Nightwish Announce 2015 North American Tour Dates

Nightwish are currently working on their eighth studio album. The LP marks the first studio effort with vocalist Floor Jansen (ReVamp) and session drummer Kai Hahto. The band have also announced a set of 2015 North American tour dates with opener Delain.

Nightwish tour dates:
4/9 — New York, NY — Hammerstein Ballroom
4/10 — Philadelphia, PA — Electric Factory
4/11 — Worcester, MA — The Palladium
4/13 — Quebec City, Quebec — Capitole Theater
4/14 — Toronto, Ontario — Phoenix Concert Theater
4/16 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
4/17 — Cleveland, OH — Agora Theater
4/18 — Chicago, IL — Concorde Music Hall
4/19 — Des Moines, IA — Val Air Ballroom
4/21 — Denver, CO — Ogden Theater
4/22 — Salt Lake City, UT — In the Venue
4/24 — Spokane, WA — Knitting Factory
4/25 — Vancouver, British Columbia — Orpheum Theater
4/26 — Portland, OR — Crystal Ballroom
4/28 — San Francisco, CA — Warfield Theater
4/30 — Las Vegas, NV — House of Blues
5/1 — Los Angeles, CA — The Greek Theater
5/2 — Phoenix, AZ — Marquee Theater
5/3 — El Paso, TX — Tricky Falls
5/5 — Dallas, TX — Bomb Factory
5/6 — Houston, TX — Warehouse Live
5/8 — Orlando, FL — House of Blues
5/9 — Ft. Lauderdale, FL — Revolution
5/11 — Nashville, TN — Marathon Music Works
5/12 — Louisville, KY — Expo Five
5/13 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore
5/14 — Silver Springs, MD — The Fillmore

Exclusive: Actor Mark Patton Looks Back At Troubled Production Of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2

Interview conducted by David Bronstein, article edited by Doug McCausland

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge was released a week shy to the original’s first anniversary in the fall of 1985 almost 30 years ago. The sequel centered around the character of Jesse Walsh, played by Mark Patton, whose family recently moved into the former Thompson residence featured in the original classic. I recently had a chance to talk to Mark Patton, who chatted about his early career and the troubled production of the horror sequel.

Patton was born in Missouri in 1964, and by the early 1980’s was swept off to the bright lights of New York City to pursue his acting career. “I think I was born to be an actor”, confesses Patton. “It chose me. I had the good fortune at 15 to have a wonderful teacher Miss Mildred Fulton, she took charge of my life. She worked with me, instructed me and stretched me. I won every award that could be given to High School Actors. Soon after she pushed me off the high dive by informing me that I would go to New York City to have a career…. I did as I was told. New York was thrilling, it was the first place I felt completely safe. I could breathe there; I had no fear of competition that had been worked out of me in school.”

He soon got starring roles in movies such as Come Back to the Five and Dime: Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Anna to the Infinite Power.  “I came to A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 with a fairly impressive resume, I had actually auditioned for the original movie and came rather close to doing it,” confirms Patton. The character of Jesse Walsh was still unfulfilled even though the cameras were set to roll- it was time for destiny to play its part. “It’s true that the role of Jesse was a tough one to cast, I am told it was a very long process and they were getting ready to shoot and had no lead, so of course the other parts could not be cast without him. I was told later that I had been rejected by the casting director and only the fact that one of the producers found my publicity photo on the floor and read my credits with Robert Altman did they say, ‘what about him!?”. I sensed still there was reluctance, yet they had to bring me in at this point. I read and within 48 hours I was cast. I knew the minute I finished my first audition. The original film was then screened for me on Hollywood Boulevard, in the middle of the night. I watched it in a theater just me and a friend.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 begins with the now iconic image of the bright yellow school bus driving down a typical American suburban street. Only this is no ordinary street as we soon find out we are on Elm Street and the young tense passenger sitting in the bus is teenager Jesse Walsh. “In the first dream scene we tried to give the image of how Jesse sees himself- the clothes the colors. My hair was flatted with a product called ‘Ten Ex’, I think most of us see ourselves less beautiful than we actually are, so this was Jesse’s low self esteem look”, remembers Patton.

The first time that Jesse encounters Freddy one on one is in the new family home, this part is perhaps one of the film’s most infamous scenes when Freddy quips the now immortal words to Jesse: ‘You’ve got the body’- before peeling back the skin on his own head revealing his inner organ ‘ and I’ve got the brains’. “That scene”, confesses Patton, “has been much dissected by many film buffs and scholars. Freddy is very tender with me in this scene, he is very gentle as if he is talking to a lover or trying to seduce me. The filming aspect was technically very complex because they had to have the exact correct lightening for Freddy’s eyes and his glove. Because most movies film out of sequence, I had actually filmed many more scenes with Robert Englund before this first one in the movie. Robert and I had a very good chemistry and the same approach to acting so we worked well together. Ultimately it is a scene that I am proud of, but of course we were just doing our jobs.”

Patton rejects talk that Freddy set out to bully Jesse, rather Freddy’s main motive was to use Jesse to kill for him. “I have very strong feelings about hazing and bullying and I do not feel this was really the case with Jesse and Freddy. I go back to that first scene, yes Jesse is terrified and defenseless against Freddy but I think Freddy took a different approach with Jesse. In the other installments he bullies the girls and wants to kill them, here he wants me to kill for and with him. I hate what is happening and am in fear but he wants to kill other people, people who have love for me. He could have killed me at anytime but did not.”


Jesse’s girlfriend Lisa is played by the actress Kim Myers and Patton himself had a hand in choosing her for the role. “Kim was a dream, it was her first movie. She was chosen by myself, Jack Sholder, Michael Murphy and Robert Russler. There were three girls at the end of the casting, but for me it was always going to be Kim. Many people have stated she looks like Meryl Streep, and Kim has even said that she was hired because of that reason, but that is false. Kim was hired because she is very talented, she has a dignity about her in the work place and in her life, and that shows up on the big screen. Kim is now in her 40’s and she is stunningly beautiful. All the time I see guys melt at her feet when we are on tour. She is totally charming. As you know we walked away from this alive, and I reject the theory that Jesse was the boy mentioned in Part 3 who cut off his own eyelids to stay awake. Freddy released me, he let me and Lisa go.”

Jesse’s parents were played by Hope Lange and Clu Gulager. “Hope and Clu, I loved them both. I have great respect for them”, reminisces Patton. “I grew up watching Hope on television in ‘The Ghost and Mrs Muir. Later in life when I became an actor I was very aware of her amazing career, Hope treated me with a lot of respect. She asked my opinion on matters on the set and stayed in every scene with me. This is not always the case with movie stars some are just there to pick up the cash and trust me I have worked with people like that. Clu and Hope were a class act.”

One scene that Clu Gulager has become famous for with the Elm Street faithful is the bird scene, in which the pet goes a ‘little crazy’, before exploding in mid air. Gulager bizarrely informs us that his son must have planted a ‘cherry bomb’. “The bird scene should have been cut,” says Patton. “It was inept and did not work. That’s the responsibility of the director Jack Sholder. I have to say he does not seem like a deep thinker. Now the bird scene could have been something like a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, you had all the toys in the paint box to do that. We had Hope Lange the icy blonde; in fact we had three blondes and the inept man we really never needed to see the bird. I felt Jack was unprepared for this film; he did not do his homework. He now seems to be embarrassed about Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 and makes light of it. This tone is the mark of a failed director, Jack along with David Chalkin who wrote the story should be grateful to Jacques Haitkin (the cinematographer), Robert Englund, Kim Myers and myself. We managed in the mist of a horrible script and poor direction to pull a movie together that was worthy of continuing a world renowned brand. Nothing in Nightmare on Elm Street should cause embarrassment if you did the best you could do. Honestly Jack was a nice man, that’s the best I can say about him. I just feel there were many missed opportunities on Nightmare on Elm Street 2, it could have been so much darker.”

