“It Was Sometimes Frickin’ Terrifying."
Apr 7th 2015 | Daniel Cribb
Helping shape genre TV with his role in Buffy, actor James Marsters tells Daniel Cribb the show was terrifying to make at times and, ten years on, still plays a big part in his life.
James Marsters was born to play dark and brooding yet lovable characters on our TV screens, and even more perfect for the role of a vampire, as evident through his heart-winning performance as Spike in seminal cult hits Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, later going on to play a witch in Supernatural and warlock in Witches Of East End. “You have very great taste in vampires,” Marsters laughs.
Buffy and Angel wrapped up in ’03 and ’04 respectively, and the fact that Marsters and his co-stars are still under high demand at fan conventions around the world is testament to the legacy the show left behind. “It was a magic time. Everybody involved kind of knew it when we were doing it. It just gelled really nicely,” he reminisces. “It was sometimes frickin’ terrifying to make, but I think you don’t want to be safe. A lot of people poured their hearts into those episodes…Joss [Whedon, creator] was asking each of the writers to come up with their worst day: the day that they were humiliated; the day that they hurt somebody for no reason; the day that they regret; the day that keeps them up at night. And slap fangs on top of that, and tell the world.
“I think Buffy was like a good band, and it’s hard to pick it apart. It all worked really well. I think that the actors and the writers that Joss was surrounding himself with was just a hit.”
Speaking of bands, the role of a slick vampire isn’t too far from your classic rockstar vibe, so it’s no surprise Marsters also fronts rock band Ghost Of The Robot, who are working on their fourth album. “98% of the tracking is done, we’re just putting some sweetening on it, and we’ve got to mix it and get it out,” he tells. “I think it is a return to the more energetic music of our first album. Our first album was pretty raw. We did it fast and dirty, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that.”
It sounds like Marsters’ son, Charlie De Mars, may eventually nudge his way to frontman of the act. “I had to jump out of a European tour that we had this summer ‘cause I got acting work in Canada on a TV show. And I thought that I was going to just destroy the tour. My son was like, ‘Oh screw that, I’ll sing your songs.’”
Although three singers means less spotlight time, it’s a direction Marsters has wanted from the onset. “One of my favourite things about The Beatles was you never really knew who was singing. And, so when you listen to like a Beatles album, there’s always like a little bit of a surprise, even if it’s subconscious… I’m not saying that we’ll be as good as The Beatles, but I think that’s one of the things that I love about them. I like bands that have more than one lead singer; I think it makes for a more listenable album… My dream is finally being realised – we have three lead singers.”