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Playing to ‘A New Standard’: Exclusive Interview With Jazz Pianist Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo

Among family, friends, and his many acquaintances, Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo is known for his infectiously positive spirit, his playful hijinks, and a smile that absolutely lights up a room.

But it’s the music that emanates deep within Egbo-Egbo’s soul his piano as a constant appendage, his jazz, classical and pop leanings and the constant intermingling and pushing of musical genres that reveals the creative standard of the man. As a Toronto-based pianist, composer, producer and sound designer, 2018 marks the official release of his new musical work, appropriately titled A New Standard.

The twelve-song album contains a wide selection of entries originally created by a number of legendary composers over the last two centuries. They are, naturally for Egbo-Egbo, culled from disparate genres: classical, jazz, and curiously, even rock music. In A New Standard, Egbo-Egbo lovingly performs a fun and up-temp version of Sigmund Romberg’s and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” as well as a rollicking account of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” that merges brilliantly into the classically jazzy and beloved theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon by composers Paul Webster and Robert Harris.

In a more contemporary sense, Egbo-Egbo’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s”Make You Feel My Love” brings a wonderfully fresh and emotional sense of affection to the beloved classic, but surprisingly, there’s also a perfectly lonely interpretation of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” found on the new compilation, whose aural sense of isolation any fan of the band might expect and adore. This time, it’s just with a piano.

Biff Bam Pop’s consulting editor and regular contributor, JP Fallavollita, got the chance to steal Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo away from his busy schedule to talk music, his home city of Toronto, and the release of his latest album, the shimmering and wonderful A New Standard. Read the rest of this entry

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Rob Zombie Likes It Raw: Talking About Movies With Shudder

rob-zombie-shudder-interview

Rob Zombie is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to his work as a director.
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Sony’s best E3 Conference yet – Exclusives, Reboots, Remasters and VR!

Burns and I got the VIP treatment at the Scotiabank Theater last night in Toronto at the 2016 Playstation E3 Experience, and we couldn’t have asked for a better event. Playstation came out guns blazing, showcasing exclusives, remakes, remasters and VR in a flow that felt more like movie trailers than a conference. Very little talking by execs and almost all video and gameplay – the way a PS4 event should be. Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger announcements. Read the rest of this entry

Mat Langford’s Gaming World – Shadow of the Beast PS4 – Review

I’ve never played the original Shadow of the Beast (Amiga, 1989), but from what I’m told, this game is a pretty faithful remake. It’s a short play – roughly 3 hours on normal – but it’s an enjoyable mix of counter-based combat and side-scrolling platforming.

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Biff Bam Pop Exclusive: The Rob Zombie Interview Part 2

Yesterday we had part one of our two part exclusive interview with the one and only Rob Zombie, the brilliant director behind The Lords Of Salem, opening this Friday. You can check that out here. Today, we finish of our discussion with a look at Rob and music – using it in film and making it himself (Rob’s new album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is out April 23rd). Check out the song that is used to haunting degree in Lords of Salem and then read away!

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Biff Bam Pop Exclusive: The Rob Zombie Interview Part 1

Rob ZombieThis Friday sees the release of director Rob Zombie’s sixth film, The Lords of Salem. Having seen the film at its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I can tell you that, in my opinion, Lords is Zombie’s greatest achievement yet. You can read our review here to get an idea.

I make no bones about being a huge Rob Zombie fan, so you can imagine my excitement when I had the chance to talk to the director about his latest film, the creative process, his music and much more. On the phone, Zombie is a friendly, welcoming guy to talk to. You can tell that not only is he a creator, he’s also a fan of pop culture in all its various forms. He’s also given Biff Bam Pop a lot of support over the last year, putting our interview with Lords actor Dee Wallace on his own homepage. On that note, check out the trailer for The Lords of Salem and then jump right into the first part of our interview with the one and only Rob Zombie.

The Premiere of Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem

The Premiere of Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem

Andy Burns: I was at the premier of Lords of Salem in Toronto and as a guy that’s a big fan of yours, I was pretty eager to see what you’d come up with. So I’m wondering, when your film is screened for the first time, do you get excited at all? I always kind of view you as a pretty laid back guy. Do you get nervous?

Rob Zombie: I don’t get sort of anything. I don’t get excited or anything. I mean, I want people to see it, obviously. I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t. But I don’t get excited like, I can’t wait to show it. And I don’t really get nervous, like “oh, what if people don’t like it”. You just kind of show it and see where it goes.

Andy Burns: It kind of is what it is, eh?

