Tuesday, July 28, 2015

8/14 - TRAPT @ PUB ROCK - 8005 E ROOSEVELT ST - $15 ADV/$18 DOS
*On Tour with Sons Of Texas
*NEW SINGLE – Passenger via Minus Head Records/Crash Collide
TRAPT have worked for well over a decade to reach this point. Their 2002 double-platinum self-titled debut charged out of the gate with their defining and memorable single “Headstrong”, which reached #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. TRAPT was a featured act on popular video games like Rock Band and Tap Tap Revenge 2, and their music can be heard on countless WWE specials. In addition, TRAPT has shared the stage with heavy hitters such as Mötley CrüeNickelbackHinder,Chevelle, and many more. Most recently, their 2012 album No Apologies entered the Billboard Top 200 at #25, followed by another top 50 debut for 2013’s Reborn. Now, the band is in the studio working on their upcoming release DNA, which is shaping us to be landmark album for TRAPT. Get ready – this album is going to alter everything fans have grown to know about TRAPT.


Interview with Musician/Booking Agent/Dog Rescue CEO:
Dee Alschuler

Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!


From Punk, to Rockabilly and howling good times with dogs of all sizes- women are doing it all, creating it all, and living it all! Women must learn to empower themselves, we can no longer blame society, as the doors of opportunity have been opened, sure there are still some barricades, but everyone has hurdles to overcome... that's life! This is the 21st century and the movers, shakers, dreamers and doers among the female entrepreneurs and humanitarians are showing what they've got! MOXIE with a capital M! This is my interview with one of the leading women who doesn't just talk... she puts her words into action!

Musician/Booking Agent/ Dog Rescue business owner: Dee Alschuler.

07/2015- Song River





Song River: It would seem you have a music connection that runs deep. From what I understand, you were and or still are, a musician in a punk band? What was the band's name?
Give us a little background on your music history.

Dee Alschuler: Well, I have played guitar since I was about 12 years old. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be in a band. I was in my first band when I was 16. Three guitar players and one singer, we didn’t know any drummers. In the mid 80’s I was in a punk band called “Abraxas.” I had black long spiked hair and neon clothes, oh how I loved that look! We played at place called, Nita’s Hideaway, a few times and the Sun Devil House in Tempe.

I had to put my guitar playing on hold for a bit in the 90’s since I was simply working too much. In 2000 my husband took an assignment on an US military base in Germany, so we moved there (with all our dogs) for 4 years. Two friends of mine who were in the band “Clockpeople,” and they moved there with us. The three of us performed all over Germany, as an acoustic duo or trio, sometimes as a full band when our drummer would fly in from the US. We performed under the name “Peralta Road,” and “Misha Music.” My duo partner in Peralta Road was Scott Staley of Clockpeople, he ended up staying in Germany after meeting a girl. Scott and I played in the US occasionally from 2004-2010. Peralta Road was mostly country and classic rock and some originals.

SR: What was the music scene like when you were performing?

DA: In the mid 80’s it was way different. It seemed people had more fun going out, and really got into live music. The music scene was great all the way through to the 90s. Of course there wasn't social media. If you wanted people to come to your gig, you had to call them and invite them….

SR: Coming forward you decided to go to create your own booking music company. When and how did this company begin, and why?

DA: I started my booking company in 2000 when I was performing overseas. It was easier to book my own shows if I was calling pretending to be someone else. It is easier to say, “Oh they are really good” than to say, “ Oh I am really good.” I also met my friends from “The Booze Bombs,” over there and promised I would book them a tour in the US, which I did in 2001. I have had 14 tours with them over the last fourteen years.

SR: Your company, Whammybar Productions, is an agent for the band here in the states known as, Tramps & Thieves as well other bands. You set up shows between Europe and America. Can you share with us how you go about doing this, and tell us more about the shows you do in Arizona every January.

