Gemini Syndrome: Aaron Nordstrom interview

img_8770(PCM) We caught up with Aaron Nordstrom, lead vocalist and songwriter for Gemini Syndrome, at the KISW Pain in the Grass festival in Seattle, Washington on August 21, 2016.

Melissa Sedlmeier (MS): Who inspires you?

Aaron Nordstrom (AN): Most of it, lyrically at least, comes from my experiences, my life, whatever weird trials and tribulations I experience. I am influenced for sure by philosophy and religion. I studied Chinese kung fu for 18 years, so those kind of philosophers and the Eastern way of thinking is a big part of it. My older brother Blake, he inspires me. You can take it from anywhere.

MS: I get that from your music, and I feel that. It’s awesome. Musically, who inspires you?

AN: I grew up playing classical jazz piano, so I was influenced by that stuff heavily when I was young. I was in choirs. Getting into my teens, I found rock n’ roll and grunge and metal. I listened to everything from trance music to black metal to folk music. It’s hard to pinpoint, I like literally everything.

MS: It’s all the bits and pieces that make it.

AN: The whole band is like that, I think that is what creates the sound that we have. Brian (Steele Medina) came up in drum corps, which is super strict and structured, rigid music. But then he also loves all kinds of other stuff and that blends together.

MS: We have had some greats pass away this year – Bowie, Prince, Lemmy, Glenn Frey. Are you inspired by any of those legends?

AN: On some level, all of them. My biggest ones were Peter Steele and Dimebag Darrell. That was the stuff that I really got into as a kid. What’s crazy is the guys I listened to growing up, now they’re all getting into their fifties and sixties. Life is short, that is the whole point of this record, realizing that at some point everyone is going to pass on. It’s kind of scary. The dude from 3 Doors Down just passed away the other day. He was 38, I’m 34. You never know what’s going to come. Some of my friends and my peers now, like David Draiman of Disturbed who has been great to me, he’s still very healthy, or LJ from Sevendust. But you just never know.

MS: With the albums, you have “Lux” and “Memento Mori”. Is another album coming as a trilogy?

AN: “Lux” was light and birth. “Memento Mori” means “Remember, we have to die” and is the coming to grips with the reality of mortality, and embracing the moment you have. The next album will be dealing with death and whatever comes after that, to whatever degree we can comprehend it without actually going there.


MS: What are you grateful for?

AN: I am grateful that I get to do this, that I get to travel. I’m grateful for my family, my wife, my dog, my house, that I can eat food every day. I have been playing music since I was 3, so the fact that I get to do it for a living. We are certainly not wealthy, but we are rich in spirit. This is my experience – I get to sit on the bus and talk to you guys. I get to be at this festival. It’s the little details.

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Ten Tips From Temple Grandin To Help Parents Of Children And Adults With Autism


(PCM) As the mother of a ten-year-old son with autism, I confess that I am overprotective. I definitely have the tendency to be too overly helpful, and look the other way when my son doesn’t always deliver, in an effort to always make his life journey just a little easier. But in fact, I am not preparing him to grow up and lead an independent and productive life.

On a recent autumn day Temple Grandin told me, if we don’t give our loved ones “a gentle and loving push” they will not reach their potential. She also asked me to spread the word to other caregivers of those children and adults with autism and other special needs. This advice is helpful for children with autism, but it is really sound practice for all children – those with autism, as well as typical children.

In my hour-by-hour and day-by-day effort to keep my son’s frustration level low and maintain a smile on his adorable face, I sometimes choose to help him, fix his problems, give into his demands and let him coast when it comes to homework, household chores or other responsibilities.

But after spending a recent life-altering day at a suburban Baltimore conference sponsored by Future Horizons featuring Grandin, I am re-thinking my plan.

I have heard some of this advice from therapists, friends and my loving mother, but when Grandin,the world renowned autism advocate, educator and author, tells you perhaps youlisten a little more closely.

Grandin’s fear is that those children and teens we protect now will end up in their bedrooms and basements playing video games or with other electronics and never live up to their full potential, what ever that may be.

When asked how we as parents get over the tendency to coddle our children with special needs Grandin replied, “We’re going to have to get over it, or the kids not going to go anywhere in their lives.”


