SMC Spotlight No.1 | Darren Keith, Multi-faceted Producer, Writer, Musician, Actor, Comedian behind ‘DK The Gig’

by Candice Anne Marshall

In the early spring 2017, I received a friend request and private message on Facebook, and much like how I discovered the magic of Fashion Art Rock band Palaye Royale, the request was simple: ‘Please check out my trainer for my show ‘DK The Gig’”. Now, it must be said that I don’t always ‘check out’ everything that is sent to me. If I did that, I would spend the whole day watching videos and not getting any work done. To be frank, not everything that is sent to me is something I would post on our site anyway. It simply MUST cut the mustard in terms of quality, content, originality, and, of course, pure talent. With this said, entering into the (like-minded, I must add) comedic mind of Philadelphia born and based Darren Keith, was like having front row seats at the premiere of a Robin Williams film: it’s funny, unpredictable, thoroughly entertaining, and leaves you always wanting more. I am referring to his trailer for his upcoming series ‘DK The Gig’, and if you saw it on his socials or even ours and it lead you to this testimonial, then you are in the right place. After the first few seconds of the trailer, I was sold and I confess, I was laughing so hard, I almost fainted. Not even joking!

We were lucky enough to capture a few moments with Darren for this exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse into the creative mind of this comedy genius to discover that he is not only the funny man behind the script for this series, he is also the Producer, Actor, Musician, and Director! The series focuses on the life of a Musician whose career has dead-ended leading him to the stage set in his friends’ restaurant (based in Philadelphia), not exactly the place he imagined himself. The comedic value in this film is portrayed by Keiths’ very blatant and obvious unwillingness to appreciate this ‘courtesy spot’ (expressed in his sarcastic demeanor and over inflated ego), apparent right from the get-go in the series trailer. To quote the Facebook page for this series: “”DK the gig” Is a comedy series about a Musician whose ego is much larger than the Restaurant Stage He Performs On.’ If this is your first time discovering ‘DK The Gig’, we encourage you to check out the trailer (below) and THEN read on!

Keith has a stellar cast lined up for the filming of this series such as: Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Dexter, House, Bones, NCIS, The Young And The Restless), Stephen Graybill (HBO’s Big Little Lies, Law And Order, All My Children, As The World Turns), Brooke Totman (MADtv, The Benefits Of Gusbandry, King Of Queens), Joseph Arthur (Grammy Nominated Singer/Songwriter), Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, NRBQ, Shelby Lynne), Fred Berman (Amos Lee), Four-time Emmy Nominated TV Producer Jill Gould (JillGo Productions), and Barry Markowitz (who has filmed such acclaimed movies as Oscar-winner Crazy Heart, Sling Blade, All The Pretty Horses, The Apostle, as well as Rob Reiner’s last 3 movies – See Barrys’ Profile below). After perusing the files of each of these individuals, I am certain that this series is a recipe for success and the high caliber individuals involved are the ingredients to what will be a masterpiece.

Indiegogo Campaign

At present, Keith has begun an Indiegogo campaign to get the series into production. He is also scouting potential investors or Networks for the series and in all honesty, if I had my own network, THIS is the series I would place my bets on. There are a lot of shows on TV and Netflix today that don’t capture my attention past the pilot episode. It takes a lot for me to be engaged enough to ‘want more’ and this series, I predict, will go the distance in the right hands. I had the chance to speak at length on the phone with Darren where we went a little further in depth on the current status of this project and there was one thing we both agreed on: we are anxious to get the production started so it can be shared with the world! This comes with your active participation SMC friends and family – if you ‘like’ what you see and want to see more like I do, click on the link on our right-side menu on the SMC Spotlight and let’s get this show (literally) in the road! For any inquiries about this series via my brilliant network of friends, please contact Darren Keith direct (located in the socials below).

Editors Note: One thing I know about the Starlight Music Chronicles family is this: we are a collective of artists and creative like-minded individuals who understand the meaning of ‘true support’. I am confident that after reading and watching this special feature on our site, there will be financial backing and very possibly, a spot on a network for this series. I am THAT confident this series has what it takes to put a smile to peoples’ faces, bring humor to this often dark world, and to become a household name.

DK The Gig. Don’t forget it folks. You heard it here first.

SMC Spotlight Exclusive Interview | Darren Keith, Producer, Writer, Musician, Actor of ‘DK The Gig’

SMC – Hello Darren! Welcome to the SMC Spotlight! Let’s begin with getting into your background – you are a Musician and an Actor/Creator of your series ‘DK The Gig’ now. Tell us about you. I want to know more about your early career to where you are today and what lead you here where you are now the Producer of your own series.

DK – Hello, Candice! Well…I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I started playing music professionally at 15 and have been a freelance/session drummer for most of my life, playing for countless local, national and international bands and artists. I have even done the singer/ songwriter thing from time to time as well. I’ve lived in NYC, LA, Austin (twice), and even Branson, Missouri. And even though I’ve done a lot of things musically that I’m really proud of, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with music and the drums, and have even totally stopped playing many times over the course of my career, sometimes for very long periods of time.

Regarding what led me to what I’m doing now…the majority of the time I was a musician, for 25 years or more, I had this consuming thought that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a musician, but should have been doing something with my sense of humor instead…and that thought gnawed away at me for most of my adult life. Then something happened to me a few years ago, which made me confront this unrealized dream that I had been carrying around for all those years, and I knew it was time to either do something about it or to finally let it go, knowing full-well that meant taking it to the grave with me.

So, with no background, training, experience or connections in any facet of this process, I wrote ‘DK The Gig’s’ Pilot episode and started the long journey of figuring out how to do something like this, at the level I wanted to do it at, when you’re starting point is at zero. And when I say zero, I mean that I had never written a script (I didn’t even know how to format a script), had never acted, and had never produced anything…actually, I really didn’t even know what a producer did…and now I was a producer!

So, skip to a few years later and I finally release ‘DK The Gig’s’ Pilot episode, and the response was incredible. It was then that I really started thinking about the future of the show…not that I hadn’t thought of it before, but up until that point, the Pilot episode signified a life achievement for me…I wasn’t thinking that it had to be this or that so it could be shopped to a Network, or that it had to have an arc, etc…the main purpose it served was making people laugh and most importantly, proving to myself that after all those many years, the voice inside my head that told me I could do it…was right.

SMC – Who are some of the people you have played with in your music career?

DK – I have played with, either live or on recordings, with Isle Of Q, Joseph Arthur, Liz Longley, Tony Orlando (yes…that Tony Orlando), Kurt Neumann (of the Bo Deans), Clarence Spady, Paul Simon bassist Bakithi Kumalo, Pete Donnelly, and Zakk Wylde.

SMC – You have quite the stellar cast lined up for your series. Wow! How did you acquire this stellar line-up?

DK – Thanks…I’m really excited about all the amazing people involved with the show. The first person I contacted was Barry Markowitz. Barry’s a legendary Cinematographer….he’s filmed so many incredible movies, like Crazy Heart, Sling Blade, All The Pretty Horses and The Apostle, as well as Rob Reiner’s last 3 movies. About 20 minutes after emailing him the link to the Pilot, my phone rings and it’s Barry. He says “I just watched the Pilot…it’s not just good…it’s fucking great”. He must have watched it twice because he knew the episode every which way and was reciting lines back to me. We talked for almost an hour, really hit it off, and he told me he wanted to be involved moving forward and shoot the new episodes. So…we were off and running.

After I found my wonderful Producer, Jill Gould, we started casting and were lucky enough to find all these amazing people, both actors and musicians, who loved the show and wanted to be involved, and they’re truly all great, like the actors Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Dexter, House, Bones, NCIS, The Young And The Restless), Stephen Graybill (HBO’s Big Little Lies, Law And Order, All My Children, As The World Turns) and Brooke Totman (MADtv, The Benefits Of Gusbandry, King Of Queens), as well as musicians Joseph Arthur (Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter), Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, NRBQ, Shelby Lynne) and Fred Berman (Amos Lee). And we’re not even finished casting all the parts yet…there’s still more people coming on board.

SMC – We have shared your enthusiasm for this remarkable series on the SMC socials but we definitely want to get more involved in some way by way of supporting your series from this moment going forward by keeping you current in our SMC Spotlight Numbered Series. We usually like to chronicle the journey of many of our star profiles. What are your thoughts on that?

DK – I think it’s great. And I’m sure everyone really appreciates what you are doing. 🙂

SMC – How many episodes do you have planned for this series?

DK – Well, it depends on the budget we end up with, but I really want to shoot at least 4 of these episodes, which are all somewhere in the 15 to 20 minute range, and that will be DK the gig’s “First Season”. Most web series I’ve seen shoot a lot of really short episodes, but I’m insane, so of course I’m doing much longer episodes that cost a fortune, and without a Network financing it. And it’s because I really want to develop these story lines and characters….to create this universe and drop people right into the middle of it. And I think it would do the scripts and story lines a huge disservice if I try to chop them up into shorter pieces.

SMC – Do you have a network in mind for the series to be shown on?

DK – If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this show should be on a Network…I wouldn’t need a Network! I’m not kidding though…I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that ‘DK The Gig’ should be on HBO…or NETFLIX…or AMAZON, HULU, etc….and there’s many things I like about all of them. The most important things I’ll be looking for in finding the show a good home is finding who is the most organic fit for it, and who will be the most committed to preserving the show’s integrity and making it a priority.

I LOVE this! The true perils of a man who just wants to play his music…and its f*cking funny!

– Steve Lukather (Toto/Guitar Legend)

SMC – If you could choose which network to have the show aired on, which would that be?

DK – I am a totally food-obsessed person, so I think when all is said and done, it’s going to come down to which Network takes me to the better restaurant. And yes…once you put food in front of me, all that “integrity” shit goes right out the window.

SMC – We connected on Facebook. You had sent me a friend request a while back, then somehow, we disconnected and then I remembered your promo reel and I think I was tweeting with someone about you…or maybe it was you who tweeted with me. Regardless, your video cracked me up. I think I hit replay about 10 times! Have you always had this great comedic sense of humor?

DK – Thanks. As far back as I can remember. I always knew I was funny, and have always been able to make people laugh…really laugh…whether it was friends, family, or total strangers. There have been so many times when someone has told me about something funny that I did or said that stuck with them…even if it was 20 years earlier…and sometimes I remember, and sometimes I don’t. Those are just some of the reasons that made me finally do this.

SMC – Would you say that living in New York has lent the authenticity to your performance as a comedian who delivers his humor with a punch? I heard New Yorkers can be tough!

DK – I only lived in NYC for about 8 months when I was around 20, so I don’t think NYC plays much of a role in my life at all, even though it is still one of my favorite cities. I live in Philly, which is very similar in many ways and very close…so that is probably what you’re detecting.

This is great…

– Dave Abbruzzese (Pearl Jam)

SMC – When did the concept of ‘DK The Gig’ begin?

DK – I would always think of funny things…and since I have probably played a few thousand gigs in my life, I would think of a lot of these things while in that environment, so it seemed like a very natural progression for my first show to be about a musician.

SMC – You have some pretty amazing ‘bells and whistles’ included in your Indiegogo campaign! Can you tell us which ones you are looking forward to delivering on? I saw a ‘Birthday Party’, ‘Associate Producer’, and the ‘You Want It All’ packages which are all great!

DK – Thanks! Well, I originally wanted to offer my body for a PERK at one of the higher donation levels, but INDIEGOGO’s legal department got involved, so I’m sorry, people! Actually, it’s fine, because the shipping fee on that would have made it a bit cost-prohibitive anyway.

Yes…I have some great perks. For one PERK, I take you out for your birthday (even if it isn’t…we’ll just say it is so we can get that candle on your dessert)…and for another PERK, you can actually be an EXTRA on the set for a day and have that very unique and amazing experience of being on the real set of a series. I also have DK the gig Shirts, Mugs, and a lot of drum-related PERKS too. And of course, you can donate without taking a PERK at all.

SMC – I would LOVE to sit on set and do a behind-the-scenes take on this show. Legit. I bet you all had a blast even filming the promo video for this series. How do you keep a straight face?

DK – You just hope that you don’t break and ruin an otherwise great take. But if it happens, it happens….just have fun with it.

SMC – Ideally, when would you like to film the first season and have it aired?

DK – As soon as we reach our goal and raise the money we need to film, we’ll coordinate everyone’s schedule and shoot. I can’t wait for everyone to see these episodes…but the quality is paramount to me, so I always take my time and do things the right way, even though I want it to be out as soon as possible.

DK the gig is so damn funny, smart and a little raunchy. It’s real. I know guys like this!

– David Uosikkinen (The Hooters/Sessions)

SMC – Who has been most supportive of this project so far? Who would you like to give a shout out to?

DK – My family and my good friends…they are as supportive as you could hope for and have been amazing. And, I have to say that I have some really awesome and die-hard fans who have been so supportive of everything I’m doing, and they know who they are…and I appreciate every one of them.

SMC – In terms of your own personal perseverance, what keeps you going when there are challenges? We all have them and we all deal with them differently. I am always curious how everyone in the industry powers through….

DK – The self-belief and confidence I have in myself and my abilities, the love and support I have from those that are important to me, and all the kind words and support I have received through the years from those who enjoy what I do creatively….those are the things that always keep me afloat.

SMC – I would like to keep people in the loop as to the progress of your series – what kinds of ways can we lend our support? I have a good feeling this is going to be a pretty amazing series!

DK – Thank you…the response to the show has really been unbelievable and it’s nice to hear so many people tell me they think this show is going to be big (see industry quotes below). The best possible way everyone can help right now is by donating to our INDIEGOGO campaign, and then by sharing and spreading the word about the show and our crowdfunding.

While we’re talking about the INDIEGOGO campaign, one of the things I would really want your readers to know is just how expensive these episodes are to make. I came from the music world and have been involved in not only live shows, but in the recording of many CDs, both as a sideman and on my own…and nothing could have prepared me for the unbelievable difference in budgets between music and doing something in the TV/Film/Digital Content world. Making any type of video at this level costs infinitely more money than making a CD does. The difference is staggering. So…to do what we’re doing will easily cost somewhere around $70,000 or $80,000. And that’s why every single donation to our INDIEGOGO campaign matters. Even if someone can only afford to give $5.00, that donation helps towards the goal.

Well crafted and hilarious insight into the life of a musician.

– Derek Sivers (Founder, CDbaby)

SMC – I was happy to see as I was typing this interview out that you just made one of your milestones on the fundraising process of this series. I know it’s often quite the task trying to get people to see the vision you do, but – you have marketed this project very well. What areas do you think there are strengths or areas of improvement you would like to tackle for this project?

DK – Creatively, I am 100% confident in the quality of this project. The only area of improvement I would hope for is on the marketing/social media/PR side, simply because I am not a big social media person, and given how important that is today, it’s something that I’d like to see grow with this project. If there’s any heavy social media people out there who want to be involved with the show, reach out.

SMC – What makes a person wake up one day and say, ‘I want to make a series’? I mean, there must be some form of love for the art of film making and acting. You are wearing a lot of hats for this project!

DK – Well, that “waking up one day and creating a series” took me about 25-30 years! Yes…I created the show, wrote it all myself, play the lead character “DK”, composed all of the music, am an executive producer, and even did some editing. And besides the music component, I had never done any of these things before and had to teach myself everything. I had no idea how to edit…I didn’t even know how to import media files…so I taught myself how to do it, did the final edit on the Pilot, and then made that TRAILER that you saw that everyone has loved. It’s really been crazy.

SMC – I am telling you, I think anyone who doesn’t know about this project should! I think there are a lot of people out there who have deep pockets and I think they should dig deep. I don’t say this about too many people or projects these days because there aren’t many who impress me. That’s a fact. I am very selective who we choose to be on the SMC Spotlight or a part of Starlight Music Chronicles as part of our team. What drives you to do your best and keep going?

DK – First of all, I want to thank you for all the kind words…it means a lot. Given my unusual and unconventional situation and all that I’ve been through to arrive at this point, I appreciate it all and am trying to enjoy this journey as much as possible. I am incredibly passionate about this and have always considered myself an extremely creative being…and to me, there is nothing better than being able to make people laugh. Along with family and friends, those are the things that drive me.

SMC – What are the top five things that are important to you in the quest to get this project completed?

DK – I just want to bring these new episodes to life at the highest level possible and have everyone get to see the full scope of the show…I think everything else will fall into place from there.

SMC – What are deal-breakers for you in terms of getting this series completed? Meaning: what would you NOT do to get this film completed?

DK – Well, obviously I really want to have this series completed and would do just about anything except share my doughnuts…because I loves my doughnuts. The President of Netflix could sit down in front of me and say “I’m prepared to offer you eight-figures and commit to five seasons of DK the gig…and the only thing you have to do is give me half of that Strawberry and Basil doughnut”…and I would be like “How about five-figures, a two-season commitment, and I eat this whole doughnut?”

SMC – Have you filmed anything beyond the promo video as of yet? Is there a pilot episode you have already gotten filmed?

DK – Yes…I filmed a Pilot that I released in 2016…and the Trailer you saw was made with footage from it…but given that so much has changed with the show since I released it, and in light of these amazing new people that are now involved, I thought it was best to take it down and just use the Trailer until the new episodes are released.

SMC – What is the best compliment you have received from an industry peer for this project?

DK – Well…there have been quite a few that stand out to me…but honestly, I have to say that I appreciate all of them. Especially when you do something as personal as this is to me, it means a lot when it resonates with people and they communicate that to you, whether it’s a peer or someone you don’t know who saw it on YouTube.

SMC – How long does it take for you to write the script for even one episode?

DK – With the way I write, it’s impossible to tell. I don’t even attempt to sit down and write an episode straight through or try to finish them as quickly as possible. I like to write something, then put it aside and let it be for awhile…could be days, weeks, or even months…and then come back to it with fresh eyes. We get so emotionally attached to what we create that it’s easy, and often unavoidable, to lose perspective and objectivity. And since we’re incapable of seeing our own work through someone else’s eyes, which would allow us to have a different perspective and objectivity, the way I try to achieve that to some degree is through time and distance. The more you distance yourself from a creative work, the more disassociated and objective of a lens you’ll be able to view it through. And I think that really helps, whether that creative work is a song or a script.

Love it…

– John “JR” Robinson (Drum Legend)

SMC – I am new to this kind of area of the entertainment industry, but it absolutely fascinates me. Pardon my ignorance for asking this question, but I would like to know – do you have the whole seasons scripts complete? Or are you working on these as the episodes are filmed?

DK – I already have way more scripts than we’re going to be shooting, which is a good position to be in. If HBO picked up this show today and said we needed 10 episodes to start shooting tomorrow, we’d be good.

SMC – Who has mentored you or inspired you to create this project?

DK – Actually, no one…I had to teach myself everything, every step of the way. I have had no formal education, mentor, or experience doing anything like this. I have made a few really good friends along the way who I turn to if I have a question about something…but that’s it.As far as inspiration, without question, no one inspires me more than Barry Manilow. Not his music…but his hair. Actually, I get all the inspiration I need from doughnuts. And who hasn’t? I guarantee that if you could get close enough to the Mona Lisa, you’d find traces of chocolate frosting on it.

