Dave Willis & Jim Fortier of Squidbillies talk Comic-Con, Odd Future
Squidbillies is a surreal animated show that airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. Following the exploits of a family of anthropomorphic squids who live in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, led by their mischievous and often inebriated father, Early Curly, voiced to perfection by psychobilly musician Unknown Hinson.
With the season 4 of Squidbillies recently released on DVD and Season 6 set to premiere in September, SanDiego.com talked to co-creators Jim Fortier and Dave Willis about the music that appears on the show, and found out what their plans are for this week’s Comic-Con.
I saw you posted a picture of you and George Jones hanging out in the studio. Is he going to be appearing in a future episode?
Dave Willis: He’s going to be in an upcoming season. We’ve written a number of different themes and recorded them, and since we were only going to get one crack at George Jones because he’s 80, we wrote a chorus to sort of tie all the themes together. We had him record an extra-long version of the theme song with a bunch of Nashville pros, it’s all recorded live and just incredible. He’s an 80 year-old man and I’m reading his book and every chapter is something about whipping somebody’s ass, or locking up somebody in a room and threatening to whip their ass if they come out. Or like a denial, like, ‘I don’t care what anyone says, there’s no way I could’ve pulled out a shotgun on Tammy Wynette in that shopping mall.’
Will you ever release a Squidbillies album?
Jim Fortier: That’d be great. We’d like to do it.
Dave Willis: We’ve been pushing real hard for that. I don’t know that we can sell something like that. It may be something where we can release a bunch of stuff and it’ll be like a free download or something.
Jim Fortier: Force it on people on the street.
Dave Willis: We’ve sort of actively kind of done a lot of Americana and Country kind of stuff. I mean, the network skews so much with metal and hip-hop and stuff and it’d be fun and funny to put out something that’s that square. And I say that in the best possible sense, because I’m crazy about that kind of music.
Are there any musicians that you’d really like to get on the show but haven’t yet?
Jim Fortier: Willie Nelson.
Dave Willis: Jim and I actually interviewed Willie Nelson for Space Ghost back in the late nineties on his tour bus. I got him to sign my guitar and I remember talking to some music critic later at a bar and he said, ‘Yeah, some jackass was in front of me with his guitar wanting to get it signed.’ And that was me. I think we’d love to get him. Kris Kristoferson is on that list, and I think we have some guys that we’re talking to, like some contemporary artists; Band of Horses is on our short list, the main guy from that band is a UGA grad or is from UGA or is a Bulldog fan or something. We have a pretty nice sized list of people.
Could you ever see a young group like Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All appearing in an episode of Squidbillies?
Dave Willis: Odd Future’s doing something for our block right now. I think they’re doing a pilot with the guys from Jackass. And I think they’re doing something for Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, but I don’t think that’s confirmed yet. But yeah, it’d probably be funny. At this point it would be funny to turn something on its head a little bit. I mean Jackyl does a theme song for us and it’s great. Just straight-up metal.
Could you guys ever see a Squidbillies crossover episode where the character from Squidbillies show up in other Adult Swim shows, and vice versa?
Jim Fortier: I don’t know about that? Meatwad crossed over into a couple of different shows.
Dave Willis: This pilot I did along time ago; Cheyenne Cinnamon, we put little hints in every episode. You can find all 70 online.
Are you guys coming out to Comic-Con?
Jim Fortier: Yeah, if we go this year I think we’re gonna be on our own. I think we’ll just do a signing somewhere if anybody wants to come, but I don’t think we’re on a panel.
Dave Willis: We’ve been going off and on for fifteen years now. There have been a couple of years that we skipped. We went back when it was mostly comic book people, before it became TV-Con and Movie-Con. Before all the big corporations got the primo real estate. And the bathrooms there are flat out the filthiest in the world. There’s always some guy sitting fully clothed in ninja gear, like in a puddle on the floor. Sitting in a puddle flipping through a first edition X-Men. Like a hurricane whipped through there.
When you come out to San Diego for Comic-Con is it strictly business or are there certain places you like to visit?
