Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sunday, March 11, 2018

TV Free Baltimore: 21 Eyes Interview

The folks at TV Free Baltimore recently interviewed me about the making of my first film 21 Eyes.  The film was about two detectives, played by Academy-Award winner Fisher Stevens and Michael Buscemi, logging the twenty-one security camera tapes concerning the seemingly-botched robbery of a jewelry dealer. The two detectives, who are never seen on camera, soon begin to suspect that the robbery wasn't as open-and-shut as it appeared.

Here's the trailer of the film:

Here is the interview:

If you want to read my account of the making of the film, co-written and directed by Lee Bonner and produced by David Butler, click on the links below:

21 Eyes, A History, Part 1
21 Eyes, A History, Part 2
21 Eyes, A History, Part 3
21 Eyes, A History, Part 4
21 Eyes, About That Nude Scene....

By the way, have you read my memoir yet? It was published by Touchpoint Press and is readily available by all good book vendors.

Monday, March 5, 2018

CHAPEL STREET is coming....

Chapel Street follows Rick Bakos, a thirty-something loner emotionally scarred by a series of suicides in his family, into a maelstrom of horror. After taking a picture of the wrong grave as a volunteer for a genealogical website, Rick slowly discovers his family wasn’t plagued by mental illness but rather a multi-generational demonic curse. Will he survive the psychological and spiritual onslaught, or follow his mother and older brother into an early grave by his own hand?

The novel is loosely inspired by real events. I lived with my family for a number of years in a very haunted house and experienced the suicides of two siblings. Years later, my mother asked me if I thought the demonic entity in the house might have responsible for their deaths. My answer was yes. I explored that possibility in this book, which draw very loosely upon real people and places and events and even the suicide note of my brother.

Here's what some folks are saying about the book:

“Horror story, metaphysical mystery, romance – Chapel Street is a spine-tingling supernatural thriller mixing family history, religion, dark secrets and a demonic presence into a fantastical yarn. Sean Paul Murphy is a powerful storyteller with a compelling imagination. Warning! Don’t read this battle between good and evil late at night. It’s unputdownable.”

“Evil has many faces in this shocking psychological suspense thriller. With the members of his family stalking him, Rick faces a dark spiritual battle that forces him out of his comfort zone and into a world where only the weapon of faith can give him a chance of survival. With a serving of dry humor, a cast of strong characters, and a sequence of uncanny moments, Chapel Street will draw you into an eerie and soul-awakening journey.”
Krista Wagner

“Fun and frightening. Balancing on a wire's edge between sane and insane, dead and undead, Chapel Street draws you into a world where demonic doings are passed down from generation to generation. Invested in the struggle, I desperately wanted the main characters to prevail. My only course of action was to continue reading until the last word.”
Executive Producer, Discovery Communications

Chapel Street is a wonderfully written and frightening book. I see this easily transformed into a haunting movie or streaming series.”
John Molli

“I finished Chapel Street in three sittings. I looked forward to picking it up every time because there was constant suspense and movement. The great thing about this horror story is that it perfectly melds creepy with a nod to faith. That’s often difficult to implement – creating a horror novel with elements of faith without it being cheesy or too over the top.”
Jamie Hope
Author/Contributor,  American Thinker

My in-house editorial process is nearly completed. I want to thank everyone who helped me bring the book this far. I especially want to thank my beta readers Patty Gehret, Beth White Werrell and, of course, my lovely wife Deborah, who saw the book at its rawest. I also want to thank my trusty editor Trish Schweers, who always manages to hammer my work into shape. I would also like to thank my fellow authors and media professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to read the book and offer their advice and kind words.

After much debate and consultation with other writers, I have decided to try to find a traditional publisher for the book rather than self-publish. I am looking forward to that journey, and I hope the book will be available for all soon. But, until then, I expect to post some sample chapters soon.

Of course, while you're waiting for Chapel Street, feel free to read my memoir:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast #10: Natural Born Killers

In this episode of the Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast, an inter-generational look at the movies, Al brings in Oliver Stone's 1994 film Natural Born Killers, featuring a script by pre-glory Quentin Tarantino. I remember ranking this film as the third worst one of 1994, after the deathly unfunny Cops and Robbersons and anti-erotic Exit To Eden. Needless to say, we have a heated and entertaining discussion. Check it out.

Here's the trailer of the film:

And here is our Podcast on Youtube:

Or you can listen to it on our webpage:  Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast

Our Podcast is now available for download on iTunes: Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast
Like us on Facebook:  Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast.
Follow us on Twitter: YKYPodcast

By the way, be sure to check out this bonus episode with Ralph, Hassan and Al taking a trip to buy some LaserDiscs on President's Day.  Revelations are made!