SMC – You and I have spoken in chat about how it benefits many to bring this project together – what are your thoughts on the people who have really ‘stepped up’ for you with this project?

DK – If people are helping you crystallize your vision, why not let them benefit in some way from their investment in you? There’s nothing better than having people involved that are emotionally invested and who truly care about what you’re doing and want to see it succeed. You have to seek alignment…whether it’s how your personality aligns with someone, or how your aesthetic sensibilities align…whatever it may be, you should seek out those with whom you most organically align. You may not always find them, and it often makes the process take longer, but it’s worth it.

SMC – Okay, final question: what are five things you can tell us about this project that have made you really proud of it?

DK – I have to say that I’m really proud of it all. Once again, to consider what I’ve done, coming from literally knowing nothing and having zero experience just a few years ago, to getting a pilot made, making the trailer myself, evolving the show the way I have and getting all these amazing people that are now involved….there’s a lot that I’m proud of.

SMC – Thank-you Darren! I look forward to seeing you on the tube with this because that’s where it’s going!

DK – You’re welcome, Candice…it’s my pleasure. Your support and enthusiasm for what I’m doing has been awesome, so thank you… 😉

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Social Media Links for ‘DK The Gig’ or Darren Keith (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Indiegogo Campaign

YouTube

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The Indiegogo Campaign ‘DK The Gig’ Synopsis

*All content below is from the Indiegogo Campaign which can be (found here)

Hello people…it’s Darren Keith here and I want to welcome you to the new INDIEGOGO campaign for my comedy series DK the gig, which is about a musician whose ego is much larger than the restaurant stage on which he performs. This is a true passion project…I created the show, wrote it, play the lead character “DK”, composed all the music, am an executive producer, and even did some of the editing. I have been a professional drummer and singer/songwriter for most of my life and have played with countless local and national artists/bands, but creating DK the gig fulfilled a lifelong dream for me, which was to do something professionally with my sense of humor. Now, only a few years after officially starting this journey and writing my first script, I am about to shoot DK the gig’s first season of episodes with all these incredible people that are involved.

THE AWESOME AND EXCITING NEWS!

Legendary Cinematographer Barry Markowitz (who has filmed such acclaimed movies as Oscar-winner Crazy Heart, Sling Blade, All The Pretty Horses, The Apostle, as well as Rob Reiner’s last 3 movies) is filming DK the gig’s new episodes!!! Barry loved the DK the gig Pilot episode and said he wanted to be involved with the project moving forward and shoot it’s FIRST SEASON of episodes, which is incredible.

OUR AMAZING NEW CAST!!!

We are so lucky to have these incredibly talented actors, actresses and musicians (and we’re not even done! More will be coming on board in the next few months) for the new episodes:

CHARLENE AMOIA (How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Dexter, House, Bones, NCIS, The Young And The Restless)

STEPHEN GRAYBILL (HBO’s Big Little Lies, Law And Order, All My Children, As The World Turns)

BROOKE TOTMAN (MADtv, The Benefits Of Gusbandry, King Of Queens)

JOSEPH ARTHUR (Grammy Nominated Singer/Songwriter)

PETE DONNELLY (The Figgs, NRBQ, Shelby Lynne)

FRED BERMAN (Amos Lee)

And I have a wonderful new producer, Jill Gould, who is helping me make this show as good as we all know it can be.

OUR GOAL:

We are going to film DK the gig’s “FIRST SEASON” of episodes, and to do that we need your help. Some incredible things have happened since my first INDIEGOGO campaign that have made this production much bigger and significantly more expensive than it previously was, which is why we are here once again. It’s been estimated that this will cost over $70,000 or $80,000, and with your help, our hope is to raise at least $30,000 of it here on INDIEGOGO. As soon as we reach our goal, we can begin the work, which includes pre-production (scheduling, rehearsals, recording the music, etc), shooting the episodes, post-production(editing, sound, etc), PR, and then releasing the episodes online for everyone to see.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

So, here’s the part where you come in. It is so difficult and expensive to do what we’re doing without a major network financing it. It will cost a FORTUNE…and as I said earlier, well over $70,000 or 80,000, which has to pay for the cast, flights and hotels for the cast, location fees, equipment rentals, post-production (editing, sound, etc.), production insurance, hard drives, recording sessions…the list goes on and on. So many people think that DK the gig has a very bright future and will eventually get picked up by someone like HBO, Amazon, Netflix, etc., so it’s extremely important to me that everything is done right, and we present the show in the best possible way to make sure that happens. You can help us accomplish that right now by making a donation, however large or small, because EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS. And please don’t forget to help spread the word about this INDIEGOGO campaign.

THANK YOU SO MUCH….WE CANNOT WAIT FOR YOU TO SEE THE NEW EPISODES!!!

Darren Keith

About Darren (as per the Indiegogo Campaign)

My name is Darren Keith. Before creating DK the gig, I was a professional drummer and singer/songwriter for most of my life and have played with countless local and national artists and bands. DK the gig was inspired by the 25-plus-year dream I had (while being a musician) to do something professionally with my sense of humor. It was something that gnawed at me for well over 2 decades, so to be at this exciting stage right now is very profound for me. This is the epitome of a passion project….I created DK the gig, wrote it, play the lead character DK, composed all of the music, am the executive producer, and even did some of the editing.

SMC Spotlight No.1 | Rochelle Vincente Von K World Premiere ‘Deal Me In’ Music Video

Every once in a while a comet lights up our Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) sky and today, that comet goes by the name of Rochelle Vincente Von K. The Viennese born, Los Angeles-based multi talented Artist has roots rich in music,fashion (modeling), dance, and film and with the world premiere launch of her brand-new music video ‘Deal Me In’ exclusively to SMC, this is one comet whose light we are certain will not go out anytime soon.

The video, directed by Stephen David Brooks (see SMC Spotlight here) is an opulent and extremely creative film from this prolific visionary. Scenes from the video were all shot in and around the Los Angeles area. The video also features New Zealand Actor Jamie Spear as Vincente Von K’s boyfriend who played the role of ‘heartbreaker’ exceptionally well. The song itself is intense with an almost ‘celestial’ undertone in its instrumentation combined with alluring vocals and an intense story line in the lyrics. It doesn’t surprise me that Vincente Von K has created a masterpiece here: she has a history gilded in accomplishment and achievement not only in music (see full discography here), but also with the success of Lover Raw Chocolate (see here), her company which focuses on the super food ingredient. We have included a link for your convenience in the right sidebar menu for purchase! Her clients are The Academy Awards, Costume Designers Guild Awards, The Supper Club, NYC Fashion Week and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher to name a few. And this is just scratching the surface!

I have spent some time getting to know Rochelle in the last few weeks while planning the world premiere launch of her video on the SMC platform and I have to say that this is one of the most focused, personable, and lovely souls that I have encountered. In fact, she asked for SMC to postpone the launch of her video until today (was originally slated to launch October 3rd, 2017) out of respect for the tragedy in Las Vegas (only days ago), and the sudden passing of industry peer Tom Petty. Indeed, a comet passes our planet every so often, but I can assure you that this unique comet will not only light up our world, she will leave a lasting impression in it through her exquisite works of art wherever her magical trail is seen.

We welcome her into the SMC Family and look forward to following her career through our SMC Spotlight Numbered Series. To find out more about Rochelle Vincente Von K, be sure to check out her socials at the end of this interview below.

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(l-r) Director Stephen David Brooks, Rochelle Vincente Von K, and Actor, Jamie Spear. Photo courtesy of: Rochelle Vincente Von K

World Premiere ‘Deal Me In’ Music Video exclusive interview!

SMC – Hello Rochelle and welcome to the Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) Spotlight! Can you tell us how you heard about SMC?

Rochelle – Hi SMC, thanks so much for your support! I heard about you through the incredibly talented director Stephen David Brooks.

SMC – We are thrilled to have been the Music Platform for the World Premiere of your new video ‘Deal Me In’! Before we get into this, let’s get a little career history from you in terms of where your career began to this moment in time…

Rochelle – Erm, where to begin… I started when I was 9 … and each phase moved into the next … so I guess I’ll start with my last phase before I moved to LA?! I was based in London & Brighton and was one half of electronic duo Product.01, we worked with many including Ursula 1000, Dr Luke, Stephen Hague, Bassnectar, Dubstar, Dave Clarke, Chicks On Speed, Adam Freeland, Si Begg, Princess Superstar, Larry Tee, Kromeangels, Alter Ego, Tiga, Husky Rescue and Katie Melua to name some.

We performed plenty of live shows, to 40000+ people, and including touring with Freeland, Dubstar, The Lightening Seeds, and playing alongside Tiga, Fatboy Slim, Dubfire, Eric Morillo, Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), Wilson Pickett, The Commitments, Mark Moore , Spektrum, Gregor Tresor, General Midi, Larry Tee, Princess Superstar, Arthur Baker, Chris Coco, Lee Coombs, Caged Baby, John Acquaviva, Kid Alex, Lee Coombs, Einmusik, Si Begg, Andy Barlow (Lamb), Beardyman, Kromeangels, Simian Mobile Disco, DJ Mehdi … as well as performances for Radio One, XFM, MTV, Tate Britain & London Fashion Week. We toured Brazil, Japan, China, UK and Europe predominately, thou did do some shows in Montreal and New York City. Never got to the West Coast, but had plenty of radio and DJ support.

My new band based out of LA, with Ryan Carnes on drums and Simrin Phull on guitar, has played The Roxy, Hard Rock Café, The House Of Blues, The Satellite and Coachella.

SMC – Stephen David Brooks is the genius behind the filming of this video. Can you tell us how you two connected?

Rochelle – He did an amazing job, didn’t he? We met through a mutual friend and felt an instant connection. We knew we wanted to work together right away and were contemplating either a short film or music video, hence the birth of our ‘Deal Me In’ collaboration.

SMC – Would you work with Stephen again?

Rochelle – Hell yes, I hope we work together again very soon! The thing that is refreshing with Stephen is he understands the creative process in that no matter how prepared you come, shit will inevitably happen, so nothing phases him. And when that shit flies, he knows how to duck and keep things moving forward. I also love how he works spontaneously and honestly. Artists can be oversensitive and it gets in the way of the process. With Stephen, I found it easy for us to be unfiltered with each other because we both wanted the same end result so I trusted him. We used what was in front of us to the best of our ability. You have to understand we worked with ZERO budget. So, it was pure raw energy from everyone who graciously gave their time and contributed. We were all there because we wanted to create something together.

Still from the Music Video for ‘Deal Me In’ featuring (l-r) Ryan Carnes (Drummer), Rochelle Vincente Von K, and Simrin Phull (Guitarist).
Photo courtesy of: Rochelle Vincente Von K

SMC – Can you tell us what the premise of ‘Deal Me In’ is about?

Rochelle – It’s that age-old question of why do we sometimes fall in love with the very person that’s wrong for us? I know that for me, for example, I don’t like or play games. I’ve never been attracted to that, so I’m not addicted to weird behavior in men! I want straight shooters, I always look for the good in any person until proven otherwise, and yet why is it that I attract complex men? Is it because all men are complex and it comes out in different ways? Or are we destined to love certain people because it’s fate or some past life karmic pattern? I don’t know the answer to that… but ‘Deal Me In’ explores that, and also how when a man destroys the beautiful opportunity to love, he doesn’t just hurt me, he hurts himself even more. We can’t run from ourselves.

SMC – The song is brilliant and the video even more so! Aside from the teasers we shared in the last 8 days, can you tell us of a memorable story from behind-the-scenes?

Rochelle – Thanks so much. Written from the heart… created from the heart by all involved. I’m bummed that I don’t have more behind the scenes footage of my band but we needed my phone for music playback on the theater shoot! I’ve got some pretty wild stories, but I won’t share those just yet out of respect for other people’s privacy ha ha! But to share something, when we were shooting on Sunset Blvd, we needed a crowd so we went down on a Friday night and it happened to be a long weekend where literally everyone was out of town… we had zero crowd… so we waited around until one o’clock am when the Roxy was emptying out from The Buzzcocks show, and had literally 5 minutes before there was zero crowd again so had to move like ninjas!

Then at the Ahrya Theatre we had limited time because the City of Beverly Hills doesn’t let you park on the street after 3am! I was in the loos at 2am doing my makeup and getting on my last costume for the black wig scene, then my nails kept popping off and my guitarist Sim was helping me find them and glue them back on while I was trying to handle my cape. Stephen was very calm and also trying to help! By 2.30 am we were finally ready to shoot and we had literally 20 minutes to shoot the last scene and be at our cars by 3am. No pressure at all. 4 takes and we were done!

SMC – What has been the media anticipation been like for the release of this single?

Rochelle – It’s surprised me regarding how much demand this music video has had prior to its release!

SMC – Can you tell us who your ‘go-to’ team was for the creation of this video?

Rochelle – Stephen and I did pretty much everything together. We fed off each other’s ideas and made all the big decisions together. The initial plan for this video was very different to what it ended up being. It kept evolving into a different direction, even while we were shooting it, but we knew the feeling we wanted from it. Like I said, because Stephen is a true artist he understands the process on many levels and that’s where his experience and professionalism shines through… so, this allowed much creativity to flow without resistance and attachments to previous outdated decisions that ended up being mere spring boards to fresh ideas. And then of course on shoot days we had creative input from my band mates Ryan Carnes, Simrin Phull, actor Jamie Spear, our behind the scenes photographer Inge Christie and assistant Erica Boslego. But we really didn’t have a lot of time to faff about at any given moment because we were either on sunset times, theatre times, or street parking times!

Still from the Music Video for ‘Deal Me In’ featuring Actor Jamie Spear
Photo courtesy of: Rochelle Vincente Von K

SMC – Your ‘boyfriend’ in the video Jamie Spear did a fantastic job as well! Was this your first time working with him?

Rochelle – Yes, it was our first time working together. We had our own secret back stories a lot like we all do in life, and then Stephen would pull us aside individually and say something to create a certain feeling. There were certainly times where Jamie would give me a confused look and I wasn’t able to explain that it was Stephens direction. At the very end of the last shoot we revealed what our back stories were to each other and it was interesting because it really did add a depth and suddenly certain things finally made sense!

SMC – What is your overall summation of this video?

Rochelle – A journey within and a journey without!

Still from the Music Video for ‘Deal Me In’ featuring Rochelle Vincente Von K and directed by Stephen David Brooks.
Photo courtesy of: Rochelle Vincente Von K

Music Career

SMC – Let’s go way back to 2006 when your album ‘Bullet Ride’ under the moniker ‘Product.01’ launched until this very moment with the new release of ‘Deal Me In’ – can you tell us how you feel you have evolved as a Musician?

Rochelle – Mainly I think the process has gotten faster. I’m much more able to be present and take on whatever is happening with trust. I no longer over think things… I’m much more impulsive. I understand that as long as I’m tuned in, there’s a reason why things are coming out as they are, and eventually it will make sense! You just have to keep going with it.

SMC – Do you write all your own lyrics?

Rochelle – Yes, I write all my own lyrics and melodies. And depending on how a song began, whether I started it or a producer sent me a music link, I do my own chords and arrangements.

SMC – Who is your creative team when recording your music?

Rochelle – It changes depending on the project I’m working on, but for this it was Marc Adamo from Product.01. He’s one of the best electronic music producers in the world. By far! He’s been my partner in crime for many years, and while the journey isn’t always smooth, the result is always exactly right.

SMC – What instruments are you proficient in?

Rochelle – I can play piano enough to write songs! I am also pretty good with programming and mixing, but I prefer to collaborate, to me it’s much more interesting. Like sex. Better with two!

SMC – I had a listen to your song ‘One Starry Night’ (see below) – beautiful song! Can you tell us a little about what the theme is behind the lyrics in that song?

Rochelle – Funny you should mention it as my ‘One Starry Night’ character makes a cameo in ‘Deal Me In’, in case you didn’t notice the blue wig & cage shoulder pad! ‘One Starry Night’ is about love at first sight… when you meet someone and feel their soul when you look in their eyes. You just KNOW. But then you second guess yourself because how is this possible? So instant? So easy? And you let it go, and then spend many years regretting that moment you let it go, only to find yourself praying for a second chance. Knowing you were right all along and won’t make that mistake again. And that no one has since come close to that feeling.

SMC – Your single ‘Blazing’ and the video is brilliant! Who was the creative team behind this video?

Rochelle – Ah yes thanks … and it was shortlisted for two Grammy nominations, under ‘Music Video of the Year’ and ‘Record of the Year’.

The majority of it was shot at a stunning crazy Mexican themed house in Calabasas where they film Ancient Aliens. Jeff Skeirik was the director, and Nazim Chambi was my guitarist. Nazim’s makeup didn’t quite go to plan! I was in Malibu and Nazim was in Hollywood getting ready before arrival at the house, and my awesome makeup artist Rebeca Teresa is experienced, but unfortunately even thou I had specified, we didn’t get the makeup artist that knew how to do Sugar Skull makeup on Nazim, so Rebeca was Facetiming with his makeup artist and it was insane, she had no clue even with basic instructions, all the while Rebeca was trying to get me ready in time as we only had the house to film for a short period of time. That was very stressful! But Nazim took his bad makeup with grace! Thankfully it worked because of his natural good looks. And Jeff was a trooper, he had the pressure of making sure all the shots were complete in time, there was a lot we really needed to ensure it made sense! Then I wasn’t planning it but that night I ended up at a party in full costume, which was pretty wild!

The dance sequence was shot Downtown, I did the choreography and auditioned the dancers, Jonny D and Isaac Uhlenberg. They were inspiring to work with. We only had 2 short rehearsals and then that shoot day ran very smooth!

Jeff edited the video himself, another incredibly talented director!

SMC – Can you tell us what the next 6 months look like for you in terms of promoting your new single?

Rochelle – Now that everything is digital it’s not really like that anymore over a 6-month period. Things are quite instant these days… but the plan is for my band – Ryan Carnes and Simrin Phull, to play live shows, and I have another stripped-down mix of ‘Deal Me In’ that we are going to release soon also.

SMC – Will there be an EP or full-length album in the near future?

Rochelle – We have two more singles coming out, ‘OutLaws’ & ‘Valley Of Fire’, and then the album ‘Three Is The New Four’ will follow.

SMC – What about the music industry appeals to you and why?

Rochelle – Nothing at all appeals to me about the music industry, but I have a deep passion for music so it’s just a part of it. On one hand everyone loves artists who break out and do something different and yet the music industry no longer supports artists like that, nor does the music press. Even independent journalists I know rarely do, thou they think they do! Now everyone just wants to be ‘liked’… Truth is they tend to want someone commercial with their songs written, produced, recorded and a million built in ready fans! That’s not exactly A&R! It used to be the complete opposite, the more underground, the cooler it was and the more people wanted to be a part of something new and special.

I think commercial music has always had its place, and I enjoy it too, but when it’s the only option it’s a bit creatively void, right? Then you have these famous artists who were lucky enough to have thousands if not millions invested to build them and develop their skills, who go on about giving away their music for free. Yes, we have to move with the times, but let’s not forget they had a shit load invested in them to get them where they are, so that they can give away their music free, and still make money in order to continue making music!

