ABC’s Castle’s Jon Huertas Talks Music and Film

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John, Jon & Hart Poolside!

John, Jon & Hart Poolside!

Jon Huertas of ABC’s hit ‘Castle‘ was in town for some meetings with Sony Music and wanted to stop by to hang with the guys.

Jon Huertas

Jon Huertas

“I’m loving what these guys have done and can’t wait to see “Skum Rocks” out in theaters,” said Jon.  “This took balls to pull off and they did it. Just wish I could have been here for the March 5h show.”

“When I heard that Jon was in town I was stoked,” said lead singer Hart Baur. “Castle is one of the only shows I watch and his work on the show is second to none. Plus,  he is an amazing musician to boot, so it was great to sit back in a relaxed atmosphere and throw around some ideas.”

 In town to meet with Sony Music Latin Executives about several upcoming projects for his indie music label MIDRATS Entertainment, Jon was excited to see what the band had on the horizon as well, as a collaboration of some sort is a possibility.

“Big fan of Castle, and would love to get into the studio with Jon at some point, “said lead guitarist John Eaton. “He is a very creative and innovative artist and to those who know us, know those are the people we like to work with.” 

Jon & Hart

Jon & Hart

Having secured a Sony imprint deal, MIDRATS will serve as a platform for Jon and a new series he’s developing that is Latin-based, where all original music will be produced and distributed through MIDRATS and Sony as well as a new Music endeavor with Seamus Dever who plays his partner on ABC’s Castle. “I am really excited about the future,” added Jon. “Things are moving.” 

While mum on an eighth season of Castle, he did say “it is a great cast and we love working with each other, so if we get one more season, than great.”

“Jon is an extremely talented performer, anyone who has seen or heard his work knows this. Was great to catch up and hopefully we can do something in the future, schedules permitting, of course ” added Hart.

Stana Katric

Stana Katric

The band gave Jon a vintage concert T-Shirt as well as a tank top from Tommy Craig to give to his Castle co-star Stana Katic. “We used to hang out in LA,” said drummer Tommy Craig. ” She is a great kid and I wanted her to have the tank as a wedding gift.”

“A great lunch,” added Jon.

Jon dined on a hamburger panini with mozzarella cheese and grilled onions, accompanied by seasoned fresh cut fries, while John went with a classic Rueben with potato salad topped with sprinkled paprika. Hart chose the panini as well, but added fresh mushrooms and a side of cole slaw. “The mushrooms really make that.” he said.

Skum to Play Budokan in 2015?

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Tokyo's Budokan Hall

Tokyo’s Budokan Hall

With the impending mass release of the soon to be cult classic ‘Skum Rocks!” narrated by Alice Cooper there has been a lot of international interest in the film.  While negotiations with the yet to be named US Distributor heat up, a Japanese company has entered the bidding war in an attempt to get the rights to the film for a country wide theatrical release in Japan, complete with a star studded Tokyo Premiere.

"Live at Budokan"

“Live at Budokan”

The Japanese firm is wanting to get the band to sign a one show deal to play the famed Budokan arena, made famous by Cheap Trick in the late 1970’s with their epic album “Cheap Trick – Live at Budokan”.

Arata Haruki is trying to secure the band to play the venue and is in contact with several other major US bands to create what he calls a “Massive Bill”.  It was not clear, but Mr. Haruki alluded to possibly bringing Cheap Trick for the night to as he put it ‘bring it full circle.”

Arata Haruk

Arata Haruk

“Skum had a good underground following in Japan, especially in the southern regions, particularly in Kyushu and Shikoku,” said Mr. Haruki.  “If this film premieres in Tokyo, I am convinced we can sell out Budokan and make this a great night for Japanese – American rock and roll. We would want Loudness to play as well.”

“We would love to play Budokan,” said rhythm bassist Todd Middlebrook. “We would love to do a live album there as well. Why not? Right?”

The talk of a “Skum Live at Budokan” dates back to 1988 when the band was attempting to capitalize on their surging underground popularity.  “We would get these letters from the Japanese chicks with these polaroids, I mean pretty graphic stuff,” said lead guitarist John Eaton. “I was like, dude we got to do a Live at Budokan or something like that.”

