INTERVIEW: James Marsters

Published in The Music (NSW) and on, Jun 2016


Dealing With The World Through Ageless Themes And Coffee

Hopped up on caffeine and ready to conquer the world, Buffy favourite James Marsters tells Daniel Cribb how your worst day could turn into your best.

It can be easy for an actor to get typecast when scoring a career-defining role, much in the same way a band can be pigeonholed after the release of a major hit. But, in April of this year, two entities that have had such success proved they’re so much more than the major hits they’re widely known for. At Santa Barbara’s Velvet Jones, Ghost Of The Robot – fronted by James Marsters of Buffy fame – supported long-running pop-punk icons Nerf Herder, the seminal ‘90s band responsible for the show’s theme. It’s a song they didn’t play, regardless of the line-up – a bill where the support act proved Marsters’ skillset and career expand far beyond that of Spike.

“They didn’t do [the theme]! Well, they didn’t do it that show. They were doing an album launch, so they were concentrating on doing an album launch. I was waiting for that, but they didn’t do it,” Marsters tells from his LA residence.

“I’m sitting out here by my pool, in the sunset, the birds are singing, coffee’s still working; I’m going well. I’m drinking coffee at six o’clock in the evening so, that’s my problem,” he laughs.

“Every culture that has adopted coffee as a main drink has taken over the world,” he quickly adds. If it’s the drink of choice for world domination, then it’s not surprising that Marsters is sacrificing an early night for the buzz; not that he likely has much time for sleep with the schedule he keeps.

After seven years on cult series Buffy and six on spin-off Angel, Marsters went to star in a number of other hits, including Torchwood, Smallville, Witches Of East End, the results of which have made him a fan favourite at conventions around the world and a regular at events like Supanova, to which he’ll return this June and no doubt unveil more vampire secrets. “The secret that a lot of people don’t know about the [Buffy] scripts is that [creator] Joss Whedon was asking these writers to come up with their worst day; the day they don’t tell anyone about, the day that they’re ashamed of, their dark secret day and slap fangs on top of that secret and tell the whole world.

“The execution of the writing was really good. I think it had a really good theme, which is how do you deal with the world, especially through your teen years, but it was so good that it became important for people who are even in middle age. It’s basically saying don’t give up – the world’s not perfect, but don’t give up.”

In between world tours, he’s been busy producing new music with Ghost Of The Robot and working on other filmed projects. “We’re working on our fourth album, and it’s going to be a double album, so there’s a lot of work to do. I’m also in the very early stages of adapting Macbeth for screen – it’s not going to be a verse, it’s going to be in modern language, but it’s a very exciting project.”