I’m also not a fan of these contrived pop show contests, or what I call musical fast food! For starters let’s be real, these shows are really about boosting the judges’ careers, in case you haven’t noticed! And because to me the very point of being an artist is to be creatively free and have your own opinion and voice that. Music is not a democracy and it’s not about approval. Anyone can train a monkey to copy something and do it well.

Music is an expression. An exploration. It’s not fixed. It changes all the time if it’s true. And while I love to explore remakes of other people’s songs and have successfully done so in the past, it shouldn’t be the main focus. I applaud people who try something different and shout that out. That takes real guts. Real spirit. That’s creative evolution.

SMC – I will get into some questions about your earlier careers but I would like to ask first which career you find most fulfillment in and why?

Rochelle – Which bit? The singing and songwriting, acting, dancing or my raw chocolate superfood company Lover Raw Chocolate? I love all of it and find they are extensions of each other. To be a good actor you need to work on voice and movement so that you have a natural vocal and physical range, to connect with a song you need to connect with emotion and movement, and to nourish the body for these things you need to fuel the body with something that gives it the best opportunity to thrive, so that you aren’t bogged down and can focus on being creative and channeling that energy.

SMC – Can you tell us which social media platform your music fans can find you most active on?

Rochelle – Facebook & Instagram are my 2 main ones. I barely use Twitter… I’m not the most technically savvy but I do try!

SMC – What do you feel is the most important thing an Artist can do for themselves to promote their work?

Rochelle – These days I have no idea, it’s so random. A talking dog can go viral. I can’t compete with that! I can try, ha ha. But probably just being who you are, sharing that, and praying a hell of a lot!

SMC – Which song of yours is your most personal favorite and why?

Rochelle – They are all really personal and touch me in different ways. Some are fun, some are deep. With our current global state, my next single is probably the one that’s most relevant to us all … it’s called ‘Outlaws’…

“when freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free, when freedom is outlawed, only some of us will see” … “insanity passed as logic, violence the tool of change…” … “epidemic if cronyism, we police our empire ….” … “in the eyes of progress, we bury hearts under ground” …. “evil described as virtue, slavery sold as liberty, we have broken from reality, broken from reality…”… that kinda thing!

SMC – I also saw on your website that there are some collaborations as well – which one is your favorite or most memorable?

Rochelle – I loved them all, all so different… memorable? I would say working with Stephen Hague because he’s such a legend (New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, The Pretenders, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Williams, etc., etc.) and learning his song writing tricks was priceless. It really did change my process and the way I approach songwriting to this day, and also gave me the confidence to know I am on the right track with my own techniques.

I would take the train from Brighton to Hastings on those cold miserable days and he would light up my world. I loved his studio, on a beautiful property overlooking the sea. It was inspiring and deep.

SMC – Are you looking at doing another collaboration in the near future?

Rochelle – Most definitely! I have some producers lined up and I’m really excited, there’s still so much I haven’t explored as an artist. I am taking a new direction with the new music.

Earlier Career History

SMC – I read in an interview that you were a dancer. What kind of dance did you take up?

Rochelle – Long story short, when I was 11 I was working on a TV commercial and Tony Bartuccio was the choreographer for the job. He was the number one Choreographer in Australia at the time and asked me to come and train with him at his studio. Within six months of doing one class a week I started working for him on live shows and TV. I picked up dance quickly, but he was also hardcore so that made me have to learn fast. The other dancers had all started when they were two – four years old, so I was rather late ha ha. And because I was working with them, there was a lot of pressure on me to be at their level even thou I didn’t have their backgrounds, was a lot younger, and many of them were already incredible choreographers and performers in their own right, touring with Billy Idol, Kylie Minogue or whoever! I started with jazz dance and expanded from that into ballet, tap, acrobatic dance, and then learnt Karate, got to brown belt but stopped as I was doing so much TV and was concerned I’d have a broken nose before a job!! I also started teaching dance at a popular gym in Melbourne when I was 16 (Ann Peacock was one of my students – the Prime Ministers daughter!) and did choreography for shows around Melbourne. But then my music took off and something had to give.

I continued dance in London with one of Michael Jacksons’ choreographers, joined a Hip Hop dance group in Brighton, and now do Hip Hop in LA!

SMC – I also read that you have worked with Femi Taylor (‘Oola’ from Return of the Jedi). Can you tell us how that came about and what the outcome was?

Rochelle – Femi and I were models for a rather large fashion parade at the Tennis Centre stadium (where they host the Australian Open), and she came up to me after the show, asked if I sing… I said “in the shower” and she said “good because I’m going to London to visit family for Christmas, will you please audition?” Honestly, I showed up thinking there’s no way! Bizarrely got the gig but it was only for one month. The other girl in the band was horrible to me. I’m a sister and love empowered women. And I was terrified. I needed guidance. I had never sung in front of anyone! I had 3 days to learn the entire repertoire including two feature songs that I had to sing, and a rap!!!! And I was working on two of those days so only had evenings. All I remember is my best friend at the time Portia (De Rossi) and I walking up and down her street in the city (as I used to stay with her when we had modeling jobs together) going over and over the songs together all night. She was unbelievable, held my hand thru the whole process. I would have died without her! Then when it was show time, it was a full house, my idol Scott Carnes from ‘Kids In The Kitchen’ was standing in the front row right in front of me. I was about to faint. Anyhow I think I got thru it. He’s a lifelong friend now.

When Femi returned from London I of course left the band, as I was always a replacement, and then after one show they called me, said that they miss me, and will I come back? They sacked that horrible other vocalist and Femi and I ended up working together for 2 years. So that is how my singing career began! Femi and I also did a lot of TV work together as vocalists, we were often booked together. And she is still my best friend to this day.

SMC – You have modeled and also won Miss Junior Victoria as well. Tell us how that came about.

Rochelle – Wow where did you find that?!! You clearly dug deep! When I was 9 I told mum I needed purpose in life and wanted to contribute to the world and maybe I can start by dusting shelves at the local shop?! Mum had heard of a modelling school and thought I’d be better off doing something where I’m making more per hour than dusting! But only if I liked it. She was never pushy, only encouraging. Well I just followed that journey and yes ended up winning Miss Junior Victoria, which was very surreal, as it was massive. Then I joined the best adult agency as a child model, and would be confused when I was sent to these auditions with the big girls, almost didn’t want to go in. 90% of the time I got the jobs I went for. The other kids’ mums hated it when I entered the audition room lol, and the big girls were awesome and really looked after me. I did Vogue, Elle, Dolly, Harpers Bizarre, and all of them really. I worked with some legendary Photographers and was also on Daniela Federici’s first ever photography business card. (She did Anna Nicole Smiths Guess campaign, and went on to shoot the famous Douglas family portrait, Prince, Sharon Stone and pretty much every Hollywood star). I remember that shoot well, she made me climb a church wall! I worked with her for many years. She has a work ethic few could match. I learnt a lot, that has stayed with me.

SMC – Can you tell us which acting gigs you have done as well?

Rochelle – It started in Melbourne, as an extension of modeling at a big agency you got sent in for various film auditions, plus at the dance studio Caroline Gilmore (a well-known Australian actress) was head of the acting department and also sent us in for things.

I worked on lots of TV including ‘Chances’ with Jeromy Sims, a film called ‘The Hunting’ with Guy Pearce, John Savage and Kerry Armstrong… I featured in Paul Norton’s ‘Southern Sky’ music video as his girlfriend (loved swimming in those shark infested waters with the shark patrol on sight, comforting!), which was selected for the Sydney Olympics Opening, and ended up in a lot of music video duke boxes (!) … and when I moved to England got involved with the short film scene thru Junk TV. We won awards for our short films and then I was funded by the British Film Council to direct my own short ‘I Make My Pictures For What Hollywood Spends On Lipstick’, a film about Maya Deren, the pioneer of film funding!

SMC – Which career did/do you find most fulfilling for you personally?

Rochelle – I love them all. I see them all as different limbs to the same body. Creative energy is just that, it’s just where you put your focus.

SMC – Can you describe ‘a day in the life of Rochelle’ to us?

Rochelle – Hmmm, it’s so different every single day. My one constant is my beautiful rescue dog Maya. I have no routine, it depends on what I am working on.

SMC – Which Artist (can be any: musician, actor, etc.) would you like to work with and why?

Rochelle – David Bowie. I hear from mutual friends who have worked with him that he was a very funny man. I like a sense of humor on the job, British sense of humor even better … even if it’s just once coming up for air after some deep creative moments.

Living, I would love to work with Martin Scorsese. And music wise Trentemoller. Please Lord!

SMC – Can you tell us of a time in your career (choose any) that stands out for you as most memorable?

Rochelle – Being booked to support James Brown on his Australian National Tour with the band I was in ‘Relax With Max’, and then the record label doing the dirty on us the day before was a memorable one! That’s a long story, sigh! We won the court case but honestly, it really didn’t matter at that stage! (facepalm)

And a defining moment when I feared I had gotten off track in life… needing a break, I had taken a one-way ticket and small suitcase from Australia to Europe, and eventually landed in Munich working with Warner Chappell, but didn’t like the music they wanted me to do, it was super cheesy and I could have done that many years ago, why go on a massive journey only to cave? So, I continued on to where they import the music I do from, London. In London I had an incident where I was physically attacked by the Minister at a church I had gone to, I was only there to enjoy the gospel singing. That’s a very long story but after I came forward many other women did also, and as it turned out this guy had been on the run from New Zealand and hiding at the church! Fooled everyone, who had initially thought I was lying! Until other women came forward!

I moved down to Brighton and lived in a squat for a month or so, upstairs was pretty nice and downstairs it had no floors, just dirt and wooden planks to balance on, it was winter and damp with no heating, and I had to sleep in all my clothes and a coat and was still shivering. I really understood that scene in ‘Withnail & I’ with the Deep Heat rubbed on them to keep warm! Dude! And the Brits have this weird thing where they share bath water????!!!! (I was always the first ha ha)… showers were not a thing in old houses at that time. Eeek.

Needless to say, I had run out of money and found a job at Virgin Cinemas. My intuition was very set on me working there.

Within a month, one of the ushers at Virgin knew a guy who was looking for a vocalist for his band, so I gave him my demo not thinking too much of it. When the usher next came in he told me I must quit my job because they wanted to put me on their National UK Tour that week. I didn’t believe him because we hadn’t met, but he convinced me so I quit my job, went to London to meet the band and discovered it was only an audition!!!! Thankfully, I got the gig and was at dinner with EMI that very evening to celebrate.

A week later I was doing our first show with Dubstar live to Radio One with the legendary John Peel (who went on to support all my music endeavors), then MTV, then TFI Friday, Shepherds Bush Empire (that’s where I met Stephen Hague for the first time) and then onto a massive tour with The Lightening Seeds right when they had their football hit ‘Three Lions’, and ‘Perfect World’ had just came out as well.

In one week, I went from being a popcorn chick, to signing autographs and working with the British music industry elite.

Plus skip forward, the first signing Product.01 had was a record label in Munich called Compost Records, who knew the Warner crowd where I started in Europe.

And that my friend, is how life rolls!!

SMC – Okay, final question: What does the term ‘success’ mean to you?

Rochelle – Success to me is doing what you are passionate about without creative compromise, and being supported for that.

Thank-you Rochelle!

Rochelle – Thank You Candice!!! You dig deep!

____________

Rochelle Vincente Von K
Photo courtesy of: Rochelle Vincente Von K

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‘THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS’ FILM BEHIND-THE-SCENES GALLERY | MAY 11, 2017

SMC SPOTLIGHT Interview | Actor: Mateus Ward is ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’

By Candice Anne Marshall

How do you begin a review of an Actor who, at the age of only 18 has surpassed any milestone that the average young adult has? I mean, we’re not talking about the first car, first girlfriend, first job, and graduation kind of milestones here either…this is something on a much grander scale…..

I am referring to the kind of milestones that only Los Angeles, California-based Actor Mateus Ward has come to achieve in his short, but very accomplished acting career thus far. In fact, his very persona reminds me of a middle-aged Johnny Cash: cool, confident, and bonafide talented without ever giving an air of pretension. I have observed him in interviews since the launch of the film ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ in the Film Festival circuit, (where he plays lead Actor) and without fail, he exudes these aforementioned traits. I have also read interviews where he has been referred to as ‘an old soul’ and his responses are concise, sometimes cheeky, and brimming with mature sophistication. Ward has also mentioned his early talent for Elvis impersonations (he loves Elvis) at a musical theater debut which later earned him scores of wicked television roles (see film and television credits below his social media links) and an impressive roster of film credits under his belt as well. He has often played dark characters and delivers them with the kind of graceful, undaunted candor that, in relation to the acting realm, I can only compare to a young Marlon Brando. In fact, looking further into Wards’ background, I would never have guessed that his portrayal of Clyde Thompson in ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ was that of a man half that age. (see my interview with his Father, Director of the film, Justin Ward here)

In this true-story film of convicted murderer Clyde Thompson, Ward manages to take this role from an innocent boy, to an aggressive and hostile young man, to a redeemed middle-aged man of faith seamlessly all in a matter of an intense 105-minute thrill-ride. The accuracy to which he portrays Thompsons’ character in this film is genuine in delivery and fiery in emotional display. Because his performance was so historically accurate to the original Clyde Thompson, Ward (recently) earned himself the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the IndieFEST Film awards in Florida. This doesn’t surprise me, in fact, I predict this to be the start of a successful string of awards to come. It does take a lot for young Hollywood to impress me since the days of Molly Ringwald and the ‘Brat Pack’(and even the original ‘rat pack’ for that matter), but Ward has earned the utmost respect from me for his ability to take this role at such a young age and make it undeniably twenty-four carat authentic. If you have any opportunity to attend a Film Festival where ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ is showing, make sure you are there!

So, here’s my summation of Mateus Ward: undeniably, for me, he has earned the right to be compared to the reputable likes of Johnny Cash (even arriving to premieres all in black) and Marlon Brando (that confidence!). Yet, even with all comparisons to music and Hollywood royalty aside, there really is only one Mateus Ward, and he really is that predominantly paramount, remarkably distinguished, and naturally skilled. AND – he will always dance to the beat of his own drum.  Period.

I connected recently with Ward for an exclusive interview for our SMC SPOTLIGHT. Here is what he had to say:

 

(l-r) ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ lead Actors Mateus Ward and Alexandra Bard Photo credit and courtesy of: Joshua Shultz | Bellus Magazine

SMC SPOTLIGHT Interview | Actor: Mateus Ward ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’

May 9th, 2017

SMC – Hello Mateus! Welcome to the SMC SPOTLIGHT! We have been profiling some of the industry’s top Actors, Musicians, and Fashion celebrity profiles for a couple years now and are happy to add you to this roster. Let’s begin with an introduction: we discovered you via our friend and peer Joshua Shultz (Bellus Magazine) who also Directed the short film ‘STROBE’ which you have a starring role in. What are your thoughts on how the film will have in terms of an impact on society?

Mateus – I believe that STROBE will shock people into realizing the collateral danger of hard drugs.

SMC – Do you think that this film could be an educational tool on the effects of drugs and how they impact people’s lives?

Mateus – Absolutely! I really think it will wake people up!

SMC – What was it like working with Joshua Shultz (Director | STROBE)?

Mateus – Josh is a great friend of mine! He’s a true artist in every sense of the word. Working with him was a true pleasure and such a blast.

SMC – Okay, so let’s get into your film credentials – your film reel roster is impressive! Which films/TV shows are/were your favorite to be a part of and why?

Mateus – I have so many amazing memories from all of these sets, I’ve created amazing friendships with people. Tyrel Jackson Williams (Lab Rats, Brockmire) and I still hang out, and I’m always in touch with my onscreen sister Quinn Shephard (Hostages, Blame) I’ve kept in touch with most of the people I have worked with, but if I had to chose, the two best work environments had to be “Murder in the First” and “The Meanest Man in Texas.” The cast and crew on each of them were like a family!

SMC – What is it like for you to prepare for a role? You go from being a meth addict in ‘STROBE’ to being a hardcore criminal in ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ to a Disney XD role on Lab Rats…. this has to involve some devoted time to studying for these kinds of roles and becoming the characters you are portraying. Tell us what your process is like when preparing for a role.

Mateus – I think each actor has their own process.  I like to start with research of the world or time period, then answer all the motivation and intention questions of the character and get to know them, then find their physicality.

SMC – Let’s get into your role as Clyde Thompson in The Meanest Man in Texas – can you tell us how you landed this?

Mateus – Pure nepotism! Just kidding, my father was offered to direct the film and I set out to prove to him and the producers I could play this part.  I read the book, studied the history, learned the accent, and eventually won the part.

**Spoiler Alert**

SMC – There are some pretty intense scenes in this film that I have to give you a ‘hat’s off’ nod to. For instance, the scene where you took a ‘whupping’ from ‘Captain Colt’ (played by Actor Jamie McShane) – wow! These are things that not very many youth today know anything about. How did you prepare mentally for that kind of a situation?

Mateus – I focus on the situation, and play it as real as I can.  For that scene, I honestly don’t remember much. I was just going through it.

SMC – In terms of the emotion portrayed in your character…. scenes like when Clyde is told his father has passed away, how do you prepare yourself for that kind of emotional expression? What frame of mind do you have to be in to get the emotions right?

Mateus – For me, as an actor, it always comes down to being in the moment. I tend to stay away from “tricks” or “substitutions.” That is not to say that I don’t use them. I think an actor needs to utilize whatever is necessary to convey a moment. I have always had an intense imagination, so putting myself in someone else’s shoes was always easy for me, once I’ve put in the work to know everything I can about a character.

SMC – Some of the scenes were played so well, I had actual tears! What are your thoughts on the story line and events that happened in the life of the real Clyde Thompson?

Mateus – It’s hard to believe all of these things actually happened to him.  His story is unreal in so many ways, I felt an obligation to play it all as real as I could.

SMC – The scene where your father (played by Ben Reed) comes to you and encourages you to have faith in God…your reaction to him was pretty intense! (‘There ain’t no God! There ain’t no word!’) Can you tell us what filming scenes like that were for you? Religion is such a controversy these days….

Mateus – When playing any character, no matter who they are, you have to throw out all of your pre-conceived notions and beliefs. I believe I really learned this while playing a school shooter on “Murder in the First.” There is a certain level of separation that has to be done before you can play a character truthfully. I personally am not religious, but Clyde was. This story is about Clyde’s redemption he so happened to find through faith. Therefore, it is my job as an actor to put all my personal opinions to rest, so Clyde’s could come out to play. I always find that once I do that, I fall in love with every character I play. In that particular scene, it’s all about where Clyde is, mentally, at that point. So, I guess, in short form, I just played what Clyde was going through.

(l-r) Justin Ward, MateusWard, JamieMcShane
Photo by: Ryan Gunnerson

SMC – I love the ‘Got a Light?’ smart-alec comebacks woven in throughout…. you have one of those faces that can portray an angelic innocent young man and then a devilish hell-child (laughs)…. which of the two personalities can you relate to more?