Other Episodes:

Friday, February 23, 2018

My 5 Least Favorite Beatles Songs

In my last blog, I listed my 20 favorite Beatles songs.  Obviously, not all of their songs reached that same high level. Where there are mountains, there are also valleys. While I enjoy almost their entire catalog, there are a few songs I can live without.

I have only considered songs in the official Beatles canon for this list. I did not consider anything from the Star Club, or the Decca Auditions, or the BBC or the Anthology series. I only chose from the songs they themselves deemed worthy of official release when they were still an operational band.

Here they are (in no particular order):

A TASTE OF HONEY, 1963, Please Please Me.  The Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney, certainly had a taste for pre-rock pop, music hall and Broadway show tunes. This song, written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow, originally served as the instrumental theme of a Broadway play of the same name. Billy Dee Williams recorded the first vocal version (works every time). Don't get me wrong, the Beatles can certainly make numbers like this one work. I really enjoy their version of Till There Was You, from the show The Music Man on their second album. They made that song their own, mainly because George Harrison supplied a nifty guitar solo. This song, however, doesn't float my boat. It sounds old and out-of-date to me. Always did.

MR. MOONLIGHT, 1964,  Beatles For Sale.  This obscure R&B song, written by Roy Lee Johnson and originally performed by Dr. Feelgood and the Interns, is often cited as a least favorite Beatles track on many such lists. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, the song was a quite a show stopper during their clubs days. The place would grow quiet as John Lennon belted out the acappela opening, and there was considerable tension as to whether he would be in the right key when the band starting playing. Oh well. Whatever drama their live performances of this song generated did not translate to the recording. The backing vocals sound flat and bored and the cheesy organ ruins the instrumentation.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, 1965, Rubber Soul.  Don't get me wrong. This isn't a terrible song. I've been known to play it myself. (The attitude of this song certainly fit my band The Atomic Enema, which was formed by three out of four guys who had just left significant relationships. Here's what kind of songs we played: When You're Dead.) That said, the misogynistic lyrics of this song seem totally out of place on the album Rubber Soul. It would have felt more at home on earlier Please Please Me or With The Beatles albums. The song also gets an additional demerit for cribbing a line from the Elvis Presley song Baby, Let's Play House.

GOOD NIGHT, 1968, The Beatles.  I know what you're thinking: The obvious choice from The White Album would be Revolution 9. However, the older I get the more I appreciate that experimental sound collage. Additionally, this song, written by John Lennon but sung by Ringo Starr, does indeed work in the context of a closer to the sprawling, somewhat chaotic, double album. That said, I have little patience for the song outside of the album. It is too maudlin for my taste. Lennon apparently requested a "cheesy" orchestration from producer George Martin, who faithfully followed his instructions.  I do not necessarily skip this track when I listen to The White Album, but I have never hit that little button on my phone and said, "Siri, play Good Night by The Beatles."

WHEN I GET HOME, 1964, A Hard Day's Night.  I once made a set of CDs that played through the Beatles' catalog with all of the singles in proper context. I used to love playing them on long road trips.  But I noticed something over time. I always hit skip after this song started and that is a rarity for me and The Beatles.  In his last major interview, John Lennon was dismissive of many of his songs as either filler or work songs. That's the category where this one belongs. Aside from the drumming, the overall performance is lackluster. Lennon tries to inject some excitement into the vocals, but the song merely plays on some of their familiar musical tropes. There is a certain been there done that feeling. If you really want to hear a real song about a guy who is anxious to get to his girl, check out the title song of the album.

Read about my favorite Beatles songs here:  My 20 Favorite Beatles Songs.

Check out some videos I edited here:
FD Automatic: Red Shoes
Crack The Sky: Mr. President
Greg Kihn: Horror Show
Nils Lofgren: Alone

Be sure to check out my memoir:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My 20 Favorite Beatles Songs

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Beatles fan. I believe John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr recreated popular music in their own image and pushed the self-contained rock and roll instrumental line-up of drums, bass and guitars to its limit. In addition to their innovative music, they also changed the music business itself, and how rock and roll was perceived by the culture at large. The band's greatest strength was the songwriting. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were among the best composers of the 20th century, and their junior partner, George Harrison, also managed to come up with some classics on his own. The Beatles as songwriters were also well served by the Beatles as singers.

I suppose I never grow tired of the band because of their profoundly different "periods." Sometimes I focus predominately on their psychedelic period, only to surrender to more raucous rock and roll on The White Album. Then I return to the harmony singing of their earliest days, only to yield to the studio perfection of Abbey Road. I can always find a perfect place to match my mood in their recordings. Additionally, with each musical instrument I have learned to play, I have gained a new level of appreciation for their work.

