Monday, January 30, 2017

Acey Slade guitar clinic at Angel Bartolotta's Rock Box

Acey Slade, started in August of 2016 as the touring guitar player for the Misfits, though he also plays with Dope, Murderdolls, Wednesday 13, Amen, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and composes his own music.  He will be holding a guitar clinic at Rock Box, a music school owned fellow Dope musician Angel Bartolotta, who also played in Genitorturers and founded the collaborative Team Cybergeist. Rock Box is located at 5400 S. Biscayne Dr, Suite F in North Port, FL, and the clinic will be held at 7 p.m. March 10; tickets are $20 with advanced reservation: call (941)200-2163.
Bartolotta said, "The Rock Box is extremely excited to be bringing Acey Slade down from New York! It's not every day a musician of his calibre visits North Port. He has played for some high-profile bands, including the Misfits, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Murderdolls, to name a few. Acey and I both played together in the band Dope. He is one of the nicest and most down to earth people I've ever had the privilege of sharing a stage with. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us."
In preparation for the guitar clinic, I chatted with Slade to get to know a little more about the clinic and his experiences as a musician, and a little about his personal life.
Author Marisa Williams:  Acey, what can people expect at the upcoming guitar clinic?
Guitarist Acey Slade:  A lot of times, when people do these clinics, I feel they’re very show offy, kinda geared towards musical gymnastics, which is great, but I like to include people that aren’t at that level.  I’m going to have students from Angel’s School (Rock Box) come up and play with me, which is a little different than how these things usually go.  Rock music is different from other genres that promote sharing and being inclusive; the type of music we play is more outsidery, a little more standoffish, but I want it to be inclusive, to inspire people to play.  Clinics can be inspiring, because seeing a very good musician play can make you want to pick up guitar and play.  That’s what I want people to get when they get done from this clinic: to go home and want to start a band. 
Marisa:  Have you done clinics before?
Acey:  I did a clinic in Russia last year, did a bunch in Europe several years ago, and this year, I’m doing a lot more.  I really enjoy them.  This year, I will have the break to focus on doing something like this.  I will do it in between touring, if people like me enough.
I think the main thing is that I hope when people leave there, they want to start their own band.  I don’t consider myself a master guitar or bass player, and that’s usually what these clinics are.  I just always wanted to be in cool bands.  Just like the drummer from the Clash, as soon as he learned three chords, he started forming a band. I hope that’s what people do, get inspired, and leave wanting to express themselves, as opposed to musical mathematics or fitness.
Marisa:  What do you consider to be your hometown, and is that where you live now?
Acey:  I’m from a small town in PA, but I’ve lived in NY for the past 20 years now.
Marisa:  How did you get started in music?  Did you come from a musical family?  What were your biggest musical influences?
Acey:  I was in the church choir as a kid, and my favorite thing in the world was the Passion Play, a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ.  I loved the theatrics of play.  I saw Alice Cooper a year later, and he cuts off own head and rises back to life, just like church.  I wore the concert shirt to school and got sent home.  When I went to church, I can read from scripture all day, but showing me the play with the theatrics got my attention.  Just like when I saw Alice Cooper, he’s running around on stage dressed crazy, guillotines.  That’s where the two tie together I suppose. 
Marisa:  I know you play guitar, but do you play any other instruments, and how old were you when you learned to play them?
Acey:  I also play bass.  It comes back to people out there who see Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Hendrix, or Steve Vai playing, and they say, “I want to be an awesome guitar hero.”  For me, growing up in small town in PA, the pool of musicians so small.  It was more like the band up the road needs a bass player; now, another band needs a guitar play.  I always wanted to be in a band and write songs, as opposed to a soloist, per say.  I was probably like 16 when I got my first guitar.
Marisa:  What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?