Mateus – Depends on the day…

SMC- (laughs) Fair comment! Your on-screen chemistry with ‘Julia’ (played by Alexandra Bard) was also intense. Can you tell us a few words about your thoughts on her performance in this film?

Mateus – She made it easy to have that chemistry.  She is an amazing actress and we had a blast on set.

SMC – I am going to ask the inevitable: what was it like working with your father on this project? (Justin Ward: Director of The Meanest Man in Texas)

Mateus – It was incredible! We read each other’s mind the whole time! He would go “Hey MC, how about—” and I’d reply, “I was just thinking that!”

SMC – On May 6th, you earned the award for ‘Best Actor’ at the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) – That’s impressive! What are your thoughts on that?

Mateus – It is such an honor to be recognized for my work.

SMC – Can you tell us which other accomplishments in your career you are particularly proud of and why?

Mateus – Getting a chance to do what I love is the best accomplishment.

SMC – Can you tell us the most memorable fan moment you have had in your career?

Mateus – I was in New York on Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Hostages” and we took a family trip out to Mantauk.  I tweeted I was there, and on our way back that night, my sister saw a tweet from a fan, so she got her address and we paid a surprise visit.  Our families met and it was really cool.  Another great moment, was meeting young women with scoliosis in Nashville during the film festival.  These girls are so courageous and it was great to meet them and their mothers and hear their stories.

SMC – What are five unique things about you that no one else knows about? (our readers love this one)

Mateus – I am obsessed with Elvis.  I love to draw and paint.  I play piano.  I have a 1953 Chevy truck.  I am unhealthily addicted to superheroes and comic books.

SMC – I read that you have lived in Hawaii for a few years before pursuing a career in acting. Can you tell us what lead to your family’s move to LA?

Mateus – I like to believe it’s because I wanted to pursue acting, but I think it was during the recession, it was a tough time and we moved back where there was more work.

SMC – What inspired you to pursue a career in acting?

Mateus – I have always been a performer.  I was super shy, and it was a way to hide behind characters.  I didn’t even need an audience.  I just liked pretending and using my imagination.  I was a little Elvis impersonator at like 5, and I think that sparked the acting thing.

SMC – Which of your peers in the film have you created a bond with as a result of your character in the film?

Mateus – Alex and I have become close because of filming and on the festival circuit.  But the most entertaining friendship is the bizarre “Tron” inside joke between Anthony Guerino and I, who plays Barney in the film.  On set he suddenly approached me and asked, “Did someone say Tron?” It became a running joke.  Now we text each other with Tron mimes, gifs and jokes all the time.  He’s so funny!

SMC – Your whole family has such amazing talent! I did read about your sister as well – has she been involved in any of the projects you have worked on?

Mateus – It was a family production.  Our company is Ohana Films, Inc. Ohana means family in Hawaiian.

SMC – That’s lovely! What has the family support been like for your career?

Mateus – I honestly couldn’t have done what I have done without my family and their support.  My mother is the best.  She used to own a salon and stopped working to make sure I could follow my dream.

SMC – Can you tell us your thoughts on your father’s work on this film?

Mateus – He did alright… I mean for his first film.  Just kidding!  Who gets to act in a film their father directs?  It was incredible.  He was so prepared, had such a clear vision, and yet, since we didn’t have much time, he was able to improvise and shoot on the fly in order to make the days.  All the actors and crew respected him, and went the extra mile for him.  It was an amazing experience.

(l-r) Justin Ward, MateusWard
Photo Property of ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’
Provided by: Justin Ward

SMC – For an Actor so young, did you feel intimidated by this role at all? You did so well!

Mateus – Thank you! It was one of those things that I was always worried about. I wasn’t necessarily worried about doing it. I knew that once I put in the work, I could get there. I was mostly worried about how people would receive it. The title of the movie has the word “Man” in it! I knew it would cause shock and a lot of doubt from the audience before hand, but the way the movie is formatted I think it works very well. I have always been told I have an old soul, and to be honest, it was more challenging to play the young version of Clyde.

SMC – Have you had any personal experiences that have shaped you personally and prepared you for the kinds of roles you have been playing as of late?

Mateus – Let’s see an evil robot who shoots lazers and is telekinetic, a smart-ass son of a drug dealer, an actual drug dealer, a school shooter and a 40-year-old man convicted of three murders?  Hmmm… can’t really say I’ve had any of those personal experiences…

SMC -Ha ha ha – fair enough…. Where can the general public see The Meanest Man in Texas?

Mateus – We are still on the festival circuit.  But check out our social media, all #TheMeanestManInTexas for updates.

SMC – Have you been approached for other roles as a result of this film?

Mateus – Not that I can discuss…

SMC – What advice can you give to new Actors pursuing a career in Hollywood?

Mateus – Work, work, work! Study film, watch as many old and new programs as you can. Challenge yourself! Make sure it is truly what you love, because it’s not easy.

SMC – Since we are also a Music website – can you tell us who the top five Artists are in your favorites playlist?

Mateus – Jason Mraz, Chance the Rapper, Elvis Presley, Childish Gambino, and Panic! at the Disco

SMC – We would like to continue profiling you via our SMC SPOTLIGHT Numbered Series. This is a documented chronological journey of our most celebrated Artists throughout their career. Is this something that would appeal to you?

Mateus – Sounds great!

SMC – Alright, final question…finish this sentence: If I didn’t pursue a career in Acting, I would be………

Mateus – I don’t know what I’d be if I weren’t an actor… I’ve never had a back up plan!

SMC – Thank you Mateus!

____________________

Actor Mateus Ward is ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ Photo by: Deborah Kolb

Mateus Wards’ Social Media links (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Actor Mateus Ward at the Red Carpet Premiere in Los Angeles May 5th, 2017
Photo property of ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’
Provided by: Justin Ward

Film and Television: Wards television credits include: Murder in the First, Hostages, NCIS, Disney XD’s Lab Rats, Weeds, Parenthood, Norn MacDonald Show, Outnumbered (Pilot), Criminal Minds, Pit Boss, and The Incredible Bean (Pilot). Film credits include: Lonely Boy, House Painting, The Afterlife, The Hall Monitor, Devil’s Eyes, Love in the Time of Flannel, STROBE, and now, The Meanest Man In Texas.

DIRECTOR: JUSTIN WARD ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ | Exclusive SMC SPOTLIGHT Interview

By Candice Anne Marshall

Recently, we posted a SPOTLIGHT on Director Joshua Shultz for his short film ‘STROBE’ complete with an in-depth interview with he and his leading lady for the film, Chelsea Debo. In researching the background on other Actors in the film a little further, I discovered Los Angeles, California-based Actor Mateus Ward (see Mateus Wards’ in-depth SMC SPOTLIGHT interview/review here). His role as a meth addict in this film was so convincing, I decided I needed to know more about him. That’s when I stumbled across his Facebook Fan page and discovered he was cast as lead Actor in the upcoming film, ‘The Meanest Man in Texas‘(just hitting the Film Festival circuit now). This lead me down the rabbit hole and what I discovered was a kaleidoscope of magnificent talent and that talent has a name: Justin Ward.

Ward is the Director and genius behind this compelling film and it is evident in every detail that was portrayed historically and thematically. ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ is a true story account (set in the late 1920’s and onward) following the life of Clyde Thompson, who, at the age of 17 was convicted of murder (self-defense) and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Within hours of his inevitable fate, Texas Governor Ross Sterling reduced his sentence to life in prison. This began the true account story (title of the same name) written in the early 1980’s by Author Don Umphrey who compiled a detailed and documented account of what turned this young man into what the media would later label ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’.

Photo still of Actor Captain Colt played by Jamie McShane at the Prison Farm where Clyde Thompson was placed.
Photo by: Ryan Gunnerson

Aesthetically, this film scores high in my list of epic true-story cinematography: I have always been a fan of vintage films and the imagery, costumes, sets and final produced result of this film is exquisite. Lead Actors Mateus Ward (yes, he is Justin’s son, also, plays Clyde Thompson), and Alexandra Bard (Julia, Thompson’s love interest and savior) bring depth and emotion with conviction. I admit, I was a blubbering mess each time their on-screen relationship was tested with inevitable challenges and hurdles.

Actor Jamie McShane lends combustible energy to his role as Captain Colt. Now, I don’t want to give too many of the details away (you’ll just have to attend the Film Festival circuit to see what I mean!), but let’s just say that the friction between Wards’ and McShanes’ characters was on-the-seat-of-your-chair gripping, explosive, sometimes humorous, and compassionate. Characters throughout the film such as Ben Reed (Thompson’s grief-stricken Father), and Casey Bond (Preacher) lend depth to this already intense story. My hats’ off to Casting Director Laura Ward who, clearly, has a true penchant for recognizing strengths and weaknesses in each Actor and has suitably matched them for every role in this film – brilliant! A full list of the cast and crew for this film can be found (here).

There aren’t a lot of films anymore that motivate me to head to the theater and feel inspired by their stories and I am also not the kind of individual to watch even much television these days. For me to sit more than 10 minutes during any film, whether it be in the theater or in the comfort of my office or home, it must be compelling in its content, visuals, and supported by stellar performances. ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ is this complete package delivered by a ‘Rolls Royce’ caliber cast and crew. Having a Journalist background, I am drawn to factual-based films where accuracy portrayed in the overall details, visual, and acting is congruent to the time/era it takes place in. In my opinion, Justin Ward along with Producers Casey Bond and Brad Wilson (Higher Purpose Entertainment, in association with OHAHA FILMS, Inc.) have brought truth, humor, emotion, and enlightenment to this otherwise dark story that I am certain will inspire viewers to look beyond misfortune to know that there is always hope and the ability to achieve a positive outcome.

If you haven’t heard about this film yet or the cast and crew mentioned, I encourage you to check out the social media links after this interview and stay tapped in to find out when it will be available for public viewing and where. In the meantime, spend two minutes of your day and check out the trailer to this incredible film below.

And did I mention the films ‘Rolls Royce’ caliber?

You’re welcome.

Director Justin Ward Photo by: Joshua Shultz Provided by: Justin Ward

SMC SPOTLIGHT Exclusive Interview | DIRECTOR: JUSTIN WARD ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’

May 9th, 2017

SMC – Hello Justin! Welcome to the SMC SPOTLIGHT! We have begun expanding SMC into other areas of the arts such as the Film Industry. We are thrilled to be talking to you today about your new film ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’. Let’s begin first with some background questions…. can you tell us about your role in the making of this film?

JUSTIN: Thank you.  I am the director and co-writer of the film. 

SMC – Can you share your career background with us?

JUSTIN: I began my career working for Mick Jagger at Jagged Films, his film production company.  I went on to work as an assistant to the producers on several studio feature films, and was fortunate enough to work with and observe such producers and directors as Robert Redford, Norman Jewison, James L. Brooks, Richard Donner, Ron Shelton, Arnon Milchan, Joel Silver, and Grant Hill.  I developed a documentary sports series for extreme sports for ESPN, and produced and directed over 300 hours of programming from 1999-2005 on that network.  In 2006, I was the Showrunner on a magazine TV series called “Inside the UFC” for Spike TV. I also created and was the Showrunner of “The BJ Penn Show,” and in 2011, I created, directed and Executive Produced the documentary film series “Rock Stars” on National Geographic.  In 2015, I directed the award-winning syndicated farm-to-table series “Localicious.” I have also produced, directed and edited for The UFC, The USSA, The ParaOlympics, Nascar, Warner Bros. Marketing, CBS, NBC, FOX, The Travel Channel and the NFL.  This is my feature film directorial debut.

SMC – What lead you to this story about the life of Clyde Thompson aka: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’?

JUSTIN: Mateus Ward and I wrote an anti-bully film called REBEL in 2014, and I shot a teaser to help raise financing.  Brad Wilson, one of the producers of “The Meanest Man In Texas” read the script and saw my teaser.  He and his partner Casey Bond brought the project to me and asked me to direct it.  I worked with writer Don Umphrey on the script for a few months, then we jumped right into production.  It all happened very quickly.

SMC – Let’s get into the details of the film itself: how much of Clyde’s life story was accurate in this film? Sometimes in films, there is a true account of the biographical story and in others, it’s a ‘based on’ account….

JUSTIN: When I read the book, it was hard to believe any of this could have happened to one man!  I was blown away by this unbelievable story.  So, it wasn’t hard to stick to the truth—it was more dramatic and exciting than any fiction.  Don Umphrey had spent years talking to Clyde Thompson and others to get all the facts, and we felt it was important to stay as close as we could to his true story.  All the situations actually happened, and are true.  However, we flushed out a few characters that Clyde knew or mentioned, but didn’t give much detail about.  When I started on the script, I wanted to really explore more deeply Clyde and Julia and Clyde and Capt. Colt’s relationships. 

SMC – Can you tell us what the importance of telling this story though film was to you? How did it resonate with you personally?

JUSTIN: I was so moved by this story, I had to tell it.  There were so many themes that resonated with me in the story.  First, I think it is a powerful story about redemption.  That no matter how dark things get, there is always hope.  The other theme I wanted to explore is the idea of how a corrupt justice and penal system can change you.  Clyde went into prison a typical teenager, quite innocent in many ways, and soon gained the moniker “the Meanest Man In Texas.”  I wanted to make a film that asks the fundamental question: do circumstances define who we are, or can we become the person we want to be in life, no matter our circumstances?  Once I started re-writing the script, what really resonated with me in the true story was the unconditional love between Clyde and Julia, so I wanted to make sure we flush that element out more.  Society wants to put us in boxes, they try and label us, for example he’s “a killer” and she’s a “hunchback,” but this is a story about two people who didn’t accept those labels—in fact, they defied them—and loved each other unconditionally regardless of how society saw them.   So, for me, it became a powerful story about redemption, forgiveness and acceptance, and that was the film I wanted to make. 

(l-r) Justin Ward, Mateus Ward, Jamie McShane
Photo by: Ryan Gunnerson

SMC – I also see that Don Umphrey, the author who wrote ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ was involved in this project as well. Can you tell us how much of a benefit he was to have included in the making of this film?

JUSTIN: Don was a wealth of information. Having met and spoken with Clyde himself was a huge resource.  It took Don 39 years to get this story to the big screen.  I was very respectful when changing the script and ran everything by him, just to make sure it was historically correct.

SMC – Your Casting Director Laura Ward did an excellent job at assembling the Actor profiles for this film! Can you tell us a little bit about her background and what vision she had for the film also? (this could even be a question you could let her answer)

JUSTIN: Laura was amazing. Laura has a phenomenal eye and worked around the clock to find the best actors for every single role.  Every actor we cast was incredibly talented!  It was such a joy collaborating on this with my wife.  I knew we had little time for rehearsal with the actors, and most likely we would get no more than a couple of takes, so we were really looking at auditions and audition tapes where the actors were “performance ready,” with maybe a few adjustments.  

LAURA WARD:  It was really important for us to find actors that looked vintage, as if they were from that era.  We saw a lot of actors from popular shows, but it was important to find classic faces and great acting.  During the process, it was great to see how many actors came really prepared and embodied the character they were portraying.  I come from an acting background and have studied with some great teachers.  Being the mother of a young actor, and watching roles being put out on breakdown, cast and then filmed, I was able to use that experience in searching for our cast.  I was seeking actors who brought something special to each character.  I am so very proud of this cast!

SMC – In conversation with you, this past weekend you earned ‘Best Picture’ at the ICFF (International Christian Film Festival) Film Festival in Florida! What an accomplishment! What are your thoughts on this?

JUSTIN: It is such an honor to win a Best Picture award. The festival also gave Mateus Ward a Best Actor in a Feature Film award.  Brad Wilson, our producer, was in Orlando for ICFF, and said it was an extremely successful screening and festival. 

SMC – Tell us about your LA premiere? Can you tell us what some of the reactions to the film were?

JUSTIN: I was thrilled we were accepted to the Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festival in Beverly Hills.  It was great to show the film to our friends, family and industry peers.  The reaction was amazing, and many people stayed after the Q&A to continue to discuss the film, which was incredible.

SMC – The emotion that was expressed in this film was very intense and laced with some humor throughout (‘Got a light?’) – can you tell us if that was your personal touch to the film or if those were true accounts of the kinds of things the real Clyde would have said or done?

JUSTIN: I have to admit, the line “Got a light?” was my addition.  However, it was based on Clyde Thompson’s type of humor.  I like to think it was something he would have said.  I didn’t have much time, but I did my best to add humor and charm into the film where we could, since it was such a dark series of situations.  The casting director and I wanted to make sure that the actor Barney had a great sense of humor, and Anthony Guerino brought in a lot of awkward charm and humor to the role.

(l-r) Justin Ward, Mateus Ward
Photo Property of: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’
Provided by: Justin Ward

SMC – What are your thoughts on Mateus’s skill as an Actor in this film?

JUSTIN:  I can’t explain how extraordinary it was to work with my son on this project.  I may be biased, but I believe he is one of the most talented actors of his generation.  The fact that he’s won 3 lead actor awards for this film, backs up my belief.  I don’t know any 17-year-old that could pull off what he did in this film, let alone many actors of any age.  Not only did he lose 17 pounds for the role, research for months, reached out to the family, but he also learned a very difficult accent and certain cadence, aged himself up physically and vocally, and carried the film.  The role required so much emotional, mental and physical range, and he nailed it.  I am extremely proud of his work on this film. 

SMC – I discovered your film through an industry peer – Joshua Shultz (Bellus Magazine, Director: STROBE), can you tell us what your connection with Joshua is?

JUSTIN: We met Joshua through an article he was doing on Mateus back in 2013.  We have all kept in touch, and Joshua asked Mateus to be in his anti-drug film STROBE.

SMC – With the SMC SPOTLIGHT, we have begun a ‘Spotlight numbered series’ with some of our high-profile clients and would like to continue following your journey and career. Is this something that would interest you?

JUSTIN: Yes.  Of course.  We would love to be a part of the Spotlight Numbered Series. 

SMC – What do you think is the value in having the support of media platforms such as SMC?

JUSTIN: SMC is such a great publication, with incredible talent and interesting interviews, I am honored to be included.  I think there is huge value in SMC sharing indie films to their audience.  Our goal as filmmakers is to make films so people can see them, and we are able to reach new audiences through publications like SMC.

SMC – Can you tell us which industry peers have been most supportive of your film? Who would you like to give a ‘shout out’ to?

JUSTIN: The success of the film is a culmination of everyone who worked on, acted in and helped support this film.  First, the executive producers Don Umphrey and Marshall Danby, have been incredible to work with on this project.  I have to thank the Producers Brad Wilson and Casey Bond, who hired me.  My wife Laura, son Mateus, and daughter Adiana for their constant support.  Shirley Roberts and Clyde Echols are members of the family who helped fill in the gaps.   It was my first film, so I reached out to a few people in the industry for advice, like Ralph Bertelle VP of Production at Paramount, Greg Berry an incredible art director and production designer, and Clenet Verdi-Rose a director and 1st AD.  So many people were so supportive, I’m sure I have missed some, but I am humbled by so much support by people like Dennis Lavalle, Eric Swanson, Andrew Morgado, PJ Ochelan and Joshua Shultz.

