April 30, 2015 Interview – Tuesday Knight
A Nightmare on Elm Street has become one of the most successful Horror film franchises since the original’s debut back in 1984. Spawning seven sequels, and a remake, one of the most successful films in the entire series came in the summer of 1988 with the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. A red hot ticket, the film featured a bright new face in Freddy Kruger’s world when Tuesday Knight was cast as Kristen Parker.
Knight, already an experienced actress from her time on General Hospital and Fame, also was a musician who was given a pleasant surprise when she was chosen to sing the lead song for the film, “Nightmare.” Now nearly three decades later, Knight’s song still resonates with fans of all ages. Recently we sat down with the musician/actress for a closer look at her career in film, her memories of working on A Nightmare on Elm Street, music, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in acting since a young kid, starring in television. First, tell us what inspired you to get involved in film?
Tuesday Knight – It was just something I did. I had always grown up being a singer, most likely I get that from my Father, but after I was signed to my first major record label, the executives thought it was good that I would do some things to get my name out there more. So, I got sent on meetings for FAME, The Facts of Life, and General Hospital. That was a way for me to get my voice out there so that people would buy my album. I never thought that General Hospital would turn into an almost three year run.
CrypticRock.com – That is quite a pleasant surprise to have something last that long. Perhaps one of your more recognized roles came in 1988 when you starred as Kristen Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. How did this role come about for you?
Tuesday Knight – As I said, I was going out on auditions and doing things on television, but music was still my priority. One day my Management called me and said, “You need to go meet with this Director and Producer for this upcoming independent film.” I went not really thinking of anything huge. It was put to me that I was doing an independent film, but I ended up meeting Renny Harlin and Rachel Talalay. Renny hired me on the spot, and I was so excited that I just landed the role of my first feature that I remember running out of the New Line Cinema building and I fell down the stairs out front, but did not care because I was so happy.
CrypticRock.com – It certainly had to be extremely exciting to have been hired right away like that. The film has historically been one of the most successful of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. It kept the legacy of Freddy Krueger growing and was another step in Robert Shaye building an empire with New Line Cinema. What was it like working with Robert Shaye, Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, and everyone else involved with the film?
Tuesday Knight – Trust me, when we were doing this, we did not think it was going to soar as far as it did. We knew from the previous films that it had a following, but it really blew up with The Dream Master. I will start with Bob Shaye, the man is intelligent and just knows what the heck he was doing. He knew he had something when they did the first film, I think he already had the first seven films planned out after the original was done. I remember him coming to the set, was always very nice, but people were afraid of him when he showed up because he would have input on what was being filmed. In the shortest terms, he is just an amazing guy and I am in touch with him to this day. Working with Robert was really cool because I had seen the other Nightmare films and I was a fan of the show V. So he had a lot of stories at that point in his life to share with me, but always treated me as an equal, even though I was the new kid on the block.
Lisa is a great actress, and I am sure it will not be shocking when I say that I do not feel we got along very well when we were filming, but I guess most of the crew did not like me anyhow. I really did not know this until I saw the Never Sleep Again documentary, needless to say, we were all children back then and we are all adults now, and we all love each other. I am very close to Lisa, and will always be for the rest of our lives. We have been in each others lives for so long now, I am not sure what mine would be like without her. As for the rest of the cast, there was always a tension around and I think it was because I had the attention of the director. Rodney and Kenny were both coming back from the 3rd film, and maybe they felt they should of had Renny’s attention. Any actor wants to be the teacher’s pet on a film. I had also heard that a few of the other cast members submitted music to be in the film, and they chose my song and not theirs, so maybe that was an issue as well. Like I said, we have all grown up and get along great now. They are my family in a way, I have stayed in touch with them more than I have with most on the other films I have worked on. I love them all.
CrypticRock.com – That is great that you have built that relationship with the people you worked with. Sometimes it does take time for people to understand one another, of course age does help as well. Interestingly, besides starring in the film, you also perform the lead song “Nightmare” in the film. Seeing you had a history in music, were you expecting to be featured like that in the film?
Tuesday Knight – NO! Again, I knew they were looking for music, it was an independent film and the music budget had already been spent on some of the bigger artists that were featured for the music. So I told Renny that my album had just been released, and while we were filming, I had scored a top ten Dance single on the Billboard Charts. So, he asked me to go see what I could come up with so my writing partner and I went back to our studio and just wrote and produced that song in a few hours. I handed it over to Renny and then he said it would be in the movie, but I thought they would play like a snippet of it in a jukebox or something, then when we all went to the premier of the film and it was the opening credit song, I nearly cried and fell out of my seat.
