THE RETROCRUSH INTERVIEW
Star of the Cult Classic Rockula and Carl Reiner's Summer
If youíve never seen Dean singing his heart
out in the 1990 cult classic Rockula with Toni Basil and Thomas
Dolby youíre missing out on a rare treat. Heís also well loved for his
role as Chainsaw in Summer School which he says has been in a loop
on HBO since 1987. We recently talked with Dean about losing his mind on
ALF, hanging with Billy Bob Thornton in a Zombie movie, singing in a rock
band about Mr. T, and his thoughts on masturbation.
How did you get into show business?
My dad had tried to be an
actor in Hollywood for about a year back in the late 60ís. My parents are
divorced so every summer and every Christmas Iíd visit my dad in Santa
Barbara. I started doing plays there in this great program called Youth
When I got out of high
school I drove out here to LA at 17 and starved for 4 years. I did little
theater, sent my pictures out, and luckily got an agent. I started getting
small roles in TV shows & commercials and sort of built a career.
You were Jeff Spicoli in the TV version of Fast Times
at Ridgemont High.
they announced in Hollywood that they were going to do a TV show of
Fast Times people wondered who was going to be the poor, miserable
asshole that would end up playing Spicoli? It was a huge joke. I was
really good friends with Crispin Glover at the time and we would joke
about this poor, miserable shithead who would be playing Spicoli. It ended
up being me.
It actually turned out to be
a good thing for me because the show didnít go on very long. Maybe it was
seven episodes, but it put me on the map in Hollywood. I sort of pulled it
off and didnít embarrass myself.
Was Crispin Glover eccentric even back then?
He was a crazy and very
inspiring guy. He made up his own way to live and followed it. Iíve always
appreciated and admired that in people. Crispin carved a path for himself.
Heís been in some good roles. The only one I wasnít
excited about was the movie Willard.
I loved it. When we were
friends he told me, "Iím going to do Willard some day." Itís cool that he
finally got to do it. Thereís that great scene where he freaks out. Itís
at the mortuary. He just goes nuts. I think heís a great actor.
I loved him in Charlieís Angels as the Thin Man.
I didnít see that. He plays
a villain right? His dad was a Bond villain. He was a villain in one of
the Bond movies.
What was the movie Summer School like?
That was my first movie.
That came about because of Fast Times. Amy Heckerline directed
Fast Times and was the Executive Producer. She was originally suppose
to direct Summer School and actually wanted Patrick Dempsey and Wally
Langham who were both in Fast Times to play Chainsaw and Dave in Summer
The movie Carl Reiner was
supposed to direct at Paramount fell through so they gave him a pick of
any movie he wanted. He picked Summer School and Amy got kicked out
of the job, but Carl and the writer Jeff Franklin had heard about me. I
got in on that movie & read. It went great because I got the job & the
rest is history.
School comes off as intelligent & funny.
It was a good movie and did
well at the box office. It got good reviews.
Iíve never seen it on HBO.
Youíre the guy who hasnít
seen it! Itís been on HBO on a loop since 1987.
My parents were poverty stricken and we didnít have cable.
Good for you. Theyíre doing
a remake of it which is proof that Hollywood has officially run out of
They remake everything.
Summer School isnít much of
an original idea to begin with. Carl Reiner is a classic director, writer,
and actor. He did The Jerk, Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar, and The
Dick Van Dyke show. He spoiled us because he would only shoot from 10
AM to 6PM.
Weíd get there at 10 and
wrap at 6. It was a relaxed day. There was no pressure, no yelling and
screaming. That was my first movie so I thought, "Wow. Movies are really,
really easy." I was completely mistaken.
Itís not like that?
No, no itís not. Itís always
like trying to paint in a hurricane.
You were on a couple of episodes of Alf?
It was three horrible
episodes of Alf. Keep it in perspective itís just TV and movies. Having a
bad time on a TV show is nothing. There are much worse things to be doing
like blowing dogs for Wine change or something. Doing three episodes of
Alf is a fine problem to have.
I love Alf. Iíve watched a couple of episodes in my
think itís an enjoyable show to watch. Just appearing on the show is a
You had to refer to Alf as a person.
By the time they tape Alf
has all the funny lines. During the course of rehearsals theyíll go, "Hey,
thatís a funny line lets give it to Alf." Youíre a straight man for a
puppet. After three weeks I was losing my mind. These people had been
doing the show for 7 years. It was just bonkers.
