Episode #64: Donna Loren

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Summertime starts this week, so on this episode, we could think of no-one better to speak with than American singer and actress, Donna Loren, best-known for her work in the American International Pictures Beach Party movie franchise.

Loren not only appeared in Beach Blanket Bingo, Bikini Beach, and Muscle Beach Party, but the prolific '60s performer was the "Dr Pepper Girl," the featured singer on Shindig!, and guest-starred on both Batman and The Monkees. She left entertainment at the height of her fame in 1968 to start and raise a family, and while she recorded occasionally in the '80s, didn't return to music in a big way until 2009.

Additionally, she's the mother of that dog's Anna Waronker and Joey Waronker, drummer for Atoms for Peace. Her first book, Pop Sixties: Shindig!, Dick Clark, Beach Party, and Photographs from the Donna Loren Archive, was released last year, and a second edition is out now. We talked about all of this and more in a career-spanning interview.

Tracklist:
Donna Loren, "It Only Hurts When I Cry" (Beach Blanket Bingo)
Donna Loren, "The Devil Made Her Do It! (I Can’t Help It)" (Mansfield 66/67)
Donna Loren, "Among the Young" (Pajama Party)
Donna Loren, "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows" (Shindig!)
Donna Loren, "Beach Blanket Bingo" (Beach Blanket Bingo)
Donna Loren, "Two Timin' Angel" (Sergeant Deadhead)
Donna Loren, "Muscle Bustle" (Muscle Beach Party)

Episode #63: The Ranger

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Director Jenn Wexler's debut feature, The Ranger, is a fun but brutal movie about a bunch of punks who hole up in a cabin while on the lam, only to be stalked and killed by a psychotic park ranger. It's been getting a lot of acclaim from everyone I know who's seen it, so I reached out via Twitter, especially after reading a piece music supervisor Middagh Goodwin wrote for the Modesto View, running down all the great bands he'd lined up for the film.

After watching the movie, I was even more excited to talk with Wexler and Goodwin, and I think it comes through in the interview. We get very goofy, and it's a damn blast.
 

Tracklist:
Charlie Rich, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (Behind Closed Doors)
Rotten UK, "Animal Sacrifice" (That Is Not Dead)
The Avengers, "Teenage Rebel" (Died For Your Sins)
The Atom Age, "It's A Mess" (Hot Shame)
Dayglo Abortions, "Used To Be In Love" (Feed Us A Fetus)

Episode #62: The House on Sorority Row with 4 Out of 5 Doctors' Cal Everett

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On this episode, we talk about Mark Rosman's 1983 movie, The House On Sorority Row, might not be the first to come to mind when thinking about when discussing the slasher genre, but for those who have seen it, it's a real diamond in the rough, with a solid cast and wry sense of
humor that keeps it entertaining from start to finish.

The House On Sorority Row is story of seven sorority sisters who accidentally kill their house mother and are then each picked off by a mysterious killer. Like every sorority or fraternity-based movie, it has a big blow-out party sequence. Since the movie was shot in and around Baltimore, it comes as no surprise that a Washington D.C. power pop band, 4 Out of 5 Doctors would perform at said party.

It took a while to set this up, but we were able to track down and talk with 4 Out of 5 Doctors' guitarist and singer, Cal Everett, about the band's appearance in the film, as well as their history with another lesser-known horror film, The Boogeyman. It's probably our longest episode ever, but the conversation is pretty wonderful.

Tracklist:
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Modern Man" (4 Out of 5 Doctors)
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Dawn Patrol" (2nd Opinion)
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Not From Her World" (4 Out of 5 Doctors)
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Mr Cool Shoes" (4 Out of 5 Doctors)
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Waiting For Roxanne" (2nd Opinion)
4 Out of 5 Doctors, "Waiting For A Change" (4 Out of 5 Doctors)

Episode #61: Nightmare Sisters

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David DeCoteau's 1988 horror comedies, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Nightmare Sisters,  are notable for featuring the trio of '80s scream queens Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer. They're low-budget bits of craziness, loaded with bad jokes, buckets of blood, and copious nudity.