DA: I am the US booking Agent for the German Rockabilly band “The Booze Bombs,” (they are a “Gretsch” endorsed artist band, a very big deal over there). I have booked their 5 week tour in Jan/Feb for the last 14 years. I am very well-connected in the Rockabilly scene. I know all the car clubs and pin ups (they do a lot of shows and events) and have connections in our neighboring states to other bookers and they help me finding shows in TX, CA and CO.

Photo Credit: John Alschuler
For the last four years the Booze Bombs have played at the, Rockabilly Reunion, in Lake Havasu. I have all the Booze Bombs’ gear and instruments at our house, including a HUGE double bass and a PA. When I tour with a band in Germany we get to use their gear. So, we never have to rent anything. Since I only work with real professional bands, I have made a name for myself with club owners they know I will bring them a quality show that will pack the house. It is fairly easy for me to book shows here in town as well.

I have also toured with Rockabilly Band the “Rhythm Dragons” (two times Germany) Martin Shear, a brilliant Singer/Songwriter formerly of “The Scones” (late '90s- mid 2000) and Ronnie Winters. I also toured Germany with Stephan Ashbrook. Here in the States, I mainly work with “Tramps & Thieves,” but also work with TX Rockabilly band “The Octanes.”

SR: When and how did you become involved with Tramps & Thieves? And how did the European tour ideas come about?

DA: I have known Scott Seymann, the drummer from Tramps & Thieves, for almost 10 years. He was the drummer for the Scones, a band I was very close to. We just stayed friends throughout the years. I was excited when Scott told me he will be drumming with T&T and he said I should come and listen to them. I did and I loved them. Pretty soon after that Germany came up and they asked me if I would be willing to book a tour and take over some of the other things that had come up with the band. That was this last summer.

SR: You all leave this fall (2015) for their European Tour, what has been Tramps & Thieves reaction to this tour? 


DA: They are VERY excited. I think especially Emmett DeGuvera (Vocals/Guitar) and Scott always wanted to do this. I think it is fun for them to bring their music to a totally different part of the world.

SR: How do you survive several weeks on the road, putting up with security, organizing, booking, anxiety, misplaced guitar picks, driving long distances, flying, and all around mayhem?

DA: That is a good question. I am VERY organized and leave little to chance. But the key to my happiness is my very own room. In my younger years I didn’t care if four of us slept in one bed, it was cheap and we had to watch our money on tour. Now I would NEVER do that. I have learned to write very exact schedules so the band member knows when we have to leave for where. I want everyone to know when they have “free” time. I also make very sure I am aware of any kind of “special” needs a band member may have. Food preferences and such. I make sure everyone eats well. I am very easy-going, not much upsets me. I keep it positive even when if we should hit a rough patch. But most of all I have to say I have learned to surround myself with a great support team even when on the road or overseas.

SR: Aside from owning your own agency, booking, etc... I understand you have a heartfelt connection to dogs. Tell us how this all began. When it was established, and the aim of the program. Do the two companies... Music and Dogs ever end up in the same bark park camp?

DA: I got into rescue in 2006 after I lost two of my very own dogs to very tragic circumstances. I started volunteering for a rescue which I then took over as the executive director in 2007. 

Lucky Dog Rescue” was started by my good friend Dr. Lisa Maturo, she turned the rescue over to me to concentrate on building up per practice. Lucky dog Rescue is a Non profit corporation and we are all volunteers. I have 120 dogs in our care and over 90 active foster homes and volunteers. We mainly get dogs out of harm’s way, we take in unwanted dogs, sick dogs and puppies. We now run on a $200,000.00 budget, ALL donations we get through fund-raising and sponsorships.
Sometimes I combine the two ‘businesses” by having a fundraiser where my bands will play. We have a great show at the Rhythm Room each January called, “Rockabilly for Dogs.” I love dogs and music, I am very fortunate to be able to work in both fields.

