The AggroCast crew is joined by Mr. Hartgrave in the latest episode of the podcast. You've seen and heard him in some of the gaming reviews we have had here recently, and now we get to know him a little better in the latest podcast. Have a listen to them all complain more about Marvel Strick Force and various other elements of the industry that are good and bad for us all.
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AggroCast Resurrected — Interviewing Mr. Hartgrave [Episode Seven]
Raymond Bruels: Welcome to the AggroCast. This is Ray Bruels with David Hades Becker. Today we are going to be introducing the talent behind some of our game reviews and a well-known content streamer, Frank Hartgrave. Hello, Frank.
Frank Hartgrave: Hey, how's it going? I hate that intro. Hey, how's it going? That really bugs me whenever people say that, like, I don't know. I’m here. leave me alone.
David Hades Becker: That's where you gotta throw out something horrible when you when somebody does that just to throw them off… off base…
RB: Yeah, I always think about the tick so how's it going.
DHB: Expecting to recite back like Spoon or Not In The Face or…
RB: Not the Earth. that's where I keep my stuff.
FH: It's just so pedestrian and as you might be able to tell by the by the background that I rock I’m not pedestrian. And it's just, how's it going? I’m like, I’m on the AggroGamer podcast. I’m talking to you.
RB: That's true.
FH: I’m very aggro. I think this is apopro.
RB: Well, and I love the fact that you always find some way to kind of wrap that in to whatever review we're doing. And it's generally, it's like, I put the Gamer in Aggro or the Aggro in Gamer. I don't fucking know. I’m Frank Hartgrave. It's It's always like you're confused while you're there. It's great.
FH: I am actually genuinely confused about all of this. Life imitates art.
DHB: That's all part of the fun.
FH: There you go.
RB: So to give our listeners some background, I had initially started trying to write a article about Marvel Strike Force. the sunk cost fallacy mobile game. And then I started watching a ton of YouTube content came across this guy by the name of Mr. Hartgrave. Who seemed really cool, super on top of shit, and was far smarter than me about playing the game despite the fact that he tends to be self-deprecating. And I was like alright I want to talk to this guy. I want to see what he's about maybe try to work him into an article, especially given the fact that he was the only person I found talking about negativity of mobile games and how they try to just suck the life and money out of people and nobody else was really addressing that. So, I reached out he was willing to talk to me. Juliet says I stalked him.
DHB: You stalked him. You definitely stalked him.
RB: All right look. I I just wanted to know and so we had a conversation and then the article didn't go anywhere because every goddamn week. There's something going on with Marvel Strike Force. Sometimes it's every fucking day. And then we got caught up in going to shows. But I tried to keep that avenue of communication open with Frank, and here we are.
DHB: Get back on your thing. Like the other podcast we did specifically about Marvel Strike Force, by the time we finished recording that podcast, the entire ecosystem of the game changed. In like the 20 minutes like when we hit end recording.
RB: Did you hear at the end of that episode, I added an addendum?
DHB: I did, yes.
FH: That's just a change. That's the inside joke.
FH: I’m glad it's not just me. When you started talking about Marvel Strike Force, the cursing intensified. Which is just what happens. People are like, you curse so much. And I’m like, I’m just talking about Marvel Strike Force.
RB: The game gives people Tourette's. It's natural. Yeah, it's natural. It's just what happens. Though I think I do it all the time, but it's more so, it's uncontrollable with Marvel Strike Force. I cannot avoid it.
RB: But I do appreciate the fact that you were the, really the only person that I had found that talked about the predatory nature of mobile games. And then going back to your channel, you had already done other videos talking about that predatory nature. And then just kind of catching your vibe, the fact that here you are in your basement with a 12 foot skeleton, you're rocking the purple lights, you're a comic book fan. I was like, okay, this guy is one of our people. And so I had to try to bring you in to do something fun with AggroGamer. And David was totally on board.
DHB: I think we've already tortured you a couple of times with the Kill It With Fire and then the Sherlock Holmes game and Hitman.
FH: It's good. I think that I’m most entertaining when I’m uncomfortable, that's what I found. If I would say there's like, if I could identify the one thing that people enjoy watching my videos for, it's me being, you know, tortured in some way, because that's what Marvel Strike Force is. And I think the difference between me and the other guys is that I played Marvel Strike Force for like three, four years before I ever made one video on it. And I wasn't a YouTuber or any, I didn't do any of that stuff until like four years into it and I finally just got fed up that I didn't hear anyone talking about the real experience. It was all a bunch Marvel Strike Force content creator thing, which is interesting. And I feel like there's a documentary in that, like what it means to be a content creator for a live service video game, often mobile, but there's other games. Any game that exists as a live service. It doesn't have to be mobile because we have like Dead By Daylight which is a live service game and they have gigantic content creators. We have guys on there that are doing like half a million or 300,000 views a day especially if something's going on they're doing…
DHB: We have a couple people that used to work for aggro and pwned.com that have moved on to do specifically Dead by Daylight type content.