While no date or dates have been even formally discussed, the band has spoken with Mr. Haruki on two occasions and he flew to Miami for the Miami premiere of “Skum Rocks!” and was backstage at the concert.

“It is a little early to start calling Rolling Stone about this,” said lead bassist Pat Burke. “But look, we know our rock and roll history and what this would mean to our fans. We need a live album to follow ‘Lost’ so to me and this is just me talking off the cuff, this just makes perfect fucking sense.”

“Do I want to play Budokan? Of course.” added lead singer Hart Baur. “Will it happen? I do not know. Arata and I had a really good talk back stage and what he said was that if he can get Loudness and maybe Cheap Trick, and we do this the night after or before the Tokyo premiere. Mark (Brasel) said we can record one of the greatest live albums ever, and you know I am down for that.”

“I thought Abbey Road was epic. This is blowing my mind,” said drummer Tommy Craig. “I hear we will get two special guest to join us on stage as well. This is what I have come to expect with this band. Greatness.”

The Fabulous Miss Wendy, who recently joined the band on stage in Miami was mentioned as being one of the special guests in Tokyo. “I have always wanted to play in Japan, and can’t wait to rock it!!!!”

John Eaton Kicking Back With Alex Morgan

Alex John 2

Sunday night, Skum’s John Eaton was out in support of US Soccer’s Superstar and Skum fan Alex Morgan. Alex was in town with Coca Cola, and as a guest of Miami Beach, promoting young kids to get active and involved in sports. The event was held at the Washington Avenue McDonald’s, and was packed with excited fans who were able to meet with Alex as well as get a signed copy of her new book “The Kicks: Sabotage Season.”

“Great turnout tonight,” said Alex. “Great to see people out in this weather.”

John, who is a huge US Soccer Fan of both the women’s and men’s teams said, “Of course I was going to be out to support Alex. She’s an awesome player and what she does with her books and her support of the youth sports programs nationwide says all you need to know.”

“Really appreciate the support,” said Alex, who was also doing an event with Miami Beach the next day.

“I was joking with her about who’s going to win the World Cup in Canada next year, and she was laughing ‘USA for sure!’. I love this game, we are a soccer band, as Pat, Todd, Hart and Tommy all played, so they got me into it. Saw a Premiere League game when we recorded at Abbey Road last year and now I’m really hooked.”

“We are winning it, no doubt about that,” said Alex. “You are going, right?”

John, depending on the band’s schedule next summer, is planning on being in Canada at some of the U.S. games and has announced that he will be composing a song for the team.

“As always, it will come own to our shoot schedule,” said John. “But once they do the draw and get a schedule up, I’m booking tickets. Tommy already said he wants to go, as he’s thinking about doing a book about seeing the World Cup like a rock star, so that’ll be fun.”:

“For sure I’m going,” added Tommy, who was unable to attend the event. “Hopefully I will have my travel show all set up by then.”

Pat Burke was unable to attend. “Wait, Alex was in town this week?” said Pat when reached by phone.

Skum Rocks the Transformers Premiere!

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Hart and Michael Bay on the Red Carpet

Hart and Michael Bay on the Red Carpet

The guys were out in force last Thursday at the Miami premiere of fellow Miami resident Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction at the beautiful Aventura Fashion Mall.   The red carpet festivities were in full swing as hundreds of screaming fans were there to greet director Michael Bay and Jack Reynor (who stars in the film) were there for the event.

Hart joined friend Michael Bay on the red carpet as Tommy Craig and John Eaton were late arrivals due to rush hour Miami traffic and missed their time slot on the red carpet.

“Dude I didn’t look at the invite,” said John. “Last time Michael had his premiere he did it at South Beach Regal and I just assumed it was there. Then getting up to Aventura from South Beach at six o’clock on a week day?  Forget it.”

Pat and Todd missed the event as they were at the USA -Germany match in Recife, Brazil and thus were unable to attend. “I called Tommy and told him I was going to game to let everyone know. No disrespect to Michael, but this is the World Cup. I just didn’t realize he would miss it as well,” said Pat.

