might your three favorite episodes be?
AW: “The Charnal Pit,” the last episode. It was so beautiful to look at, and it was another great example of Micki’s strength. I remember showing this episode to some friends, and they couldn’t understand the “lure” of de Sade – he was older and overweight and bald. But I knew, I understood the allure. I was probably about ten at the time and had no idea who the Marquis de Sade was.

“The Long Road Home.” I hate Johnny with such a passion, something that still flickered up as an adult. But beside that, this was a true horror movie. A young couple stranded in the middle of nowhere, a couple crazy hillbillies trying to do unspeakable things to them. To this day that is still one of my favorite horror movie tropes.

“Wedding Bell Blues.” This was a Micki-focused episode, and I liked that, and I LOVE how she cuts down Johnny at every turn.

I have to give honorable mentions to “And Now the News,” “Repetition,” and “Scarecrow.” When I was a kid, “Doorway to Hell” was one of my favorites, but as an adult, I have no idea what I saw in that episode!
VS: Friday the 13th the Series’ plot of tracking down cursed and sometimes just evil artifacts is brilliant and certainly lends itself well to a weekly series, look at the SyFy channels similar premise with Warehouse 13. Do you feel that the series itself could be revived today with a new cast…maybe have Micki and Ryan filling in the role that Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) did of the older and wiser character?
AW: Absolutely. That may, in part, be because I just want the series back. But in actuality, genre television is SO BIG right now. CW is developing an F13 (based on the movies, not the show) series; there are shows like The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Bates Motel, Teen Wolf, The Originals, Penny Dreadful, Scream, Scream Queens, Supernatural, The Strain, American Horror Story, Grimm… and these are are just the series that are currently in production. There are a half-dozen in development that I can think of off the top of my head. Genre television is hugely popular right now, so bringing back the gang would do very well!
VS: I want to thank you again for taking the time to come down here and visiting us today, Alyse. I’m not trying to put you on the spot but as a fan of the series I really want to thank you for Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th the Series. Informative and blessedly informal.
AW: Thanks for having me! Trust me, this is a dream of mine: to talk non-stop about F13!
VS: Before you leave…I’m sorry…I have to ask. Which object would you most like to possess for good or ill?
AW: Umm… probably the pocket watch in “13 o’clock.” I always loved the idea of having an hour to myself, especially in the middle of the night! I don’t think I would have done anything nefarious with that hour. As a kid, I just wanted an hour to watch the crazy late-night monster movies without worrying I would wake up my parents.
VS: Before you go, Alyse, I thought you might like to see this vintage interview with Louise Robey from The Late Show back in 1988!

[Via] Cold144

I want to thank the talented Alyse Wax for taking the time to speak with me once again, if you would like to read more of her work you might want to check out her site and remember to pick up her book Curious Goods:Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series which is out now!

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It’s Rock n’ Roll Baby; A Conversation with Glam Sensations WICKED!

Hey there fiends! Remember a few weeks prior when I turned you on to the latest and greatest glam rock superstars to explode upon the scene in decades; the one and only WICKED? Well, it just so happens I recently had a chance to sit down with the guys; Chad Michael (lead vocals/guitar), Danny Döll (bass guitar/vocals), Scotty V (lead guitar/vocals) and JP Clubs (drums) and discuss all manner of rockin’ n’ rollin’ ruminations!

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What led you to take up the mantle of glam rock icons?

Danny Döll: It was kind of one of those things that we were always drawn to. I’m the oldest, so I have always been into that kind of rock n’ roll with showmanship and it kind of wore out on the other guys…and we like sticking out!

So who comprises the calamitous crowds at your amazing live shows?

DD: It’s funny; we all have our own kind of character thing going on, so it’s like we all draw different people…we always have young kids there that are really into it, which is always awesome to see the new generation going, and there’ll be older people who actually lived it; it’s great seeing that kind of range…it’s awesome! It’s funny, there’ll be fans of JP who wouldn’t necessarily be fans of us, and they just love his persona…or vice verse…it’s pretty crazy!

You guys have played some ginormous gigs like Rocklahoma. How has that treated ya?

DD: We’ve done it 2 years, and it just keeps getting bigger! The first year we were down there Guns N’ Roses were there! We just kind of took the stage by storm, and the crowds were huge…it’s like the old days. People are screaming’ and singing along…this year it was even better! We walk around and hand out flyers, but this year people were coming up to us in droves saying “Holy s***, Wicked’s here!” and that was really cool to experience!

