Category Archives: interview

Max and DPK Interview, Part 4


Here is the fourth and final part of some excerpts from an interview conducted by Max The Drunken Severed Head with my adopted actor, David Patrick Kelly.

The interview was conducted in Pittsburgh on May 19th, 2007.

In this portion of the interview, Kelly shares some thoughts about Brandon Lee with Max and Max’s wife Jane.

Some background:
On March 31, 1993, during the filming of The Crow, Brandon Lee was accidentally shot and killed as a result of a firearm malfunction. Lee was twenty-eight. David Patrick Kelly played the character T-Bird in the film.

DPK:
The first time I met Brandon Lee, I said to him, “You know your father was a big influence on me!”

Max:
Really? Ah!

DPK:
Brandon said, “He was on me, too!” [laughs]. And he was, Bruce was a great genius. Brandon was too.. He was.. It was just a horrible tragedy.

Jane:
It is tragic.

DPK:
Yeah.

Jane:
He had a presence, you could tell in the film, you know? He really did.

DPK:
And a passion, and RESPECT. He was such a nice kid. He was such a, he was so respectful of the process. He worked so hard. Film was such a hard thing for him to do. And I want him to be here, rather than the film, but we finished the film for him. And I think he would have been proud.

It was kind of a “Rebel Without a Cause” for the goth kids, it really was. I didn’t even realize it until years later. I wouldn’t even look at it for years.

Max and DPK Interview, Part 3


Part 3 of some excerpts from an interview conducted by Max The Drunken Severed Head with my adopted actor, David Patrick Kelly.

The interview was conducted in Pittsburgh on May 19th, 2007.

This portion deals with DPK’s early work as an actor and musician in New York City in the 1970’s.

Max’s wife Jane also puts in an appearance.

DPK:
Max’s [Kansas City] had 150 seats with little tables that were lined up in rows. I saw everybody — from Bruce Springsteen with his first record out, “Greetings from Asbury Park”; the Wailers, the original Wailers, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh; Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar…

Jane:
Wow, I’m jealous of that.

[Max laughs]

DPK:
It was great — [the Wailers] had just had Burnin’ out on record. Patti Smith made her first appearance there, when when it was just her and Lenny Kaye on guitar… Charles Mingus quartet…

So once in a while it’d be really packed with people. We’d have to help down the stairs. Then I did a play there, and that moved into what they called a punk — we didn’t call it punk rock — but it was the punk rock era.

And we’d read about the band Television playing at CBGB’s, and so I went there too with my band. Very good band, still got some live tapes, gonna bring them out. I had to dissolve my band, and then…

Max:
You played guitar?

DPK:
I played guitar, and played all the cabarets in rock. It was a wonderful scene, actors and songwriters in the 70’s in New York, and that new music, or punk, if you wanna call it that, that THING was going on.

It was very creative. It was a wonderful time in the theater too. There were a lot more theaters then. And I did a play at Max’s, and then my first New York job, big job, was Sergeant Pepper on stage.

I played Sergeant Pepper himself and sang “Get Back” and “Saved the Day” at the end of the show. It was by the people who did “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”. John Lennon and Paul McCartney came to the opening. It was really fantastic.

Jane:
VERY nice…

DPK:
It was like a dream. Did you ever see that book “Rock Dreams”? By a guy named Guy Peellaert? David Bowie has an album called “Diamond Dogs”.

Jane:
Uh-huh.

DPK:
The cover of that, where he’s half dog and half human — it was done by an artist called Guy Peellaert. He had a book called “Rock Dreams” where it was just fantasies, like Dylan sitting at a diner with Elvis, and stuff like that.

And so, being with John Lennon at the party was a little bit like one of those rock dreams. There he was, talking to me!! Taking me around, introducing me to people.

