Today’s Feature – April 1-2: PensEyeView’s Year In Review

April 2, 2008 at 8:59 pm (Today's Feature)


The boys of PEV have a hard time believing an entire year has gone by since day 1 of the site – then again, they also find it hard to believe they’ve experienced so much in such a short period of time. There was some doubt at the start of the venture – a new artist feature every 48 hours is no simple endeavor. Would artists care? Would readers care? Would anyone care?

After a year, we can answer that question with a resounding “damn right they do!” There’s enough said about Richie, Kenny and Walt in the “About Us Section,” and I’m sure you’ll get more than you care to hear below. Before we get to that however, everyone at PEV wants to thank everyone for their unreal support thus far. Here’s to the future.

XXQs: The Team – Year in Review

After one year, did you think would be where it is today?

Richie: When I developed the concept of PensEyeView, it was so unique that people immediately started to question it. It happens when you launch something new; Why every 48 hours? Where are you going to find the people? Why art? Why music? How are you going to make money?

I did it to showcase all the great talents in the world and bring them together. I imagined that would be doable, but actually seeing the viewer-ship and our Archive is pretty amazing. When we first launched, the site looked totally different. As it caught on we totally redesigned it to what it is now. We brought on more writers, more features (videos, MySpace, Blog, etc) that have helped increase the brand. I’m pleased with where it is today but by no means satisfied… we have grand visions for it.

Kenny: I never like to think about things like this. To think of where it is today almost seems to put a cap on where PensEyeView will be tomorrow. Taking the time to reflect is always a good thing, but once you recognize what works and what needs fixing, it’s time to move on!

Walter: Nope. I knew we had a great thing going, but I had no clue that it would lead to so much. I mean, if you had told me we’d be hanging out backstage with The Wailers at Ram’s Head Live some random Monday night, I would have sighed and thought about how awesome that would be. Now that things like that are happening every few weeks, it starts to feel a little surreal. But there’s always only one direction to go – forward baby.

What has been the most “trying moment” of the past year?

Richie: Time! Time! Time! Featuring a new artist every 48 hours, involves a lot of time: The interview itself, programming the site, designing the graphics, making calls, advertising… the list goes on. Then there’s Walter’s obsession with only communicating by texting and Kenny never getting back to me. It drives me nuts and they love it.

Kenny: Emails from Richie. I hate reading emails as it is, but he goes nuts with it. It’s almost as bad as text messages from Walter. I do recognize them as a necessary evil, however.

Walter: I need to second Ken – while the e-mails have improved, Richie still sends the occasional jumbled mess. Seriously though, having so much on the plate can be trying at times. Only so many hours in a day. Even more seriously, Ken simply can’t handle my text messaging skills. I have the “no-look text” down!

In turn, what has been the most memorable?

Richie: I would say when Kenny and I first went to New York last year, for a many reasons. One, it was the first time I actually drove myself in Manhattan and might I add, the last. We stopped counting how many times we almost died after 34… And we were only driving in the city for about twenty blocks. Two, we had our first major meetings with record labels, that really kicked off our site, without them, we couldn’t do this. Then, after back to back to back meetings we shot our first out of town video shoot and really got a good feel for the city. We love New York. That was a good day.

Kenny: For me, it was the first video feature. It was of Llyod Dobler Effect and I think those guys are amazing. It’s really inspiring to see artists in their own environment. Plus, that was my first real working experience with PEV.

Walter: I’ve had such a great time at all of the PEV video feature shoots. Every artist we’ve worked with on them, from Kate Voegele to Puddle of Mudd, has been so relaxed. It always feels more like we’re just hanging out as opposed to working. Hanging out with Josh Kelley on his tour bus and Pat McGee on a Ferris wheel was pretty f’n cool too.

Over 180 individuals or groups have been featured, from five continents, dozens of countries and countless cities, on PensEyeView, which has stood out the most?

Richie: Henry Rollins. I did the interview through email and re-read my questions a dozen times. He’s pretty intimidating so I wanted to make sure I got all the questions I needed and there were no spelling errors.

Kenny: I’d have to give that honor to The Lloyd Dobler Effect (Their feature). I’ve had the privilege to see them perform live twice, and both times have been amazing. Their music is very unique and these guys have true dedication.

Walter: I like them all. But Trevor Hall is the man. I’m always jamming to his sound.

Which feature had the most “unique” or memorable answers?

Richie: Jake and Amir, from… They are hilarious! Here’s a sample.

PEV: What’s one word that best describes,

Amir: Not reverent.

Jake: That’s two words. And you’re extra dumb because you could have easily said “irreverent.” Same meaning, but one word.

Amir: …that’s 18 words.

Jake: Nope.

Kenny and Walter: No doubt about it, The Gay Blades (Their feature)! Just read it again!

PEV: When you sit down to write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

Gay Blades: We usually wait until our Seasonal Affect Disorder kicks in during late fall and then watch the last ten minutes of Old Yeller over and over again. After that, the songs just seem to write themselves.

Dealing with artists and musicians, the issue of censorship does arise. How have you dealt with having to “censor” what people say or do in the interview, if at all?