Also in both films is actor Michael Sonye, better known as Dukey Flyswatter, frontman for the Los Angeles splatterpunk band, Haunted Garage. He voiced the imp in Sorority Babes, and played the mystic Omar in the opening to Nightmare Sisters. Additionally, Haunted Garage performed four of the songs heard in Nightmare Sisters. Beyond all of that, Flyswatter has written and acted in quite a few genre films you might be familiar with.

We spoke about all of this via phone with Flyswatter earlier this year, before his recent knee replacement surgery.

Tracklist:
Haunted Garage, "Sorority Sister Succubus"
Linnea Quigley & the Skirts, "Santa Monica Blvd Boys"
Haunted Garage, "Yumpin' Yiminy, Suck on My Chimney"
Haunted Garage, "Incredible Two-Headed Transplant" (Mother's Day)
Haunted Garage, "Brain In A Jar" (Possession Park)

Episode #60: The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale with Eli Braden

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Back in February, Joel McHale made a triumphant return to making fun of TV clips with the show that's definitely not the Soup reloaded, but absolutely definitely is. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale is on Netflix, and it's hilarious and kind of the way I kick off every week. Part of what makes the show so wonderful is the music which plays over the closing credits.

Written and performed by comedian and musician, Eli Braden, the song pokes fun at the fact that most people skip the closing credits to Netflix shows. It's become a surprising hit, and has even begun changing. We talked with Braden about the song, his career in comedy and music, and more.

Tracklist:
Eli Braden, "The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale end credits"
Fuse, "Smack Wham"
Eli Braden, "Laverne & Booey"

Episode #59: The Breakfast Club with Simple Minds' Jim Kerr

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On this episode, we talk about the iconic 1985 John Hughes teenage comedy-drama film, The Breakfast Club, with Simple Minds' Jim Kerr.

The Breakfast Club was written, directed, and produced by John Hughes and starred Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy as the titular kids brought together by Saturday detention in fictional Shermer, Illinois.

The film's spawned memes, quotable lines, and just last week became the subject of a retrospective look in a New Yorker essay by Molly Ringwald, entitled "What About 'The Breakfast Club'? Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo." The Breakfast Club's visuals are iconographic, with the film's poster being lifted by sources as varied as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 and Archie comics.

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However, what's endured most from the 1985 movie has been the soundtrack, and in particular, Simple Minds' Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit, "Don't You (Forget About Me)." The song -- written and composed by producer Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff -- would be Simple Minds' biggest hit, while also one of the few songs not written by the band's vocalist Jim Kerr or keyboardist Charlie Burchill.

Forsey had several instrumentals featured on the soundtrack, along with songs by Wang Chung and '80s soundtrack staple E.G. Daily. It's an impressive array of '80s pop, but Simple Minds' song playing over the closing credits and and Judd Nelson's raised fist, will forever be linked with the film.

Tracklist:
Simple Minds, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (The Breakfast Club OST)
Simple Minds, "All The Things She Said" (Once Upon A Time)
Simple Minds, "Magic" (Walk Between Worlds)

Episode #58: New Year's Evil with Made In Japan's Bobby Asea

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On this episode, we talk about the 1980 slasher classic, New Year's Evil, with Bobby Asea, bassist for Made In Japan. New Year's Evil is fairly amazing, because it's pretty nasty in terms of tone, but it also manages to be a really punk rock kind of film. It's thanks in no small part to the fact that two L.A. area bands, Shadow and Made In Japan, perform during the film's New Year's Eve TV special, which is the setting for the terrorization of the evidently famous Blaze. It's pretty atrocious, but the performances are cool as hell, with Made In Japan's power-pop being especially good.

The band was coaxed out of the woodwork a few years back by the folks at Chicago's Hozac Records, who released two songs from the band's heyday on 7-inch, making this the first time Made In Japan's music has ever been readily available. An announced soundtrack for New Year's Evil never materialized, despite statements in the closing credits of the film, as well as promotional singles sent to radio stations.
 

