Archive for Spooky Empire’s MayHem

Countdown to May-Hem, with special feature **Interview with George VanOrsdel** Part I

Posted in Local Bands Orlando, Local Venues, Music and Life, Special Events Orlando with tags , , on May 18, 2012 by rosesopinion

Rose is getting so excited, we can barely hold our decaying little self together.  We are only a week away from Spooky Empire’s May-Hem!  When the zombies congregate by daylight……and party all night……all weekend


Interview with George Van Orsdel

We first saw the Van Orsdels at Spooky Empire’s Scream Fest here in Orlando, and we returned the next year to see them again….and again the next year….and so it goes that we were hooked on the Van Orsdels.   So when fate allowed us to collide with George again, he was so kind as to allow us this interview…..and we are feeling outrageously friggin’ awesomely lucky!!!   Whew! Now that we’ve got that off our chest, let’s go on to the first part of our journey with George….

What was your first serious band ?

“Well, that question actually has 2 answers, depending on what you consider a serious band. My first serious band was a hardcore trio from Miami, Florida called Not Dead Yet. That was the first band I ever recorded with. But skip ahead a few years and you could say Cell 63, a band compared often to The Replacements, was pretty serious, since we were actually getting national recognition. There have been several other bands between Cell 63 and The Van Orsdels that I was involved in that had a little bit of success here and there.”

Do you remember your very first gig?

 “Hmm, that’s a tough one. I believe my very first gig ever, was playing at a skating rink back when I was a teenager, playing in a cover band.  It  kinda reminded me of the scene from the Gary Busey  film “The Buddy Holly Story” when they were playing at a skating rink as well, hahaha!! But my first professional gig would have to be when my old band The F-Boyz, opened for The Dead Milkmen, many years ago.”

When did you connect horror and music?

“I would have to say it goes back to the old novelty records of the 50’s and 60’s. Growing up as a kid, I used to listen to those old recordings of Spike Jones, Bobby “Boris” Pickett, Screaming Lord Sutch, etc. Also, I used to listen to the old syndicated Dr. Demento radio show, and he would often play a lot of those old records from way back when. This was many years before the term “horrorpunk” would even come to exist, I mean I’m talking I was a little boy.”

The Misfits definitely had a great influence on your musical style, but who else would you site as your primary influences?

 “Oh, absolutely, The Misfits have always been a major influence on me without a doubt, but I have to give credit to several other bands, such as The Damned, 45 Grave, The Ramones, even bands like The Clash and Oingo Boingo who have been a huge influence on me musically.”

When did you form the Van Orsdels?

 “The Van Orsdels formed in the early part of 2003. In 2002 some friends and I got together to form a Misfits tribute band. We played 1 show, but we had so much fun doing it that we decided to continue playing together, but decided to start an altogether new and original project. We all were fans of psychobilly, so that was the direction we went in, but with many different musical styles thrown into the mix as well.”  

And how did you select the band’s name?  

“There’s been much debate about that, and the stories vary, but there’s an old story about a priest names Brother Van Orsdel, who built a church a very long time ago. The church eventually became abandoned and later was claimed to be haunted. I read that somewhere once and thought it was a cool story. I liked the name and so we all decided (the band members) to take on the stage name of Van Orsdel as our last names, much like The Ramones did with their names.”

 After a rocky but successful run with the Van Orsdels, how did you make the final decision to disband the group a few years ago?

 “Well, it was a number of reasons that lead up to the band finally calling it quits. For years the band struggled with line-up changes. It became a revolving door of musicians. It got to the point where it was becoming more and more difficult to find dedicated and talented musicians. I think it all came to a head when my son was born, I found that being a dad was much more fulfilling than playing in The Van Orsdels, especially with all the drama that was going on within the band at the time. I felt The Van Orsdels had a good run, but it was time to call it quits”

Stay tuned …… we will continue our journey with George in Countdown to May-Hem Part II …….


In the meantime, dig up your friends for the Zombie Walk on International Drive at 4:00pm, Friday, May 24th to kick off the weekend. 

And tomorrow night at The Haven:  Heroes Will Fall, Emerge, Waters Edge, An Effigy Distorted

  ‘Til Tomorrow…..

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