Friday, October 16, 2015

Band Interview: RADIO CULT

Interview with Bambi Lynn of RADIO CULT

Radio Cult has been around for around ten years. Go back to the beginning and explain how the band formed? When did Ricky and Jay Jay begin playing together?
Ricky and I had played in several bands together before Radio Cult. We decided we wanted to put together a band that allowed us to have fun while making a living playing music. We knew we wanted it to be primarily a rock band that was fun, but we let it evolve naturally into what it is today. Our drummer, Jay Jay, grew up in the same neighborhood as Ricky and they started their first band together as teenagers. When we were putting Radio Cult together, Ricky and I asked him to join the band. Ricky and Jay Jay started their first band in high school. When Ricky started writing songs he only had a bass guitar and Jay Jay only had a snare drum, but they somehow managed to make that work to some degree. They eventually added a guitar player before playing their first show at Jay Jay’s school cafeteria.

As the cafeteria show was Ricky and Jay Jay’s first time playing a show, how much performing experience did they gather? Did they play high school shows often or was it a one shot deal?
I’m not sure how many high school shows they actually ended up playing, but it wasn’t many. I believe they moved on to playing shows at venues rather quickly. They only played a few shows together in their first band before branching off into other groups, but they’ve always been close.

How many bands were you and Ricky working in before you formed Radio Cult? Does the band members’ collective experience help the band produce quality material?
It’s hard to say. When I first met Ricky, he had a house with a bunch of musicians living there and it seems like there were several different projects going on with overlapping musicians. Some projects had more focus than others and some were just people getting together for fun. Since there was so much overlap and so many member changes, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly, but Ricky and I were in a few bands before Radio Cult that were serious enough to release albums and a couple that toured, but none that you would have heard of. I’ve learned a lot of things from trial and error. It’s hard to get things “right” the first time you try. You kind of learn things as you go along. Experience isn’t just something you can be taught. You have to go through things to really learn about them.

Describe how Radio Cult evolved from your origins as a rock band.
We were a rock band right from the start. We gradually fine-tuned what that meant as we progressed. I don’t think there was ever a specific point that we decided “Hey, we should sound like this!” Our sound happened naturally. The more we played together, the more we realized what worked for us and what didn’t.

What bands were your members listening to when Radio Cult started? How did you go about combining your influences into your own sound? How long did you practice and perform before it began to take shape?
Ricky wrote all of our original music. Some of his biggest influences when writing the music for Radio Cult were: Calabrese, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, El Guapo Stuntteam, The Ramones, Joan Jett, and No Doubt. Radio Cult started out unintentionally as a very heavy sounding band. We weren’t trying to be a metal band, it’s just what came naturally to us. As time progressed, we slowly changed into a more classic rock and old school punk sounding band. Again, it wasn’t intentional, it’s just what has come naturally for us and wasn’t something that happened quickly.

As a female involved in hard rock, were there any female musicians or vocalists who inspired you?

Not really; all of my main influences have actually been male. Growing up I was really into Aerosmith, Type O Negative, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, the early years of the Jackson 5, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and The Moody Blues. After I started singing in bands people started comparing me to a bunch of different female singers. I learned who Gwen Stefani was just from people comparing me to her. I also get compared to Joan Jett, Amy Lee, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks. All of them are wonderful singers and performers, but I honestly wasn’t influenced by any of them.

The female vocalists you have been compared to are all singers who took chances as opposed to playing it safe. For example, there are pop divas who have thin vocal styles and little power. With the vocalists you cite as influences in mind, do you make an effort to push yourself (so to speak) as a vocalist?
I definitely do. My voice has actually changed quite a bit over the years because of it. When I first started singing I had very little projection. I would run out of breath singing simple parts and had to struggle to get my voice to carry over the music. It took quite a bit of practice to get my voice strong enough to hold certain notes. I experimented with a variety of styles to see what would work best for me, so there was a lot of trial and error. I also had a bit of help from a speech pathologist after I lost my voice early on. We had been playing shows without stage monitors for a long time, so I was unable to hear myself for a lot of our shows. We played a show where the audience was singing along with us so loudly that I hadn’t even notice my voice was gone. I don’t just mean my voice was hoarse, I mean it was completely gone. I couldn’t get a sound out for days and had to go see a specialist about it. I was lucky that I had only formed soft polyps from a combination of inhaling the second-hand smoke at the clubs and singing too forcefully. I was able to get my voice back over time, but I had to be very careful while singing to not cause even more damage. The doctor showed me some vocal tricks to help warm my vocal chords up as well as how to push my voice a different way. It was a huge help! I’m very lucky that Ricky was able to sing so much while my voice was in recovery because it meant that we didn’t have to cancel any shows! I’m still constantly learning, though. It will always be a work in progress for me.