SR: If you want a job done right, ask a busy person. However, if you want a dream brought to fruition ask a passionate determined person. What is it Dee you receive from the outreach of passion you have given to your determination of living?

DA: I simply love dogs, I am a real do-er, I can’t sit by and say, "Oh, this is a shame!" Too many people talk without action. I realize I can’t save all dogs, but for the few that I do, I sure make all the difference in the world and that is the BEST feeling in the world. Each and every dog that I pick up I promise that I will never let anything happen to them ever again, and all I can tell you is that they understand. I can’t tell you how this little sentence while I hold their head seems to transform that… I think they can look into my soul and know that they can trust me.
Same with the music, it is easy to go far beyond anything if you really love and believe in something. And I believe in my bands that I work with and will continue to help any way that I can.



Lucky Dog Rescue
Whammybar Productions
Email: AlschulerD@aol.com


Tramps & Thieves
The Booze Bombs



Monday, July 27, 2015

Imagine Dragons
Concert Photography
CowGirlZen Photography


Imagine Dragons
(Upcoming issue of Vents Magazine)
©CowGirlZen Photography





















Imagine Dragons
Social Media:

Interview with
Brothers Comatose

The San Francisco Americana act known as The Brothers Comatose can always be found a pick’n and always a’grinnin. At the center of the band sits the brothers Morrison, but all members have become part of the extended family. Pull up a stool, grab your banjo or guitar and listen along as Ben Morrison from The Brothers Comatose shares some good times with us.- by Song River

To read the complete interview click here on YabYum



Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson
Author of "Live Outside the Box:"
The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals


All for the love of interviewing. A inspiring chat with author Marilyn R. Wilson.

07/2015- Lily Steele (Creative Director of NW Artist Connection. www.nwac.co)


 Lily: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Marilyn: I grew up in a strict religious family where I just didn't fit in. I graduated early from high school and left for University at the age of 17 where I focused on Psychology, my first love. It was while working on my Masters in Counselling and Drug Abuse that I realized the career I was heading for was far too negative, so I walked away. It would be over two decades before I found my way to writing - through a Craigslist ad.  I absolutely love interviewing - that is my first passion - and to interview I had to produce articles.  I have come to love writing, but my first passion is and always will be interviewing.

Lily: What do you do when you are not writing?

Marilyn:  Most people don't realize that everyone working in fashion, publishing, photography and other areas of the industry often get to work on creation about 10-15% of the time. The majority of your time is spent on the business end - promotion, marketing, sales, submissions, new customers, finances, social media, etc., take up the lion's share.  For fun, I love connecting with friends over coffee or lunch, having people over or attending events together.  We have dinner and a movie night every Sunday if possible. I also love reading, bike ride almost every day weather permitting (outside, wind in the face - a total stress reducer), I love to dance but get very little opportunity and adore learning. Teach me something new.  

Lily: Do you have a day job as well?

Marilyn: No, I am fortunate my husband has been able to cover our living expenses while I made the move into this career - tight budget but do-able. It's been almost 10 years now and paychecks are still few and far between. This industry, like many others, is adjusting changes brought by the internet and trying to figure out where the profit will now come from. 

Lily: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Marilyn: I love this story. My kids were my total focus (especially as they were all bullied), so I didn't work an outside job. I found many creative ways to keep myself challenged and bring in a bit of extra money, but family took most of my time. Then one day they didn't need me as much. I sat down and started perfusing jobs on Craigslist and noticed a NY magazine looking for submissions. Throwing caution to the wind, I sent in 3 story ideas and 2 were accepted. The first time I conducted an interview I had goosebumps throughout. I was hooked. Over 150 interviews later, and after folding the local magazine I co-owned with a local photographer, the idea for Life Outside the Box arose. It took me over a year to finish. The manuscript was finalized in October 2014. I ran a pre-launch party in January 2015 (5 days after a significant birthday) and it was available for sale publicly starting February 1, 2015.