The soundtrack to the sequel is just that though; scored by Christopher Stone, it’s a theme that the viewer is instantly introduced to as the title credits are rolling. The haunting track continues throughout the movie. “That score stands alone as a wonderful CD”, Patton recalls. “I think it was perfect for keeping the film on track. Of course you know I did not hear the score until the film was finished and about to go into the theater.”

In real life Mark Patton is gay and was upset by some people working on the movie sequel who suggested that the film took a certain approach because of his sexuality. “David Chalkin [the writer] and the set designer had their own secret agenda, playing with a gay subtext that they thought was subtle but was anything but. I know I am being harsh but I have very strong feelings about David I think he is a weak person without much spine. Even in Never Sleep Again he misled people about the gay Nightmare on Elm Street until, that is, they found me. I told them I would only speak if I could be honest. So after I filmed my part they had to call David back in and then he came clean while still insisting that I, by my own choices made this movie a Gay film. I believe in playing to the script. I played what was written.” Did director Jack Sholder help Patton? “Jack was too naïve he was not aware which is a powerful statement. Did he read the script?.”

The ‘scream’ of Jesse Walsh has been much talked about amongst fans and general viewers, either being considered as too unrealistic or too girlish. Patton likes to think otherwise. “The scream has a lot of power, and that is why we are still talking about this film. I know many people thought that it was too girly or womanish, many hated it then, and some still do. But I will stand by the fact that the movie still holds up today. It has been a doorway to many a good conversation and an equal number of fights”, jokes Patton.

Being possessed by Freddy came at a cost for Patton who had to endure hours of makeup, including one scene when his tongue turns an evil green, and when Freddy literally bursts out of his body. “The tongue took nine hours to apply and I could not eat or smoke for that time. I hated it but I did it. The tongue is now owned by one of the foremost collectors of Nightmare on Elm Street props, Mike Becker, a real historian on everything to do with the movies. All of my effects were applied by Mark Shostrum, of course we had no CGI only puppets and make up. The scene with the blades coming out of my fingers, that arm was a life cast, the rest is just fabulous make up and acting. The same holds true with the transformation scene. To this day people love it because of the acting, the lights, the makeup. That whole scene is thrilling!”


In the final scenes of the movie, we see Lisa confront Freddy in order to get her boyfriend back. “We aimed for a love conquers all aspect at the climax of the movie. And I would have been happy for the movie to have ended there,” says Patton. But as we know Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 had one more surprise for us viewers when Jesse, his girlfriend and another friend are seemingly led to hell in the final scene again with the school bus. “I would say this was a soft ending. I would have liked to have ended it the scene before, but have Lisa killed-(sorry Kim), and then black out and done. That is a horror movie ending which in my eyes would have been scary and real.” Then there is the Freddy arm that rips out of their friend (Sydney Walsh’s) stomach. “In regards to the arm coming out of the character of Kerry”, says Patton, “I think that was poorly executed and really should have been re shot. You can see that the hand gets stuck in the blouse compare that to Sissy Spaceks hand at the end of Carrie which was obviously the hope and reaction that we wanted. The arm was a prop arm and really should have been the arm of Robert Englund. Robert acts with his arms, his glove, it was a missed opportunity.”

Viewers are left wondering if Jesse and Lisa did indeed survive the ordeal or if Freddy as the subtitle suggested really did get his revenge as the bus heads off into the desert and into hell. Patton says, “I have thought about the ending a lot. I believe that Jesse and Lisa survived and moved to New York City and became ‘Will and Grace’. A kind of sweet fairytale ending. But if Freddy did kill Lisa off beforehand as I had suggested I think that would have been a fantastic opening for Part 3.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge was a huge hit making over $30 million dollars at the box office and with a budget of just over $2 million, everyone was happy. But lead actor Mark Patton had other worries.

“Personally for me the movie was a nightmare”, states Patton. “After it was released I was living in a world where homosexuality was a career killer. As my teacher once told me, ‘I do not need to play vulnerable, I am’. It shows and you can see what I am thinking and this is what makes a film actors career, not a movie star but an actor. When all the name calling began in earnest I had no protection, I chose to walk away from my career rather than fight, what at the time I thought was a losing battle. If all people could see in me was a gay guy, then there was no hope of a career, so I left. Now it is a different time and I am back. Still discussing the same issues but from a different place.”

Edited by Doug McCausland Review Of Weezer’s New Album ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ received a press copy of Weezer’s new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End several hours ago (the album’s release date is October 7th), and after a few listens, reporters Brett Buchanan, Mike Mazzarone, Doug McCausland, and Riley Rowe sat down for a roundtable track-by-track review of the album. No tables were harmed during this roundtable review.

1. Ain’t Got Nobody

Mike Mazzarone: Ain’t Got Nobody is really catchy. I was really digging it. The poppier side of early Weezer. It sounds like it could fit off of the Blue Album. I’m gonna be humming this tomorrow.

Doug McCausland: Ain’t Got Nobody is a catchy song with a driving beat. Sounds like classic Weezer!  Cool guitar solo.

Riley Rowe: The creepy intro sample hooks you right off the bat. The chugging guitar and rhythm section smoothly transitions into the easy sing-along melody. The slow and fast parts shows off the song’s overall dynamics with a sassy guitar solo thrown in there for safe measures.

Brett Buchanan: Ain’t Got Nobody is the perfect opener. There is actually a spoken word part at the beginning where the words ‘Fuck, rock is dead, guitars are dead’ is spoken followed by a big riff. It actually reminds me of Pinkerton a bit, with Green Album production and a little more upbeat. This is one of the stronger songs on the album.

Doug: There’s something about the classic Weezer melody that just really hit home.

2. Back To The Shack

Mike: Back To The Shack. The main single off of this album. What a song. It’s basically Weezer’s “fuck you” to the modern and hipster music scene. No “Pork and Beans” vibes here. This is more gritty. What I love about Weezer is that they create catchy hooks and melodies without compromise and that is evident here.

Doug: Back To The Shack has a fuzzy vibe that definitely harkens back to the band’s early days, though the lyrics filled with cheese and the song in general is too on-the-nose about how much the band wants to emulate their early sound. But, at the same time, its classic Weezer awkwardness.

Riley: Back to the Shack – This is a great choice for the single and will undoubtedly have some major radio airplay, it’s already getting a fair amount. The tongue-in-cheek humorous lyrical content and friendly rock-out sound is a perfect example of old-school Weezer. There’s also a total Jack White/White Stripes influenced riff throughout this song, but Weezer definitely make it their own.

Brett: I think Back To The Shack has some interesting self-aware lyrics, admitting that they took some missteps in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. It’s got a good hook, a nice song, but the verse melody gets a bit repetitive and like Doug said at time the lyrics get too on the nose, but I like the song.

3. Eulogy For A Rock Band

Riley: With Rivers Cuomo’s more calm singing style, the track comes off a bit as a subtle rock anthem. Unfortunately, the melody doesn’t quite reach the catchy, hooky standards that Weezer normally holds.

Doug: Great drum work on “Eulogy For A Rock Band”, and the album in general. Lyrics seem to reflect the current state of rock music, perhaps the reason why the band is so eager to make a no-holds-barred pop rock album again.

Mike: Eulogy For A Rock Band sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on. I really dig it though. Great production work on that track. Everything is very slick and tight. However, there is some potential that isn’t quite reached. You are listening to this track and it just feels like: “This is really good, but something is missing.”

Brett: This song is another self-aware track like “Back to the Shack” but not as creative lyrically or melodically. Lyrics include, ’15 years of ruling the planet/but now your light is fading’ and also ‘This is a toast to what you did and all that you were fighting for/who could do more as time marches on/words come and go/we will sing the melodies.’ I just prefer “Back to the Shack.”

Doug: I agree, Brett.

4. Lonely Girl

Doug: The lyrics are the strongest part of the song, and are a lot more personal than the first few songs.

Riley: Similar to the previous track, Lonely Girl lacks the hook that Weezer fans expect. The song gets a bit repetitive as well.

Mike: Remember when I said all of this sounds like something that I can’t put my finger on? Hard surfer rock. Reminds me of The Beach Boys and bands along those lines a bit, with a harder edge. That is very prominent on “Lonely Girl”

Doug: The song is about two troubled souls finding comfort in each other, for better or worse. The lyrics hit home for me, I’ll just leave it at that.

