Wednesday, August 15, 2012

13 Questions With Phantom Troublemaker - Jason Wilson

Jason Wilson is an editor who works in film and television. He has also been in more punk rock bands than you could shake a duct tape-covered mic stand at. His current project is Stopper: The Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad. Well, he has a shit-ton of current projects, but that’s the one he’s here today to promote.
            I’ve known Wilson since the mid-90’s, but only reconnected with the guy a couple of years ago at a Tone Deaf Pig-Dogs show. I had no idea he was all famous and powerful and award-winning and stuff. I thought he was just a funny dude in a hat.

1) Where were you born and what is one way that place has affected you as a person?
A)  In a hospital to the best of my recollection, but let's jump into what I want to talk about....I was raised in Fayetteville, Georgia.  When I was a boy, there was this character named Michael that lived up the street from me.  He did crazy shit on the reg (is that how the kids say it?).  Once, he was trying to light a fart in his garage while I was standing there watching him...pants around his ankles, anus aimed to the sky as he lay on his back with his legs up over his head, fumbling with a lighter.  His mother walked out the door as he sat there with all his stuff hanging standing over him watching.  She looked up at me in shock as if something unholy was about to take place between he and I.  I said nothing.  I walked out of that garage and went straight home.  You can't explain that kind of shit....not to the puritans of society.  Good woman, that one.  What were we talking about again?  

2) What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
A)  So many segments of a younger age, I would say it was the Millennium Falcon (although I had this space ship I loved before that..."Star- something".  It broke into 3 segments to make other space ships and it was mad awesome.  No franchise affiliation that I'm aware of.)  Castle Grayskull a little bit later on...really, the majority of those He Man figures and vehicles were pretty damn cool!  What I would really like to harp on is the shit I never got....the AT-AT, for example.  Too big.  Too expensive.  Not a lot of money for such foolishness, I guess.  My mother was awesome and would try to accommodate, but not always on time...I remember being in 10th grade and her excitedly telling me that Wal-Mart had marked down the G.I.Joe aircraft carrier (the name escapes me.  USS Flagg?)...did I still want it?  I almost didn't have the heart to point out that this would impede my already terrible chances at scoring with the ladies.  My mother worked at Wal-Mart, so I guess she could have used her employee discount on top of the markdown.  This was probably a proud moment for her.  Perhaps, I should have just accepted.  Whatever.

3) What is one album everybody should own?
A)  The Clash- London Calling.  This is one of the first albums I bought my son (he was 8 at the time).  The Clash were never loud enough or fast enough for me to be anymore than a casual fan of when I was younger.  As I've gotten older, I've gained a great appreciation for them.  It's hard to narrow it down to one album, but that one springs to mind because I made it a big deal that I wanted to make sure Brody could someday tell people "the first CD I owned was London Calling".  "Ramones- Ramones", "Mission of Burma- VS", "Wire- Pink Flag", "Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters", "Television- Marquee Moon"....these are all up there for me too, but you said just one, right?  Who do I think I am?  James Warbington?

4) Is your current occupation a career?
A)  I suppose it is.  I work in TV and Film.  Some of it is madly entertaining...some of it is tedious and terrible.  I work on films some days and get to be creative and have a good time.  Then there's the "money projects".  I recently finished a medical video that was essentially 47 minutes of a decapitated head being dissected.  The awesome part was that I was hired to "save" this project.  This thing had been mishandled from the preproduction in California, to the shooting in Michigan, to the editing in New Jersey.  Even the doctors were screw ups...they had apparently dropped the head, causing some bruising.  Part of my job was putting a blur over the side of the head that was dropped...frame by frame, trying to disguise the bruising as the camera zoomed and moved around.  Also, as I edited further into their raw footage, I asked "Am I crazy or is the head looking worse and worse?".  I was informed that I was in fact crazy, however, I was right...they had forgotten to refrigerate the head the night before, thus I was slowly watching the head "rot".  I will let you decide if this project was tedious and terrible or madly entertaining.  I'm just not sure, myself.   