Lily: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Marilyn: It chose me. I have always been fascinated by how people live and their journeys. What a better outlet for this fascination than interviewing people about their lives?  I had to turn that very biographical material into a proper magazine article, so much could not be included. The joy of offering a book of mini-biographies on these same people is I finally get to share the stories that affected me deeply and ended up changing how I approach life. Every interview brings me a new idea or way to look at things. I grow just a little bit more each time.

Lily: Where do you get your ideas?

Marilyn: I really don't "get ideas."  I hear about or meet someone whose story sounds intriguing and try to set up an interview. Simple as that.  Sometimes I bump into them at events and start talking, sometimes I am asked by a publication to interview them, sometimes friends call and say they have someone in town I should meet and sometimes I hear about them through a media source.  There really is no set pattern. These connections just happen. You only have to be ready to jump when you get a lead.

Lily: Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Marilyn: All the time. I am a procrastinator by nature (even high school homework was done the night before in a panic) and often struggle with self-doubt. That's one of the reasons I didn't even consider self-publishing. I needed support. To get my book finished - 2 months late I think - someone at Influence Publishing finally started checking in with me every Sunday to see how I was doing. Just knowing I would hear from them helped keep me at the computer.

Lily: Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Marilyn: If I was ever going to do fiction or a book with one theme from start to finish, I think an outline would be amazing. However, since I write biographies as short stories, I find I just start with my notes and tell the story chronologically to get a draft on paper. Then I go back and edit - move things around, change the opening, perhaps move things out of sequence if needed. What I personally feel is important is your opening to draw people in and how your wrap it up. How many times have you enjoyed a book or movie, only to feel the ending was a throw away. It just didn't have impact. If you can nail these two things, then how the words flow in the middle is easier to decide.

Lily: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Marilyn: Not really. I read mostly for relaxation and entertainment. If I luck into a REALLY good book, I lose track of time and literally consume it. Those are the nights I sigh as I finish that last page and then realize it's 3 a.m. I enjoy Science Fiction and Mystery probably the most, but read biographies, other fiction and occasionally non-fiction as well.  

Lily: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Marilyn: It was such a hard process for me to finish the first draft.  I'm a quick, down and dirty, get it done person by nature and that's not how book writing goes. Then once the manuscript is finished it just keeps coming back. There is editing, proofing, requests for changes from the distributor and more. You also organize a book launch which can be overwhelming.  But one day that box of books arrives at your door.  I remember it vividly as Life Outside the Box held 55,000 hard earned words and took 16 months of my life from idea to completion.  I opened the box, took out a copy and thought - shouldn't it be much bigger. With all the effort it should have been a gigantic, one kilogram tome. Lastly - the book is for sale, the launch done, you think you've reached the finish line only to discover you just merged onto a new freeway - marketing. Despite it all, I am absolutely thrilled to have reached this milestone and had my book receive such great reviews.

Lily: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Marilyn: Oh my yes. You can always always do anything better. The biggest for me is changes to how I approach and deal with the people covered in each chapter. I also think I will bring the publisher in later in the game. Deadlines can be tough when you're dealing with the number of people I am. A lot of things that affect timing is outside my control. So I want to be pretty far along before I commit to a finish date.

Lily: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

Marilyn: Marketing has been the biggest challenge to date. With over 8 million titles on Amazon.com, it takes a lot of time, energy, imagination and dollars.  "Life Outside the Box" was hard to fit into the set categories, and that makes it hard to connect with an audience.  I have found it listed under Self Help, Motivation, Inspiration, Business Success Stories, Business Culture, Business & Money, Personal Finance, Management & Leadership - sometimes I just have to scratch my head.
 