(l-r) Mateus Ward, Isabella Acres
Photo Property of: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’
Provided by: Justin Ward

SMC – What are some of the projects you have coming up? Are you able to share that info with our readers?

JUSTIN: I have a couple of projects that I am trying to package right now, a feature film and a music documentary.  Mateus and I are also seeking financing on the anti-bully film we wrote together called REBEL.

SMC – Will you be including Mateus in on more future projects?

JUSTIN: This was such an incredible experience for both of us, we hope to continue to work on projects together.

SMC – Pardon my ignorance, but I have never asked this question before: what is the process of getting a film completed? Can you give us a play by play from first concept to final output?

JUSTIN: Basically, it’s like bearing a child.  For this film, we had a short window of pre-production which included budgeting, scheduling, re-writes, finding locations, casting and wardrobe.  Production was 11 days.  Post production included 4 weeks of editing, color, mixing and final output. 

SMC – You had mentioned to me that this film took only 11days to complete – wow! That’s some intense shooting! Can you tell us what a typical day would be like on set from start to finish?

JUSTIN: Having only 11 days meant everyone had to be extremely prepared.  I had every shot, every angle, every beat planed out.  Then, when we got pressed for time, I had to throw away the game plan, and in the moment, create a way to get the scene shot in just one shot, with no coverage.  This happened several times a day.  The cast and crew all had to adapt and be fluid, because I refused to throw out scenes, I threw out set ups and coverage instead.  We made every day.  I couldn’t have done it without my first Assistant Director and the Cinematographer Will Barratt, or with a different cast and crew.

SMC – Can you tell us what the next several weeks and months look like in terms of Film Festivals and promotion of this film?

JUSTIN: As of now, we are waiting on a couple more film festivals, and just trying to create some buzz and get people excited about the film.

SMC – I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the portrayal Alexandra Bard gave of Julia in this film. Can you tell us what working with Alexandra was like?

JUSTIN: Alex walked into the audition and had morphed herself into Julia.  I remember after she left, I asked the casting director for her headshot, thinking I found my Julia.  When she handed me Alexandra’s headshot, it was a glamor shot of this gorgeous woman, I said, “No, the one who JUST auditioned.”  Alex is one of the actresses every director dreams to cast.  She was 100% committed to the role, did her homework, transformed herself for the role, never complained, took direction, and gave a stellar performance that has left audiences in tears.  We lucked out that she walked through the door that day.  I knew from her first audition she was our Julia.

Alexandra Bard (Julia)
Photo by: Deborah Kolb

SMC – Some of the other Actors in the film had some pretty stellar skills presented in the film also. Ben Reed, who played Clyde’s Father was compelling! Jamie McShane as Captain Colt – that was also intense! How do you feel about the skills that these two gentlemen portrayed?

JUSTIN: I am proud of every actor in this film.  We assembled some amazingly talented actors, and they all stepped up and delivered strong performances.  I cannot say enough about Jamie McShane.  In New York, he won Best Supporting Actor at the Film Festival, and deserves many more awards for his performance.  Jamie was a pleasure to work with and he stepped in and accepted this part late in the game.  He didn’t have much time to prepare.   He was so respectful of the script and my vision, yet brought so much to the role. We had some incredible discussions about Capt. Colt and his journey. Besides being a great actor, he is an extraordinary human being.  Great example of the kind of actor / person he is, Jamie arrived on day 1, and it was over 100 degrees outside.  Hotter inside the Morgue.  Jamie shows up with 2 huge cases of water on his shoulders, and passes them out to the crew.  Then stepped in, and delivered that performance that left us all mesmerized. 

SMC – At the end of shooting, and it’s time to attend Film Festivals, do you feel like the cast has become a family? I mean, this is a story about a young man whose life was changed forever but there were key people along the way that helped to bring him to this epiphany in life…. surely this is the kind of thing that would connect people.

JUSTIN: Yes.  Well, some of the cast and crew are actually family.  Seriously, there is a certain connection with people when you make a film.  This team was especially special.  We were fortunate that the entire cast and crew were all really great people, besides being so talented.  It made an impossible task fun, and everyone has been so supportive during the festival circuit.  We have all gotten very close. 

Still from ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ with Cast
Photo property of: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’
Provided by: Justin Ward

SMC – Can you tell us all the film Festivals that ‘The Meanest Man in Texas’ has been a part of and which are coming up?

JUSTIN:  We have been accepted to 7 film festivals, including the Nashville Film Festival, The New York City International Film Festival, The Beverly Hills Film Festival, IndieFEST, The International Christian Film Festival, The Los Angeles Cinefest of Hollywood, and The Independent Filmmakers Showcase Film Festival.

SMC – What accomplishments overall can you list for us that the film has earned so far?

JUSTIN: It has been accepted to 7 festivals, with over 20 nominations and 10 wins, including a Best Picture. 

SMC – Where will the general public be able to see this film?

JUSTIN: We are still on the film festival circuit, but check our social media for any updates on distribution.

SMC – How can one of our readers reach out to find out where they can see this film?

JUSTIN: Follow us on social media for more information and updates:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

SMC – Finish this sentence: If I was not pursuing my career in Film, I would have been a……

JUSTIN: Theater Director… or a scuba or kayak instructor.

SMC – Okay, final question: Can you tell us what your thoughts are on the future of film and the role independent films play?

JUSTIN: I think studio films play a great role as pure entertainment, but it is the indie films that filmmakers have a voice.  Films such as “Mean Streets,” “Momento,” “Resevoir Dogs,” “Precious,” and “Moonlight,”  are all independent films and have very unique cinematic voices.   I think Indie films are essential to the industry, it is where stories like this can be told.

SMMC – We couldn’t agree more Justin! Fabulous work!

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Film poster for: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’ Photo provided by: Justin Ward Property of: ‘The Meanest Man In Texas’

The Meanest Man In Texas Social Media Links (click to view)

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Paul Sidhu | Interview | SMC Spotlight Artist

Paul Sidhu | Interview | SMC Spotlight Artist March 1st, 2017

SMC – Hello Paul! I have been doing some reading on your background over the last few weeks since CEO of Bellus Magazine, Joshua Shultz mentioned you to me. WOW! There are some fabulous contributions to film you have been a part of as an Actor. For our readers, can you tell us a little about your background and why acting is important to you?

PS – I have always had a love of acting and cinema since childhood.  I suppose it’s the excitement and depth of emotions which comes from playing another individual.  Being brought up in the Pacific-Northwest I did not pursue acting straight off. I went to college and grad school thinking at the time that is a much more pragmatic approach to life.  I really felt I would not be able to make it happen at the time.  Call it lack of confidence if you will.  Only after finishing all of my higher education did I dive head on into acting.

SMC – Which film was most memorable for you and why?

PS – 2307 Winter’s Dream.  I was involved in the original treatment of the film and subsequent screenplay.  I’ve been close to the story since it’s inception and have developed a close bond with my character Commander Bishop over the years.

SMC – What are your thoughts about the film industry in general in Los Angeles compared to other areas of the world?

PS – I think it’s amazing.  Defiantly a very tough place to make it.  However, with tenacity, luck, and circumstance anyone can do it here.

SMC – I am very excited to see the film you will be starring in: 2307: Winter’s Dream (in theatres summer 2017)! I watched the trailer for the film and I have to say, I am a sci-fi geek BUT – only for great films, and I have a good feeling about this one…. how did you become involved in this project?

PS – I wrote the original short story. Later I met with Joey Curtis one of the writers on Blue Valentine and we crafted the screenplay.  Afterwards Robert Beaumont and myself went out to procure financing for the film.

SMC – What has the global reception at film festivals been like for 2307: Winter’s Dream? I Saw you tweet that VARIETY noted that the film was recently acquired in U.S., and global markets! That’s fantastic!

PS – It has been very humbling. I just got back from the Boston Science Fiction film festival where we picked up the award for best action film.  It was so nice to have sci-fi fans ask questions of me with genuine excitement at the Q&A.  It was something I will always remember. 

SMC – Also, four days ago, you tweeted that 2307: Winter’s Dream won for Best Sci-Fi film at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in February. That’s a huge accomplishment. What was your thoughts when this was announced?

PS – I was surprised and happily grateful.  It means a lot. 

SMC – What is your personal fascination with Sci-Fi culture?

PS – It’s the endless possibilities out there that attracts me to sci-fi.  And the fact that there are no cultural norms to abide by.  Multiple landscapes and endless scenarios. 

SMC – What has the media response been like for the film?

PS – It has been good but sometimes tricky.  Some outlets commonly compare our film to studio films with budgets that far exceed 100 million dollars.  Our film was made on a very small budget.  So, I always cringe when they say stuff like, “MADMAX on ICE” Because the audience will expect huge studio action.  Ours is definitely an action sci- fi but it leans heavily towards science fiction drama. 

SMC – Are there any industry peers you would like to acknowledge in this interview for their contributions/support for you as an Actor?

PS – Everyone on 2307 Winter’s Dream.  The cast and crew.  They supported me for the entire duration of this project.

SMC – You mentioned in your interview with Bellus Magazine that you admire people who have overcome huge obstacles in their lives – is that something you can personally relate to?

PS – I can and cannot.  I have overcome some challenges.   But my obstacles are small in comparison to what I have seen others overcome and endure.  So, I admire those people, those heroes. 

SMC – You also mention in the same interview that you gravitate to roles that are far removed from reality – is there a preference for the kinds of roles you seek?

PS – Something that has to challenge me as an actor but at the time be a part of unique inspirational stories.

SMC – What was the best part of filming 2307 for you?

PS – The comraderies and the belief by all that we were making something special. 

SMC – I always like to ask if there were any funny moments, or scary moments while filming 2307?

PS – The cold.  The cold and the cold.  It was below zero were we shot and we were literally frozen everyday. 

SMC – Where were most of the set locations for the film?

PS – On frozen over Lake Erie during the polar vortex of Feb 2015.

SMC – A little off topic, but I am curious: are you an active participant in any Charites or organizations? If so which ones and why?

PS – Yes.  Save the Heart Foundation.  A charity that raises awareness for children with congenital heart defects.  Also, the Glendora Public Library System which provides both youth and adult educational services for those in need.  And the skin cancer awareness foundation. 

SMC – Would you say you are a dreamer or a realist?

PS – I think most actors will fall in the dreamer category. Dream big.  Always.

SMC – What have been some of the most critical things you have been told about yourself in the film industry?

PS – As a leading male actor.  You are not white and you are not black either.  Also, I tend to get bagged on about my non-traditional route into acting. 

SMC – What does career success mean to you?

PS – Being a part of meaningful films that impact people, allow folks to escape.

SMC – What is an ‘all bets are off’ situation for you in terms of what you won’t do for a role?

PS – I try not to go into any situation thinking in absolutes.  I really have to access the script, the purpose behind the character and what kind of story the director and screen writers want crafted.  Everything must be in context before making a decision. 

SMC – Can you tell us five things about yourself that no one else knows?

PS – 1. I look forward to eating spaghetti and meatballs every Sunday night.  Anything else is best kept a secret. 

SMC – Of course, you know that we love music and have begun incorporating Fashion, Film, and Travel as components of Starlight Music Chronicles. So…. I have to ask: what are the last five songs in your recently played playlist?

PS – 1. Minas Truth from The lord of the Rings 2. The ride of the The Rohirrim from lord of the rings. 3. That Justin Timberlake song from Trolls.  4. 5. Selena Gomez tunes.

SMC – Alright, final question: Can you give words of wisdom or insight to anyone just starting out pursuing an acting career?

PS – Be on time, be professional, and never give ear to people that will tell you why you can’t make it. 

SMC – Thank You Paul! It was an honor to be able to connect with you! We look forward to reviewing this film once it’s in theaters!

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Paul Sidhu’s Social Media Links

Website

Twitter

Instagram

 

Scott Patterson | SMITHRADIO SMC February 2017 Artist of the Month!

By Candice Anne Marshall

images provided by Scott Patterson | SMITHRADIO

If any of the Starlight Music Chronicles followers on Twitter were paying attention from January 15th to 22nd, they would have noticed a flurry of activity. This was the seven-day period that will go down in our history books as the Artist of the Month fan voted competition that broke some serious records in terms of ‘fan votes’. It was the first time ever that a band (fan nominated) would achieve the highest ever votes for the social media poll posted. In fact, SMITHRADIO fans were relentless in their pursuit of making music history by elevating their favorite Musician, Scott Patterson and his band, to this level of success with a whopping 1112 fan votes tallied as of January 22nd, 11:50 pm MST. (previously, the highest votes ever recorded was held by The Roxy Suicide in December 2015)

Recently. I connected with Scott to talk about the February 2017 Artist of the Month win, his fans (who have now labelled themselves the SMITHRADIO Army), and what that means for the upcoming Artist of the Year competition in June 2017. Here’s what he had to say

INTERVIEW | Scott Patterson SMITHRADIO January 30 2017

SMC – So tell me, what are your thoughts on winning SMC’s February 2017 Artist of the Month (AOM) competition?

SP – Well, it’s a terrific honor to get this kind of validation so early in the game. I didn’t expect to get a nomination, was surprised when we got it and was even more surprised we won. Kinda pinching myself on this one, truth be told.

SMC – Yes, they sure did! It’s so exciting Scott because a lot of Artists who come out with a first single don’t have this kind of support right away and I believe it’s what SMITHRADIO has produced so far that really has enraptured the fans. What was your first reaction when you found out you were nominated by a fan?

SP – My fans have always been there for me. There have been times when I’ve been so exhausted, too exhausted to continue on a given day and just seeing a few nice comments got me to the finish line. I’m doing this all myself – my own label (Blind Horse Records), my own small but dedicated staff and fan support that is unprecedented for me.

SMC – That’s true! You’re right!

SP – My assistant called to tell me that we were beginning to pull ahead in the voting and I was quite moved by the whole thing. It meant the fans were supporting it and wanting to represent. That was very meaningful for me and the guys (band). I never thought we would win.

SMC – what was your reaction to the win?

SP – I didn’t know right away. My assistant contacted me and said, ‘They’ve made a decision and we won!’, and I thought, ‘Good Lord, how did that happen?’ I was excited. I was in the middle of writing a song when I got the news. So, I allowed myself to have that moment, and then the work ethic in me demanded that I stop celebrating and get back to writing the song. After my writing session was done, I got on the phone and was talking to everyone (band) and we had a good time (celebrating). We are really excited about it.

SMC – Yeah, that’s great. The fans went crazy. I think they’re still celebrating.

SP – Yeah, Isn’t that amazing?

SMC – Absolutely. I’ve seen this happen with another young (new) band once before and I know that this is possible. Aside from the win, how did the name SMITHRADIO Army come about? That’s pretty cool.

SP – That was a term I was kicking around with my assistant at the beginning and then some fans picked up on it and ran with it so it stuck. I have some very loyal fans that are spreading the word about “HAHA SONG” and SMITHRADIO just like any other band but these particular fans are going the extra mile. Can’t wait to meet them, comp them when we tour and thank them personally.

SMC – That’s exciting. So, which Social Media platform did you find the fans most active on for this competition?

SP – I spent more time on twitter and I jumped on the Instagram and Facebook band pages to engage as well. I just tried to be active on as much as I could.

SMC- What are your thoughts on the other Artists you competed against in terms of the camaraderie while there was active fan voting?

SP – I think they were a very classy group of people. They congratulated us and were very kind. I was really moved by all that and I wish them all the best. I don’t know their music but I can’t wait to hear it. When we go to the U.K. I can’t wait to see The Black Jackals.

SMC – Hey that’s awesome.

SP – Yeah, they just kick ass! Also, Neil and Adam – such nice guys! I haven’t listened to their stuff but I am going to. They all reached out to me – classy guys. That’s what I love about music – these Musicians are so giving and generous. It’s not really a competition really, it’s a chance for people to get to know one another and share music.

SMC – Absolutely. That’s really the point of our fan nominated competitions – is to engage and cross promote the Artists. When we’re talking indie music, we are talking about bands who may not know a lot of the other Artists that are in other countries. Because SMC promotes bands on a global scale, this is a way of introducing one another via the fans. For this new season, we have three European bands who have won AOM (Hannah Clive, DaveIt Ferris, and Tamsyn) in the latter part of 2016 and now one North American band to kick off 2017 (SMITHRADIO). We have a few more months left before we head to the Artist of the Year competition in June 2017 so there may be more, but SMITHRADIO is the first North American band to win AOM this season. Last season, our Artist of the Year (IAMWARFACE) is from the U.K. and they won with 22,000+ votes. What are your thoughts on all of this?

SP – Oh wow. Well, the EP will be out and we will hopefully be touring by then so maybe we’ve got a chance. Wow.

SMC- I think you do!

SP – Okay, well, we’ll knuckle down. We’ll see what happens. Does this mean we are enrolled into the Artist of the Year event?

SMC – Yes. All our Artists of the Month are automatically enrolled into the June 2017 Artist of the Year (AOY) event.

SP – Wow. Okay!

SMC – It was your fans who nominated you and brought you to this place.

SP – They are the very best in the world which is why I am being so meticulous with these tracks. Want them to be as good as they can be for the fans. They deserve that.

SMC – Part of the Artist of the Year win means you get a scholarship for ArtistMax. This program is in Los Angeles with Producer Ken Caillat (Fleetwood Mac) and his daughter Colbie (Caillat – Grammy award winner), who is one of the program mentors. Our AOY winner will also receive VIP invitations by ArtistMax to VIP events as part of their scholarship program as well. It’s kind of a big deal. So, what are your thoughts about going to that next level in addition to what you’ve already accomplished?

SP – Wow that’s great. Well, we need to just keep doing what we are doing. The 5 songs (for the new EP) are almost mastered. We are going to release the EP and then a single after that. There is a single that I wrote that has a different feel than the rest of the songs (on the EP). It’s a more serious song which hooks into something we’re involved in. We want to roll this out the best way and that’s really the step to take us to the next level. We’re going to be playing the SXSW (South by Southwest) 2017 Music Festival this year as well. I was on the Rachael Ray show back in November and played a couple of bars of “HAHA DONG” and right there, she said, “I want you to come and play at SXSW. We have three stages down there and you get one of them for a 30-minute set”. That’ll be fun. Rachael really hooked me up. You know, we had that instant chemistry when we met and we had a great chat. Spectacular woman. She and her team are comped for life any show we do. I mean, how do you pay someone back for being so generous and having your back like that? Anyway, could go on about her forever. Love her.  There’s also a Sirius XM radio concert in New York as well as an AOL Build appearance which will hit Facebook as well. We are rehearsing for that. In the meantime, writing a lot of new material and eager to get back in the studio to record. Don’t like songs to sit very long after they are born.

SMC – I heard an interview earlier today that you had with Pulse 98.4’s Big Drive Home with Peter Greenwood. You talked about your influences. Who are your main ones?

