Nominees revealed for sixth annual music awards

1 Feb

We are pleased to announce the nominees for this year’s sixth annual Limelight Magazine Music Awards. Like prior years, the nominating process was completely fan driven, with the exception of “Song of the Year” which was nominated by radio DJs who support the local music scene. We received so many nominations for “Video of the Year” that we were able to break down the category into two separate ones, “Video of the Year” (Solo) and “Video of the Year” (Group). Furthermore, we added one new category: “Young Performer of the Year.”

As to how the nominees were selected, we simply took the top eight artists who received the most nominations by e-mail and placed them in each category. Some bands received as many as 40 nominations. Anyone who won an award in a specific category last year is ineligible to be nominated for that same award this year, unless it’s for new music being released (such as a song, album, or video). Public voting begins today and ends at 11:45 PM on Friday, Feb. 7.

An all-ages awards ceremony will be held at South Shore Music Hall in Quincy, Mass., on Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., where the winners will be revealed. Advanced tickets can be purchased online HERE. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of show.

Like last year, eight artists will be randomly selected from all the nominees and asked to perform at the awards show. Performing at the ceremony does not mean that artist has won an award.

Check out the list of nominees below and be sure to vote in our poll HERE.

Young Performer of the Year

Jessie Chris

Closer Than We Appear

Four Noble Truths

Emily Hodges

Nolan Leite

Esmeree Skye

21st Century Fugitives

 Tribute Band of the Year

All Heart: Tribute to Heart

The American Who Sensation: Tribute to The Who

Beatles for Sale: Tribute to The Beatles

Clock Strikes Ten: Tribute to Cheap Trick

Fire Lake: Tribute to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Forever Young: Tribute to Neil Young

Power of Love: Tribute to Huey Lewis & the News

Young Rust: Tribute to Neil Young

Live Act of the Year (complete)

The Aldous Collins Band

Bigtalkahh

Daddie Long Legs

            Patrick DeCoste

Freevolt

Richard James and The Name Changers

A Simple Complex

Weld Square

Female Vocalist of the Year

Susan Cattaneo         

Brianna Grace           

Dorian Havers

Lisa Markovich

Amanda McCarthy   

Ilene Springer

Natalie Turgeon

Eva Walsh

Male Vocalist of the Year

Daniel Byrnes

Jeff Conley

Greg Lato

Joe Merrick

Sean O’Loughlin

Andrew Smith

Jonah Tolchin

Kevin Williams 

Song of the Year

            Dalton and the Sheriffs – “Cheap Guitars”

Shaun England – “Tied to the Tracks”

            Kiley Evans & Joe Merrick – “We’d Be Lying”

The McGunks – “Working On A Hangover”

Christian McNeill & Sea Monsters – “If You Need Some (Come and Get Some)”

Fil Pacino – “Death By Lions”

Jessica Prouty Band – “Set Me Free”

            Brian Sances Band – “Driving Home”

Album of the Year (Group)

Sam Bowen and Blue Cat Groove – Self-Titled

Beyond Blonde – Purple Rose

The Cranks – Orange

Elcodrive – The Long Way Home

For The Love of Sloane – Curses, Spells & Charms

Propergander – Wide Open

21st Century Fugitives – Regret Nothing

            Glenn Yoder & the Western States – Javelina           

Album of the Year (Solo)

Rich Antonelli – Voiceless

Sarah Blacker – Precious Little Things

Lisa Couto – Not Going Under

Julie Dougherty – In This Place

Ian Fitzgerald – No Time To Be Tender

Jamie Lynn Hart – Live At Tupelo

Adam Jenson – Behold the Man

Ashley Jordan – Nothing In Doubt

Hard Rock, Metal, Hardcore Act of the Year

Along Came the Flood

BlackLight SunRise

Centerlink

Carnivora

Hellspeak

Matalon

Red Equals Meltdown

We Stand in Awe 

Country Artist of the Year

Houston Bernard

Country Mile Band

Brianna Grace

Britt Hill

Shanna Jackman

Erin Ollis and the Whiskey Rye Band

Joe Macey

            Jilly Martin

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Blocks of Seven

Sam Bowen and Blue Cat Groove

Closer Than We Appear

Empire Street

Jesse Hanson

House On Cliff

One Time Mountain

Michael Spaulding 

Video of the Year (Group)

Aurora – “Little Traps”

Blocks of Seven – “I Can’t Take It Anymore”

Centerlink – “Distant Voices”

Mostly Commons – “Let It Go By”

