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The blast from our past network. Everybody, your old pal Corey here, first of all, I just wanted to say thank you to Thomas Gates for taking time out of his busy schedule and having this awesome conversation with us. This interview is something that Zach and I are very proud of. And we think that you all are going to enjoy the entire conversation that we had.
I also wanted to say thank you to our patriarch and members for making this interview possible.
You can listen to every single discussion in our interviews after Dark series exclusively on Patreon. You can hear us talking to amazing people like Tom Matthews, Stephen Jefferys, Tony Timpone, Diane Franklin, Zach Ward, Brian USANA, Jeanette Goldstein, John Philbin, Tom Holland, Jonathan Stark and composer Richard Band.
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That's Patrón Dotcom Slash Podcasting after dark and give the series a listen. It's a lot of fun and there's a lot of great conversations there. Thank you to all of our fans and friends for supporting us.
And now Thomas Guedes.
Welcome to our Patreon exclusive interview series for Podcasting After Dark with your hosts Corey Stephenson and Zach Shafer. Tonight's interview is with the star of the Warriors, John Carpenter's The Thing Actor, singer, songwriter and teacher Thomas G. Waits. Thomas Guedes, thank you so much for being on podcasting after dark, the man and I want to officially say we are recording this a day after your birthday.
So that's right. I turned 66 yesterday, not a birthday. What a great birthday.
I had to it was just terrific. I, I can't imagine having a better birthday. I got six hundred dollars from Donald Trump.
I'll leave that political opinion aside because I can't stand them. Well, ditto.
But, you know, I got beautiful flowers sent to me by my ex-wife and my children.
Oh nice. I got. A beautiful card from my son. I had a two hour session zoom session with my family. That's great. Where I played them a couple of songs on the guitar and all cool.
And Lisa, my ex-wife, played Happy Birthday on the ukulele. Then I ran four miles outside around the park, which was great. Wow, yeah, I'm about to do that. When we conclude your I'm trying to do it every day, at least for working my way back up to six. But I had covered, you know, in March. Oh, no, I didn't know that. Wow. Yeah.
Really that. I mean, wow. I felt like I went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson with 103 fever.
Oh, wow. Oh, I'm really glad you're OK now. Yeah, thanks.
So it took me a long time to get my lump, my win back. So I run really slowly, like 11 minutes, Miles.
Sounds like me and I don't have to. Ten years ago I could do seven and a half miles, but now I'm really slowly working my way back because running I feel. Keeps me in mental as well as physical condition, but more than that, it brings me good luck. It gets me more acting jobs and most of all, it's just so hard. And if you can get that out of the way, then the rest of the day is like a piece of cake, you know.
Have you been a runner your whole life? Well, I.
I didn't in the beginning, but, you know, when I was around twenty three, twenty two, I realize, you know, it's really important that it's kind of the job description, you know, if you want the camera on your face. In your body, you'd probably better take care of yourself. So I studied karate for a long time, but I've always been running commensurate with the karate I would run because you have to do a lot of what they call commit fighting for contact.
But so they would say run a mile for each round and sometimes we'd have to go six or eight or even ten rounds promotion. So. Wow. Yeah. So I've always. Kept up on that I, of course, wish I could do more. But, you know, there's so many other things to do in my life. You know, I run to GW acting studio directing a screenplay that I wrote The Spring. I'm raising the money for the screenplay.
I'm still auditioning as an actor. I'm a director. You know, I'm a songwriter and singer, a musician, as you know. Zachares, some stuff. And so I'm a busy guy, you know, and I don't always get as much time as I'd like.
I want to talk about your music today, first and foremost. But the fact that you are running for miles and you had covid is very inspirational, I think, for many people who are going to listen to this going for people that have had covid or people that are, you know, afraid of getting it.
Yes, because your lungs, your you know, Imhoff is a great inspiration for all of this. If you keep your lungs malleable and flexible, then the virus can't get like the virus attacked from the head down and from the feet up. But it'll stop somewhere in my lungs. And my doctor is like, look, if it gets into your lungs, you've got to go to the hospital. Yeah, but. All that basically get out of breath as much as you possibly can.
That's the key. OK, that's what keeps your lungs flexible and that's what fights. And then then you're mute because it's connected to your immune system. Your breath is connected to your immune system and your immune system, as any doctor will tell you. Is your best defense against covid? Yeah. So I strongly recommend it, whether you're sixty six or 16. Get out there and run dance, yoga, plotty, whatever. Get you out of breath.
You know, I recommend doing that. Do you also do yoga, too? I don't do anything except run and stretch and do push ups and sit ups. And I take ice baths every morning from my ankles.
Oh, wow, that's impressive.
Yeah, well, I had arthritis, really serious arthritis. And I went to the doctor and they're like, look, you don't have any cartilage in your joints. We're going to have to remove your joints and replace them. And I'm like. Are you fucking kidding me? Yeah, and they're like, yeah, and it's the most painful of all the replacements I went, you know what? There has got to be deal with this then. You know, getting your body chopped up, there just has to be a better way.
I don't believe these doctors and he showed me the X-rays and it would cost a fortune, even with health insurance and I would have been hobbling around are OK.
So then I got turned on to them half around.
Twenty, seventeen. And his breathing exercises and exposure to cold and positive mental attitude cured not only my arthritis, but it was also terribly afflicted with depression. Hmm. You know, I was taking the maximum dose of antidepressants. I just became like a zombie. You know, I stopped feeling I mean, I wasn't depressed, but I certainly was happy. Yeah. And. This guy is amazing, VIMOVO, you can look him up, there's tons of research, it's all scientifically based and you can change your life, you know, you can change your whole deal.