SP – When I was five I use to stand on top of my parent stereo console (like a coffee table) with a hairbrush mic and sing along to Beatles songs. Hard Days Night, Rubber Soul. I’d put on shows for my parents when my dad got home from work. Then there was The Rolling Stones and ‘Satisfaction’. The sound of that guitar bore into me and from that moment I wanted to play guitar as well as sing. We had an old Spanish guitar laying around the place and I started plucking away. Growing up it was Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Zepplin, Bowie, James Gang, Skynyrd, Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, The Who, the usual suspects. I liked bands and songwriters. I liked guitar heroes. I liked guitar solos and drum solos. I like bathing myself in the giant cloud of marijuana that hovered above the ice rink at The Spectrum in Philly where I saw all those great bands. There was joy, anticipation, beautiful girls and a big train of rock music coming our way as soon as the lights went down. Joni Mitchell fascinated me. The tone of her voice is really special. Neil Young, too.  Love that big arena sound – The Who, Zepplin. When Patti Smith came along that just blew apart everything for me because what she was doing was her poetry and putting music to it. People were doing that a lot in the Village in NYC in the early 70’s but not like that. Blew me away. There are so many different types of performers – flashy showmen/women, introverted songwriters, etc. and I love them all. Anybody with the guts to get out there and just play their songs, well, I’m gonna listen. Over the past twenty five years or so there have been some great bands and songwriters but the one guy that always stood out for me was Noel Gallagher. No bullshit. Just gets right to it. With him it’s about the song and nothing else. It’s about a melody, a dynamic and a structure over an entire set. Very powerful. His ‘High Flying Birds’ will be my next concert to attend.

SP –SMC – So when we talk about your five song EP, we are going to be listening to songs that are your truths, correct?

SP – Yes. The songs are all about a girl: they are either break-up songs, love songs, or they’re ‘can’t-wait-to-get-away-from-you’ songs. The one song that will release as a single after the EP is launched is not me, it’s someone else’s point of view. I put myself in someone’s shoes and felt a need to tell the story of their life through that song. I imagined what it must be like for this individual to go through this particular experience. Deals with PTSD.

SMC – I do know that Patti Smith’s daughter had reached out to you and that you are looking at doing a benefit concert with Patti. Does this song tie into that?

SP – It may…. it’s about one specific type of a person but it could cross over into everyone who is experiencing these types of feelings. It’s not specific to any one category of person but that’s who I am telling to story of the song through. Kristina – pieces of it has been online, and that’s a song that might be appropriate for a benefit concert. That’s about a young girl being sexually abused and becoming a teenager who escapes her circumstances.

SMC- So many people look to that to tell that kind of a story. In terms of your EP and the kind of variety in genres (blues, punk rock, rock), what can we expect?

SP – You’re going to get rock and roll, Americana, some Glam, a dash of punk. In the same family as “HAHA SONG”.

SMC – Yeah, I love it.

SP – Yeah, I love it. Some good, classic party songs on the album and I attribute that to coming out of long period of writing very serious material and, quite frankly, getting sick of writing serious material. I simplified everything and started writing the kind of songs that come out of jam sessions with friends just horsing around at a party with maybe a beer or two in you. Just let it fly, appreciate the major chords and play what’s fun to play for YOU. What feels right and good in the moment. Might be the simplest progression but doesn’t matter if it rocks. It’s RockNRoll, man. It’s not complicated. Write what you feel and scream it out.

SMC – Oh excellent! You’re songwriting style is very strong.

SP – Like I said…..it’s rock. Rock is a specific discipline that too many people clutter with bullshit. Rock is supposed to hit you in those places we can’t talk about at family dinners. Rock is momentum. It’s a locomotive, it’s inevitable. But it’s personal to each songwriter. I write all the time which mean I’m strumming the guitar all the time. A lot of time bullshit comes out but when a real song comes out of your soul, for me it comes fast. Five minutes. Like a window opened and some power handing you something good. That’s exciting.  So, there’s stuff in the hopper ready to record. These are the songs I’m sharing with the world.

SMC – That’s exciting! In terms of touring, are you possibly looking at Australia?

SP – We’re looking at everything. Candice, we’re looking at touring all over for a number of years. We want to play everywhere and we don’t want to stop. That’s just something I want to do until I drop. So yes, we are looking at all possibilities to go everywhere. We are in discussions about this right now and we need to choose wisely. We thought we were going to start in the USA to do a six-week tour of the south west, now a lot of other countries are stepping up: Brazil, Scotland, U.K., Japan, and it’s a nice problem to have but we don’t want to alienate anyone. We want to do it right, so we’re being very careful and methodical about it. There will be something to announce soon enough. I understand the fans are getting anxious but I promise we will announce the EP and some solid dates real soon.

SMC – I know that the pressure is on but I do know the process of producing something that is quality and that takes time….

SP – It does. I spent the holidays laying down guitar tracks for a couple of the songs for the EP. I am very meticulous about this. I am working with people that are equally meticulous. We don’t want to have to go back and redo anything, we want to get it right the first time. Recording a song properly is complex. The listening public is very sophisticated now and they’re used to a very high quality recording because there’s lots of great Producers and bands and they’re hearing great stuff all the time. It’s important to step up and compete and we’re going for a knockout punch and “HAHA SONG” set the bar real high.

SMC – I know it’s going to be a great follow-up: you’re working with Michael Nomad Ripoll (Producer and Guitarist for SMITHRADIO)

SP –  Yeah, Nomad and I work well together in the studio and we are producing a great album. Hell of a guitar player, too. The band is together and we will be introducing members soon.

SMC – Are they the same musicians that will be touring with you that were also in the studio recording?

SP – Couple of the same and a couple different.

SMC – Going back to Patti Smith, what was your reaction when her daughter reached out to you?

SP – Total shock. Read that email ten times before it hit me. Full circle kind of thing. Nice when that happens.

SMC – Absolutely. So, what is the greater feeling of gratification for you: finishing the recording of a new song, or performing in front of an audience?

SP – Either or. They are both great feelings that stay with you. I’m addicted to both. Can’t imagine not recording or performing.

SMC – I agree. It’s funny because I had a fan private message me and say that they felt that this career path you’ve taken really speaks about you as an individual the most. Do you feel the same?

SP – That is an accurate statement, yes. I’m ready. I have tried to pursue a music career several different times in my life: out of high school, again when I was out here in LA initially, then back in New York, and a couple of different times out here. What remains the same is that I continued to write music. When I was growing up I began writing my own stuff.  Now, it’s about getting my music out of my own body and soul. That’s what interests me. So, to answer the question, yes, I feel this is the right path for me. Things are happening and people are responding in a positive way. I’m steering the ship, it’s my record label, it’s all coming out of me. That’s where I am happiest.

SMC – It really shows too. You’ve been on a few talk shows already, Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, and Rachel Ray to name a few since “HAHA SONG” released and you could really see that you were excited when they began to talk about the single and your music career. What were those experiences like?

SP – It was completely surreal. When I went out there and sat down on the couch next to Jimmy (Fallon), and we started talking and he held up a placard with the “HAHA SONG” on it, a photograph that I took, it was just a surreal moment. Here’s the biggest talk show guy in the world holding up my song and talking about it. I thought, ‘Good God, it doesn’t get any better than this!’ It was a real moment. That was the moment, to reference the previous question, that I knew I made a good decision in choosing this career path. I have made a lot of bad ones in my life, but I made a good one here.  

SMC – When I saw you walk out, I jumped up in my seat and shouted ‘YES! He did it!’

SP – It was surreal. It’s The Tonight Show. Grew up watching it. Was a head trip.

SMC – I know, I was so excited for you.

SP – They give you seven minutes but it feels like seven seconds. It’s over before you know it.

SMC – You know I really don’t think that will be the last time he will have you there. He always has a music component on his show and I’d love to see you two do that sing-off or guitar playoff – whatever it may be. Is that something you’d like to see happen?

SP – We went out for dinner after and I pitched the idea of the ‘three lost Dylan brothers’ to the Producer (Bob hasn’t anything to do with this and nobody knows about them) but they do Bob Dylan covers. Let’s see if the phone rings.

SMC – Oh, that’d be great.

SP – Then the Producer sent me a clip of Jimmy actually doing Dylan which was really funny. Jimmy is talented – really talented.

SMC – That would be amazing. One of the fans had asked if you would be looking at writing a SMITHRADIO Army song?

SP – I think I already have…. I wrote a song about taking over the world (laughs).

SMC – Pretty much!

SP – It’s something that I’ve been tossing around as a way to say thank you to the SMITHRADIO Army. It’s got to be rock with a little bit of humor. I am trying to get the right tone and balance for that song so yeah, I’ve been thinking about that song. Absolutely.

SMC – When we are talking about this all coming together, and the fans being there for you, years down the road, when you are really in the groove, you’ve gotta look back at the beginnings and the people who were there at the very beginning, how would you pay homage to them?

SP – The people that I started out with are still with me. They are either with me in spirit, or they’re employed by me. The team is very solid. They’re very dedicated, and loyal and that’s the great part about it. It is a family, it’s an extended family. The vision is: maybe a year from now, there is a SMITHRADIO convention, or a picnic, or a weekend retreat, something like that. These people get along very well. They are connecting and making friends and that warms my heart.

SMC – In terms of looking back at the first couple of interviews that you and I have had – One of the fans asked why I hadn’t changed the original GORDON name on the title of those articles to SMITHRADIO. I told them that the purpose of SMC was to actually chronicle the journey for the Artists we support. Therefore, you will see a numbered series on the Spotlight portion of our website. We feel it’s important to keep the chronicle as it was written with no updates so that we can keep a well-documented history of the Artist’s career and milestones. Later, when the band has become big, it’s always nice to uncover the beginnings and find those treasures for fans. What are your thoughts on this kind of authenticity?

SP – Hey, you’re the boss of that situation. (laughs) Well, hey, that’s what I was then and I think it should stay. I agree.

SMC – What’s behind the name change and the name itself?

SP – I thought of what my biggest influence was and what made me want to do this (music career) – what changed my life as a young person most radically, and that was Patti Smith. Through Patti, I discovered that Artistic courage and staying true to your art really was. Through her, I discovered so much literature – Arthur Rimbaud (French Poet) who, I ended up having a bigger obsession with than Patti.

SMC- I remember you referencing that in one of our earlier interviews.

SP – Yeah, and there were a lot of other literary influences that I went through in my youth because of Patti Smith. I discovered – to borrow her term – “the country of the mind” as it related to music and poetry. There’s a deep spirituality that isn’t often recognized through her work. A kind of faith, deep-seated. I would listen to Patti Smith live concerts from The Bottom Line (venue in New York City) via WMMR (radio station in Philadelphia) when it was past my bedtime. It would be late when she would come on and I would listen to these Sunday night live concerts….We had to change the band name because I was doing this this radio interview last summer and the DJ said, “Wow, that’s quite an EP you’ve got there. It’s a really punk sound”, and I said, “What are you talking about, we don’t have an EP yet”. That’s when we found out there was another band with the same name. So, we had to change the name. I didn’t want to come up with just any name – had to be very meaningful to me. I just kept thinking about Patti and those Sunday nights listening to the radio with the sheets over me, in the dark on a rainy evening in South Jersey and Patti Smith turned low so no one could hear. Those were the moments that make you really dream, so I just thought Patti Smith on the radio…. Smith Radio….SMITHRADIO. I thought, you know, I’m a wavelength on SMITHRADIO. Artistically, I was invented by Patti Smith. She is the Muse.

SMC – That’s an amazing story. I love that! Wow……wow.

SP – I grew up with a very artistic mother who demanded artistic integrity, honesty, vulnerability and, above all, spirituality, in every piece of art, music, book, film she exposed me to.  So, that’s what I aspire to. We’re starting this EP off with songs about love gone right and gone bad, longing with a kind of wistful resignation.

SMC – So there was that deep connection with her. I think you and I…. if I had read correctly…. both had mothers who passed away in 2008.

SP – Yes, my mother and I had always had a very deep connection…to the point where we were telepathic. I knew what she was thinking all the time, and vice versa. We didn’t have to speak, we just knew with a look. She never had to tell me to do anything, I always knew what she wanted me to do or what was expected of me.

SMC – My relationship with my mother was very similar, so I can concur.

SP – Yeah and it really contrasts with my relationship with my father because I had zero connection with him. We didn’t understand one another. He wasn’t around very much and when he was, it wasn’t very pleasant. When he left, I was really kind of relieved.

SMC – Now when I look at you having this success in your career along with also having a (young) son, and he starting to play with his guitar…with you not having that relationship with your own father, what would you like to bestow upon your son that you may not have gotten from a fatherly figure?

SP – My job is to prepare him to leave home eventually and thrive in the real world and that’s what I am doing. He’s very bright, willful. Absorbs everything I’m doing or saying so gotta be careful. The thing that really struck me is how much joy he brings every day, how funny he is. I literally laugh all day with him. Smart, quick, mischievous. Ton of fun. Then there’s the scary side, the worry but all worth it. He’s watching me build my music into something and I am very proud of that. I already have a nice, fat scrapbook about SMITHRADIO to go through with him when he’s ready. If I can inspire my boy to strive for great things and fight for his dreams I’ll have done my job.

SMC – In combining those two questions together, would you say that your mother, being the primary caregiver – obviously, she had to wear two hats – would you say that the skills she bestowed upon you is something that you are passing down to your son?

SP – I think that the greatest gift that my mother gave me was…. you know, she was toughest person that I’ve ever met. I’ve never met anyone with a backbone like that. She was 5ft 2” and the sweetest person you would ever want to meet but man, when people crossed her……uh oh! She wouldn’t yell. She would get really quiet and say, “Let me tell you about the facts of life here”, and we would go ‘Uh oh!’ She was amazing. But just tough as nails. Her famous line to me is the line I always say now and that’s: ‘Give ‘em hell’, that’s all I heard when I would walk out the door of the apartment was ‘Give ‘em hell’, and I did. In every aspect of my life, I gave ‘em hell. She wanted us to be competitive in all areas, and we were (he and his sisters). I still am – I don’t know any other way. I compete, therefore I am and that’s just what she wanted for us. She instilled the work ethic by example. I wish there were 30 hours in the day because I love putting in the work for my music. There’s just not enough time in the day.

SMC – I know, I can relate.

SP – I’m just at it all the time. People think I’m a mad man but I’m always saying, ‘I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go write.’  Songs hit me in odd place at odd times but the bottom line is they don’t hang around forever so you gotta split and get it down. When the Muse calls you answer.

https://youtu.be/Qe8vV4SCTAg

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Scott Patterson | SMITHRADIO (formerly GORDON) SPOTLIGHT Series No.2

By CA Marshall

There’s a storm brewing in Los Angeles and it isn’t the weather-related type either. I am speaking about an accumulative combination of exceptional instrumentation, vocal ability, and lyrics that are fresh, intense, loud, and intentional. This storm is called SMITHRADIO (formerly GORDON) and in as little as three months (since their inception in June 2016), they have accomplished three live benefit concert performances, launched a dynamic website, and connected with a Producer to begin recording their five song EP (literally within a week!). For a band so young, hurling themselves into the industry with this kind of energy and determination is virtually unheard of, but they’re doing it.

And I haven’t even touched on the music yet.

If you are already a fan (or a careful observer like me) you will have already enjoyed seeing snippets of the bands’ music via short videos of live performances posted by frontman Scott Patterson on social media daily. (see links below to engage/follow SMITHRADIO) What I’ve heard to date is just what this industry is missing in terms of a classic ‘Blues/Rock and Roll/Punk Rock’ (yes, Punk Rock!) sound and that is: a true ode to an iconic period in music history. Let’s face it, many of our industry peers have left us this year and have passed the torch to a new generation of musicians and when we speak in terms of ‘filling their shoes’, SMITHRADIO fits the bill. Every music icon from the late 60’s onward is respected in the music that GORDON has created and very soon, the whole world will be able to verify my claim when the band will launch their EP on iTunes this fall.

I had the opportunity to speak with Scott one on one in July 2016 only days before the band left for their live debut shows in West Virginia and New Jersey. Just days ago, we touched base again and delved a little further into discussion about their progress, upcoming EP, and even a little about the frontman himself. Here’s what he had to say:

Exclusive Interview: Scott Patterson | September 14th, 2016- 

SMC – Hi Scott! Nice to talk to you again. So, let’s get right into it right away: there were three live shows out east in August. (see: Spotlight Series No.1 Scott Patterson SMITHRADIO (formerly GORDON) debut interview) What was your experience with the fans?

SP – They were all great! As a band wave become progressively more comfortable with our live performance. During the second show (in West Virginia for flood relief), we really got people on their feet into the second song and for the next two hours it was complete mayhem. I learned as a frontman how to engage an audience which is a decision that you make in the moment. The same thing happened in Ocean City because the venue, I think, was the kind where people didn’t feel comfortable getting up and rocking out and forgetting themselves. I gave them the permission to do it and they did. It was an interesting dynamic, with the fan participation at that level – it really elevates the experience for everyone. We had a great time!

SMC – That’s awesome. I can see this in the photos you’ve been posting on your Social Media – I’ve been following along the journey with the band and seeing how it’s coming along. It’s quite impressive! I also saw in photos that you were also traveling (by motorcycle) between shows….

SP – That was separate from the shows…that was something I did for amfAR – The Foundation for AIDS Research and Kiehl’s to help raise awareness and money for AIDS research.

SMC – Nice! What was the song that was most responded to in your live performances?

SP – I did an acoustic pre-show before the concert and people really responded to ‘Kristina’ there’s a clip of it up on my Facebook Band page (SMITHRADIO – Band). I would say ‘Shady’ as well, they really loved ‘Shady’. They just seemed to respond with excitement and enthusiasm to every song we played. After the show, we were covered in sweat, we did three encores. Total exhilaration!

SMC – I Bet! Well I remember our last interview how you spoke about how much energy it took even in the practices prior to these shows! How are the practices and recording processes going for the band now?

SP – We’re gearing up to go into the recording studio either this weekend or early next. We’re going to record five tracks and make an EP that should be ready early to mid-October working with a really great (Producer). I’m going to go and meet him tomorrow to go over some of the songs. We’re very excited about it because we’re going to have five or six radio-ready tracks. They’re real quality tracks which is what we need at this point and then it’s off to Brazil (laughs).

SMC – Oh wow! Brazil! Is that for the band or……?

SP – Yeah! I’m having a love affair with Brazil right now.

SMC – Really? That’s awesome!

SP – Yeah! I’m just getting bombarded with messages on the Facebook band page from fans in Brazil. It’s just so crazy and overwhelming the support! I am talking to some people about arranging some shows in San Paulo right now but we’re going to give ourselves some time to promote of course. Organically, it’s looking like a Latin America tour to start off!

SMC – Scott, only you could pull this off…. seriously!

SP – It’s just bizarre, right?

SMC – Well I have seen with other bands with that level of ‘uniqueness’ where it’s the Latin American fans that respond the best initially. They’re so loyal!

SP – I just can’t believe what’s coming through on these messages. It’s fantastic!

SMC – Yeah, that’s great.