So how much has your singing improved through trial and error since you started practicing full time?
A great deal! I’ve learned so much over the years. Things that were very difficult for me to do early on are no longer obstacles for me. I hate that I lost part of my upper register from singing incorrectly for so long in the early years, but my vocal range has grown considerably from sheer experience. I have a much greater vocal range than when I first started.

Who named the band Radio Cult, and is the band’s name intended to mean anything specific?
Ricky and I were throwing ideas around on what to call the band. Radio Cult was the name all of us liked and the URL radiocult.com was available, which is a lot more important these days than you’d think. We also really liked how familiar the name sounded. The name Radio Cult just sounds familiar. Even from the start people told us they had heard of us, and that was before we had really played many shows. As for a meaning of the name; before the internet, people had to listen to the radio if they wanted to hear new music. There were large groups of people that would obsess over the music being played. There have been so many generations of people that would learn about new bands and new styles of music by huddling around their radio every chance they could get. They were almost cult-like in their obsession with it.

Although the world has changed tremendously and we now have social media, video channels, streaming sites, internet radio and several music television stations, traditional radio is still somewhat popular.
To be honest, I can’t really say that traditional radio IS very popular anymore. All of the people I know that work for radio say that fewer people are actually listening to regularly broadcasted radio stations. People seem to have shifted more to online media or stations such as Spotify, Pandora, and XM Radio. Even businesses that would have in the past played a regular FM station over their speakers seem to be shifting more and more to online programs. I can’t think of the last time I went into a store or restaurant and heard a regularly broadcasted radio station being played. Traditional radio isn’t dead, but it certainly has taken a big hit from all of its new online competition. There are a lot of people that do still listen to the radio, but I don’t know how much longer it will last. It’s great to be able to go online and pull up specific playlists to fit what you want to listen to, but it’s sad that traditional radio is starting to be a thing of the past.

One of the things I’ve noticed about traditional radio, and this is likely one of the reasons its popularity is fading, is that they stick to the same format and play the same songs over and over. Internet radio stations like Brutalism, Raven Eggs And Kegs Radio and Deviants Underground Radio have taken steps to break that mold by playing more obscure bands and unsigned bands. Are there any internet radio programs you have listened to?
I’ve listened to quite a few, but to be honest, I don’t remember any of the station names. I love supporting independent bands and often have their CDs playing instead of the radio. I try to go see independent bands as often as I can, but because I’m usually playing on the same nights as everyone else I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. It’s amazing how much talent is out there and it’s a shame more people don’t support it!

How do you differ visually and (most importantly) musically from most rock bands in your home state of Georgia?
The fact that we actually HAVE an image seems to set us apart from most rock bands in general these days. We have a unique image! Even our gear has a specific look to it. We’ve incorporated a lot of stripes, checkerboard, feathers and fur into our overall look. There is also a red, black, white color scheme in our theme. In addition, we also have a lot of robotic cats. Yes, you read that correctly, robotic cats. We have a robotic cat army on stage with us. Some would call it a “destruction.” That’s something you’d have to see in person to fully understand. As far as musically, there seems to be fewer and fewer “rock” bands these days. There has been a huge rise in metal and rap groups in the Atlanta scene, but just focusing on being a good ol’ rock band seems to be sadly absent. Most of the local bands are very dark and serious. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good metal band and there is nothing wrong with that approach, it’s just not what we are setting out to achieve. We want to not only have fun, but play fun music. We don’t take ourselves seriously. It’s more about having a good time and I think our music reflects that.