Yeah, I saw he he's there's like a mini documentary on Netflix and say what you will about her. But Gwyneth Paltrow has a it's like a series on Netflix and she sent her crew of the people that work at Goup or whatever they're out to go do like a workshop with him and profile him. And really fascinating. Yeah. I mean, I've been doing brath work. I mean, I've been doing yoga since I was 22 years old. My brother broke his neck and yoga is what saved his life and kept them from being paralyzed.
And, you know, we swear by the breath and swear by the body movement. And I off the air, we're just talking about herbal herbal supplements and things you can put in your body that are not suitable. That Corey was even saying is like I think the pharmaceutical companies hopefully is on its last legs because, you know, what it's doing to people is is is the complete opposite of what it's supposed to do.
Oh, yeah. I mean, and, you know, young kids today, as soon as you have trouble in school, the first thing they do is go here. Here's a prescription for Adderall, which is basically speed. Yeah, OK. We did it when when we were kids in the streets of Philadelphia to stay up all night. Revathi. Nothing could be worse for you than speed. I don't know how any doctor could sign off on that medication with a clear conscience, and yet they do.
They push those pills. Friend of mine is a 16 year old. Well, she's not doing so well. Here you go. A friend of mine has a daughter in college while she's having trouble with biology. Here you go. The whole campus is on freaking Adderall.
Yeah. I mean, is this a solution? This is not a solution. This is exacerbating the problem and making a lot of very rich motherfuckers totally richer. Yep.
I remember reading a couple of years ago a school I don't remember where it was. They were trying meditation during detention after after school. And they were getting great results. You know, with that and I'm with you guys, I discovered the awesomeness of learning to pay attention to your breathing, you know, like five years ago. And even now, sometimes I'll feel like I'm getting anxious and like, am I breathing? Oh, no, I'm not.
Let me you know what I mean? Like, you don't realize how much you stop breathing, you know? So, yeah, I fully recommend all of that, too, and take away all the Adderall. Take away. We don't need it. I'm sure there's I'm sure there's like one, you know, one. I am sure there is a necessary need for it, but not this one.
You know, maybe they found one person that, hey, I had ADHD and it had a calming effect on them. Yeah, I'd like to see that.
I don't believe a word of it. Yeah, but they know they're going to make a fortune because, you know, once you get that buzzing, I mean, you know, you can do you can drink more, you can stay up later. You can, you know, do your homework all in one night and party the rest of the week. It isn't just bad for you over a period of time. It turns you into a freaking monster.
I mean, I have this friend who was a sweet, quiet guy from Philadelphia, who's a carpenter, humble, we used to jam together. We smoked some pot once in a while, hang out having a few drinks. But he's been on that ship for 20 years. And I'm telling you, this is not a human being.
Yeah, he is so full of this over exaggerated sense of himself.
Like Trump, I think he's on it. Oh, yeah, yeah. How else could you. Consciously do the stuff that he does. Yeah, I mean, he's he's got blood on his hands and those Republican enablers have blood on their hands. And Fox News, they have blood. But those people are dead, man.
They're not wounded. They took lives in the name of what? It's all falsification of the truth. Yep, sixty two courts reject you and you say you just forget that's like, you know, me saying, Arzak, I know you're married with children, but you're gay. Yeah, no, I'm not. But but I say you are different. Not just because you say it doesn't mean it's true. Right. You can say anything, you know.
I could Samour clapped, and I'm not you know, it is really this whole fake news and there is a truce, OK? There is a truce and the more we embrace the truce, the better we become. It's painful. Sure do. I wish I were more successful actress? Yeah, I do. I wish I hadn't gotten fired from the Warriors. Yeah. So I wish I had stopped drinking at twenty nine instead of four, not forty nine.
Yeah but that's not the truth. The truth is, it simply is and the great thing about being an actor or performers, you have to be in the present with the truth. Or you're not going to be very interesting to watch. You know, you just aren't. You've got to be in the moment. We call it being in the moment. You're either in it or you're not. That's the truth. I love that you're in the moment with us right now sharing this, because, honestly, you know, we could have opened up and we will cover some of our film, some of the movies and television you've been in, because we're huge fans, obviously.
But I think what's important is breaking it down and saying, look, this is this is the human side. This is the real side to what we all want to get to. This is the truth. You know, that this world we live in is not a fantasy. And unlike some people that are living in it right now thinking it is.
And, you know, I was thinking, you know, I'll do that. Yeah, they do. They do.
I told my son, I said, villains, the villains you see in the cartoons you love or actually have more morals and more values than some of the people that are running our country right now.
And and I think, you know, we've all had speaking personally, had people in my life that have had substance abuse problems and some had gotten over it, some didn't, unfortunately. And you hope that. There's more cases like yours where you were able to overcome and and break through those demons and look at yourself now saying, OK, after this, I'm going to go run for miles versus going I'm going to go shoot up, you know, or whatever.
The hardest thing I have ever done for me, my drug of choice was alcohol for me to get through a day. Without a drink, was it a miracle? I couldn't walk by a bar. Seventeen years ago, I couldn't. But one day at a time, with the grace of God and the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, I. I've been able to put together 16 and a half years without a drink. I haven't done much right. But I did that right.
Well, we're not perfect. You know, we're not perfect. And I tell my son that every day there's no such thing as perfect.