SP – There are a lot of other countries that are responding: Germany, the UK, Canada is big….we should probably start in Canada because it’ll be easier to get up there. But Brazil….they’re just winning the day. It’s overwhelming! It’s interesting to see who’s stepping up but every day it’s Brazil, Brazil, Brazil…it’s great.

SMC – How do you feel about the progress with everything? I mean, you’re really pushing hard!

SP – Yeah, we’re working hard. I feel it’s going the way it should go you know? It’s going to take a while. These things don’t happen overnight. We need to get that smaller club level, conquer it, then go to the next level and so on. We just need to travel and play and have people hear us repeatedly and return to those places and perform continuously and we’re looking forward to it. We love to play live it’s a real blast. It’s also going to be challenging doing back to back to back shows (laughs) it will be hard vocally. Energy-wise, it will be pretty tough to do that because we are playing a long set and we are adding to it. It’s stretching out to about two and a half to three hours.

SMC – Oh wow! That’s amazing!

SP – Yeah, there’s all kinds of new material coming in and we’re going to record some of it. We’re playing really long shows but now I am learning to pace myself. Before, it was us blasting right out of the gate at top speed and not slowing down….maybe a little bit in the middle, and then we’re just ramping it back up again. Now I am seeing that might not be possible for two solid hours and it’s definitely not possible for two and a half to three. So, what I am doing is adding in some acoustic songs to add balance. It gives the band and even the fans a little break, you know what I mean? I remember those nice moments in concerts when I was growing up and really enjoying them. We’re learning how to pace the show and really let each song breathe. As we’re rehearsing and I am working on these songs of my own, I am coming up with different approaches and different angles of how to approach the song and let it breathe a little. I am very pleased with the progress, it feels organic and right. No one is in a big rush to get anywhere our opinion is ‘Let’s just work on the songs and make them better and perform them better’ If you focus on the songs, you’re going to be okay. If the material is there the rest will fall into place.

SMC – There’s some beautiful imagery on your website too!

SP – Yes, well, it’s your basic website. We’re going to keep improving on it and working on it. There’s a lot that goes into these things.

SMC – Well I wanted to know more about the main image on the site which I see you have also used as your twitter banner….

SP – Yes, that’s a photograph of mine. I am into abstract photography and painting and have been for a long time. So that’s one of a series of images that I have. It’s a self-portrait from the day I was born.

SMC – Really?

SP – Yeah and I call the series ‘King Electric’ and it has nothing to do with music. It’s not a guitar or anything, that’s just what I call it. So, there’s a whole story behind it and a whole series. In photography, if you want your work shown in a gallery it’s best to string together twenty photos where they tell a unified complete story and that photo is just one selection from that portfolio. I want to use my own art on album covers because that’s the kind of band we are.

SMC – Well I can certainly appreciate this being an Artist myself. Can you tell us the story about how that came to be?

SP – Well, it’s just some of the work I do. The photography I can’t do it all the time. It comes in these spasms…. a couple of times during the year I have these creative spasms. I get ideas and get inspired and I get into my studio where I work on configuring shots and then executing the shots is really just a formality. The work goes into planning the shots: I get an idea in my head and I’ll have to duplicate it in my studio or outdoors and capture it. I don’t work on it all the time. I can’t it’s too draining because I put a lot into it. Of the hundreds of thousands of shots that I’ve taken in the last couple of years, there’s been some really good ones. It’s just another leg of the table for me.

SMC – This is why I like to ask questions about all aspects of an Artist because the fact that you’re using this art on your website and upcoming album you’re going to be using it on your upcoming work correct?

SP – Sure. Unless we get some designer to come in and take over. (laughs)

SMC – I saw something stated in your newsletter to your fans that you’re going to ‘push’ to get the album completed as soon as possible and I laughed because really, that sounds like who you are and It’s a positive attribute. You get the job done! What are your thoughts on that?

SP – Well, you know, I’ve done this before in a couple of different careers. What it takes is discipline and hard work and that’s what I feel I am good at. I mean, I have had these songs for years but I didn’t work hard enough at it or do anything with them until now. I had some stuff happening before anything else took over and made this obsolete but now I am revisiting it and now I’ve got a real determination and iron will to accomplish it. I just feel this very strong and urgent need to connect with audiences in a live situation through my music. It is overwhelming I go to bed with it, I wake up with it, and I work on it in every aspect all day because I love it. I’ve fallen in love and it just doesn’t seem like work to me. I am eager to get at it each day. I am eager to get to my vocal coach back home and work on songs. I am eager to rehearse and when it’s over I’m disappointed because I want to keep going but I know these guys have a life (laughs). I am probably driving everybody crazy!

Look, in my experience, the only way to get things done is to force it and to work harder than everybody else. I’ve never been afraid of working hard. I think I need to because there are a lot of great musicians, songwriters, and singers out there and they’re working hard too. If you want to compete in this world, you’ve got to give it the respect that it deserves and the time that it needs. It’s a huge thing we’re going after and not a lot of people can do it or even want it. Some people work hard for it and get it and realize they don’t even want it that bad and they kind of back off. I often wonder what happens to bands that achieve number one world status and they disappear…. I think it’s because they realize to sustain something like that, it will begin to affect their artistry and therefore corrupts their songwriting and I understand that. So, it’s a big beast that we’re trying to wrestle down to the ground and it takes time and real discipline. That’s just how it works for me. I am not trying to force it, it’s just what I’m doing now.

SMC – You’re a real people person. You’re not a big ego-maniac at all. So, I am wondering….as your career progresses, where’s the limit for you? We have seen how fame in the music industry can affect a persons’ attitude. How do you think you would cope with that ‘Rolling Stones’ type level of fame?

SP –  (laughs) If something like that happens to that level for this band, I think we’d be so thrilled and so grateful…I would be speechless and they’d have to throw something to hit me in the head just to sing a song. I think whether you are playing for two or twenty thousand people, you’ve gotta knock them dead. So there’s the fun. You go out there and kill it. Look, I think we’re just hopeful that we can sell out some two hundred seaters (laughs). I mean, it takes a long time to get to that (Rolling Stones) level. Very few bands enjoy that kind of success. We’re just hoping we can make a living at it and play some nice venues, travel…. we’re all hard working humble guys and we’re in it for the right reasons because we just love creating music. We could do it all day but then we’d probably burn out and you’d never hear from us again (laughs again).

It’s interesting because when we got back from Ocean City (New Jersey) we all got very busy. Then we met up ten days later at our rehearsal space and the energy was just fantastic! Everything felt so new and so fresh. You have to find that balance where you’ve rehearsed and you’re ready to go and you’re not burnt out because I think people can overdo it. We have rehearsed a lot to this point and we don’t need to go at it every day, I think that would just kill the mojo. If we’re going to put together a tour then yes, we will knock it out every day to get nice and tight. I’m really lucky with these guys. There’s a lot of work to be done still but we’re doing it.

SMC – Well we are happy to be a part of that journey!

SP – I think the thing is to get into one of these music festivals and play in front of a lot of people. That would be fun. We’re going to need to make an impact here first. Once we get these songs up on iTunes, hopefully we can get signed by a label and get going. That would be a real win. We’re all really hoping for that within the next year. I know we’re really ambitious but that’s just who we are.

SMC –  I don’t think it’s unheard of. You have already created quite an impact with these live shows. So, with Brazil in the works and other live performances, are you ready to rock with a radio campaign?

SP – Yes, I think pretty quickly after that. I think it will depend on how the tracks are received. I think these next couple of steps are going to be crucial. The tracks must be great but we’ll have to take it one step at a time. Like I said, we’re not in any rush. We want the tracks to be great. We know we can kill it live and open for big bands in arenas. We’re very confident in the songs and the sound. We just need to earn that right to do that though. You don’t just come into the business after three shows and get to do that. We must go out there and earn that.

SMC – Your song ‘Marie’…. can you tell me what the ‘special-ness is about that song?’

SP – With ‘Marie’, there’s a different structure to it…. Marie is special to me because it’s a bigger song than…. well, let’s just say it’s an ambitious song. It’s a love ballad but it’s a hard-driving love ballad. It’s non-stop words. It’s wordier than anything I’ve written before. Well, I have written songs like that before but have never performed them. There’s one song I wrote called ‘Broken Hands’ and it has a kind of country/Bob Dylan vibe to it with lots of words. It’s a long song that goes on for five to six minutes and I have added a bridge to it. Marie is a song that is interesting to me because of it’s structure and the potential of what it could be. I think someone more gifted can hear all the parts and structure it in such a way that will make it a very effective song. Right now, it’s about 85% complete. The lyrics are written but it’s just a question of the structure of the song and I think we will record it. I think that song has a great deal of potential because I was very excited about it when I was writing it. It took a while to write too. It came out in pieces but I enjoyed it because when I felt it was kind of drying up for me, I would put it to bed and not force it and the next day it (creative flow) would give me a little treat, and then the next day and that’s how it went. I am very eager to share that song with people.

SMC – Is there a specific reason? Is it specifically about a person you know?

SP This song is autobiographical in nature. There are pieces in it of how I feel about things…. every thought and feeling in that song I experienced firsthand and I am putting it into a song. It’s probably one of the most personal songs I have ever written.

SMC – Nice. Your five tracks would this be one of the five that you will be recording?

SP You know, even if the Producer thinks ‘nah’, I’m going to force this one on him. You’ve gotta give me one chip here and I’m going to play that chip on Marie.

SMC – Awesome.

SP – I think produced the right way it could be a big song.

SMC – I think that’s a gut feeling all Musicians have is when they feel they’ve hit that golden nugget…. always go with your gut.

SP – Well, I really feel this song, very deeply, it’s very personal. This EP is not going to just be these crazy hard driving songs we perform live. I want to layer this EP and have some softer and beautifully produced content. I am eager to do that and to see what this Producer can do. What I am interested in doing is finding a song and layering it and having the real sound emerge from that song. I think hunting for those combinations of instruments, beats, and rhythms is what is so intriguing. That’s what we are planning tomorrow with the Producer is playing the songs and then he’s going to pick five or six and then we’re going to rehearse until we record it all.

SMC – I saw a fan ask if you would consider a country song. Have you entertained that thought?

SP – Listen, I love country music….one of the songs we have ‘All The Way In Love With You’ is sort of country-ish. It really does have kind of a country/rock flavor to it. I think lyrically it also lends itself to that genre and I have others that are country/rock. You asked the question earlier: ‘what song did people respond most to?’ and you know? They really responded well to the punk song

SMC – I knew it!

SP – Yeah, They (fans) rocked out to the ‘HA HA’ song. They were not expecting that. They were completely shocked and we did it as an encore.

SMC – That’s awesome!

SP – I asked the people who were helping out with the merchandise table what they thought and they all said that the fans went crazy for the ‘HA HA’ song. You know, I wrote another punk song that I don’t know if we’re going to perform live yet or not. I could perform it for college crowds, but I don’t know that college kids are really angry anymore. We’re going to have to find the right venue I mean, this one’s out there, it’s called ‘Fuck The Suits’.

SMC – Right on! Love it (laughs). You know that’s the festival song!

SP – (laughs) Yeah, nobody is playing that kind of song. It’s truly a punk song. That’s like Patti Smith and Johnny Rotten had a kid it would be ‘Fuck The Suits’. I showed it originally to the band and they were like ‘What the hell is this?’ Then we started working on it and grooving to it, played it a few times, it was fun a lot of energy. Then during the next rehearsal, we went through the set list a few times and with 15 minutes left in the session, one of the quieter guys in the band said, ‘Hey, uh…. can we play Fuck The Suits?’ (laughs). We hadn’t played it yet, and everyone said, ‘Yeah, sure! Let’s do it!’ It has to be a song that we play at the end of a set because you will blow your voice out on that one. If ‘HA HA’ doesn’t kill me it will be that song that does (laughs).

SMC – (laughs) Well Scott we have a lot of great stuff here! Thank you so much for your time, we are excited to share this new info with your fans!

SP – Yes, it was great talking with you again Candice, thank you so much.

https://youtu.be/Qe8vV4SCTAg%20

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SCOTT PATTERSON | SMITHRADIO (FORMERLY GORDON) SPOTLIGHT SERIES NO.1

A force to be reckoned with SMITHRADIO debuts LIVE in West Virginia for Flood Relief

by CA Marshall

*Some content updated May 2017 with reference to previous band name GORDON

There’s a golden nugget waiting to be discovered in our Music Industry and it comes by the name of SMITHRADIO (formerly GORDON). I speak strongly here when I make this claim so let me back up the bus a little and catch you all up to speed on what’s about to literally explode onto the music scene

Since early June 2016, when Los Angeles, California-based world renowned actor Scott Patterson tweeted out ‘The band prepping first two gigs! More info to come! #rockandroll #LAdebut #lovethemusic #RideTheBull’. As Editor of an established Music and Entertainment Website and online Magazine (Starlight Music Chronicles), my antennae immediately went up – this needed to be researched more…

We are always on the lookout for new music and are happy to promote Indie Artists so this definitely had me subscribing to his Twitter account and following his tweets. I wanted to know more, see more, hear more. Here and there and up until this very moment while I am typing this feature, I would see snippets of what was to come. ‘In the Studio Recording’ was one. Then there were some video clips of the band at rehearsals followed by the Band Logo revealed on July 9th which read simply “SMITHRADIO (With a backwards `R`) and the initials ‘R B S P T I D’” attached to the message: “July 29 Tractor Bar, Mt. Nebo, WV! 9-11pm. Flood Benefit. Let’s Rock!’ On July 12th, Patterson posted “VIP/Meet-Greet/photos/autographs at Tractor Bar Mt Nebo WV 7/29/16, 2-6pm SMITHRADIO onstage @9PM!!” All of this followed by a clip of the song ‘Beautiful’, a deep bluesy soulful taste of what really is to come.

I put in the request to speak to Patterson immediately so that we could feature SMITHRADIO on Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC). After hearing the ‘Beautiful’ clip, I knew instinctively this was something the world is going to appreciate very quickly being that the music is what avid music junkies are seeking right now: a blues-based sound with a rock and roll twist topped with a little bit of Punk Rock perfected with powerful vocals (Patterson’s) that will blow your mind!

The debut for SMITHRADIO is not just going to be your average live show; it’s also a benefit concert for the families in small communities of West Virginia who have been affected by recent flooding. This is not only a bold move for a debut live show (most Artists will usually only debut for an album release), but every twitter sneak peek leading up to this event proves that it’s also going to be a ‘knock their socks off’ performance. After interviewing Patterson, it is clear that SMITHRADIO is a force to be reckoned with, bringing to the table a history rich with Rock and Roll roots and nothing short of magic to the ears.

Here is our exclusive debut interview with Patterson on all the info you will want to know on SMITHRADIO:

INTERVIEW, July 22, 2016 | Editor CA Marshall with Scott Patterson-

SMC – Hi Scott, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Obviously, this is your debut (for SMITHRADIO), and you have chosen a Benefit concert to be a part of that debut. I am curious to know a little about that but first, can you give us a little bit of a synopsis of the band and how it came to be?

SGP – Well, I’ve been in bands since I was in third grade and all the way through high school and then when I came out to LA to pursue acting I was doing music as well. I was probably pursuing music as hard as I was pursuing Acting. Things weren’t happening on the acting side in any consistent way so I had a lot of time to write music (he’s written 500 songs!), and to play out in LA at the Kibitz room every Monday, which is a pretty famous venue. They’d have an open jam for people and you’d come in and get up on stage and play a set if you wanted to. I was in with the regulars there for about five years doing this. Right when I was starting to book real gigs in 2000, obstacles were placed in my way, good obstacles, but the music was put on hold. Since 2000, it’s been hectic, busy, and great. Then there was a little bit of a lull, but then in June of this year, I was talking to a friend of mine from back in New Jersey (Patterson was Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey) and we were talking about putting the old band back together. He’s a drummer and I grew up with him on the same street. He’s still a drum teacher back there in Southern New Jersey. So, we are talking about the possibility of us joining forces and then he referred me to somebody in the town next over, and they knew somebody, so it kind of started like that then there were people out here (LA) that they knew so I got in touch with those people and I had been auditioning people for a couple of years trying to find the right guys, the right egos, the right players to fit together. There are a lot of great musicians out here but I couldn’t quite find the right mix of people. It would get started and then it would fizzle quickly for whatever reason. It`s not easy putting a band together. So anyway, I found some guys who were not only virtuoso players on their instruments, absolute monsters on their instruments, they’re really good guys. They are really excited to play together for this opportunity to get gigs. Nobody’s getting gigs! It’s hard to play out live and get paid even a little bit of money.  It’s a hard business, a hard business.

I write all the material and the litmus test was (for band member enrollment) was going to be: are they going to hang around for my songs? Are they going to see the potential in the songs and they did. We’ve now been rehearsing for about six weeks now and we’re really beginning to come together as a band. The songs are sounding great and I’m very excited. Everybody is pretty excited. It’s going to be a big powerful sound. So, I’m eager to start playing out and having fun!

SMC – I have listened to some of the clips you have tweeted out and I am blown away: the sound is very reminiscent yet it’s fresh and I think it’s something the world needs right now. How do you feel the music that is being generated and produced by other musicians is at this point? We’re missing a lot of really good Rock and Roll music as in times gone by!

SGP – Well, right, but look, every generation has their music, every generation has Sinatra, and everybody has their particular flavor what they produce and what they like. What’s out now is just really a reflection of who these kids are today and what they like. I’m not going to judge it. It’s just my experience and our experience was different. I grew up listening to the big classic rock bands of the 70’s: The Who, Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, you name it; I’ve seen all these bands when I was growing up. I made sure that when anybody was coming to town I was there at the area. Those were the most fun times of my youth were going to those concerts and getting lost in the music. A lot of what I hear today, yes, it’s a lot different. In the past 20 or 30 years there has been some music that hasn’t, shall we say, been honest? It’s kind of manufactured purely for the purposes of making money and I don’t see really, the Artists themselves writing the music, it’s been written for them but look, at the end of the day, it’s a business. I write my own songs, I’ve written 500 songs. I have all kinds of songs: I have some that are attempting to be complex, and then I went into this phase where I thought the biggest challenge in popular music is to find a hook and something simple that people can really groove to and enjoy. So that’s been the challenge of the last several years is trying to come up with a set list of 15 or 16 songs that people will remember and enjoy but still pay homage to the era that I come from with the music that I grew up loving and the music that is in my bones. I think that the kids of today are very well versed in classic rock. When I sit down with a guitar, I’m not listening to songs of today and trying to emulate that kind of writing, it’s not what I do. What I do is blues based because that’s what I love. I am really trying to have fun with the music and I want the audience to have fun with the music as well. I think people get together at a venue and they want to have fun; they want to dance and enjoy the music and they want to feel happy and forget their troubles especially in this age we live in you know? So, there you go, that’s it in a nutshell.

