I first heard of Ted Parker when I was sent a copy of his anthology, “Freakshow” to review for the online publication, Horrornews.net . I really loved the whole concept of the book and I, of course, also thought it was cool that he was also a musician in the band, BUGbRAIN and a fellow Stephen King fan. Read on to find out more and pick up a copy of “Freakshow”!
MU: First, tell us a little about yourself. We know you are an actor, musician, and now author. How did you come to be involved in the entertainment world? Was it something you always wanted to work toward or was it something you began doing more recently?
TP: I always wanted to be an entertainer. I’ve watched so much TV and heard so much metal since forever ago that it all stuck with me. I did a school play and joined a metal band called, believe it or not, Throbbing Member. None of my ambitions went anywhere and I wound up joining the Army for three years. I got back into entertainment around 2001 when I did some indie horror flicks nobody’s heard of up in Tennessee. I came back to Georgia in 2002, did some more indie films including the title role for “Jesus H. Zombie” which can be seen on Youtube, and joined my current band bUGbRAIN.
MU: How did your book “Freakshow” come into fruition?
TP: Back in 2001, I got a note from a writing school based in Connecticut asking me to try them out. I agreed to be a student and mailed my fees and writing assignments back up to them. A lot of the stories in “Freakshow” were the school’s assignments. They wanted me to write something like a how-to-make-something story, and what they got was a how-to-make-human-pizza story called “Pizza Boy.” More abominations followed over the years , but I’m pretty sure the instructors have since forgiven me. Thing was, I wasn’t too keen on how to actually publish them by submitting them to magazines, so I came up with the big idea of collecting my writing assignments – and some other stories – and publishing them myself.
Some time ago, I got into studying about the Grand Guignol, a theatre in France which specialized in grotesque plays from 1897 until 1962. I decided that was what I wanted “Freakshow” to be like, but I wanted more of a carnival look instead of a theatre look. Then I figured, what better than a tent show at a carnival reminiscent of the Grand Guignol? My short stories could be the plays – they were delightfully horrific enough. The reader would enter the theatre/tent show at the prologue, go through the eleven stories/theatre plays, and then leave at the end of the show during the epilogue. Personally, I thought that was a neat idea. I’m just hoping the public will catch on. The Grand Guignol is celebrated to this day by various filmmakers, rock bands, and such. “Freakshow” is my own contribution to its legend.
MU: Who or what were some of your influences when writing the book?
TP: I have to say Stephen King. I’ve read so many of his books that his prose stuck with me and practically became my own prose. Aside from the writing school, he pretty much taught me how to write.
MU: What would you say has been the most challenging for you so far as an independent artist?
TP: Success eludes me to this day. Still working on it.
MU: Now I’ve asked a couple people this question, but I’m always interested in getting different perspectives on this. The mainstream media tends to saturate us with the stories of “overnight successes” with all the reality tv ‘stars,’ American Idols, and the ‘cinderella stories’ of how “so and so became an overnight sensation in a matter of five minutes.” Would you say that such articles and stories tend to give (especially) young people trying to break into the industry a sort of false hope and distorted view as to how the industry really works?
TP: What hurts most about such things is that people think just because it worked for Sylvester Stallone way back when that it’ll work for them, too. That theory has its avatar and now it just has wanna-bes. Fucking pathetic! I’d just tell those hopeful young people to keep doing what they’re doing, try hard, and for God’s sake, think for themselves! Ignore most of the “scouts” who really just want money and try it your way first. Ever hear of the interweb and Youtube?
MU: Now since the webzine is called Music’s Underworld, I have to ask you to tell us a little about your music and your band, bUGbRAIN.
TP: Ah, but how can you not? BUGbRAIN is a modern rock band consisting of myself on bass guitar, my brother Bugsy on guitar, and singer Brian Abraham also on guitar. We have a new drummer now named Steve Sota who is awesome! The CD is called “Flashback Moon” and people can hear pieces of it on Reverbnation.com. I don’t really know how to describe the music, it’s that good.
MU: So what’s next for you? Plug away here! 🙂
TP: Provided we don’t all perish this December 21st, I plan on making another CD with bUGbRAIN and hopefully another book. I’m on the first draft for a zombie novel. Everybody loves zombies. Who knows what 2013 will do to us all if it’s allowed to exist? God help us all! 😛
Check out my review on “Freakshow” at Horrornews.net and pick it up at Amazon! You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER: Tiffany Apan is an award winning and acclaimed independent recording artist along with being a stage/film actress, producer, and writer. You can find more about her at her Official Website , Web Blog, MySpace , Twitter , and Facebook . She can also be found on IMDb and her music releases on CDBaby along with iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers. She also writes for the publications Rogue Cinema and Horrornews.net . She is also responsible for starting up the Music’s Underworld Webzine .