That's right. You just you get up every morning. You do. You try and you try.
That's all you do is try. The only bad thing I'm sure of in life is if you do nothing, nothing will happen.
Exactly. Yeah, I firmly believe that. Yes, I yesterday I was working out and and I said to my son, I really don't want to work out today, you know? And I said, there are there are days when I get up and I just don't want to do anything. I just want to sit there like a slug. And I said, but you can either be the slug that someone eventually steps on and crushes and kills or you can be the cricket that gets up and jumps every now and then, you know, to avoid the and he's like, I want to be the cricket.
And I said, me too. I said, You want to work out with me? He goes, No.
And I said, OK, maybe next time maybe, you know, love is smart. Did you know you talked him all the way into it then? No.
No. So you go do that, Dad. Yeah, you go to the cricket.
But but getting back to what you're saying earlier about I want to talk about your music. And, you know, this has been obviously we shared off air. You know, you feel very passionate about about your music, your songs that you've written or performed on and. Has music always been a part of your life? It's a really interesting story because that's why you're here to tell it to me. I mean, I have a lot of interesting stories.
I am going to write a book that you better. I was a student at Juilliard in the 70s, mid 70s. And, you know, Juilliard is the greatest school for music in the world. So I was stone tone deaf. OK, you could play in E flat on the piano and I would sing anything but.
And so I got cast in a play by this great Russian director from the Moscow Art Theater Bars tomorrow and. And there's the play called The Lower Depths, and in it I had to play the guitar and sing the song. A very difficult song to sing. I mean, the horse or the roses, my cell is dark and dreary, difficult. I had to play the guitar and sing that song. And I got listen, I don't play the guitar and I don't sing, I can't do either.
And he goes, oh, no, you must. But I can't I've never picked up a guitar in my life and I can't sing, I'm tone deaf. So he goes, you must learn. So I went out with twenty five dollars of your money and I bought a guitar, an old Epiphone, and I mean, if you wanted a party cleared, you'd ask me to play. OK. I was so bad it wasn't fun. But I'm an extremely tenacious individual.
So I would in the stairwells at Juilliard, sit there and get these great musicians to tune my guitar for me. There were no tuners then and I learned and by the time that production went up, I sang that freaking song and I sang it well and I led the entire company where I played it perfectly. But that was how I got into music was. You know, I was forced to to play a role and then, you know, I started, then I left, I got kicked out of Juilliard, actually, even though they say I'm a graduate because it helped them out.
And then I started getting cast in roles where I had to sing along. So I just kept up the guitar and the singing and kept going. And then I found out I had. I don't know if you want to call it a gift, a propensity, I can write a song. I know how to write songs. I don't know if they're great songs. I've seen some of them are good audiences, seem to enjoy them when I perform them, especially with my band.
You know, I'm no Bruce Springsteen, but. I have a gift and I have the discipline and the desire to I am a decent rhythm guitar player and a good lyricist, and I write some good melodies. So I believe if you're given a gift, you have a responsibility to exploit it. No doubt. Yeah. And I love my music.
I mean, I just I, I, I have written so many songs.
That's just it. It's like almost like I get possessed by the like. You saw the song I wrote for my friend Clark.
I was just going to say, yeah. You know, his death. Richard Clarke Middleton, a great actor on the Twin Peaks show bill to mean as the list goes on on Black List. And this was a guy afflicted with severe arthritis, so one could even say that he was physically challenged. Well, he was one of my oldest and dearest friends coming up and. You know, his death was. It just came out of nowhere and it hit me so hard.
And what do you do with those feelings? You know, so I sat down and I wrote Clarkie and I think it's a really nice song. Maybe you can play it for your fans sometime.
Yeah, we're actually going to play a little clip of it right now. And like no other responsibility is second nature here, the challenge, the golden power man of his size and deal with stature. He was my friend. My brother came up in New York City together. Clark was the man you remember. Clark was a man like no other. Like, you know, I'm gonna miss you, Clark, you know, I'm gonna miss you. You know, I'm gonna miss you, I'm gonna miss you real bad.
I'm quite proud, as you should be, because because it's not just that song, but the fact that you walked into something terrified, forced to do it in a way.
Yeah, right. And here it is. Become your passion and you continue to do it today, obviously acting. And I think our audience specifically will know you from, you know, certain genre roles. But but you have such a more much more expansive career as a musician, as a teacher, you know, as an as an influencer of life.
I mean, the fact that and I know I keep going back to it, but the fact that you have overcome these demons in your life, you know, you're here to tell us about it. And so forthcoming and truthful speaks volumes, I think, for your integrity and character.
And I think I mean, stuff like that's important because I as an artist, growing up visual artist, I always labored under the Sumption that if you had no musical ear at all, like I don't and you didn't at first, I always assumed you could never pick up music.
But it's nice to hear that. No, no, it's an because no one ever told me when I was younger. But no, it's like, no, you can still pick up music. You can still learn how to do anything. You don't have to have that innate, you know, you know.
But I'm sure you do. But it's nice to actually hear that that you can actually pick things up even if you don't have that particular skill set right away. And as an artist, it's it's nice to hear those things as well. You can do anything in this life with two things, desire and discipline. Yeah, yeah, the only thing stopping you is you.
No matter what it is, if you want to be the president of Chase Manhattan Bank, sounds to me like, hey, yeah, you know, you set your sights on that and you take the necessary steps, you know, and even if you don't get there, as we mentioned before, as long as you try.