SMC – I was going to ask you about whether you write your own songs and what is the inspiration behind it. Specifically, the song ‘Beautiful’ which you had up on twitter…

SGP – That’s the song that came out of. (He pauses reflecting) well, I had a son, a baby boy, and I started looking at the world differently and was looking at my own life differently and everybody else differently. That event changed me in profound ways as it always does for everybody who has a child. I wanted to share this new-found ability to love, I guess, for lack of a better phrase, with the world! I was really thrilled that I was no longer bashful about it, I could take the armor off, and I could stop fighting in a sense…look, it doesn’t matter who you are when you’re behind a microphone, that’s powerful and you’re spreading a message and for this 3-5 minutes of the song, I thought ‘What is this message going to be to these people for a good five minutes why can’t I tell the people in the audience that they’re beautiful?’ It’s like what George Harrison did in his career is try to be a better person and try to convey a better message of love and peace. I just figured the world could use a good five minutes of that from my band.

SMC – We support an organization called Morgan’s Mission which stands for anti-bullying. By you saying the world has become hardened, it’s so true so it’s nice to know you have a song that stands for that.

SGP – Yes, well you know look, there’s a lot of people out there that aren’t doing too well, they don’t feel too good about themselves, and if they’re not what ‘corporate America’ wants them to look like, they’re depressed, bullied, and told that they don’t look right and they’re shamed in all kinds of ways, a very small percentage of those people are going to take their own lives and they’re 14 years old and 12 years old, it’s just the most tragic thing.

It goes back to how I write music. How I write a song – I will play around with my guitar and if I hit a chord or a certain chord progression the right way an entire story comes at me fully formed and I have to write it down pretty quickly. There are wormholes for songwriters and if you fall into one, and get into the right progression, there are some nice lyrics and songs out there. I don’t write songs first and then match the instrument to the song, that’s not how I write music.  I’ve been messing around with a lot of different tunings lately and you can hit some crazy chords! One chord I hit. I just love the song that came out of it. Again, its rock, its blues, and again, I don’t want to become too complicated with the songs. It’s just the feeling behind them and the player’s ability to play the songs. Less is more for me. If I hit a chord, there’s a story that draws it out of me.

SMC – How much are you able to say about the band’s former name (GORDON)? It’s your middle name, correct?

SGP – Yes, it’s my Mother’s maiden name and my middle name.

SMC – So tell us a little about the Flood Relief concert, that’s the event you have chosen to debut and I am curious, there could be anywhere in the world that you could debut, why West Virginia? I see you are big into the humanitarian side, so we would like to know a little bit about that.

SGP – This Gentleman in Richwood, West Virginia reached out to me via twitter. They were hit historically hard with flooding. Approx. 24 people died in White Sulphur Springs, Richwood, and Rainelle, West Virginia and other areas. He had tweeted out to a bunch of big country music stars and other music stars and somehow, he included me in his tweets. I just was so taken by that. I read about what happened and I’ve been keeping abreast of the situation. His phone number was on the tweet so I called him and asked how I can help.

SMC – I bet he was surprised! (laughs)

SGP – He was really happy because I called him within 10 minutes of getting the tweet and I don’t think he heard from anybody else at that point.

SMC – That’s awesome! Good for you!

SGP – There are many, many chapters to this story, but it ended up being two benefit concerts. The first one is Friday night, July 29th at The Tractor Barn in Mt. Nebo, WV. Then July 30th, there will be a free concert in Summersville, WV which is right up the road, I believe, from Mt. Nebo, its outdoors at the pavilion downtown. They’re going to shut down the streets and rope off an area close to the stage and charge $25 per person for VIP access and everybody else is free. I’m going to do a ‘Meet and Greet’ for fans Friday from 2-6 pm at the Tractor Bar and then Saturday 2-6 pm at Maloney’s Sports Pub in downtown Summersville. The Tractor Bar show starts at 9pm for SMITHRADIO and the opening act is called the Carpenter Ants and they’re good players and I believe they are WV boys too so it’s going to be a fun time. They go on at 7pm Friday at The Tractor Barn and 6pm Saturday in Summersville followed by us at 8pm. So that’s how it happened. The Mayor of Summersville has gotten involved and he’s been doing a lot of heavy lifting getting this all together. It’s been a lot of work, yeah sure, I’m pretty tired at this point but these things are worth doing and there are people who are really hurting. Life’s been good to me and I’ve been very fortunate and now it’s time to try and help some folks out. I just thought it was the perfect way to debut the band, and these are really good guys in the band and when I told them about it (flood relief concert) they all wanted to do it. That’s why I chose these guys, because they are just good-hearted guys on top of being fantastic players, they’re just good people. Why not make a couple of concerts and try to help people take their minds of their troubles for a couple hours a day?

SMC – I know you say you’ve been involved in music at such a young age, yet I feel your band is going to go in a very strong direction very quickly.

SGP – Why do you feel that way? I share your optimism because the songs are solid and the band is just fantastic. But why do you feel that way?

SMC – Well, there’s a couple reasons: Number one – My impression from your twitter newsfeed about SMITHRADIO is that you’re very happy and excited about what you’re doing. It’s an excitement behind it, it’s not an ‘okay, well, we’re going through the process…following protocol, we’re going to release on such and such a date, etc.’, it’s more like ‘Hey everybody! Come out and join the party!’ and it’s rather refreshing. Secondly, I think that, with the music I have heard, this is what the world is wanting right now. I think that it is very fresh and enjoyable. It’s exactly what I imagined and you confirmed it just by talking about it.

SGP – Well listen, I have not been this passionate about anything in my entire life. I have never felt so great and so determined in my entire life. I have done some things where I have tried to build careers in different areas and I kind of know what it takes: It takes talent, hard work, patience, and you need to be on an even keel because there are highs and lows. I have been through that through a couple different careers now. The one thing that excites me about this and the one thing that was obvious to do was to do a live experience where I could connect with other people. I just started craving it. I could not be myself continuing solely in a profession where I had no contact while doing my job with an audience, you know what I mean? So, the options were: Live Theatre or this. Music has always been, for me, the number one choice had I been able to choose a career. I thought to myself, well when the heck am I going to do it? I have to do it now (he laughs), I’m not 20 anymore.

Another reason I am so passionate about it is.my son is just two years old and he hasn’t seen me build anything yet. I’ve built a couple of different careers and one I was very successful but didn’t reach the ultimate goal and the other career I almost got all the way to the top of the mountain and ended up making a really great living but he hasn’t seen me do it. I want him to see me build something; I want him to see me enjoying it and see me successful at it so that’s what’s driving me. He sings songs with me and plays the guitar with me.

SMC – Are you kidding?! That’s so cute!

SGP – Yeah, he comes into my media room where I write and I’ll give him a guitar pick and he’ll hit the strings and he’ll sing along. I want my son to see me pursuing my passion because that’s what I want him to do. So, there’s a lot of energy behind it.  I have a friend of 30 years come by and she didn’t have any idea (and she is in the music business) I was so heavily involved, and she said, ‘You have a band?’ (laughs) So I said, “Come by to the rehearsal studio!” She did and we had the best time. We played the whole set for her.

SMC – That’s great!

SGP- Those clips you heard were done a couple of weeks ago when we were just starting out. Since, we have recorded a couple of songs in one take, with no over dubs at all. I am talking to some people now about recording and working on our first album. I want to have something for people to hear obviously instead of these little clips here and there but we are just six weeks old and our band is just a little baby at this point.

SMC – Well thank you for considering us for the interview! We really appreciate getting to know the band while it’s still young!

SGP – Absolutely!

SMC – Do you want to remain ‘Indie’ or are you wanting to be signed by a label?

SGP – You know what I want to do? This is what I want to do: I want to play a lot of live shows for a lot of people. That’s what I want to do. That’s all I want to do.  I want to tour, be on the road, and bring my family with me all over the world. If at some point, someone wants to sign us, great! I just want to play live! I want the world to hear this band and there are times in rehearsal when I just stand there and I am amazed at what is hitting me in the back. It feels so good and I’m just so happy to be there. Look, it’s an intense band. These are intense songs.

SMC – Even better!

SGP – We’re looking to blow some doors off some rooms. That’s what excites me is the level of intensity of this band and how we can take a song I wrote 20 years ago and take it out of this moody, little quiet thing and rock it up and make it a powerful song and we do it. We have just finalized the set list that is most impactful to debut these songs. I don’t want to be a guy up there giving speeches and talking too much, I just want to keep people grooving for a couple hours at a time because I think that’s also a lost art and to share that with an audience would be monumental. Its contact with people and the world and I just feel a very powerful need and inspiration with my band and I am going to do it and nothing is going to stop me.

SMC – Would you ever consider coming to Canada?

SGP – Absolutely! We’d love to come to Canada. This WV concert is a lot of work but we are getting a lot of support from the Mayor and others. It’s really not a simple thing to put together and so many decisions that have to be made to make this come off right. We are looking at playing some benefit concerts on the Jersey Shore in mid-August. We are planning some bigger shows actually; maybe you can come down for those! Is there really anything better than going to a live concert? I don’t think so.

SMC – Do you have any co-writes in the future?

SGP – At the moment, I write all the songs.

SMC – Have there been any interesting fan moments that you would like to share with the inception of SMITHRADIO?

SGP Word is beginning to trickle out a little bit and everything that we have heard so far as feedback has been positive, just completely positive. People want to know more and are finding out where we are rehearsing and they are ‘stopping by’ saying ‘I was in the area’ and I say to them ‘Really? You’re just sort of stopping by here…. Really?’

SMC – So essentially, this is the ‘Golden Nugget’ in your career?

SGP – How can I say this. I am at a point in my life where…there’s something far more interesting and deeper that is buried underneath your rage. There is something far more productive and artistic, you know, it is the heart and soul of art. I think I’ve finally gotten to that point in my life where I can wipe away bad memories and access some really golden stuff and enjoy it and share it with the world. That had a lot to do with the birth of my son and I am expressing it through the music. I should have probably named the band after my son because really, it’s me wanting to share the joy of my son with the world! (laughs). Now if everybody would do that, there would be a lot more music and a lot more peace, right?

SMC – No Kidding! (laughs) Do you plan on having more children?

SGP – Oh yes! I like how this first one came out and I think I’ll do it again yeah.

SMC – Awe, nice! That’s great to hear!

SGP – Yeah, they’re wonderful. He’s wonderful.

SMC – Hoping for a daughter next time?

SGP – Maybe two boys and then a girl…we’ll see, we’ll see.

SMC – Is it going to be far off into the future as far as recordings that will be available to the public?

SGP – I am talking to some people now and I want to be very careful about this because it is important how the public hears this music for the first time. First impressions are everything. I want to do it right and I want to make sure that it`s the best quality tracks that we could possibly do at that moment before I share full songs with the world. I want to be really, proud of it. I need to be impressed by it and I`m very demanding of myself and detail oriented. It just has to be great. I won`t share it unless it`s great. We have recorded five songs but I thought the power of the band wasn`t captured in those recordings so I will share little bits here and there but I think it`s important to come out guns blazing with some great tracks. You don`t get a second chance. I`d rather have people get a little frustrated with me than put out a product that I`m not proud of.

SMC – Understandable

SGP – Let`s just get some gigs under our belts because there’s a lot of mistakes and adjustments we need to make yet and we’ll learn as we go. Right now, it’s finding the right Producer who can structure and produce the songs with the sound we are creating and capable of.

SMC – Your logo, why does it have the numbers 1:11 on it?

SGP – That’s a tattoo I have on my left shoulder and the other one, in the middle of the logo, is another one I have on my right bicep. There’s meaning with them, all that kind of stuff, deep meaning. I just wanted to make the logo as personal as I possibly could.

SMC – It’s great! It’s very reflective of the band. With regards to your live performance, does the band feel like they can do a two-hour show and walk off the stage feeling fine?

SGP – Let me put it to you this way: A three-hour rehearsal for us is a short rehearsal and we go through the set list one and a half to two times in three hours with about a 15-minute break in between. After that, we are spent(laughs)

SMC – You boys are machines!

SGP – Thank God I am in good shape but I’m a pretty emotional guy as it turns out (laughs). That’s how I sing and that’s how I write.

SMC – How do you feel about how it’s all coming together?

SGP – I think we’re ready to play live. We were ready a month ago. They say playing one live gig is worth one week of rehearsal so I think we’re ready to get out there and learn what we need to do. We’ll put on a good show. People will enjoy it but we’re going to learn a lot. We’ll make some mistakes but we’ll learn a lot. I’ll forget some lyrics and they’ll forget some transitions, you know, it’s part of it. Nothings perfect, it’s not going to be a seamless performance but we’re ready!

SMC – But the beauty in that is the audience hasn’t heard the full songs yet so they won’t know, and that’s the beauty in all of this. That’s what I am excited to hear about: is the audience’s reaction.

SGP – Well yeah, I write a variety of different styles too

SMC – Well I recall that we had talked about (in the beginning of the interview) different kinds of music that were your influences. Are there any Punk Rock influences you liked?

SGP – Patti Smith. I auditioned for her band when I was 15.

SMC – You’re kidding?

SGP – Oh yeah. You know she’s a South Jersey girl. She grew up where I grew up. When I was in high school, beginning my freshman year, I would go up to New York City to see her band every chance I would get. I would stay with my sister and I would see her perform at The Bottom Line (venue), speak at Amnesty International events, and I was in CBGB’s (venue) one night as a 15-year-old with two of my sisters and she was standing there talking to some guy. He looked like he was a record Producer. She was wearing these Ray Ban’s with these blinders on the side

SMC – I remember those!

SGP – Remember those tan leather blinders on the side?

SMC – Yep!

SGP – I went up to her…I am pretty bold and not terribly shy when I want something, and I just walked right up to her and interrupted their conversation and I said, “I’m from South Jersey too and I’m a big fan and I was wondering if you are looking for a keyboard player.” Then she pulled down her glasses a little bit toward the end of her nose and looked at me and said, “How old are you?’ (he laughs)

SMC – (Laughing) that’s awesome!

SGP With Patti, she really started out the other way around. She started a band around her to match the words to some songs, I thought, with some terrific results. It was very unusual music very exciting music based on her inspirations and her love of great literature and French symbolist poetry and the alchemy of the work. She was trying to do what Rimbaud (French Poet) tried to do and achieve this kind of alchemy with her music. In my humble opinion she achieved that.

I also remember at that time I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, and who everybody else was listening to. Then she came along and I started listening to her on WMMR in Philadelphia was the big FM Radio station and they would do live broadcasts every Sunday night wherever she was playing. Those shows had just had incredible energy coming out of the radio and I just think: wouldn’t that be great to do that at The Tractor Bar on July 29th is have a live broadcast. because for me that was just so exciting as a young boy: the anticipation, waiting for that concert to be on the radio and having to hide the radio under the sheets because it was past my bedtime you know.

SMC – That’s awesome!

SGP – Yes, and actually, after I had auditioned, I hadn’t heard anything.  A month later I saw her at an Amnesty International speech and we ended up backstage. Patti came up behind me and my sisters’ eyes went really wide and she said ‘Scott, turn around’ and, it was her. She said, ‘I remember you. How are you doing?’ I was totally star-struck again. I was gaga for the woman. We ended up having a nice conversation and afterwards, when we were walking out the door and taking a left down the Bowery and we weren’t 20 feet down the street when I heard this voice shout out ‘Hey!’ and its Patti Smith again standing there with some people. So, I turned around and she shouts “Hey man! Good luck!’ For me, that was the biggest moment of my life. I kind of feel like I’ve been, how can I say – blessed by the Goddess right? You could say I was ‘Blessed by the Goddess poet Patti Smith’. It was a really nice moment which meant everything to me. She represented to me that somebody from south Jersey could get out of south Jersey and do big things you know what I mean? It was just a huge inspiration for me. It was a moment where someone I looked up to so much was so kind and beautiful to me. I will always love her for that. Those memories of seeing her in New York, those memories are deeply ingrained in me. To me, she represented artistic freedom, freedom of expression, living outside of society and not feeling like you have to fit in somewhere. She could be her own person and be proud of it and not really care what other people thought except what she thought. To me, she was self actualized and really loved herself and still does. Horses was such a deeply impactful and artistic album for me. You just can’t make that kind of album today, but I’m going to try!

SMC – I hope you do! Keep up the good work! For me it Bowie.

SGP – You know what? When Bowie died, it hit me harder than I expected it to. It was just because of his individuality and how unique he was and how bold and brilliant the music was. The song writing was so impactful. When I found out that he passed away, I was stunned. I just couldn’t move. Bowie was just (sighs). Bowie was Bowie…I sat in my media room and I wept. I was really in mourning. I knew Iman back in the late 80’s, we were friends before they got together. I wanted to reach out but, you know, it had been so long. I was just completely stunned and blown away. He wrote some beautiful songs. What an unbelievable loss to the music industry!

SMC – Yes, I totally agree. You know, I’m going to have to see you live!

SGP – Absolutely!

SMC – So, there are a lot of Artists that go live and they sound nothing like they do in their recordings

SGP – Yeah, well, we’re not going to have that. There’s a device now that you can put into your microphone so that live performances can get auto tuned through your mic. I’m not going to do that to my fans. If I go off-key then it’s on me. You know? We’ve got to keep it real for the fans. That’s how we record too. We record live and we just try to rock it as best we can. We want a real raw sound because our live sound is just so explosive we’re looking for a Producer who can capture that real like raw explosiveness.

SMC – NICE!  Someone needs to film this. I want to see the reaction! I have a feeling SMITHRADIO will appeal to a lot of different age groups really, because the younger crowd is looking for something new.

SGP – If the younger crowd is craving an iconic throwback 70’s rock band sound, that’s what we have. That’s what they’re going to get. We have searing lead guitar solos that will blow your mind, one of the guys’ plays a slide guitar that is absolutely wicked beyond wicked, the drummer is thunderous and he’s gifted. It’s just such a great sound. A lot of the songs are about life experiences.

SMC – Okay, can you name one of the songs you’ve written which still really affect you even to this day.

SGP – I think one of the most deeply emotional songs in the entire set is a song called ‘Christina’. I wrote it about a girl I knew a long time ago, but really, it could relate to anyone that wants to escape their circumstances as teenagers. Ones that are growing up in horrible circumstances and maybe some abusive circumstances and they long to leave and run away because they know that if they don’t leave, something bad could happen. It’s autobiographical and I realize why I liked the song so much is that I wrote it from experience: I was struggling to get out of my circumstances at the time as well. Those are always some of my favorite songs growing up are songs like that: songs about the need to escape, the need to get out, the need to know more about life. I think a lot of popular music comes from the need to pour one’s heart out into an instrument.  Let me sum it up for you: instead of therapy, you’re screaming into a microphone for three hours at a time. It’s wonderful. Even if you don’t have a band, you should buy yourself a microphone, get into a sound proof room and scream for a couple of hours. You’ll walk out feeling great! I’ve been screaming now for six weeks and it feels so right and good.

SMC – What do you want people to remember from this debut concert?

SGP – Our intention is to have people leave that theater exhausted and exhilarated and smiling and sweaty and hoarse you know? And their right or their left shoulders hurting from pumping their fists so much and their palms hurting from clapping so much. We’re not asking for much are we really?

Not at all Scott, not at all

World, are you ready for the SMITHRADIO Storm?

Stay tuned!

______________________

*UPDATED May 2017*

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