Tracklist:
Shadow, "New Year's Evil"
Made In Japan, "The Cooler"
Made In Japan, "Instant Hit"
Made In Japan, "Dumb Blondes"
Made In Japan, "You Never Had It So Good"
Made In Japan, "Hey Roxy"

Episode #57: Artie Kane

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On this episode, we talk about a lifetime in the film score world with composer and conductor, Artie Kane, who composed the music for over 250 television shows, conducted scores for 60 motion pictures, and had eight marriages and a career spanning over eight decades.

At the end of last year, Kane released his memoirs, entitled Music To My Years: Life and Love Between the Notes. In the book, out now from Amphora Editions, the musician recounted his life in Hollywood and New York as a child prodigy, composer and conductor working with such stars as Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini, John Williams, and Quincy Jones.

This interview is a little different than most, in that Kane is a very busy man, so we sent him the questions via email, and he recorded his responses at his home studio.

Tracklist:
Artie Kane, "Samba De Orfeu" (Henry Mancini Presents Artie Kane Playing the Swinging Screen Scene)
Artie Kane, "Laura's Nightmare" (The Eyes of Laura Mars OST)
Danny Elfman, "The Frighteners Main Titles" (The Frighteners OST)
Artie Kane, "Dynasty: The Downstairs Bride"
Artie Kane, "Knockout" (Wonder Woman Original Television Soundtrack)

Episode #56: Stan Bush

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On this episode, we talk about '80s action with the one and only, Stan Bush.

If there is a list of iconic '80s movie songs, Stan Bush's "The Touch" has to be be on it. Notably featured in 1986's Transformers animated movie, the song has made repeated appearances in any number of '80s homages, and its soaring opening lines are instantly memorable.

However, while Bush is best known for that song, his work on the early Jean Claude Van Damme hits Kickboxer and Bloodsport, are just as amazing, as well as the highly-underrated "Hearts Vs. Heads" from the equally-underrated 1986 sci-fi teen movie, The Wraith.

Tracklist:
Stan Bush, "The Touch" (Transformers: The Movie OST)
Stan Bush, "Never Surrender" (Kickboxer OST)
Stan Bush, "Hearts Vs. Heads" (The Wraith OST)
Stan Bush, "Fight to Survive" (Bloodsport OST)
Dirk Diggler, "The Touch" (Boogie Nights OST)

Episode #55: Your Favorite Soundtrack with April Wolfe

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On this episode, we continue our occasional series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite podcasters about the soundtracks they love. On this episode, we talk with Switchblade Sisters host, April Wolfe, about the 1994 Keanu Reeves / Sandra Bullock action extravaganza, Speed.

Switchblade Sisters is a podcast providing deep cuts on genre flicks from a female perspective. Every week,  Wolfe -- former lead film critic for L.A. Weekly -- sits down with a phenomenal female film-maker to slice-and-dice a classic genre movie - horror, exploitation, sci-fi and many others! Along the way, they cover craft, the state of the industry, how films get made, and more.

Tracklist:
Billy Idol, "Speed" (Speed: Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture)
Saint Etienne, "Like A Motorway" (Speed: Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture)
Blues Traveler, "Go Outside and Drive" (Speed: Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture)
Carnival Strippers, "COT" (Speed: Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture)
Mark Mancina, "Main Title" (Speed: Original Motion Picture Score)

Episode #54: Your Favorite Soundtrack with Franklin Fantini

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On this episode, we continue our occasional series, Your Favorite Soundtrack, where we talk to our favorite podcasters about the soundtracks they love. On this episode, we talk with Dollar Country host, Franklin Fantini, about Alejandrro Jodorowsky's 1973 surrealist fantasy film, The Holy Mountain.

Tracklist (all cuts from The Holy Mountain OST):
"Trance Mutation"
"Rainbow Room"
"Pissed And Passed Out"
"Psychedelic Weapons"
"Pantheon Bar (Bees Make Honey...)"

