El Paso Music Scene

Thor Interview

by Charles Hurley

EPMS: Hi, Thor! You know, it's hard to find info on your music on Google, because there's so much about your movies.

Thor: You can find a lot of stuff about us on our web site, thorcentral.com.

Yeah, I've been in music for a long time - four decades of rock; I've always wanted to combine visuals and the audio and so, I would say I'm a multi-media artist.

Like, last night we had a big movie premiere, of one of my movies, Intercessor, Another Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, and then we did the concert after. We did that in Boston, and we did that last night in London, Ontario. It went over really well, so, the kids are getting into my movies. They like the music and they like the new album.

EPMS: I understand you've bee re-releasing some albums, is that correct?

Thor: Well, we did a re-release of some albums, like, I've got "best-of" albums coming out, right, but this new album, Thor against the World, is a brand new album; a brand new recording.

EPMS: Were you without a band for a while?

Thor: I've been in bands for a long time. I've started playing in bands back in the 60s. Four decades of rock. So I've been doing a lot of albums. I've had various bands over the years.

Like, here in Toronto, years ago in the seventies, we opened up for Kiss, in Maple Leaf Gardens. I had a band called Thor and the Imps, and there were short guys; I used to pick them up over my head while they played guitar, and throw them into the audience.

I've gone through different bands over the years. On this tour, I've brought back my drummer, Michael Favata. He was on the Unchained album and the Only the Strong album.

EPMS: Do you have any Imps on this tour?

Thor: No Imps on this tour, LOL, but plenty of theatrics and wild things going on, that's for sure, battling monsters, bending steel bars, and breaking bricks, and all sorts of things.

EPMS: Which of your strength stunts is the most well-received?

Thor: I'd say, bending the steel. I go back to my heroes, where the Adventures of Superman, (with) George Reeves, and Steve Reeves in Hercules Unchained, and in these movies they bent steel. That seems to be something that everybody wants to see. A character, I'm doing this kind of stuff, I'm dressing up in a cape and everything, you've got to do something, so, bending steel, like they always said about Superman, bending steel with his bare hands, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, that sort of thing, so that's what I try to portray on stage.

EPMS: What did you think of Charles Atlas when you were growing up?

Thor: I saw him in the comics. I thought, "Wow, I'd like to be like him." I didn't want to get sand kicked in my face, so I wanted to be strong like Charles Atlas. I even sent away for his course, which was more like dynamic tension, which is like, what I used to do for bodybuilding. It's flexing and posing, that would give me definition. I do a lot of that right now as I'm on the road. I do more, like, dynamic tension for my training, because I don't have time to go to the gym. Of course, my show is like a workout. I have a workout every night. We're going from city to city one after another, so every day is a workout.

It's hard to get time for yourself. We're doing one city after another; you hit New York, then all of a sudden you're in Windsor, Ontario, like tonight, Chicago tomorrow, Cleveland the next day. It's like a marathon, you can't stop it.

EPMS: When I was a kid growing up, we had Joe Weider.

Thor: Oh, sure, yeah, Joe Weider was the master of all the bodybuilders. He's the guy that helped Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dave Draper, Larry Scott, and all those guys. When when I was younger, I was more on the skinnier side, but (with) high metabolism. I remember ordering his high-protein, Crash Weight Number Seven in the mail.

I got it; quite a bit of sugar content. I gained weight; I also got a lot of pimples from it.

He was like the guy, at that time, a master trainer, and everybody looked up to him. They ordered his weights and his supplements.

EPMS: On rottentomatoes.com, and sites like that, they mention Graveyard, Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, and Zombie Nightmare. You've got two films coming out right now, right?

Thor: That's right, Synapse Films is re-releasing Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, because the fans are ecstatic about it. It's a big cult classic. We just finished the sequel, which we showed last night at the movie theater; that's going to come out on SRS Cinema in November, and it's called Intercessor, Another Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. It's been well-received. Last night in London and also when they showed the U.S. premiere in Boston, at the Coolidge Theater, very well-received, so we're really excited about it. When it comes out, I think it will do very well on DVD. There's enough fans, it's got enough of a following from the first one, that they want to see the sequel.

EPMS: Are you going to do a lot more movies now, or just once in a while?

Thor: People are coming at me with all sorts of scripts and, you know, "Let's do movies," so, I like the idea of doing movies. Maybe once I get off the road, I''ll get back into shooting some more films.

EPMS: How many music shows you do a year?

Thor: Well, what happens is, you set up a set tour, where we've got fifty cities planned on this tour, and I''ll probably take a break for a while from touring, if I can make it to the end of this one.

Like I tell you, it's pretty exhausting, your body takes a pounding when you're on the road like this, but there's nothing like getting out to the fans. You don't realize how many fans you have, and how well-received you are, until you get out there, and get to the people. You can make records in the studios, and release albums, but you've got to get out there and get to the people and play your music live.