5) If so, how and when did you realize that? If not, what are you working towards?
A) It's the first type of work I've had where I was given business cards.  That is obviously the sign of a career, right?  I mean, if they had given me business cards at Subway, then I would have considered that a career.  It's the simple things in life. 

6) Who is your favorite wrestler and why?
A)  George "the Animal" Steele.  I always loved watching him fighting Macho Man over the Lovely Elizabeth.  Also, I would like to throw out there my love affair with "Hollywood and Vine" from GLOW Wrestling.  I was 12...I have no doubt they were not as attractive as I remember them, so I haven't even looked them up on the Googles.  No need for shattering dreams and what not.

7) What are the best shoes you’ve ever owned?
A)  How does one gauge their answer?  Practicality?  Comfort?  My Converse Allstars were always my favorites, but they managed to start breaking down the arches in my feet, so I had to steer away from them.  Sadly.  When I was in Round Ear Spock, J had a song called "Rocks for shoes".  It was essentially a love letter to the idea of tying rocks to your feet with strings, as Gluk the caveman would do, way back in the old days.  Yep.  Those were good times, indeed.

8) How did you become involved with Stopper: The Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad?
A)  This question has a smiley face with sunglasses, so I can tell I should think this one out a bit more.  Well...once upon a time I was in a band (I was in a bunch of damn bands, as a matter of fact) called Stopper.  Stopper was fun, but it was born to be short-lived.  You couldn't keep up with the pace in a band like that for very long.  A lot of drug abuse, drinking, and general shithead shenanigans.  Once Stopper ended in 1996, the shenanigans continued....with the singer ending up heavily addicted to heroin.  He made a "suicide by cop" attempt at a Fayetteville drugstore and ended up with a pretty long prison sentence.  Former members of Stopper and friends of Dave have come together to try and raise money to help his mother with legal fees, as well as make an attempt to get him into a prison with a rehabilitation program.  Otherwise, he's likely to come out and end up doing what he was doing before.  Soooo....the documentary, "Stopper: The Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad" is a part of the money making machine to help with our cause.  I have other projects, but that one is the focus of my efforts at the moment, so that's what we'll talk about.    

9) Which actor do you feel like you could sit and watch for hours no matter what they were doing and why?
A) That's a tough one.  I would say Bruce Campbell, but that bastard Warbington already took that.  Steve Buscemi is always interesting to me.  He has a lot of dogs, but I enjoy watching him.  Christopher Walken is similar.  These are character actors that get their share of kudos for being kooky looking oddballs, but you forget Buscemi doing something like "Tree's Lounge" or Walken in "Deerhunter" or "The Dead Zone".  They are good at what they do...beyond being goofy looking.  10 years ago, I would have told you that Johnny Depp is interesting to me, but his love affair with Tim Burton's sinking ship has grown tiresome.  Time to move on, Johnny.  You were great in "Fear and Loathing..." and "Gilbert Grape".  It's time to do real stuff again...quit being oddball of the week in Burton's nightmarish remakes.   

10) What inspires you to do what you do?
A) I like creating things.  When I was a kid, I was damn sure that I would be an artist...comic book preferably, but I was sure that I would be drawing for a living.  By my later teenage years, I was done with that fantasy and was sure that music would be my career path.  By my mid 20's, I knew that was foolish and decided film and video would be my career.  The common denominator in all of these things is A. these are all career paths your parents try to talk you out of and B. each of them have some form of self expression.  I can't imagine doing anything else.  I've had tons of frustratingly dull jobs over the years and knew early on that I had to escape that somehow.  Pursuing improbable career paths also helped extend my childhood well into what should have been adulthood.  I'm good with that.  Fuck being an old man.    

11) What is something you cannot wait to see or have more of?
A) There's a lot of things I am excited about in the future.  First, although I am sick of all the remakes and reboots, I still am not tired of all the superhero movies.  I know the world is getting pretty fed up with them, but I've dreamed about seeing Avengers on the big screen since I was a kid!  I am still excited for all of that!  Call me a dork if you like.  I'm also looking forward to seeing some of these projects I'm involved in get finished.  But that's just me being a shill once again.    