Because, it’s a long story, I know I had gone on in place of somebody, and I know all the words, and he said [imitating Lennon] “Here’s Dave, he knows all the words, I don’t know all the words to my songs”. [laughter]

He was being hounded by Nixon during that time, because he was in protest at the big convention that was coming up. He’d done an interview with himself, “Dr. Winston O’Boogle Interviews John Lennon”. And so I told him, “John, you did a good interview with yourself”. He says, “Yeah, I asked myself some very pertinent questions”. [laughter]

He was a wonderful guy. It was just another horrible tragedy, you know…

Jane:
Yeah.

Max:
I was so…

DPK:
Inconsolable?

Max:
Saddened about that.

DPK:
I’d seen the Beatles. I’d seen them in Detroit, at the Olympic Stadium. Yeah, it was me, Larry Francis, and 12,000 screaming 12 year old girls. That was it.

Max and DPK Interview, Part 2


Part 2 of some excerpts from an interview conducted by Max The Drunken Severed Head with my adopted actor, David Patrick Kelly.

The interview was conducted in Pittsburgh on May 19th, 2007.

Max, The Drunken Severed Head:
Do you get impatient with actors who don’t place emphasis on the story but more on their role?

DPK:
We’re all crazy in our own way, and I judge actors that I want to work with again about how they are “in the moment”, as we say.

Onstage, or in a film scene, when you’re with people and you’re looking in their eye, you can really tell what they’re about. You can tell everything about them. And you can tell how generous they are or how selfish, A lot of that gets confused because of the roles they’re playing. You cut a wide allowance for how people are offstage, because everybody has their own discipline, and their own ways, and their own philosophies.

But when you’re doin’ the THING, you can tell how people really are. You can tell if they’re selfish, or if they’re generous. You can tell what kind of an ARTIST they are, and that’s how you judge. In the world everybody’s crazy in their own way. So you just have to find a way to tolerate and allow people to be what they are.

Then there’s certain times where you get to see what people really are. And, that’s how you deal with who you keep connecting up with, and who you want to work with again. But impatience, you gotta let that go.

Martial arts taught me a lot about patience. I only started martial arts when I was 35, and it was very meaningful, because it shakes off, it goes back to looking in people’s eyes. To me, martial arts, with men and women, in my karate school [smiles] you really get to see how people are.

We’re animals with big brains. So we have the perfect ability, that’s possible, but we’re really animals. And the real nature of people when they’re fighting each other comes out. And once again you see how they really are. So that it was a different way to get more TRUTH. It was kind of a goal for me.

I wanted to play Shakespearean generals, so I wanted to have martial arts. And I’ve been there twenty years now. So it’s once again, a spiritual discipline. I call myself a Zen Taoist. Christian is what I am. Meditation is a part of it, Tai Chi, and martial arts, these things give me structure, and some way to stay fit as I get into my creaking years.

And, larger than that, it’s a spiritual discipline as well. It teaches you a lot about patience, about your patience with other people. Because it’s like an army experience almost. People talk about the army being “the best time of their life”. They didn’t want to go in, but, “Oh, my buddies,” all that stuff. Because you’re with people you wouldn’t normally be with.

Being in a locker room, and people saying [mocking tone] “Hey! Ain’t cha gonna do no more movies man?” or, “Whattsa matter witcher’ career?”, or something like that… They don’t know anything [about me], but still you get to learn something about them. You ask about them and they say “Well, I got five kids, and three wives, and I’m strugglin’, but my martial arts keeps me together.” And it’s true. You get to — for an actor it’s a goldmine. You’re doin’ this research, you’ve got different people that you don’t get to meet, instead of hanging out with actors all the time. So that’s waaay more than you wanted to know about martial arts…

The Drunken Severed Head Meets DPK


Part 1 of some excerpts from an interview conducted by Max The Drunken Severed Head with my adopted actor, David Patrick Kelly.

The interview was conducted in Pittsburgh on May 19th, 2007. It has not been published to this date.

Yes, this is brand new, never-before-seen interview material with my adopted actor! Thanks again, Max!