Are ya headin’ back next year?

DD: Actually we are probably going to take a twist and change the course. We are thinking of maybe going to the West Coast. We have our new album coming out, and as soon as it hits, we’re going to start booking that; we’re supporting that on our own, so that’ll be awesome!

Have you guys played the West Coast before?

DD: We’ve played from the East Coast to the Mid-West so far, so it’s going to be our first time out there!

Do you dig the larger venues?

DD: Yeah, we’re an arena rock band, I mean we’ll come in and blow through a set anywhere, but we’re really faceted around that big theatrical show like you used to see in the 70’s…you know like Alice Cooper, KISS, you name it! We’ve got the big stage set-up; all the amps, fog machines, lights, drum riser and everything, so it’s a big event; it’s a huge show!

Since this is The Retroist and all, let’s get all warm and cozy with a lil’ nostalgia! What were the first concerts each of you attended?

D.D. My first concert was Van Halen with Sammy Haggar. I still want to see The Scorpions…I would love to see a band like that.

Chad Michael: Danny and I are brothers, and we would always travel to concerts when we were young. I was lucky enough to head out to Jones Beach with him and we saw Cruefest…that was my first concert. We always went to see KISS and all of the 70’s rock bands…that’s my favorite genre.

Scotty V: My first concert was Aerosmith and Motley Crue…obviously that had a little bit of an influence on me [laughs]!

JP: My first was Buckcherry!

Damn, you guys really make a ghoul feel old! But, just thinking about that makes me think back to my misspent youth…a time when like KISS were like…well, almost like super-heroes…and you guys are definitely re-capturing that aesthetic!

D.D.: Yeah, that’s the idea! We love all of that!

JP: We grew up with all of that kind of stuff! That’s what drove us to want to have a “personality” ourselves, but also to want to be a group; like a team of superheroes!

D.D.: Even if you get into a lot of the lyrics, it’s all orientated to that; things about Valhalla and cool s*** like that!

Any plans for a comic series based on WICKED?

D.D.: It’s funny you should say that; we actually do! Right now we have a couple of artists drawing up a comic about us! It’s kind of in that anime style of drawing, and we are really looking forward to that.

Speaking of comic book related things, you guys always have a presence at Scare-A-Con. Any plans on branchin’ out to other conventions?

D.D.: We’re looking to do that in the future…that’s something we really want to ramp up jumping off from Scare-A-Con. We love that kind of stuff, and we have a lot of friends that do cosplay and stuff. We’d really like to be able to put on a show at one of them too. We’ve done Scare-A-Con for a few years, and they have a few after hours party opportunities, but they haven’t gotten us in to play, and that’s the one thing people always ask when they’ve gotten to meet us there; “Man we’d love to see you put on a show”, so hopefully in the near future!

Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about the new album you have coming out!

D.D.: That’s right; LIFE ALIVE! It’s coming out on vinyl and it’s a live album; live recorded. We’ve listened to the test pressing of it, and it’s just unbelievable! We can’t wait for it to come out; it’s coming to be a really big thing for us! We can’t wait for our fans to get it in their hands!

Would you say WICKED is more geared towards being predominately a live band?

D.D.: Absolutely a live band! That’s what we gear everything we do around. Even when we recorded our original demo limited release ORIGINS [which I have had the pleasure of listening to and absolutely love the livin’ crap out of! – DXIII], it was pretty much all live in the studio. We want to show you exactly what we do live; there’s no tricks, no ten back-up singers behind the curtain doing Chad’s lead vocals…it’s all about the rock n’ roll, you know what I mean? Quite honestly, we work hard on our musicianship and we want people to see all of the hard work we put into it!

J.P.: Rock n’ Roll baby!!!rock n’ roll

For more WICKED action, be sure to visit their website and Facebook pages…and tell ’em XIII sent ya!

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Head Out Of The Ashes and Into The NIGHT!

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Hey creeps! As you may be aware, there is nothin’ that sets my lil’ black heart a-flutter more than a good ol’ fright flick…but, there is a close second for my arcane admiration, and that dear fiends is the diabolical decibels of heavy metal, especially deafening ditties from the glory days of the 1980’s!