I’ve known of a few rock bands who paid more attention to their look than their music. Granted that bands of every genre project a certain “image”, bands who paid equal attention to their music have generally had more longevity. In example, hair metal was a trend and didn’t last long, and alternative died out after becoming a trend, whereas punk and thrash metal is still listened to. Is music as important to Radio Cult as stage presence?
Every generation does seem to have their own style, but some things never change. There’s always current pop music and there’s always nostalgia. There are always kids wanting to rebel against their parents and define themselves in a completely new way. Everyone has his or her own voice. It’s what makes people who they are. Our image and stage presence isn’t something we spend a lot of time on, even though it is a big part of who we are. I came up with our “look” when we first started, but we didn’t focus just on our image or the music exclusively. If we have an idea about either one we’ll discuss it with each other, but it’s all actually very natural. Our stage presence is just what we do because it’s who we are. When I’m on stage I just like to have fun, and I think that’s how the guys feel about it. We just do what we do and people call it stage presence. As far as music, Ricky will write a song and we’ll get together and work on it. Regardless of how the idea started for him, the song will morph into our collective sound.

When a kid rebels against his parents, he matures and succeeds on his own terms. Is doing so instead of following trends for the sake of the status quo important to Radio Cult? After all, many of our most well-known talents started by rebelling.
I know for me, I do what I do because it’s who I am. It’s not about what’s cool or popular. It’s not about rebelling. It’s not about impressing anyone. It’s about doing what makes ME happy. I actually love playing music and I like what we do. If I were going to be “playing it safe” I would never have gotten into the music business to begin with! You are never going to make every single person out there happy, so why not try and make yourself happy? It always bothers me when I hear someone coming down on someone else because, in their eyes, the only “correct” music to listen to is what THEY like and everything else is “selling out.” To me it’s only “selling out” if you are doing it just to make everyone else happy. The only thing I can point out that Radio Cult does to “play it safe” would be the lack of profanity in our lyrics. I have the mouth of a sailor, especially in the early mornings, but Ricky makes sure to not write profanity into the lyrics because it makes it easier to promote our songs to all ages.

I use the term rebelling loosely; bands that make it on their terms play what they feel. To me selling out and being a poser is playing what you are expected to, even if you don’t feel it, and the sole motivation is to make money. I listen to many different genres in addition to metal, but I don’t make a big production of being “open minded”; I just listen to what I like. It just so happens that what I listen to is not the flavor of the month.
I do think I know what you are trying to say. I’m not saying anyone really needs to be completely “open minded” and force themselves to listen to music they can’t stand. I’m just trying to say it’s unfair to be mean and judge people that don’t share the same musical tastes as you do (referring to the collective “you”). People can be so brutal with each other and they don’t stop to think about it from any other perspective. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine to hear someone criticizing someone else just because they like a certain type of music. There’s a lot of music out there that I don’t enjoy listening to, but I respect the people for creating it. Art is subjective in all forms.

As a rule I appreciate most genres of music as being good for what they are, even if they don’t speak to me on a personal level. One of the few exceptions is bubblegum pop, which to me has almost nothing unique or creative to offer. It’s basically the same formula rehashed again and again.
The formula you speak of seems to have worked for the genre it was intended. It makes a lot of people happy and I don’t fault the songwriters for creating it. If people are still supporting the cookie-cutter style of pop music you are talking about then it makes sense for them to keep hashing it out. They are still making that style of music because there are so many people that listen to it. To me it’s refreshing to hear something new. That’s what I usually go to other genres for, though. There’s music out there for everyone’s individual taste; you just need to find it or create it for yourself.

I have been around some people who preached that others should open their minds more; those same people labeled others who express themselves differently from what is “popular” as “freaks” and “weirdos” as though there was something wrong with them. Like when a woman is open to ridicule if she becomes a cosplayer. Attitudes like that sound rather closed minded.
I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone else on his or her musical preference. I, unfortunately, have heard rude comments from all types of different people directed at their opposites. There are people that only listen to pop or country music that throw insults at metalheads and the like. But I’ve also heard just as much from metalheads and the like throwing insults at people who listen to pop and country music. The unfairness of it goes both ways. It’s hypocritical. There’s far too much hate in the world for my taste.

Is it true you have appeared at several science fiction and horror conventions in the last decade? Having attended such conventions for the last twenty years this is of particular interest.
Oh yes! We LOVE playing at conventions! I love playing at just about any event, but conventions seem to be a bit more special than our other shows. It’s amazing how much the convention scene has grown over the years, and getting to grow with them has been amazing. I can’t even count how many amazing friends I’ve made just because we met them at one of our appearances at various cons. It’s kind of like getting to play in front of family and friends. We share so many interests with the people in the audience that it’s hard to not make a connection with them. Also, we have more time to spend talking to the people and getting to know them. When we play conventions, a good portion of the time is spent at our merch booth. That’s really when we get to know the people that come out to the shows. We have time to relax and carry on conversations with them.