Acey:  First concert I attended was probably Alice Cooper, and that was a huge production, huge show.  First show I ever played was an all ages place in the town next to mine, probably 30-40 kids there.  There was nobody smoking, no marijuana like the Alice Cooper concert, no massive lights or PA.  In my imagination through, both of those shows took me to another place, not in my body.  I was so absorbed with what’s going on on stage.  I was terrified and excited at the same time.  The feeling was the same, but aesthetics couldn’t have been further apart.
Marisa:  What was the first album you purchased?
Acey:  I worked at a record store, so I don’t remember the first album I purchased, but I remember that I stole Cheap Trick, Rolling Stones and Judas Priest from my sister to listen to when I was growing up.
Marisa:  How do you go about writing music?  What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else?  Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?
Acey:  It’s funny.  It comes from everything.  I have a list in my phone of song titles.  I have song lyric phrases that I write down.  Sometimes, I’ll walk and hear drum patterns or melodies, and I’ll hum that in my phone.  It’s funny even for me to listen to, let along someone else.  It’s not like scat singing, but sometimes I’ll sit with a guitar, play a part wrong, but if I follow up with another chord, it’s a whole different riff.  Most recently, I was working with Earl Cohen, Lady Gaga’s producer.  I’ve always been like whatever comes to mind first, that’s always the best, as it’s the most impulsive and pure, so I would work with that idea, put it down, and either it’s good or not.  Earl was interesting.  We would work off a guitar riff.  He would say, “that’s good, but how would you play it better?”  Just really working the aspects until he would say, “I think we got something there, but what’s the vocal melody?”  Then again, he would say, “that’s really good, but how would you do it better?”  We recorded the whole time.  Maybe we would start with the best idea, but it may be at end.  I had never worked that way before.  It was really cool; I’m going to start implementing that, too.
Marisa:  What is your favorite musical technique?
Acey:  To be honest with you, you have to keep it fun.  A lot of musicians sit and try to learn a scale.  Sure, you have to learn a scale, but knowing it and putting it to use are two different things.  Carol Kaye – she’s a bass player on a lot of Motown stuff - her teachings are based around how to make use of an octave.  We’d work on song and put it to practical use.  When you keep in practical use, you keep learning.  I was watching a guy today to prepare for the clinic, and he did the complete opposite.  He would say, take the C scale, play it over E and D, but he was telling, not showing, so it was not very fun.
Marisa:  Are you only playing with the Misfists now, or do you have other projects, too?
Acey:  I also tour with Dope, not currently, but I work with a few different people.  I do sessions in NY, so I keep busy.  Have my own stuff that I do, too. 
Marisa:  What is the scariest thing about being on the road?
Acey:  Going home. 
Marisa:  Best or worst tour moment?
Acey:  Funniest memory, I gotta say, probably the funniest that comes to mind was when I played in Australia with Joan Jett for the New Year’s countdown.  The sound cut out during our set.  We used in-ear monitors that block out the outside sound to hear band through headphones.  At the time, I wasn’t using those, but rest of band was, so they could not hear.  There was like 30,000 people, and it was almost like scene in The Doors, naked men crowd surfing, blow up dolls, confetti...  They start arguing about how to fix problem.  I notice the screen counting down 10, 9, 8, 7…  By the time I got everyone’s attention, we missed the countdown.  Nobody else could hear.  I always feel a lot of gratitude; every time I get in a tour bus, I’m grateful.  At the Misfits reunion shows, we broke attendance records.  I’ve known diehard fans with Misfits tattoos on them, and they said, “it was too crazy; I had to get out of there.  I got cracked ribs, sprained ankles; it was pretty intense.”  I guess one time I was playing with Joan, and Stephen Tyler, Dave Grohl, Brett Michaels, and Lynard Skynard were on the side of the stage where I had my equipment.  So, every time I would walk over to switch instruments, I had to say excuse me, Dave Grohl.  Excuse me, Stephen Tyler.  I remember Stephen Tyler singing melodies so loud that I could hear him over the amps.  That was like a pinch me moment.