Brett: Fortunately they didn’t tack on ’15’ to this and make this one of their 2000’s pop culture songs, for those of you who remember those LonelyGirl15 videos. This is the first song with some real emotional sincerity, after a few tracks that are mainly about Weezer’s career. The riff actually gets kind of Nirvanaesque during a brief breakdown near the end, another one that has a hint of Pinkerton with modern Weezer production.

5. I’ve Had It Up To Here

Doug: Pure pop rock fluff, upbeat, catchy verses. Sounds like a cross between Rivers Cuomo and Michael Jackson. Well, not really. Anyway, the breakdown later in the song has kind of a doo-wop vibe.

Riley: Sound and riff experimentation would be the highlights of this song. Rivers even seems to raise the pitch of his voice a bit higher than usual, which surprisingly works! The song is finished off with a short, but sweet guitar solo with some Queen-like harmonies.

Brett: There’s Beatlesque harmonies (I know, an overused term), with kind of dancey classic rock verses. This is one of the most melodically interesting songs on the album. Riley is right that at about 1:30-1:40 in there is a total Queen part where Rivers kind of tries to channel Freddie Mercury. Overall though enjoy this track.

Doug: Cuomo goes into falsetto range quite a few times in this tune.

Mike: I’ve Had It Up to Here reminds me of a song that could of been released off of Weezer’s self titled. It has an “Island In The Sun” vibe as well, as this really has a cool classic rock feel to it. Which I enjoy.

Brett: There’s three self-titled Weezer albums you moron.

Riley: Aha.

Brett: Edward R. Murrow you are not.

Riley: I assume he means the first.

Brett: I assume he doesn’t know shit.

Mike: No, the 01 album.

Riley: Green.

Mike: Fuck, you assholes are harsh

Doug: Mike’s been hitting the hash pipe.

Brett: It’s the Green album, you color blind bub?

Mike: Green, Blue, Red, Purple, who gives two shits.

Doug: Mike, don’t ever get involved in bomb disposal.

Brett: Purple is a Stone Temple Pilots album. Lester Bangs would be ashamed of your rock knowledge.

6. The British Are Coming

Mike: The British Are Coming smells like album filler. If you can get over Rivers Cuomo screeching out the title of the song for what seems like twenty times over then it’s just average at best. If I was a soldier in the war and Rivers Cuomo replaced Paul Revere, maybe I could feel more enthusiastic about it. Sadly, this is 2014 and we are “treated” to Rivers Cuomo saying the title of the track until you want to rip your hair out.

Riley: Leaping a bit out of their comfort zone, Weezer attempt a twangy, acoustic intro, yet jump right back into their comfort zone for a typical verse-chorus-verse medley featuring the longest guitar solo so far.

Doug: The extended guitar solo is the best part of the song. Between that section and the opening drumroll straight out of a Revolutionary War reenactment, it’s all pretty generic.

Brett: I agree, I love the solo, it’s one of my favorite parts of the album. The song has some really interesting melodies and instrumental work, this one keeps growing on me, though the lyrics aren’t as strong as some of my favorite tracks, the chorus itself is kind of dumb. I’d be interested in seeing a music video for this though.

Mike: Cuomo in full uniform and a powdered wig as he passes through gun fire on the battle field, or riding a horse warning soldiers. Pretty much the only directions you could go for that.

Doug: The British will be portrayed by every other band that’s currently popular on rock radio.

7. Da Vinci

Riley: Even more weird experimental intros! Whistling and a down-tuned-acoustic actually works.

Mike: Da Vinci. Another filler sounding track but definitely better then “British”. You’ll be humming that whistling part. This song seems a minute or so too long though.

Doug: After having The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums forever poisoning my eardrums, its good to hear a song that actually employs whistling in an effective/not grating way.

Brett: Da Vinci is the worst song on the album to me. Just boring melodically and instrumentally, especially the whistling and the verses. The lyrics aren’t impressive. Stuff like, ‘Tried taking a picture of you/when I look at it nothing comes through,’ ”Rosetta stone could not translate you/I’m at a loss for words,’ and ‘I looked you up on’

Imagine somebody listening to this in 100 years, ‘Grandpa, what the hell was I’ve got my whole family history on my iPhone 150.’

Mike: Dat product placement.

Doug: Also, “Stephen Hawking can’t explain it” is another lyric.

8. Go Away

Mike: No.

Mike: Oh. The song.

Mike: The only thing I want to “Go Away” is this song. Completely forgettable. Another track where Cuomo repeats the title twenty or so times. Not for me.

Riley: Guest vocalist Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast saves this track. Without her it was going to be another typical garage-punk-pop song.

Brett: I prefer this over “Da Vinci” due to Cosentino adding some variety, but this is still a pretty generic uninspired song compared to the stronger stuff on the album.

Doug: The Best Coast frontwoman saves the track. Honestly, didn’t know it was her when I was listening to the album. That’s a band with some great songs.

Doug: “Da Vinci” and “Go Away” are the two glaring filler tracks to me.

Brett: Agreed.

Mike: See. I feel the opposite. Well, in a way. I think she does a great job on the track but the song itself

Brett: You mean you feel the same as me.

Mike: If Randy Jackson were reviewing this, it would “just be a’ight dawg.”

Doug: I may say the same about The British Are Coming, but in that song’s case, the same with Go Away, it does have an element that makes it stand out: the guitar solo and the Costino guest appearance, respectively.

9. Cleopatra

Riley: Finally some songwriting that is actually original. And wow, Weezer gets kinda heavy metal halfway through with some chug-chug-chugs and harmonic lead guitar riffs.

Brett: This is the best song on the album to me, and the best Weezer song since the Red album. Lots of interesting melodies and riffs. The lyrics are sincere too, this one reminds me the most of the Blue album, and a little bit Maladroit. Some interesting middle eastern type riffs mixed in there.

Mike: Another filler track. Nothing stood out to me at all.

Doug: The riffs are definitely something in this tune. One of the riffs in the song reminds me of “Nimrod’s Son” by the Pixies.

10. Foolish Father

Riley: While this track lacks a clear direction in some parts, it develops it’s identity about halfway through and ends on a high note with a choral finale of “Everything will be alright in the end.” I can imagine it being played live and everyone singing along.

Doug: The opening is atmospheric, and the chanting of the album title towards the end is a nice touch.

Brett: I love the ending melody too with ‘Everything will be alright in the end,’ that’s anthemic to me, I wish they did it earlier. It reminds me a bit of The Killers. Overall this is a good song.

Mike: Foolish Father has a pretty strong opening and solo but the lyrics aren’t really doing it for me. I could really dig an instrumental version of this. Fun fact: When you have to sing-song the title of the album, you know you’ve reached the peak of self-indulgence. Getting more annoyed with the track by the second.

11.The Futurescope Trilogy (The Waste Land, Anonymous, and Return to Ithaka)

Riley: A perfect example of Weezer’s side of musicianship that hardly gets showcased. The production and song-writing is enjoyable, shows off each instrumentalists actual talent, and doesn’t rely on forceful melodies. Both instrumentals that sandwich this 7-minute piece are quite impressive for Weezer along with the piano intro on “Anonymous.” I hope to hear more material from the band that sound as mature as this.

Doug: Anonymous is an epic sounding song, possessing a theatrical feel similar to Queen and Foxy Shazam. The song segues into the instrumental track “Return to Ithaka”, reprising the vocal melodies from “Anonymous” on guitar. The whole thing just feels really climactic.

Brett: I prefer “The Waste Land” and “Anonymous” to “Return to Ithaka.’ There’s a real classic rock vibe to this section of the album. It’s nothing amazing though, but interesting experimentation.

Mike: The Waste Land/Anonymous/Return To Ithaka is this real clever “one song in three” trilogy. I can see people being very disappointed if thinking these tracks are separate but if you listen to all of it, one at a time you’ll hear brilliance. It flows perfectly and should sound even more fantastic live.