Does Radio Cult usually play science fiction conventions or conventions with other themes such as horror? How do convention audiences usually respond to the band?
In addition to science fiction/fantasy conventions, we’ve also played at horror conventions, toy conventions, and comic book conventions! We are a strange band and seem to work well in various situations. The first time someone sees us, they usually don’t know what to expect, but it doesn’t take long to realize that we like to have fun and that tends to be infectious. People usually like to have fun, so it’s not too hard to win them over. We have such a loud presence that we stand out from the typical rock band, but we aren’t so far out there (musically) that we alienate the general public. We have something that just about any genre can relate to.

How often have new fans approached your merch table at a convention? What sort of conversations do you engage in?
All the time. I don’t think there is a single convention we’ve played that we haven’t met new friends. That’s how I like to think of them, not as fans, but as new friends. People can be so amazing! I’ve had so many wonderful conversations with so many radically different people that it’s hard to say exactly what kind of conversations would be the norm. It would also greatly depend on the convention. Everyone in Radio Cult has a wide variety of interests, which is one of the reasons conventions are so much fun for us. That being said, I suppose the most common topics that come up with me would be about gear. I love musical equipment. The guys in the band joke about me being our resident gear-head! I also like cats and glitter. It’s hard to not figure that out within moments of talking to me. You’d be amazed at how many people open up to you when you simply “meow” at them!

How often do you engage in discussions about equipment? Have people made any suggestions to you concerning equipment?
I talk to people about gear all of the time. I love discussing what works for them and often get great ideas from the conversations. I absolutely love swapping gear ideas with musicians! I’m constantly learning and am definitely the kind of person who isn’t afraid to ask questions. Some of my favorite online posts are when I ask people about equipment and get all of the wonderful responses! For example, when I first got my Mesa V-Twin preamp pedal I had questions about what tubes I should run in it to change up the low end a bit. I not only had people suggesting alternate ways of running it through my signal chain, but also different ways to pair up different brands of tubes to get specific sounds. I knew about switching brands for the 12ax7 tubes before that conversation, but I didn’t know they could be switched out with 12au7 tubes as well! At one of my next shows someone surprised me with a very generous gift of a box of tubes! I know way more about preamp tubes just for bringing up that question to people!

How much have your discussions about gear has helped the band progress sound wise?
I suppose it’s helped me personally a good bit! I love gear but can’t try all of it out because there is just far too much gear out there!  Having talks with people about what they like and don’t like gives me an idea on what gear I should look into. I still haven’t nailed down the “perfect” sound for me just yet, but I suspect I’ll never stop looking at and learning about gear even if I did! It’s just far too much fun to get a new pedal, guitar, or amp to play with! I should also mention that I’ve been incredibly lucky to have endorsements with so many wonderful companies! I am certainly not as talented as the people they typically sponsor, but still managed to get signed on with them. Dean Guitars and Swiss Picks are my favorites. They have both been incredibly wonderful companies that I am not only proud to sponsor, but am even more honored to be able to count them as friends!

Is Dean the equipment you are currently recording and playing live with? Is there any other equipment you’re considering?
I’m a huge supporter (and endorser) of Dean Guitars and I love them! I play Dean Guitars live as well as record with them. Dean Guitars not only sound great but are also amazingly comfortable to me. They are also some of the sturdiest guitars I’ve ever played. You can beat the crap out of them and they just keep on going! In addition to Dean Guitars, I also record using a variety of vintage gear. It’s hard to beat a vintage amp sound! I’ve recorded using vintage Marshall Plexis, High-Watts, Fender Bassmans, and even Les Paul’s original home-built amp. I recorded one of our latest songs using Butch Walker’s old Fender Bassman and got a pretty crunch out of it. It’s great to play around with tones on the different amps to see what each song needs. I just love gear!

Name some of the local conventions where Radio Cult has performed and describe the turnouts at your shows there?
Some of the conventions that are local to us would be: Joelanta, The Rock And Roll Monster Bash, The Great Atlanta Toy Show, Kahunacon, Sci-Fi Con, and PawFest. We’ve also done many conventions that aren’t local to us such as ConNooga, Epicon, Horror Weekend, and the Alabama Phoenix Festival. Each one is different and amazing in its own way. They each vary in size, but I can’t think of a single one that hasn’t been fun to play!