That explains what happened to Max Wright.
Oh completely. The beauty of
that is heís now back in New York doing shows and I think he won a Tony
for something a couple of years ago.
He was in the National Enquirer doing
drugs & having
I knew he was a friend of
the bottle as they say. I think heís come out of that. If I had been doing
Alf for 7 years Iíd be getting fucked up & having gay sex.
I guess it can happen to the best of us.
He was this New York theater
actor and Iím sure when he read for it he thought, "Iím going to do this
pilot in LA and make a bunch of money. Itís never going to go because itís
a stupid show about an alien doll. Iíll be back in the fall." Seven years
later heís the dad on Alf.
Didnít Alf sit on the couch?
There were three or four
different Alfs. The whole sound stage had trenches in it. There were three
operators of Alf. One did a right arm & the head. Another one did the left
arm. There was another person off with the radio controller doing all the
servos for the eyebrows.
a whole Jim Henson production.
The producer was the voice
of Alf. Thatís why all the good stuff went to Alf because the producer was
One of the things I was
having such a hard time with Alf was at night I was doing reshoots with
Emilio Estevez & Charlie Sheen for Men at Work. I was literally
getting 2 hours sleep and I was out of my mind. This girl I was living
with was moving out and breaking my heart. It was a bad time. The reshoots
for the movie were only supposed to last four days. It was January and it
was raining heavy so it lasted three weeks.
Emilio produced and wrote that too? It didnít do well.
No, it didnít. Again itís
one of those things that are on cable all the time and I love it.
talk about the 80ís classic Rockula!
Letís do! I love Rockula.
I was so excited about Rockula. Out of all these things that almost
could have been really huge Rockula was one of them. Summer
School came out and it was dwarfed by The Lost Boys.
Rockula was the first
movie I got offered based on the fact of Summer School. By the time
we made the movie the studio had gone under so it never saw the light of
day. It was bad timing. It was really sad for me.
It went direct to video?
It played in one theater in
my hometown of Norman, Oklahoma for some odd reason.
The incredibly hot actress Tawny Fere played your
girlfriend Mona in it.
She ruled. She was great.
She was with her boyfriend so nothing happened. We had a nice, flirtatious
Did you do your own singing in Rockula?
I did all of the singing. I
played all the guitar. I wrote most of the songs I sang.
I love the rap outfit you wore with multi-colored tights.
And a giant sausage in my
I missed that part Iíll have to rewind.
Toni Basil was super hot at that time and even then she
was a mature woman.
She was in the movie Easy
Rider. Sheís in the scene where they go to the cemetery, take
LSD, and have a three way. Sheís one of the two girls. She was beautiful.
Youíre good friends with Eric Stoltz.
Weíve been friends since 11.
A long, long time. Heís one of my oldest friends. He was one of the guys I
started acting with in Santa Barbara. We did a production of Our Town
and John Ritter was the lead. This was before Threeís Company.
At the time he was famous because he had won an Emmy on The Waltons.
Eric is very successful. Heís directed, produced, and is a good actor.
I like the one line you wrote on your website, "That as
long as Ericís still acting youíll always have a role somewhere."
You did Ski School?
did Ski School and Ski School II. People wanted to know what happened to
the characters from Ski School. We had to wrap up all those loose ends.
They had sold the title Ski School and had three months to make the movie.
Thereís a ski resort in British Columbia where thereís a glacier and you
can ski year round, but there was really no snow.
It was the most popular movie on HBO in 1995?
No that was this other piece
of shit called Miracle Beach or Miserable Beach.
At least Pat Morita was in that movie.
Yes, Pat Morita, Martin
Mull, Vincent Schiavelli, and Ami Dolenz.
You were in a movie with Billy Bob Thornton.
It has about 5 titles. Itís
a Civil War Zombie movie. Iíve never seen it. There were 30 pages of
exposition at the beginning of the screenplay with none of the main
characters. I donít know if you know anything about movies, but you need
to have the main characters in the movie immediately. Youíre not going to
wait a half hour to introduce them. Having 30 pages without the main
characters is ridiculous. All the things we were in got cut out. It was
one of Billy Bob Thorntonís early roles.
There was a point where my
career was not where I wanted it to go. It was sort of on a downward
spiral. Matt Le Blanc was in this movie. This was before Friends.