Overall Album Thoughts

Doug: After a really strong opening, the album becomes a bit saturated with filler in the middle before reaching an epic sounding end with the Futurescope Trilogy. Its a solid album, though I am not historically a huge Weezer fan so I cannot make comparisons.

Brett: This is far better than any of their post Red album/2008 work. It is not as good as the Blue album, Pinkerton, or the Green album, but this album re-establishes Weezer as a respectable alternative rock band to me after some questionable albums and collaborations from 2009-2010. My favorites are Cleopatra, Ain’t Got Nobody, I’ve Had It Up To Here, and Back to the Shack.

Doug: “Ain’t Got Nobody”, “Lonely Girl”, and parts 2 and 3 of “The Futurescope Trilogy” are my standout tracks.

Mike: The album starts off really strong and by song six you are hit by song after song of repetition and filler. The Trilogy is where things end on a real strong note, so at least there is that. Amazing beginning. Meh to mediocre middle, and a really good ending. If songs six through ten were of the same quality of songs one through five this album would be in contention for one of Weezer’s best. At least in a while. But the middle of the album ruins that.

Riley: Just like the past two albums (“Raditude” and “Hurley”), this LP unfortunately most likely won’t be remembered for anything farther than it’s singles. While some tracks showcase the band’s maturation through experimentation (such as the intros) or impressive musicianship (like the guitar solos & instrumentals), Weezer is becoming too comfortable in their 4/4 structure, no-risk songwriting world.

Doug: No, we need more simple rock songs out there. Long eight minute complex and technical songs won’t save mainstream rock radio. But we need them from newer artists, not established 90’s rock stars.

Brett: I think a strength of the album is the music. The band sound like they showed up to play, even when the songs lack. Overall this is an alright album, with good songs. Everything will be ‘alright’ in the end I guess.

Riley: *ba dum tss*


10 Of The Weirdest Songs From The 90’s

The 90’s were an eclectic time for rock music, with the genre’s horizons expanding into many new territories… some of them so outlandish, it makes you question the sanity of the songwriters in question. Whether its the lyrics or the overall sound, here are some of the most oddball songs from 90’s bands.  The following songs were picked by Doug McCausland, Mike Mazzarone, and Anthony Carioscia.

Stone Temple Pilots – Wet My Bed

And where’s my cigarette?
Did you check the bathroom, the bathtub?
She sleeps there sometimes
Water cleanses, you know
Washes dirt away, makes new
Maybe she, maybe she, maybe she, maybe, maybe she swam away

Pearl Jam – Bugs

do i kill them?
become their friend?
do i eat them?
raw or well done?
do i trick them?
i don’t think they’re that dumb

Alice in Chains – Love Song

There’s no lyrics to even post, considering this hidden track to 1992’s Sap EP is pretty much raspberries, random mumbling and ghost sound effects.

Scott Weiland – Jimmy Was A Stimulator 

Jimmy was an emulator

He could stimulate an emulator

Jimmy was a master trainer
He could masturbate a fitness trainer

Mr. Bungle – My Ass Is On Fire

I’ll stab you
Clumps of hair
In the sink
Who’s hiding
Things from me?
You knew all along, goddammit
But you wouldn’t tell me
Well, look at you now
It’s not funny, my ass is on fire
Paraplegic, inhuman liar
Carve a smile
On your face
Everything’s great

(To be fair, almost anything that Mike Patton touches is guaranteed to have a degree of weirdness to it.)

Butthole Surfers – The Annoying Song

This song will drill its way into your head and drive you to the brink of insanity if you listen to it repeatedly. Actually trying to read the lyrics doesn’t help, either.

John Frusciante – Your Pussy’s Glued To A Building On Fire

Your pussys glued to a building on fire
I paint my mind just cuz I’m alive
If you see me roaming the hillside
Won’t you come along?
You paint your eyes
Mine are in the sky
No worldly word I could say would be golden
The smile on my face isn’t always real
But the way you make me feel is all that’s really real
You little duck house

Melt Banana – Wedge

A Japanese grindcore band whose most successful album was produced by Steve Albini (Surfer Rosa, In Utero). The vocalist mostly just chirps and makes barking noises.

MoistBoyz – The Tweaker

Correction: This song is actually from 2002, but the band emerged in 1991.

Man I’m so cold – it’s 98 degrees

Think I saw some human heads growin’ on the trees
Get a pair of pliers and pull out all my teeth
I’m never gonna need ’em if I’m never gonna eat
I’d really be excited if I thought that this would pass
Didn’t have a wallet man I wouldn’t have an ass
My girlfriend’s on the floor – she’s gurglin’ from the mouth
That must be why I got these maggots crawlin’ on the house

Wesley Willis – Entire Discography

Per Wikipedia: In 1989, Willis began hearing what he called “demons” and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was institutionalized for two months after his diagnosis. He often mentioned that his demons were named “Heartbreaker”, “Nervewrecker”, and “Meansucker”. He called his psychotic episodes “hell rides”, and alternatively, he declared rock and roll to be “the joy ride music”.

Some of Wesley’s other songs: “I Whipped Spider Man’s Ass”, “I Wupped Batman’s Ass”, “Rock N’ Roll McDonalds”.

Interview: Mark Pellington Remembers Directing Screaming Trees, Silverchair, Kings of Leon & Anthrax Music Videos

Here is the latest installment in our Mark Pellington music video retrospective, wrapping up our series that looks back at the majority of Pellington’s classic alternative rock videos. Hopefully we’ll do more on Mark’s other videos in classic rock and other genres soon! Check out and @MarkPellington on Twitter for more on Mark, we really can’t thank him enough for doing this! Here are Mark’s memories of directing Screaming Trees, Silverchair, Kings of Leon, and Anthrax music videos.

Screaming Trees – “Butterfly” (1993)

That one was the same label as Pearl Jam, they really liked the song, it was really dark. The artist Jenny Holzer wrote the text for me, the point of view of a victim and perpetrator. It was basically about a serial killer, and violence. We experimented with some film stock that was like title stock, very much experimental. Mark Lanegan was a very unique gentleman, I didn’t have much interaction with the other members, they kind of just played it. I loved that video, but it was just too dark for people. The National Organization of Women said it should be banned, that it encourages violence against women, even though the text was written by a woman. It was really dark, I think MTV was just like, ‘This is too fucking dark, this is too weird.’ Someone’s hanging, there’s death, it was really fucking weird and dark. I don’t think it was commercially successful at all.

Silverchair – “Tomorrow” (1995)

Silverchair was definitively: “We want ‘Jeremy.'” It was unabashedly, “We love ‘Jeremy,’ we want it to be ‘Jeremy.'” They said that the kid was 16 years old. I said, “Great. Let’s go to Australia, we’ll shoot them.” Australia was awesome, the light was awesome, the scenario of the pig man, and just the weirdness of it. The song was very, very Nirvana and Pearl Jam inspired, there was no doubt what that was. Again, I loved the song, and loved the kids, and I had a great time, I’m pretty sure it was successful for them. You just do them, you’re inspired and if you write the idea and you execute it, then at the end of the day you have no control, who is MTV going to play?

Anthrax – “Black Lodge” (1993)

So when Anthrax came to me and said, ‘We want this video.’ I heard the song, and I was like this is really weird and spooky. They were like, ‘We don’t want to be in it.’ I had a conversation with Scott Ian and said, “I love this song.” Again, I hadn’t done a movie, I was really really stretching, wrote the story, they were supportive of it, Jenna Elfman who became a TV star was in it as the chloroformed girl, the Academy Award nominated Susan Tyrrell played the weird woman. I was dealing again with my Dad, and memory, and losing him, so the story I wrote was kind of a memory and identity. It was really weird, it wasn’t a hit for them, but I loved doing it. Again, no director is the magic formula for getting a video played. Especially when Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Silverchair were very performance driven, they were very much about the band, energy and performance pushing a lot of the video. So the Anthrax thing was like a weird, short LA film. It was very Twin Peaksy and very spooky, I had a great time doing it.