The only sin is not trying. How will you ever know if you don't try? Yeah, I fully agree with that. If I ended up not doing Annie Get Your Gun in seventh grade, which I really didn't want to do, then I probably wouldn't be here today, I guess. So I would have to thank my theater teacher.
Man, I missed it. I wasn't in theater. In school. I was one of the I was one of the Ave kids, of course, but of course. But yeah, yeah.
Speaking of speaking of, you know, doing things that that push you out of your comfort zone or, you know, put you in a difficult position. You know, when when I was a kid and I saw the Warriors for the first time as a kid, I was like a six year old kid. I think I was. And and that movie changed my life.
Obviously didn't know the story of what had happened to you on set, but but outside of that lens, always appreciated and loved your character to this day. Thank you. And, you know, I even wrote a note to my I write these notes to my son, these lunch notes I do every day. I've been making them since he was two years old or 18 months actually going to preschool. And then I'll insert my own characters that I admire.
And then I talk about something motivational.
They're always a little motivational notes. And and I threw the fox in there the other day and he's like, he's cool.
I said I of peace trying to keep my peace, you know?
And obviously, you know, 40 years, 40 plus years could have gone by. And that film you've been able to reconnect in a way.
Right. Well, you know, it was a sad story, I mean, you know, I was a big pain in the ass of the director and also I wasn't doing good work as an actor. And that led him to conclude, you know, I've got to get rid of this guy. He was under a lot of pressure from the studio and over budget and behind schedule. And I guess his last two movies hadn't done as well as he would have liked.
So he was under enormous strain. And I just did whatever wrong thing you could do. I did. And piss the guy off so much that he was just like, I don't want you to come back and. That was very painful for me and, you know, forced me to get into psychotherapy, which helped it, forced me to study karate for 10 years, which gave me a sense of discipline, totally. But then, you know, they sent me the movie and said, you know, where do you want your name?
Because I was supposed to be at the above. Sophie Thomas Thomas waits in the Warriors. And now obviously I was still in it, but not, you know, the lead. And I was still I was twenty three twenty four years old. I was an arrogant prick and I said, take my name off the movie. You know, I wanted to like get them back, you know, for firing. Wow. And that just shows immaturity.
It shows the mind of an active alcoholic, a vengeful person, you know, with insidious intent. And that always comes back to haunt you, you know, and. And I really regret that, and I've tried to make amends with Walter and tried to forgive myself for it, which is the most important part. But I'm glad the movie went on and was a big success for a lot of people, it's you know, it's helped me. I mean, people even say to me, well, don't you feel like a guy?
Some guy is writing a book about the war or some English dude. And he called me a couple of weeks ago. And he's like, well, don't you feel like a hypocrite? I mean, you go to these autograph signings and you sign autographs for a movie that you took your name off. And I go, yeah, I do feel like a hypocrite, but it beats pushing dirt.
And if you had two kids, you'd understand what I did for greater tragedies in life than.
And plus the 90 percent of the fans are also fans of the thing. Of course, that's a legitimate deal. And I love to meet the fans. I'd love to meet the people. You know, look, I'm lucky to have one fan, let alone hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands all over the world, you know, because I've been to Germany and England and, you know, it's great to meet them.
And I always try to really give them a moment, you know, like. Take a mental photograph with them to acknowledge my gratitude that they've enjoyed my work, I work hard, but of course I do it for the audience. You know what I do? I do for the audience. Clearly, clearly.
I mean, I know speaking personally and I know Corey will will chime in in a moment, but the phrase, fuck you, Palmer will always be stuck in my head.
That is by far my favorite line. Fuck you, Palmer.
We say we say that all each other all the time, back and forth to each other. It's a love. No, it's a love. No, my son is not hearing this, by the way. So that's good.
It's funny because, you know, I named myself Window. You did? The character's name originally was John Sanchez.
Oh. Then John Carpenter and Kurt Russell had seen me in American Buffalo the night before with Al Pacino, so they brought me in to audition.
They cast me and I flew to L.A. and then they changed the guy's name to John Simmons because I obviously was Irish and Scottish.
So one day I was walking down the boardwalk in Venice and I picked up these green sunglasses and I wore them into rehearsal and I rehearsed with them on Nice. And I said to John, Hey, John, I want everybody to call me Windows, you know? And he goes. It's a drag on a cigarette. OK, are you guys Tommy wants everyone to call him Windows, so that's his name from now on and Palmer fucking hated.
Oh, really? I didn't know this at the time. You never told me, but I saw an interview with him and he's like, what kind of a random stupid? It's got nothing to do with anything. I mean, you decided you like. I guess it's OK. But I did. I had no idea. And I love David. He's a great actor. Yeah. Yeah. But he did not like it. And so that fucked up happened.
Right. Like the tension had been building.
I didn't know what business associate told me before, and I thought, you know how to love it.
That's great. Yeah.
He's a very successful, talented actor, very talented, you know, Yale School of Drama. I mean, he he's a real. Formidable presence on screen and on stage, I'm sure. Oh, yeah, yeah, totally, you know. Well, first of all, I'm a big fan of GI Joe and so on. I see they've got random name, snow job and snake eyes. And, you know, my son's like, why is he called Snake Eyes?
I'm like, I don't know. So Parmer Windows works for me. You had sunglasses.
I think it really makes. And plus, what in the name of God are you doing wearing sunglasses in Antarctica?