The Devil’s Twins – “Love and War”

Paryah – “Stay Away”

Red Equals Meltdown – “What is Dead May Never Die”

Stay Seventeen – “On My Mind”

Video of the Year (Solo)

Krista Angelucci – “Like You”

Tiffani Dawn – “Fever”

Katlyn Evans – “Royals”

Jamie Lynn Hart – “Down”

Ashley Jordan – “If I Had You”

Jilly Martin – “I’m Getting There”

Jay Psaros – “The Orphan”

Will Evans – “Wishin’ Well”

Singer-Songwriter of the Year

Krista Baroni

Brian Carroll

Jesse Hanson

Adam Jensen

Alastair Moock

Kevin G. Moore

Dietrich Strause

Joe Young

Band of the Year

The Can’t Nots

The Field Effect

Mean Creek

Grace Morrison and the RSO

Nemes

A Simple Complex

The Ten Foot Polecats

Torn Shorts

Music photographer gearing up for exhibit at the Narrows

27 Jan
Among the photos appearing in the exhibit are (clockwise, from left) Slash, Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf, Herman Li of Dragonforce and Dave Matthews.

Among the photos appearing in the exhibit are (clockwise, from left) Slash, Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf, Herman Li of Dragonforce and Dave Matthews.

Beginning February 1, 2014, the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., is showcasing a new exhibition of pictures by photographer Kristen Pierson that capture some of rock and roll’s most notable musicians performing live on different stages across North America. Entitled “Driven by Music: A Collective Work by Kristen Pierson,” the exhibit is free and open to the public during normal box office hours and showtimes.

 

A special reception with Pierson will be held on Saturday, February 8, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

 

Pierson, whose work has appeared in multiple publications, including Rolling Stone, Kerrang! Magazine, and Limelight Magazine of New England, took all of the photos over the past decade. She said the exhibit will allow the viewer to experience the fast pace of music photography.

 

“The viewer will feel as if they are part of a particular moment at the show,” said Pierson.

 

Among the musicians featured are Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Grace Potter, Green Day, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds, Heart, and many more.

 

Pierson’s photography career began at the Locobazooka festival in Mansfield, Mass. With nothing but a point-and-shoot camera, Pierson took shots of the bands from two rows back in the center section. When she got home, she looked at the photographs and something clicked inside her head. She knew music photography was her calling. So she invested in some professional camera equipment, and spent several months learning as much about concert photography as possible.

 

Pierson said it took a lot of work just to get credentials to photograph an Alice in Chains concert at Lupo’s in Providence, R.I., on Halloween in 2006. She was nervous that night as Alice in Chains was also shooting footage of the concert for a DVD. She stood by the side of the stage as she got ready to take pictures, not for a publication, but for herself.

 

“To me, that was a big way for me to prove to myself that this was definitely something I could do,” Pierson recalled.

 

Over the years, she recalls some of her favorite bands to photograph have been Shinedown, Mumford and Sons, Heart, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

 

“Every show I shoot gives me an adrenaline rush, whether it’s a local band playing in front of 50 people to a venue filled with 15,000 people,” she said. “Each show is unique in its own way.”

 

Pierson continued, “I guess I could say I’ve always been ambitious anyway. If you devote yourself, you can do whatever you want to do.”

 

Pierson said photographers Annie Leibowitz and the late Jim Marshall are some of her influences.

 

“People like them, that’s what gives others the ambition to want to do this,” she said.

 

Pierson said there is a lot of competition among photographers and while anyone can take photographs, not everyone has the eye for it.

 

“I’ve been told by some people, that I captured the musician’s soul,” she said. “Sometimes you only get one shot at it, then the moment passes you by.”

 

Bands usually don’t pose for the camera at concerts, so Pierson said she always has to have her camera ready and never has her back to the stage.

 

“The best part is the adrenaline rush I get when I shoot, I love that feeling.” Pierson said. “It’s also great when I get a positive response from fans who enjoy the pictures, or when an artist contacts me to license the pictures I took of them. It makes the hard work that goes into this craft even more worthwhile.”

 

The Narrows Center for the Arts is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. The exhibit runs through March 15.

