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Joshua Maloni's top 10 celebrity interviews of 2015

by jmaloni
Mon, Dec 28th 2015 03:35 pm
Hollywood sign by Mark Fugarino.
Hollywood sign by Mark Fugarino.

By Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

Sure, you'd like to get up and play with your new Christmas toys, but you've eaten so much over the past week that moving from the couch seems like a bad idea.

Instead, I've prepared this belly-soothing, brain-enticing list that can be easily read on your mobile device. ... Which you may be sitting on. ... There it is.

Enjoy - and click the name or photo for the full article. 

10. Alan Ruck

Playing Cameron Fry in the iconic 1986 film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was both a blessing and a curse for Alan Ruck, who went on to star in "Spin City" and "Twister."

From the article:

"You know that guy - the smarmy one who gets in the way of the lead character's progress? The bureaucrat who thwarts the heroes? The character who, at the last minute, delays the storyline payoff?

"You hate that guy!

"But Alan Ruck, well, he wants to be that guy."

" 'It's the best,' the actor said."

Alan Ruck recently guest-starred on TNT's "Major Crimes." (Submitted TNT photos) 

Alan Ruck recently made a guest appearance on TNT's "Major Crimes." (TNT photo) 

9. Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Do I need a better reason than "frontman from my favorite band?" If so, how about this:

From the article:

"The first 20-something years of Collective Soul produced more than a dozen top 10 songs, nearly two-dozen videos, regular national television appearances, millions of records sold, and songs that hold a firm place in the hearts of all who attended high school in the '90s (not to mention multiple spots on their portable playlists).

"And yet, frontman Ed Roland said the 2015 incarnation is the best version of Collective Soul.


Collective Soul 

Collective Soul

8. Jeff Martin of The Tea Party

One of Western New York's favorite bands re-formed, recorded a solid new album, and booked a date at Artpark. Jeff Martin, with his distinctive voice and far-above-average guitar playing, is a capable rock star with an ethereal take on life.

From the article:

" 'Because we've known each other for such a long time. ... For us to get that incredible ... beautiful friendship back, and that mutual respect, that was probably more important even than the music itself. Because without that, the magic that is The Tea Party could not be created again,' Martin said."

The Tea Party 

The Tea Party

7. Amanda Schull ("12 Monkeys")

Amanda Schull, who stole hearts as Jody Sawyer in "Center Stage," had been steadily working as a key contributor on series including "One Tree Hill," "Pretty Little Liars" and "Suits." But the talented actress was worthy of more. Here, she spoke about her first lead TV role, Dr. Cassandra Railly on the critically acclaimed Syfy hit "12 Monkeys."

From the article:

"The original series bounces back and forth between decades with reckless abandonment - rewriting the storyline over and over again in the process. Such plot twists make it impossible to predict what will happen next, thereby making the show hard to miss.

" 'I feel like every episode is different,' Schull said in a phone interview. 'Every episode - while there's the underlying story - every single episode has a different tone, a different take on the situation, and a different focus.' "

Amanda Schull stars as Cassie on the Syfy series "12 Monkeys." (Syfy photo by Alicia Gbur) 

Amanda Schull stars as Cassie on the Syfy series "12 Monkeys." (Syfy photo by Alicia Gbur)

6. Peter Cetera

Four words: "Karate Kid, Part II."

Of course, Peter Cetera is more than "The Glory of Love" and notions like, "I am a man who will fight for your honor." In fact, his Fallsview concert was quite good and proved how well his voice has weathered the decades since he left Chicago. But, I was 7 when the second "Karate Kid" was released, and the movie - with Cetera's song center - has special meaning to me for that reason.

From the article:

" 'People, they want to hear more of the music, and they want to see - they don't necessarily give a crap about explosions and dancers,' Cetera explained. 'What I do is I actually talk about the songs, about experiences, about what went on for that song. And I think people really get a big kick out of that. They really like to hear the who's, the what's, the why's and the where's of songs. So, it makes for a unique, classy experience.' "

Peter Cetera (Contributed photo) 

Peter Cetera (Contributed photo)

5. Lindsey Stirling

For my money, there is no more creative force in music and video right now than Lindsey Stirling (who, incidentally, is about to add "author" to her resume). Her performance at Artpark was a not just a highlight of the season, but a full-fledged masterpiece. And, what's great is that, amidst the colorful and creative stagecraft, Stirling's musicality remains front and center. She's not replacing talent with theatrics, but rather blending both beautifully.

From the article:

" 'Lindsey Stirling is one of the most exciting and unique performers to grace the Artpark stage in the past several years,' Artpark & Company President George Osborne said. 'Her performance last year was truly electrifying and seemingly almost impossible to achieve.' "

Lindsey Stirling on stage at Artpark. 