Yeah, well, you're cool. That's what it was. It was like it was the what you know, if you notice, he's reading like movie magazines. Maybe he wanted to be a movie star, you know, I mean, that was the logic I had created for the character that he wanted to. He once he got out of the Navy or whatever the fuck they were in, he was going to move to Hollywood to become, you know, Brad Pitt in his mind, you know.
Well, you know what Richard Pryor used to say, right? If you wear sunglasses indoors, you're an asshole.
I didn't know that. So my wife did not know that.
That fits so perfectly.
I'm always going to hate me for this. But I used to tell you that line. She's like, I like to wear sunglasses inside. I'm like, no, no, no, not you anyway.
Everyone except you. Yeah, you're the exception to that rule.
You're not know well, but it's cool because those things that you brought to the character and created I mean, we all like you know, you talk online and everyone and everything in.
Oh, windows. Yeah. Windows. Yeah. Everyone loves broken windows and it's it's windows like there's no other. I can't even thinking that.
Yeah. Nothing else man.
It's always windows bro. Like Oh my and even my friends who aren't like you know, crazy horror movie people or anything like that, they're all like Oh I know.
Windows. Windows. Yeah of course. Jeff was he also in the Warriors. Yeah. Fox yeah.
That guy felt like windows everybody. Those windows. It's great. It's awesome. Yeah.
Actor and actor has to have an imagination you know. Yeah. You look at the great actors like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. You know, he's playing a boxer and he has that scene with the girl where she drops her glove and he picks it up and puts it on his hand. And you know, he's a boxer. Of course, he's used to putting gloves, you know, the imagine nobody directed him to do that. That's just his imagination connected to a subconscious that is free.
And that's a great acting. Is is it's it's it's freedom to connect to your subconscious mind so you can reach the subconscious mind of your audience. And so John Carpenter let you kind of explore these these things with windows. That's jump down was John as a great director and he's a great director because he creates a great atmosphere here. He loves actors and he he's not sitting there going out of his relax and he's having fun. He lets us have fun.
He lets us experiment and. You know. He's just he's one of the best directors I've ever worked with, and primarily because he's just such a good person. A good director is a good person. You know, and I know I've been directed by some real pieces of shit. Manipulative while cunning. Just trying to fuck the leading actress, just trying to. You know, manipulated, and that's not a director of directors, a leader of directors, a mentor.
Yeah. You know. John's one of the best John Norman jokes and a director by the name Robert Acromion, he mostly is a stage director, a director who is long since dead black director from Trinidad named Dennis Scott. These are great directors, these are guys that have a vision of what Walter Hill is a great director. He's more of a. You know, a film is not really an actor's director by his own admission, but he's a great film director.
He sees this as a vision for the film of how it's meant to be. And obviously, I didn't fit into that vision, which I do. As I mentioned, the regret. I have remorse. I don't have regret. I had to do it. I had to make those mistakes. But I feel remorse. Remorse is healthy. You don't have remorse. You'll never change. But regret is useless, nothing I can do now. Forty two years ago, you know, I mean, I can apologize and say, can I do anything to make up for the harm I caused you?
And then that's it. Then let it go. And it's up to the sun and the moon and the stars to take care of it.
After that, we all make mistakes. All of us in every profession, not one person, if you don't make mistakes, you're not human.
Yeah. It's learning how the only prejudice I have is making the same mistake twice. I'm guessing that's not cool, but I also I mean, it's so important to have, like you your voice like talking about this, because so many people just I never made a mistake. No, no, I'm infallible. No, we don't want to talk about it. But we all we all learn we all learn as a as a as a as a society and as a species from each other's mistakes if we're willing to listen or aren't.
But what's most important is that the person who made the mistakes is like, hey, guys and gals, here's what happened. I'm going to tell you, you know, hopefully you can learn from it and mean that's that's huge because there's not a lot of people in the world who who will admit it and take it to heart and try to actually make society better from their experiences.
If I can help one person from avoiding the. Suffering that I self-inflicted, suffering, self-inflicted damage that I. Created in my life, then the whole deal is worth it. Some kid listen to this, because you know what? Maybe I'm going to say yes, maybe I'm going to, you know, be a little more kind or a little more gentle because I was a poor kid, you know, basically sleeping on park benches and then literally and then all of a sudden, you know, I was making a lot of money and I didn't handle it well.
I went to my head and I started to. I'll leave my own for, you know, it wasn't good, it's not good. Always remain humble and grateful. If you're grateful, you'll be humble. If you're humble, you'll be grateful. And those two things, not too much bad stuff is going to happen. Do you think that stuff's going to happen?
Yeah, yeah. I think it's I mean, and it happens to a lot of young musicians, too, you know, they fall.
You get a lot of money real quick and it's like all of a sudden and that's that's tells you like that'll show you what your moral fortitude is going into the situation, how you handle all this success and fame and everything.
Johnnie Walker, black label shooter. Shooting deaths of a soldier in Syria first. She was under 14 zero for labor. Let me tell you something, never good, because my sister and I find. I mean, I called my sister on the phone. Besides acting, singing, songwriting and performing, you've also been teaching for quite a while, right? And obviously that's another passion of yours.
You know, I really love teaching. It isn't. It's like my music. It isn't like, oh, you know, I got a teach.
I get into it and I have a lot of experience, obviously, and I'm great. The best training in the world from Juilliard and a master of Shakespeare. But I can do Shakespeare very well and teach you well. But I have them doing breathing exercises and I was talking about it and this one young, rather attractive woman in the class over Zoom, obviously, you know, she amazing, I should say that she said, because in the beauty magazines now they're saying oxygen is what keeps your skin young.