But, that’s not to say there isn’t any worthy metal to keep the fires burning in these here modern times; no ghouls there are many a band these days that echo the classic sound of their denim clad forefathers, and one such band that really holds the retro-metal flag high is Sweden’s own NIGHT! Here, check out the latest video from the band entitled Out of the Ashes, and tell me it doesn’t slap a ten mile grin across your puss as it get’s your cute lil’ head a-bangin’!

Wasn’t that just tha Bee(lzebub)’s Knees? Ya, you know it was! So, now that you’ve had a taste of NIGHT’s supersonic serenadin’, want to learn a bit more about this blisterin’ band? Well, yer in luck buddy, ‘cuz recently I had the opportunity to ask guitar god Midnight Proppen himself a few quick questions!

First of all, let me say a word of thanks to you on behalf of metal maniacs everywhere for keepin’ the classic metal sound alive! Speakin’ of classics, what bands influenced your sound?

Midnight Proppen: Thank you! Ah, our influences are many, but I would say that our biggest influences are bands like Saxon and Judas Priest, good ol’ heavy metal, so to speak!

You went on tour with one of my fav bands recently; the uber-theatrical (and equally classic rock influenced albeit in a more comic-booky satanic vein) Ghost B.C.. How did the crowd embrace your sound?

MP: The tour was fantastic! Although we went on a little bit too early most nights, the crowd really treated us well! I think that our music lies fairly near Ghost’s in one sense, so the crowd was almost with us from the get-go every night!

So, you crazy cats got a new album percolatin’. What do you have in store for your faithful fanatics?

MP: Well, if you liked the album that’s out now, your gonna love this one! Its really everything that the last album wasn’t; so you are in for a real treat!

Your video for “OUT OF THE ASHES” is freakin’ killer! It features not only comic book visuals, but plenty o’ laughs! What made you guys concoct a cocktail equal parts hard rockin’ and hilarious?

MP: Haha, well I for one think that most music-videos today are somewhat boring, anyone can film themselves doing playback to a song. Our way of doing it for the last few videos takes a little bit more planning and time to do, but I think it shows in the result! And also we love the music videos from the 80s, which had a lot of humor in them, and that goes well with ourselves as well.

So, are you guys comin’ to the good ol’ U.S. of A. any time soon?

MP: No plans as of yet, but you never know what the future holds! We sure would love to come to the US and play some rock!

Any final message for our rockin’ readers?

MP: Be sure to check out our Facebook and our shop to satisfy your NIGHT needs! Other than that, keep the spirit of rock n’ roll alive!

Thanks Midnight! Now, let’s all raise our fists and hail the mighty NIGHT and rock n’ roll!

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Music Is Magic: a Q&A with Britta Phillips, the Voice Behind the Jem and the Holograms Songs

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I recently caught up with Britta Phillips, one half of the duo Dean & Britta, who you may also know as “Billie” from the movie Satisfaction, or perhaps the singing voice of Jem from Jem and the Holograms. Here, she shares of her current road experiences, reminisces about her time spent filming Satisfaction and recording music for Jem, and of course shares some of her own favorite retro memories with us.

How’s the tour going?

It’s going well! We break it up so it doesn’t become exhausting.

Have you had any interesting experiences while on the road?
In Atlanta, I saw two policewomen galloping down the street, which was quite a stunning image. Hmm…what else? The owner of a club we played in, in a small town near Rimini, Italy, made us amazing pasta and then did our sound for the show. That’s a first. I know there’s more but I have a terrible memory, which is why Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good. I can look back and see what I did.

When does the tour end?

It’s on and off until August 7. Check our tour dates, please! I get so bummed when people email asking when we’re coming to their city and we’ve JUST played there.

Any other cover songs that you enjoy performing while on tour?
We do “Ceremony” by Joy Division / New Order which is always great. Galaxie 500 covered it on their album, On Fire. We also do “Air” by The Incredible String band, which Dean covers on his mini LP, Emancipated Hearts.

What do you think is the first thing you’re going to do once you’re off the road?
I’m home right now for a few days. I’m in my home studio in the back working on my solo album.

When do you aim to have it ready for the masses?
Well, I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year and release it next Spring.