EPMS: Do you do a lot of costume changes in your show?

Thor: Yes, I do. I'm really into a lot of masks and stuff.

Movies like Batman Begins are really big with me, and so I put on a lot of wild masks and stuff, and different costumes during the show.

Everybody's having a great time, the crowds have been really going wild during the show. And, we have a younger audience than I expected when we started the tour.

I didn't know they'd be in the teens and the early twenties that are getting into us. We're almost like a new band, rather than like a nostalgia band.

EPMS: Who was your number one influence, as far as bodybuilding goes?

Thor: As far as bodybuilding, Dave Draper, was my number one influence. He was in the movie, Don't Make Waves, with Tony Curtis. He was Mr. Universe, Mr. America. He was the guy always on Muscle Beach with the girls, drinking Joe Weider's protein. They always had pictures of him in the ads.

I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be like, a movie star and a muscle-building champion.

EPMS: Is it correct to call your movies horror comedies?

Thor: I think some of them are. Recruits was sort of an adventure comedy. Zombie Nightmare was a little more serious; that was more of a straightforward movie. The movie I did with Adam West and Tia Carrere.

I did a movie that was on the USA network. Murder in the City, that was a little more serious. It wasn't a comedy.

So, I do various movies, but I guess I would say, Intercessor, Another Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, it's sort of like a horror comedy.

As long as people have some fun with it, they laugh at the right parts, and get scared at the right parts.

EPMS: How about that Merv Griffin show in 1973, how did your career take off after that?

Thor: I always say it was my Ed Sullivan, pertaining to, The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan.

Suddenly, my price went up, and everybody started knowing about me. Then, I signed a big deal with RCA Records.

So, it was a very incredible experience, for me as a young boy at the time, and developing the Thor character.

EPMS: Did you do music on that show?

Thor: Yes, I performed Action by the Sweet, which was a heavier rock song, and at that time, I was performing that with Thor and the Imps. We were on tour, they were a heavier band behind me, but when Merv wanted me on the show, he said I couldn't use my own band. I had to use the Mort Lindsey orchestra, so the Mort Lindsey Orchestra was playing Action by The Sweet, which was a song I was doing.

It was a totally unique kind of experience, because it was meant to be played by a heavy rock band, and they're playing it with horns and violins.

EPMS: Did you ever consider doing pro wrestling?

Thor: I did pro wrestling for a while. I was on All-star wrestling in Vancouver years ago. There was Abdul the Butcher, King Comiskey, and all those guys. It was a big show. Wrestling Association out of northwest. Even Sandar Kovacs was a big promoter at the time. This was the early seventies, nobody was doing this.

First doing Thor, then at halftime, between wrestling at the gardens. That gave me big exposure in the northwest area.

EPMS: I've seen wrestlers put a chain on their biceps and break it by flexing. Do you do that one?

Thor: I've ripped chains in two, yeah. I've tried all sorts of different things; ripped license plates in two. I've tried them all. One of the strongest men in the world, a guy named Doug Hepper, he showed me how to bend steel. He could bend railway spikes and dimes in his hands. I never could quite grasp those ones, though.

EPMS: How was it that the comic books came out?

Thor: I put out a comic book in the early 80s, called The Rock Voyeur, which was about my band. I toured around at the science fiction conventions. No one was really doing that kind of stuff at that time.

Lately I've put out, in 2001, I put out Thor, the Rock Warrior fantasy adventures.

Thor versus the Beast, Center from the Earth. With that one the album was a sound track to the comic. We're still planning on doing an EP for that.

EPMS: Did you have kids when your comic books came out?

Thor: Unfortunately I never did. I hope maybe some time in the future to have some.

EPMS: What do you consider to be your best movie?

Thor: Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, I'd say I did a pretty good acting job in Recruits, and Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, I'd say I did a good job in that.

One of the biggest successes I've had. Cult classic. Kids are still into it heavily today. There's an underground following for it. That's why Synapse signed a contract to put it out on DVD; such a calling for it. It's going to be distributed by Warner Brothers.

EPMS: That's all I have. What else would you like to say to the people of El Paso?

Thor: I'm really looking forward to coming to El Paso. It's the first time I've ever played Texas in my life. For all this time, I've toured all over the world, but I've never played Texas, so it'll be a new experience for me. I'm looking forward to meeting the people there, and putting on an exciting show for them.

EPMS: I just assumed you must have been here before.

Thor: You'd think so. Bands from Canada, used to come down there all the time, like Triumph and Rush; they would actually break out of the Texas area, like years ago. It's a great place to come to and I'm very excited about it.

EPMS: Thanks a lot, I can't wait to see your show.

Thor: Yeah, I'll see you when we come into town.

EPMS: All right, great.

Thor: Thank you very much. Bye.

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