    The first door to open was reviews by friends with blogs. I have used Fiverr.com to do blasts to Kindle Reader Groups and have paid for a Virtual Book Tour through iReads. What was exceptional about the last is most of these reviewers also post a review on Goodreads and on Amazon.com.  My website and social media links are also posted on their websites which helps with SEO. I have paid for a US PR blast - still waiting to see what that brings in - and am working on booking speaking engagements.  In this day and age, visibility is so important for first time authors.

    Lily: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

    Marilyn: No. This is the first book I have written and I am so happy it reached publication. There are so many more options now-a-days to help get your work out there.

    Lily: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

    Marilyn:  No favourites. Every story is there because I learned something amazing from my interview with each of them.  I am really happy I chose to start each chapter with a personal quote as a teaser. The one I have used most in my life is William Orlowski's - "How do you define success? There is no secret, just do and be brave." Every time I hit a moment of fear I try and channel his words - just do and be brave. Simple.

    Lily: How did you come up with the title?

    Marilyn: I am terrible at titles. I took a workshop with Influence Publishing Founder Julie Salisbury where we took our ideas and turned them into a solid plan - Title, subtitle, back blurbs, bio and what would go in each chapter.  Everyone gave you input and helped polish what your work. I was stuck on the title and Julie threw out Life Outside the Box. It felt right immediately.

    Lily: What project are you working on now?

    Marilyn: In addition to keeping my blog active with new posts, I am working on several magazine submission and have outlined three new books.  Some interviews have already been scheduled.  It's going to be a crazy year.

    Lily: Will you have a new book coming out soon?

    Marilyn: As I am just starting on interviews for the next book, it won't be until early in the new year at the earliest. Ultimately, timing depends on how quickly I can get interviews, how much I'm willing to sit at the computer each day and how busy the production department is at Influence.

    Lily: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

    Marilyn: I want to do other books with the same format as "Life Outside the Box." If I can build a strong audience, I can offer more stories that feature everyday people. We are so celebrity obsessed and want to read about people we can look up. If I could build an audience that is ready to read about real people living real lives who are not in the public eye, that would be amazing. Three books are in the outline phase, so not ready to share full details yet. There are definitely not enough hours in the day.

    Lily: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

    Marilyn: I have been fortunate to receive mostly positive reviews so far.  Probably the three that struck me the most were from reviewers who didn't like reading non-fiction and biographies. They went on to say they enjoyed my book and recommended it. Wow!  One negative comment was that they wished I had been able to channel the voices of those I wrote on better. Not sure quite how to do that, but thinking on the issue.

    Lily: What charities and organizations do you belong to currently?

    Marilyn: I don't have time to actually belong to a charity, but do my best to support many through articles and participating in fundraisers.  Because I know many people involved in various charities, I don't like to single one out. If it's a good cause and I can help, I step in.

    Lily: What are you most inspired by?

    Marilyn: Hearing someone share their unique life, how they have walked it and the way they dealt with low moments. I get goosebumps every time, even after almost a decade of interviewing. I hope this never changes.

    Lily: If your personality was a car what would it be? Why?

    Marilyn: Vintage Volkswagon Bug. My very first car ever was a VW bug - a 1950's something that didn't even have a radio. This car was simple, reliable, cheap to maintain and unpretentious and yet some of them have travelled all around the globe. Check out the documentary STORY OF VIN 903847. It's about a 1955 Beetle that circled the world 3 times.

    Lily: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

    Marilyn: If you want to be a writer, write - every day on any subject.  It really doesn't matter what. I always hated blogs, but couldn't find a way to get myself writing except for articles that would be published. My friend, jewellery designer Pam Jackson, suggested I start a blog. When I rolled my eyes, she said the following, "It doesn't matter what you write or if other people read it. If having a blog gets you writing everyday it's a good thing."  I followed her advice and opened a blog with no subject or theme. It should have failed according to all the criteria I read, but here I am years later receiving 7,000 to 12,000 hits a month. I love the opportunity it gives me to write on truly anything I want. I even wrote on throwing up once.