Episode #53, Troma's War with Chris DeMarco

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Following on the success of Troma's Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High, Troma's War saw the independent studio taking on the action-adventure genre in their own way. Surprisingly well-reviewed, the movie doesn't quite have the following of the studio's tentpole franchises, but it's definitely an entertaining and inventive Tromatic view of the guns and glory films which were everywhere in the latter half of the '80s.

Troma's War tells the story of a group of marooned citizens who stumble upon a terrorist plot to take over the United States. With no help in sight and no way to contact reinforcements, it’s up to these ordinary people to save the world! 

Musician Chris DeMarco performed the music for the film, as well as appearing in it. His score -- along with the power ballads "Alive" and "Storm Is Rising" -- was a major part of how well Troma's War works. Sadly, it was never legally available in any form, failing even to make an appearance on Troma's 20th anniversary compilation, Toxic Tunes From Tromaville.

Featuring the complete motion picture score including cuts not used in the final film, Troma's War was released on 140-gram red and orange “Triumphant Explosion” colored vinyl back in July of last year. Limited to 1000 copies worldwide, the LP was put out by New York's Ship to Shore PhonoCo, in collaboration with Locked Groove Recording Company.

We spoke with Chris DeMarco last year about his work on Troma's War, as well as what he's up to now.

Tracklist (all cuts from the Troma's War OST):
Chris DeMarco, "Alive"
Chris DeMarco, "On the Beach"
Chris DeMarco, "Storm Is Rising"
Chris DeMarco, "Triumphant"

From the Stereo to Your Screen #16, Annie Lennox & Al Green & Scrooged

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On this episode, we're running down “Put A Little Love in Your Heart," by Annie Lennox and Al Green, from 1988's Scrooged, which always seems to get shunted to the side when we’re talking Christmas genre movies. Black Christmas and Gremlins always get the horror nods, in addition to Santa slashers like Silent Night, Deadly Night and Christmas Evil. The action advent selections are always Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, with maybe I Come In Peace for the heads. Romantic and family movies abound, obviously.

However, with the exception of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, comedies with an acknowledgement of how awfully stressful the holidays can be — and that manage to be funny — are sparse. Somehow, Scrooged always seems to get left aside when lists get put together or people make their marathons.

Read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.

From the Stereo to Your Screen #15, John Williams & The Phantom Menace

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On this episode of From the Stereo to Your Screen, we're running down “Duel of the Fates” by John Williams from 1999's Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace.

For whatever its flaws — and yes, there are many — the John Williams score for the film was stellar. The video for “Duel of the Fates” debuted on MTV’s Total Request Live on May 3, the first video of a week of premieres that included both “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears’ “Sometimes.” A cut from a film score getting a video is a pretty big deal: I mean, despite the fact that Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” was an international number 1 hit in 1985, it never had a video, and you can dance to that sucker. But the fact that the video for "Duel of the Fates" was on the same level as the Backstreet Boys and Britney in 1999 is astonishing.

You can read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.

Episode #52, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Since 1981, the alternative rock band Soul Asylum has gone from a scrappy pack of dudes recording for Minneapolis label Twin/Tone to becoming a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum act. Along the way, the band's recorded music for all kinds of films. Most notably, Soul Asylum or its frontman, Dave Pirner, have had songs in three of director Kevin Smith's films, as well as So I Married An Axe Murderer, Twister, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and The Faculty. Pirner also recorded as part of the Beatles cover act the Backbeat Band for the 1994 film, Backbeat.

I was lucky enough to speak with Dave Pirner back at the start of September about all of these, as well as Soul Asylum's latest album, Change of Fortune. It's kind of all over the place, but Priner seemed up to discuss pretty much anything, so while it's kind of long, it's really fun. Check it out.