“I was calling John and he said he went to the wrong theatre, so we were all hoping they would get here in time,” said Hart. “ But Michael was cool about it, he understood. Besides Dwayne (Wade) was stuck in traffic as well and missed the whole thing.”

The premiere was sold out as expected and Michael said “This is a big franchise around the world, we just got back from China and its massive over there.”

The huge crowd made parking a nightmare as Tommy and John were stuck in the parking lot looking for a space for about twenty minutes. “Should have valet parked,” said John.

In the theatre it was a mad house as fan scrambled to get autographs and seats as the cast walked into the VIP area.

Once inside the mall Tommy stopped  to get a pretzel at Auntie Anne’s and was held up in line further delaying his entrance. “I figured we already missed the red carpet and I was starving, so had to get one of the Auntie Anne’s Originals for the screening. They bake them with real butter. Just amazing stuff” said Tommy.

”Oh yeah, “ added Hart. “They use real sea salt. Those things are fantastic.”

“It sucks we missed the red carpet,” said John. “ I apologized to Michael and told him he should direct our video for “Hanging out with Fred and he just laughed.

“Michael is a great director,” added Tommy. “Would love it if he did ‘Fred”.

 

Skum’s Miami Night With Wilmer Valderrama

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Hart-Wilmaredited-768x1024

Hart Baur and Wilmer Valderrama on the Red Carpet at Voto Latino Dinner

It was a great night in downtown Miami Saturday as the band welcomed Wilmer Valderrama to their beautiful city. At an event held at the world famous Miami Freedom Tower, Hart Baur, John Eaton, and Tommy Craig were out in support of their longtime friend and fan, and “That 70’s Show” star Valderrama, as he hosted an event for Voto Latino. Valderrama is co-chair of the Voto Latino Artist Coalition, an organization that works to inspire young Latinos to exercise their right to vote.

John and Tommy arrived late for the red carpet festivities, and band members Pat Burke and Todd Middlebrook weren’t there at all prompting Valderama to ask “where’s Burke?” (Pat was attending his son’s high school graduation, and Todd was at a private London screening of the World Cup).

“Bummed we missed the red carpet,” said drummer Tommy Craig. “But at least we had a chance to say hello to Wilmer and support him with this event.”

“I was joking with Wilmer that when we get our TV show signed, he should call Ashton and Mila, and join us for an episode,” said John. “He laughed and said he would love that.”

“Wilmer was unable to attend the Hollywood screening of Skum Rocks! last month, but he sent his best wishes. So when he learned he was coming to Miami, we had to get out to see him,” added Hart. “He’s a great role model for the Latin community, and just a great guy all around. We’ve discussed doing some future projects, and hopefully we can get him on the TV show with us.”

“It was great to have these guys come out. Their support means a lot,” said Valderrama.
“It’s amazing what these Skum guys have accomplished.”

The invitation-only crowd dined on jumbo shrimp cocktail with a mango-lime cocktail sauce, Caribbean chicken topped with a pineapple glaze and finger beef and cheese enchiladas with a side of spicy guacamole.

“The spicy guacamole was simply outstanding,” said Tommy Craig.

Skum Rocks Hollywood!

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Skum really rocked the house at the Hollywood premiere of their rockumentary tour de force, Skum Rocks!  The first official US showing, held May 30th at the 17thAnnual Dances With Films Festival on Hollywood Boulevard in LA, was a stupendous success. And with a theatre packed with fans, friends, and celebrities, the members of Skum couldn’t have been happier.

Skum’s lead guitarist, John Eaton, was elated. “The Chinese Theatre? Are you kidding me? I could get used to this. Tommy [Craig] and I stayed at the Roosevelt, and hung out in the Lair of the Hollywood Vampires at the Rainbow.  It’s been a great week, and it’s great to be part of Hollywood Folklore.”

“This was a huge step for the film, being screened here at the Chinese Theatre,” commented Clay Westervelt, the film’s Emmy-winning director. “And this is just the beginning. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

“Tonight was great, being out with the band and all these fantastic fans”, added Phoenix Benjamin, the uber-talented guitarist, who, from time to time, rocks his guitar with Skum.