FH: it's a huge game so any game that has this ongoing live service, always updating, there's a culture, there's a community. They need to have voices and that becomes the people on YouTube. So when I came to content creation for Marvel Strike Force, I wanted to tell my story. That's what I want to do. I’m a, I come from a performance background, from fronting, singing for bands, for writing songs. So I think of that as storytelling. I want to tell a story. I was driven to tell the story. Now, at this point, we're two years into it and there ain't nothing else to tell. You know, I got to do something like this if I want to tell the story. I’m interested in doing this now because this helps me tell it again. And when you look around and you look for other people talking about this game, like bold face, this is a predatory video game. Some of them have done that, but they did it once, you know, a few years ago. And it's not, it didn't persistently. I feel obligated. I call my every Monday on YouTube, I have a video called Addicted to Marvel Strike Force. And the reason why I don't necessarily always talk about game addiction during that, although I’m not opposed, is because I want it to be known that this can be addictive for people. This can be damaging for people. It's the elephant in the room. And I will talk about it often because I don't want to hide it. I don't want to lure someone into this game because I do. I literally Pied Piper people into this game. I make beginner videos. Hey, man, you just started playing Marvel Strike Force. Here's what it is. And so I feel an obligation then to quickly tell them as well. Don't take this game too seriously and don't spend money on it because it's not healthy to do that. Play casually. Have fun. Make sure you're having fun is like one of my main messages, right? It's dangerous. I have ethics. It hurts.
RB: And we understand ethics. David's mentality behind the AggroGamer is very much about ethics, which is why…
FH: That was one of my favorite stories when I met you guys. David was talking about how you had a meeting with one of these companies, and you just start hitting them with the hard questions and I was like, oh man, I want to do that.
DHB: Yeah it was like literally one of the one of the it was a gaming uh it was a mobile game specifically for gambling and they didn't want to you know give in that yeah we're kind of promoting that gambling addiction type thing and I’m just like no no you need to dive into this because you're you are the villain you are the bad guys here.
FH: Let's talk about that oh that's so good because yeah I work directly with uh the company that makes Marvel Strike Force. I have those conversations with them they don't want to talk about it and i'll be like look guys we gotta talk about this.
DHB: Well they didn't want to talk about it either even though they were you know specifically making a gambling game and because it was also I think one of the people that was in charge of it was also the person in charge of the notorious uh Auction House in world of warcraft and everything so… he kind of wanted to shy away from all that kind of stuff as well. They kind of shut down and turned to talk to some of the other people at the table with me.
FH: I love that. That's that's what I think that's the next step. I want to do stuff like that. I want to talk about it more, but there's only so much I can do with Marvel. It's like with Marvel Strike Force, eventually it just feels like beating a dead horse, like it's all there. And I'll remove videos off my channel where it's just like, because there's so much day to day news. Here's what you do to win this event. Here's what you do today kind of stuff. I'll delete all those after a few weeks. I'll leave this stuff where I talk about predatory tactics. I'll leave this stuff about game addiction and all that because that's important. If someone's going to check out my channel, I want to make sure they hit that stuff.
DHB: You want to make sure that your your beliefs, your ethics, everything you're pushing out there is just the one thing that blasts them in the face. Instead of just going on, here's how to unlock this character. Here's you know, how to get this.
FH: And some people try to use me that way. I mean, there's a lot of that. That's what content creation is you are it But they don't care who the creator is. They don't care about me. They don't care about my 12 foot skeleton. They want to hear about any of that stuff. They want to know how to get this character right now. They want to know how to win. How do I get more gold? How do I get this? How do I get better than the other guy? How do I? That's what they want from me. And they don't, they don't want to hear all this other stuff. I make sure they hear all the other stuff. I mean, and then some people get mad about, I mean, this is what keeps me from being a bigger content creator too, because I literally refuse to play ball and be mainstream. I just keep throwing my personality into it and people just get sick of it.
DHB: Well people come to watch you to see you get tortured so you just have to torture them back by being now here's the ethics and here's the rules and here's the all the other stuff going on so it's a tit for tat.
FH: If I feel bad you gotta feel bad too.
FH: Some people are here for it I got a lot of I have die-hard fans I have a very loyal following that I don't think exists in this space. Like we're doing a thing now where I’m really talking about the Patreon right now. And I don't know other content creators in my space what's going on, but I've got a hundred Patreons. And my Patreon is just one tier. Now I’m pitching my Patreon. This isn't an ad, I’m just trying to explain. It's one dollar a month. And I try to give back to that as well. I’m not just taking a dollar. I put extra content my Patreon, anything. I get copyright issues sometimes. I throw that on the Patreon. I've committed to sending my Patreon something in the mail twice a year. So I love my fans and I really, I get a lot of support from them. It keeps me going. I’m not the number one Marvel Strike Force guy, but my following makes me feel like it. And that's awesome.