For the movie Satisfaction, when you auditioned for the role of Billie, was it required that you also be a musician, or did musical roles just happen to find you in the 1980s?
They were looking to cast real musicians but I ended up being the only one.

Did you record your own vocals and guitar for the movie?
I recorded vocals but not guitar.

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Any fond/terrible memories from shooting the movie?
I can’t talk about the terrible one…but it was an incredibly fun shoot and I have many fond memories of hanging out with Scott Coffey and Julia Roberts. Come to think of it, I can’t really talk about the fond memories either! But we were very young and very silly and had a great time. I bought a video camera and used to set it up in the corner while we hung out, so I have hours and hours of Scott, Julia, and me goofing around. I haven’t watched it in about 15 years since I don’t have a VCR. One fond memory I CAN talk about was when U2 was staying in the same hotel and Bono was singing in the lobby.

Was Bono just hanging around the lobby, nonchalantly singing to himself? That would have been around the time of Rattle and Hum, so was there like, a church choir hanging out, singing behind him?
It was 1987. I don’t remember him being nonchalant, he is Bono after all! But it was a casual setting and there were only about 10 or 20 people in the lobby. Someone was playing piano but I can’t remember who.

Jem and The Holograms recording

What was the recording process like for the Jem and the Holograms songs? Looking back on all of the seasons of Jem, it’s really impressive how many songs were worked into each episode.

It was pretty fast and furious. I’d come into the studio and record two or three songs in a couple of hours. Anne Bryant, who wrote all the song, would fill me in on the details of the episode so that I understand what I was singing about. They really liked to push me up into the high notes to see how high I could go. It was fun.

It’s OK if you don’t have one, but I was wondering if any Jem song that you recorded stands out as your favorite? Or perhaps even a Misfits
tune?
Favorites are hard for me. But, “Only Me And The Music,” “Music Is Magic,” and “Only The Beginning” are a couple.

I’ve come to realize that the songs hold up over time. Sure, some are throwaway tunes about picking the perfect wardrobe, but when you get down to the heart of it, the Holograms always sang about friendship, teamwork, positivity. The Misfits almost always sang about Pizzazz! Their lyrics were always first-person Pizzazz narratives. Did you ever consider how much punch was packed into each less-than-3-minute tune?
Yeah, they packed a lot into a minute and half. Sometimes they were super fast! I like that Jem was so imperfect. She was often pretty confused…just like the rest of us.

Did you ever cross paths with Samantha Newark while recording your portion of the episodes?
No, we never met back in the Jem days because we were on opposite coasts. All the music was recorded in NYC and the voices in L.A. We met at JemCon a few years ago, though. And I’m hoping to go to JemCon in Toronto this year if I can.

Do you ever attend any fan events?
Just the one JemCon a few years ago and I’m hoping to attend the one in Toronto in September this year. Are there other fan events? Maybe there are and I just don’t know about them.

Can you give us any info regarding your involvement in the new Jem movie?
I have a very small cameo but I can’t say anything else about it; don’t want to spoil the surprise! It was a fantastic experience being on the set, though. So surreal. And the director, Jon M. Chu, was so lovely and everyone was really excited to be involved in making it.

From working on Jem, did you own any of those dolls or any other Jem memorabilia? How about the cassette tapes that came in the package with the dolls? I personally played/rewound some of them so many times that eventually the tapes snapped.
I’ve moved an awful lot in my life so I don’t have a lot of stuff. I wish I still had a cassette tape. Maybe my mom will find one in a box some day. I do have one Jem doll.

Do fans approach you after concerts and ask you about it?
I meet Jem fans at shows quite often. They usually don’t ask me questions but just want an autograph or a photo. Sometimes people apologize for bringing it up, although I’m not sure why. I don’t mind at all!

Does it boggle your mind that 30 years later people are still asking you about this cartoon?

Yes, it DOES boggle! And it’s great. I never thought about kids growing up and remembering when I was doing it at the time, so it’s a real treat. And I never imagined they’d be making a live-action movie about it!

Do you have any young relatives who are excited about the movie?
My young relatives are either too young or too old to be excited yet, but I think my 16-year-old niece will be excited when the movie comes out.