    Lily: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

    Marilyn: What a privilege it is to finally find something I love to do.  The fact that others appreciate reading these stories is an added bonus that makes my heart sing. I want to acknowledge I would not be where I am today without a community of support that continued to tell me I could do it even during moments of crippling self-doubt.  Here's to each of you as I wouldn't be here without you. Today - take that box of dreams you've put aside off the shelf. Dust it off and take off the lid. Look inside - don't be afraid. Remember, it's never to late to pursue your dreams. 

    Marilyn R. Wilson, Freelance Writer, Editor, Author - Live Outside the Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals
    @Oliobymarilyn

    Marilyn Wilson
    Freelance Writer, Editor, Author of Amazon Bestseller - Life Outside the Box: The Extraordinary Journeys of 10 Unique Individuals
    International Associate Editor/Contributor - Raine Magazine (NY-Miami-LA)
    Contributor - Metro-Living-Zine (Vancouver)

    Twitter - @oilobymarilyn
    Personal Website - www.marilynrwilson.com



    Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson on Vancouver Women



    Friday, July 24, 2015

    Interview w/ Actor Byron Mann
    Hell On Wheels

    Both of us cheering the morning with a cappuccino in hand, and a serious case of jet lag, actor Byron Mann, spoke to me recently from his home in Canada. A diverse career in acting, along a path most from his homeland (Hong Kong) would have never dreamed of taking, Bryon spoke fondly of his parents, his childhood, the two main places he calls home, and his chosen journey into the realm of acting.

    07/2015- Song River 
    (Issue of Vents Magazine)



    Song River: Thank you Bryon for taking some time with me today, I know you're a bit tired, but with all you have coming up and are in currently (Hell On Wheels, ABSOLUTION, Jasmine, and The Big Short w/ Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gossling and Christian Bale) we knew it was today or nothing on catching up with you.

    Byron Mann: (Laughed) Yes, suffering a bit from jet lag, flew in from Hong Kong this morning, but it won't really hit until 4 or 5 this afternoon... nothing a couple of cappuccinos won't fix.

    SR: You were born and raised in Hong Kong, would you say that you grew up in a traditional household?

    BM: Traditional in the sense that my parents are fairly traditional. No one in our household was in showbiz. My father was a dentist, my brothers: one is a banker and one is a doctor. I come from a family where you go to a university, and you go to graduate school and you enter into the 'white' collar work force, so for me to be making a living as an actor is really strange.

    SR: You aren't considered the 'black sheep' of the family are you?

    BM: Well, um, it's a black, black sheep (laughed) a very black sheep, let's put it that way.

    SR: During your growing up years in Hong Kong, what was it like socially, culturally and politically?

    BM: It was wonderful, you know many people, especially people in the West, don’t really understand the imagery of what Hong Kong is. When they think of Hong Kong, they may think; Oh, its like Russia or its massage girls, or boats in a river. However, Hong Kong is very international, like Manhattan. I went to an all boys English school in Hong Kong, I grew up with everyone from everywhere. I grew up with Americans, I grew up with Indians, Australians, it was a very diverse crowd, I was very exposed to all cultures, all languages.

    Then the very first university I went to after early schooling was in Illinois. Now, going from Hong Kong to Illinois was a huge shock for me, it really was. Through the years though, I always go back to Hong Kong for summer or winter, Id say for the past few years I have been working out of there. It is a wonderful place to be, Id rather live there than any place else in the world. You have to like the place where you're from. It's very diverse. I’ve heard from many people from all over the world who live and work out of Hong Kong and they’ve all said that it feels like home to them.

    SR: Why did your parents choose to send you to an all boys school? Diocesan Boys' School?

    BM: Well Hong Kong was originally a British Colony so all the schools were established by them, so most of the schools, at least half, are either all boys or all girls. The better schools are all single set schools.

    SR: Did you find that overall being in a single sex school helped you focus more on your education?

    BM: Absolutely, but it is funny you ask me that, because I didn't know at that time, anything else other than that (laughed). I never went to a co-ed school until university. I just thought the co-ed system was weird (laughed) I thought the all boys or all girls school was the 'norm,' but it was wonderful you could concentrate on athletics, sports, on music, there's certainly no distractions of the other sex, and you wear uniforms. You know, I wore a coat and tie, it was nice because you didn’t have to worry about what you wore during the day, I felt it was wonderful. I have life-long friends from that school.

    SR: Would you send your own children to that type of traditional school then as well?

    BM: Absolutely, without a doubt. In fact, my best friend is the headmaster of my alma mater, and that school is rumored to be the best school in Hong Kong, for that type of school.

    SR: Would you say then that this type of educational atmosphere is conducive to the individual and 'freethinkers' or was it more collective in its approach?

    BM: I would say collective, because in the East the spirit of collective is much stronger, you are really a part of it. That kind of thinking is much stronger in Asia, where as in the West it is more of, “I am the individual and I will do things my way.” and I will create my own path. Whereas in China, Japan, Asia the spirit of collective of the whole is much stronger. For instance, in school growing up you had your own house to belong to. There were six houses and each house would debate or play against each other, that kind of gives you a little glimpse of how it worked.

    SR: Was it the norm then, due to the structure, that everyone from a young age just knew what they wanted to be when they grew up, I mean I read that some of your peers as early as your all boys school era were already playing the stock market. Did this 'knowing' just not fit your character growing up?

    BM: All I remember during high school was that a lot of my peers and friends already had ideas of what they wanted to do. Hong Kong is a huge investment area, so stockbrokers,and finances thrives there. Many of my friends had family that worked making Ralph Lauren clothing too, so many went into the family's profession. For me, finances and such just never interested me.

    Then of course, if a family had the means to, many of us were sent overseas to go onto university. Many of my friends went to Oxford and Cambridge, Stanford and Yale they all went to good schools, so it was common, it was not a big deal.

    At first I was pre-med, at the first university and I didn't like that, and then I studied philosophy and that was my major, then after that I went into law, so for all intents and purposes my father thought I was going to be a lawyer. But then... it was my first summer working at a law firm and I hadn’t realized how dry the work was and I didn’t really want to do it anymore, but I needed to do something and I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I was in Hollywood and LA was right there and I tried acting, as I had done it in high school, and I found I really liked it.

    SR: What is the relationship between Hong Kong and Mainland China, and how does it affect global economics?

    BM: Hong Kong is physically and geographically a part of Mainland China, about a hundred years ago China had lost a war to England over opium. England was actually selling and distributing opium to Mainland China (East Indian Company worked as suppliers) and China claimed their people were being killed, and that they were going to fight them on this. China lost. So, as a part of the treaty they conceded this fishing village called, Hong Kong, to England. England ruled Hong Kong for almost ninety some years. Literally a hundred years ago it was nothing more than a fishing village, but what happened was when the communist took over China in 1949, many of the Shanghai industrialist fled to Hong Kong and these were the people who created Hong Kong into what it is today. A major financial center, kind of like the Manhattan/New York of the East.

    Then in 1997 that lease came up and Hong Kong reverted back to Mainland China, so Hong Kong is Mainland China... make no mistake about that. However, it is deemed as a special economic zone whereby Mainland China recognizes the history and basically allowed the Hong Kong government to govern itself, there is a bit more autonomy to Hong Kong. So, currently many big firms are headquartered in Hong Kong as a stepping stone/gateway to doing business in Mainland China. Many of my friends who live in Hong Kong from Monday to Thursday travel to Mainland China for work and then they come back on Friday to be with their family. That is fairly common.

    SR: As an actor now, it would seem you've taken advantage of a variety of role options not only in China, Hong Kong and the United States, but also in Canada. What was the attraction to Canadian productions?