RB: Well and you you have also through other videos expressed your ethics like you know you for a while you had a button on your mic that was anti.
FH: Yes. Yes.
RB: and no nazis and you have spoken against you know folks that…
FH: We got it right here. It's sitting right by the can. I didn't get rid of it. Uh wait focus on that. There it is! There it is! Yeah, no, fuck Nazis!
RB: Yeah. Fuck Nazis!
DHB: Yeah! Fuck Nazis!
RB: You have talked about homophobes and denouncing those folks. You have no problem calling people out on their bullshit.
FH: Oh yeah, I'll alienate sections of my audience. In fact, I want to. I pride myself that my audience, my inner circle, whoever the gravediggers, as we call them, I didn't make that name up. They're scary. They came up with that. I pride myself in having a safe space for people. If you're LGBTQ+, if you are different, if you're a weirdo, you are welcome here, and people that have a problem with that are not.
RB: I appreciate that, given the nature of the world and how much hate is out there. The fact that you have no problem standing on your convictions and telling people to go fuck themselves.
FH: I feel it's important. I feel it's extremely important, especially as someone the way I was raised. I was born in Alaska, and Alaska is known to Alaskans as the New South. And what all that connotates racism and bigotry definitely included. They are proud at least they were when I grew up now things I know I haven't been there in many years it's been you know good 20 years since I was there so hopefully they've corrected that. But I grew up you know I've always had long hair except for when I haven't but most of the time my hair is especially as a child. And you can imagine it would be the experiences if you were doing that you know in the south like 20 years ago. I would say even 30 years ago because Alaska has always felt 10 years behind and that's just not my that's everybody who's there is like and we are 10 years behind.
DHB: yeah they just lost their last blockbuster so yeah they just finally caught up to Netflix.
FH: they are literally like in all ways 10 years behind. So yeah, I've heard every homophobic slur possible. I would walk down the street and people would literally be driving by me in cars honking and yelling that crap out the windows. Insane, insane homophobia. I’m just a dude with long hair. I’m not doing anything provocative. I wasn't wearing like assless chaps or anything. Not just regular, you know, kind of goth looking kid. And this is pre, you know, pre all this stuff that happened. I don't know if we want to get into what happened. And then goths. As the year went on. This is back when goths were just, you know, friendly, you know, you know, nonviolent.
DHB: They just look different outside of the norm.
FH: Yeah, there you go. I think we now we call the friendly goth types emo, right? Yeah. Yeah.
DHB: Or vamp kids, whichever one you want to go with.
FH: I think I think that's my kids.
RB: So what do you see as the future for Frank Hartgrave?
FH: Oh my god that's a rough one. I try to envision that every night before bed to try to get myself you know right in the head because I don't know what I’m doing and I'd like to figure that out so I have many conversations with myself and it changes a lot. It depends on what's going on in the day, what's getting views, what's working. I have a lot of you know irons in the fire right? A lot of pokers in the fire. You guys are one of them. So AggroGamer is extremely exciting. That's one of the more exciting things going on is working with you. I really enjoy the review that we did together, Ray. Kill It With Fire, the VR. I feel like anyone could enjoy that video, which is where I want to go. I want to make videos. I want to do content. I want to create things that anyone can enjoy because I’m very tired of just talking to the Marvel Strike Force audience especially the veteran of Marvel Strike Force. They are unreasonable and very hard to please and they know me I know them and we're both sick of each other so I really wanted to get out there.
RB: Well we are we're committed to try to find a way to drag you with us. We're constantly…
FH: Screaming into the sunlight.
DHB: Exactly we're going to pull you right down with us.
FH: No please don't don't make me go out in daylight. Anything other than daylight I’m into. Convention spaces, you know, that's good, as long as it's not just not natural light. It's very bad for the skin.
DHB: So I feel the same. So you don't don't worry about that.
RB: But David, you live in Vegas.
DHB: And I know I don't go outside when the day star is out. Yeah. It's only only when the moon is out, we go out there and we survive. Because that's how you survive.
FH: I've always loved Vegas, by the way, I've only been once, but it was it was a magical town.
DHB: Always growing and changing. So it's there's always something new to see if you haven't been here in like a year.
FH: Yeah, it was exciting. It's been, God, it's probably been 20 years since I was there. Maybe 15.
DHB: Yeah, it is completely different than what you've seen before then.
FH: Yeah, I bet. But it was a really cool town. It was a cool vibe. It was interesting. An entertainment town, right?