Gundriver delivers the hard rock goods

19 Jan

Tom Potter of Gundriver (Photo by John Endow)

Tom Potter of Gundriver (Photo by John Endow)

Consisting of four talented musicians who joined forces in Los Angeles, California, Gundriver is a rip-roaring, all gas-no brakes rock ‘n’ roll band who are influenced by Black Sabbath and AC/DC. The band recently released their debut album No. 1, which was recorded in less than three weeks. The album features nine tracks, comprised of the four basic elements that make up all great rock music: riffs, grooves, thunderous beats and soaring vocals. They are currently on the road supporting Michael Schenker on most dates of his Bridge the Gap tour. We recently checked in with Tom Potter, the band’s founder and guitarist, who was gracious enough to answer our questions while on the road.

Limelight Magazine (LM): You’re currently on the road supporting the legendary Michael Schenker. How’s the tour going so far?

Tom Potter (TP):  The tour’s going great!  It’s a real pleasure to be out on the road with such a great group of professionals, and we’re enjoying watching Michael Schenker perform every night.  Can’t say enough about the experience.     

LM: Were you fans of Michael Schenker prior to going on this tour?

TP: Definitely! But, I can personally say that I really enjoy live music and getting to watch one of rock’s great guitar players perform every night has been one heck of an experience. We’re all bigger fans now! Michael’s playing is brilliant and [vocalist] Doogie [White] sounds like a million dollars – those guys are the real deal! 

LM: You’ve received a lot of positive feedback on several social media sites about your live performances. What do you like most about performing live on stage?

TP: That’s great to hear!  Rock ‘n’ roll is a real organic thing and the connection with fans live is what we’re after.  Even though we’re all very proud of our first album, we think that our music translates live even better than in the studio and we love being able to bring it to people who love rock.

LM: Who came up with the name of the band? Why was Gundriver selected?

TP: I came up with the name, or actually took it from my time in the Army flying apaches. It’s a term used for people who fly gunships – and after going through the trademarking/domain name search it fit best. 

LM: You’re music is heavily influenced by bands such as AC/DC and Black Sabbath. What are some of the other bands that inspire you?

TP: Zeppelin, Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth, Guns N’ Roses – Jimmy Page had a huge impact on me with regards to song structure and the concept of tension and release so that’s evident in some of the songs. Stevie Ray Vaughn basically taught me to play the guitar, even though it was only through his music I learned how really digging into the guitar can bring out the various colors the instrument has to offer – the growls and screams if you will. 

LM: Your debut album Gundriver No. 1 was released a couple of months ago. How long did it take you to make the record? Are you pleased with the finished product?

TP: It took us six weeks of writing, rehearsing and recording to get it completed.  Those sessions took place in February and June of 2013 in Los Angeles. It was a really cool experience, basically to start things out [vocalist] Scott [Siegel], [bassist/vocalist Crazy] Tomes [and I would work out the basic song sections and vocal arrangements in Scott’s living room. After that, the songs got the final treatment when Alex [Rivas] brought drums into the mix – which usually included some final arrangements; for instance, the bass/drum solo section in “Nothing to Lose” was developed by Alex and Tomes in rehearsals only several days before we went into the studio and it came out great.

We’re pleased with it – obviously your first album teaches you quite a bit from the writing, arranging, recording and producing perspective, so, even though we love it, I would just expect things to get better as we progress. 

LM: Do you have any favorite songs off of it? What makes them your favorite?

TP: [We] all [like] “Against the Darkness.” There’s a funny story attached to that one. Tomes, Scott and I were writing at his house and I had recorded the main riff and we were listening to it.  Scott fell asleep on the couch and, while he was racked out, Tomes came up with that amazing vocal line and I wrote the lyrics while listening to the basic vocal line.  As the song went through the rehearsal/recording process it just got better.  We all are really proud of it. 

LM: The song “Outta My Head” from this album was picked up by the Local MusiCafe on WMVY radio that airs on Tuesday nights from 9 – 10 p.m. Since you’re a California band, how do you feel about it being picked up by a Massachusetts station located across the country?

TP: It’s great that anyone would play our music and we’re appreciative of that anywhere it occurs.  Scott’s the only Californian in the band, I’m a Virginian, Alex is from Illinois and Crazy Tomes is from Israel.  L.A. is great place to make a rock record and it’s where we all met, and since we travel so much it’s what we’re currently claiming as home. 

LM: What are your plans after the tour ends?

TP: Sleep, and then get back to writing songs.  We have a few in the can for our next album and want to push forward towards a strong follow up to No.1.

LM: How can fans purchase your music?

TP: It’s available on a wide variety of digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon.com, etc., or you can pick up a CD at one of the shows! 

LM: Is there anything you’d like to add for anyone reading this?

TP: We’re really glad to see firsthand that the rock n roll public is still very supportive of the genre and we’re having a blast supporting Michael Schenker on this tour – don’t miss it! 