Who were some of your favorite singers growing up?
I loved ‘70s AM radio hits when I was a kid. I loved the Jackson 5, and later, Michael Jackson’s solo stuff. I loved disco…Donna Summer! and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, but all my friends hated it so I used to listen in my car alone. And classic rock like the Beatles and Stones. So…that’s just about everything, right? Ooh! I forgot Jesus Christ Superstar. My dad did the show on Broadway and took us several times. My sister and I were obsessed. My dad also did Dancin’, Barnum, and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were more but those are the ones that stand out.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Read or watch a movie. I don’t do vacations.

It’s probably hard to do while on the road, but do you have any current “must see” shows? Anything you might be binge-watching?
I LOVE Louie. Other must sees are Girls, Game Of Thrones, and Mad Men. But I’m all caught up on them, so now I find that there’s almost nothing I want to watch on TV, aside from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Although, we’ll sometimes watch Seinfeld or Columbo reruns.

The Retroist website is all about sharing favorite retro memories, so we’d like to know any of your favorite things from growing up. Is there a favorite TV show, commercial, board game, toy…that sticks in your mind to this day?
LOST My favorite cartoons were Kimba The White Lion and Underdog. I loved Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart and All In The Family. Also, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I played Clue…a lot! And I had a Lost In Space board game. A Rubik’s cube, of course. I didn’t have Barbies, I had Sizzlers cars and a race track.

Check out Britta’s Facebook as well Dean and Britta’s websites, deanwareham.com and deanandbritta.com, for information on the tour, her upcoming projects, appearances, and more.

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Jem Speaks: One-On-One with Samantha Newark

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I’d like to begin by stating, for the record, that I am an unabashed Jem fan. I always had a great time coming along for the ride when Jem and the Holograms were performing, helping others and counterbalancing the snarky attempts to be knocked out of popularity by The Misfits. Also, as an existing fan of other Sunbow Entertainment-produced shows (The Transformers [Generation 1] and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero), Jem operated in a very familiar visual space for me.

Samantha Newark, who was Jem’s speaking voice—more on that later—has graced me with a few moments of time to answer some of my truly, truly outrageous questions. Here we go…

What type of voice work had you already done before you were you were hired to speak for Jem?

I had only just started to audition for voice-over work. I had a brand new agent that had a voice department and had never been in that world until I was signed with her. After auditioning for a few things, I booked a public service spot, which I don’t remember what it was but most likely playing a teenager and then I read for Jem and booked the lead, which was pretty amazing. Although I do consider that a lucky break I had been working in the industry since I was 7 years old professionally so it had already been many years of paying dues so to speak.

As many fans already know, you spoke Jem’s lines—and another performer, Britta Phillips, sang the songs in the show. Much like how Ming-Na Wen spoke and Lea Salonga sang the lead parts in Disney’s feature Mulan. Was there any interaction between you and Britta during the recordings for the show?

Yes you are right, there are two of us that brought Jem to life.

They matched the speaking voices to the singers that were already cast and recorded music and voice-overs on two different coasts. The music was all recorded written and produced in New York and Atlanta and the voice actors were cast and recorded in Burbank California. Britta and I never did get an opportunity to meet while doing the show. We finally did at Jemcon (a convention entirely dedicated to Jem and the Holograms www.jemcon.org) we were both invited as guests that year for our work on Jem and finally got to meet each other in person, it was pretty cool.

Here’s the obligatory question: What’s your favorite episode of the series—and why?

Oh goodness, I don’t know if I can even choose just one, there are favorites of mine for different reasons. I love some of the more emotional ones that were brave enough to delve into drug abuse and the death of Jerrica and Kimber’s Mom. For a cartoon, they really explored some heavy stuff and did it really beautifully. I loved the one where I got to play an imposter Jem that is totally out of control and misbehaves like Pizzaz. Then there are episodes that I really enjoy because of the other actor’s work like Patricia (Albrecht) as Pizzaz.

You were also on The Transformers a few times. Can you share you experiences of working on that other iconic Sunbow show?

Yes, it is pretty cool to be a part of the Transformers brand. I was invited to do three different roles on the original Gen 1 Transformers cartoon. I didn’t get to record ensemble with the other actors like we did on Jem, as the roles I did on Transformers were not anything as extensive as my work on the Jem series. If memory serves the recording was done maybe directly after a Jem session while they still had me in studio or when I came in to do Pick-ups on Jem they had me jump ship and it was basically just myself and director Wally Burr in the booth knocking it out together.