Lindsey Stirling on stage at Artpark.

4. The cast of "Morning Sun" (Neal Bledsoe, Danny Pudi, Diana DeGarmo, Joanna Bayless, Chasty Ballesteros and Lance Henriksen)

Major motion picture. Lewiston.



The village felt like Tinseltown in October as Choice Films brought the "Morning Sun" to Lewiston. The cast of six intimately explored Center Street's restaurant row and made friends with locals at Orange Cat, Apple Granny and along the waterfront.

From the article:

" 'This place is perfect,' Lance Henriksen explained. 'The house that we're working in (the Barton Hill mansion), and all the locations are just right on. That's easy to say after the fact, but it's hard to do.'

" 'I know that they're going to be coming back to Lewiston to make more movies. There's no doubt in my mind,' he said."

Lance Henriksen 

Lance Henriksen

Chasty Ballesteros 

Chasty Ballesteros

3. Garth Brooks

It's not often one of the world's most famous entertainers comes to Buffalo and invites the media to a press conference just to say "hey." But that's exactly what Garth Brooks did in March, meeting and greeting print and broadcast journalists, taking photos, posing for promotional spots and explaining why he chose to return to Buffalo after a 17-year break.

From the article:

" 'Try and remember this: Our tour, this tour, will see about 55 to 60 percent of the cities we saw the last tour, because one show is turning into six or (the schedule won't allow more stops),' Brooks said. 'So, who picks where we go? I do. I pick. So how do you pick? For me, I don't care about the dollar bill bottom line. I care about memories of, 'Did I have fun there? Did we get to do stuff as a crew there, and a band there? You betcha.' We're going back to all the fun places.' "


Garth Brooks in Buffalo.

2. TobyMac

My top two subjects are musicians I've long admired and sought to interview. TobyMac was a chart-topper as a member of dc Talk before branching out on his own and becoming one of the top-selling Christian solo artists of all time. The Grammy-winning musician was remarkably candid, completely modest and a genuinely great conversationalist.

My only regret was a prior commitment preventing me from watching Toby perform live. I hope to rectify that soon.

From the article:

" 'I think people want to hear songs that are saying, "I can do it." "You can overcome." "You got the goods to do this." And I'm sitting here going, "I know I don't. But I know if I lean into God, he's the almighty," ' TobyMac said."



1. Chris Cornell

One of the most important musicians of the past three decades, a founder of the grunge movement, the unmistakable voice of two rock supergroups and the man behind some of the best movie songs of the past decade, Chris Cornell tops my list for 2015. The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman was headed to perform an acoustic set at UB when we chatted.

Though our phone call was dropped twice, he was patient, insightful and, like TobyMac, extraordinarily humble for his level of success and number of fans worldwide.

From the article:

" 'At this time in my life, I probably spend more as a solo artist - or maybe equal time - and it's probably, creatively, the most satisfying point of my life, because it's so unconfused,' Cornell said. 'One thing is very much kind of this acoustic one-man show, singer/songwriter-oriented-thing that can easily access any part of a 30-year history. The other thing is almost the opposite, which is a band with a rich history, but extremely loud, aggressive, experimental hard rock. And when I'm not doing one, I'm doing the other.

" 'And as soon as one kind of wraps up and I'm switching over to concentrate on the other thing, it always feels refreshing, and I'm always happy to pick up an electric guitar again after I've been on the road for three months doing nothing but playing acoustic songs. And then, of course, the reverse is true. But I haven't done that in a long time, and I've been concentrating on Soundgarden.

" 'It feels great to just go into a bathroom with an acoustic guitar and play a bunch of songs.' "

Chris Cornell (Submitted photo) 

Chris Cornell

Honorable mention:

  • Colton Dixon
  • Hayley Podschun and John Bolton (Artpark's "Peter Pan")
  • Tom Selleck ("Blue Bloods")
  • Derek Trucks
  • Gareth Gilkeson of Rend Collective
  • Emily Ann Roberts
  • Keith Jeffery of Atlas Genius
  • Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down
  • Sharna Burgess ("Dancing with the Stars")
  • Judi Shekoni ("Heroes Reborn")
  • Maya Stojan ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Castle")
  • Reggie Lee and Jacqueline Toboni ("Grimm)
  • Bret Green ("The Inspectors")
  • Paul Nelson
  • Tom Gimbel of Foreigner
  • Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Lisa Dawn Miller
  • Walter Trout


Hollywood sign by Mark Fugarino. Used under Creative Commons terms.

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