Kirk Jones a.k.a Sticky Fingaz exploded onto the music scene in 1993 as part of the hip hop group ONYX. Their classic hit single, ‘Slam’ established Sticky as a prominent figure in the Hip-hop community. In addition to being a platinum selling artist Mr. Jones is also a veteran actor. Having appeared in over 60 film and television roles in a career spanning almost twenty years. In 2006 he played the Marvel Comics character ‘Blade’ in a TV series that ran on the SPIKE Network. Most recently Sticky wrote, directed and starred in ‘A Day In the Life’, the first film told entirely through rhyming dialogue.
Jason: You’ve recently made your directorial debut with the film ‘A Day in the Life’, which you also wrote and stared in. Was taking on three distinct jobs a difficult experience?
Sticky: No it wasn’t difficult at all. It was fun, actually. All the actors were fantastic. I had a great team working with me. They pulled everything together. That was probably the most challenging part; trying to pool all that talent, organizing everyone’s schedules.
J: The film has a very high profile cast of actors Mekhi Phifer, Omar Epps, Michael Rappaport, Bokeem Woodbine and many others. How were you able to assemble such a talented cast?
SF: I’d say 85% was through personal relationships, I’ve know a lot of these guys for many years. Which meant I didn’t have to deal with agents or managers, I reached out to each actor directly. Some of the cast I didn’t know, like Clarence Williams III. So, I contacted him, showed him some footage; he thought it was great and jumped on board.
J: You wrote the entire script in rhyming dialogue. Is it easier to tell a story through rhymes than writing a traditional narrative screenplay?
SF: I wouldn’t say it’s easier than writing a normal script. But it’s easier than writing a normal rhyme, it’s more fluent. For the film I’ll write from the top of the page to the bottom. Whereas a song is like putting together a puzzle. I may have a line from a year ago that gets inserted into a song because it works. I’ve completed production on my second film ‘Caught on Tape‘, again it’s told entirely through rhymes. It’s not a sequel to ‘Life’ though. It’s a different story with an entirely new cast.
J: Do you plan to continue directing? Would you consider directing a project that didn’t feature you?
SF: Right now I’m directing a kids show that I’ve created titled ‘Smarty Pantz’. So far I’m not in it, currently its just a cast of wild kids from age 8-13. Again, the t.v. show will be done entirely in ‘rap’ as well.
J: What made you decide to get involved with kids’ TV?
SF: I’m trying to expand into the children’s market. We can’t leave them out of the loop. I made the first of it’s kind ‘rap movie’. It’s a R-rated film for adults, so I figured the kids need something too.
J: Throughout your 20 year acting career, you’ve played dramatic characters, action superheroes and highly comedic roles. Is one genre easier than the other, as an actor?
SF: No it’s the same difference. For instance, Robert De Niro basically plays the same person in every movie, so does Denzel. They are portraying an exaggerated version of themselves in a particular situation. So, I got a lot of drama in my life to draw on for inspiration and I’m also a very comical person.I love practical jokes and pranks. Both drama and comedy come easy for me. I just haven’t tapped into that ‘romance’ genre yet.
J: You landed the title role in the short-lived SPIKE television show, ‘BLADE: The Series’. Were you excited to be able to play that MARVEL character?
SF: It was a dream come true. I’m a big comic-book fan. I’ve been reading comics for the majority of my life. and I always felt I was a little bit different, superhero-ish or alien-ish. So playing ‘BLADE’ was an incredible experience.
J: Do you think that if SPIKE TV wasn’t in its infancy at the time, the show would have gone on for longer?
SF: Even though it was a young network at the time, I think they should have thrown their balls against the wall and kept the show going. If you look at a ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’, that show didn’t get hot until after its second season. The first season had small ratings . At the time of its premiere ‘Blade:The Series‘ broke SPIKE’s ratings record. It was doing well. They should have stuck with it and bye the third season, they would have had a smash hit on their hands. It is what it is. I give them credit for at least trying it for one season. I’ll never take anything away from SPIKE, it’s an incredible network.
J: Over the summer Onyx played in Europe. Do you have plans to continue touring?
SF: Matter of fact we got another tour coming up in mid-November. We’re going to the Ukraine and Russia, all these place we’ve visited before. It feels like we’ve been on tour for the last ten years. Every other month we going here and there. I’ve traveled the world over, like five times.
J: Do you find it a struggle to balance an acting and musical career?
SF: There’s no such thing as doing one thing. In order to be successful, you’ve got to be doing a multitude of things. The big question people always ask is, “What do you like better, film or music?”. Since I can’t decide between the two, the movies I’ve made are ‘musical’ movies. I just put the two together.
J: I love the name of your Production company ‘Major Independent’. Can you tell us about it?
SF: When I trademarked the name, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t taken yet. The universe just left that name waiting for me. It’s fitting cause we’re doing major things on an independent level.
J: Who have been an influence to you in both the music and film worlds?
SF: Influences change, artists come and go. It’s the same in the movie world. When we first started in the early 1990’s one of my biggest inspirations was Slick Rick, definitely RUN DMC. Currently I like my peers, Jay-z and Eminem. I think everybody brings a little something to the game. I’m not really into ‘southern’ rap, but they bring an element to the game as well. Initially I didn’t have an actor I was looking up to or anything. Of course Mr. $20 million a pic Will Smith was an influence, more recently the person who’s career I’m watching is Ice Cube. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps. He’s got a production company and does action, comedy and drama films. Now I’m going into the ‘kids’ world, he’s been there. I’m just really liking what he’s doing.
J: As an audience member are you a fan of any one genera over another?
SF: My favorite is action and I also love comedies. Horror isn’t my thing, although I love the ‘Saw‘ movies.
J: What can we expect from Sticky Fingaz in the next year?
SF: We are about to release the new Onyx album titled ‘Black Rock‘. It’s a collaboration of Hip-Hop and Rock’ n Roll. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my as yet untitled solo album. Then me and Fredro Starr have an album coming out called ‘Cousinz‘, cause we cousins. That project’s got a underground 90’s Hip-Hop feel to it.