She urges parents to“let go” a little at a time, and let their children both succeed and fail, and continue to “stretch” these children and adults so that they may thrive. This stretching, loving push and future job skills and training, will allow our children to have more independence, self-esteem, confidence, and a better quality of life.

Many of these tips and suggestions are detailed in “The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults,” (Future Horizons), an important guide written by Grandin and Debra Moore.

In her book, “The Loving Push,” Grandin includes eight family stories, plus chapters about how to get your loved one on the autism spectrum off the computer (iPad, TV, video games, DVD player or other electronics) and back to caring about their lives.It also has advice on building each of our child’s strengths, regardless of his or her ability level, and gets them on the path for a successful and meaningful life.

10 Tips I learned from Autism Advocate Temple Grandin:

  1. Wean children, teens and adults with autism off the video games and other electronics, down to one hour per day.
  2. Replace the time spent on electronics with home and community activities. Figure out what your loved one with special needs enjoys and follow those interests: music or art lessons, therapeutic horse back riding, cooking, fitness programs, swimming, church or synagogue programs etc. Heading outside for a walk or a bike ride – just getting out and exploring the world around them.
  3. Find “volunteer work or paid employment” for those individuals with autism. In the 1950s there were newspaper routes, so find the replacement. Require that your son or daughter help with dishes, laundry, getting ready for school, dog walking, yard work, and any other tasks or chores. The goal: to take responsibility and learn a genuine work ethic starting at a young age.
  4. Take your child shopping for a small item – a pen or a loaf of bread. Teach them how to interact with the store clerk and how to make change. Keep practicing these skills until they are mastered.
  5. Try new things. My son says no the first time I mention nearly everything, which makes it impossible for him to try anything new. But after months of suggesting drawing, painting and other crafts, he finally said yes. He now asks me to sit at the kitchen table and draw. I have proudly put his art work of trains, trucks and dinosaurs all over my kitchen. The bonus: during the time spent on drawing he is interacting with me or a friend and he is away from his iPad.
  6. Try involving your child in a community based activity like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, 4H or other programs that will encourage social skills and keep him engaged. Find a troop or program that is known for its kindness to special needs and keep looking until you find one. One local karate program asked me and my son to leave after two lessons saying we weren’t the best fit; the second program we went to embraced us with open arms.
  7. Play board games to help your child with turn taking and other social skills. Some of the old favorites take time and will keep your child engaged. This is also a good way to help the child learn patience.
  8. Help them discover their passion – that early interest that could help him or her with a future job or career. Once you find that passion, nurture it. Who cares if your house is filled with rocks, modeling clay, dinosaurs or science books. It doesn’t matter if it is music, animals, art, or computers – it very well could lead to a future skill, and with the right job training and encouragement ensure your teen or adult has a bright and employed future.
  9. Use positive reinforcement – it leads to positive results. Give your child choices instead of constantly barking: “No,” “Don’t do that,” or “Stop.” Pick two preferred activities and say, “Do you want to draw today or go to the park?”
  10. Stretch the child or adult with autism and other special needs a little more each time and pull back the protective parental instincts a little more. It will be healthier for both of you, and lead to positive results for the entire family.

For more information about Temple Grandin and “The Loving Push,” please go to: or call: 1-800-489-0727.

To follow Debra andAdam’s adventures with dinosaurs and more go to Facebook:

For Suburban Philadelphia programs, events and life skills opportunities go to the Autism Cares Foundation, Or call 215-942-2273.

The post Ten Tips From Temple Grandin To Help Parents Of Children And Adults With Autism also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Gaining Insight From The Walking Dead Panel At New York Comic Con! Did We Get Any Answers?


(PCM) Of course very little information could be revealed during the hour long panel for AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead” as we gear up for the highly anticipated season seven mid-season premiere. We did, however, see that emotions were running high among the cast members as they all agree that the upcoming premiere will be one of the series most intense and heartbreaking yet. It also happens to mark another milestone for the series, as the season seven premiere will be episode 100!

One of our beloved characters will meet their fate at the hands of Negan and his barbed-wire bat Lucille and despite all of our in-depth analyzing  we still can not say with certainly just who we think will meet their bloody end. Many are predicting that it will be Glenn if the show chooses to follow the comic book series, while others are saying that it is either Abraham or Eugene … or perhaps even God forbid … Daryl! The anticipation is killing us, but we are just going to have to wait and see!