Yes. And, you know, I'm not surprised at all. Of course, oxygen and water, you know, to which we're doing our best to destroy.
You know, that's one of the benefits of this pandemic. And people think it's just such a horrible thing and it is being locked up all the time. It's a drag. And you can't go to restaurants. You can't meet anybody. You can't go to a place, can't go to movies. My favorite things. But Mother Nature is going to come out. Yeah, you've poisoned the ocean. There's a chunk of plastic the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean.
What you've done to the air with the chemicals in it. And worse than all of those things, you know, this virus came from wet markets in China. What markets are where they chop the heads of live bats and boil them and the blood gets intermixed with chopping the nuts off of a gorilla because they think it's going to make them look and all the blood intermixed.
And the virus sprang out of that intermingled blood in the dirt and glommed onto a human and it hasn't stopped since message universe don't eat meat. Yeah, you don't need it. You don't need meat. And whoever thinks they do, but I like it look, you get I haven't eaten meat in forty, forty three years. Wow, that's great. Yeah, and I feel great.
I never get sick. I never have colds, you know, totally.
I tell you. I mean, it's proof in the pudding. You overcame covid at sixty four. I believe you said 65, 65 five. Yeah. I mean that's. Yeah. There you go. There you go.
And there's a lot of people that are so lucky and I'm so sad for them. You guys, you're in L.A., right?
Yeah. Well Corey's in Oregon and I'm Santa Monica. Yeah. And it's I mean, it's a different story up here in Oregon than L.A., but. Yeah. And then I'm actually out here. Yeah. Yeah, a bit better. But I'm actually originally from the East Coast, Maryland, so close to Philly and everything and hence my Baltimore Ravens cap. But my mom's still there so. Yeah, yeah, yeah. L.A. is a mess right now.
And you know, my wife and I have been relatively vegan for the past several years and I've already noticed a major difference.
Major difference. I mean, even if you just don't eat meat, I eat cheese and, you know, eggs and milk and stuff. I mean, even that's OK. But but yeah. Leave these poor animals.
Ever look at a cow, how could you kill? They're so sweet. They emanate such peace and and we're slitting their throats and chopping their heads up for a steak. But we don't need to. It's bad for the environment. Right, it's bad for our karma. You asked me oh, totally. Well, some cultures believe it's the cow is sacred, right? Absolutely.
For a reason that's didn't come out of nothing, you know?
And I showed my son Charlotte's Web years ago when he years ago when he was three. And there's the joke in the in the film when well, on the live action one where they're cooking bacon right after she saved Ferne saves Wilbur and my wife and I laugh and embody my son. He's like, why, why? Why are you laughing? And I told him the joke and he's like, Oh, pig is bacon. And I go, yeah.
He goes, I don't want to eat it anymore. And I said, OK. And then from that point on, we all stopped and you know, and then the cows, the same deal, octopus, the same deal.
When we realized how intelligent an octopus is, they're super smart. Yeah. And there's a documentary right on Netflix.
Oh they'll like what teacher.
Yeah. Yeah. What's it called. Octopus Teacher I think it's called and I like it.
One scientist that like studied like an octopus for like years and like all the crazy stuff that he discovered, you know, that they could become friends. Yeah. Yeah. Are you serious.
Yeah. It's fascinating. It's fascinating. It's worth worth checking out because then it just shows you that these sentient creatures.
Yeah, it's y yeah. Impossible.
But you don't need to you know, if you eat grains and beans and rice, they grow back, you know, you're not you're not harming anyone. It grows back. You're not killing that. It doesn't have a mother.
No. And I'll tell you, the technology they have now, they can make it stay just like it. They like it. And you don't have to harm a thing. Right.
I've eaten one of those impossible birder's. I can't tell the difference at their age. They're delicious. They sell the Burger King so well, you know, what do you want?
Yeah, but I was going to I was going to say you brought up your acting school. Yeah, I want to talk about that. How long have you been running your acting? How long has it been going on?
Yeah, it's interesting. You know, I never had any intention of being a teacher. I never thought of myself as a teacher. But the strange thing was, you know, when I was young and going from play to play to movie to movie to play to everyone would come up to me and say, hey, would you watch my scene and tell me what you think is wrong with it? You know? And so I you know, I'm a nice guy, you know, I'm sure, you know, I need to watch the play anyway, see where I fit in.
And I would give them notes and I would find that it would improve their performances. And then I don't know if you're a fan of The Sopranos or not. Oh, yeah, I'm more of a fan of The Oz, but yeah, Oz is great.
Big pussy, then. Yup, yup. He was a nightclub owner back in nineteen eighty one when he came to see American Buffalo and he waited for me to say hello after the play and he invited my band up to play and he paid us, I don't know, six hundred dollars, which is more money than we ever dreamed of getting paid as musicians and. He's like, so Tom worked at my clubs going on. Got I want to be in that.
What are you what do you do? How did you become an actor? I always wanted to become an actor. How do you do it? I believe we have to get trained. These are by who and I said, well, I can teach you one. So he would rent a room in an old fleabag hotel in Times Square, and he was my first student and before I knew it, I had 30 people in a class, wanted to rent a big space.
And I found I had a good teacher, a good teacher, because, first of all, I love my students like cherish them and I push them. A good teacher is someone that pushes you past where you think you can go.
Yes, I agree. And I know how to do that.
