STAR TREK LUCY interviews CAPTAIN KARL MILLER of WARP 11 for MYSTERY ISLAND MUSIC!
LUCY: Hello and thank you for taking the time to beam down for a little shore leave on Mystery Island. Please relate the secret origin of Warp 11 as a band, how your mission began, et cetera.
CAPTAIN KARL: We've all been friends and played on and off in different bands with each other since we were 16 years old. In that time we played in all the standard bands that everybody seems to do. We did the Battlestar Galactica band (The Cylons). We did the Logan's Run band (The Sandmen). We did the Buck Rogers band (Bidi-Bidi-Bidi). We even toyed with a Star Wars band till we realized nothing rhymed with Chewbacca. Then one day we decided to try the obligatory Star Trek band and everything just clicked. We're on year nine of our five-year mission and I don't see us getting cancelled anytime soon.
LUCY: Groovy. Now, a question of real importance, for me at least, is whether or not you feel a greater devotion for the classic/original Star Trek or the nerdier Next Generation?
CAPTAIN KARL: Though I do feel a certain bald affinity with Captain Picard, I have to go with the original series. Besides Shatner's bald too; he just hides it under a toupee. The original series was all about kicking ass and taking names. They didn't need a holodeck to make interesting episodes. All they needed was Kirk, Spock, and an alien girl in a bikini.
LUCY: Alien girls in bikinis are hella rad. I know you guys are a multi-music-genre-influenced band, but what area of sound waves inspires you the most? You cats are like pretty heavy ...
CAPTAIN KARL: I actually listen to a lot of different music but I would have to say that my biggest influences are William Shatner's The Transformed Man, Leonard Nemoy's Highly Illogical, Brent Spiner's Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Stovokor’s Metal of Honor, anything by S.P.O.C.K., and of course Patrick Stewart singing the alphabet. If you haven’t seen it, look it up on You Tube. It will change your life.
LUCY: What did you think of Sacramento's "other" Stark Trek-themed band: No Kill I?
CAPTAIN KARL: I knew this was going to come up. I normally wouldn't say this but it's been like six years now and I think it's time to come clean. No Kill I and Warp 11 are actually the best of friends. Back then we all sat down and decided it would be funny if there was this intense rivalry between the two Sacramento Star Trek bands. You know, a "they hated us" and "we thought they were beneath us" sort of thing. So every chance we got we played it up and the local media and various nerd websites all over the country ate it up. It was great. But even the best joke can go on too long so I'm coming clean. Don't kill me for this, Dave (NKI's Mugatu bass player and close personal friend of mine). It had to be said. And I'll see you at the BBQ this weekend!
LUCY: OMG! I feel like I just got a major scoop for the Enquirer. No Kill I was the first interview I ever did. I will have to have the Secret Society pull that one out of the vault and reprint it here on Mystery Island. It'll be like Trekapalooza.
Tell us about your Trekkies 2 experience.
CAPTAIN KARL: It was great. If you can say one thing about Warp 11 it's that we're a bunch of narcissistic media whores. We got a lot of new nerdy fans from all over the world from that one.
LUCY: How hard is it for Kiki to deal with obsessive fans? Anybody with Spock ears try to rip off her clothing?
CAPTAIN KARL: Actually the fans are very respectful. It probably has something to do with the fact that she is 1/16th Vulcan and has the strength of 10 strong men. Now that I think about it, the girls tend to grab her way more than the guys. Lucky girls ...
LUCY: Totally. The strangest thing that has happened at one of your shows?
CAPTAIN KARL: We get a lot of strange things at our shows, from men dressed as green Orion slave girls serenading the drummer before a show to a group of guys in red shirts pretending to die off one by one between songs over the course of the show. But the incident that stands out the most was this one gig we played at convention in Southern California. We were halfway through one of our more aggressive songs when 20 guys in Imperial Storm trooper uniforms rushed the stage from out of nowhere. They formed a mosh pit and slam danced till the end of the song and then ran off into the darkness. It was creepy.
LUCY: Your favorite venue to play in Sacramento?