The show’s New York Comic Con panel was moderated by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick and took place on the stage a New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. We were amazed to sit back and take in the atmosphere, as fans, many who waited in line for hours, absolutely lose their minds as the cast was introduced to the stage. Sadly, Andrew Lincoln was absent from the panel due to a scheduling conflict, however he did send over a hilarious letter of apology explaining his absence which was read to the crowd by Norman Reedus.

Obviously, the prank war is still going on strong between both Reedus and Lincoln, as Reedus shared with the crowd the story about Lincoln’s payback for the glitter bomb prank. Lincoln took Reedus’s motorcycle and sent it out to the middle of the lake with a blow-up sex doll posed on top. What are we going to do with those two…geesh!

During the panel producer Scott Gimple praised the performances from the cast saying “The performances this year were astounding” and producer Robert Kirkman claims that he is having great fun keeping the season opener cliffhanger a secret. Actress Lauren Cohan who plays Maggie on the show was actually brought to tears when asked a question by moderator Chris Hardwick regarding the journey and hardships her character has been through, throughout the series. She graciously thanked the fans for their unwavering love and support and humbly said “we would not be here if not for you guys, I love you”.

We are aware that Morgan is not part of Negan line-up, so of course we are going to see more of his journey in the upcoming season. Hardwick asked actor Lennie James about the transition to which he replied “For those people who are begging for Morgan to go back to being a killer … be careful what you wish for”.  Actor Michael Cudlitz shared some heartwarming details about Abraham’s relationship with Sasha and actress Danai Gurira who plays Michonne revealed that the Governor is “small potatoes” compared to a ruthless character such as Negan.

At the end of the panel we were treated to an early sneak peek for the upcoming premiere which will air on AMC on Sunday, October 23 at 9:00pm ET/PT. The clip left us even more on the edge of our seats than before and leads to even more speculation and mixed emotion.  The internet is a abuzz after watching the clip nearly 5 million times. Many are looking at the direction of the blood flow on Rick’s cheek to determine which character lost their life and some speculate that when Rick is dragged into Negan’s trailer after threatening his life, this could be where we see Rick lose his hand, as he did in the comic book series.  Also there are additional clues in the clip such as Daryl’s blanket laying on the ground in front of the blood splatter and upon extremely close inspection of the blood/guts on the ground a piece of jewelry which may or may not be Maggie’s engagement ring from Glenn can be spotted, although additional rumors swirl that it was Abraham’s ring and he was going to propose to Sasha.  So many questions!!! Check it out below:

Exclusive Interview With ‘The Accountant’ Director Gavin O’Connor


(PCM) Gavin O’Connor enjoys telling personal and emotional stories with many surprises.

This is all crystal clear in “The Accountant,” his new action thriller starring Ben Affleck as a math savant with a troubling past who is clearly much more than meets the eye.

The 52-year-old O’Connor is best known for his films “Warrior,” which led to a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for Nick Nolte, as well as “Tumbleweeds,” and “Pride and Glory.” He said when he read “The Accountant,” screenplay he was instantly intrigued.

Soon after, he assembled his “dream team” led by Affleck, anOscar-winning actor and director. The cast also includes: Anna Kendrick, J.K.Simmons, John Lithgow and Jean Smart. The movie, from Warner Bros. Pictures, opens Friday, Oct. 14.

During a recent visit to Philadelphia, where he attended the University of Pennsylvania (Class of ‘86), O’Connor spoke proudly of ‘The Accountant,’ and the rigorous journey that he and Affleck embarked on to make this riveting film.

Affleck, (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”),plays leading man Christian Wolff, a quirky math genius with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town Illinois CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations.


With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division,run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk, (Anna Kendrick), has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian un-cooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

Affleck, who has played Batman in several movies, said ‘The Accountant,” presented its own unique challenges. “My role required a lot of research,” that the actor and his director tackled together. “We saw the value was in making Chris seem like the people we had seen and met in real life,rather than an imagined version of what it might be.”

Everyone involved sees many vital life lessons in the film.“The story speaks to the duality in all of us. It might be easy to pigeonhole a guy like Chris,” Affleck said, “but we find out he’s capable of much more than you imagine.”

Q: What attracted you to this story?