CrypticRock.com – Well, the song certainly has become a cult favorite all these years later. Your 1987 self-titled debut album on CBS Records has been out of print now for many years. Seeing you were only eighteen years old at the time, what was the writing and recording process like for that record?
Tuesday Knight – Well, that was actually my second album to be honest, at first I started out doing backing vocals for Quiet Riot, and then I got signed to Vanity Records and recorded an album. Then, when I appeared on FAME, that is when CBS/PARC records took a liking to me and bought me out of my contract so I could be with them. I started recording it in Florida. It was amazing as a singer because I got to travel to all these places all over the United States and got treated like a Rock star, who would not like it? I had some not so fun times recording that album as much as I had fun times, so it is bittersweet. The best part of it was that my father was so proud that I was making my way through the business that he worked so hard in.
CrypticRock.com – It did give you a good step up in the industry for sure and fans really do love the album. It has become a fun challenge for people to find original cassette copies through the years. You have kept busy with your music and acting in films through the years. What has been the key for you to continuously be inspired to create?
Tuesday Knight – As an artist, I think you just always create, but I have been very blessed to have had my music in tons of films and television shows. It is even better when I get the role and I get to sing at the same time, best of both worlds right there. The key is to just keep going, do not stop and keep your head up. Things are always going to be tough at times and sometimes it may seem like they slow down, but they will pick up. You have to treat this industry as a business, if you do not and you think that you own it, then you are going to lose it all. So play the game just know what you are doing.
CrypticRock.com – That is a good piece of advance. Since you have been involved in both film and the music industry, you have seen the good, bad, and ugly of it all. With that said, what are some of the more important things you have learned through the years?
Tuesday Knight – Always stay true to yourself. Never change for anyone! If a record label wants you to be something you are not, then its not the right place for you. Go to a label that wants to sell you. I have been through it all, and you just have to stay true to yourself and think everything though. There is always going to be someone out there that says, “No!,” or “You won’t be able to make it that way,” or even “We are not going to let you make it that way.” You can do anything if you just stay honest with yourself.
CrypticRock.com – Another very good piece of advance. Sincerity artistic is imperative. Speaking of your music, you actually will be releasing a new album entitled Nightmare, highlighting tracks from your debut album as well as slew of versions of “Nightmare.” What was it like to put this collection together for fans?
Tuesday Knight – Well this is something that has been coming for a long time. After twenty-eight years of that movie coming out, people are not only writing me fan mail about the movie, but the song. Telling me that it changed their lives, or even that every time they see the New Line Cinema logo, they think of my song. So, if it has that kind of a fan base, it is only fair that the fans get to have it.
There was no good quality versions of the songs out, so I went dumpster diving in the Warner Bros. vault and found the master tracks and now we have remaster versions of the song, including an instrumental so everyone can do karaoke now. Great remixes and other great tracks to go along with it. My manager Michael Perez is the guy who has done the heavy lifting on it and is a fan himself, he was a part of the Never Sleep Again documentary and many others, so he knows how to handle all of this, but it has brought so many memories back listening to all the tracks. I am very excited to see what the fans think of the final product, the packaging itself is amazing and worth it.
CrypticRock.com – Fans are extremely anxiety to get their hands on this special limited edition release. As mentioned, you have been involved in a long list of films and television, but like many performers, people turn to one particular aspect to associate them with. Do you feel blessed to be associated with the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, or do you often sometimes look at it as a stigma?
Tuesday Knight – No stigma at all! That is what started it all for me, I get noticed for Nightmare a lot and I also get noted for my role in my series 2000 Malibu Road a lot. But you know, there are not many films that just keep gaining a fan base as the generations go on. People will eventually forget films like A League of Their Own (1992) or even Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), but they will never forget A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I still have directors and casting directors telling me how much they are fans of the franchise. It is like being one of The Beatles… you have forever made your mark on film history and that is something you should be proud of. I am very grateful that I was a part of a film that people are not going to forget my character and my song. I could not ask for anything more.
CrypticRock.com – That is a good outlook to have and wonderful that you embrace it. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films, what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Tuesday Knight – Horror is my favorite genre of film, it always has been. I love so many its hard to say, but I do love films like Dead Silence (2007), Dolly Dearest (1992), Paranormal Activity (2009), Dolls (1987), The Gravedancers (2005), and I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990). There are so many good films out there that I love in that genre, I would be talking all night long.