Interview: Ed Gage

THE MAN. THE MYTH. THE FUCKING LEGEND.

Odds are, even if you have no clue who this guy is, you’ve seen him around. Whether it be on social media or in person, you’ve definitely seen the PHENOM that is ED GAGE is some way, shape or form.

Not too long ago, we reached out to our readers about what they wanted to see here on The Metal. Ed was one of the folks who reached back and was kind enough to request an interview, which we happily conducted.

Let’s check it out!

Mike Marlinski: Since 2003 (ish), you’ve been in your own limelight and sort of a Jack of All Trades. For those who don’t know you at all, give us a little background on your beginnings in music, acting and graphic design.

Ed Gage: It’s hard to put it into a short story, so I’ll be as specific and short as I can. Well, I’ve been playing music since the age of eight. I started off being a band geek, ironically as a clarinet player (laughs).

I quit at 11 years old and for a long time I wanted play guitar, probably since the age of 3 after I first watched Back To The Future. So, when I was 11, my dad got me my first guitar for Christmas. When I started it was mainly doing talent shows and open mics in 2004 and 2005 doing AC/DC tributes. In 2008, I started getting involved in a KISS tribute as Ace Frehley, but that didn’t last too long. I eventually did some Iron Maiden tribute stuff as well, mostly with the early era. I was doing tributes and covers for so long, I think for a long time I was someone who wanted to be like everyone else, or someone that I admired. I never wanted to be myself. As time went by, after doing tributes to AC/DC, KISS and Iron Maiden, I kinda got to that point where I wanted to start being original.

I had started writing original songs in 2013 with some other guys, including some local Buffalo guys when I started getting involved in the local music scene. Sadly, these projects never kicked off. I think I made too many excuses to not try and settle with a band. When I relocated to FL for educational purposes, I had gotten involved with and recorded some demos with some of guys from Yngwie Malmsteen. It’s actually a funny story how I got involved with those guys (laughs). So, we’re trying to get those songs we wrote polished and re-recorded, so hopefully those will eventually be put out. By the time I relocated to L.A., I finally started writing and recording my own original music, which has been a great start for something big.

With graphic design, that all started when I tried Photoshop for the first time in school in 2003, and I just thought it was a fun thing to do on the side and make funny and interesting pictures.

Acting was something I never foresaw myself doing at a young age. It started in high school in 2010, when a classmate heard me shriek a maniacal laugh and he then approached me and asked if I wanted to be The Joker in a fan-made Batman project for YouTube. I then started working on small projects for a few years. By the time I started making plans for L.A. with my best friend and business partner (Kellen Pembleton), we did our research and did everything to get involved in the industry. Unfortunately, the whole $500 and a suitcase thing doesn’t work anymore. You can’t just go to L.A. without any knowledge and expect to make it. It doesn’t work that way anymore. So I joined a few casting companies and started picking up gigs left and right and I’ve gotten on some of the biggest shows within a matter of 6 months, two of them being Lethal Weapon and Shameless. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss any of the other big projects I was involved in due to confidentiality. In Hollywood films, they’re very cautious with that. I’m still working my way up, and it’ll only get better if I stick to it. So far, life has been a hell of a journey, but this is only the beginning.

MM: That’s crazy, man. I knew about Lethal Weapon, but had no idea about Shameless.┬áCan you list what episodes of Lethal Weapon and Shameless you’re on?

EG: The Shameless episode hasn’t come out yet, but I’ll send it to you when it does. The Lethal Weapon episode is “Birdwatching” from Season 2. I’ll be in a prison episode that will be coming out soon as well. I think I have better screen time on Westworld, which I actually had to work with James Marsden on for a small part.

MM: Awesome! But back to your other story, how’d you get involved with the Yngwie crew?

EG: It’s actually pretty funny. When I moved back to Boca Raton (my hometown) to attend FAU, I was living there for already about two months in 2014. Halloween 2014, I was dressed as King Diamond and it was 10PM at night and I just got back from a festival. 10PM was still considered too early for me (laughs). So, I hadn’t been too familiar with area since it had been so long, so I looked up the closest bar on my phone and started walking to it. I walked into this bar where a Tom Petty tribute band (Time With Tom) was performing at. Right as I walked into the bar, this guy saw me in costume and said “King! You’re here!” This guy turned out to be Ralph Ciavolino, Yngwie’s bassist (who recently quit the band). We exchanged info and he wasn’t on social media at the time, and we lost each other’s numbers. We then ran into each other again down the road and he then introduced me to Yngwie’s drummer Mark Ellis and his guitar tech Kenny Baker. We all hung out and they were good company to be around.

MM: Sick, man. It’s funny how things work out. Now, as far as your original music goes, can you share some songs you’re most proud of?

EG: I can’t really choose a favorite because I’m proud of all of them (the three singles). Sometimes I feel that my music isn’t the greatest out there, but you know everyone is their own worst critic at times. Though, I like how my recent single “Eye of the Serpent” turned out. It came off with an old school Venom, Motorhead and Exodus (Bonded By Blood era) vibe to me and I think that was the one time I actually felt 100% proud of what I did.

MM: Awesome. I’ll share that one in the article, then. Can you share any graphic design work you’re most proud of for the article?