Matt had done two or three shows for Fox. They did a spin off of
Married with Children with him and he wasnít very good in it. It got
They kept trying to make
Matt LeBlanc a star and it never worked. Iím sitting in the 120 degree in
the fucked desert of California wearing this gray warden Civil War suit
with this stupid Zombie makeup on. Iím thinking what went wrong with my
life and career? You know what my career may be in the shitter, but at
least Iím not Matt LeBlanc because that guy is going nowhere! I was
completely and totally wrong.
Matt LeBlanc is like anyone
once he finds his role heís fine. Heís very charming and good. Heís a nice
guy. I see him from time to time and I think heís great on Friends.
never got into Friends.
That part he plays on
Friends is perfect for him. Thatís what everyone is working for - that
part that is perfect for them.
Is any part of Billy Bobís personality like the crazy role
he played in Bad Santa?
He didnít take any shit from
anyone. Heís very honest, and crass. I love that in people. When you know
exactly where you stand with someone. Heís from Arkansas and Iím from
Oklahoma. We got along very well because we both come from the same "no
bullshit" type of places.
Eric Stoltz did an HBO movie
with him and he has a great story. Billy Bob Thornton is doing a pro shot.
Heís in a car. When you do a routine in a car youíre not actually driving.
They tow you in a truck.
HBO was fucking with the
script and the director. They fired all these people. Everybody on this
HBO movie was miserable, but they had these great actors Eric Stoltz and
Billy Bob Thornton. They started a take and as they were rolling he said,
"Listen. You people at HBO Iím never going to work for you again. Youíve
alienated this entire cast and crew. Everyone hates you and your ideas are
stupid. You just have to remember youíre just TV. You think your movies
and shit & youíre just fucking TV." Then he went and did a great take so
they had to print it.
In dailies that night or the
next day all the HBO executives had to watch this. Everything you need to
know about Billy Bob Thornton is from that story. Eric has an audio tape
of what Billy Bob Thornton was saying. It was beautiful.
The movie Bad Dreams sounds familiar.
Fleming directed it and he went on to do a bunch of other stuff.
It was heavily inspired by
Elm Street. The girl comes out of a coma 30 years later after she was in a
cult as a little girl. The lead guy had set himself on fire when he was a
It was just weird. The lead
girl Jennifer Rubin was in A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors.
You did, "Honey I shrunk the kids" with the guy who didnít
make it on Bosom Buddies.
Peter Scolari. Heís very
happy; heís got a great family, and a fine career. We played Soviet Spies
posing as a British pop band. The show ran for a few years in syndication.
Not everyone can be a mega millionaire like Tom Hanks.
You were in the series "It came from Outer Space".
We did 20 episodes of that,
but it only ran in two cities. It was very popular where it ran.
I saw one of the guest stars on that was Ruth Buzzi.
Ruth Buzzi ruled. I actually
met Ruth Buzzi because my dad was friends with her when he was trying to
be an actor in the late 1960ís. He had gotten me her autograph because I
was a huge fan of Laugh In.
I remember Ruth Buzzi from the Saturday morning TV show
Lost Saucer with Jim Nabors.
Yea, that was a great show.
She remembered my dad. She was awesome and great. I was so excited to work
with her. More than really anyone.
also wrote the movie, "Hollywood Palms".
Hollywood Palms is the movie
I wrote with Patrick Labyorteaux whoís also in Summer School and
Ski School with me. He ended up on JAG which I think just got
Itís actually just got
released on DVD and you can order it on Amazon.com. I love the movie and
it came out exactly the way I wanted it to. I have no complaints about it
other than it never hit the theater.
You worked at Iwin.com.
It went under. I worked
there for three years. It was good for me. I had this other skill now. I
wasnít dependent on showbiz. I started working more acting than I had in
years. Thereís this weird thing when you donít need the job people respond
to you. I fortunately now have a good enough voiceover career that I donít
have to do any other job.
You have a beautiful voice.
I clicked on a few
MP3ís on your website
Most are radio spots. The
ones that are doing great right now are the Geico TV spots.
When you watch the spelling Geico TV ads youíre focused on
the kid. Youíre the guy that reads the spelling words.
No, Iím the voice. Iím not
the actor in it.
I apologize I was watching it late at night.
have to stop smoking so much crack.
Iíve been drinking and smoking crack all day! Iím amazed I
can still even talk right now.