12) Is there a movie that should never be remade and if so which one?
A) There's lots of them that shouldn't be remade.  There's the obvious choices...Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, Star Wars...too late for King Kong.  These are films that are held in such high esteem, you really can't match that.  Why bother?  Kind of like someone trying to do a cover of "Thriller" a non-ironic way.  You can't match that original idea, so maybe you should move forward with your thoughts and quit trying to ride the coat tails of people that were obviously smarter and more talented than you.  Less obvious films that should be left alone (and I fear they won't be left alone) are "Dead Alive" (or Brain Dead), "Slingblade", "No Time for Sergeants", "Nightmare on Elm Street"...wait....anyways, these are films that achieved cult status for one reason or another.  They may not have been monetary hits immediately, but they gained a following and made their money eventually.  Again these are films that are held on such a pedestal that you can never appease the fans of the original and the ideas weren't popular enough to hit a larger audience anyways.  I heard there was a remake of "Drop Dead Fred" in the works at one point.  What is the thinking there?  I love "Drop Dead Fred", but this is a film that ruined careers.  Was "Water World" next?  They scrapped the "Fred" remake eventually, but it shows that nothing is ever fully dead...they will dig that fucker up 10 years from now and try to reheat it again.      
13) Closer – can you sell me cold on your current project? Take as long as you want.
A)  Well, obviously I want to sell you people on "Stopper: The Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad", as I mentioned above.  The story itself goes beyond the band...everyone knows someone that has gotten in over their heads with addiction.  It's relatable.  On the surface, it's a punk rock tragedy, but really it's more than that.  It's a guy with unbelievable talent that pissed his life away.  It's sad and it breaks my heart even typing this out (for the 100th time!).  Talking about all of this never gets easier for me, but I know this needs to be promoted...we can't continue putting addicts behind bars and throwing away the key.  There needs to be some form of rehabilitation for them, otherwise the cycle begins again once they get out.  Through we are also selling his artwork that he creates in prison (the "store" is not open yet, by the way!).  
All money going to his legal fees.  The idea is that we can maintain this for him until he gets will be waiting for him as a revenue stream upon his release.  Anyways, check out the trailer.  

I would also like to take a second to make a push for James Warbington's film, Black Earth.  The guy is putting together a kick ass film and for the price of one ticket to see the next Avatar film or whatever dumbass reboot you deem to put your money towards, you could be supporting an indie you get a copy of the DVD!  I've known James for a long time and this bastard works his ass off to support his friends and has always been out there promoting for whatever foolishness his friends cook up...including me!  Help the man out!  I saw a rough cut a few weeks back and it's a fun movie!    

I have nothing else to sell the good citizens of this fine nation.

At this point Wilson took advantage of me – in a way differently than he normally does – and threw in his own, final question. Kind of a stamp of uniqueness for an already good Q&A session. I’ll let him get away with it this time, but when we do an actual interview in the future I’m striking a question from his list.

14) What is your favorite flavor of Dum Dum? 

A) Just to buck the system, I've added my own 14th question to your "13 questions with Phantom Troublemaker".  No reason for silly formalities here.  If we were good with numbers, we'd have chosen much more lucrative business ventures.   Correct?  Anyways, thanks for asking.  My favorite flavor Dum Dum is root beer.  Whenever we went to the bank when I was a child, I would fish through that bowl for a root beer Dum Dum.  Woe is the teller that had nothing but "pineapple" or that abomination that was simply a "?".  What kind of plan is that?  We don't know what flavor this is?  Well, if you don't know, who the hell does?  You made it, Melvin.  Is it the flavor of a 9 year old's broken heart?  Assholes.  So yeah....root beer.  

Also, since Wilson asked the question I feel it’s only fair for me to provide an answer, as well. That way he looks less like a lunatic for answering himself.

             A) Pineapple. Asshole.


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