Master musician and friend of the band, Frankie Banali, agreed, stating simply that “Skum does rock!”

The roaring triumph of the band’s Hollywood premiere is not the last you’ll be hearing from the rockers of Skum. According to lead singer, Hart Baur, there may be another Skum big project in the works. “There’s been talk of a TV show,” Baur revealed after the premiere. “If that happens, it’ll be way over the top.”

For now, the members of Skum are taking things one day at a time, and they’ve had some pretty great days. Tommy Craig, Skum’s drummer extraordinaire, left me with this comment. “A few months back we had the world premiere at Raindance in London, and then cut tracks at Abbey Road. That was amazing. But now, being on the big screen in Hollywood? That’s really something. I can’t wait ‘til we play at the Whiskey later this year.”

We can’t wait either, Skum.

Dances With Films 2014: ‘Skum Rocks!’ Focuses on Fear of Success

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Rockumentary Looks Back at a Band That Almost Was

Published June 5, 2014 by Steven Bryan – Yahoo Voices

Without a doubt, “Skum Rocks!” is not the typical Hollywood success story. Directed by Clay Westervelt and narrated by Alice Cooper, this rockumentary examines SKUM, a real-life band that, when faced with success, decided to quit. “That’s what this film is about: the abject fear of not failing,” SKUM co-founder Hart Baur said when reached by telephone for an interview. “The whole name of the band was a play on the fact that we couldn’t play. It was self-degradation.”
In spite of the band’s original fears, “Skum Rocks!” has been doing well on the festival circuit, making its Dance with Films debut last week in Hollywood. In the 1980’s, SKUM had a serious following on the East Coast, even though the band didn’t know how to play their instruments. Baur said the band eventually travelled to Los Angeles, playing a gig at what he called a non-descript venue. “That wasn’t even a real show; it was us getting up and doing a couple of songs. [SKUM] was just about to hit when everything imploded,” he explained. “Just when we started getting cognizant of the fact that we could do something with this, by that time everything was well overblown. It was like we were chasing cars with no intention of catching a car. But it was fun being in the street, it was fun playing in traffic.”
Lost master tapes and SKUM on film
Joining Baur on the call, director Clay Westervelt said he grew up in Iowa and hadn’t heard of SKUM until he was in graduate school at USC. “Hart actually got in touch with me based on another film I had made called ‘Popatopolis,’ which is about a B-movie director who was kind of getting well-known,” Westervelt said. “He was expected to be the next Roger Corman. He ended up becoming better-known for doing late-night Cinemax movies like ‘The Devil Wears Nada.’ I followed him around while he tried to make a motion picture in 3 days.”
Baur points out that though the band members comes across as dumb and uneducated, the opposite actually is true: “We really understood that fact that if you signed a record contract, especially back in the 80s, you owned nothing. You got a bonus, but that bonus was against earned income.” SKUM did record some tracks in the hopes of producing their own album, but the band broke up in 1990 and the master tapes were lost. “It was all kind of done and over. Then, about 5 years ago, this guy Steve Martindale called me. He had found the box in his bathroom. It turned out he had the master tapes the entire time,” he said.
Disgruntled girlfriends and celebrities
SKUM represented a high degree of artistic freedom, especially to creative folks laboring for other people. “A lot of celebrities liked us; they gravitated towards us because of the freedom that we had. We could do what we wanted; we didn’t have to worry about a record label saying ‘You have to do this song. You have to wear these outfits or you have to go here,'” Baur said. “We were always about bringing the fan onstage, backstage with us. It was all interactive.” Though Baur said there was no “Yoko Ono” involved in the breakup of the band, there had been a “Disgruntled Girlfriend” chapter in “Skum Rocks!” that didn’t make the final cut. “But hopefully, we’ll get a TV show and we can bring these girls on and show their stories. The girls were actively involved and everything, but they were in way over their heads,” he said. “We had one girl who moved to Miami, and the [band member] who invited her to move to Miami didn’t think she would actually show up.” —    

John Eaton Joins The Fabulous Miss Wendy on Stage at Churchill’s!