Dan Gilvezan’s book, Bumblebee & Me: Life as a G1 Transformer, shares interesting tales about recording under the direction of Wally Burr (voice director on both shows). How were your experiences with Mr. Burr—especially as the principal character?

I feel so blessed and honored to have worked so closely with Wally on Jem. It was an incredible opportunity as I was just getting my feet wet in the voice-over world. I’m really proud of the work I did with him. He was so clever and so warm and people say he was a bit of a taskmaster but I loved how he was involved in every way and amazed how he knew every line and never missed a thing, so good at what he does and continues to do to this day directing much animation still. I can’t thank him enough for believing in me as Jem and Jerrica.

It seems like we’re living in a live-action renaissance of ‘80s Hasbro properties. You’re going to be in the new, live-action, Jem feature film! I’m sure most of it is hush-hush, but is your appearance fanservice, like Stan Lee in the current Marvel films, or do you have a meaty scene or two?

Yes I am in the new movie and thank director Jon Chu for caring enough about the show and the wonderful fans to invite me to be a part of. It was a pretty surreal and special day on that movie set. I’m not allowed to say what I did in the movie; I just hope that everyone will support this new imagining of Jem and the awesome new cast.

How do you feel about Aubrey Peeples (who is awesome as a country singing ingénue with a dash of All About Eve, on ABC’s Nashville) inheriting Jem’s big star-shaped earrings for the upcoming film?

I’m actually a fan of hers from the show Nashville and when we met on the set, I told her that and she said “Oh my goodness, you probably hate me” and of course I reassured her that I didn’t–and that it was super cool that she was not being typecast. It’s great that she can go from her mean girl role on Nashville to the sweetest role ever of Jem and Jerrica. I think she is precious, and so talented, and beautiful–as are the other girls–and I’m genuinely rooting for her.

I really enjoyed your vocals on that techno-poppy cover of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That.” What other musical endeavors of yours can fans load up their iPods with?

Yes, that was really fun to do those dance remakes of classic Hall and Oates. I’ve done so much stuff, hard to know where to start but I have two original albums available on my official websitewww.samanthanewark.com and if people want to cruise around my YouTube channel I have lot’s of live video and also vocals I’ve done for TV/Film and Games.

What types of Jem-related memorabilia do you love the most? Dolls? Coloring books? Animation cels?

I’m starting to get a bit of a lovely collection, I just got an actual Rockin’ Roadster from a fan and I seem to be the only cast member that bought myself a JEM cast jacket back when we did the show. I still have it; it’s a beautiful black satin Jem jacket with pink lining and the colorful Jem logo embroidered on the back and my name on the front. That for sure is a treasure as well as many of my original Jem scripts I kept. The Jem community also gifted me for my Birthday last year one of the beautiful new Jem dolls from Integrity/Hasbro. They are not cheap and the fans took it upon themselves in secret to pool their money together and buy me one and then present it to me – I’m still floored and touched deeply by that amazing gift of kindness.

What are you up to these days–and where can the fans keep updated with your current and upcoming projects?

My schedule is up on my official website and is constantly being updated.

I’m staying pretty busy traveling around the country and internationally to different fan conventions to meet the Truly outrageous Jem and Transformers fans in person. I just finished working on a brand new animated short film called “HG Chicken” by really talented animation master Mike Salva with a cast that includes Bobcat Goldthwait, Jonathan Katz, Maria Bamford & Todd Barry as well as Horror film directors Lloyd Kaufman and Herschell Gordon Lewis and other swell folks.

I’m also performing with the amazingly talented Pink Floyd tribute band Bricks in the Wall. Based in Dallas, It’s an epic production with the whole laser light show and I’m one of 3 female backup singers bringing Great Gig and other iconic tunes to Pink Floyd fans. We tour regionally and it really is the sights and sounds of Pink Floyd we have some big shows coming up this summer.

I’m also working on brand new music for my next solo record with producer Dave Polich so keeping pretty busy but I love it!

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A big shout out of thanks to Samantha for taking the time to talk with me about her adventures and behind-the-scenes remembrances of Jem and the Holograms—and to get us all caught up on her current life of music and the  fans out there showing their love and supporting her appearances on the con circuit. If there’s the equivalent of a Brony for Jem—I’m it. Show’s over, Uncle Maffy…