Volume Four Interview
Writer & Director
Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie
written by Jon Caruso
Writer & Director
Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie
written by Jon Caruso
Pictured Above: Vasudo recording “The French Tapes”
| Photo Credit - Jennifer O'Connell Reid
Goose fans, new and old, are drawn to the band’s eccentric style and electric performances, flowing from “the kind of chemistry only possible among small-town and long-time friends” – as the About section of Goose’s website explains.
In this volume of The el Goose Times, we wanted to take a deep dive into the creative genesis of Goose and speak with a long-time collaborator, tracing back to their formation in Wilton: Will Thresher. An extremely humble and talented artist, Will was a key figure in establishing Goose’s creative identity in their infancy.
In addition to being the Writer and Director of Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie (Goose’s first full-length movie), Will was the Manager of Vasudo and a huge contributor in early Goose creative such as the Moon Cabin album cover and the original G logo (with the wing). With the release of their new movie, it felt like the perfect time to reflect upon the band’s astronomical growth by speaking with their long-time friend and collaborator, which history traces all the way back to Wilton High School:
Pictured Above: Vasudo Poster; Mystery House gig | Photo Credit - Will Thresher
Let’s discuss your history with the band – how long have you known Rick and Trevor? I believe you went to Wilton High School with them, if I recall correctly. Did Vasudo follow shortly thereafter?
In high school, we knew each other but we didn’t really hang out, besides maybe some exchanges at parties - Trevor was a year ahead of me and Rick was a year behind. I knew of Trevor because he used to come into my science class for his own AP work or something, and there was a rumor he was some genius-level scientist. That may have just been in my own head, but that’s how I remember T. I met Rick through friends over games of Smash [ed. Super Smash Brothers] at Rick’s house. Rick was a Gamecube disciple, and I was an N64 purist. Needless to say, it was a rocky start that needed years of forging mutual respect in the ruins of Hyrule to build healthy roots. Vasudo came about after high school.
Rick knew I did graphic design, so he reached out to me to do some things and it grew out of that. Most of the typical managerial duties we all did together, but during that time I did the creative, lights, photo/video (Chris Quinn was a big part of that too), recorded and released the live shows/setlists, booked some of the shows and promoted. I think what helped us the most in the beginning was we just went for it. We called venues and basically talked them into letting us play. Once they got in front of people, the music did the rest. We had booked a tour from CT to Colorado without really being able to afford it, but we found a way. We lived together for a short period of time to maximize our time/money (the grocery store at the end of our street baked muffins you could smell from our house…sometimes, sweet delicious butter rum muffins). It was a never-ending good time. Being in the practice room and listening to a lot of these songs take shape that people still love today and watching them improve day after day was something that made a huge impact on me. I wanted to match that energy. Vasudo wasn’t around for that long, but we pushed it really hard and ended up playing our last official show at StageOne at Fairfield Theater Company – which, for a band that was conceived a little over a year prior, was an awesome accomplishment in my mind.
After Vasudo took a hiatus, did Rick and Trevor approach you with their ideas for Goose when they were developing their initial creative identity and style? A lot of Goose fans might not know how much of an influence you’ve had – can you breakdown what you have done throughout the band’s life so far? What are some of your favorites you’ve done for Goose?
The transition from Vasudo to Goose for me was very natural - I got the call and we were back in it. I was doing what I did for Vasudo, but now we were trying to figure out what Goose would be. It’s funny [ed. in retrospect] because we are so far past my original time at Goose that it would be a disservice to their team - who have really made Goose what they are today (to say any of my influence remains). It really doesn’t - they’ve come so far. Peter, the wizard himself, wasn't even in Goose when I left, to give you an idea of time.
However, some of my favorite things I did was the original G logo with the wing; I drew the cabin/tree/moon inside the Moon Cabin album and the title is my handwriting. I had a hand in organizing and handling decoration for Goosemas - which came from a “Very Vasudo Christmas”. I also did Quality News 3 during Bingo Tour with Chris Reid for Goose. In addition, I brought in Jonny Lovering, who does a lot of their artwork still (and has a top tier name) - I love that people get to see his work because he’s a really great and talented human being. I also wrote and produced the Goosemas Battle of the Bands video and now Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie. It's hard to top SNC [ed. Shenanigans Nite Club] as the answer, but I will say making the Battle of the Bands video was so fun and careless - zero stress or expectations.
Since you’ve been involved from the very beginning (even dating back to the Vasudo days), what has it been like seeing them grow to where they are now?
To this day, I randomly get hit with waves of happiness over it. I have an immense sense of pride. Anyone involved or supporting had no doubt in their minds. They have raw unique talent and are always pushing to improve. It was always a question of when, never if.
I bawled my eyes out at the Wall Street Theater Goosemas show – I had not been to Goosemas since Factory Underground and it was the culmination of everything these guys worked so hard for. Everything we ever dreamed about doing was finally happening and it was just the beginning of what they’re doing now. I met their crew for the first time, all these incredibly talented people, in it, making these things happen. Passionate about being there. The best way I can describe that experience is an overwhelming sigh of relief. That was always the goal - to build a crew of creative people - and that’s what they did. To see it all come to fruition and know these people I care about are in good hands was incredibly emotional and fulfilling for me. I couldn’t be happier for them. They deserve it.
Congratulations on the release of your movie with Goose, Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie – we loved it! Would you say that this movie is a culmination of your relationship with the band, thus far? Judging from the Q&A, it seemed like it was a very collaborative process.
Thank you! The Battle of the Bands video was the result of Rick challenging me to write/shoot instead of procrastinating, so I wrote something in 15 minutes and we shot it in a day or two. The trailer with Terry Alfredo, Frankie Bosco and Franz Petit Lupen was the result of Rick calling me and saying something along the lines of, “Trevor and I are getting perms and mopeds, just bring your camera and we’ll like… figure it out.” It was on that day I got a gimbal [ed. a handheld mechanical stabilizer]! If you’ve used one of those, I’m sure you can imagine my nightmare as a first-time user.
Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie was conceived out of that same spirit, but it grew larger, so I would put emphasis on “thus far”. Once we really got into this production, we loved the process of it, and were constantly discussing ways to improve in the future. We love to make things together - we had time, and there’s no better time than now - so we went for it, but this was definitely the early, scrappy beginnings of something we’d like to take to a higher level. Creative, fun, educational chaos.
Pictured Above: First script reading of Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie | Photo Credit - Bryan Murphy
In terms of the collaborative process, I'd say that’s always been our strong suit as a group and their strong suit in general. All ideas are heard and talked about. Even if they aren’t applied, the process always creates better results. There were many times on set when dialogue would be tweaked or completely re-written. Rick rewrote most of his lines, which gave way more life to the character of Mick and Chris was instrumental in creating the Australian scene. It was very collaborative in that sense.
Everyone had a lot of responsibilities and took them on without hesitation. Among the many things he did, Bryan Murphy spent days in a tiny bathroom with poor ventilation recording foley. Taken out of context, it’s some of the weirdest shit to be doing alone in a tiny bathroom. Imagine someone walking in on you standing in a pan of gravel, patting a windbreaker with a stick taped to a spoon while lightly blowing into a kazoo. He has a lot of patience and never complained. He, Rick Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach and Tre Cassetta quite literally carried this over the finish line. Without them, it wouldn’t have been completed. Trevor’s house was HQ and a lot of the sets and he never questioned anything. Chris Reid and Jeff Arevalo built a whole bar in his garage! Along with Carina Immer, who was responsible for wardrobe/makeup and a lot of random things on set, all of them helped tremendously during production.
Our actors worked long hours and for almost everyone being new to acting, they all took it on seriously. There’s nothing cooler than seeing people perform something you wrote. It tweaks a deep part of your heart and opens up your mind to how people perceive your writing. On top of that, nearly everyone took a turn running sound, or breaking down/setting up sets or helping in some way. Everyone was always looking for a way to help. It’s a great environment to work in.
Pictured (from Left to Right): Tre Cassetta, Will Thresher & Bryan Murphy discussing a scene before shooting. | Photo Credit - Peter Anspach
How much were you responsible for, outside of directing the movie? I’m under the impression you were involved in almost every aspect of production – which is seriously impressive from my perspective, as I studied film and video production in college and know how intense the process can be. Walk us through the process of the movie, from it’s initial conception to post-production.
We had a small team due to the pandemic and a tight budget, so I had to wear a bunch of hats - the whole crew did. Making something like this is a marathon of problem solving, which coincidentally is very similar to my experience being on the road. Same sort of energy and I fucking love it.
We wanted to make a movie in the same spirit as the Battle of the Bands video but I ended up writing about 75 pages. I had the album as a single track, played it on repeat for days and started writing. I love writing and storytelling and had a few ideas and even partial scripts but the idea was to start completely from scratch using the album to conjure up a story.
My original intention was you would press play on the album/movie at the same time and the album would be used as a backing track that would be brought in and out of the film, but by adding/editing scenes and wanting to use music elsewhere/add music outside of the album, that idea got lost. (It still kinda works sometimes). Outside of writing/directing, I sourced/created the props with the exception of the old device which I co-created with an LED artist and super cool dude named Jason Coon (evilgeniuslabs.org). He created the “core” and helped with the aesthetic of the old device. There are 4-5 versions of the old device depending on what we needed on camera including a foam one to hit Joe in the face with. A funny story about the devices, I had to re-create all of them for re-shoots after we misplaced them. Then had to re-create them again after a truck drove over the new ones while their paint was drying. Once the third batch was all finished and polished, looking great... we found the originals we misplaced. Each one took about 10 hours to make (5 hours of 3d printing, 5 hours of paint/details) so all you can do at that point is laugh and be happy you have extras.
On the post side, I edited with Bryan Murphy and Rick Mitarotonda, did some of the foley (that was mostly Bryan/Peter but I got my nugget crunches in there) and all of the visual effects. There are 40+ VFX shots. I’m a big nerd for special/visual effects, I’ve always watched movies from the perspective of how is this made, so I’ve always been fascinated with this side of film-making. I loved every second of it. Even if most of those seconds are waiting for things to render. I even got to create miniatures for Joe/Mitch’s final stand-off which was a lot of fun. I was very new at it, this was my first time doing it on live footage besides a few social media videos. My goal was CW’s Supergirl level of VFX, or at least 90’s B-Movie and although I have a lot to learn I think for a few of the shots I got there, so I’m a happy guy. It’s a lot of fun to do. The best part about this whole experience to me is what you learn. If you’re interested in something, go for it. You’ll learn a lot more by trying and failing.
When will we see Part Two to Shenanigans Nite Club? Will Part One be released officially at some point next year? Many, like myself, would love to revisit the movie!
Part One will be released to stream/purchase but I don’t have a date yet! Where’s the rip?? There is an outline for Part Two that was written with Part One’s script, but no shooting date planned. The unofficial plan is to do a completely new story in between Parts One and Two unrelated to Shenanigans Nite Club. Time travel is expensive and complicated.
Thank you so much for your time, Will! You’re an absolute legend and we sincerely admire how much you’ve done for the band!
Thank you for reaching out, this was really fun for me. I’m a long time EGT’er, excited to see what more awesome things you do!
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Shenanigans Nite Club: The Movie
Note: We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected to Goose. We just love the band that much.