Gavin O’Connor: I found the script to be a refreshingly conceived piece of material. I appreciated the puzzle aspect and I was captivated by this character of Christian Wolff. I had never seen anything like this before in cinema; but I knew that I wanted to.

Q: Tell me how you were able to get into the head of Ben’s character – was there weapons training and research on autism and the many quirks involved. Was it a boot camp?

GO: We knew you can’t just show up on day one and play someone on the autism spectrum.


Q: So what did you and Ben do to prepare?

GO: We watched documentaries, met educators and specialists and all of this led us Lori Stevens who runs a school called Exceptional Minds in L.A. She created a unique environment, and we would sit down and talk to the men there. We talked about their lives, asked them a variety of questions and immersed ourselves and plunged into their world. They were so generous. That was one track.

Q: What was the other?

GO: Well, the character of Batman wore a mask and that works with stunt doubles, I knew the visual side and discovered a particular style an Indonesian martial art called pencak silat, and Ben worked out for months with my fight guys to be able to do all the stunts. It was very impressive all around.

Q: How would you say you were personally changed by your movie“The Accountant?” Were there life lessons along the way?

GO: My wife’s best friends’ son is on the spectrum, so I knew his story and some of his struggles. But when Ben and I went on this journey together I wanted there to be a blank slate so we could make our new discoveries.

Q: And did you?

GO: Definitely. Making this movie changed my perspective for looking at anyone. I learned there is no one defining thing for one person; it varies so much which was liberating.

Q: Did you have a goal for making this movie?

GO: Yes. I feel that this is a really good time to be different in this country. I wanted to celebrate being different. I wanted to change people’s perspective on autism, and for people to be able to see that their world is great, and what they experience is so much more – and not less.I also loved having so many film genres running concurrently – and the character study was the more important part of the process for me.

Q: How did you see the character of Chris’ father in the movie?

GO: The father knew how hard it is to be different, and he was scared of that difference. As I continued to say on the set, ‘Every decision he made is generated by love,’ but we all know that parenting is not a job for a perfectionist. He was operating from a place of fear. He fears it could be an incredibly cruel world for his son and expectations for his son.Those are the only tools he has in his tool belt.


Q: What was the best part of working with Ben Affleck on this film?

GO: Once I decided to make this movie, I thought a lot about the character of Christian Wolff and what a challenging piece of material this is. I decided on Ben. I had truly never seen him in anything like this, but I knew if challenged and given the opportunity, he definitely had the acting chops. I enjoyed the shared experience of creating Christian Wolff. We went about building this piece by piece to uncover all of the nuances of this character. The act of this discovering we were doing together was really gratifying. Ben attributes his performance to the men at the Exceptional Minds School. We were excited, and so were they; that we were accurately depicting them in a movie.

Q: Tell me about working with Anna Kendrick.

GO: I was looking for humor when ever I could pull it out of a scene and she filled the shoes and set the tone. Anna and Ben had a really fun chemistry, and the movie benefited by how they played off of each other.

Q: What about the other actors in this A-list cast?

GO: I have been a big fan of John Lithgow for many years. I saw Whiplash and wanted to meet with J.K. Simmons I am a massive Jeffrey Tambor fan. I was fortunate that everyone we offered the part to said a resounding yes.

Q: Do you think this movie blurs the line between good guys and bad guys?

GO: Yes, it’s blurry. Chris’ character is a black market accountant who un-cooks the books for very dangerous clients. He doesn’t enjoy this, and in the story line there is a young woman named Dana (played by Anna Kendrick) who is amazing, and who sees an amazingness in Chris. When her life is threatened, he’s only acting out of protecting someone that he cares about.


Q: This movie does involve many genres – a thriller, suspense film and an action movie, with great shooting scenes and some tender family moments. Tell me about this.

GO: Yes, there is an emotional connection. Also, I don’t view the violence as gratuitous. It’s an action movie, and it makes you think.

Q: How so?

GO: If you think of the autism gene disappearing for any reasonwe would lose some of the most brilliant, brightest musicians and artists on the planet. Yes, as a parent it is a much tougher job, but it is also incredibly fulfilling. We learned that given the opportunity these men and women can do anything they put their minds to. One reason people are responding to the film, is that once Chris starts revealing the various parts of himself, you are already so invested in him and his character.