Richie: From the beginning I wasn’t going to censor anyone. If they said the “f-word” or something, than I simply left dashes in between. These individuals made livings off of being themselves and I didn’t want to take that away. But we do have a broad audience, so I did have to let them know that I can’t do any stories that may be a little to “X Rated”, if you know what I mean. We have a disclaimer on the feature page which sums it up, for legal purposes.

Kenny: I think censorship sucks. Plain and simple. If someone wants to say “f–k,” let them say “f–k.” I’ve thought about it a lot and sometimes that word can just express everything that needs to be said. Now, Richie makes a point about our broad audience, so we do have to clean things up, but the message will always get through.

Walter: Yea, yea, we gotta keep it respectable. But I do agree that censorship sucks. Honestly, most of the time, no word is more effective than “F–K!” if I want to let someone know how I feel. It’s a part of the culture now, and artists like anyone else, use “bad words” to express their intensity in feeling one way or another. Man, there is no way Richie is letting us keep this many “F–KS” in one response.

What’s something we’d be surprised to hear about Richie, Kenny and Walter?

Richie: Well, most people are surprised to hear that we live in Baltimore, Maryland and NOT in New York or LA. Understandably so, since Baltimore is not exactly the entertainment capital of the world.

As well, people that don’t know us are surprised to hear that we are all professional wrestlers. Kenny and I were a tag team for eight years – “Xtreme Pandemonium” and won over a dozen titles in the Mid-Atlantic area together. My wrestling name was “The Thrill From Israel” Buster Maccabi (I retired this past January), Kenny’s ring name is PW Apollo Cruz and Walter goes by “The Icon” Blaine Barrett. This topic tends to be either a good ice breaker-since people find it interesting or a good deal breaker, for those that think we are extremely moronic… more toward the latter.

Kenny: Definitely the pro-wrestling thing. To look at us, you’d think we’d be professional rodeo clowns or dog-walkers.

Walter: I agree. The fact I’ve wrestled professionally generally changes how people look at me. Hopefully they understand we’ll liable to snap at any moment and start swinging steel chairs at random strangers. I think people are also surprised to learn I’m the baby of the group. Ken (28) and Richie (28) look like they’re 22 – I look 32. I’ve also been attacked by a pot-belly pig, a squirrel and a goat. They all drew blood. I also once found a secret road leading to a McDonalds.

Any embarrassing stories from the year?

Richie: When we do interviews we use a digital or a tape recorder. One time, I used the tape recorder to interview John Wendell, aka Fatal1ty – the video gaming king. The interview was great, it lasted about 25 minutes. When I went to transcribe the interview to paper, I pressed rewind and the tape ripped off the reel. I took apart the tape and tried to manually work the tangled tape back together. Four hours later, and few hundred curse words, I had to call his agent back and explain what had happened. He was kind enough to redo the interview.

This was early on in PensEyeView, so having to face a blunder like this was a big hit to the ego. We got wise and decided to only use the digital one.

Kenny: The first camcorder we used couldn’t zoom – Out or in. So here I am, walking closer and further away from the featured artists, looking like a tool. However, I’ve had years of practice looking like a tool, so it wasn’t that big a deal after all.

Walter: Yes, I was very embarrassed once – but it wasn’t because of anything I did. We were hanging out with Kate Voegele at the Rock N’ Roll Hotel in DC, when a phone started ringing while Kate was in the middle of answering one of our questions. I heard it, but figured it was coming from somewhere outside of the room – it went on for what felt like hours. Later on, RICHIE told me it was HIS phone. I nearly choked him.

Describe in one word.

Richie: To steal a line from Josh Kelley, Scrumshalicious.

Kenny: Bad-ass.

Walter: Stoked.

Who would portray you in the PensEyeView movie?

Richie: Ok, if I say anyone remotely taller than 5’5″, Kenny and Walter will lay into me and never let me forget it. I mean, I think I’m a dead ringer for Clooney or Pitt, but hey, that’s just me… I mean it, JUST me. People do tell me I remind them of Kevin Connelly’s character, Eric (or E) from Entourage, so I’ll go with him. For Kenny, Andy Dick and for Walter, a young Bruno Samartino.

Kenny: Matthew McConaughey. Chicks dig him, too. For the record, I say Verne Troyer for Richie and Louis Anderson for Walt.

Walt: Edward Norton – we’re nothing alike, but he can do anything.

Who would be your dream feature from today’s scene?

Richie: I would love to interview Paul McCartney. “Blackbird” is my favorite song. I think if I ever did though, it would be like a reenactment of the “Saturday Night Live” skit where Chris Farley interviews him, as himself. He’s all nervous and jerky, and asks the dumbest questions.

Chris Farley: Um, hi. Welcome to The Chris Farley Show. I’m.. Chris Farley… and, my guest tonight is… one of the.. greatest musicians.. uh, rock musicians. I guess, songwriter, ever. [ Smacks himself ] GOD! That sounds stupid! God, I’m an idiot! I never know how to start these things!

Paul McCartney: You’re doing great, Chris.