Tracklist:
Soul Asylum, "Can't Even Tell" (Clerks OST)
Soul Asylum, "Misery" (Clerks II OST)
Dave Pirner, "Tube of Wonderful" (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back OST)
Soul Asylum, "The Break" (So I Married An Axe Murderer OST)
Soul Asylum, "Miss This" (Twister OST)
The Backbeat Band, "Long Tall Sally" (Backbeat OST)
Soul Asylum, "School's Out" (The Faculty OST)

From the Stereo to Your Screen #14, U2 & Batman Forever

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On this episode of From the Stereo to Your Screen, we're running down the music video for U2's “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” from 1995's Batman Forever. The animated music video is absolutely bonkers -- basically an anime nightmare -- and this sentence from the Wikipedia entry on the song sums it up nicely:

“It features the band performing in Gotham City, with Bono battling between two of his alter-egos from the Zoo TV Tour: ‘The Fly’ and ‘MacPhisto.’ The band also chases the Batwing, using a yellow supercar and their guitars as flamethrowers.”

You can read the original column and watch the music video at Cinepunx.

Episode #51, Clueless with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett

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On this episode, we talk about Amy Heckerling's 1995 teen comedy, Clueless, with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' frontman, Dicky Barrett, who had two songs in the film -- "Someday I Suppose" and "Where'd You Go" -- and also prominently appeared in a club scene during the movie.

The Bosstones celebrated the 20th anniversary of their smash hit album, Let's Face It, with a bunch of dates this year, and when I spoke with the band's frontman, Dicky Barrett, about their Lawrence show this summer, I took the opportunity to ask him about the Bosstones' appearance in Clueless, and how the club scene came to be.

Tracklist:
the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Someday I Suppose" (Ska-Core, The Devil, and More)
the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, "Where'd You Go" (More Noise & Other Disturbances)
Radiohead, "Fake Plastic Trees" (The Bends)

From the Stereo to Your Screen #13, Goo Goo Dolls & Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

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On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, and we're running down “I’m Awake Now” by Goo Goo Dolls, from Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.

Back when I discussed Phunk Junkeez and their contribution to the Tommy Boy soundtrack, I mentioned offhand that Goo Goo Dolls’ cover of The Damned’s “Wait for the Blackout” wasn’t bad. Being as how I’m always trying to track down weird-ass music videos for this column as well as look for bands to come on my soundtrack podcast and talk about how weird it was to have their song in a movie, I come across quite a few surprises.

Thus, we come to the fact that Goo Goo Dolls’ first soundtrack contribution was all the way back in 1991, when they had not one, not two, but three songs on the soundtrack to Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. And they were alongside songs by Chubb Rock and Iggy Pop. And and Fates Warning. And, and, and the soundtrack was on Metal Blade.

You can read the original column and watch the video at Cinepunx.

Episode #50, Jungle Trap with Taken By Savages

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On this episode, we continue our Halloween series, talking with Annie Choi and Joe Ziemba of the synth duo, Taken By Savages, about their music for the unearthed 1990 James Bryan shot on video horror movie, Jungle Trap.

Shot in 1990 and unreleased until this very moment, Jungle Trap is the final collaboration between exploitation demigods director James Bryan (DON’T GO IN THE WOODS) and the late actress Renee Harmon (FROZEN SCREAM). The movie is a decapitation-fueled, shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths.

The movie remained unedited, unscored, and unseen by human eyes for over two decades, until it saw release back in late July. Under Bryan’s guidance, the Bleeding Skull team meticulously edited the movie and Taken By Savages recorded a soundtrack utilizing vintage 1980s synthesizers.

Jungle Trap is currently available on DVD, VHS, and via digital download from Bleeding Skull Video. Taken By Savages' score for Jungle Trap is available digitally on Bandcamp and on vinyl LP from Mondo.

Tracklist:
Taken By Savages, "Shorts Authority" (Taken By Savages)
Taken By Savages, "Enter the Trap" (Jungle Trap OST)
Taken By Savages, "Have You Seen Rita?" (Jungle Trap OST)
Herschell Gordon Lewis, "Brains Knocked Out" (The Amazing Film Scores of Herschell Gordon Lewis)
Taken By Savages, "Raise the Spirits" (Jungle Trap OST)
Taken By Savages, "The Guests Arrive" (Jungle Trap OST)
Milli Vanilli, "Girl You Know It's True" (Girl You Know It's True)
Taken By Savages, "Exit the Trap" (Jungle Trap OST)