Marisa:  What's your favorite way to travel and why?
Acey:  I like buses.  I can go to sleep whenever I want, go to my bunk.  Chances are whatever’s on TV is pretty cool, because you have like-minded people.  You drive through the night, wake up in the next town, so you’re waking up with bigger chunk of day.  With Joan, we flew everywhere.  At first, it was cool, but you’re spending four hours of each day at an airport just waiting, so definitely being in a bus.  Those are luxury items, problems like winning the lottery and complaining about the taxes.
Marisa:  What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?
Acey:  Well, I really like Russia and the Ukraine a lot.  I like Asia a lot, too.  I haven’t been to India, so that’s on the bucketlist of places I haven’t gone.
Marisa:  What's your biggest musical fantasy?
Acey:  As corny as it sounds, doing the Misfits reunion shows pretty much hit it.  That was like up there.  I’d have to say that’s it.  When I played with Joan, the band was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.  As minimal as it sounds, I wish my own music would get the attention as some of the bands I play for gets.
Marisa:  I have three personality questions that I ask everyone.  They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-)  First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?
Acey:  Purple.  I’d like to have x-ray vision.
Marisa:  If you were yogurt, what flavor would you be (feel free to be creative, as this does not have to be a traditional flavor) and how would you be served?
Acey:  Well, I just got home from buying yogurt, so it’s funny that you should ask me that.  Normally, I would say coffee flavored, but I’ve had it, and it’s not great, so I’m going to say … I make a lot of smoothies, like chocolate and blueberries, so definitely chocolate, served in a gauntlet, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat. 
Marisa:  Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.
Acey:  I’m definitely more of a cat person.  You’re asking me in front of my cats; one is a black cat, and one is an Egyptian Mau.  For fear that either would seek vengeance by pooping somewhere, maybe I’ll say a Persian cat. Persians are banned from our country right now, but Persians are actually hypoallergenic. 
Marisa:  Do you collect anything?
Acey:  Well, I collected Nightmare Before Christmas toys, then I saw a special about people collecting Beanie Babies.  For some reason, I just thought those people seemed creepy, then I looked around my room, and I thought I was one of those creepy people.  Plus, I ran out of room.  I do photography, so I collect photography equipment, and it gets very expensive.
Marisa:  What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Acey:  Something people may not know, I could listen to Motown all day long, so Motown music.  I love going into the desert.  I will spend retarded amounts of money on coffee.  I walked into a coffee shop today, and I walked out $20 poorer.  That’s not even buying beans or anything.  It’s the last vice I have.
Marisa:  Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?
Acey:  I can wiggle my ears.
Marisa:  What's the most important thing to remember?
Acey:  I forget.  Brush my teeth.
Marisa:  What was your most influential moment?
Acey:  On the serious tip, probably when I got sober.  I’ve been sober 20 years now, so there’s that.  I know that’s not for everybody.  Probably that, and when I got the call to move to NY to play for Dope when they had their deal with Sony, which would’ve been 1999.  I joined Murderdolls with the drummer from Slipknot.  I’ve tried to get my own projects off ground intermittently.  It’s been so close, but they never quite got traction.  Seven years ago now was the day I got set up to quit music.  I had it, thought I had done everything I was supposed to do.  I thought, that’s it, then I got the phone call to play for Joan.  I played for her for six years.
Marisa:  Were you playing with Dope when they played Croakie’s Party Island in Michigan?
Acey:  I didn’t play Croakie’s.  At that point, it was a weird time.  We had two records on Sony, but we didn’t know what was going to happen.  I wanted to ride it out, see it out, then Joey from Slipknot called me up.  He had booked two weeks of shows for Murderdolls, one week in Europe, another in Japan opening for Guns n’ Roses.  I went to the lead singer of Dope and said, “here’s the deal.  I don’t want to leave the band, but I have an opportunity to go to Europe, then Japan.  So, when I get back, I will resume playing for Dope.”  I feel positive about it, but then the next day, he calls and says that I can’t go to Japan, because he had booked this gig at Shakie’s.  He said, don’t go Japan; go to the Party Island, but I said no.  I did not play that show.    
Marisa:  If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Acey:  Probably hair or photography.  When I quit Joan, it was doing first day as a hair stylist.  It’s a good way to make money.  Young kids who want to be musicians ask me what they should do for extra money, and I tell them go to hair school.  It only takes nine months for school, and you can make cash straight away.  You can have a flexible schedule, can look weird with tattoos, and it’s easy.  It’s better than swinging a hammer, not to say that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just, for me, this is great.  Photography, I wanted to go to school for it, and my mom said, “pick career that makes money.” 