Q: I have to know – were the math problems scribbled all over the office walls accurate?

GO: Yes. They were all real math problems. It was pretty challenging to create all the thousands of numbers and equations. I had a professor from Georgia Institute of Technology and he was really helpful in creating all of that. They were all accurate formulas.

Q: What is the initial audience reaction?

GO: The response has been extremely positive. We screened the movie for Autism Speaks and we heard from many parents and people on the spectrum. Everyone told us they were really pleased. Those young men and women were really moved by the film and that’s the most gratifying litmus test for me.

The post Exclusive Interview With ‘The Accountant’ Director Gavin O’Connor first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Plan To Embark On A Stellar Adventure In ‘Voyage Of Time’


(PCM) The perfect blend of art and science can result in stellar discoveries.

That is what is behind the extraordinary “Voyage of Time,” a creative and thought-provoking one-of-a-kind IMAX documentary about the unfolding of time that will certainly make students of science and history out of all of us.

The film, a true labor of love from director Terrence Malick, (“The Thin Red Line,” “Days of Heaven,” and “The Tree of Life,”) is a “visual celebration of life” and the grand history of the cosmos, transporting audiences into a vast — yet up-close and personal journey — that spans the eons from the Big Bang Theory and the dinosaur age to our present day human world.

This is a unique endeavor starting with Malick, a masterful filmmaker, behind the camera and narrators Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett lending their voices. With the addition of award-winning scientists and other experts bring their perspective, the film is a true wonder and considered to be a sensual cinema of science.

“Voyage of Time” has been released in two unique formats: “Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey,” the 90-minute experience narrated by Cate Blanchett, which takes the audience on a poetic journey full of open questions, and “Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience,” a 45-minute, IMAX adventure for audiences of all ages, that is narrated by Brad Pitt.

The film’s panorama of awe-inspiring images takes viewers into the heart of monumental events never witnessed – from the birth of the stars and galaxies to the explosion of diverse life-forms on planet earth, including humankind. This is a cosmic experience – a hymn to the glories of nature, life and scientific discovery – in which all the elements come together to form Malick’s most original film to date.


Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Glass says that what he adores about his job is that he has a great deal of fun with every project. “This project had an incredible range and there was a great deal to understand to pull it off. It paid to learn all of it because it was such an incredible experience.”

Glass is best known for imaginative comic-book fantasies, “The Matrix” sequels and “Batman Begins.” Working with Malick on “Voyage of Time” took Glass into uncharted territory. It was a project that spurred Glass into reading that he never imagined – about such mind-blowing realities as the primordial Population III stars that are said to have brought the earliest sparkles of light to the universe; and the tiktaalik fish that wandered out from the sea to walk on land, altering the planet forever.

The process was life-changing for Glass. “I’ve always had a fascination with the beginnings of life and everything in the universe, but this has really furthered that and compelled me to look at the world in a new way. Every day is exciting now as I get up and start looking at things closer than I ever have,” he said.

“You realize that your life is only a very small part of a bigger story, and yet you also see how all of these incredible occurrences, these chance events, have led up to who we are right now. That’s an amazingly empowering idea. And it’s a story that isn’t over – it will go on and on,” explained Glass.


Glass said he hopes the film has successfully communicated the fascination and wonder of the world around us. “We hope that after seeing the film someone will look out each day and look at the world in a different light and question how we are, who we are and where we come from. It is heavily rooted in scientific theory, at the same time it is experiential and encouraging people to appreciate what is around us and have curiosity about where it comes from.”

Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, of the Perimeter Institute, another key science consultant on the film, says he was equally moved by the film. The Ontario, Canada-based Perimeter Institute is an independent research center in foundational theoretical physics.


Q: Please tell me about how you came to this project?

Lee Smolin: I wasn’t involved in the beginning since Terrence Malick has been working on this for decades. I was contacted years ago by the producers who asked if I would be interested in being an advisor on the project. Over the last two years I played a small role in advising, reviewing drafts, commenting, and answering questions.

Q: How do you feel about the finished film?

LS: I saw several versions of both films – the short and long versions — and felt they were successful and inviting. Terrance has done an extraordinary job of taking the understanding of the history of the universe that we scientists have worked on for decades and made a visual poem in honor of it.