FH: Yeah, that's what I like about it. I like New York City for that same reason. That's why I live here in New Jersey. I came here on vacation. I went to New York City. Mind instantly blown. As a guy that lived in Anchorage, Alaska and never left for 21 years coming to New York City, I was like, Oh my God, this is, this is because I hate the outdoors. I don't do that stuff. If you're in Alaska and you like outdoors, you're like fishing, hiking, skiing, all that stuff. That's great. I hate all that. Hated it desperately. So going to New York for the first time was like, I need to live. I don't need to live in New York. That's a little too intense for me. I’m definitely introverted, extroverted, you know, I have my moments and then I to my cave with my skeleton and curl up and shake in a corner and cry after I do something. So New Jersey is great because I’m close to New York. I can go have that experience, but then when I’m done I can come back to my relative safety and seclusion.
RB: That's how I felt about New York City when I saw Times Square. I just loved the lights. I like the idea of people. I generally find people disappointing and exhausting, but I liked to be around them and so it was great to go into Times Square and it was the same thing for with Vegas when I when I got to see downtown Vegas. Now I’m like I don't want to fucking go there nobody goes there it's like it's like Lion King that's that's the dark place Simba we don't go there see it…
DHB: Here I've randomly will walk down the strip just to get to touch the roots down here in Vegas just to feel back at home every time.
RB: Well but that's you're an actual native of Las Vegas.
DHB: Exactly. I feel I got to feel like a Batman strove roving the streets and being like, Yep, there's a hooker. Yep. There's some people try to pass out porn cards, you know, the good stuff. There's the discount Mickey that's probably on meth.
RB: I don't know if you're actually building a case for Frank to visit us, David.
FH: No, I saw it all man. No, I was there. This is the experience. I was only there for like three days, but I got all of that. And that's what I was there for. I was like, this is great. The entertainment is on the street. You don't even have to go anywhere to get it. It's just right there. And that's what I liked about New York too. It's right there. You don't have to go find it. It's because that's what I was living with for 21 years in Alaska. There was no entertainment. There's literally nothing happening. All they do is watch videos, do drugs, and blow things up. Sucks. So like New York city is like so cool. Like you're just walking down the street. And what I walked by famous comedy club in New York. What's it called again? All the big comedians play there.
DHB: The Laugh Factory? Is that it? I thought it had a name started with a C.
RB: I don't know.
FH: Now I got to find it. But I walked by there and who was playing? Jeff Proups was playing. Is that how you say his name? Proups, Props? You know the guy from Whose Line is it anyway?
DHB: Yeah, I think you're saying it right.
FH: Dude is hilarious. And he was on and I just went and saw him. I just went and saw him. I just went and a ticket. It was like expensive. I didn't care. You just wait and go see them. You can't do that in Alaska. You got to wait like three years, four years, six years before somebody comes to Alaska. And then you got to buy tickets like a year in advance. And then they cancel before they show up. It sucks. But here in New York, just awesome things are happening left and right. You just buy a ticket, you go, you see the show. Unbelievable. Like you could just do it impulsively. And that's what I, that's what I love about it. And now, now I don't do that. Now I don't just go into New York and be like, what's playing, I’m buying a ticket. No, I plan it out years in advance and, you know, buckle up for it, but it's cool to have that ability as opposed and something's always going on. Like if I did, well, one night I was just like, yeah, I’m going to go, I’m not going to go to this concert. And I just drove in, I bought a ticket and I drove and went, you can do that in the tri-stage because I have access to New York, Philadelphia. We can go down to Delaware, Boston, anywhere you want to go, you can go. Like, if you especially if you come from, I come from, you know, coming from Alaska, I keep saying this, but to go anywhere. It's like a 12 hour drive, a horrible 12 hour drive. If you want to like go to Seattle. It's going to take you like two days of driving through desolate nowhere. Whereas here it's like a two hour drive and people will complain about that. I’m like, no, this is nothing to complain about two hours is like a magical fairy ride. I can go anywhere on the planet and do whatever I want. Basically.
DHB: Last time I was in that area, I was in Baltimore, and I decided I’m going to do like a two hour drive down to Richmond, Virginia to go to the GWARbar. It was like it felt like it was just driving across town. It was nothing. But like here, it's four hours to get to like either Phoenix or LA another four hours back. I’m just like…
FH: That's what I did. We actually went to Colorado for a friend's wedding. And then we drove to Vegas. And like through the Grand Canyon area through Zion. And it was a long drive of nothing. Right? Yeah. I get it. Yeah. Different. Oh, good. I’m leaving uncomfortable. Normally I don't leave uncomfortable pauses in when I do things, but I know you'll edit it out. That's unless you don't edit this out and now this is in…
RB: or that'll show up at the end of the podcast. Cause that's cause that's what I do.
FH: I trust you a lot, right?