Marisa:  What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?
Acey:  My Aeropress, a coffee press; my camera; and my phone.

Marisa:  Any advice for musicians starting out?
Acey:  Yes, learn how to cut hair. 
Marisa:  Where can people find your music?

Marisa:  Closing thoughts and additional comments?
Acey:  I’m excited to come down to FL; hopefully, everybody takes it easy on me.  We’ll have a lot of fun, play some music, and it’s great to support Angel’s school.  The way the band Dope is set up is like a fraternity; there’s always different guys.  I’ve played with Angel a handful of times, but the thing with Angel that strikes me is that he’s always so pro with whatever he’s doing; he always has every I dotted, every t crossed. 
The Acey Slade guitar and bass clinic will be held at The Rock Box on Friday, March 10th at 7:00 p.m., and the event is open to the public. Tickets are $20 and must be reserved in advance, as tickets will not be available at the door. 
The Rock Box Music School & Stage is located at 5400 S. Biscayne Dr, Suite F, in North Port, FL.  For more information, call (941)200-2163 or visit  Rock Box teaches private lessons for voice, piano, guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, violin, mandolin, cello, hand percussion and more. They also host band camps, clinics/workshops, and monthly Open Jam Nights.
The author of more than 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University; for more on Marisa, visit and  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Enemy Remains explodes with "No Faith In Humanity"

Former Fates Warning member Steve Zimmerman &  Metal Fortress Radio’s Tommy Blardo joined forces in Enemy Remains.  Fueled by vocalist Frank Morin, bassist Jeff Curtis and guitarist Scott Kadish, they are a Global Music Award winning heavy metal group that was featured in the Rock Band for Xbox for their song “Live for Today.”  Their latest “No Faith In Humanity” was just released, so be sure to check it out.
Author Marisa Williams:  You changed the lineup of the band in 2014.  How do you think that is working out so far, and is this seemingly the magic combination of musicians?
Enemy Remains:  We’re very pumped for the new line up; everyone seems to have the same goals, which was hard to find in past line-ups.
Marisa:  How did you get started in music?  Did you come from a musical family?  What were your biggest musical influences?
Enemy Remains: We all started young, seems most of us have family members that either influenced musically in one way or another.
Marisa:  What instruments do you play, and how old were you when you learned to play them?
Enemy Remains:  
Steve Zimmerman: I play DW drums and have played drums since middle school while I was 15. My father was a drummer; I used to fiddle on his kit playing beats.
Marisa:  What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?
Enemy Remains:  Tommy "Beast": The first show I attended was Iron Maiden and Judas Priest at Hartford Civic Center. I can say that nothing in the music scene can even compare to Iron Maiden; I was just playing out to our friends in the scene.  
Marisa:  What was the first album you purchased?
Enemy Remains:  Tommy “Beast”: Van Halen.
                             Steve:    Black Sabbath.
Marisa:  How do you go about writing music?  What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else?  Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?
Enemy Remains:  Steve: Before it was more like me and Tom would sit down, and he would have a guitar idea, and I would put drums to it, and then we’d slowly elaborate and mold the song to what we want. We did do that with "No Faith in Humanity," the song, but the rest of the songs on the album, we started to incorporate some of the new members, including the singer. We took everybody’s opinion, and we worked with everybody. The outcome is what you hear. I think it’s a nice blend. I am 100% involved in the writing process with each album since.
Marisa:  How did you decide on working with Jeffery Wedd (Trivium, Korn) and Maor Applebaum (Faith No More, Sepultura, Halford) for pre-production, Nick Bellmore (Toxic Holocaust, Jasta, Kingdom of Sorrow) for engineering and mixing, and Chris Zeus Harris (Rob Zombie, Queensryche, Hatebreed) for mastering at Dexters Lab Recording for the new album?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z: We wanted to really make a statement with this production, seeing the first Album we were not happy at all how it came out, so were brought in the “Horses,” as they call it in the game, and we are beyond happy with it.
Marisa:  Can you pick a track or two from the new album and share a story of either the inspiration behind it, or perhaps something that may have changed during the recording process?
Enemy Remains: Tommy “Beast”: Empty Inside was the second track that was written for the Album; that’s the song we really wanted to experiment with productions sounds, and that song was very personal to us on how it relates to everyone in the band on different levels personally.
Marisa:  Besides Steve leaving in 2013, what is the difference between Divided Silence and Enemy Remains musically in your opinion, and will there be a revival of Divided Silence in the future?
Enemy Remains:  Wow, great question. Divided Silence is really Enemy, shhh...  It's the Acoustic side of Enemy with Tommy and Frank.
Marisa:  What is your favorite musical technique?
Enemy Remains: Tommy “Beast”:   Really, don't have one; I write to what I like to hear myself.
Marisa:  What's the coolest musical technique in your latest project, or what is something people might not expect?
Enemy Remains:  Tommy “Beast”: We brought a lot of the more currents sound that everyone is using today to our music, production tricks I would say.
Marisa:  What is the scariest thing about being on the road?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  Nothing, I would never come home if it was up to me, love seeing the fans.
Marisa:  Best or worst tour moment?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  I think the only thing that sucked was on the Fate's tour.  We lost reverse and air conditioning going through the desert. Oh my god, was it hot!! 
Marisa:  What's your favorite way to travel and why?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  Either Bus or Fly, just very relaxing to me.
Marisa:  What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  Europe is lots of Fun. I'd like to go to Japan; actually, I have family there.
Marisa:  What's your biggest musical fantasy?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:  To see Enemy Remains get as big, if not bigger, than when I was with Fates.
Marisa:  I have three personality questions that I ask everyone.  They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-)  First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  Purple, and I could see in the dark.
                            Tommy “ Beast”: Black, and I would be able to see into the future.  
Marisa:  If you were yogurt, what flavor would you be (feel free to be creative, as this does not have to be a traditional flavor) and how would you be served?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:  “Black Cherry,” I would be served Free and Frozen.
                             Tommy “Beast”: Pineapple.  I would be served Prickly and Hard.
Marisa:  Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:  Dog.
                            Tommy “ Beast”: Cat.
Marisa:  Do you collect anything?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:  Yes, many things lol.
                            Tommy “Beast”: I do not.
Marisa:  What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Enemy Remains:  Tommy “ Beast”: love the New Jersey Housewives show.  
                             Steve Z:   Enemy Remains.  
Marisa:  Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?
Enemy Remains: Steve Z:  I'm an excellent dancer.
                            Tommy “Beast”: I was a huge sports player back in the day - Football, baseball - and I was pretty good.
Marisa:  What's the most important thing to remember?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:   Take care of your Pets.
                             Tommy “ Beast”: Karma is a F***** Bitch.
Marisa:  What was your most influential moment?

Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:  Hearing some of my favorite bands on the Radio, and said, “I wanna be that band on the radio.”
                             Tommy “Beast”: Seeing Fates Warning for the first time play in the same practice room as my band !!  And touring with Fates Warning as a tech, said, “this is the only thing I ever wanna do in my life.”
Marisa:  If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Enemy Remains:     Steve Z:  Nothing.
                                 Tommy “ Beast”:  Owning and running a Huge Company.  
Marisa:  What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road, and when do you plan to embark on the next national tour?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z:   A fan, money and my band mates. Plan to tour 2017 spring summer.
Marisa:  Any advice for musicians starting out?
Enemy Remains:  Steve Z: Always respect the bands; they paved the way for you to be standing on that stage.
Marisa:  Where can people find your music?  Is a blog that is associated with the band at all, as some websites link it to you?
Enemy Remains:  
Marisa:  Closing thoughts and additional comments?
Enemy Remains: Probably one of the best interviews thus far!  Thank you to Marisa, who really did her homework on the band.

The author of more than 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University; for more on Marisa, visit and

Kathleen Madigan brings comedy to Clearwater

Kathleen Madigan proves that women can be successful comedians, and she will be performing Jan. 28th at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, FL, amongst other places on her latest tour.  She was the only comedian in the history of NBC's Last Comic Standing to go unchallenged; with specials on Showtime and HBO, multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman, she was the winner of the “Best Female Stand-Up Comedian” at the American Comedy Awards.  She hosts a show on the Blue Collar Comedy XM channel, has written for Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, was a host writer for the Emmys and appeared on “CBS's NFL Comedy Jam.”

Author Marisa Williams:  St. Louis is listed as your home town, but is that where you live now?

Kathleen Madigan:  That's where my family is, and I have a place in LA, but I live on the road.

Marisa:  What made you decide to switch from journalism to stand-up comedy, and what were your biggest influences?