I’ve heard much about ConNooga though I haven’t attended a show yet. Here in NY we have some good shows including New York Comic Con, I-CON/LI-CON, New York Comic Book Marketplace and most recently Haunt Faire. If Radio Cult had the opportunity, would you make appearances at these shows or shows in other states?
We sure would! Conventions are some of the most fun shows to me! I love playing conventions of all sizes. Big conventions are great because you have the opportunity to engage with more people, but smaller conventions are awesome because they are more intimate and give you a chance to really sit down and chat with people. Conventions also feel a lot more like you are playing to family and friends as opposed to the general bar crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing regular bars, but conventions just often have something a bit more special about them.

The general atmosphere at conventions are accepting and down to earth since everyone there is different from each other.
That’s the beauty of conventions to me. I love how accepting people are in general at them. People seem to be so excited to see other people with similar interests that it starts to become kind of like a family away from home. The costumes, both good and bad, are always awesome to me! I just love to see people having a good time and enjoying the convention lifestyle.

Cite some of your most memorable convention experiences of recent years?
One of the more recent stories I have involves one of our close friends and took place at a convention earlier this year. I have to describe him for you so that you can get a good idea of what happened. He’s very tall and muscular, and extremely imposing looking in spite of him being one of the sweetest people I know! He stands around 6’ 6” and is built like a freakin’ mountain. He had been drinking very heavily for a good part of the day and I had thought he had gone back to his hotel room to sleep it off. It turns out that he had ended up at a room party and continued to drink for the rest of the day. During one of the very first songs of our show that night he came stumbling into the theater we were playing. I don’t mean stumbling figuratively, either- I mean it literally! He was so imposing that people were jumping out of his way and had started to become concerned about their own well-being. Because of his size and stature, though, no one wanted to approach him to see if he could use a hand getting to where he was going. He shoved several people out of his way and then fell very forcefully into a chair that someone had just recently (and rapidly) vacated. We started calling out to him repeatedly but quickly realized that he had passed out on the way down into the chair. Throughout the show we would call out to him without him responding so we started cracking jokes about it. At one point during the show I had jumped off the stage to run around and collect tips from people. One of the guys in the audience got a huge grin on his face, held up a sharpie, and pointed to our drunk friend. EVERYONE in the audience started to cheer and laugh. I walked over to our friend and proceeded to emblazon his forehead with the word “MEOW” in bold letters done in reverse. (I had written it in reverse because I had wanted to make sure he knew immediately who had written on his face when he looked into the mirror when he sobered up, which he did!) Cameras were going off faster than I could look at them! A line immediately formed when I had finished my artwork! For the rest of the show and while we were tearing down our gear, there was a long line of people taking selfies with our drunk friend while he was passed out! I made sure to stay with our friend after we packed our gear up. He stayed passed out for our entire show, through all the people taking photos (this included people getting in his lap!), through our tear down, during the next band setting up and playing, and even through their tear down! He finally woke up while I was talking to security about getting him to his hotel room. I helped get him onto a golf cart and back to his room. The next day I was asked by a lot of people to write “MEOW” in reverse on their foreheads!  Our friend had no memory of the night before, so he was surprised by how many people knew who he was! He’s also shocked at all the photos that keep popping up of him online! He’s pretty amused by the whole thing, but doesn’t dare pass out at any of our shows anymore!

Describe the first songs written by the band and how they sounded. What were the lyrics to those songs inspired by?
We were trying to play songs that were upbeat and rocked. A lot of the earlier stuff that Ricky wrote for the band didn’t end up getting released because they just didn’t quite have what we were going for. We had a bunch of songs that we worked on, but the best of the first batch of songs was “Make The First Move”. I guess you could say it was our first “single” because it was the first song that people started requesting and the first to be released on CD. It was also our first music video. It’s a pretty good representation of what we sounded like when the band first got together. The song is about taking the initiative to accomplish things. You can’t wait for someone else to do the work for you if you want it to get done.

What was Make The First Move written about and who produced the video? How does the video reflect the song?
“Make The First Move” was actually shot live while we played a show at a casino in Louisiana. There were two local camera operators shooting us while the sound was being recorded at the mixing board. We later took the board tape to be mixed and afterwards just slapped it on top of the video feed. It was 100% live with no overdubs or corrections, so it’s a pretty decent representation of what we were like performing at the time. People often think it was overdubbed because one of the cameras was recording at a slightly different speed, so the audio and video don’t always match up perfectly. To me, it’s actually a big complement that they think it was faked! I felt bad for the camera guys because they had filmed several other songs that night but couldn’t use the footage due to how much I moved around. They asked me to try and stay in one section of the stage and not jump around quite as much. It was pretty funny and far more difficult for me to hold back from jumping than I would have thought. You also don’t see the massive crowd that was there. The audience was too afraid to step in front of the cameras, so they just danced behind them until they finished shooting.