Top 15 albums of 2013

19 Dec

#1 Stryper – No More Hell To Pay (Frontiers)
StryperWith the original lineup intact, Stryper is back and better than ever, releasing the BEST album of their career! This album features melodic and powerful songs, fierce guitar solos, driving drums and bass, great harmonies and soaring vocals from Michael Sweet that I didn’t think were still possible. When people say the glory days of Stryper was back in the 80s, they stand to be corrected. It’s beginning now!

#2 Dream Theater – Dream Theater (Roadrunner)
Dream Theater
The band made a bold statement when they decided to make this a self-titled album and they didn’t disappoint. The music sounds fresh, while having elements of the early Dream Theater sound. The musicianship is once again stellar, with James LaBrie’s singing in top form. It’s another great addition to the Dream Theater catalog.

#3 Steve Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (KSCOPE)
steve wilson
On his third solo album, Wilson has created a truly mesmerizing masterpiece with the help of some incredibly talented musicians. For anyone who likes great music, especially in the prog rock genre, this is for you.

#4 Metal Church – Generation Nothing (Rat Pak)
Metal Church
After a five year hiatus, Metal Church return with another gem to add to their impressive body of work. While I thought it would be impossible to top their last studio release This Present Wasteland, this one does it by returning to the classic sound of their first two albums but still sounding fresh and reinvigorating at the same time. It’s one great song after another and a must have for any metal fan.

#5 Black Sabbath – 13 (Universal)
Black Sabbath
On their first studio album in 35 years with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, Sabbath return reinvigorated with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler playing at their top form. It’s everything you expect a Sabbath album to be and it was definitely worth the wait.

#6 Rob Zombie – Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (T-Boy/Ume)
Rob Zombie
On this infectious release, Zombie comes closer to the sound of White Zombie than any of his other solo releases and cements his legacy as one of the most original artists in the shock rock genre. While not as radio friendly as his classic Hellbilly Deluxe, this album has an energy and intensity to it that has been somewhat lacking on his last two albums. All in all, Zombie delivers yet again!

#7 Deep Purple – Now What?! (Eagle Rock)
Deep Purple
On their first studio album in eight years, the band makes a triumphant return, creating their finest album since Perfect Strangers. The classic Deep Purple sound is back with a few new twists along the way. The band is in top form once again!

#8 Orianthi - Heaven In This Hell (Robo)
Orianthi
While Orianthi’s last solo album geared toward a pop audience, this one is less commercial with a rock and blues vibe. It also features some great guitar work. Kudos to producer Dave Stewart (of The Eurythmics) for taking her under his wing and guiding her with this stellar release.

#9 Ed Kowalczyk – The Flood and the Mercy (Harbour)
Ed K
On his second solo album, Kowalczyk serves up another batch of catchy tunes that is even better than his last solo release. True Live fans should like all of the songs here as well as anyone discovering Ed for the first time.

#10 Queensryche – Queensryche (Century Media)
Queensryche
After hitting their pinnacle with Promised Land in 1994, the band’s albums have been hit or miss ever since. But, with new singer Todd La Torre in the fold, the band has released their finest album since. The classic Queensryche sound is back, complete with complex multi-layered guitars and a driving rhythm section. Queensryche is reborn!!!

#11 David Bowie – The Next Day (Columbia)
David Bowie
Anytime that David Bowie collaborates with producer Tony Visconti, it’s more than certain the record is going to be great and this one is no different. The music is original and fresh, while being reminiscent of his older material at the same time.

#12 Boston – Life, Love and Hope (Frontiers)
Boston
It’s been over a decade since Boston’s last release and this album is a welcome addition to their catalog, featuring a collection of uplifting songs with the classic Boston sound intact. The more you listen the better it gets.

#13 Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (Warner Bros.)
Avenged Sevenfold
This band continues to evolve with each new release and this album shows their maturity and growth. By offering a modern take on the classic metal sound, Avenged Sevenfold reaches new heights as a band.

#14 Fates Warning – Darkness In A Different Light (Inside Out U.S.)
Fates Warning
On their first record of new material since 2004, the band delivers a set of songs that emphasize guitar interplay, atmosphere and fascinating time changes. This album rock on all levels!

#15 Device – Device (Warner Bros.)
Device
Featuring lead singer David Draiman of Disturbed, this album is a step-up from Disturbed’s last release. While there is nothing groundbreaking here, it has the right balance of industrial, hard rock, and alternative metal that make this venture solid from start to finish.

‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ returns to the big screen

4 Dec

Silent-Night-Deadly-Night-Poster

By ADAM P. CRAY

Horror magazine Fangoria is partnering with Screenvision to bring 1984‘s controversial movie, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT back to the big screen beginning today, Dec. 4th,  and running through the 17th. The film will be fully uncut and re-mastered using a high definition transfer.

The film tells the tale of Billy Chapmen, orphaned at age five after witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a Santa suit-clad madman on Christmas Eve. Now 18 and out of the brutal grip of orphanage nuns, Billy is forced to confront his greatest fear, sending him on a rampage, leaving a crimson trail in the snow behind

When SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT was originally released, angered parents picketed theaters where it was being screened, and asked oncoming patrons to sign petitions to have the film removed from theaters. Two weeks later, the film had been withdrawn. Now, it’s getting its most widespread release in nearly three decades.

We recently caught up with writer Michael Hickey, editor/second unit director Michael Spence, and producer Scott Schneid for an exclusive interview with Limelight Magazine.

ADAM P. CRAY: Scott-SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is getting re-released in theatres in a stunning new HD transfer. Did you ever expect the film to get such a widespread re-release?

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: Ummmm…no. (laughs). I had had hopes a few years ago that perhaps. Michael Spence and I were talking about this on the phone a few days ago. We saw the picture at a revival theatre in Los Angeles back in 2006 or 2007. 400 people lined up around the block! It was kind of like being at a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW screening and we just had a blast! It was like a revival meeting. Hooting and hollering and laughing just having a great time. At that point I was thinking “Wow, maybe there’s a market for SNDN as kind of almost like a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW item you could show at post-Thanksgiving up until New Years. Maybe on weekends in college towns for young people at revival theatres.” So that’s kind of where I was thinking.

ADAM P. CRAY: Wow!

SCOTT J. SCHNEID:  I did not expect distribution entities like Fangoria were going to come forward and actually get it out there on this many screens. No, I did not, and I am thrilled.

ADAM P. CRAY: Yeah, me too! Michael Hickey, question for you: how did the story first come about (the original screenplay)? And did the script evolve much from early drafts to the final shooting script?

MICHAEL HICKEY: The story had its original genesis in a script that was given to Scott by somebody whose name shall go unmentioned. Scott found the script useless except for the central idea of a slasher movie about Santa Claus. He never used any part of that script. I’ve never read it. Nobody’s ever described it to me, but he ran with the concept. Scott and his producing partner Dennis Whitehead brought me on board based on a spec script that I had written. We worked out the basic beats of the brand new story together then I went off and wrote a 30-page treatment fleshing out the plot and the structure and characters and some of the dialogue. On the basis of that treatment they got some money together to buy a screenplay and fortunately they bought it from me. I went off for I guess a couple of months and wrote the screenplay based on my treatment which was based on the story we’d worked out together. Of course with each step in that process the story became more elaborate and more completely fleshed and detailed. Once I handed in my screenplay, I would say that the movie changed virtually not at all on its way to the screen. So, the movie that you see this week is identical to about 99 percent of the screenplay that I turned in. All of the dialogue except a couple lines is word for word. Mr. (Charles) Sellier, the director, was very faithful to the written script when he made the film.

ADAM P. CRAY: And that leads into my next question for Michael Spence: so everything in the script was filmed and included in the final cut? Is there any of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT that we did not see? Any scenes or shots end up on the cutting room floor?

MICHAEL SPENCE: Nothing that I remember, nothing significant. This was a very low budget picture with a fairly short shooting schedule. You don’t really have the opportunity a lot of times to overshoot stuff. As far as my memory is that virtually everything that was in the script ended up in the movie.

ADAM P. CRAY: Beautiful!

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: I just want to chime in for one second. Michael Hickey you might remember this as well. There were two short scenes in Michael Hickey’s original screenplay which did not make it into the movie. Michael-remember when the family first arrived at the mental hospital? There was a scene where they were walking down the corridor and some crazy old lady grabs Billy and says “He’s the dopey one, Doctor. Lock him in the room!” or something like that. Is that a scene we originally had in our script?

MICHAEL HICKEY: I don’t remember…There’s a extended edition out on video which has some footage in it that was not in the theatrical release. But having looked that version over on Youtube you can tell the new footage because it’s “work print” or something. Quality goes bad when the added footage comes up. It seems to me (and it’s been a few years since I wrote that) there were no complete scenes. There were trims and ends. It was just some stuff that was tightened for pace.

ADAM P. CRAY: And Scott: as producer, what was the biggest challenge during pre-production and then into production?

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: I wish I could answer that question because Dennis Whitehead and I had co-executive producer credits on the movie. We developed the script with Michael from inception. However, we brought the script to a gentleman who had a deal at Tri Star Pictures in 1984 named Ira Barmak who had a deal at Tri Star to make some low budget films. What ended up happening unfortunately for Dennis and I was that once we made a deal with Barmak, he got the picture funded by Tri Star. We were just young guys 26 or 27 years old and this was our first Hollywood experience and we were kind of frozen out of the production. So, Dennis Whitehead and I developed “the baby”. Michael was the writer. Dennis and I also raised approximately $40,000 at that time for seed money to hire Michael, to pay Michael. Part of that was Michael and we did a lot of the hard work and unfortunately did not get to see our “baby birth”. We were basically locked out of the situation which was sad for us. So, Dennis and I had developed it, raised a huge amount of money, came up with the concept. Michael did all the writing then we did not get to see it come to life. A lot of first time Hollywood people have that kind of experience. It does happen.

ADAM P. CRAY: Oh yeah. I’ve heard stories. (laughs) Scott-what was your reaction to the public’s reaction during the film’s initial release? Did you ever expect parents picketing theatres?

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: No, I did not. I don’t think Michael Hickey or I or Dennis were [when] developing the script. We were just psyched that we were in the middle of this maelstrom of genre movies getting made. Our horror movie/slasher movie seemed a little bit better than your then-typical formulaic slasher movie with a back story told in two minutes somewhere about halfway through the movie. You know the killer is anonymous and the back story is told in two minutes. We decided as we developed the treatment and the script that the back story was actually a really fascinating part of the story. We wanted to get to know this character and see what happened to him from when he was a child. How he was traumatized. So we were just excited about developing this cool script. We knew we were developing an R-rated movie for the teen audience at the time. I can’t speak for Michael but I never thought for one second that there was going to be that kind of backlash.

MICHAEL HICKEY: We’re often asked if we ever expected any of that and since it happened in such a big way there’s a feeling that it must have been inevitable, that you must have seen it coming. But, in reality, to my knowledge, nothing like that ever happened before. It was completely unpredictable. Completely unexpected by Scott and me and Dennis. I’m sure that Tri Star didn’t expect this because their hair caught fire when it happened. It was a total surprise. And who could’ve imagined that the CBS Evening News would cover the opening of a movie like this. What they were covering of course was the controversy. But it just took hold and the fire spread and it got completely out of control…which I thought was hilarious and wonderful. I think Scott did too. Up until Tri Star pulled it. But the movie’s still alive. It was the #3 top grossing movie the weekend that it opened.

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: The picture was made for $1,065,000 I believe it was a negative pickup and in ten days it grossed almost $4,000,000 or a little more at the box office and that was only really on about one-third of the screens in the country. Tri Star was going to release the picture wide to the rest of the country two weeks later but because of the controversy…It was my understanding that Coca Cola (which was a part owner of Tri Star at that time along with CBS and HBO) said “we want this picture out of theaters”.

MICHAEL HICKEY: I guess we showed them didn’t we! (laughs)

ADAM P. CRAY: For sure! Question for Michael Hickey: as you were writing the script, had you thought, or any of you, thought of a future franchise? With sequels being so prevalent today, you can plan for two or three films if the first is successful. Were you guys thinking ahead like this as you were producing the original?

MICHAEL HICKEY: As you can tell if you watch the last minute of SNDN, a sequel was very much on our mind. Basically our movie hands the sequel concept off to whoever would take it up. By setting up the character of Ricky, that last moment in which he looks at the axe on the floor and he has this demonic look on his face and he says “Naughty”. That moment is the reason that there is a younger brother Ricky in the movie at all. That’s the reason the infant is present in the car at the beginning (although his screaming in the night was effective). Yes, we had it in mind although I think that just the implication that there was something more to follow probably is an idea that fulfills itself just by making the suggestion. It could’ve stopped there without a sequel. I think that would’ve been just fine

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: When we were developing the material with Michael Hickey, Dennis Whitehead and I always felt this premise, the script developed and the treatment were something that yes, absolutely was franchiseable. It was going to lend itself to multiple sequels hopefully and we knew that we were pretty certain of that. Unfortunately, as I was telling earlier in the conversation, Dennis and I ended up getting frozen out not only in the production of the film but of any future involvement of any sequels. Had we had future involvement, we would’ve gone back to Michael (Hickey) to write SNDN2 and God knows how many other SNDN’s. (laughs)

MICHAEL HICKEY: Whoever it was that made the sequel clearly had no interest in a new script, a new thought, a new idea. 80 percent of the package is footage that they recycled from the original.

