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Interview with musician/actor Wester Joseph

by Greg Allard

Wester Joseph, of Wester Joseph’s Stereo Vudu fame, has a significant role in the new Billy Bob Thornton film Jayne Mansfield’s Car. I got a chance to talk to him about his role in the film, which comes out on September 13.

Hey Wester. Before we get started talking about the movie, could you tell us where you are from and how you wound up in Gainesville?

I was born in Miami, FL and raised in Naples. I came to Gainesville with my band Kitchens of Soul in the late 90’s. I’ve been in a lot of great music collaboration since then. I’ve been in a few indie films both in-front and behind the camera.  That’s why I liked Billy Bob’s style so much; it felt like we were making an indie film on a much grander scale.

How did you get the part in the movie?

I was contacted by Colonel Bruce Hampton a few weeks before filming started.  Billy Bob was very specific about having an actor that could really play guitar, and they hadn’t found the right guy yet.  Bruce told me some people would be calling about a movie role, and to “Just say yes!”

Cool—you certainly fit the bill. Tell us about your character.

I played Connell Lambert in the movie.  He is the grandson of Jim Caldwell’s (Robert Duvall) housekeeper.  He’s also Jim’s grandson’s (John Patrick Amedori) best friend and the bandleader for The Yeardley Buttons.  I actually played live for the band scene.  Everything was period except my Gibson, which we had to mod to 60’s specs.  Not many lefty guitars out there from that era!

I have to admit, I haven’t seen the movie yet but I really look forward to it. How was Billy Bob to work with?

He was a pleasure and the whole experience was a dream.  He had a directing style that made me feel completely at-ease and I hope I get the opportunity to work with him again.

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Is the movie coming to Gainesville, and if so when and where?

Jayne Mansfield’s Car is available now on Video On-Demand and it comes out in theaters September 13th.

I really liked your latest album. Do you have a follow-up planned?

There are a lot of ideas coming together for the new Stereo Vudu album.  I’ve been brushing up my kora skills and dabbling in some electro…so it should be pretty interesting!

Cool. Anything else on the docket?

I’m looking forward to exploring more acting opportunities and of course, playing my guitar wherever there’s a stage.

 

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