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An Interview with Evan Ginzburg, Producer of Tiger Khan - Fire in the Blood

by Dale Pierce

November 2008

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1. For those who did not know him, who was Tiger Khan?

 

Tiger Khan was a world class indie wrestler who toured everywhere from the Mid-East to Europe to a year or so run in Calgary with the Harts. He was also a very kind, introspective person interested in motivational speakers and such - always looking to improve himself and follow his dreams. He was well read and a seeker of knowledge. I once brought him down to MTV for a tryout on a show when they were looking for a wrestler and they said, “You don’t sound like a wrestler.” Ironic.

 

2. What was your involvement with him?

 

One of my closest friends. I met him while doing play by play and publicity for a local NYC indie group, UCW.

 

3. What was your involvement with the movie just released?

 

I am co-producer. I also promoted the Tiger Khan Memorial Show along with Mambo King and Total Mayhem Pro Wrestling, which got us all his friends and much of his family in one place which enabled us to get much of the interview material and wrestling footage we needed to do the film right.

 

4. Is this the first film you ever dealt with?

 

No, I’m associate producer of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke and have a speaking part in it and appear in the trailer with him. I’ve also been in several documentaries and am currently working on Alive Again - the story of singer Theresa Sareo who lost her leg as a result of someone drinking and driving. She talks to soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who are also not the same as they once were; it’s powerful.

 

5. Do you have more products of this nature planned?

 

I’d actually like to break away from wrestling projects which is why I’m doing the Sareo documentary. Same thing with Legends Radio which I host - we’ll get 3-6 guests a show and they’re not just wrestling.

 

6. You have edited the Wrestling Then & Now newsletter for many years. Tell people about it.

 

It’s an old school zine. Primitive graphics, but a lot of heart. We talk primarily about the wrestling of old, before McMahon turned it into the circus it is today. Interview legends. Rare clips. Do memorial issues when friends like Kowalski pass. That sort of thing. We also cover today’s indies as they deserve - at least in some cases - our support.

 

7. You prefer older styled wrestling as opposed to the modern times?

 

Dory Funk vs Jack Brisco and Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair was art. Today’s wrestling for the most part is geared to appeal to the lowest common denominator. When you watch a TNA wrestling show there’s MAYBE 30 minutes of actual wrestling. WWE’s along the same lines. It’s predominantly bad comedy, skits, promos with stilted dialogue, endless commercials, and mostly models posed as lady wrestlers. Hell, I grew up on Moolah - she was a wrestler - nobody would mistake her for a pin-up. So I’d rather invest those 2 hours in one of my projects or watching a good movie than the wrestling of today.

 

8. What has the fan reaction been to the film thus far?

 

Very emotional. I loved the guy like a little brother, but we wanted to show how “the wrestling lifestyle” did him in. We didn’t whitewash it. We did a Q&A and people didn’t leave the theater until midnight so that was a good sign that people cared so passionately about it.

 

9. Have you thought to cross market it to other areas or strictly to the wrestling fans?

 

Cross-market it. We get into the whole steroids in sports/wrestling debate. We want as many people as possible to see it. If it’s just Tiger’s fans/friends/family it won’t accomplish what we want - not just creating art, but scaring the hell out of some kid who is considering sticking a needle in his ass. Tiger thought he could “cycle on, cycle off.” And he went to sleep at 33 and didn’t wake up.

 

10. What are some of your memories while making this film?

 

To the day I die I’ll never forget his mother walking into the dressing room and the wrestlers literally making a line to hug, kiss and console her. Guys were crying. It was devastating. And guys like Eric Adamz and Ruffy Silverstein going to great lengths and expense to be on the show because it meant so much to them. Class all the way.

 

11. Several writers have commented on the alarmingly high death rate among wrestlers in the past few years. To what do you attribute this?

 

Steroids, recreational drugs, alcohol abuse, etc. The wrestling lifestyle if you will. You don’t have to be a doctor to figure it out. 150 or so since the 90s and one was among my closest friends. You can’t even imagine the pain it causes so many people. To the average person, a pro wrestler is like a comic book character and the exaggerated bodies probably don’t help dispel that image. But I know any one of these good looking corpses was someone’s son, friend, husband, father, brother, etc. The pain is just unbearable.

 

12. Do you think the case is valid about so many wrestlers dying or is it just chance and blown out of proportion?

 

The numbers don’t lie. 150 or so. Just watch an old video or Madison Square Garden Classic and there’s a whole lot of dead guys there entertaining you.

 

13. How might Tiger's destiny have changed if he really made the big time, like say the WWE?

 

I can’t imagine it being much different. He told me many times he felt he had to be big to make it there.

 

14. You also run a radio show?

 

Legends Radio every Sunday 7-9PM EST on www.legendsradio.net and www.wrestling-radio.com.  Archived 24/7 at these sites and featuring some of the biggest names in not only wrestling but the arts.

 

15. Your business also includes representing or booking several people for appearances at autograph fests and the like?

 

Yes, I book Lanny Poffo, Jimmy & Johnny Valiant, Nikolai Volkoff, Nicole Bass, various musicians and other top acts.

 

16. Do you still represent the old porn star, Seka?


Yes, and we’re finishing her autobiography as well. Amazing story.

 

17. Anything you would like to share about your work or experiences that we missed?

 

I’m very excited about the positive buzz on Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and am honored to have been so involved with the project. He turned indie wrestling into art with the film and you may never see a better performance than Mickey’s. And he got much respect from the wrestlers as well as Afa did a great job training him. Check it out Dec. 17 when it opens.

 

18 Where might people contact you?


Visit www.evanginzburg.com, www.wrestlingthenandnow.com and www.legendsradio.net and drop me an e-mail.

 

19 Closing comments?

 

Create art. Follow your dreams. There’s more to life than that 9 to 5 which 84% of Americans hate. Or just sitting in front of that large screen TV. When you’re out there amazing things happen and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world.

 

 

© by Dale Pierce


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