RB: I have learned. I have learned so much about you because of how you it's amazing. I feel like we have this relationship that really doesn't exist because it's probably all in my mind because it's the Frank that's on the screen.
DHB: You say you're not a stalker.
FH: It's kind of one dimensional but I don't know I feel it back because when you when you sent me back the you know Kill It With Fire when I saw it I was like you got my notes you understood what I was saying. We got, we, we worked this out. It's all good. But I am like just a rambling crazy man into the camera. What's funny is when you, when we first talked when we did the interview, I was so happy. I was going through a rough patch. Um, there were some drama, some YouTube drama that hit me. So I was so paranoid. I thought that you were like, you were like going to get me, but I still wanted to do it. I’m that crazy. So I was dead set in my heart. I knew that you were out get me and that this was some kind of hit piece or something. Which that was just my paranoia, but it was really strong. But I was like, I still don't want to close this door. I had to change my thinking to one of the things that got me on YouTube. One of the things that got me down this path, even before I made it to YouTube and before I started making videos, was I told myself, you got to stop saying no to stuff. You got to say yes to stuff. Because if you say no to everything, you're never going to do anything, dude. Like you want to do all this. I've always wanted to entertain. I want to get into the entertainment industry. I want to do something. I want to sing for a band. I want to be on the radio. I want to be an actor or TV, whatever it is, you know, you got, you can't say no. You can't be like, no, that makes me uncomfortable. No, I don't want to do that. No, I’m apprehensive. Just yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Which leads me to a place where I don't get to sleep at all. But I hear that that's very normal. So that's good, I guess. And that's why I did the thing. And now we're just and we're at the point now where I just ramble into a camera for you. And I think it's working out.
DHB: This is the time we dropped. So we got you. This is the long game we're playing.
FH: But it's funny how paranoid I was on that first meeting. I was definitely more guarded too. I was like really watching myself. I’m like, I need to make sure it was kind of a challenge to myself. I’m like, if this guy is out to get me, let me make sure I don't say, let me make sure I don't put my foot in my mouth as I normally was.
RB: Well, because I’m not a stalker, I do my research. I knew that you had been dealing with some things. So there were certain things I didn't want to bring up. There were some things I knew would be sensitive because of the drama within that closed community of a fucking mobile game.
FH: And it's a small pond.
RB: It still blows my mind how much crap you had to go through because of…
FH: I’m still going through it. It's like, it's not over. It's not bad. Like there's no stress happening right now, but I still like, if I go do something, I won't be surprised if you put this online, some people track it down and put some crooked comments on it. I wouldn't be surprised in the least. But you know what? Fuck those people. That's how I feel. Fuck yourself.
RB: We'll see. David finds that to be a challenge.
FH: So let them come, bring it on motherfuckers.
RB: There's a reason it's AggroGamer.
FH: Well, that's, that actually makes me comfortable because you told me that. And so I’m like, all right, if this guy knows all the shit, which is I made an effort to let my audience know I didn't hide it as well. I don't go out of my way to talk about this shit now because it's over or whatever. And if anybody wants to know, it's still really there to find. I didn't delete that shit.
RB: Well, and you did like a six hour stream.
FH: Yeah, that's gone now. That doesn't exist anymore because Twitch streams delete themselves after like, I don't know, a few weeks or something. I didn't hide. Definitely I confronted it pretty head on at the time.
RB: Yeah. But yeah, I constantly give you shit about the fact that I don't believe you sleep. In my mind, you pass out in your chair, the skeleton gets up, puts a blankie over you, and then you at some point wake up.
FH: It sounds legit. No, I get a solid eight hours of sleep a night, I think about that. I go pretty hard in between that time, from wake up to sleep. Some days I just can't do anything. Some days I can't function. I’m just so, and that's what it takes to get me to kind of not, and I don't know, I went through large portions of my life where that's all I did, And that's what kind of drives me now. I’m like, I've already rested. Like now it's time to go. Like let's do it. If there's something to do, let me do it. Especially right now, cause I’m running my main YouTube channel. I have a second YouTube channel that's kind of focused on wrestling. I have two main Twitch streams I do every week, Wednesday and Friday at 6 p.m. Doing the promo now by the way. And then Thursday, I do a wrestling stream around 10 o'clock at night, all Eastern standard time. Plus I kind of stream every other day in between I do stuff like this I don't say no and not only do I not say no but if I see an opportunity to say yes to something that no one has asked me. If someone's like boy this thing really isn't going well I sure do wish someone would help me i'd be like I can help you I don't have time but I can help you. And I just agree to stuff that I wasn't even asked to agree to I’m trying to I’m trying to do it.
RB: And on top of that, you're a husband, a father, you work a job, you have a pet, so you take your dog for walks.
FH: The walks are mandatory, man. Those have got to happen. No matter what's going on, I got to find time to walk that dog.