And not only that. And the way that I teach in acting studio is I direct you basically, I'm really not that interested. If you use Strasburger, Misner this, there are a million different techniques for process as long as you get there. Yeah, I'm like the only acting teacher that you'll ever hear, say, I don't care about your process. Let's try six different processes. I want results. I want you to work on this scene from this play as if you have to open four weeks from now on Broadway.
How would you do it? I mean, I imagine like different processes for different actors work differently, like we're all different because we're all different. Yeah, and you know, your goal is to get them to the end result no matter how they get there.
That's right. There is no method. People are the only method there is is the one that works.
Well, I was going to say, you know, I taught kindergarten for 15 years. Right. And not and every kid is totally different. Every kid's a different learned. That's right. You know, and so there's a curriculum, right. That every school follows a district or whatever, and they expect the kids to learn that curriculum or how they get to where they get is up to the way they are, who they are. And, you know, I would have parents come come up to me and say, well, why isn't my son reading like that kid?
I said, because your son is not ready yet. When he's ready, he'll it'll take off at a click, you know, his style. What gets him to connect what? And when you when you're forced to do something that you don't want to do, you get turned off by it. You know, when you're probably when you when you're forced to act a certain way and it's not working for you, you're not connecting with the character because that technique is just not clicking.
And that's right. But when you do find that thing, you take off from there, right?
Yeah. And I think it's really important that people learn how to deal with what's going on with them now. I just broke up with my girlfriend now today. How can that inform the scene? I'm hungry, how can that inform the way I say, oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I? Is it not monstrous that this player here, but in a fiction, a dream action, could force his soul to his own conceit, and that from all her working and his visage, with tears in his eyes, distractions, just a broken bush and his whole function, shooting with almost his conceit and all for nothing which Hecuba to him or he to about the weep.
I'm showing off.
But you get the you know, I was completely engaged. Like we keep going, keep going, don't stop.
It's a good idea to have an acting teacher that can act. Yeah. There are so many of these acting teachers that like never act. They don't know what it means to carry a movie on their back. They don't know what it means to be on Broadway. They don't know what it means to carry an episodic on your back. They don't know what it means to, you know, do any of this stuff. And they have these schools all over the place, like, how can you teach something you've never done?
Would you want to fly in a plane with a guy that was never a pilot?
I mean, for fuck's sake, there's one guy I can't remember his name, but he started I think he's got two schools in L.A. And so I was looking around at websites how to make my own and.
He was a boom Mike Holder on a movie, that is what this guy possibly know. I want to ask you what that will be like any time my, my, my, my toilet needs to be fixed. Here's the tools. Goepfert Yeah.
Perfect, perfect analogy. Yeah. Because I don't touch point like this.
I don't know where to begin. I'm not a plumber. Yeah, right. Call it a professional, but people just there are so, you know, actors are so unfortunately desperate and gullible and I am too susceptible, which is a key component to being a good actor, that they fall into these places where they just get robbed blind. And, you know, I really make it. A point to. I make them get their money's worth. I mean I mean, I want them I'm only acting teacher that won't charge for private lessons for my tuition paying students.
I'm like, OK, Sunday, two o'clock, be here, Sunday, three thirty. You'll be here Sunday, seven o'clock. We'll work with you. We have to do face time. OK, I've come to my part. No extra charge. I'm not doing this to rob struggling actors. Yeah, I'm doing it to give them the confidence to be like, hey, I can do this. And I know how to make it good that anybody can sit there and watch a single, you know, that really sucks.
OK, then one, how do you fix it? How do you make it better. Yeah, well you can't say to be or not to be. It doesn't make it easier. It's to be or not to be. That is the question. You know, there are words that must be emphasized. There's breathing, there's phrasing. There are things you can do to. Teach to to inform, to instruct, you know, to inspire. To inspire, to aspire to to strive to become greater than you are.
That's what teaching is all about. You know, it's a performing arts profession, whether you're teaching math or science or acting, you're performing. You better hold her attention or let me tell you something, when you're self-employed, you know, and it's my own acting school, if I don't teach well, they don't come back and my kids don't eat. Right.
And so I'd better do a good job, a damn good job, or, you know, like I say, I'd be pushing hard.
We as a society would be much better off if all teachers thought the way you did and tried to put it that much effort. And I'm not saying that there aren't there's a lot of teachers that do they're all of them dead in every single category. We would be the best nation on earth.
You have some great teachers in my town. The great Robert F. Williams was my voice and speech teacher. He's passed away. Steven and Jean Lesser, all the teachers at Juilliard, Peggy Friede, Liz Smith, the great voice teacher, the great Edith Mormon's Skinner, Tim Monic, top dialect coach in the country. These people were the best in the world and and I was a recalcitrant learner. OK, I was about as interested in sitting in that classroom as jumping out a window.
I was trying to find the hottest chick that I could get a date with. But this against my own better judgment, I learned, you know, I learned. And the people that can work with the most people are the people that work the most. I've had to put up with some real pieces of work in my time. People that are just downright. Irascible, I mean, difficult. You know, sometimes for different reasons and you have to.
Acting is the meeting of a crisis and dealing with. You've got to meet the crisis, whatever it is, and deal with it, and we as an audience watch you now there's a character going to a crisis, but you too, as an actor, are going through a crisis and who knows what it is. He didn't sleep last night. Maybe you're like I say, you're breaking up with your girlfriend or your your kid is sick, you know, I mean, I remember you appreciate this as a parent, I got cast for the third time and equalizer the original equal.
I love this show and we really needed the dough. OK, I had a house, a mortgage kid, and my son got the croup.
So they had to put him in the hospital in a tent. Breathe, then my wife at the time, Lisa, she got the flu. Really badly, so they put her in a bed right next to them and I'm supposed to report to the set tomorrow morning at seven o'clock. And I couldn't do it, I couldn't abandon my wife and my, you know. And Steve Lang, who is a friend of mine, he got the job. Oh, good for him.
At least he went to a good person. But, you know, that was the crisis. The crisis was I couldn't do the job. You know, it's a shame. I was really struggling at that point. It was right after the actors, directors, writers strike. All happened at once in the 80s and. Work was hard to come by, you know, like it is now. But you keep on fighting that, you just keep on fighting.
And you find avenues to to expand yourself, you know, obviously as a teacher now and musician and, you know, music, the world is always going to need music. Always, always. And thank God the world has you in it. And I'm not just, you know, as I like to say, I'm not just glazing your doughnut and being super sincere because the fact that that we connected and you agreed to come on the show, it's a real honor.
I cannot tell you enough how much it means to have you on our show because you know it and to have your story and your journey told to us, because it's really inspiring.
I think people are going to hear this and go, wow, I can do what I want to do and I can make it happen.
That's exactly. And that's what I teach, too, is I can do it then. Definitely you can do it because there is nothing about me that is in any way, shape or form special, unique or different than you. Well, there is one difference, though, I think Corey and I have it in many of our friends and family have it, but not everybody does, is the idea of forgiveness acceptance? Forgiving yourself especially, it's hard it's hard for people to do that.
It's hard for people to do that, you know, conditioned in a society of, you know, success and failure. You know, we're conditioned in a society where we're almost afraid to be successful because we're so conditioned to fail. You know, you want to be an actor when you nothing's going to happen. You know, I'm writing and directing and raising the money. As I mentioned from my first feature film called Target, you're never going to be able to raise the money.
It's a pandemic. Eighty five percent there. Thank you very much. Yes. And if you do the movie, nobody's going to want nothing's going to happen with it.
OK, you know, what I say to those people is, yes, yes, it goes in one ear and right out. You know, I've heard no so many times in forty five years as an actor.
Nope, nope, nope. They don't want you. Nope, nope, nope. It's like getting kicked down the stairs for a living. Rejection is my bread and butter. I mean, what are you going to say. What are you going to teach me.
I haven't done myself but all you need is one.
Yes, that's right. Just one person to say yes. Yeah, I want this guy. And then everything changes, and then all those people that said no are like, hey, hey, hey, would you come to my office? I have a hey, would you very much go, hey. And you watch the tables turned with a vengeance. And there again, you have to be forgiving. You know, you mustn't be just because people don't get you or get it, you know, forgive them and move on, get past it.
You know. Life is about love, you know, find what you love. I don't care if it's a bird in the sky. I don't care if it's your pet mouse. I don't care if it's, you know, my ex-wife and children sending me these flowers and beautiful thing, love.
Yeah, that's a beautiful thing. I love being loved, you know? I mean, I feel so fortunate.
Follow your bliss. Follow the thing that makes you happy.
And yeah, that's what Joseph Campbell said is follow your bliss. And he's right. But deeper than that, and I think more metaphysical is love your life. And, you know, she has an expression called Amodei 40, which means love your fate, love your life. And this guy had a tough life. Let me tell you. I mean, the once and only time he ever had sex, you got syphilis.
Belchers kicked in the chest by a horse with both hooves during a war they had volunteered for while he had dysentery. He was he suffered tremendously. And the last thing he was known to say in his life, as he was desperately trying to hobble on this walkway in the Swiss Alps where the air would hopefully cure his lungs, he said to his female companion. You know what I love? Do you want to know what I love? I love the people that don't know beautiful.
And that's a very metaphysical, philosophical concept, but also important for actors, because if you go into a scene and you have a lines all memorized, like they're printed on your forehead, here I go to Semana, then you're not going to be very interesting. Mickey Rourke was a great, great a great actor, was a great film actor. You could never tell what he was going to say, never seemed like lines. It seemed like just he didn't know.
He allowed himself to not know and to discover during the course of a scene. And that's what made him one of the things that made him so brilliant, you know, that ability to not know. That's what I applaud. And that's what I teach, too, and of course, you have to have an objective, and that means you have to know what you want, you have to play actions. That means how do you want the person to feel?
Right. So if Zak just stole my wallet. And I see him the next day and I say, hey, Zac, how are you? It's going to be very different than if we were up all night watching a great movie. Yeah, you know, Zac. How are you? As opposed to Zach, how are you? Same words, yes, same three words. Yeah, yeah. But they can make you feel completely different. According to how they're delivered, according to what you affect them.
So that's my acting school and that's what I do. Thomas de Waite's cannot thank you enough and thank you so much for being on the show. And we will be talking to you again really soon for sure. I hope you keep in touch. All right. Oh, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. It's really a pleasure.
Mike. You run across flaming red of much discourse, let it go, let the. Love's loneliness is like the shadow of. And loves emptiness to see you, and it's gone too soon. Another star is fallen deep from the midnight sky. Thank you for listening to podcasting after Dobbs exclusive interview series with Thomas G. Waits. And as always, thank you for your support.
La, la, la, la. I'm Adam and I'm Corey, and we are the hosts of Cartwright, a Seinfeld podcast, we are breaking down every single episode of Seinfeld as we watch it, reliving this amazing show.
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