Kings of Leon – “Wasted Time” (2003)

I just remember they were very young, and done by lunch. We spent the rest of the day shooting weird imagery of the extras doing whatever they wanted to do. That had a good reckless feel, I think the movie Deliverance was my inspiration. I just wanted to do some weird 70’s horror movie existential king of weirdo film. That was simple.

Check out Mark Pellington’s previous retrospectives for on his music videos:

Cage The Elephant – “Cigarette Daydreams”

Pearl Jam – “Jeremy”

Alice In Chains – “Rooster”

U2 – “One”

Nine Inch Nails – “We’re In This Together”

Foo Fighters – “Best of You”

INXS – “Beautiful Girl”

Early Alice In Chains Collaborator Tim Branom Talks Layne Staley’s Acting Gig In Father Rock

Tim Branom was an integral part of early Alice In Chains history, being the frontman of a band called Gypsy Rose that featured Jerry Cantrell and Mike Starr. Branom went on to produce the first demo by Alice N’ Chains, a band featuring Layne Staley that would be abolished and rebranded as the Alice in Chains we all know and love.

The multi-instrumentalist Branom has released a cinematic music video for his song “Enemy”. The vampire themed video, based on the classic film Nosferatu, stars James Fox as Nosferatu, Kevin J. Sheen as Jonathan Harker, and Megan Barkley as Lucy Harker. “It’s like a preview to a vampire movie,” Branom said recently while on break at his Los Angeles studio. Intent on creating a horror classic, Branom enlisted acclaimed filmmaker Thaddeus Byrd (Second Coming, Hills of Elysium) to direct the music video. “The story takes place in the 1800s, so I shot on film instead of digital media to achieve an old feel and depth to the characters,” Byrd commented during a break in post-production. “We used a castle for the shoot. The costumes are over a hundred years old. We used three special effects makeup artists to make Nosferatu come alive. I think fans of the horror genre will love it.”

Branom also took the time to clarify a long standing misunderstanding involving a cult 80’s film titled Father Rock, featuring music from an early incarnation of Alice in Chains and a speaking role for former frontman Layne Staley. The film features a scene in which the band performs. Says Branom’s camp, “People always think it’s Layne singing in the movie when it’s actually Tim Branom. At the time, I decided to replace the audio with Tim’s studio recordings which were actually much better than the songs we had of the earlier version of Alice in Chains.”


Eddie Vedder, Jack White & The Black Keys To Honor Bob Dylan

A Tuesday news release has revealed that Bob Dylan will be honored as the MusiCares Man of the Year 2015 at the foundation’s 25th anniversary tribute February 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, two days before the Grammys.

Eddie Vedder, The Black Keys, Beck, Norah Jones; Neil Young; Willie Nelson; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Bonnie Raitt; John Mellencamp; Los Lobos; and Jack White are all set to honor Bob Dylan at a MusiCares tribute with performances.

“In celebrating the 25th anniversary of our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute, it is most fitting that we are honoring Bob Dylan, whose body of creative work has contributed to America’s culture, as well as that of the entire world, in genuinely deep and lasting ways,” said Recording Academy and MusicCares Foundation president Neil Portnow in a statement.

Josh Homme Talks Dealing With His Kids Liking One Direction

Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme talked One Direction in a new interview with MTV UK.

“I refuse to be a musical snob at this point with my kids, you know what I mean, if they wanna listen to One Direction, go for it man,” while the QOTSA singer retorts: “Yeah I mean that’s not necessarily my direction. I try and shy it away to a different direction because I have to drive the car too! And like, do you want it to go over a cliff or do you want it to go to school?! You decide, you’re eight!

Interview: Mario Lalli Remembers Co-Writing QOTSA, Desert Sessions & Kyuss Classics

The ’90s seemed to spawn a multitude of bands that were filed under the “stoner rock” genre. And one of the more underrated ones was Fatso Jetson, who offered up a string of cult classic recordings beginning in the mid ’90s (1995’s Stinky Little Gods, 1997’s Power of Three, 1999’s Flames for All, etc.).

The band’s leader is singer/guitarist Mario Lalli, who was previously a member of Across the River, an obscure Palm Desert band that Kyuss often listed as a major influence, and for the past ten years, has also fronted another band, Yawning Man.

Mr. Lalli was kind enough to answer some questions via email recently, offering up info about what he’s currently up to/future plans and co-penning the Queens of the Stone Age’s “Millionaire” and “Monsters in the Parasol” and Kyuss’ “N.O.”

What are you currently up to music-wise?

Writing and collaborating on the upcoming Fatso Jetson LP. I will be part of a project in France around November called the Doom Quartet, featuring Alain Johannes, David Catching, Joey Castillo, and Mario Lalli. It will be part of a multi-media installation and showing of the film, a vignette of Alain Johannes with live improvisation from the quartet. I hope to also collaborate with Adam Harding from Dumb Numbers on his new release. My son Dino and I recently returned from tour managing the band OFF! on a US tour. Dino just graduated high school, so it was a great experience for him seeing the States and learning the multi-tasking duties of a tour manager. It was great. We had a 33-hour drive from Cleveland to get me back to L.A. for my flight to Europe with Yawning Man.

How was Yawning Man’s recent European tour?

One show in we had to cancel, unfortunately health problems and a van breakdown sent us home early, but planning to return in February with a new record.

What are some standout memories of recording as part of the Desert Sessions, and penning the song “Millionaire”?

The Desert Sessions I was involved in where recorded at two distinctly different desert studios. The first session was at Rancho de la Luna with Fred Drake, Dave Catching, Josh Homme, myself, and my friend Kevin Lee. I got the call at work to be at the studio as soon as I could after my kitchen shift was done. So off I went after grabbing my bar liter of well vodka from the bar stock room and nabbing my friend Kevin Lee for unmoral support, we rumbled up the high desert in my ’67 hearse to Rancho. The gears was so loud it spooked Fred’s horse…had no idea what expect…all I knew was we are jamming a song together and anything goes…any weird idea as long as it had energy. I remember sitting in the living-room/control-room and nervously listening to the track that had come together…a driving heavy road rocker with tweaks and quirks…I was inspired….as soon as I sat on the couch with my note pad…a statue or candle holder curio caught my eye it was a bull in strike stance with a red candle in the belly…around this center piece where other tapestries…dark folkloric carvings and paintings…my thoughts drifted to a obsession that my brother instilled in me with Tijuana street culture and the folk art and crafts. From the leather goods he would bring me…the wide black wrist band adorned with rings and straps, the bull whips, tire sole sandals and the German helmet piggy bank. All this swirling with swigs of hot vodka and a hour until I was to be behind the mic tracking this song…I just started scribbling “Red Bull with light from below…I’ll be massive conquistador…gimme sword…show me the door…metal heavy soft at the core…gimme toro gimme some more…gimme toro gimme some more…pressurize, neutralize…deep fried gimme some more…space flunky, four on the floor…fortified with the liquor store…this one down gimme some more.” Too true.


Did you fancy Queens of the Stone Age’s version of the tune?

Loved it. Nick Oliveri and Josh both kill that song. I always get giddy when they open a set with it.

What are some memories of co-writing “Monsters in the Parasol”? What was the song’s lyrical inspiration?

Me and the Fatso guys wrote the music for that song…really a play on a DEVO vibe or Geza X. Josh and Chris Goss wrote the lyrics for that one…sci-fi/sister/fun/spooky/fun.

What are some memories of co-writing “N.O.”? What was the song’s lyrical inspiration?

“N.O.” was Scott Reeder and myself listening to a lot of heavy blues from the late ’60s and early ’70s. I was a simple idea of do what you love and be broke or get a job…every artist knows this shit.

Would you be interested in collaborating with Josh Homme again on music at some point?

I would love to and have a bit behind the writing process…but I will ask him to contribute to my new record for sure.

What would you say is your favorite Fatso Jetson album and why?

They all have pieces of my life and my struggle to figure out myself and what I am…no fav.

Were generator parties as wild back in the day as I have read about?