RB: So yeah, when you start to add all of that up, it's just like, holy shit.
FH: That's actually, I count walking the dog as relaxation. That's it. I get like maybe that's like 30 minutes day where I own and still like kind of my brain is usually turning I’m usually talking to myself I’m usually producing the next video while I’m walking the dog. But at least I’m outside it's in the air and I’m like I’m out of the cave that I count as relaxation time. It's therapeutical I think.
DHB: o you drag yourself out into the sun. I see how this.
FH: I wear like I'll wear a burka, you know, because I have protect. I have a brand. My brand is like really pale guy. So I have to like really protect my face. I can't be getting weird half tans.
RB: I keep expecting to see a video where you're carrying an umbrella.
FH: I've done it. Yeah, absolutely. It's important. Like, yeah, if I get a tan, I don't know that might destroy the mystique.
DHB: That's what corpse paint is for.
FH: Yeah, yeah, I’m not good at makeup. That's one thing I never got into. I’m not a pretentious vampire. So I never really got into makeup. I wish I would have because I would like to have really good makeup skills now. But I’m really old. And I don't I don't know if it now is the time to practice that on a global on a global stage. I have fans from all over people all over the which is weird. And I don't want to practice my makeup skills in front of them.
RB: See, that's your next that's your next channel…
FH: The makeup. I think my kids can do it. My kids have offered they're getting really good.
DHB: I’m gonna have to see if I can find your review to do was like makeup artists, maker or something like that. And that's all you got to do. So you're really make you suffer.
RB: You're a video game player. I've seen that you've reviewed board games and card games. You were in a band, Orange Crush, which was a tribute band, as opposed to…
FH: Yeah, R.E.M. Band. I did that. That was what I was doing right before YouTube. That's what geared me up.
RB: And there's a difference between a cover band and a tribute band. I learned that because of you.
FH: Absolutely. There's a whole bit here. This is like another podcast, is getting into that, because those guys just started up again. And I have a whole, I got like easily an hour's worth of material there. Let's just say I don't feel they're a tribute band anymore, now they're a cover band because I’m not involved anymore. I believe they are in the cover band territory and that's an insult in my book. Because I was all in, like what it means to be a cover band and a tribute band is I shaved my head bald. Michael Stipe is bald and Michael Stipe weighs 140 pounds. So I shaved my head, and I lost like 30 pounds. That's how serious I was. I was learning. Absolutely. That's how I and I found out something about myself. I found out dude, I’m hardcore. Like I started off. Not hardcore. They asked me. I was like, I put a post out on Facebook. I was like, I’m a singer. I’m in New Jersey. Let me front your band, you know, I’m a weirdo or not. I don't know. And they were like, Do you want to do R.E.M.? And I was like, No. And then I thought about it. And I was like, yeah, you know, let me say yes. That's what it was about. Let me say yes, let me not say no to this. And, you know, I found out I actually really do like R.E.M. I thought I didn't, but I do. And at the start, I was like, well, I don't have to shave my head, right? And they're like, oh, no, no, no, of course, not. I ended up shaving. I ended up being the one to tell me I need to shave my head. Because I understood that we were doing a tribute and not a cover band. And the difference is tributes look like the band. Rributes like the band. They want to reproduce what the band has done. Whereas a cover band wants to put their own unique spin on it, right? They want to put a few originals into the mix. They want to add a couple other bands. You know, they play a mix of music or whatever. Maybe they primarily play this. There's a different, there's a less hardcore version of what it is. And that's a cover band. And there's a more hardcore version of it. That's a tribute. And if you look at some of the best tribute acts, these dudes, one of the best guys out there, he does Queen, he's transcended tribute though. But the guy kind of looks like Freddie Mercury. He sounds like Freddie. There's a lot of Queen tributes though. And a lot of guys that do this look like them, sound like them. And that's not easy. That's Freddie Mercury, but they'll go for it, you know, as much as they can. They'll lose as much weight as they can. They'll get into it. And these guys, they love the material. And that's what it comes down to is the love and respect of the original band. You're trying to do that tribute. I found out, I’m rather I can be that hardcore. And when that kind of dissolved during COVID, I was like, I should take all this pent up hardcore energy and do something else like that.
RB: So games, music, horror. You like horror movies?
FH: Yeah, absolutely. You know, from a young age, do you want me to tell the American Werewolf in London story?
RB: Yes, because it resonates for me. I would love to have you share that.
DHB: I don't think I've heard this story, so I’m willing to hear it.