Kathleen Madigan:  Well I didn't really switch.  I worked as a journalist, writing feature stories, but only for a year.  I didn't intentionally switch.  I worked in a bar next to a comedy club.  We did open mic night for fun at the club, and I just kept doing it.

Marisa:  How do you go about writing comedy and putting together an act, and has the process changed for you over the years at all?

Kathleen Madigan:  No, I don't really write jokes.  I wait for stuff to happen in life, and then I tell it on stage.  That's how it's happened the whole time.

Marisa:  How did you decide on Royal Oak, MI, as a location for filming your hour-long television stand-up special?

Kathleen Madigan:  It's been a city that I've had the most fun in.  I did the best there, even better than my home town.  It's hard to explain to people who've never been to Detroit, because they only see the stuff on the news.  The crowds are fun and smart.  I sat at the Comedy Castle for 20 years, drinking after the shows, and I like the people.  Everybody comes out, even when the economy sucks, they still find a way.

Marisa:  What was your worst heckler like?

Kathleen Madigan:  I don't get a lot of hecklers, because of the nature of my act.  I had an old lady go crazy over a Sarah Palin joke.  I can deal with any heckler, but it's weird when it's somebody's drunk grandma.  It's uncomfortable and odd.  Maybe because I talk fast, I don't give the opportunity for too many hecklers.  Sarah Palin people have one or two screws loose, but for someone to yell out that's like 75 and totally hammered, it's weird.

Marisa:  What was is like writing and producing for Lewis Black's Root of All Evil, versus writing for the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards?

Kathleen Madiagn:  Well, it's totally different.  With the Emmys, it was just me and Gary, writing his monologue.  With Root of All Evil, there's a writer's room, and a whole bunch of people in show.  I'm way better one on one.  I'm not into all things being approved by committees.  There was Louis Black, his friend John Bowman, and lots of people involved that should not have been, so it made it weird.

Marisa:  What is the scariest thing about being on the road?

Kathleen Madigan:  There's nothing scary per say, but it's stressful with airlines, and now, I leave a day early at least, because I don't trust anyone any more.  It cuts the stress, but it keeps me on road 50 days longer than I need to be.  Even if have a three hour flight, I don't trust that I'll be there, just because there are things that can do wrong, delays happen. If I do a theatre show, it's just me.  They bought tickets to see me, so I gotta be there.  I can't just not show up, because American didn't leave on time.

Marisa:  What's your favorite way to travel and why?

Kathleen Madigan:  The train on the East Coast, I love it.  I love it, I wish the whole country would get on board the train. I went from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, turned back to go to Philadelphia, then to Atlantic City.  I  had a theatre show in Harrisburg.  There's no security, tons of seats, a desk if you want, snacks, beer, I can sleep to rhythm of the train...  It's unfortunate that it's only on the East Coast.  I grew up in Missouri.  I don't even know if we have trains.  I didn't take the train in Missouri.  I had to go to Illinois to catch the train.  We don't get it.  I tried to get from St. Louis to Chicago, but the train ticket cost more than the plane - but on the East Coast, it's totally reasonable.  It's great; you never hear hardly ever about them being late or breaking down.   There's always another train a half hour later, and you don't have to take off shoes or stand through the pat down of security lines.  It's like 20 years ago.

Marisa:  Yeah, I remember when I was doing my Master's at Johns Hopkins, I would take the train each day to go from Baltimore to Washington D.C..  I could just pick up a vodka from the liquor store right inside Union Station, and drink it on the commute home; it was great.  Getting back to it, what's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?

Kathleen Madigan:  I've never been up to the North - North East corner, like Maine and Vermont.  They sent me an offer, but it was like the middle of winter, at a ski resort down roads that are closed from the heavy snow, but I can't get there effectively.  I would've gone to Burlington, Vermont.  I would have to go from L.A., to New York, to Vermont, then rent car...  It's like 24 hours to get there.  I need a summer festival.  I have a lot of kinship with Wisconsin.  I'm friends with Louis Black, and he and I joke that when we're old, we're going to retire in the summer to Traverse City, Michigan, or Wisconsin for bratwurst.  I'm 100 percent Irish, but someone musta slept with a German, because I love their food.  They serve Schlitz on tap; who does that?  It's like time traveling with grandpa on a Saturday.  I love old dark bars.  I don't want to dance at a club, I just want a bar.  I'm doing Madison soon, and they're wild; it's fun.