Max, The Drunken Severed Head:
My first question would be, basically, how did you become interested in acting? What were the circumstances?

DPK:
I think it was the Catholic Church. I had a happy upbringing. I was an altar boy in the 50’s, and saw all that ritual, and the costumes, all the vestments and everything else. There was something about it that was mysterious and great.

My father was a painter, so we always had painting going on in our basement. There were big scenes. He painted the furnace to look like a tree, and the walls were always covered with paintings, so I think it was just an environment. My mother taught me music. And it was a combination of these twin things in my family, art and music.

So I think that combination made it obvious, just combined to make that all interesting for me. And then, literature too. My family was always bookish. So the combination of all those things made it happen. And the first thing that I was interested in was Samuel Beckett and things like that. And Dostoevsky in high school. These were great characters.

I’ll always remember a kid saying to me once, “You’re an actor,” just out of the blue. I was just playing in bands in high school, and things like that. And he said “You’re an actor” and it sort of stuck. It was sort of prophetic.

So, the combination.

The biggest influences on me growing up in Detroit was MUSIC, really. ‘Cause I’d seen these great acts. My high school friends and I, we had the MC5 — I don’t know if you know them — and Iggy (Pop) were around, in Detroit, and the MC5 played at our junior high school dance. You know, this theatrical, amazing group of people with this powerful thing. But then we would journey around. I saw Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles. I saw The Doors at Cobo in Detroit.

And this was a very theatrical time. All my friends and I, we wanted to go to the circus school. For some reason, circus was a big influence. Going down to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey. But then, just reading the literature, and getting involved with Shakespeare in college, at the University of Detroit, where I graduated. My first show in Detroit was a combination of music and theater, HAIR.

Johnny Yen Asks, I Answer

Johnny Yen offered to interview, I leapt at the chance to be interviewed.

Here’s the Q&A.

1. Your musical knowledge astounds me in both it’s
breadth and depth, and your love of music is clear.

In 1977, NASA put a record on the Voyager I spacecraft
that will exit the solar system in a few years. They
put a range of human sounds and songs on it. With
digital technology, we can put much more on the
spacecraft. You’ve been assigned by NASA to put ten
albums that you think should be heard by the first
beings that discover the spacecraft. What would the
ten albums be? Explain if you want to.

I think the answer to this question is really beyond my abilities — to choose ten albums to represent humanity? Truly, a daunting task. I can give a couple examples, but I would hope there would be other people more knowledgeable than I that I could lean on for suggestions.

That being said, I would definitely choose a compilation of Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club Quintet Of France. I’m not particular as to what compilation is used, as long as it hits the highlights (“Nagasaki”, “After You’ve Gone”, etc.). I think this music represents both incredible beauty and joy. Perhaps otherworldly beings that heard it might not think we’re the ugly, ignorant creatures we probably are.

I would include a recording of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, because it’s full of passion and fire, emotion of a different sort. Beethoven’s Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony would be included, because I think it is a great representation of nature and our place within it. I defer to a classical music snob regarding the specific performance (conductor/orchestra) of these classical pieces, as I’m not that well-versed how one particular performance outshines another.

Ah, what the hell, put The Feelies’ The Good Earth on there, too. It’s goddamned good music.

2. Your Two-Buck Schmuck is one of my favorite
features on any of the blogs I read. What were the
worst five movies you ever saw and why?

Hmm, there is more than one kind of bad. I’ll give some examples from a few categories.

The Horribly Disappointing
Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation – When I was but a wee lad, there was a summer weekend kids film screening at my neighborhood movie theater. I had just seen The Villain and loved it (gimme a break, I was a kid!). I loved it so much I wanted to go see it again. I went the following day, bought a ticket and sat down in my seat, prepared for live-action Roadrunner antics with Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ann-Margret, and then THIS movie starts rolling. I was *sure* that The Villain was scheduled to play, but I was confronted by some old-fogey (Jimmy Stewart) walking around in a suit. I stayed for the whole thing, but I hated it, mostly for what I felt was a bait-and-switch.