Q: Is that how you see this movie?

LS: I see it in many ways. But, yes, it is a very spiritual piece of art. The film celebrates the beauty of the universe and asks over and over in different ways, ‘What are we doing here? What is our role? What is the meaning of our existence in this beautiful and universal world? It is not really a documentary; it is more an homage or an invitation to wonder.

Q: Why do you feel you were asked to become an advisor on this film?

LS: I’m a theoretical physicist and I have written books that address deep philosophical questions that attempt to explain monumental questions such as – What is the universe? What is time? Why is their life in the universe? These are all questions that everybody wonders about and that explore our knowledge of the universe for lay people. It is put in a provocative way to inspire us to keep asking these questions. The filmmakers asked for my perspective.

Q: Do you feel if someone is religious they would not appreciate this film since sometimes faith and science can seem at odds with one another?

LS: Not at all. I don’t see any conflict with spirituality. The science behind the film is correct. It is also not about a particular religion – Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other faith. It is about the yearnings we as people need to address about the universe.

Q: Please tell me about the two versions of the film.

LS: The long version is narrated by Cate Blanchett, who addresses the universe in the persona of a mother. It is a spiritual idea that the universe something we should honor.

Q: Tell me about the other version.

LS: The shorter version, narrated by Brad Pitt, was meant for groups of school children and is teaching what they are seeing. It is not like a nature or national geographic film that tells you what you are seeing, point by point; the point of this movie is that the universe is beautiful and surprising and this is a way to be immersed in the experience of the beauty of the universe. The narration is addressed to a young girl, who we are supposed to imagine is the narrator’s daughter, and there are a few scenes where the young girl appears.

Q: You are the father of a 10-year-old son, who you say is subjected to rote learning. What do you do to overcome that for him?

LS: I do my best. I did a lot when he was younger. I would explain things to him and tell him stories, and we would play math games to have fun with numbers and shapes. One of the things I emphasized was doing the work in his head, which is not the way the schools teach. So I had to go in and talk to his teacher who insisted that they require the students to show the work on the paper. I have been teaching him since he was two years to figure out all the equations in his head. Sometimes it has been very frustrating – but rewarding.

Q: How do you feel about the fact that so many girls and young women, who are capable, are scared of pursing science and math careers? These careers could change their lives in the same way that it changed yours if they had the confidence to do this.

LS: I am very concerned about that. The role of girls and women in science has been a big concern of mine and others for many years. Biology, medicine, and earth sciences are great careers that girls lag behind in entering.

Q: You also say that you don’t agree the way math and science is taught in many schools today.

LS: Even in our better schools, math and science education seems to be emphasizing rote learning – they don’t focus on the beauty and wonder of it all. So many girls and boys are intimidated by math that they are afraid of making mistakes. They have to understand that everybody makes mistakes and the people who become mathematicians and scientists are able to correct it and go on. They don’t feel a lack of confidence. In order to make a discovery, you have to have first made every possible mistake. So it’s really all about being resilient, and having confidence. There are so many lost opportunities both for the people involved and in society as a whole.

The post Plan To Embark On A Stellar Adventure In ‘Voyage Of Time’ first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Exclusive Interview: Alice Cooper Wants To ‘Make America Sick Again’

alice-cooper1(PCM) The legendary Alice Cooper is without a doubt one of the hardest working men in music industry. He is constantly touring either with his solo band or with the Hollywood Vampires featuring Joe Perry and Johnny Depp and of course there is always new music brewing on the horizon.

I have no idea how this man even finds time to sleep these days between touring, writing, recording his radio show, and of course getting in some time to hit the golf course. I suppose the phrase no rest for the wicked could apply here, but not in this particular case because honestly there is not a wicked bone to be found within the “Godfather of Shock Rock”.

Seriously, one of the most honest and humble artists I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with which is why I’m thrilled to share our wonderful Q&A discussing everything from politics and satire to writing and recording the next Alice Cooper record, as well as, his upcoming performance at the Reading Eagle Theater at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA.

Q: The upcoming election is obviously at the forefront of everyone’s mind currently. Can you talk about how you are having a bit of fun with this while out on the road?