Marisa:  Yeah, I remember, when I toured on Ozzfest, Wisconsin people were always a great crowd.  They really know how to party and have a good time.  Now, this next question, my friend, who is an aspiring female comedian, wanted me to ask.  She had been watching a special on female comedians, and most claimed that any female comedians who actually make it do not sleep with people after shows.  Would you agree with that?

Kathleen Madigan:  Yes, I would agree; it's ridiculous for a woman, compared to a man.  It's dangerous.  Haven't we seen enough Dateline?  I always view it like let's say...  I may, but I didn't really do it in my 20's, but let's say I go somewhere with a guy.  With his bare hands, he could kill me, but I can't kill him.  Guy comics, when they pick up girls, take them back to the comedy suite, and there's no danger element like that.  I just think it's crazy.  Forget the morality.  Just watch the ID channel for 7 hours; you won't want to even talk to a stranger.

Marisa:  What's your biggest comedy fantasy?

Kathleen Madigan:  I never have goals or dreams.  My sister says it's pathetic and lazy, but I had a goal, to tell jokes to pay bills and not have to live in a trailer.  So, I think I'm living my fantasy.  I don't have another.  I've had so many fun things happen that I never thought would.  Time will tell me my next fantasy, because I can't think of it.

Marisa:  If you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?

Kathleen Madigan:  I'd be blue, and I'd have green eyes.  I'd have a magical wish horn.

Marisa:  If you were yogurt, would you be mixed fruit, fruit on the bottom, what flavor and why?

Kathleen Madigan:  Black cherry, mixed in.  I hate fruit on bottom; it doesn't work for me.

Marisa:  Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.

Kathleen Madigan:  A Beagle. 

Marisa:  Do you collect anything?

Kathleen Madigan:  No.

Marisa:  Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?

Kathleen Madigan:  Yes, I can fold my tongue in half; it's really something to see.  I'm a pretty good golfer. 

Marisa:  What's the most important thing to remember?

Kathleen Madigan:  To put my contacts in – if I don't do that, I can't see all day.  That's a problem; I'm legally blind.

Marisa:  What's your best aha! Moment?

Kathleen Madigan:  When I realized I have to stop watching Oprah, because she's using the phrase aha!  I'm done watching Oprah forever.

Marisa:  If you were not doing comedy, what would you be doing?

Kathleen Madigan:  I would like to be an FBI profiler.  I'm fascinated with psychology, but I wouldn't want to deal with people and their problems in my office.  I like to figure them out from afar, narrow a case down, figure it out, but it sounds like a lot of science.

Marisa:  Actually, my undergrad degree is a Bachelor of Science in Forensics, but I changed gears after I had my cliff diving accident, where doctors told me I'd never walk again at 19.  Even though I can walk now, that changed my life's focus, which led to me going back for my Master's in Writing, but yes, it is a lot of science.  Anyhow, what are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?

Kathleen Madigan:  I gotta have my Ipad.  I go crazy without that.  I quit smoking, so I need Tootsie Pops - not a fake one from gas station - then glasses or contacts, some form of assisted eye wear.  I couldn't get to a gate without that, I would need help.

Marisa:  Any advice for comedians starting out?

Kathleen Madigan:  Well, no, because it's so hard today.  There's so many mediums and outlets.  You better make sure you like it.  Plan on it being a marathon, not a sprint, because 90 percent isn't going to work.  You gotta love it and have a passion, or else the road will bother you.  The business will get to you too much.

Marisa:  Closing thoughts and additional comments?

Kathleen Madigan:  Follow me on twitter.  People entertain me more than I entertain them.  I'm not serious or into politics.  When I'm in an airport, the general public is far funnier than they think they are; they write things, and I answer back.  If you get a giant bag of Tootsie Pops, they have a new flavor, pomegranate, but there's only 2 in bag.  I'm thinking, what, do I have to buy a hundred bags?Somebody sent me a link.  I enjoy the general public.  Some people are mean, and when you look at their page, they only write mean things, but I have a great time with a twitter person.  It's not even to promote myself, just to entertain me.

For more on Kathleen Madigan, visit,,, and  The author of 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University.  For more on Marisa, visit and