The Matrix – Reloaded – I saw this on an IMAX screen. As I’ve said before, putting something sucky on a gigantic screen makes it exponentially sucky. I was so angry at this poor excuse for a movie, that I spontaneously came up with the version they *should* have made.

The Listless
This category is almost worse than the Horribly Disappointing. There are movies that you watch, and afterwards you think, well, it wasn’t awful. These movies have no distinguishing characteristics, either good or bad. Some reasonably competent people acted in, shot, and recorded music for these films. And the only thing I can think of in response to their efforts is, “So what?”

For examples, turn to the majority of the career of John Cusack.

A couple specific examples, if you like:
John Cusack: 1408 (reviewed by the Schmuck here)

Non-John Cusack: For the pinnacle of listlessness in a movie, see my review for the shitty Fracture.

This Sucks So Good!
Suckiness doesn’t have to be bad! If you’re watching a bad movie that prominently features one of the lesser Baldwin brothers, it stands a good chance at being hilariously sucky.

My favorite sucky Billy Baldwin movie – Fair Game
Fair Game also stars Cindy Crawford as a laywer. While Baldwin and Crawford are on the run from some dangerous criminals, they duck into a moving freight car that implausibly contains a fancy sports car, all shiny and sitting there. What do they do? Why, they have sex on the car, of course! What a wonderful movie!

My favorite sucky Stephen Baldwin movie – One Tough Cop
This might be better than Fair Game. Throughout the movie, Stephen Baldwin sounds like a really perturbed Donald Duck. It’s worth a Netflix!

3. My father spent the last couple of decades of his
work life in the tech field, and once told me, after I
shared my own brief and bizarre experiences in the
tech field (I was a web design consultant for a
now-gone softward company about ten years ago) that
he’d realized, before he retired, that his life had
become a running Dilbert cartoon. I’ve gathered that
you’re in the tech field yourself. Do you have a story
or two to share that had “Dilbert” moments?

I have definitely had Dilbert moments, featuring unrealistic deadlines, insane bosses, annoying coworkers, etc., but none of them really evoke any interesting stories.

That being said, I do have a couple funny anecdotes that center around IT. Maybe they’re Dilbertish, maybe not, but I think you might get a kick out of them.

1. Knowing Little
The first story actually predates my career in IT. I was out of school, and briefly living back at my parent’s house. For various reasons, I was feeling pretty depressed and low. I needed to get a job, but something not too permanent, as I didn’t know what my situation was evolving into. So, I thought I’d try my hand at temping.

I had mad typin’ skills and was reasonably presentable, so I quickly got an assignment at a credit reporting agency. Part of my job was to use a primitive computer application to verify details of home mortgages. I’d type in a person’s name, bring up their mortgage, verify some data, etc. Apparently, the previous temp I was replacing had been hiding stacks of papers that he or she was supposed to be verifying, and as a result there was a lot of work to catch up on. I caught up in a few hours.

The next thing my employer wanted me to do was to call companies to verify employment for the people whose credit they were checking on. I had previously indicated to the temp agency that the only thing I was uncomfortable with was talking to strangers on the telephone. It just bugged me. So, now, I have to make a bejillion phone calls to people I don’t want to talk to. I begrudgingly started phoning people.

I guess I must have given off a bad vibe or displayed the wrong facial expression, because near the end of the day I get a phone call from my temp agency saying that the credit reporting agency said I wasn’t working out. This company I was temping at was not big. The office wasn’t very big either, and the person who would have made the call about me was sitting literally five feet from me.

She left for the day without saying anything to me. I don’t really know what I did to make her dislike me. She hadn’t said a goddamned word directly to me about my performance — she called the temp agency to do it for her. I was pissed. I typed this in the mortgage computer application I had been using.