CAPTAIN KARL: The Blue Lamp on Alhambra. We've been playing there for years. The crowd loves it. We love it. And the replicators make killer drinks.
LUCY: Besides Warp 11, your favorite Sacramento band is?
CAPTAIN KARL: No Kill I.
LUCY: Your favorite Star Trek episode?
CAPTAIN KARL: Ohhhh ... tough one. Any episode where Kirk gets laid. So I guess that's most of them.
LUCY: Your favorite Star Trek character?
CAPTAIN KARL: Three words -- Captain Fuckin’ Kirk!
LUCY: Your favorite Warp 11 song?
CAPTAIN KARL: Usually it changes every time we write a new song. I will say this though. One of the things I love about this band is the fact that we have so many songs to choose from. We normally play for two hours every gig and we could easily play three or maybe even four gigs in a row and not repeat a single song. Once in a while somebody in the band will call out a song that we haven't played in over a year and it will become my new favorite song. It sure does keep it from getting boring.
LUCY: Boring is lame. Tell us about making the video for "She Make It So." It's really a super fun song and worked well visually.
CAPTAIN KARL: It was a great experience. We worked with a brilliant local director named Erik Espera who put together a great team to shoot the entire thing over two days. A lot of our fans came out to help on both days which says a lot. I don't know if you've done a lot of production work but it's really boring as hell. You wait three hours for them to set up the shot. Shoot the scene in like ten minutes and then wait another three hours for them to set up the next one. Rinse and repeat. But it's all worth it in the end ... video is forever.
LUCY: Didn't you guys do some Star Trek parody videos before you started the band? What happened to that footage? Will we ever see it again?
CAPTAIN KARL: We actually did a weekly half-hour long streaming internet sketch comedy show back in 1999 called "The Prime Directive." There is a clip on YouTube that one of the editors posted a while back. In the episode I had lost my gold command shirt and only had a red shirt to wear. I was super paranoid the whole episode that I was going to get killed (as redshirts tend to do). The clip starts off where I think I may have left my command shirt in my car so we beam out to the parking lot to look for it. CLICK HERE (for Prime Directive) to find out what happens. It was low budget but we had a great time doing it. And I have all the footage on Super VHS tape. Now if I just had a VCR to play it on.
LUCY: You just reworked your first album, Suck My Spock, now re-launched as Suck My Spock Some More. Tell us about that project and how the album was improved.
CAPTAIN KARL: When we first formed the band we were broke but we had a bunch of songs that we had written for "The Prime Directive." It seemed a shame not to record them. So we went to local recording studio, “The Pus Cavern,” and recorded and mixed 13 songs over two days. Sadly, they sounded exactly like they had been recorded and mixed in two days. By our fourth album we had a lot of money saved up from our Amazon and I-Tunes sales so we decided to revisit our first album. Joe Johnston, owner and Chief Engineer from the Pus cavern borrowed a machine that could play the original quarter inch tape (apparently they don't make them anymore) and we digitized the whole thing, remixed it in Pro Tools and gave it the love it deserved. The difference is profound. As an added bonus we recorded two more old songs that were written at the time but didn't make the first album. "Montalban" (a crowd favorite) and "Make It So (TNG)."
LUCY: Your next mission?
CAPTAIN KARL: I'm glad you asked. Our new CD, I Don't Want To Go To Heaven As Long As They have Vulcans In Hell, comes out May 5th on Amazon and ITunes, or you can pick one up at our CD release party at the Blue Lamp on May 2nd. See our website www.warp11.com for details. Oh and we made a great promo video for the new album. Great if you like the idea of a gay naked Mr. Spock in a bathtub. Check it out/CLICK HERE! It may be the greatest thing we’ve ever made.
Live long and pros ... well you get the idea.
Karl V. Miller
LUCY: Thanks Karl, if I knew a little more Klingonese I would recite you a poem.
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"Warp 11 Interview" by Lucy Hell. Edited and formatted by Bradley Mason Hamlin.
© 2009 by Mystery Island Publications. Published: 04.27.09.
All rights reserved.
Photos of Warp 11 from the collection of Warp 11. All rights reserved.
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