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: 3, 4 and 5 which were all made by LIVE Home Video had nothing to do with our movie. They just used the title: SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. I don’t even think there was a Santa Claus character. They were just capitalizing on the title and the video boom of the mid-to-late 80′s and they were using the title just knocking out these crappy made for video sequels that have nothing to do with the original. For me it was a sad day in a way. Michael certainly would’ve loved to have a hand in steering the ship in the future for SILENT NIGHT’s “children” and he didn’t get a chance to do that.

MICHAEL HICKEY: I definitely would’ve. I don’t think we have anything more to do with the concept once SNDN is over. What can you do that’s not just a repetition?

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: Collect your royalties, Michael! (laughs)

MICHAEL HICKEY: Yeah, that’s true.

ADAM P. CRAY: I think Part 3 actually had the Ricky character, but didn’t have any other resemblance to the first film. That was about it.

MICHAEL HICKEY: I never saw any of them so I suppose I shouldn’t comment on their quality (which I think was atrocious).

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: I’m probably one of the few people in the world that saw Part 2 theatrically. It was released at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. in the back theatre. You know, the Egyptian has the main theatre, then two small theatre bunkers in the back and I was there with three people I think and I could not believe what I was watching. Half, if not more of the movie, was footage from our movie. And I heard that they did it for like $250,000 and just shot the new footage and wrapped the footage from our movie around the new footage.

MICHAEL HICKEY: Let’s talk about ours some more.

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: Yeah, I was amazed.

ADAM P. CRAY: (laughs) I heard that with that second film, they were just going to recut the first film and not even have new footage so that could’ve been much worse. (laughs)

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: (laughs)

ADAM P. CRAY: Why do you guys think the original film has become such a cult classic among horror fans? What do you think sets it apart?

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: Now that all that craziness from the mid-1980s is long gone (all the mothers and the madness and publicity) people can watch it now and appreciate what Michael said before. There’s a real edge of black humor to the movie and satire. A black humor edge to the movie that really comes across when you remove it from all that craziness that was going on in the maelstrom of publicity and craziness that was going on when it came out. And now all these years later you look at it and wow there’s actually a story there that’s a cut above (excuse the bad pun) the typical boring formulaic slasher movie from that era. And on top of it, it’s got that fantastic edge of black humor that Michael brought to the project. I think that’s the big reason it’s lived on.

ADAM P. CRAY: I remember watching it as a young kid and even thinking that the scenes are logical. Everything in the film is logical. How he becomes the killer. It’s organic and I appreciated that even back then. Not just being a cut ‘em up from the beginning. I really like the backstory and what you all did.

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: Thank you.

MICHAEL HICKEY: Thank you. That was really the challenge. That the film presented to us: how do you end up in a Santa suit with an axe in your hand? (laughs)

ADAM P. CRAY: Right!

MICHAEL HICKEY: And so we backed out of that. I’m glad to hear you say that it struck you as logical because that was really a big part of the effort: to sort of line up the dominoes in a way that is sequential. It’s not just the first one but then it’s always fun to watch them fall. You know they’re gonna fall. You know how it’s gonna end up. I always assumed the audience for this movie knew where it was going from the beginning. So watching it get there, watching what happens to Billy and how his descent into Santa Claus-clad madness is pretty ordained. It’s inevitable. He can’t extricate himself from his fate. And so we’re watching fate play itself out on him and I actually think it’s funny. It all is a little bit over the top, tongue in cheek and the audience seems to respond to it which is what I was going for.

SCOTT J. SCHNEID: It’s funny that you say that Michael because when we were trying to set the film up, with Dennis Whitehead, my partner, and get money prior to Tri Star coming into it, I had a meeting with a Canadian producer that had read the script. He said “It was kind of boring in the first half. I really like the second half when Santa goes on his rampage. Why do you have to have all that backstory in the beginning and all that?” I said, “That’s what’s different about it. That’s what’s interesting about it. So you almost sympathize with the character and you understand what that character went through. How the character became and why he became what he became.” I was just getting Formula Slasher 101 back from this money person. That’s not what Michael, Dennis, and I wanted.