Some were like ancient fire rituals, scary and exciting…some were me and 4 other guys jamming ’til the sun came up and we ran out of beer.

Any future projects planned?

This one’s down, gimme some more, gimme toro, gimme some more. I sang it and fell asleep on the couch…I got credited for drinkypoo’s on that record…all fun but…next time I’ll stay awake!

I’ve always read a lot of nice things that members of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age have said about your early band, Across the River. What are standout memories of the band, and who were some bands that Across the River played with?

We were affiliated with a lot of the SST bands from the late ’80s, so we played a lot with Saint Vitus, SWA, DC3, fIREHOSE.

Any future projects planned?

Right now Yawning Man has a record in the studio, Fatso Jetson is working on a double record, my son plays and tours with Fatso Jetson and has a band of his own called Big Pig – they are recording at the Melvins’ studio soon with Toshi and Adam Harding. Fatso and Yawning Man will be on tour in February in Europe, then the states by May.


Fans Raise £100,000 For Foo Fighters U.K. Concert On Kickstarter

Fans have launched a campaign on Kickstarter for the Foo Fighters to play a show in Birmingham, already nearing £100,000, with a £150,000 goal.

A Foo Fighters gig, organised by the fans for the fans – no more UK touts

Fans from the USA have managed to successfully generate enough interest for Foo Fighters to agree to a crowd funded show. This show was a sell out and on Wednesday 17th September, Foo Fighters came to Richmond, Virginia for their very first crowd funded gig (check out the story here This proves that the band are behind the idea of cutting out the middle man. Dave Grohl has recently supported these ideas during an interview with ‘Rolling Stone’: “I’m telling you, it could become the way that bands decide where they want to play, it’s a fun thing; it sort of changes the game. For the past 20 years we always decided who we’re going to play with and where we’re going to play. But now, if we hear that people want us to come somewhere, maybe we’ll come there.”

Sonic Highways is released on November 10th, followed by a tour. It would be an honour for TRUE fans to attend the first UK crowd funded gig, warming up the Foo Fighters ready for their big 2015 UK dates AT FACE VALUE …….without a tout in sight. It’s been done before, so let’s do it again!

 So let’s be clear…. 

 What are we raising funds for? 

We are raising funds to produce a fan funded show within the UK as part of the 2015 tour after the release of Foo Fighters’ album Sonic Highways. The aim is for this to be held in Birmingham UK; the venue could change depending on capacity restrictions but will be clearly communicated to all backers prior to any changes. If ALL tickets are backed, we will raise a minimum of £150,000 which at the current exchange rate equates to $245,000 (subject to change). Every penny of this will be going into the project (minus any transaction fees and handling costs generated by creating the event). Every member of the team running the project will be doing so FREE of charge – this is a Not For Profit project.

 How are we going to do this? 

We will have until 17th of November 2014 to raise enough cash and sell enough tickets to approach the management company and propose a 3,000 capacity concert for every backer who chooses to get on board via the ticket option (you can still support us by choosing one of the secondary awards). We have support across many social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. We have our very own website to promote this event We will be working with a FULL team of people across the globe to promote this, including people experienced in event management, promotion, advertising and business development to promote this not only to UK residents but those from overseas. We will be contacting the UK press and getting politicians on board. We will also be offering businesses the opportunity to purchase tickets to be used at a later date for competitions to win said tickets. This will enable them to promote their business on the back of our success. This worked really well in the USA, those tickets were like gold dust and everybody wanted them! Investing in tickets will boost the local economy, in turn creating more exposure for our event. During the first 2 weeks of November we will be able to evaluate the success of the project and will either

A) Approach the management and seek agreement with a date to be confirmed in 2015 

B) Cancel the event having lost nothing 

So – By the 17th November 2014 we will know either way. If we don’t have an agreement in place by the 17th November 2014 (with event date and venue to be released during 2015) then the event will be cancelled.



For the fans 

Support, purchase and sit back – with venue & date to be agreed

The Foo Fighters: 

An agreement prior to the 17th November that everyone who has purchased a ticket during this project will have the chance to attend the UK’s first ever crowd funded show as part of the 2015 tour – venue and date to be agreed.

Why are we doing this? 

Are you sick of losing out on those golden tickets? Setting the alarm to find them sold out in 3 minutes? Ticket companies reselling tickets minutes after ticket launch at 10 x the price? In light of the recent documentary by the BBC programme ‘Watchdog’ investigating the secondary ticket market along with artists such as Gene Simmons declaring “Rock is finally dead” – we are here to prove to the industry that Rock will never die, but we hope that the ticket touting industry does! New measures were introduced in June 2014 to help protect second hand ticket buyers meaning sellers have to advertise the face value of the ticket and how many seats are available. Politicians have warned this will not be enough to stop the touts, and we agree. By doing this we are putting the power of ticket sales back into the hands of the fans, not the touts. We are hoping to get support from politicians to raise awareness of the ticket touting business within the UK and hope to get media coverage to not only promote our event but to help get the laws changed against ticket touts. So not only will we hopefully complete our project successfully we will also raise awareness within the UK about legal changes that need to be made.

This is a project that we want to share with you the fans – so let’s make it happen!


Listen To Chino Moreno’s Side-Project Team Sleep New Songs

Team Sleep, an experimental side-project consisting of Chino Moreno and Zach Hill, has just announced that they will be preparing a new album. The LP will be the first album release since their self-titled 2005 record. Below you can view a press release from the band, as well as a snippet from two tracks, “No” and “Dreamland.”

“Please join us as we create our next record in Woodstock, New York. We’ll gather at Applehead studio, near the base of the Catskill mountains to eat, write, play and record. For a long time, business people, logistics, careers, adulthood, families and the House Republicans have thwarted us, but we’ve continued to make music. At the same time, the creative process has become increasingly fragmented and dehumanized. With that in mind, we’re very excited to get together with our friends, hang out, play music and have a unique experience in a beautiful place. We’d like you to be there, too. Your participation will be essential to the independent creation and release of the live performance and our forthcoming studio record; we look forward to seeing you.”

Nonpoint Announce Tour Dates With Gemini Syndrome & More

Nonpoint has just announced a set of US tour dates to promote the release of their eighth studio album, “The Return,” which will be out on September 30th via Metal Blade and Razor & Tie records. The tour will also include Gemini Syndrome, Islander, and Three Years Hollow.

Nonpoint tour dates:
10/23 – Indianapolis, Ind. – Rock House
10/24- Kent, Ohio – The Outpost
10/25 – Syracuse, N.Y. – Lost Horizon
10/26 – New York, N.Y. – Webster Hall
10/28 – Patchogue, N.Y. – The Emporium
10/29 – Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – Putnam Den
10/30 – South Burlington, Vt. – The Venue
10/31 – Hampton, N.H. – Wally’s Pub
11/01 – Hartford, Ct. – Webster Theater
11/02 – Sayreville, N.J. – Starland Ballroom
11/03 – Baltimore, Md. – Ottobar
11/04 – Virginia Beach, Va. – Shakas
11/05 – Jacksonville, N.C. – Hooligans
11/07 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Revolution Live
11/08 – Orlando, Fla. – Kink Music Festival
11/11 – Cape Coral, Fla. – Dixie Roadhouse
11/12 – St. Petersburg, Fla. – State Theater
11/13 – Jacksonville, Fla. – 1904 Music Hall
11/14 – Destin, Fla. – Club LA
11/15 – Biloxi, Miss. – Kress Live
11/16 – New Orleans, La. – The Parish
11/18 – Little Rock, Ark. – Juanitas
11/19 – Houston, Texas – Scout Bar
11/20 – San Antonio, Texas – Scout Bar
11/21 – Dallas, Texas – Trees
11/22 – Wichita, Kan. – The Cotillion
11/23 – Merriam, Kan. – Aftershock

Billy Corgan Talks Grunge’s Death, Kurt Cobain’s Legacy

Smashing Pumpkins frontman discussed the death of Grunge and how Kurt Cobain couldn’t be replaced in a new interview with