Has anyone commented on the method of filmmaking and video editing that was part of the process of Make The First Move? Is it something the band would want to develop and expand upon while making future videos?
We’ve had other videographers offer to shoot more videos for us, both in a similar style as well as create a new approach. Remember, the first video was just a live performance shot with two cameras and a soundboard audio mix. We’ve actually had a bunch of other videos made since the “Make The First Move” video. After the live performance video was released we had an animator make a cartoon for us. It was also for “Make The First Move”. One of our most recent videos (“Get Out Of This Town”) actually had stunt choreography done by people we met at conventions. They are absolutely amazing at parkour and fighting! They are featured as ninjas I fight throughout the video. They had to teach me the fight sequences right before each take. I wish more of their stunts had been included, but the editors ran out of time. Another one of our videos was for the song “Saturday Midnight Double Feature” and is about old horror movie hosts. We were very lucky to meet the horror host Ormon Grimsby and asked if he would be in the video. He not only performs in the video, but he was actually the one who shot and edited it. He did an AMAZING job!  He’s the one featured at the start of the video.  The video was shot on the set of his TV show in Raleigh, NC while were gigging up there. We’ve done videos for many more of our songs and are planning on releasing a DVD before too long. It will even include our full-length Saturday morning cartoon. You can see the intro for the cartoon on YouTube right now, but the full cartoon hasn’t been officially released yet.

Who was the animator who worked on the second promotional video for Make The First Move? How much animation work had he done previously?
Brian Cribb was the animator for our second video for “Make the First Move”. He had done very little animation before that video. Doing the music video for us gave him an excuse to learn how to create animations. He’s also the animator for our full-length “Saturday Morning Cartoon”, the creator for the Radio Cult Video Game (which is available to play for free on our website at RadioCult.com), as well as one of the artists that contributed a story to our comic book. We met him at one of our shows in Columbia, SC and have since become long-time friends. He’s a great guy and a great artist!

In what ways does the choreography and fight scenes in Get Out Of This Town fit the song’s lyrics? Were the people who worked on the video with you professional stunt choreographers? Who filmed that video?
The choreography and fight scenes don’t go along with the lyrics to the song at all. We just wanted a fun video that was easy to shoot and used what we had to work with at the time. We kind of stumbled into having the video made and had to come up with an idea for the video very quickly. One of our good friends, El Panadero, is a Luchador and wanted to be in a music video with us, so we made sure to include him. The two ninjas in the video, Paul Hewitt and Jonathan Anderson, are both competitive fighters and are really into parkour. We had met them at a convention years earlier and had become friends. They offered to be in a video if we ever needed them, so we got them to join us in this one. The two of them came up with all of the fight moves and had to show me how to do them before each shot. They were INCREDIBLE! Most of the amazing stunts they did didn’t even make it into the video because the guy editing it ran out of time. They made everything look so easy and flawless! They kept telling me I could hit them harder, but I was just too afraid to! I kept watching them do back flips off of our van and throwing themselves on the concrete over and over. I had the biggest bruises on my arms and legs the next day and can’t imagine how they fared! The people who filmed the video were some local guys that were new to shooting videos. I think one of them is a wedding photographer professionally and I’m not sure if they were even going to pursue doing music videos professionally or not. We were introduced to them through a friend of ours and just struck up a conversation with them about shooting a video. One thing led to another and we ended up shooting a video for our song “Get Out of This Town” over a two-day period. One long day was spent shooting the action scenes outside while the other day we only spent a couple of hours shooting footage of us playing inside. I think it took us longer to set our gear up than it did to shoot the footage!

