INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE FRIERSON
VOICE OF KEN: STREET FIGHTER II THE ANIMATED MOVIE
SFD: Hi Eddie! Thank you very much for spending some time with us. It is a great pleasure to be speaking with Mr. Ken Masters!
EDDIE: My pleasure. It's really fun for me and, I think, for all of us who have done (and continue to do) anime that there are so many fans out there who enjoy what we take for granted. Just talking for a living! HA!
SFD: Looking back almost 15 years, what was your audition like for the role of Ken in Street Fighter II The Animated Movie? Its been so long, do you even remember? *laughs*
EDDIE: It's really hard to go back that far. It's actually hard to believe it's been that long. In fact, many times (and STREET FIGHTER may have been one of them) I was just given the parts to play. I think Ken may have been one of those parts.
SFD: We asked a similar question to Skip (voice of Ryu); What type of character did you identify Ken as and what sort of personality did you try to emulate? We were also wondering why you didn't return as Ken in the other Street Fighter animes...
EDDIE: I identify Ken as a young stud. As I remember him, he's the blonde young stud. So I just did my usual young voice and tried to "buff him up" a bit. I think that the reason I didn't return as Ken was that at the time I became very busy, especially creating my Off-Broadway play, MATTY, and in the middle of all the STREET FIGHTER craze I had to be out of town quite a bit performing and eventually let the producers know that rather than worry about their deadlines for production that they should probably replace my voice for Ken with someone else ... and eventually that is what they did.
SFD: Do you have any hopes or plans on returning as Ken in a possible future Street Fighter Anime?
EDDIE: If I were to be asked I would gladly portray Ken again. Or any of my old anime characters. I think my favorite goes all the way back to my first --- Lynn Kyle in the old ROBOTECH series.
SFD: How would you compare yourself with the personality of Ken? Are you a rich, lady-casanova as well? *laughs*
EDDIE: I certainly like to think that fifteen years ago I was! *roaring laughter*
SFD: Do you personally think Ken is better than Ryu? *laughs* Have you and Skip ever gotten into a fight?
EDDIE: Skip and I are such great pals. He is about the world's greatest guy. But, yes, in jest I will ALWAYS be better than him and he will tell you otherwise. HA! It has been very fun in recent years because we always (long ago) knew who each other were; I was called in many times to do "pick-up lines" in shows only to get there and find that it was SKIP who they really needed. But since I was there I just emulated his voice so he wouldn't have to come in due to their booking mistake --- he's probably done me too! bBut we didn't really KNOW each other. In recent years, with other aspects of the voiceover realm, we became great pals and probably record and hang out a couple times a week (during the peak of the production season). ONE THING IS FOR SURE --- Skip plays the ukulele MUCH better than I do. He is a MASTER on the ukulele.
SFD:I can picture Ryu and Ken having a ukulele match! So, lets get to know the man behind Ken's voice. What are you currently working on?
EDDIE: I have been the voice of PETCO pet stores for almost nine years now and I continue to work in radio, television and in movies.
Eddie stars in the off-broadway play MATTY.
SFD: We noticed your voiced opened the movie "I AM LEGEND". What was that experience like and how did you get that role?
EDDIE: The experience was no different than any of the other movie or television gigs I've done --- and there have literally been thousands. What's fun was that the director liked the Cubs and so he wanted the opening of the movie to be like a couple of ESPN guys talking baseball ... I had the idea of just vamping (it's supposed to be 2008) on our "predictions" for the season and since BOTH Chicago teams were good in 2007 and BOTH New York teams were good last year as well, if we talked "Chicago-New York" it could be taken as either White Sox/Mets OR Cubs/Yankees and that would work in a 2008 scenario. I am also going to "open" the later-this-year "FLASH OF GENIUS". But I do lots of re-voicing, etc. in film and TV. I've kind of become the "go-to guy" whenever "play-by-play" of any sporting event is needed. The MOST FUN is in the movie THE ROOKIE. Late in the movie if you listen closely as Dennis Quaid is loosening up in the bullpen in "Durham" you will hear very clearly, "Your attention please ... now batting for the Bulls ... Number 38 ... Eddie Frierson!"
SFD: Can you say EASTER-EGG? *laughs* I'll check that out this weekend! So what are some of your hobbies and interests?
EDDIE: I love baseball. I coached for many years at Santa Monica High School before I became too busy to be there every afternoon. I miss motivating kids to reach their best every day. But I still work with youth groups when I can and enjoy being outside and active. And I continue to perform MATTY all over the country.
SFD: Ryu and Ken are known as best friends. I guess from what you said earlier in the interview, you and Skip are good friends now?
EDDIE: I think you could safely call Skip and I, GREAT FRIENDS! Although when we did those voices we hardly knew each other.
SFD: That's just awesome. I really want to introduce you to my buddy Keith who does the voice of Akuma. That would be a wild party! Can you provide some aspiring words for fans who want to become voice actors?
EDDIE: It's a tough circle to crack into. I was lucky years ago to meet some wonderful people who just led me the right way. Just work hard, don't get discouraged when doors close because another will open. And if they don't, I personally love the advice that Christy Mathewson gave to kids back in 1912: "If you can't make the big league, give it up. Try another game. Don't spend the best years of your life in ANY minor league. Find a vocation that makes you happy, one in which you can make an honest living for yourself --- but most importantly, one in which you can meet many kind and true friends. Money doens't make our greatest happiness or most enduring success in this life. Family and friendship may."
SFD: Fantastic! Once again, thank you very much for having this exclusive Q&A with us. On behalf of Team SFD, good luck on your current and future careers!
EDDIE: Again, my pleasure. I hope to meet the folks who enjoy this interview in person some day!