FH: Yeah, we did this on the Gore Cast. We had a couple of guys from Gore Noir and Stephen Strange, the artist. And yeah, when it comes to my love of horror or my, I don't know, whatever's broken in my head that gets me to enjoy horror movies more than the average person. When I was three years old, my mother took me to go, my mother went to go see American Werewolf in London and brought me. I don't wanna say that she brought me to see it. She was under the impression that I was going to sleep through it. Well, I did not sleep through it. But I was very quiet and I sat next to her with a styrofoam cup and she wasn't looking over at me. She just thought I was asleep because it was late at night and I was like three years old. Well, I sat there. I watched the movie. I was totally terrified and I ate the styrofoam cup like in a little circle. I can remember doing it because it was traumatic and I ate the little styrofoam. She looks over. There's just like a little piece of styrofoam cup left where at the end of the movie he's running through London, right, going nuts. We stayed for the end of the movie. Like, I don't know what's going on with my mom, but that broke me. You know, I still, I had, you know, nightmares for a long time about that, especially the Nazi werewolf scene. That was, you know, just insane to see as a three-year-old. And then I don't know, I just kind of, I was desensitized to it. It wasn't a big deal anymore. So then all through my childhood, I was, you know, I gravitate to that. It was Alaska. So the only thing to do, like I said, movies, drugs, blowing stuff up. I didn't, I don't, I've never done drugs. I don't like to blow stuff up. I was all about movies. And you know, what's the coolest movies to get, especially when my mother didn't really have any, I was an only child divorced parents. Mom was just like, get whatever you want. You know, I've failed so you can do whatever you want. Just don't go into the porno room. You know, in Alaska, I don't know if they had this around here, but they had the back room, right?
FH: Don't go back there. So we didn't go back there, but everything else was fair game. So yeah, horror movies, loved them. I think every year for Halloween, I was Freddy Krueger, which is horribly inappropriate. Now I would be like really worried if my kid was like Freddy Krueger every year. Like demanding new masks and gloves like upgrades. I don't know what I would do. Now you can get like a real glove with real knives on it. I would have been so into that and that would have been so disturbing. It would have been a totally different path. So thank God that didn't exist.
RB: David, this is one of the things that I share in common with Frank because for me I was six and I was taken to the theater by my parents and I was sitting on the floor of the theater with my my orange jacket over my head. And it scared me. And eventually I overcame my fear of horror movies. But the funny thing for me is not only Frank sharing that, and that connection. But last year, we went to Monster Palooza in L.A. And the actor that played David in the movie, David Naughton was there. And as we were walking out, I noticed him and I walked up and I said, Can I get your autograph? Because you scared the shit out of me as a kid, and drove me, you know, to to find my love of horror movies. And the poor guy was just utterly fucking confused. He looked up he's like, You're welcome.? And signed my autograph and I disappeared. Yeah, it was definitely a thing. But I appreciate that we share that in common because that movie really has resonated for me over the over the years.
FH: It's a great movie. And it's funny because I made my wife hadn't seen it like 20 years ago, I made her watch it and she had nightmares afterwards. So it'll traumatize you even as like a full grown adult. It's it's brutal. That transformation scene. That whole movie holds up. It's a classic. It's an amazing movie.
RB: That's why American were American Werewolf in Paris came out. I was heartbroken.
FH: Yeah, terrible. That movie was I can't remember it, which is the worst thing I can say about a film. I think I was actually Yeah. You didn't know it happened.
DHB: No, I was saying did it actually happen? I was trying to give you guys an out to imagine that it didn't happen.
FH: It didn't happen.
DHB: Exactly. It didn't happen at there was no movie like that.
RB: It was all a nightmare.
FH: I heard that when John Landis directed that, right?
RB: He directed the original one.
FH: Yeah, he directed the original one. His son, Max Landis, you know, controversial. He wanted to remake it. He had some really good ideas about it. It's too bad that he's been canceled now.
RB: Yeah, I personally hate remakes, but if there…
FH: he does these pitches and he had he had a really good take on it. It could it could have been good, could have been a contender could have been a contender. Well, we are I wouldn't want anyone else to redo it though, if you're not going to get the guy's son to read like someone who really really gets it would need to do it if you're going to do that.
RB: Well, it's like the Ghostbusters, the newer of the older Ghostbusters, not the newer remake of the…
FH: Ghostbusters Afterlife.
RB: Yeah. Because the family will some of…
FH: Well, it's interesting you bring that because Max Landis, a of his ideas went into that. I think the whole ending I believe was his. Because he at one point was going to direct that or write that and you know these things get rewritten and rewritten and they just pick stuff up. They're like Katamaris right? Katamari Damacy just picked junk up and yeah the ending was pretty much what he pitched.
RB: It was a good movie. I’m looking forward to what they do next.
FH: Yeah they had a lot of understanding of the property going into that. I mean, I like the we were talking about this too on the on the Gore Cast. I like the the one with the women. I don't know what you it's like Ghostbusters like 2015. I don't know.
DHB: Yeah, 2016 or something like that.
