Corey Feldman. A punchline to most, a tragic child actor to many, and surprisingly a pop culture mainstay to all. Love him or leave him, his perseverance throughout his 40-year career on stage (his first role was a musical opposite Dick Van Dyke), in film (Gremlins, Goonies, The Burbs), sitcoms, music, and as of late reality television, is impressive. Where his contemporaries, casualties of celebrity, have either passed or disappeared, Feldman is an ’80s Tiger Beat centerfold and summer blockbuster icon who refuses to die.
In 2017, he’s on a comeback with the ambitious Angelic 2 the Core, which is the first of his six (yes, six) albums to even scratch the Billboard charts. The double album is a heady mix or Dante-inspired parables and 2 Live Crew double entendres, in the same way a ICP record is like James Joyce. But you can’t help but be entertained by the GarageBand EDM and the equally sincere—Thriller-aiming—pop of its creator.
At its length, Feldman contends that the album is a self-indulgent, “self-reflection,” of a career gone post-ironic—a world where Snoop Dogg makes a quick, uninspired cameo, and Fred Durst sleeps on the floor of Feldman’s living room for his closest close-up in a decade. I’d owe you a drink if you could sit through the entirety.
Before we spoke I was already prepared to laugh along. Polite conversation revealed Feldman as a deeply likeable, and extra Zen figure—now fiercely independent of the Hollywood that shattered him, and the Hollyweird that he is somewhat blurry about. Unfortunately for Feldman, that’s the Corey we know the best. I grew up with this—who can forget him confronting Jason with a shaved head in Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter, or his role as Teddy Duchamp in Stand By Me? In being his microphone for 30 minutes, though he rambled on both humble and delusional, I learned a lot…
No matter what you do as an artist you are always a relevant part of pop culture. Why do you think that is?
My god, I can’t tell you. If I had the answer to that I’d be the wisest and richest man on Earth. I guess some people have enigmatic personalities that people become fascinated with. It’s a very strange thing, celebrity. Who can really understand it? Obviously I’ve been given many gifts and talents since I was a kid. I didn’t really know about them or even nourish them until later in life. It’s hard to dissect God’s blueprint. You just have to roll with it and see what happens.
I feel like I grew up with you and your movies, and my absolute favorite role of yours is Citizen Toxie: Toxic Avenger IV. Do you have any specific memories making that one?
I wasn’t in that movie.
Yes you were. You were played the gynecologist.
That’s not true. Look at the credits. There’s a guy in it that looks remarkably like me. [Feldman was in the film, credited as Kinky Finkelstein].
So then, what is your favorite film of your career?
You wouldn’t know it, but it was a little, strange, odd film from 2005 called The Birthday. It was never released in America. It was shot in Spain, it was an all-Spanish cast and crew. The director was a visionary; he gave me a character that was a far reach from my real character. It’s a wild ride, very David Lynch-esque. It’s out there.
Your new album is pretty conceptual. What’s the message or the story that threads Angelic 2 the Core?
It’s a bit tongue-and-cheek, but the overall message is that we are living in a very dark time on Earth, and there’s a serious divide, almost in a Biblical sense, between good and evil, heaven and hell. I created this Corey’s Angels as a way to kind of fix things from my past by helping women achieve their dreams and goals so they don’t have to travel down less prideful roads. It’s to show that at the end of day, and I’ve had a hard life, that if you follow your dreams and chase after them you can get out of whatever hell you’re in—you can still come out on the other side. The Angels have been a stepping stone for me, to elevate me to another level. It’s a lot about me, but it speaks to many people. I think the reason it’s doing so well is because people can relate to the message, which is one of hope. Even though people know me and I have iconic Hollywood status, I’m still somewhat of an underdog.
It’s well known that you had a close relationship with Michael Jackson. Is there anything he taught you specifically about making music? A piece of advice you’ve kept with you?
There were so many things. I remember asking him if it was easier to sing on an empty stomach rather than a full stomach and he said that was true. So now I don’t eat before I sing. On a bigger scale, he taught me how to treat the fans and stay humble. I was a sponge. I would sit in the studio with him, watching him on the boards. He was the best mentor to have and the driving force behind why I still do music and never give up. I played my first single “What’s Up with the Youth?” for him in his car in 1991; he thought it was incredible. He wanted to walk the tape into Tommy Mottola and make it a number one hit. But I said thank you and I couldn’t accept that. I didn’t want to be the kid who was Michael Jackson’s protégée. I didn’t want that single to be a hit because Michael grandfathered it. I wanted to show the world that I could make it on my own. And here we are—I did it.
Last question because I don’t want to keep you long. Which is worse for a Hollywood actor: drug addiction or Scientology?
All of the above. It’s all a drug at the end of the day. If you’re not using good, old-fashioned spirituality and God, then it’s some kind of an addiction. There’s a lot of darkness in Hollywood which runs the business, I believe. There’s a very strong and eminent dark force that controls things and the only way to combat it is what I’m doing, which is not taking their money, not signing up for the corporate game-changing stuff, keeping my head down, and being careful where I get my finances.
Corey Feldman and his Angels will be playing the A&R Bar on July 9. Visit coreyfeldman.net for music and more information.