“Watching that culture slowly move forward, and then it explodes, and we’re a part of that tide. And then you’re standing there saying, ‘Wow, this really doesn’t have anything to do with music.’ Music is, excuse my French, sort of the lubricant to get people through the gate. That kind of offended me in a weird way. And I couldn’t understand why more people from our collective culture weren’t sort of taking this on. What I saw was other people kind of saying, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna fight it. Cool, “Put your hands in the air wave them like you just don’t care!”‘ OK, that’s really not alternative culture. And it was stupid of me to think that I was going to educate somebody [who was] standing in a field all day. But that was the hubris and the stupidity that I had at the time. But also, you have this sense that it’s going to last. That you’re going to have more Sundays to proselytize. I didn’t realize that this thing was about to end… really fast. For all of us. I think the ’90s was, in terms of rock music, about somebody taking a counter culture movement and figuring out a way to sell it. Unfortunately, most of us were too naivë to understand that we were being sold. We thought that we were the ones selling the lemons, not the other way around. And then MTV went off grunge, Rolling Stone went off grunge, Spin even went off grunge! When that happened, we had no answer. Because we weren’t designed to be pop stars, we weren’t designed to get in there with a writing team and write a “whoa-we-whoa” chorus. So we were all caught flat-footed. And particularly, and I’ve said this before, when you take an immense talent like Kurt Cobain, his very will could sort of change the direction of culture. When he took himself out of the equation, there wasn’t anyone to step into that position. It certainly wasn’t going to be me.

In their eyes, the industry created you. So when you go back to the label, or to MTV, then they act like, ‘Hey, you better start crawlin’, you ain’t on the A-team anymore.’ And you’re a punk rocker so your natural reaction is to go ‘F— you!’ Which only makes it worse. And that’s where the sociopaths in our industry do better. Because they go, ‘Yes, sir, no sir, what do I gotta do?’

Interview: Arrow’s John Barrowman Talks Faking Malcolm’s Death, Season 3 & Possible Doctor Who Return

John Barrowman is one of the most charismatic presences on television in the past decade, lighting up screens in the U.K. as Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood, and in the last few years playing Malcolm Merlyn on The CW’s Arrow.  Barrowman was the primary villain in Season 1 of Arrow as a recurring guest star, and after only a few appearances in Season 2, Barrowman is joining the cast as a series regular for Season 3, which premieres on October 8th.  In this exclusive interview with’s Film/TV section, Barrowman discusses Malcolm’s relationship with Thea, how he discovered that Malcolm’s Season 1 death was faked, the return of a former Arrow series regular, pranking Stephen Amell, and his hopes for the return of Captain Jack Harkness.

Is there anything you can say about the Malcolm and Thea relationship in Season 3? Is there real love there, has your friendship with Willa Holland affected the chemistry of the characters?

I love Willa to death, she is great. She and I have good fun and laughs on set. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but what I can say is that Malcolm has always done things for the people that he loves dearly, he’s just misunderstood in the way that he does them (laughs). The thing with this is you’re going to possibly see slightly different tactics from Malcolm. He’ll still have his physical aspects and everything, with the fighting and the archery, but he lost people in the past through his seeking of vengeance through power and money, so he’s going to try to use emotion this time a bit, and see how that fares. But his relationship with Thea is going to be dysfunctional, uncomfortably dysfunctional at times, and his relationship with Oliver is going to develop, which is interesting.


Do you think Malcolm is headed on a path to be a bit of a better person?

That I don’t know. I’ve only gotten the scripts that we have shot, and that are being shot at the moment. I don’t have anything beyond that, so I don’t know what’s to come. To be honest with you, as the actor who plays Malcolm, and this goes with all of the other characters I’ve played too, I like seeing the script just before we start to shoot, because it’s like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to do this.’ That’s the challenge for me, to do things differently. I still want him to be heroesque, or anti-hero. But it would be nice to see if he became a little more compassionate with things, but people like him as a bad guy. That’s the thing, I would tell the writers if they were sitting in front of me, ‘Don’t change him to the extent where people go, why did they make him a good guy?’ I mean unless they want to give him his own spinoff show (laughs).

Mentioning that, do you think that Malcolm is the type of character who could ever fully find redemption? Do you think that’s an arc that could even happen with Malcolm, with what he’s done?

Well his whole journey of life is to find redemption. I don’t think it’s an arc of a story, that’s more of an arc of a life, because he’s been doing the wrong thing for so long in other people’s eyes, that his whole life is going to be about redemption. Things are going to go wrong along the way, I hate to use the word again, on his redemption path. So I wouldn’t say it’s an arc of a story, because no one, not even in television, can resolve that kind of thing in a couple of episodes. That’s a life arc, if that makes sense, so that would be the character’s arc for the rest of the series, but with other smaller minor arcs that are underneath, and underlying.

Darkness on the Edge of Town

You mentioned Malcolm and Thea a bit earlier, how physical is Willa Holland getting now on set? Have you taught her any archery with your experience?

I’m not gonna tell you what she’s doing because I’ll get in trouble!

There’s a preview out there with her holding a bow and arrow!

Pretty physical. Thea’s been, Willa’s been working hard, see how I blended the two into one there! Willa’s been working really hard doing training, she’s been getting more involved in the action sequences, which is really really great to see her do that. She’s also giving herself a challenge because she’s never done anything like that before. The first day we were doing one where she was actually doing some of the stunt sequences, she was really excited, and very nervous, and it’s very rare that you see Willa nervous.

When it comes to the cast, you haven’t worked with a lot of them since Season 1, last year who you worked with was pretty limited. Without spoiling, which actors have you worked with this season who you haven’t worked with since Season 1, and are there people like Colton Haynes who you are working with for the first time?

When you say work with them, I mean there’s been things where I’ve come into scenes where they have just walked out (laughs), so yes I have worked with others. But I think that dynamic is going to hopefully change throughout the course of Season 3, because at the moment I have just been involved with Thea and Oliver. I mean Colton was in a sequence, but we didn’t have any confrontation. As usual, all of us will have these scenes, and it’s building to a bigger thing, that’s always what happens. I’d love to do some stuff with the character Felicity, obviously I’d love to do stuff with Roy, and it would also be interesting to see how Malcolm would deal with Laurel at this point as the commissioner.

Near the end of Season 1, you’ve mentioned this before but it was kind of vague, did the writers outright tell you that Malcolm wasn’t really dead, after it looked like you were dead in the finale?

I knew he wasn’t dead. When I read the script I thought, ‘Oh my god, he’s dead.’ Then in the read through they didn’t say anything, then I thought, ‘Oh my god, he really is dead.’ Then in the next couple of days I went to Andrew [Kreisberg], and I asked, “Is he dead?” He said, “No no no, my god no.” He reiterated to me, ‘We told you when you started this, that Malcolm is going to be a continual presence throughout any series that we do of Arrow, because that’s what Malcolm Merlyn is in Starlin City. He’s the resident bad guy in that sense, and we’ll facilitate either others, or he’ll be doing his own stuff.’ I did know last year before Christmas that I was going to be a regular, so things had always been in discussions, it was just a matter of when it was going to happen.

Dead to Rights

In that same episode where it looked like you were dead, Tommy actually did die. Do you remember being around Colin Donnell during the shooting of that episode, and what his feeling was knowing that he was going to die?

I didn’t see Colin, this is what’s really weird, I wasn’t there for when he was filming his death sequence. The weirder thing was when I was told I was a regular, I rang up Susanna [Thompson] to talk to her, because I thought, ‘We’re going to get some more great stuff together.’ She said, “They’re killing me.” (Laughs) Nobody told me. Anyways, with Colin’s character, I never really thought of it like that, because with TV shows things happen, they have to change the dynamic of things. There’s reasons why they do it, and some of it we don’t know, but it’s nice that his character has come back kind of as a spirit. We’ll see what happens in the future, we shall see. God, I can’t tell you stuff! I can’t tell you anything!

(Laughs) It’s cool, you’ve said good stuff. What’s the funniest prank you’ve pulled on the Arrow set, at least one you can tell?