ALICE COOPER: If there ever was an election to have satire on it’s this one and it sure has comedians coming out of retirement. Both of them must keep shooting themselves in the foot. But, it’s funny because I’m not political at all, I am the least political guy ever on the planet and when I did the song “Elected” back in 1972 and every four years now it show back up and really connects with what’s going on.  This year it was so easy to satirize this one and when you come and see the show you’ll see Hillary and Trump on stage.  They’ll both be up there.

Q: Can you talk about the ways in which as song like “Elected” has come full circle?

AC: The song when we did it was almost a tribute to The Who, with power chords and all. We already had “School’s Out” and a bunch of big hits so we felt that this song really kind of lends itself to being a tribute Pete Townsend with the big, big power chords and all that and we never really expected it to do what it did like being the #2 song in England and such a big hit all over. So, it actually accidentally became a hit and now every four years it raises it’s head up because everybody connected up with the election. I’m really surprised that nobody’s ever really used it as an election or campaign song. They keep using things from Fleetwood Mac and bands like that, you would like somebody would rock n’ roll with a song like “Elected”.

Q: You would definitely think that. How would you feel?

AC: I wouldn’t mind that. I’m trying to take the high road on this one. Everyone is so worried that Trump is going to be President and then everybody’s so worried that Hillary’s going to be President, but I’m going to go with a different thing. I’m going to say whoever is the President may be the greatest President we ever had, that’s how I’m going to look at it and then let them prove me wrong.  If they’re going to blow it than let them blow it, but right now I’m going to take the positive route and say they may be the best President ever.

Q: I like that. I know that you have said in previous interviews that rock n’ roll and politics don’t always mix and I always think that music can be used as an escape for a lot of that, what are your thoughts? Can you agree with that?

AC: Really, what I don’t like personally is that it is kind of unfair to treat your fan base like cattle or sheep. Like for example, if you don’t vote for who I’m voting for you’re not my fan. First of all, why would you ever go to a rock star for advice on politics? Seriously, I would go to anybody but a rock star for political advice! I’d go to my dentist, my doctor, the guy that shines my shoes , the guy at the car wash, probably knows more than we do and most rock stars spend all their time writing music or partying or whatever, so why would you ever consider that person to be a political genius.

Q: That is definitely an excellent point.

AC: A rock star writes lyrics and immediately people think well, he knows more than I do. No, no he doesn’t!

Q: You have always been looked at as the ‘Godfather of Shock Rock’, however do you find that anything is rock is truly shocking anymore? Is there anything that stands out to you these days?

AC: I think it’s shocking how boring rock is right now! Rock n’ roll used to be outlaws, if you were a rock star, you were an outlaw and you were not part of the establishment. Now these young rock bands haven’t connected up with that and I would say 90% of the rock bands just want to fit in and I’m going ‘Why?’. The golden age of rock n’ roll you had Bowie, Alice, The Rolling Stones and people like that and the last thing we wanted to do was fit in. We wanted to be the outsiders, but now I look at young bands and I go ‘why do you all want to look alike?’ and it seems like any band can look like any kid, like any kid in the mall could be in a band.

Believe me, when the Alice Cooper Band walked into a room, you knew it was Alice Cooper Band.

Q: Definitely. There is certainly a generation appeal to your music because what certainly used to anger parents has flipped and parents are now introducing their kids to the music and you have fans of various ages coming out to shows.

AC: Oh, of course, our fan base is aged 14 to 70 and we still have a big fan base of kids aged 15 to 25 and are usually the first 50 rows and then the older generation are there because of not just nostalgia, but they love those songs and grew up with those songs and we were their band. It’s the first generation where a guy can take his son and his father to the show and they are all Alice Cooper fans. Classic rock appeals now I think to the 15 year old kid. Could you imagine to be a 15 year old kid and just discovering The Doors or just discovering Jeff Beck or Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix, I think I would be like ‘Are you kidding …who are these guys?’ so, really the music that happened in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s is very timeless.

Q: Absolutely! That’s why I think it is so amazing what you did with both Joe Perry and Johnny Depp with the Hollywood Vampires as a tribute to that era of music.

AC: Bringing it to a young public and they are sitting there going ‘Wow, did you guys write these songs?’ and it’s like ‘No, Jimi Hendrix wrote this, The Doors wrote this, T. Rex wrote this’ and if any of these songs came out today they would be just as powerful. Now, I look at music from the 90’s and 2000’s on up as almost being disposable. It’s almost too much techno … too much manufactured music.