    BM: I am also a Canadian citizen. The long story short is this; I started working up in Vancouver in the late '90's on different American productions and my parents immigrated to Vancouver when Hong Kong reverted back to Mainland China, and I just really liked the place. I was coming up here to work almost every year and I met an agent here and he encouraged me to become a Canadian resident of British Columbia, which I did. I now have a home here and in Los Angeles, and I have done many productions in America and up here, I am totally in love with the country and so grateful to be able to work here.

    SR: Looking back over your acting history, I am curious, have you ever felt type-cast?

    BM: A manager once told me a long time ago, learn to do one thing and learn to do it very well. Say for example, lets say you do a bad guy very well, you keep doing that type of character very well and Hollywood will find you. Then you do that next one lets say, a hundred times, and then you start doing something else. So, I have never seen type-casting as a bad thing, because first of all it allows you to work, it makes it easier for people to hire you and see you and once you do something long enough and well enough it opens more doors. For instance I have done many action pictures, movies, TV, so when they need a main actor to do action stuff my name comes up I am sure and I have no problem with that.

    However, having done that many times I am now doing other things, like the series, “Hell On Wheels,” and I get to play this beautifully complex character who knows Shakespeare and can quote King Lear and the character has nothing to do with action. I am sure having had the opportunities over the last 15 years to do action films has given me this chance, so that's not bad and that is one way of looking at it.

    SR: Is there a role you would like a chance to play?

    BM: The short answer is not really, because I have stopped thinking about that. One really never knows what role will bring what. The current role I am playing in “Hell On Wheels” is pretty much the dream role in all its complexities. The character writes, and reads Shakespeare, he goes head to head with all the lead characters in the show, he is really a fantastic character to play, I couldn't even dream of a character like that. In a way I am playing the dream character, without even knowing it.

    (Laughed) It's really kind of like dating, you can't really hold it with a very firm grip. You know if you do that list of 10 things that have to happen in any given moment for a date- well, you'll never date anyone. But, if you open up and just go along with it and see what happens, you will be totally surprised.

    SR: You've touched on the premiering of the next season of “Hell On Wheels.” Can you talk about some of the other things you also have going on? The movies, “The Big Short,” “Absolution,” “Jasmine?”

    BM: “Hell On Wheels” is about the building of the railroad in America, and in this fifth and final season, the Chinese workers, who were a big part of the building of at least this railroad out east, brings about a no holds bar story of the struggles and challenges of the Chinese vs the White people on the railroad.

    SR: How close historically is the series?

    BM: The writers have researched the history of what happened considerably. I was really impressed. My great grandfathers were actually from the same village where the workers were from.

    As well, I shot this movie called, “The Big Short,” it's a movie with Bale, Gossling, Carell and it's based on the NY Times Bestseller book, The Big Short. It takes place during that time in the 2000's mortgage crisis in America, you may remember that time, when a lot of people had to default on their homes. This movie is about what happened. The movie is supposed to come out this next year, it is told in a comedic way. The director is Adam McKay and it is very satirical. It breaks down these financial products in a layman sort of way, it's a funny cautionary tale.

    Then the movie “Absolution” is an action movie I did with Steven Seagal and it premiered in April I believe, and it's now available on iTunes and VOD. Then “Jasmine” is an independent film that was shot in Hong Kong and premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, its like a “Taxi Driver” in truth a Scorsese style film set in Hong Kong.

    SR: Outside of acting I understand tennis and golf sometimes play through... Currently what is your handicap and what is your favorite court to play tennis on?

    BM: My handicap is generally maybe about 12, although I must be honest I haven’t played golf in almost two years. Probably my favorite court is the court I grew up playing on when I was in Hong Kong, “Kowloon Tong Club” Kowloon is the area where I grew up and it is also the area where Bruce Lee grew up. That is probably my favorite tennis court, I have played a lot of tournaments on that court. And I still enjoy playing.