Jim Fortier: Strictly hanging out is what it is. You wander the floor a little bit and see if there’s anything to check out at the convention, but we’re looking for places to hang out.
Dave Willis: There’s always some steakhouse that we go to, but it’s mostly convenience and location, and I don’t think we’ve ever really nailed on like a really great bar. We always end up going to some cheesey hotel bar. There’s one outdoor one that overlooks Petco that’s pretty nice, but the music sucks. There’s no real dives in downtown, like in that whole district.
I know Dave’s on Twitter, but how about you Jim?
Jim Fortier: These kids and their media. Yeah, I’m actually on there, @JimFortier, just one word. Or you can spell it like the receptionist at the dentist always says it, “Jim Farter.” It’s awesome to be called that in a room full of people waiting for tooth care.
Dave, are you in charge of @therealcarl2 Twitter account?
Dave Willis: I am. I’m only in charge of it in so much as, nobody really knows it exists, and then as soon as I say something inflammatory it’ll probably get yanked from me. Like, I always write something and then I have to dial it back. I usually dial it back a few times before I get it out there. Because I have to remember it’s sort of a corporate character owned by Time Warner. But yeah, I so much more enjoy writing for that than I do my own. My own is almost purely promotional, but the Carl2 one is. . .
Jim Fortier: T.G.I.F. off to the beach!
Dave Willis: Yeah, like I’m going to take a picture of a really great burrito I had. @therealcarl2 is great. Like the other day I woke up at four in the morning and New York had just legalized gay marriage and I was just thinking, Carl would probably have a lot to get off his chest on this one. It’s just kind of fun and stupid.
Jim Fotier: Maybe a new account called, @Inspirebytherealcarl. A puppet account; Carl’s uncensored thoughts.
Dave Willis: Well, the Carl Twitter account, I follow all these people that I would never follow. Like he follows Tawny Kitaen, he follows her to the point of almost legal action. I was pretty much harassing Tawny Kitaen from that account for awhile until she finally responded. She said, ‘What should I wear to this premiere?’ and I wrote as Carl, ‘Saran Wrap top and whip cream bottom!’ or something like that and she retweeted it.
Have you guys ever considered doing a live-action show for Adult Swim?
Dave Willis: We’re talking about it right now. I did a short with Chris Kelly, another writer producer here, and it’s called, Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell. It was something we did for Super Deluxe and then Super Deluxe went down the tubes so we sort of remade it as pilot kind of, but it’s not really a pilot. It’s just sort of a one off thing, but we pitched something and it looks like we might get to do a few of them we’re hoping. But it only aired once. I think we aired it on Halloween in the middle of the night. Natasha Leggero was in it, Fred Armisen was in it. It was pretty cool. I think it’d be a really fun show to do. Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell is basically this demon who’s in sort of an office comedy. He’s sent to Earth to sort of turn kids on to drugs or suicide or turn a couple onto divorce or having an affair. And he always somehow fucks it up. Then he finds out at the end that it was never about pain or torturing other people, it was always about his own torture.
When will you find out if that does get picked up and how many episodes they’ll order?
Dave Willis: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I ‘m getting my situation figured out and it’s contingent on that. We’re just talking about it. We’ve written a pilot and love to do a bunch of them and shoot them down here in Atlanta.
With regards to Cheyenne Cinammon, you had previously stated that in order to get more episodes made you need fans to send Gummi Bear to the Williams Street offices in Atlanta. Who should they address these packages to?
Dave Willis: I just wanted to see I anyone would do it. Just put, “Adult Swim Development.”
Can you give us an update on Death Fighter?
Dave Willis: The script has not been approved, but we’re almost finishing animation on it. It’s a push and pull. We’re hoping that the script will be approved by the time we’re finished making the movie, otherwise we’ll be in a lot of trouble.
Do Jim Fortier and Dave Willis have a message for the children?
Dave Willis: Don’t watch the show until you’re eighteen and then at that point don’t do anything else with your life. You’re an adult, you can die for your country, I think it’s time you sat down with three or four hours of Squidbillies a night.
Jim Fortier: Expand both your mind and your body.