Q: Are there any plans for the future with Hollywood Vampires

AC: Yeah. I think the Vampires have proved that you can do every song from the 60’s and 70’s and make an entire show of it and make it really exciting. First off, the band never went up there with any sort of indulgence or pride. The band went up there to rock that audience and we went up there to give em’ hell.

Q: My favorite scene in the film “Wayne’s World” is the backstage history lesson with you. I don’t know why I picture a backstage conversation with you and the rest of the band being very similar to that.

AC: It is kind of funny with the juxtaposition of everybody in this band with the long hair and the tattoos, running around backstage and then they are like Jeopardy and are really smart. The funny thing is, that the guys in my band actually are like that!  They look really, really tough, but they could sit there an play Trivial Pursuit with these guys and they are just educated about everything.

Q: Can you tease us with any news about work on a new album and the direction that may be headed?

AC: It’s in the writing stage and right now you never know what an album is going to be until it takes it’s own shape. You start out with an idea and I told them I wanted something that would be like “Killer” part two and I brought that up to the original guys in the original band and I brought it up with my band and other writers that I write with and we have a ton of music coming in. It’s really going to be the best 12 or 13 songs that are going to make the album. We pick the best songs regardless of who wrote them and that’s the way Ezrin and I have always worked. We don’t do filler. So, if the original band wrote three great songs, well, they will be on the album.

Q: We have seen so many changes within the music industry over the years. Which has had the biggest effect on the way you approach writing and recording, as well as promotion for an album.

AC: It’s a different world now only because in our day it was all about the Hollywood publicity stunt. You had album art, where you could actually see album artwork and Warner Bros just gave us the right to do whatever we wanted to do as far as the art went. We designed “School’s Out”, we designed “Billion Dollar Babies”, every single album they said you know this stuff better than we do, so it was really nice to have control over all of that and at the same time have control over the music, the image, everything. I think that is kind of what is missing now and there is not enough bands out there that are really concerned about the whole package. You know, you gotta have the whole package. You can’t just have one thing.

If you’ve got somebody writing your songs all the time, there’s something that’s not right about that. Bands should be writing their own songs.

Q: Absolutely! I think even when you mention things like the album artwork, I am one that truly misses the visual side of things so much because I think we get trapped in a singles market where everyone is just picking one and done. No one is paying attention to things like liner notes and album cover art where so much meaning used to be hidden waiting to reveal itself to the listener.

AC: You know the crazy thing is and this is really interesting. In the last year vinyl sales have jumped 85% and the reason is, at least I think, is the next generation is tired of buying air. You get on the internet and buy a single and you don’t get anything, whereas the younger kids now are buying record players and their buying records. They then sit there and look at the records and they own the record and they can read through who wrote what on the record, meaning who wrote what songs. I sign more records now than CD’s or anything else.  It’s amazing and it’s definitely really cool that the record world is making a comeback.

Q: I love the perfectly imperfect sound of vinyl and I just don’t think it can be matched any other way.

AC: Yeah, it’s great. There is just something organic about vinylwith buying a record, putting it on the turntable and putting the needle down and listening to it, whereas, there is something, I don’t know, almost clinical about putting music on your computer or hitting a button on your phone and hearing a record … it just doesn’t sound good.

Q: Can you talk about your upcoming touring plans. I know we have the show coming up this week at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA to look forward to!

AC: For me, I’ve been on this tour and I’ve been out with the Hollywood Vampires and at the same time writing for multiple bands, doing the radio show and it’s funny because I think I’m busier now, at 68 than I was at 28! But it’s great!  I’m probably healthier now. When I was 28, I was a mess downing a bottle of whiskey a day. Now at 68, I could run a race around Alice Cooper when I was 28.

Q: Alice, thank you so much for speaking with me today! We are very much looking forward to checking out the upcoming live show!

AC: I think you’re going to love the show! The show is really fun and I think that everybody that walks out of that show goes ‘Wow! I wasn’t expecting that!’

Alice Cooper will perform at the Reading Eagle Theater at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA on Thursday, September 29 at 8:00pm.

This post came fromExclusive Interview: Alice Cooper Wants To ‘Make America Sick Again’ - unSkinny Pop

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