The Fabulous Miss Wendy

The Fabulous Miss Wendy

The Fabulous Miss Wendy, who is just on the verge of releasing her debut album, was in town doing a show at the legendary Churchill’s, was joined onstage by Skum lead guitarist John Eaton.

Wendy, the Princess of Punk who hails from West Hollywood and a sage veteran of the Sunset Strip having sold-out shows at venues such as the legendary Whiskey and The Viper Room, is known for her blazing guitar riffs, rock and roll voice and pin up looks is on the verge of hitting it big.

Her album was produced by none other than Kim Fowley, who of course produced such acts as the Runaways and Joan Jett. Fowley recently called Wendy ‘the twenty first century Joan Jett.”

It is no surprise that many on the scene are comparing Wendy to Joan Jett herself. Fowley knows what he is doing, so it is no surprise he is heavily involved in her album. “She is the future of female rock and roll,” said Bobby Newcastle of US Rockstar Magazine.

Before Wendy hit town she called John to see if he could come out and join her on stage  for a song and John was of course there. “I knew she was coming to town and was planning on heading out there anyway, but when she called and asked if I would get up there for a song or two, I was stoked,”  said John. “She sent me a couple of tracks to learn and I couldn’t wait. She is a star on the rise.”

“I have been lucky enough to share the stage with some amazing guitar players, Slash, Vinny Moore, and now John Eaton. My life is blessed!”

After a rousing first half of a set to a sold out crowd, Wendy brought up John and the place went wild. “We played here back in the day and the fans obviously remember us, but are excited about it happening,” said John. “Wendy and I blew it away.”

Wendy and John jammed on an impeccable version of MC5’s “Kick out the Jams” which had the crowd delirious.

“Great show!” added Wendy.

“What a great night,” John added backstage. “Wendy is super cool and a great rock and roller. Can’t wait to get her on stage with us in LA.”

There have also been discussions of Wendy playing on a bonus track for the album “Lost at the Circus”  in which lead bassist Pat Burke says will be an “epic track.”

Skum Rocks With Kate Upton

Kate and Harte

 

Hart Baur and John Eaton attended the Express fashion show at the Raleigh on Miami Beach this week to support Kate Upton. Hailing from Melbourne, Florida,  Kate is a fan of Skum and was disappointed she missed the band’s show last month at Baroos.

“I was in Melbourne in December, but I had to leave before New Year’s,” said Kate. “I wish they had played the show when I was in town!”

Kate recently signed on to be the new face of Express and the guys couldn’t be happier.

“When I heard that Kate was getting this gig, I was pumped,” said lead guitarist John Eaton. “Besides being gorgeous, she’s a great person and will represent the line well.”

The Raleigh was packed with fans and fashion gurus for the twenty minute fashion show that highlighted some of the new Express lines for the Spring.

“I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl, so working with Express is a perfect fit,” added Kate. “It’s great to be here and have the guys to support me.”

“Kate looks spectacular and she is going to be a great ambassador for Express,” said lead singer Hart Baur. “It was great to be out here to support her. We were both born in Melbourne, so we have some common ground. I was telling her she needs to be in our next video.”

At that, Kate laughed and said she would “have to see that script first!”

As the show started, John was hanging out in the DJ booth spinning some tracks, while Hart and famed attorney Walter Bruning watched the show from Bruning’s personal cabana.  Walter, who has done some work for the Raleigh in the past, enjoys a good relationship with the management team.

“I love the Raleigh!” said Walter.

Walter’s guest list included Miami Heat star Chris Bosch and radio personality Lee Sterling. “Great event for sure. Anytime you’re hanging with Walter at the Raleigh it’s a fun time,” said Sterling.  “The man can throw a cabana party.”

“I’ve done several contracts for them (The Raleigh) in the past. It’s a great resort,” said Walter. “Always a joy to come out here and see what’s going on. Great show today and it’s always wonderful seeing Ms. Upton. My she’s hot.”

Kate looked gorgeous in her Express white strapless dress as she concluded the show to a standing ovation.

“Great night tonight,” added John. “This is what it’s all about. Getting out and supporting friends.”