'HAIL! HAIL! The Mighty THOR Speaks!'
Jon Mikl THOR is an enduring icon of glam rock/metal, and one of the true originators of rock theatre. THOR's enviable career got off the ground with his appearance on the Merv Griffin show in 1973 and he has maintained a steady pace ever since, selling hundreds of thousands of records. Over the last three decade's THOR has explored the tongue-in-cheek Sweet/Mott the Hoople/Bowie stylings, hard hitting metal moves of the 80's, and flirting briefly with Nu-Rock/Metal in the late 90's.
Starting out in Vancouver, THOR first made waves in the bodybuilding world, becoming Mr. Canada and Mr. USA, always using heavy music as an intensive training tool. He blended his powerful physique with powerful rock and thus began this amazing cult legend's long reign in the hazy area between superstardom and the dark underground.
Along the way he has become a movie actor and producer, turning out collectible classics like 'Rock N Roll Nightmare' and 'Zombie Nightmare' and most recently appearing in the indie-horror film, 'Graveyard'. THOR also wrote the title track for the film, featured on the Triumphant CD and "FUBAR is a Super Rocker", from the hit independent white trash mockumentary movie 'Fubar'.
For his latest CD release Beastwoman, Thor has hooked up with American fantasy artist extraordinaire Mike "Mick" Hoffman, one of the best fantasy artists currently working in comics today. Hoffman's work summons up the spirit of adventure in Classical Art for a modern audience. The 12 songs are a melding of Thor's stage presence, their shared songwriting, and the comic's original story concepts. Songs like "Sleeping Giant", "Break the Ice", and "The Sky Land" conjure up places and things from another world of fantastic romance and impossible antiquity. Not your typical Rock album. It's a total-experience multimedia product as a concept album, an illustrated epic book, and with a movie and video in the works.
So, what inspired you to create your latest rock opera, 'Beastwoman' ... and it is dedicated to any particular female(s) in your life?! "It was a concept developed by Mick Hoffman and myself and was the 2nd part to "THOR Rock Warrior" the first of a comic book Trilogy. I've been on stage with many a female warrior such as Cherry Bomb aka Pantera, Electra, She-Ra, Ani Kyd and Katara the Beastwoman from the recent live concerts. Yes these are dedicated to them and to others."
How easy was it to create a concept album based on a comic for this new release? "Mick Hoffman and I are both heavily into Science Fiction and Rock. We both like movies such as 'Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman', 'Invaders From Mars' and performers like The Doors, Bowie, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. Besides being a great artist, Mick is a stellar vocalist, guitar player and writer. So the project was something that was fun to do."
Where do the conceptual ideas come from for your album covers and such? "Mick and I go over the ideas but when it is put on canvas it is all Hoffman. Tremendous talent. He has that incredible artistic ability to go over an idea on the phone and send back a sketch that will blow you away. The man is a master."
When was the decision made to finally cut your hair ..... and after all that time long, what were your thoughts as it hit the ground? "At one time in the 70's and 80's it was almost compulsory to have long locks to be a Rock Star. Today anything goes. Shaved head, green hair, blue hair. At this point of my career I am experimenting with different musical sounds and different looks. I am constantly reinventing myself. When the hair hit the ground it almost felt like a great weight was lifted from my head. It certainly is easier to look after. When I had all that hair down to my ass it constantly got tangled. But I did love the headbanging on stage."
In a recent edition of the UKs 'Classic Rock' magazine you placed 75th as one of the top 100 greatest frontmen of all time! How did THAT make you feel?! "It was an honor. It's always something special when you are recognized. As a frontman I felt I have given my all to the audience when I perform. Unlike other artists who use props, I have done REAL feats of strength to go along with the pounding metal music and I have broken ribs, torn neck tendons, chipped teeth and multiple injuries to prove it. I am like the Evel Kneivel of Rock."
If I had a pristine copy of the film 'Zombie Nightmare' on VHS that was signed by you, Adam West and Tia Carrerre, what do you think it would fetch on Ebay?!?!? "I've seen all kinds of products on ebay go for various amounts as well as other venues. I do know that a signed copy like you mentioned from all three of us had been sold for over $1000 at a science fiction function."
Do you still get recognized for being the former Mr. Canada and Mr. America of the bodybuilding era? "Yes I do. Through my career the persona of Thor with music and movies have been at the forefront. But I did have an exciting body building career at a very young age. Winning Mr. Canada, Mr. North America, Mr. Universe and Mr. USA in my teens, I've gone against Louie Ferrigno in Teenage Mr. America in New York and Mr. Universe in Geneva Switzerland. Louie later went on to become the Hulk on TV.
I won over 40 awards in bodybuilding."
Back in the late '90s you 'flirted' with Nu-Rock/Metal, but why is it that you weren't as successful as usual in that venture/genre? "I actually did very well with DogZ II. It sold well and various songs from the album were put in movies such as the award winning "FUBAR". I have just signed a contract to re-release the album with an upcoming movie.
As successful as I was with DogZ II, there were some fans who felt that I should stick with same style as Only The Strong. But as a musician and songwriter I need to develop, to expand my horizons and try new things."
If we stripped away all the stage make-up and your rock stage persona, what would we be left with? "You would still get a great performance. Even in torn t-shirt and jeans I would put my all into the show. I was a musician playing bass in bands before I became a competitive body builder or came up with theatrical concepts."
Come on, be honest ... is THOR really your last name?! "Thor is my legal name."
Finally, describe yourself in just three words! "Creative, Confident, Inspirational"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win some AUTOGRAPHED THOR goodies, just answer this easy question: Which LA three-piece has backed Thor up on his soon-to-be-unveiled new album, entitled Thor Against The World?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win some AUTOGRAPHED THOR goodies! Just send us an e:mail here with your answer and the subject title 'THOR' to:
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