If my list is a little heavy, proportionally, on George Harrison numbers, it might be because those songs remain fresher to me today. In my foolish youth, I gave them little regard. Now I appreciate them.

Here's the list (which, on another day, could be entirely different!):

(20). FREE AS A BIRD - 1995
A sentimental favorite that edged out a number of more worthy songs. However, I will never forget the excitement surrounding the release of this song along with Anthology television series and albums. I waited in line at a record store in Towson at 12:01am to buy the album. I do like the song, too. Ringo is a bit restrained because of the nature of the recording, but, overall, it succeeds better than it should. Still waiting for Paul to release the third song....

(19). OLD BROWN SHOE - 1968
I first remember really hearing this song, originally the flip side to The Ballad of John and Yoko single, on The Beatles 1967-1970 compilation (aka The Blue Album.) My first thoughts were: Why is this song on the album? If it were on a CD instead an album, I probably would have hit skip every time it started. It wasn't until I started playing the bass that I really started appreciating this nifty number. The vocals might be mixed back a little too far for my taste, but, instrumentally, the song is a little wonder.

(18). I'VE GOT A FEELING - 1970
I bet you this is the only Top 20 Beatles song list featuring this song. Most people would place this track in the throwaway category. Lyrically, it isn't much, but the song has tremendous energy. The band really seems to enjoy playing it on the roof top concert. More than any track, this song captures the spirit of their original concept for their Let It Be album and film. (Too bad that version isn't available on YouTube.)

(17). I WANT TO TELL YOU - 1966
The lyrics express George Harrison's frustrating inability to describe the insights he received while taking acid. But you don't need to be on drugs to enjoy with complex, dissonant composition that opens with a pretty cool, descending guitar riff.  George apparently even invited the E7b9 chord while writing the song.  This was his best song to date, and one of my favorites on the album Revolver.

(16). REVOLUTION - 1968
When he recorded the original slower version for The Beatles (aka The White Album,) John hadn't decided whether people could count him in or out when it came to destruction. When they recorded the faster version, which was the flip side to Hey Jude, he decided that you could count him out, an attitude that angered the radicals of the time. Politics aside, this is one of the Beatles' best rockers and they are ably aided by the fabulous Nicky Hopkins on the piano.

(15). DEAR PRUDENCE  - 1968
This gentle ballad was written by John while the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, as a plea to Mia Farrow's sister Prudence to join them rather than spend all day in her cottage meditating. I love the intricate layered guitars and bass. Paul played the drums because the song was recorded after Ringo had quit the band. Fortunately, he soon returned (and fans have long debated whether he overdubbed the drums on the coda.)

This energetic Chuck Berry pastiche would prove to be one of Paul's best rockers ever. I'm surprised they dropped it from their live set list as early as they did. Tellingly, it was the song John chose to play live with Elton John at Madison Square Garden.

(13). I AM THE WALRUS - 1967
The nonsense wordplay was reportedly written by John to befuddle English professors who were treating Beatles lyrics as literature. But was it nonsense? Or a piercing but oblique protest song? I'll let you decide. Musically, it is a masterpiece. One of their best productions.

(12). HERE COMES THE SUN - 1969
George Harrison wrote this classic track in Eric Clapton's backyard on a respite from the chaos of the late-period Beatles. A truly lovely and uplifting song, even if I have a hard time clapping along with it.

(11). TICKET TO RIDE - 1965
This is a really tasty mid-period Beatles single. Great instrumentation, particularly Ringo on the drums, and singing. Tried playing this one with my band The Atomic Enema. We sucked, but I always liked singing the middle eight.

Paul was the Beatle ballad king and I believe this song was his best ballad recorded with the band. His partner John, who was notoriously stingy with his praise, called it one of Paul's best compositions. Thoughtful lyrics, perfect instrumentation and wonderful harmonies lift this song to the top tier of Beatle compositions.

(9). NOWHERE MAN - 1966
The lyrics of this song really resonated with me upon my first hearing of the song. I also liked that John introspectively pointed the finger at himself and not society in general, as he was wont to do later. The song features fantastic three part harmony and a great, trebly guitar sound. Really loved the simple but effective guitar solo played in unison by George and John on their dual Fender Stratocasters.

(8). ELEANOR RIGBY - 1966
Yesterday didn't make this list because, although it is a great song, it just never felt like a Beatles song to me.  The track always felt out of place regardless of what album it was placed on. I do not feel the same way about Eleanor Rigby. Although none of the Beatles plays on the track, it has the right attitude. A great lyric with a sad but satisfying conclusion and scored to perfection by producer George Martin.