FH: Yeah. I think maybe Answer The Call it that. But anyways I like Melissa McCarthy. I like those women are incredibly funny. They're incredibly funny women and it's a funny movie. Do does it need to continue on the legacy? I mean, people were putting way, way up on a pedestal it didn't belong on. This is going to carry on the lineage. It's ruining my childhood. Oh my God, guys, calm down. Just a dumb movie. My daughters loved it. That's all I know.
RB: I went and saw it in the theater. The first half of the movie, I sat there and perhaps the humor just didn't really resonate for me. But the second half of the film exploded and it was just hilarious. And Chris Hemsworth, playing the the secretary was amazing so yeah…
FH: I mean it's, it's you know stupid humor but I mean I love stupid you you know this hey we do stupid humor around here it's, it's fine.
RB: Yeah well we gotta entertain…
FH: I think people get into problems when they expect a movie to be something and then it's not the thing like I had a problem when I went to go watch Venom the the first Venom movie. I went in there and I wanted something and I didn't get it and I hated it. Now I watched it three years later with my kids and I loved it. Because I knew what it was and I was pumped that I could show it to my kids and there was nothing in it that was objectionable. So I was enjoying this kind of edgier movie than we, that was one of the first kind of horror. That was maybe the first horror movie I watched with my kids is that first Venom movie because my kids were little, they're like 11 years old or something. You're not going to show up. I’m not going to show them American. My wife wouldn't allow me to show them American Werewolf in London. I wanted to recreate the experiment, but I’m like, we can do Venom. I was like, we can do Evil Dead. She's like, no, you can do Venom. And it was great for that. It was like a great baby's first horror movie. It works great for that. It's just enough for that.
RB: I didn't see, I saw the first one. I didn't see the second.
FH: The second one is great. I don't know if people saw it, but it's it's really kind of out there and it's cool. It reminded me of the second Ghost Rider film, which I also think is fantastic with Nicolas Cage, where the first one's kind of straight. And then the second one is just like all the weird stuff they wanted to do but weren't able to do in the first one.
DHB: Like I had the same issue you did when I watched the second one, because I, Carnage was my favorite one. So I went in having very specific things I wanted to see. And then watching it the first time I was kind of like, then on a rewatch, I was like, for what it is, they did a good job. And for what their limitations were, I was like, I still enjoyed it. And I've watched it a couple of times.
RB: Well, that was written by Tom Hardy, the guy…
FH: He was really into that project.
RB: Yeah, yeah. And then it was dirceted by, uh, the guy that did Gollum. Andy Serkis.
FH: Nice. Yeah. Yeah.
RB: Well, we are coming up on our time. So we're gonna have to bring this to a close. Frank, do you have any last words? Last thoughts?
FH: Is this where I plug everything? I feel like I already did the plugs.
RB: You already did the plug.
DHB: You can plug it again. You can plug things again.
FH: I mean, I just want to plug what we're doing here. My favorite thing we're doing are the reviews on the aggrogamer site. So definitely check those out. We got one of them up now. We should have the Sherlock one out soon. As soon as you're done, you know, in the Dungeon.
FH: And then hopefully we'll be doing more of those and more things on the channel, which is very exciting. I’m excited about that.
DHB: That is the plan and the hope.
FH: If you go on YouTube, you type in Mr. Hargrave, it should pull up my YouTube channel. There's some good stuff if you go digging around. If you just look at the video of the day, it's probably garbage for Marvel Strike Force. Marvel Strike Force garbage, but then there's some fun stuff on there too. I got movie tier lists and all kinds of cool stuff.
RB: Yeah, I liked your vampire tier list. That was pretty good.
FH: It's funny people have told me that I when I was doing it I’m like I’m bombing this is horrible this is not as funny as I want it wanted it to be but I don't know go watch it you make the call let me know down in the comments right it's great for the algorithm.
RB: All right Frank well we look forward to working with you soon because we're always going to find ways to drag you into things and who knows you might show back up on the AggroCast We've talked about doing some conversations about horror movies or shit-talking video games. So…
FH: Yeah, I’m into all those things and you know, I don't say no.
RB: That that's true now that we've got it. We actually have a recording.
DHB: Exactly we have evidence.
FH: Anytime you see I’m just I’m a glutton for it. Yes, whenever you need me.
RB: And you know, this is like a Faustian pact. So…
FH: Yeah pretty much and I am still gonna say yes.
RB: Excellent. Well, until then, thank you so much, and we will talk to you soon.
Thank you for listening to the Aggrocast resurrected, the official podcast of AggroGamer. For more gaming news and reviews, please check us out at aggrogamer.com. If you enjoyed today's content, follow and subscribe to get notifications of our next episodes.
FH: I’m AggroGamer. I put the aggro in gamer. Put the gamer in aggro? I don't fucking know. I’m Mr. Hartgrave.