Was Saturday Midnight Double Feature inspired in any way by The Rocky Horror Show? The premise sounds kind of similar and I’d just wondered if the band had Rocky Horror in mind when writing it. Are you fans of Rocky Horror?
People seem to think that the song is about The Rocky Horror Show all of the time because of the name similarities and being about similar topics. The song from Rocky Horror, “Science Fiction/Double Feature”, seems to be about science fiction and horror movies. Our song, “Saturday Midnight Double Feature”, is actually about the horror TV HOSTS that would introduce movies late at night before playing those old movies. Elvira, Zacherley The Cool Ghoul, Svengoolie, Vampira, and Count Floyd are all examples of horror TV hosts that our song was inspired by. That’s why it was so awesome to be able to get Ormon Grimsby to star in our video for the song. He’s an amazing modern horror host that has his own show and we shot it on his set! The two songs do seem similar, but aren’t actually about the same thing. I don’t even think Ricky had thought about The Rocky Horror Show when he was writing the song. It had never crossed my mind, either, until people started asking us about it.

I checked out the song on your Youtube channel and liked the video. Musically it sounds a little like the Ramones and the clip had a horror-punk feel to it. Who directed this video with you and how was the filming experience?
Ormon Grimsby shot, directed, edited, and starred in it. He’s the horror host out of North Carolina, and the one talking in the opening of the video. He’s an absolutely wonderful guy and did an amazing job making the video! The video was shot on the set for his TV show while we were on tour in North Carolina. We were amazed at how well it turned out! It was so much fun to shoot!

Another clip on Youtube has the band covering Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name. What performance was it taken from and what inspired you to cover the song?
I think that was shot at one of our shows in Columbia, South Carolina. I had talked about covering that song for a long time. It’s a song I’ve always liked and thought it would go over well. It’s got a great guitar riff and a good groove. And you know what they say about Rage Against the Machine: if you’ve got something to say… you’ve gotta say it four times.

Do you remember Zacherley The Cool Ghoul from a show that aired from the 60s to the 70s called Chiller Theater? When younger I watched it once or twice and I remember a movie they featured, Queen Of Blood, about a space vampire launching an invasion of Earth. Was Chiller a favorite show of yours?
I wasn’t alive yet when it was originally aired, so I’m lucky that there is so much available online! Zacherley is one of Ricky’s favorite horror hosts. I’m more into Elvira.  I was introduced to the world of TV horror hosts via the Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark movie.  My Uncle let me watch that movie when I was really little and I feel in love with it! I’ve been a fan of Elvira ever since!

Elvira made a pilot episode for a sitcom that unfortunately didn’t catch on. Did you ever happen to catch it on Youtube or anywhere else? She also hosted a show called Midnight Madness which I’ve seen on Youtube.
Even though her other movie, “Elvira’s Haunted Hills”, didn’t do well financially, I loved it! I still watch her two movies around Halloween every year! I’ve seen “The Elvira Show” online and think it’s a shame that it didn’t catch on. I wonder if it would have done better if it had come out now instead of in the early 90s. Hollywood seems to be into rehashing old shows, so maybe it’ll end up getting redone for an online audience! It wouldn’t be the same without Cassandra, but since she’s kind of passed on the Elvira torch, it would have to star someone else. I would love to see a cameo of her, though! I remember when she had the online contest to find a new Elvira. I only got to see photos of the various contestants, so I don’t know if any of them actually had the “Elvira Vibe”, but a bunch of them sure looked great!  I think my favorite ended up being a drag queen!

Describe the making of your promotional video for Shoot The Dead. Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment makes an appearance. How did you arrange him to do the video with you?
Lloyd is actually a friend of ours. He suggested he shoot a video for us a long time ago, but our schedules never really seemed to match up for it to work out. We really wanted to include him in the “Shoot the Dead” video, so he ended up just recording his parts in his office and mailed the footage to us. We had worked out a script for him to follow, but he ended up just winging most of it! He’s HILARIOUS! We couldn’t use the vast majority of the footage he sent us, though, because we are planning on releasing the music video on our DVD. We have a very mixed audience age-wise, and want the DVD to be accessible to everyone, so we tried to keep it as kid-friendly as possible with Lloyd involved! Most of the takes he did were definitely not child friendly!

Does the band plan to release a full length CD or more promotional videos in the near future? Who will you be working with on these projects?
We are currently working on new material for another CD to add to our discography! I’m pretty sure we’ll be recording the album at Chris Griffin’s studio in Atlanta. We’ve recorded all of our CDs with him and have become long-time friends. We’ll shoot videos as the opportunity arises, but we’ll be focusing on getting the new material written and recorded first and foremost. Hopefully our upcoming DVD will be out soon. Our DVD will include a bunch of our past videos, our full-length cartoon, and a lot of behind-the-scenes footage!

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-Dave Wolff

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