EG: I liked the artwork of “Eye of the Serpent” and “Ride the Thunder” the most. I’m a sucker for old school and ’80s nostalgia and I wanted to create that old school vibe to it and I think “Ride The Thunder” definitely had an 80’s vibe to it.

MM: Sick, you definitely have that traditional ’80s metalhead look to you. Did that start off as a natural thing, or did you kind of consciously adopt a persona? Maybe a little of both?

EG: Maybe a little bit of both. I unfortunately didn’t grow up in that era, I was a ’90s kid. And I really do wish I grew up in that era. A lot of the greatest bands and movies came out in the era in my opinion. I always loved ’80s movies as a kid growing up. And ’80s bands (metal and rock bands) stood out to me the most for some reason. I think it was natural and then I adopted the image to keep it alive. I like seeing these ’80s rock festivals and new movie and TV show releases keeping the ’80s alive, as well as bands sticking around for so long, or even reuniting on that matter.

Going slightly off topic, I was happy to hear one of Anvil’s songs appear in the IT remake, since it took place in 1989 (laughs).

MM: For sure, man. Those are all great influences to have and your whole persona has gotten you this far. As for your Hollywood life, what’s the most memorable experience you’ve had meeting a celebrity you look up to?

EG: Well, I’ve met quite a few, even before I relocated. Not even 24 hours after I arrived to L.A., I met Tim Allen when he was performing at The Laugh Factory. Holy hell, his live performances are a riot. Since arriving to Hollywood, I’ve had the opportunity to either work with or meet Rob Lowe, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chris Jericho, Bruce Dern, James Marsden, Damon Wayans, Terry Crews, at this point the list is endless. There’s still some actors and stars I have yet to meet or work with on that matter.

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EG: Rob Lowe is a very genuine individual and extremely talented. He takes his work seriously and gives his 150%. You have to respect that. Chris Jericho is one of the coolest by far. Not only a great musician and wrestler, but he’s a metal enthusiast and fan just like anyone else. James Mardsen was very cool to actually work with for a small part and an honor to work with, since I was an X-Men fan growing up. I cannot say what we did, but expect to hear about that very soon.

MM: Excellent. Yeah, I’m sure it’s an endless cycle of meeting your idols and making new ones in that scene. So, I guess to start wrapping this up, what about future plans? I understand you can’t talk about what’s coming up for you in film, but as far as music goes, where are things headed for you?

EG: Well, I plan to have an album released by spring 2018. Planning to book live shows in the L.A. area for starters and see where that goes. I’m already writing out ideas for a 2nd album, which will be a concept album. I’m also looking forward to seeing all the TV shows and films I’ve been involved in released soon. And I have some future projects I’m getting involved in which have me written in as a main character, one being a series about a musician in the ’80s, but it’s all about making it happen. I think 2018 has a lot in store for me, so I’m really excited to see what happens next.

MM: That’s awesome, man. I’m very happy for you. Upward and onward, I guess. Last but not least, how does the scene in L.A. differ from the scene in WNY? I’m referring to people in general, not just in music or film. I understand L.A. is on a much grander scale in respect to both worlds, but I guess what I’m really asking is, what are people like there vs. here?

EG: It’s definitely bigger, I like being a part of it. I’ve met some cool people along the way. Not to mention, I’ve ran into Chris Jericho (Frontman of Fozzy and WWE Wrestler), Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), Don Jamieson (That Metal Show), Corey Feldman (The Goonies) at local events/shows. You’d be surprised how many celebrities attend small events. I’m sure it has its flaws like any music scene does, but I have yet to experience any.

It’s definitely a whole different ballpark compared to WNY. I miss the WNY music scene at times. I met some good people in that scene and saw some great bands and shows. I don’t want to go down this path too much and I won’t say names, but there are some people who kinda ruined it for me. If there’s one thing I hate in music scenes, it’s when people belittle and bully each other or say “this guy is a poser for listening to this band” or other stupid reasons to cause things. A music scene should be an escape from all the bullshit in the real world where people can come together and enjoy the music and have fun. It shouldn’t be a place for people to be at each other’s throats. It’s like, can we all just get along and enjoy the music? Either way, there’s a lot of good local Buffalo based bands I still enjoy listening to on occasion, like Cain, Theatre Nocturne, Goblin Hovel and Hubris, just to name a few.


Mike’s conclusion: And that’s the point, isn’t it? The topic of our scene’s current period of stagnation has come up a lot as of late, but I have to say, no newcomers are going to join our scene if it comes across as an unwelcoming environment. I thought Ed made a great point there and it’s stories like these that motivate me even more to continue this blog and strive for positive change. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Check out everything ED GAGE, by clicking here.

Ed’s shoutouts:

I’d like to give a shoutout to my best friend and business partner Kellen Pembleton for always giving me a boost, my Dad, my brother Phil, my sister Alethea, Charlie Zeigler of The Militants for helping record my songs, Jesse D’Angelo, Collin McGee, Angelo Dibello, Jason Rutherford, Jasen Buchmann and Chris Notarile.

And also to good friends of mine who were also big musical influences on me, including Paul Di’Anno (ex-Iron Maiden), John Gallagher (Raven), Siki Spacek (Black Death), Graham Bath (Battlezone, KIllers), Steve Hopgood (Battlezone, Killers), John Hurley (Battlezone), and in general, all my friends and family who stuck by me all these years and believed in me. I couldn’t have done it without them. If I left anyone out, I apologize.

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