ADAM P. CRAY: I remember watching it for the first time paired with HALLOWEEN I & II. At the end of SNDN when Billy dies, I felt terrible. Because of that back story, you understand him. You understand where he was coming from. Maybe over the top, but still very effective.

For a complete listings of screenings in New England, visit http://www.screenvision.com/cinema-events/sndn/#theaters_list.

Adam P. Cray is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and entertainment correspondent. His work includes killerfilm.com and morehorror.com and he has worked at various capacities for MGM and 20th Century Fox studios. His film work can be seen at facebook.com/cinemastarproductions and youtube.com/cinemastarprods.

BOSTON to release first album in over a decade

2 Dec
Tom Scholz of BOSTON (Photo by Gary Phil)

Tom Scholz of BOSTON (Photo by Gary Phil)

More than a decade in the making, Life, Love & Hope features 11 tracks replete with the classic and beloved BOSTON sound, as well as the latest in the evolution of Tom Scholz’ musical artistry. Diverse yet cohesive, this long-awaited album has something for everyone and will fulfill the expectations of existing fans, while exposing a new generation to one of rock and roll’s great acts.

“These are songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of BOSTON’s harshest critic, me,” said Scholz. “They have all been meticulously recorded to analogue tape on the same machines and equipment used for BOSTON’s hits for the past 35 years.”

BOSTON burst onto the music scene with their eponymous best-selling debut album in 1976, and never looked back. With over 17 million copies sold, Boston generated hits such as “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Smokin’,” rock staples that are still in heavy rotation today. Their second effort, Don’t Look Back, was another chart-topper that confirmed their place in rock history, followed by Third Stage, which hit #1 on the charts, with the top single of 1986, “Amanda.” With over 31 million albums sold to date, BOSTON’s music has stood the test of time, as evidenced by live BOSTON audiences that span generations.

Life, Love & Hope includes lead vocals from Brad Delp and prodigy Tommy DeCarlo, as well as Kimberley Dahme, David Victor, and songwriter Scholz himself. This release features tracks that have the characteristic BOSTON trademark guitars, harmonies, and immaculately-crafted sound.  

“I intentionally stayed close to the early BOSTON style on some of the songs, even using the same amps and instruments; on others I let my imagination run wild,” said Scholz.

A beautiful full-color booklet with notes from Scholz and detailed song credits accompanies Life, Love & Hope, which will be released in the U.S. on December 3rd.

Tracklist: “Heaven on Earth,”  “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love,”  “Last Day of School,”  “Sail Away,”  “Life, Love & Hope,”  “If You Were in Love,”  “Someday,”  “Love Got Away,”  “Someone (2.0),”  “You Gave Up on Love (2.0),”  “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Scenes from the Second Annual Buzzard’s Bay Film Festival

17 Nov

All Photos by LEAH ASTORE

The audience at the sold out event.

The audience at the sold out event which was held at Gallery X in New Bedford, Mass.

The audience at the sold out event.

The audience at the sold out event which was held at Gallery X in New Bedford, Mass.

Buzzard's Bay Film Festival Director Tom Gidwitz.

Buzzard’s Bay Film Festival Director Tom Gidwitz.

Olivia Corish, the winner of the Fiber Optic Center Young Filmmaker Award for her film “Buzzards Bay Is…,” accepted her award via Skype.

Olivia Corish, winner of the Fiber Optic Center Young Filmmaker Award for her film “Buzzards Bay Is…,” accepted her award via Skype.

From left, Ben Gilbarg, the director of “American Dreams,” Elise Hugus, producer of “Saving Paradise,” and Mark Rasmussen, president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

From left, Mark Rasmussen, President of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Elise Hugus, Producer of “Saving Paradise,” and Ben Gilbarg, Director of “American Dreams.”

Roger Masson, Grand Prize Winner for “Cuttyhunk,” accepts his award.

Roger Masson, Grand Prize Winner for his film “Cuttyhunk,” accepts his award.

Roger Masson, Grand Prize Winner for “Cuttyhunk.”

Roger Masson was the Grand Prize winner for his film “Cuttyhunk.”

Mike Dunn, winner of the JKB Management & Booking Jury Prize for “Dune Day at Horseneck Beach.”

Mike Dunn was the Jury Prize winner  for his film “Dune Day at Horseneck Beach.” This award came with a pair of tickets to every show booked by JKB Management & Booking in 2014.

Jury Prize winner Mike Dunn and Rachel Astore.

From left, Jury Prize winner Mike Dunn and Rachel Astore.

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