Itís amazing. Itís your
tenacity. Thatís good.
I do have some AquaNet and a brown paper bag for huffing.
I hate those messy stains it leaves around your mouth though.
Ah. Itís worth it.
Do you like to party?
I donít drink or smoke pot.
Not even back in the day in the 1980ís back with your
Not since 1981.
It wasnít a problem?
I thought it might possibly
become a problem so I stopped.
It appears that a lot of people in Hollywood have drug and
Itís also important to know
that it doesnít happen a lot. Some people function just fine doing drugs
Thereís a lot of functional Pot Heads and Alcoholics out
think its like Toupees you only see the bad ones. Itís the guy who trips
on the weekends and has a job and a family. You donít hear about that guy
because heís not driving his car into a house.
Was there a movie you did that you thought "this is
ridiculous" but enjoyed the money?
Are there other movie parts that stick out?
You pretty much covered
What about Gayosity?
Gayosity was fucking
I love the title.
Thereís this thing called
instant films. You write it, they shoot it for a day, and that night they
edit it, and the next day they show it. Gayosity was one of those pieces.
Gayosity was a miserable,
failed experiment by this asshole, cock director. He went through a good
script and thought Iím going to make it a musical because Iím an asshole.
He tried to be cool, but he
fucked it up.
You did the Clam Man commercial for Monster.com. That took
a lot of gumption.
If I do TV I do interesting
stuff. Iíve had guest star parts in ER, Will & Grace, and Felicity.
us the story about freaking out your mom?
When I was a kid of about 5
or 6 I was playing in my room I had this little army man and I was
singing, "Iím Surfin. Iím Surfin." My mom came in and said, "Stop doing
that. Thatís terrible!"
She thought I was saying,
"Iím Sirhan. Iím Sirhan." The guy who killed Bobby Kennedy.
Just the thought of your mom coming in and thinking you
were some Damian kid is pretty funny.
It must have really freaked
her out. Itís like a kid today singing, "Iím Osama bin Landen".
an Aristocrat show in England naked.
My pretentious answer for
that is, "If youíre doing it right you always feel naked."
Youíre bearing your soul
and skin to the world.
And your balls.
Thatís exciting. You filmed it and called it a career
I think itís going to be an
Easter Egg on the Aristocrats
are a lot of visuals in it?
We shot it with a consumer
Iím sure people who are die hard fans can get a nice look.
The most beautiful thing
about the movie is that it doesnít matter if itís in focus or not. Itís
the idea about the movie that is so wonderful and pure that people fucking
I was laughing when I was reading about it. Youíre good at
I always go for it.
Are you working on other scripts?
Thereís this serial show on
Sacred Fool thatís going on. Iím excited about producing
Billy the MIME show. Heís
this fucked up, insane MIME. Heís in The Aristocrats movie. He
tells the Aristocrats joke as a MIME. You see him sucking off a dog. He
has a one man show. Itís beautiful and Iím excited about that. Thatís
going on from the beginning of October through the rest of the year.
Whatís your favorite retroVIDEO game?
Space Invaders. When I was
in High School I delivered Pizza and the place had Space Invaders. I also
enjoyed Dig Dug and Defender.
Is there anything else youíd like to tell your legion of
in the Thorn Birds rock band. Weíre almost finished with our latest CD.
Were you in the band when they did the Mr. T song?
Everybody loves Mr. T?
Thatís how the song came
Any other roles youíre dying to do?
Anything that keeps me out
What kind of trouble do you usually get into?
None and thatís why I am who
Does that ever get boring? Ever look for trouble every
once in awhile?
Youíre not being arrested with midgets?
I donít know anything about
Rockula would make a great Midnight Movie.
The midget in that was in
Thatís a neat little tidbit. Ever watch midget porn?
Iíve met Bridgette the
You watch a lot of internet porn?
Not as much as Iíd like.
Well, now that youíre married you probably donít need to
not true. Thereís always a place for masturbation. I think itís an
You donít look at it as an embarrassing or something
people should not take care of?
Ever find that thereís one person hornier than the other
person in a relationship?
It goes in cycles donít you?
I think us men have it just like women. Itís like a
Sometimes we just want to be
Dean's website is chock full-o-hilarity:
Music from the rock band Dean's in:
The two man show Dean Wrote:
In LA come see Billy the MIME:
Listen to the entire interview: