Bring Out the Gimp

Musings on pop culture by freelance journalist Shawn Conner

Archive for the tag “interviews”

Patton Oswalt on Vancouver

Patton Oswalt in Blade Trinity

Patton Oswalt in Blade Trinity.

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Patton Oswalt as one of my least favourite interview subjects ever, only slightly better than David Cross but worse than just about any other comedian I’ve ever interviewed.

Anyway, this past week the AV Club posted an interview with the stand-up comic/actor about the various roles, from cameo to supporting to lead, he’s played over the years. The exceptionally long interview’s notable for about two things—the way Oswalt justifies his paycheck for Two and a Half Men, and what he has to say about Vancouver, where he filmed Blade: Trinity (2004):

“… it was a very troubled production. Wesley [Snipes] was just fucking crazy in a hilarious way. He wouldn’t come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day. Which is fine with me, because I had all these DVDs that I wanted to catch up on. We were in Vancouver, and it was always raining. I kept the door to my trailer open to smell the evening rain while I was watching a movie…

“And he tried to strangle the director, David Goyer. So later that night, Ron Perlman was in the city. Everyone who makes movies in Vancouver stays in the same hotel [probably the Sutton Place Hotel-SC]. It’s like an episode of The Love Boat. Every time the elevator stops, you’ve got a different celebrity getting on. Like, [announcer voice] ‘Hey, now we’ve got Danny Glover!’ So we went out that night to some strip club [most likely Brandi’s-SC], and we were all drinking. And there were a bunch of bikers there, so David says to them, ‘I’ll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security.’ Wesley freaked out and went back to his trailer. [Laughs.] And the next day, Wesley sat down with David and was like, ‘I think you need to quit. You’re detrimental to this movie.’ And David was like, ‘Why don’t you quit? We’ve got all your close-ups, and we could shoot the rest with your stand-in.’ And that freaked Wesley out so much that, for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note ‘From Blade.’ [Laughs]”

Interviewing Lindi

Lindi Ortega press photo

Last week I interviewed Lindi Ortega over the phone. She’s a formerly Toronto-based singer/songwriter now living in Nashville. The interview was okay – not one of my better ones, I must say; I’m always a little more stressed when I’m not recording the interview (my girlfriend had borrowed my mini-recorder). And, after doing hundreds if not thousands of interviews with musicians, it seems I have fewer and fewer questions for them unless we’re talking about something unrelated to music – for instance, I really enjoyed my interview with YACHT‘s Claire L. Evans because we talked mostly about science fiction. Although talking to Wes Marskell of Toronto band The Darcys was fun too because we could talk about Steely Dan‘s Aja, one of my favourite albums (The Darcys recorded their own version of the record).

Still, I like Ortega’s album from last year Little Red Boots, and thought it might be interesting to talk to her since she’s opening for Social Distortion, who are pretty popular in these parts (their first Vancouver show, on April 16 at the Commodore Ballroom, is sold-out, and a second show, on April 17, has been added). I was also hoping to get Ortega, who was nominated for two Juno awards herself, to say something about the fact that the winner of Album of the Year at the Canadian music industry’s annual circle-jerk went to crooner Michael Bublé for a Christmas record…

Here’s my Lindi Ortega interview in full.

Interview – Ting Tings

Jules De Martino on the Ting Tings’ success

The songs on the Ting Tings‘ debut might sound like happy-go-lucky pop, but pay attention to the lyrics and you’ll definitely hear an edge, if not a chip.

It’s a holdover from the two musicians’ previous experience with the music industry, when Katie White and Jules De Martino were part of a band called Eskiimo. After that group split, the vocalist/guitarist and drummer, friends dating back to pre-Eskiimo days, almost gave up on music for good. But the two licked their wounds, wrote some songs, threw a few promotional parties, and eventually pressed their own copies of a single, “Great DJ”.

The breakout success last year of that song, as well as “That’s Not My Name” and We Started Nothing, the (Sony) debut, has made the Ting Tings one of those unlikely stories that makes even the most jaded pop music fan sit up and take notice. Here’s a band whose tunes – not just catchy but smart and sassy – just about everyone likes.

The chemistry between White and De Martino, meanwhile, has made the live show a must-see. De Martino called from a St. Louis tour stop, and answered our questions, kind of.

But he definitely talked…

(Read what De Martino had to say on our Ting Tings interview post)

Interview – The Waking Eyes

The Waking Eyes band

The Waking Eyes. Photo-Colin Vandenberg

Matt Peters of Winnipeg’s The Waking Eyes

For a generation of Winnipeggers, Steinbach was “the automobile city”.

Thanks to a series of ubiquitous car dealership commercials, that was all most of us knew about the town (pop. 13,000, according to recent stats), which lies 50 kilometres southeast of the city. Oh, and also that it’s a community largely composed of Mennonites.

But in 2000 an album appeared: The PetsLove and War was an ambitious, layered record equal parts Prairie earnestness and cheeky pop wit, that put Steinbach on the indie-rock map. For what that’s worth.

Nowadays, Matt Peters and Steve Senkiw, two of the original Pets, live in Winnipeg, where they formed The Waking Eyes in 2001. The lineup includes Peters, Senkiw, Rusty Matyas and Joey Penner, and the band is currently touring for the pysche-pop madness of Holding On to Whatever It Is, the group’s third album – not counting a triple-CD set, Operation Walter Prychodko.

I talked to Peters as the band drove through northern Ontario, heading back home for a night before resuming its tour with The Arkells.

(Want to know who Walter Prychodko is? Read my full Matt Peters of The Waking Eyes interview post)

Interview – Helio Sequence’s Brandon Summers


Portland band’s latest Keep Your Eyes Ahead something to behold

Someone, or something – maybe it was The Onion – picked the Helio Sequence‘s Keep Your Eyes Ahead as one of last year’s best albums.

The only problem was that, after I downloaded the thing, I couldn’t get past the first song. “Lately” was just too good, an epic of denial in the face of emotional catastrophe.

But there’s more where that came from, as I discovered when I listened to the whole record while preparing for my phone interview last week with the Portland band’s singer/guitarist, Brandon Summers

(What does Brandon Summers think of Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Frank Sinatra? Read the rest of my Helio Sequence interview)

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