Interview with Ari Lehman

Ari Lehman is known best in the horror genre as playing the first Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th”.  Though Ari real passion has been his music and his band, FIRSTJASON.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Ari about his film and music career.

Click here to purchase the films in the “Friday the 13th” series

MG: What does it feel like to have played the first ever Jason Voorhees…in one word?
AL: Empowering.

MG: How long did it take to apply your makeup?
AL: I worked with the SFX Wizard Tom Savini and his assistant Taso Stavrakos on and off for four weeks to create the original mold for the face. After that, script additions called for the character to appear water damaged. I went back to the studio for a few days before we tried it out on the set.
Each time it took around 4 hours to apply the makeup, so if there was a 7:30 AM call for cast and crew, we would start applying the mask at 3:30.

MG: What why did you leave acting only after “Friday the 13th”?
AL: Rock and Roll is the reason, really. As a young man, I was very intrigued by the entire filmmaking process. Yet, my first love was Music, and my experiences as a performer, even then, were very immediate and gratifying. Being on a film set, and doing SFX skin work, involves A LOT of waiting and down time. I was drawn to the visceral atmosphere of live performance.

MG: Tell us about your music career and your band FIRSTJASON?
AL: FIRSTJASON is a Horror Rock Power Duo, and our recent CD “Jason is Watching!” has received rave reviews and 4.5 out of 5 stars from Dread Central, a major Horror website. We have toured throughout the US, as well as performing at Horror Film Festivals in Spain and Italy. I perform on a Machete-shaped Keytar called the Keychete, created by Brothers Rich FX. FIRSTJASON performs songs about the inner working of the mind of a monster. FIRSTJASON is the voice of the usually silent Jason Voorhees, with titles like “Jason Never Dies”, “You Better Run”, “Sink or Swim”, and “Red Red Red”, FIRSTJASON has captured the imagination of Horror and Metal fans alike, and run with it through the woods to Camp Crystal Lake.

Here is a recent review from College News: “First Jason is amazing. Self produced, and self released, this album hits you over the head with an anvil being swung at 1000 miles an hour by the metal gods. Once hitting play on your CD player, Lehman and crew break out of your speakers in surround-sound, get in your face, flash you the devil horns, and smoke through a 30 minute set that will leave your jaw dragging across the floor.” – (Justin Bozung, College News – October 25 2010)

MG: How did you get involved with composing soundtracks for indie films?
AL: I was asked by Kevin Sean Michaels to compose the Soundtrack for “Vampira: The Movie”, which received The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best Independent Film of 2009. I went on to work with Kevin on other film projects, several of which are still in the works, as well as Alex Anastasio’s brilliant “Salome”, an all-female dance version of the tale. Here is the link to the video of the some music I created with Kevin and Bill Moseley for a Vampira: the Movie music video recently made to honor Vampira’s Birthday.

MG: How do you compare working on your music to composing a film?
AL: Admittedly, my forte is performing songs, singing while playing a Machete-shaped Keytar that sounds like lightning and thunder. Composing soundtracks is now becoming more interesting to me though, especially since I have been watching great films as much as possible for inspiration. The difference between writing songs and soundtracks is truly one of texture and time. A song works in one way, and a soundtrack in another. The great Maestro Harry Manfredini, who wrote the soundtrack for “Friday the 13th”, “Wishmaster” and many more films, gave me some insight to the more spacious, linear, and temporal world of soundtrack composition. Abstraction is crucial there. I am hoping to learn more!

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming? .
AL: FIRSTJASON goes back on tour in the US in March, from the Midwest to the East Coast this time, and then it’s off to Germany and Italy in May. There are two Graphic Novels based on FIRSTJASON and myself coming from the EU, one is called “FIRSTJASON Rising” from Germany and the other, “Jason Must Rule”, from Italy. I will be appearing in several Indie Horror films that will be shot in 2011 too, and introducing a the Camp Crystal Lake Machetes. FIRSTJASON was just signed to Dark Star Records in Chicago, and we plan to record and release a new CD this year called A World of Pain”. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your readers, and to remind you all:

JASON NEVER DIES!!!
MANY THANKS FROM CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE!!! – ARI LEHMAN/JASON#1
http://www.firstjason.com/

Click here to purchase the films in the “Friday the 13th” series



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