Well I haven’t gotten to pull that many yet, because my filming is limited with certain people, and it’s kind of dull if I keep doing it all the time. But about a week or so ago Stephen [Amell] and I just finished filming a sequence, and I ran off doing [dance moves] down at the staircase singing ‘Shoot That Poison Arrow Through My Heart,’ an old 80’s song. So just silly things like that, but I make sure we get the work done before I have a laugh. But there’s plenty more pranks to come, trust me (laughs).


Will we ever Captain Jack Harkness again on Doctor Who?

I have no idea.

And would you ever consider bringing back Torchwood with your own script?

Having said that, both are not my decision. That’s the difficult thing, because if I had my own script, and from the Torchwood novel my sister and I wrote, we have a script. It’s not a question of us saying, ‘We want to bring it back, we want to do it.’ It is a licensed product by the BBC, and you have to get the license from the BBC, and as I’ve seen over the past, to be honest with you, they just don’t want to bring Jack back, and I don’t know why.

That’s sad. Do you have any idea of where you’d like to go with the character?

Oh of course, my sister and I have discussed it a lot. There are other stories that we have in our heads, but I try not to dwell on it, because number 1 I get upset on it, and number 2 I love Captain Jack, and I love Doctor Who. I don’t know what it is, maybe they think the character’s had enough, but what I see with the public, and people I have met, and particularly the American audience, people want him back, which is really interesting. But it’s not my decision, it’s the BBC’s decision, and it’s also Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies’ decision, because they are the ones who created Jack. It’s also the new producers of Doctor Who’s decision, so as I’ve always said, everybody asks me, and I give the same answer, and I feel bad, because if the people want it back, they’ve got to do the writing to the people who make and create the show.

How would Jack react to the 12th Doctor looking like John Frobisher?

(Laughs) He wouldn’t see him as that. That’s the other kind of thing, there’s no crossing, you’d have to lift that right out, there would be some corky line, ‘You remind me of somebody.’ (Laughs) But I think the new Doctor has a kind of retro look of one of the original Doctors, who is no longer with us, Jon Pertwee, with the cape and all that kind of stuff, he was my first doctor. I haven’t watched the [new season] yet, I just downloaded it the other night, I haven’t watched it yet because I’ve been traveling and working, so I will watch it, then I will give my verdict. But it’s Doctor Who, it’s going to be good.


Why do you think the Christopher Eccleston era of Doctor Who was so short lived?

Because he didn’t want to do it any more. That’s the honest answer, from what I know. He decided he didn’t want to do it, and that was it.

You mentioned that you would have loved to be on the 50th anniversary special, but he wasn’t on it either, unfortunately.

No he wasn’t, but maybe he was asked and he just didn’t want to do it, but I wasn’t asked, so that’s an easy answer for that one. But Chris’ Doctor brought it back, he was the one who started it off. He gave it a darker side that it had never had, but he just decided that he didn’t want to do it after that first season, which you’ve just got to respect. For someone to be able to say that, I don’t know the reasons behind it, you’d have to ask him, but that’s all I know.

Here’s a fan question: I’d like to know if he altered his voice as the Dark Archer in S1 (even before the sound FX guys worked their magic), and if he could give us a sample of what it would sound like.

I didn’t really, they added a little bit of tweak to the voice to do stuff, but that’s my voice. I am a vocal genius (laughs). Not only can I sing, but I can manipulate my voice to [does Dark Archer voice] to sound like somebody else. (Laughs) Just say that I am a vocal genius, of course it’s me!

Top 10 Wrestling Portrait Paintings

Rob Schamberger is widely regarded as the top wrestling portrait artist around today, and we have compiled a list of his Top 10 Wrestler Portraits, with commentary on each from Rob himself. For more on Rob, go to his website.


10. Ultimate Warrior

I did portraits of all of the inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014, and this was Warrior’s. His face paint gives me a lot to work with visually and his persona even more. This was largely a wet-on-wet piece, meaning I would put down water for the area I wanted a tone or color, and then I dropped in the ink or liquid acrylic paint and let it spider out into the water. The ink and paint stay within the water, giving a fun effect. I’m told this was a favorite at the WWE headquarters, and Warrior liked it a lot as well.


9. Ultimate Warrior

This one was done for Warrior’s agent as a thank you for brokering the deal that gave me the honor of painting the jacket The Ultimate Warrior wore in his final appearance on Raw, and the painting is of him from that night. This was a really emotional one to do, naturally. I talked with Warrior quite a bit leading up to WrestleMania XXX and even got to watch the show from his private box. His passing hit me hard, but not nearly as hard as those who were truly close to him. The paint dripped on it was the same paint used to make the jacket.


8. Roddy Piper

A pretty straight-forward ink and watercolor piece, but I think it shows how I try to not just make the portrait look like the subject, but FEEL like them, too. Piper is known for his loud, abrasive mouth, and I think this captured that nicely.


7. Stone Cold Steve Austin

It just makes you want to throw your hands up and say, “OH HELL YEAH”, doesn’t it? Stone Cold’s actually really hard to paint, due to his bald head and naturally blonde hair, which makes it disappear in the light sometimes. What little is left I have to get exactly right or the likeness isn’t there. I did another portrait of him live at SummerSlam and he threatened to give me a Stunner if I screwed it up. Luckily I brought him some beer when I showed it to him, so I avoided that fate!


6. Randy Savage

A lot of people really gravitated to this Macho Man piece, I think because it showed a different side to him. His over-the-top persona and costumes make him one of the most fun to paint, but this didn’t really have either of those and showed a Randy you didn’t really get to see when the cameras were on him. His brother Lanny told me this reminded him a lot of how he liked to remember Randy.


5. Mick Foley

Mick Foley’s another favorite to paint. His various personas are all visually captivating, and I wanted to pull on my appreciation of comic book art and 1950’s magazine illustration to show the violence inherent in all of those personas. I limited it to black, white and red, making a really stark piece that jumps right into your face. It’s funny, because Mick is one of the most caring and warm people I’ve met, and he’s asked me to do a piece of him as Santa Claus which I’m looking forward to!


4. Bret Hart

This Bret Hart piece was fun to do stylistically. It was a mix of the wet-on-wet stuff for the background with traditional watercolors for the figure, trying to show the energy that came off of this Hall-of-Famer. His niece Natalya got this from me and surprised him with it as a gift. He said it reminded him of the dreams he had as a younger man. This is a special one to me.


3. Eddie Guerrero

Grown-ass men aren’t supposed to talk about this sort of thing, but when Eddie Guerrero tragically and suddenly passed away I cried. It was actually the last time I’ve ever cried, but it was a really visceral emotion that came out of me. When I had this penciled out on the canvas, it was sitting on the easel in front of me and I was kind of stuck on the approach I wanted to take with it. Behind my chair in my studio is a glass block window, and the way the refracted light came through it at that moment created a perfect halo around Eddie’s head on the canvas, and right then I knew exactly what to do with it. I used a mix of styles on it, vibing off of cholo graffiti and traditional portraiture. I think this is one of my very best I’ve done to date.


2. CM Punk

I’ve done a lot of CM Punk paintings, and this one may be the last for a while. This was done not too long before he parted ways with WWE, and I knew I wanted to push myself in a big way on it as I felt I’d pretty much said everything about the CM Punk character up to that point. I did the figure all with grey tones, and then went over that with liquid acrylic for his many tattoos, creating a tattoo map of sorts. Black and white with spot color has been done to death, but it works for a reason when done right and I think I did it right with this portrait.


1. Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan’s beard is so fun to do visually, but it can also distract from his facial features. To balance that out, I did some wet-on-wet watercolors in a horizontal swath going across his eyes and let it drip down a little too, then balanced it out with the blacks, which are sweeping vertically. It’s a fun composition. At WrestleMania XXX I was in the club set up for friends and family and saw an older lady and a three- or four-year-old girl trying to move a couch, so I jumped up and moved it for them, then went back to where I was seated. In the main event of the show after Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he jumped down and gave his mom a hug – the same lady I had helped earlier that night! On the bus ride back after the show I was sitting next to her and it was clear how proud she was of her son. Wrestling’s awesome.