Chris Farley: [ hopeful ] Really? No, I’m not. [ hyperventilating ] Anyway… I guess… I didn’t have, have to say, who you were, because.. man, I mean… everyone knows who you are. Mmm… you’re Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney: Well, it’s great to be here.

Also, this may sound weird but Tony Bennett. I was in Chicago for a wedding last year and we’re at dinner and all of sudden Tony Bennett walks past our table. I totally geeked out and was like, “Holy shit, that’s Tony Bennett!” I don’t think he heard me but everyone in the restaurant did. It was like a knee jerk reaction. (On a side note, that same weekend my taxi driver almost hit Elvis Costello crossing the street. He looked at us, rightfully so, like he wanted to kick our ass. It was a very star studded weekend for me).

Kenny: Jimmy Buffett. No doubt. He has done so much in his lifetime; I don’t think his auto-biography really covered it all. From his music to his books to his movies, it would be great to get inside his head. And I’m picking a second one, too. Vince McMahon. What a success story. He went from being a wrestling promoter’s son to having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

Walt: Probably Maynard from Tool/A Perfect Circle. I’m sure a lot of people would say the same thing. I love all of his music, but 3 Libras is definitely one of my favorite songs ever.

If you could go back in time and feature any dead person or group, who would that be?

Richie: I know it is another reference, but I would love to go back in time and interview the Beatles, but when they were first starting out – playing gigs for beer. Back, before the fame and notoriety. I think it would be fun to see what they were like before they hit it big.

Kenny: Shakespeare. I bet that dude was weird. But in that creative, artistic way we at PEV covet.

Walter: Jimi Hendrix. Everything he did set a standard.

Is there one genre you wish was more represented in PensEyeView?

Richie: Magicians! I love magicians.

Kenny: I would really like to see more comedians. There has to be a lot going on with this group and I wouldn’t mind hearing how they get there ideas.

Walter: Ken’s answer. That’s a good one. Maybe we should work on that. Can we throw in pro wrestlers too?

If you could pick a PensEyeView spokes-model, who would it be?

Richie: Calvin and Hobbes. Those guys are all about living life.

Kenny: Benji. Everyone loves Benji.

Walter: He-Man. The ultimate nice guy with unmatched powers and a killer smile.

Everyone has a different idea of the perfect place to work – What’s your dream office location?

Richie: From home. If I never got out of my pajamas that would be fine with me.

Kenny: From my bed. All day.

Walter: I like the city – I’d take a 25th floor office in the middle of NYC. Complete with view and a corner Chipolte.

A lot of the features on PEV are musicians – what music do you all enjoy?

Richie: Rock, Country, pop, hip-hop, all of it. But I am really into more of the folk/Americana genre now.

Kenny: I like everything. Rock, country, rap, pop… I’m easy.

Walter: I’ll pretty much listen to anything that isn’t country. Seriously, of all the genres on my i-pod, I have two country songs: “These Days” by Rascal Flatts and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” from Big&Rich. I tend to stick with the alternative stuff like Incubus, Disturbed, A Perfect Circle side with a side mix of hip-hop, electronica and Trevor Hall!

Do anything interesting in your spare time?

Richie: I am a children’s book author and illustrator as well. My new book is called “Terple”, which I’m pretty sure you’ve seen on the homepage of PEV. Kenny is a great puppeteer! I am also married with a baby on the way, so my wife and I are getting ready for the newest member of the PEV family.

Kenny: Torment Richie, put on puppet shows (Terple) and travel to Ravens’ away games.

Walter: I write commentary, lift weights, cheer on the Orioles and Ravens and spend too much money in Baltimore.

What one person (famous or not) would you like to add to the PEV staff?

Richie: Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin. The guy is a genius and went from nothing to owning his own island. I think we could learn a lot from him. Richard, call me. As well, Jack Nicholson. You walk into a meeting with Jack Nicholson and the deal is done.

Kenny: I’d add Carl Hiaasen. He is an awesome writer who knows how to capture the spirit of his subject.

Walter: I’d add my non-famous friend Eddie because he’s awesome with money as well as the first franchise quarterback for the Ravens. I can’t wait to meet him (wherever he may be).

If there was such a thing as PensEyeView cereal, what would it taste like?

Richie: Birthday cake. I mean, who doesn’t like birthday cake. Even people who are lactose intolerant, come running when someone says, “Does anyone want some birthday cake?”

Kenny: Pancakes with mustard on top, sprinkled with asparagus. A little bit of everything!

Walter: Waffle Crisp. That stuff is delicious. Did they stop making it? That would be a tragedy.

So, what is next for

Richie: We’re going to just keep on rolling with it and expanding our audience. We want to do a lot more video features and web streams. And of course the goal of having a hard copy magazine in stores is still dangling in front of us… To see PensEyeView in newsstands–that is the ultimate dream.

Kenny: A concert. This was an idea I’ve had since day one of my involvement. I’ve been kicking a few ideas around in my head and a plan is forming!

Walter: All of those things. More interviews, more videos, concerts, magazines on and on and on. I see PensEyeView as one of those things everyone can appreciate. It can only get better and better as more and more people get turned on to us.

For more information on, keep checking back in every day!


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