Rob Zombie: It is what it is. I think if I was newer to this I would have a different reaction. But now this is my sixth movie, plus all the music I’ve done, I’ve gotten used to the fact that it doesn’t matter. Everybody has a different opinion, everybody’s opinions change. I find it funny. With House of 1000 Corpses, the first movie I did, now that movie is beloved, everybody loves it. “I love that movie, that’s the best one.” When that movie came out, everyone hated it. Hated it! Like it was the worst film they’d ever seen. Now everyone loves it! That’s why it doesn’t matter. Same thing with people who say, “you should get back together with White Zombie, those records kick ass.” Really?  Cause back then everyone just fuckin’ hated them! So it’s just like, time changes everything. I figure, no matter what goes on, it doesn’t matter.
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Biff Bam Pop! Exclusive Interview: Writer Andy Diggle Takes A Snapshot

Writer Andy Diggle and artist Jock have worked together in the comic book medium on a few occasions, namely the critically acclaimed The Losers and Green Arrow: Year One. Last month’s release of the thrilling four-issue mini-series, Snapshot, is their first creator-owned partnership. Published by Image Comics, Snapshot is fast-paced noir that tells the story of a teenager who finds a cell phone containing photos of a murder scene. It made our Wednesday Run as a pick of the week, and lived up to it’s billing as edge-of-your-seat reading!

Andy Diggle took some time out of his busy schedule to answer questions via email on the Snapshot series, working with his good friend Jock, the economy of writing opening scenes, the self-promotion of his work and his creative process.

Read more after the jump!

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Exclusive Interview: Saga’s Michael Sadler Talks 20/20, Returning To The Band, And More!

One of Canada’s highly regarded progressive rock bands has always been Saga. Songs like Wind Him Up, The Flyer and On The Loose are ingrained in our rock and roll psyche and are probably being played on a classic rock radio station at this very moment. While the band has always possessed a unique sound, their brand new studio album 20/20 is a timeless addition to Saga’s catalogue. It marks the return of lead singer Michael Sadler to the fold after a multi-year absence, one that, as he explains below in our exclusive email interview, wasn’t due to any sort of band turmoil. Get the scoop of Sadler’s return to the fold, 20/20 and Saga playing live after the jump.

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Exclusive: The Marillion Interview With Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas, Part 2

Editor’s Note: Today brings us the second and final instalment of Darrin Cappe’s world wide exclusive interview with Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas of Marillion. You can read part one here. As a longtime fan of the band, and a musician himself, Darrin was obviously able to connect with Steve and Pete on a level that your average writer would never be able to. Suffice to say, many thanks to Darrin for sharing this revealing interview with Biff Bam Pop! Now, on to part 2!

Darrin Cappe: One thing I wanted to talk about was that apart from the band and that relationship, that in a lot of ways Racket Club (the band’s recording studio and home base) as a home base and that you all get along well, and have a place that you can go and create…that’s what a lot of bands lose as they move through their careers.  Geographically they don’t have that interaction so much.

Steve Rothery: We’re incredibly lucky I mean all the musicians that have come in are so jealous of having somewhere where you can write, you can record, you can rehearse, store the equipment, run your web business and shop from. It is a perfect solution for a band in our position. I think a lot of bands have copied our approach. It’s one of the reasons we continue to do what we do.

Pete Trewavas: Also having our own studio has made us more relaxed in the studio environment.

S: We’ve made lots of albums where it has cost 1000 Pounds plus each day. There’s nothing worse than being in one of those types of places when you’re not finished writing.

P: Yeah we’ve been there before haven’t we? That is frustrating.

D: Well you are your own timekeeper and you aren’t bound by any schedules

P: Exactly and we’re empowered to do truly what we want to do.
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Exclusive: The Marillion Interview with Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas, Part 1

Editor’s Note: My longtime web friend Darrin Cappe is a huge progressive rock fan and recently had the chance to sit down with the members of Marillion, one of the longest lasting prog rock bands of the past 30 years, with a devoted fan base and tons of critical acclaim. We’re very lucky that Darrin wanted to share his interview with Biff Bam Pop readers and prog fans around the world. Take it away, Darrin!

Marillion – they’re not the band you think they are. You may know them for the 80’s hit song “Kayleigh”. It is a great song from a fantastic album (“Misplaced Childhood”) without a doubt, however it is just one song. Judging the merits of Marillion as a band based on that song alone is sort of like judging Pink Floyd from the song Money, or Genesis by I Can’t Dance. It in no way is reflective of what the band is about; their history or their current way of life.  By being familiar with only Money or I Can’t Dance one would be deprived of a vast wealth of incredible music from both bands; from Echoes to Supper’s Ready; Dogs to The Cinema Show; Comfortably Numb to Afterglow. It is a bit of a golden albatross in that “Kayleigh” elevated the profile of the band to a level that brought them mainstream awareness, but at the same time to those who only know the one song it is how they have come to be defined. This is the truly unfortunate part, for the fans that stuck with the band after their original lead singer/lyricist ‘Fish’ left in 1988 and those who have found them along the way; a whole other world of wonders has been their reward.
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