James Marsters, AKA Spike, in Edmonton for comic expo
Actor behind Spike talks Star Trek, CERN, and new songs in Edmonton AM interview
By Edmonton AM, CBC News Posted: Sep 25, 2015 12:56 PM MT Last Updated: Sep 25, 2015 4:02 PM MT
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He was the original bad-boy vampire with a soul, and he's in Edmonton this weekend.
Actor and musician James Marsters first made a name for himself playing platinum-haired Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997 until 2003.
Now, 12 years later, Marsters is still a regular fixture at events like Comic Con, and will appear at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend.
Even Marsters himself is pleasantly surprised that the show's popularity has proved to be so enduring.
"I don't think you can ever plan for something like that to happen," he said Friday.
He credits Buffy's creator Joss Whedon and his team of writers and producers — many of whom have gone on to helm other top TV shows — with helping to establish the show as a cult and genre favourite.
"Joss had them when they were hungry, young and all working in the same room on the same show. So there was just something magical about that combination."
Marsters said the show's theme still resonates.
"If I could collapse the theme of Buffy down to a few words, it would be 'Don't give up,' which is a good theme," he said. "It's better than I had when I was a teenager. I watched Planet of the Apes, which basically the theme of that is, 'Give up, the apes are taking over.' "
When he played Spike, his most iconic role to date, Marsters bleached his brunette hair blonde and adopted an English accent. (James Marsters/Facebook)
As for the moment Marsters realized he was part of something special, he says it was when fans started complaining that they were missing some jokes because they were still too busy laughing at the last one.
"I thought, 'this is good, we could last,' and I said, 'You know, guys, we could be the next Star Trek, if we all learn our lines really well today."
Yes, Marsters is a big fan of Star Trek and all things space and science. When asked about his favourite part of attending conventions, he lists some of the friends he's made at them: one friend works at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, another built the Mars rover Opportunity and four more work at NASA.
"Invariably, once a day, there's somebody with a job that I geek out on," he said. "There's something about genre that attracts intelligent people that have a sense of humour."
When he's not on the road talking Buffy, Marsters can often be found on tour with the band Ghost of the Robot. He met the band's other co-founder Charlie De Mars in 2001. De Mars, then 18 and new to Los Angeles, came across Marsters sitting on his stoop with a guitar in hand.
Since then, the band has released three albums and toured internationally. The group's newest album, Bourgeois Faux Pas, was released in August.
"We're a respectable pop-rock band," Marsters said with a very Spike-like chuckle.
"And we don't suck."
Listen to the full interview: