Secure and Down a Salt Mine: An Interview with Underground Vaults’ Jeff Ollenburger

Underground Vaults

I was fascinated when I learned that the Johnny Carson archives had been kept in a salt mine in Hutchinson, Kansas. Why a salt mine? Why Kansas? It seemed like such a strange detail to just throw out there in all of the articles about the digital conversion of the archives. So, curiosity sparked, I tracked down the company responsible: Underground Vaults. Jeff Ollenburger was nice enough to chat with me. All shall be explained.

Widgett: If you would, please, sir, state your name and occupation for the record.

Jeff Ollenburger: Okay, my name is Jeff Ollenburger. I’m the business development and sales manager for Underground Vaults and Storage.

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Lifting Off With Being 747

Being 747
After leaving the indie pop darlings The Landspeed Loungers, Dave Cooke ventured out on his own making music as an acoustic artist known as Being 747. When an offer to beef up the music was offered by Steven and Paul Morricone of The Scaramanga Six, Being 747 were reborn as a three-piece.

Being 747’s first two albums, Fun & Games and Health & Safety treaded on the familiar turf of British indie pop, sprinkling it with spicy and spiky doses of clever lyrics and structured sonics.

Here’s my chat with vocalist Dave Cooke and keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist Steven Morricone about the origins of both the band and their latest project, Amoeba to Zebra, a concept album about natural history and evolution inspired by the trio’s passion for science and the Life on Earth book and television series popularized by David Attenborough.

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A Conversation With Breck Eisner

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Crazies with Breck Eisner

A trio of Crazies. Breck Eisner is the one in the center.

Breck Eisner directed the recent remake of George Romero’s The Crazies, which is hitting DVD and Blu-Ray next week from Anchor Bay. I was pleasantly surprised at how solid it was and found it a worthy remake to the original. We had a few minutes to chat with Mr. Eisner and sadly, we didn’t get a chance to talk too much about future projects–I didn’t have a chance to ask about the inevitable direct to video Crazies 2 that you know somewhere somebody’s planning–but I did manage to get in one brief reference to a project towards the end. I think you would have done the same. Anyway, here we go..

Widge: One of the first things I wanted to ask you about was…we seem to be in Remake Alley when it comes to horror movies.

Breck Eisner: (chuckles)

W: They’re coming at us from all directions, and although you were aware of the fact that you were stepping into George Romero‘s…not shoes, but director’s chair, so to speak…

BE: Right. Yeah…

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A Conversation With Roger Ma, Sensei of Zombie Beatdowns

Roger Ma
Roger Ma is the author of the excellent, informative and entertaining Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead. Because let’s face it, as Max Brooks himself stated, blades don’t need reloading. But in a full-on zombiethon, even blades wear out. So you might have to go to town with whatever’s handy. Roger and his Zombie Combat Club will keep the undead from handing you your ass. He was good enough to take time out of his schedule and chat with us. And away we go…

WIDGETT: So for the record: state your name and occupation, sir.

ROGER MA: Sure–Roger Ma, author of The Zombie Combat Manual.

W: And Roger, what do you do when you’re not preparing the world for the eventual rise of the undead?

RM: I’m in marketing by profession, so I’ve done a lot of writing but more kind of advertising and marketing copy, so this is kind of the first foray into…I guess it could be considered nonfiction, but it depends on who you speak to.

W: It depends on how it’s received.

RM: Yeah, exactly.

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A Conversation With The Brothers Spierig

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The Brothers Spierig

The Brothers Spierig, in what seems to be the #1 pic used in online interviews with them. We're such freaking *joiners*.

After checking out Daybreakers and learning I could chat with writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig, I was looking forward to it. They took time out of their busy interview schedule and I managed to snag a slot with them at the end of a marathon day of interviews for them–so thanks to them for hanging in there. They warned me at the beginning that I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart on the recording–so we apologize in advance if we make a wrong attribution or something.

WIDGETT: First of all, congratulations on Daybreakers. I did see it in the theater and it was a lot of fun. There’s two things I think I’d like to say on behalf of people around the world: one is thank you for giving us non-sparkly vampires in a world that seems to be populated with the sparkly kind…

PETER SPIERIG: You’re welcome.

MICHAEL SPIERIG: I don’t know what you’re talking about, by the way. Are there were sparkly ones out there?

W: I’m afraid so—it’s a dangerous world out there.
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A Conversation With Tony Fletcher

Tony Fletcher

Since he was a teenager Tony Fletcher has had a serious passion for music. At first it led him to create and run a fanzine during the epicenter of the punk and post-punk movement. As an adult this passion grew, spurring a move to New York where he established himself as a distinguished music journalist, DJ and band manager.

In addition to writing for several publications, Fletcher has penned biographies on The Clash, Keith Moon, REM and Echo & The Bunnymen. His latest book, All Hopped Up & Ready To Go: Music From the Streets of New York 1927-77, is by far his most ambitious writing project to date.

As Fletcher bops and hops from club to club, weaving seamlessly from genre to genre, we discover not only his love for music but his excitement in discovering new sounds echoing from the past of the city he loves so much.

Written with perfect pitch and pacing All Hopped Up & Ready To Go begins with the Depression era rise of Afro Cuban jazz and Cubop and ends with the beginnings of hip-hop and the apex of the punk rock movement. The book takes the reader on a musical journey through the boroughs, bars, backstreets, nightclubs that has made New York arguably the most vibrant and significant musical city in the world.

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