(7). SOMETHING - 1969
George lifted the title of a James Taylor song for the first line of this song.  James didn't seem to mind. Neither did the world. John said it was the best song on the album Abbey Road, and Paul said it was the best song George ever wrote.  After Yesterday, it is the second most covered Beatles. A beautiful song and performance.

(6). IN MY LIFE - 1965
This is one of the rare songs that John and Paul disagree about. John says he wrote it entirely. Paul says he wrote the melody. It's easy to see why they both want to claim it. It is a fully-realized, thoughtful song. It was one of John Lennon's first true forays into personal songwriting. What surprises me is the depth of nostalgia he felt at the tender age of twenty-six.

(5). HELP! - 1965
John described this song as a genuine cry for help. Quick and to the point, this song features no middle eight and no guitar solo. Instead, George provides a number tasty little hooks. Also, rather than employing their normal stacked vocals, Paul and George provide an amazing counterpoint backing track. It is one of my favorites.

(4). SHE LOVES YOU - 1963
Although I Want To Hold Your Hand was the song that finally broke the Beatles in America, this song always epitomized the Beatlemania period to me. Starting on Ringo's toms, the song is manic energy from start to finish with their trademarked the stacked vocals piled on top. There was nothing like this song on the Top 40 charts in the United States when this single was released. No wonder they took the country by storm.

(3). HEY JUDE - 1968
I am old enough to remember when the Beatles released this single. It was all over the radio and I didn't like it. Not at all. Although the song expresses a hopeful message, I always gloomed on the "sad song" aspect of the opening. (I seemed unusually susceptible to melancholy songs in my youth.) It wasn't until I was much older and had experienced some serous loss that I came to appreciate the therapeutic nature of the song.  This is Paul's masterpiece, but, unlike some later singles such as Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road, it feels like a true band song.

This dreamy ode to childhood is one of John's most personal songs, but expressed in a universal enough manner to speak to a kid in Baltimore. This is a great composition and vocal married to great production and imaginative instrumentation. Plus, it was scary as hell, too. I remember listening to this song late at night with my head between the speakers listening for the "I buried Paul." It was quite an experience. And the flip side was Penny Lane.... What an amazing single that showed the abundance of riches within the band.

(1). A DAY IN THE LIFE - 1967
The song, part matter-of-fact recounting of the news/part rock and roll apocalypse, is perhaps the high water mark of rock and roll music in general. From the gentle acoustic guitar open to the chaotic orchestral swirl and the final, resounding piano chord, this track presents the band and producer George Martin at their best. Great teamwork with John and Paul as songwriters, with Paul's woke up bridge melding perfectly with John's song. Anyone dismissive of Ringo as a drummer should pay attention to his playing here.  A masterpiece.

Read my list of least favorite Beatles songs here:  My 5 Least Favorite Beatles songs.

Check out some videos I edited here:
FD Automatic: Red Shoes
Crack The Sky: Mr. President
Greg Kihn: Horror Show
Nils Lofgren: Alone

Speaking of masterpieces, be sure to check out my memoir:

Friday, February 9, 2018

LIFE LIKE is coming.....

Progress continues on Life Like, a graphic novel I am working on with Jim Proimos, based on my screenplay Life-Like. Jim is a very well-known illustrator and the author of children and young adult books.  He even did a book, Year of the Jungle, with best-selling Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins. He is very optimistic we will be able to develop the book into a movie or television series.
I am equally optimistic.

 Here is a taste of the responses I got when I first sent the script around Hollywood: "What the script has going for it most is its genuinely unique, high-concept premise -- as opposed to most other comedies, the material does not seem the least bit derivative." "A wonderful premise and unique to boot." "The material should be applauded for its quality characterizations." "Realistic and sharp dialogue." "The dialogue is endearing." "Strong character development." "It's entire third act stands out as the most invigorating part of the script." "A pretty funny and surprisingly emotional story about closure." "It's a fun and exciting read with a captivating plot and a happy ending!" "This project's prospects are rather bright." "Sure to get industry attention."

While you are waiting for Life Like (and Chapel Street), feel free to check out my memoir,  The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God, published by Touchpoint Press.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Yippee Ki Yay Mother Podcast #8: The Spanish Prisoner

In this episode of the Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Podcast, an inter-generational look at the movies, our special guest writer/comedienne Michele Wojceichowski brings us David Mamet's 1997 classic film The Spanish Prisoner. The crew loved the film and enjoyed exploring the intricacies of this cinematic con game, which features a surprising dramatic turn from Steve Martin.

Here's the trailer of the film:

And here is our Podcast on Youtube: