I was extremely lucky to get a press pass to Wizard World this year for Baewatch. This is the first of about five posts being released of my coverage for the Comic Con so please read on, and enjoy!
Sam Palliado, starring as Gunner on TV’s Nashville, made his first official appearance at Wizard World this year and I had the chance to talk with him about his documentary on the BBC Network. Sam was the ONLY celebrity at Wizard World who didn’t charge for autographs or pictures. He also came without an assistant or publicist, just a friend from the show and a spiderman mask that he wore around before his meet and greet. “I got to wander around for about 3 hours wearing it,” he explained to me. “And no one knew who I was. It was funny.” He was completely down to earth and without pretenses. Sam’s original Q&A was cut in order for him to interact personally with all the fans. I took it as an opportunity to a) meet him because he’s insanely talented (plus pretty gorgeous) b) ask him about the documentary, which I found fascinating and c) get in a little impromptu interview for Baewatch.
A few weeks ago Sam traveled down to my hometown, Memphis, TN to record at the famed Sun Studios. “I was going there for the 60th anniversary of Elvis’s first recording at Sun Studios,” he told me. “It was the first place Elvis had ever cut a song and we got to record in the exact room he did, to the day.” The music session was then streamed on BBC Radio 2, which is still up on their iPlayer, and the documentary is now on YouTube. “I really like Memphis,” he said. “We went to Graceland after Sun Studios and recorded more of the documentary there.” I asked him what he thought of Memphis, as the city can be a vast geography of poverty, urban culture, and old money. “You know, Memphis has it’s funky parts,” he laughed. “But I really enjoyed it. Graceland is an extremely interesting place, and I had never been there before. Memphis itself has a lot of history in the city, which isn’t always given credit.”
The documentary finds Sam tracing Elvis’s history from humble beginnings in Mississippi to his first step into the studio at Sun. It is an incredible honor, and seemingly perfect for the star of Nashville. Sam regularly plays at the Grand Ole Opry, and even though he is from the UK he has an abundant amount of respect and love for the South. “I am wildly influenced by American music and culture,” Sam says in the documentary. “I love Elvis’s music and style.”
“It was extremely exciting working with the BBC,” he later said when I met him. Sam looked especially cute and spiffy in his all-black ensemble including his leather jacket and black tie. When I told him this he laughed and said, “You think so? I wanted to look really nice for my first Wizard World!” Then he said rather humbly, “I’m just happy people came and wanted to meet me. I’m surprised, really.”
I saw Sam later, this time wearing a Batman mask as he was looking at some of the art work. He turned around and gave me a big grin, waved and then went off into the convention. A true gentleman, and also one of the nicest people I had the pleasure of talking with over the weekend.