By Nikki Hedrick
At 45, Corey Feldman is out to reinvent himself as a touring musician, and he has the guts to seemingly take on the world to do so. Acting since he was three, becoming an iconic household name by 14, and then having his personal life and struggles aired in various tabloids and reality TV shows…quite frankly, he’s lived several lifetimes of achievements and setbacks in his four and a half decades.
Usually, when I write an interview, I try to erase my voice so whomever I’m talking to has the spotlight. Whether it is a household name or local hero, I want readers to feel like it isn’t about me on the other side of the phone, but the artist that has generously shared his or her time with Beachcomber.
With Feldman, due in part to the ridicule aimed at his character, it feels necessary to share the series of events that led up the interview.
First—I’ll be blunt—I was a bit shocked that the interview was granted. A date and time were slated, and I would be interviewing Corey Feldman.
Interview day comes around, and my nerves hit pretty hard. Ten minutes until the scheduled time and I’m prepared but stressed, phone in one hand and digital recorder in the other. I’m pacing and running talking points through my head, trying to keep calm as possible.
It’s now 4 p.m.—interview time. I keep staring at my phone waiting for it to ring. A couple minutes pass, and I begin internally debating the magic number of minutes to let Feldman’s PR contact know that I haven’t heard from him. Between him being on the road and our time zone differences, a couple minutes off schedule happens fairly often with any interview. But due to Feldman’s status, I don’t have a number to call or text him on, so I wait and pace.
My phone lights up with Restricted Number. I let it ring once and try to shake the nerves out of my voice.
Feldman warmly greets me and is apologetic for being a few minutes behind our scheduled time. I wave it off, but he sounds stressed and I can hear shuffling in the background. He admits that they are in the middle of checking out of a hotel, and it’s a little hectic.
This is never what an interviewer wants to hear, so I offer to postpone. A bit of relief sinks into his voice, and he starts to worry about our time difference and if calling late will be an imposition for me. I’m on the phone with Corey Feldman, and he’s concerned about my schedule. After convincing him that later is terrific in my book, we exchange polite goodbyes and I go about my evening with my phone even closer to arm’s reach than normal.
Sometime later, I get the call.
I try to chit chat as I scramble to head outside for better phone service and turn my digital recorder on. Again, Feldman is both extremely apologetic, as he feels he is calling too late, and patient, as I attempt to grab everything I need. We talk about his day off, him getting lost in enjoying the sunset, and a person playing the bagpipes in a park.
At this moment I’m good, recorder in one hand and phone in the other sitting under wisteria vines and listening to crickets yell at each other. Only I wasn’t. It turns out my new phone case blocks out my phone’s microphone for speakerphone capabilities, something I didn’t know until this interview. I’m panicked trying to figure out why he can’t hear me when I switch over to speakerphone, while Feldman is calm and offering to reschedule if need be.
I finally figure out a workaround, and we proceed to the actual interview. I wanted to share all this because Feldman showed me courtesy and genuine caring that I was frankly floored by.
With the consideration he showed me, it’s easy to understand how his fan base continues to be smitten in part due to the time he makes for them. “I know many of them by name and we chat,” Feldman says. “I’m very interactive—I’m not hidden, I don’t play the Hollywood games. I’ve been doing this my whole life, and I used to do the whole ‘put on a smile and act like you are happy when you are not.’ And I just kind of let all of that go. At the end of the day, I needed people to see that I am real and that I’m not some figment—so if you are going to cut me, it’s going to hurt.
“I’ve been to most cities—whether it was an appearance, signing, concert or something—that part of it isn’t really new,” Feldman says of the travel touring requires. “I think it is more about the expansion of how many dates we are doing and the length of the show.” The current tour schedule has Corey Feldman & the Angels playing over 50 dates, and the show has a nearly two-hour runtime. “It is a very big, long show and it takes a huge amount of energy. I play almost every instrument at some point in the night, and I’m moving around and dancing and singing.
“The rewards are certainly worth it,” he says. “I feel very blessed to even have the fans to warrant this type of tour. The fact that my music is reaching that many people and we have this many people that want to see us and hear us is such a blessing. On top of that, the even bigger blessing is after all these years I’m breaking my own personal record. My first Billboard charting song, selling out of my first pressing of the album in six months, selling out of the vinyl release…we sold 2,000 copies in one day (of the album). It is really staggering…I always kind of imagined it would happen eventually, but it just took way longer than I ever anticipated.”
Feldman’s music is independently released, making the amount of attention it has garnered even more impressive. “The thing is, what we are doing is kind of historical. I can’t really think of another time where an actor at my age can come out on his own dime and do everything organically, out of pocket, and actually get on the charts next to the labels. That’s almost unheard of. I feel pride in that I’ve made something that everyone said was impossible, possible. I had plenty of record labels slam their doors in my face.
“Even Michael Jackson was telling me that I was writing number one songs. He was like, ‘Wow, these are incredible. I could get you a number one song.’ But I was like ‘No, no, I want to do it on my own.’
“The point being, the labels didn’t want to admit it or were too afraid to take the risk. At the end of the day, I let that affect me for so long. I wasted so many years wanting to impress them, wanting to get their approval. And finally, one day I said, ‘What am I waiting for? I’ve got my own records, I’ve got my own fans, they know the music. Who cares?’”
Feldman is quick to be protective and complimentary of the Angels, the all-female backing band that includes his wife Courtney. “The show is so mind blowing, they are so talented. Each of them are multi-instrumentalists, singer-songwriters, one is a music professor. They are just really amazing talents.”
Although Feldman calls the tour “the most prevalent project in his life right now,” he will be returning to both the small and big screens this fall. But the project that seems to have him most excited is the 25th anniversary release of his first albums, with a world tour to follow. “The 25th anniversary will turn into a very big project,” he says. “We’re probably going to turn it into my first box set because it is going to be multiple CDs, multiple DVDs, unreleased material and lots of stuff to clean up from two inch tracks…the old school tapes.”
Corey Feldman will appear at Club LA in Destin July 27. For more info, visit RockDestin.com.