February 13, 2019 Interview – Norman Reedus
Everyone has a story to tell on how they got to their current situation. Usually a path full of peaks and valleys, hopefully in the end it leads us to somewhere we want to be. Norman Reedus has been traveling along different roads some time now, finding himself a model, photographer, painter, actor, but how about a musician? Starring in a list of memorable feature films including 1999’s The Boondock Saints, Reedus has become a superstar over the past decade portraying the beloved Daryl Dixon on the hit AMC series The Walking Dead. A role he has grown with, along the way he has crossed some other interesting paths. Now having his own series called Ride with Norman Reedus, he has also recently teamed up with highly-regarded Producer/DJ Howie B for some musical collaborations.
A first for Reedus, he and Howie B joined forces first for the single “A Letter From Space,” featured on Pussyfoot Records’ acclaimed space-themed compilation album Space Is The Plaice, more recently, they released the ambient “Harmonica.” Collaborations which feature Reedus lending his voice in the form of spoken word, could this be the birth of a new creative outlet for him? Enthusiastic about it all, Reedus recently took the time to chat about his career as an actor, his work with Howie B, potential future projects, plus much more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in entertainment for over two decades and built a very successful career in film as well as television. First, briefly tell us, how would you describe your journey in the arts?
Norman Reedus – It’s a long story. I guess I’ve always been interested in art. I’ve always done it through school, through junior high through high school. I followed a girl to Los Angeles, was immediately dumped, and luckily found friends that were into what I was in to. We would do group shows there. Back then, you would kind of have to have a band play and an open bar just to get people to come. It’s changed there now.
In New York, I had a gallery I started with several friends of mine and we did many shows there, made films, etc. We had the whole building, live-in artists. We had a creature effects shop in the basement and a gallery on the ground floor. We had a fully functioning machine to create. As the acting work got more serious and more frequent, photography became more of my thing. I started doing shows in Europe and the States, and recently showed at Sotheby’s here in New York. There’s a few photography books out now and another one in the works.
Cryptic Rock – Wow, it is really interesting how everything unfolded for you. As an actor, through your career, you have taken on a wide range of roles in various genres. That in mind, you have done a good share of Horror and Thriller related projects. Do you enjoy working in these genres?
Norman Reedus – Yes, I really like those types of films as well as basic Thrillers. If there are good characters they work in all genres.
Cryptic Rock – Right, it has to start with a good, strong character. Beyond acting, you have a passion for music and recently collaborated with Howie B for some songs. How did you and Howie connect?
Norman Reedus – I originally met Howie in an igloo in Switzerland. We had fondue.
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) That is quite an interesting way to meet, yet a very compelling story to tell. Howie has worked with a lot of great artists through the years, including U2 and Siouxsie and the Banshees. You two connected for the tracks “A Letter From Space,” and more recently, “Harmonica.” Very unique, ambient pieces. What was it like recording them and can we expect further collaborations with you and Howie?
Norman Reedus – I’d work on anything with Howie. He is one of those rare artists that just know: you trust them, and sort of bask in their vibrations. He’s a really good friend of mine, too. I hope we make lots of hits together, whether they are song or films or anything really.
Cryptic Rock – Very cool. Seeing your love for music, had you ever considered doing something musically prior to deciding to work with Howie for these songs?
Norman Reedus – I haven’t really, not really. I’ve always wanted to, though. Everyone really wants to, I think.
Cryptic Rock – There is always a curiosity, right? As mentioned, you have attained a great deal of success as an actor through the years. That in mind, you have been a vital player on AMC’s The Walking Dead for almost 10 years now! An amazing run, what has your time on the series been like?
Norman Reedus – It’s the most connected I’ve ever been, I think. I think when you do something over time you grow as it grows, so it’s been a learning experience as much as anything else.
CrypticRock – Yes, and you certainly have made the character of Daryl Dixon shine bright. There is no question The Walking Dead certainly has been a fantastic opportunity. Audiences have watched your character of Daryl grow over the last 9 seasons, and it is not often an actor has the chance to live with a character that long. What has it been like for you developing the character?
Norman Reedus – I learned over time that I can plant seeds that turn trees down the road, and ideas that I can start here will finish or pick up again later if I plant them right. It’s nice to have that connection. Sometimes when you do something for a month or two only, you don’t have that time to do that. I think you may think you do, but later I always found myself thinking I wished I added this or that.
Cryptic Rock – Well, you have a good deal of time to sit with Daryl, so congrats! In regards to the music, your work with Howie was actually featured in Ride With Norman Reedus. A pretty cool series, what has Ride With Norman Reedus been like?
Norman Reedus – Ride is so much fun, it really is a dream job. I meet so many cool people which I love and see things I wouldn’t have seen and on a bike. Hopefully the audience can feel they are on those rides with us, that’s the goal.
CrypticRock – It is a really cool concept. Plus, as you said, you get to meet a lot of different people. Seeing you are a lover of music, who are some of your favorite artists?
Norman Reedus – Oh man. Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Sonic Youth, Minor Threat, Bad Brains – there’s a lot.
Cryptic Rock –That is a great mix of artists.Last question. On Cryptic Rock, we also cover movies, particularly Horror and Sci-Fi. What are some of your favorites in these genres or films in general?
Norman Reedus – The Omen (1976) was always my favorite movie growing up. Midnight Cowboy (1969) is probably mine now.