LAST NAME: FUCK
FIRST NAME: MISTER

Then I canceled out of the application and soon left for home.

The temp agency was very apologetic regarding the woman’s treatment of me, and got me into another place the next day. A couple hours into the morning I got a call from the temp agency. They asked me if I had entered some profanity into the credit agency’s computer. Oops. I thought I had deleted the entry, but I guess the system had saved it.

I called the asshole lady from the credit agency and apologized.

2. Knowing Much
I have to be a little vague about this story, but I hope not vague enough that you won’t enjoy it. I worked in the security division at a large, consumer-facing commerce company. Users could create their own IDs to access our system. Keep in mind that these IDs aren’t anonymous like you would make up for a Webmail account — your ID definitely was pinned to you as an individual. Since I had the access and a little bit of free time, I thought, I wonder if any people have made naughty IDs? Sure enough, there were a handful of IDs. These aren’t the actual IDs I found, but they were of the same ilk:

BOBTHEDICKHEAD
FUCKYOUASSHOLES
SHITFORBRAINS

Whatever profane people created these IDs, you gave a chuckle to an IT security guy deep in the bowels of a large, heartless corporation.

4. I’ve been working on an upcoming post on
“Disappointing Candy From My Childhood.” What were
your three favorite and three most disappointing
candies of your childhood?

Favorite:
Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar
Plain M&M’s (good with water!)
Snickers

Disappointing:
Candy Corn: Probably on a lot of people’s lists. Comedian Lewis Black has a funny bit about his yearly disappointment with this candy.

$100,000 Bar: Maybe this candy bar is not that bad, but I had two unpleasant experiences with it. The first time it must have heated up in the sun and was a gooey mess when I unwrapped it. The second time it was too cold and it hurt my teeth. I don’t remember it tasting very good, either, but it was the temperature that made it unpleasant.

Candy Cigarettes: I remember going to the candy store down the street from my elementary school and picking up a pack of Marlboro’s. I brought them back to school and puffed away on the playground, the dusty sugary substance blowing weakly out of the tip like delicious smoke. The smoke wasn’t that impressive, and the gum in the cigarette tasted awful. Still, for some reason I’m glad I had the opportunity as a child to have a puff on a candy cigarette. I was cool, not like these lameass kids today!

5. You have won a prize where you get to name ten
public schools. What would you name those schools?

Mother Jones Elementary
The James Brown Academy of Positive Music
Little Pink Pony High
It’s Okay To Be In Middle School
The Bertrand Russell School For Critical Thinking
Studs Terkel High
Duty Now For The Future
Dollops Of Wisdom Junior High
The I.F. Stone Vocational School Of Honest Journalism
We Care To Share Knowledge Prep

Phew, that was an indepth interview! I’m exmausted!

Thanks a lot, Mr. Yen.

Never Anger A Brooklynite

Beckeye shot me what I can safely describe as a series of “goddamned hard questions” in response to my interview with her.

I was sitting on them for a little bit, but I gotsta just publish my answers.

1. I’ve been dying to pick up this book, “This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.” It’s a scientific look at how the human brain processes music and attempts to explain why certain pieces of music prompt such visceral reactions in certain people. Without the benefit of a Ph.D. in neuroscience, how would you explain the mysterious hold that music can have over so many of us?

You see, *this* is why I have taken so long to answer your interview questions. My God. I get overwhelmed just thinking about this. Music and its relationship to me is a complete mystery. My reaction to music is almost primal. I’m definitely connecting to it more than on an intellectual level, even more than an emotional level. I am baffled, and unable to answer.

I’m sorry. I just don’t know. It’s like food, water, sun. It washes over me, and I flourish.

2. I have a hard time listening to “summertime” music once summer is over. Now that September is here, what playlist would you suggest to get everyone in the mood for Fall?

Funny you should ask! Volume 6 of the Green Monkey Music Project is going to be called “I Can’t Wait For Hallow