How lengthy does it take it to become an symbol in the Star Trek universe? for Kirk Thatcher, simply under two minutes. In 1986, the combine producer that Star Trek: The voyage Home do a rarely on-screen appearance together the orange-mohawked Punk on Bus, in i m sorry Spock gave him a Vulcan nerve pinch after ~ he refuse to turn down his boombox. If this memorable step made Thatcher a bold-faced name among Trek fans, it’s just one facet of a multi-decade career in prior of and behind the camera on together geek-friendly properties as Star Wars, Gremlins, Robocop, and The Muppets. Recently, caught up with Thatcher to find out about his memorable cameo and learn more about what he’s doing now.

You are watching: Name something you associate with punk music


Getty Images were you a Star Trek fan together a kid?

Kirk Thatcher: ns was! I preferred it as a show that looked at hardcore science-fiction tropes, mirroring our society and playing through the what-if. To me, scientific research fiction — and also fantasy, come some level — prize “what if” with various trajectories. Because that Christmas I got an Encyclopedia Britannica, and the following year I got a wildlife encyclopedia… my mom, to round the end my interests a bit, stated to me, “What if you try science fiction? books based on the ‘what if’ yet following a an ext science trajectory.” So climate I got hooked and also all I review was scientific research fiction and also the scientific research encyclopedia. And Star Trek just hit me between the eyes, because it was obviously to chat — it had pretty women in skimpy outfits and also cool principles of what aliens looked like — but much more importantly come me, the ideas of the (were appealing). I was primed to love Star Trek native the get-go, and I did!

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What was your career like before Star Trek?

KT: I thrived up in the mountain Fernando Valley, i m sorry was basically the bedroom ar of Hollywood. Everyone who was employed as a worker bee most likely lived in the Valley. I knew it to be a job. The wasn’t something excellent halfway approximately the world, whereby I experienced the resulting product however I didn’t know exactly how it happened.

I’d already been interested in one-of-a-kind effects and also sci-fi and fantasy prior to Star Wars came out, but when <A brand-new Hope> came out, I claimed “I wanna work on those movies.” Not only were lock doing it v a sense of fun, however the design, the aesthetic the it, was simply amazing, indigenous the creatures to the spaceships. I’d currently decided I wanted to job-related for Walt Disney Imagineering or job-related in the movie business. I happened to it is in fortunate enough to job-related down the street indigenous (Industrial light & Magic) whereby it was initially based in valve Nuys.

My mommy came home from church one day and said a lady from church had a kid who functioned on Star Wars. It to be Joe Johnston, that designed all the spaceships and also storyboarded the parts of the movie v the spaceships. Ns met Joe, he provided me a tour, we stayed friends v my high college years, and I told the “I want to work-related for friend guys.” i was super excited because I might ride mine bike come ILM, yet I was only 15. I kept in touch through him. ILM relocated to mountain Francisco, which was a bummer together we would say, since I couldn’t gain a summer project there.

After a year in ~ UCLA, I composed to Joe, said “I’d prefer to work-related there — I’ll move the floors there,” and he placed me on a perform of civilization to interview for the creature shop. I functioned on Return that the Jedi for a year and a half, make creatures — molding, casting, painting, puppeteering in a pair bits.

I worked on Star Trek: The Wrath the Khan, helping cast and paint the Ceti Eels, and on The find for Spock I worked on set for about a week, either puppeteering the bacteria worms that came out of Spock’s room coffin or the lizard dog, the Klingon pet the sat next to Christopher Lloyd’s chair in the Bird of Prey. There to be a hollow room under Christopher Lloyd’s chair, and I to be curled increase under there with a screen so I could see what ns was doing. I was simply keeping him alive and also making that look roughly — i didn’t want him to steal the scene.

After that, ns went back to UCLA come learn computer animation, since I figured the was going come take over the impacts business. While ns was there, Star Trek set up a manufacturing office because that The trip Home. Castle claimed “Leonard Nimoy is looking for an assistant that knows distinct effects and the film business.” What said when I interviewed through him was that he to be frustrated because he wanted someone ~ above his team — literally his man — come consult through him about the effects. Us hit it off. I acquired the project as his assistant, and when we began filming that said, “I wanted to do you associate director, yet the Director’s Guild won’t enable that. ‘Director’s Assistant’ sounds like you , and you’re an extremely much a an imaginative part the this. Would you mind if we referred to as you associate Producer?”

I claimed “are girlfriend kidding me? girlfriend could speak to me chief Chucklehead and I’d be happy!” I had a lift in effects and also design and production design and also all the points he want someone top top his team come know, but he didn’t desire to attend to the minutiae. Ns think he likewise felt overwhelmed, and also he said “I desire you come take treatment of all of that. If who asks what shade a Klingon’s beard need to be, girlfriend tell them.”


How did you get the duty of Punk ~ above Bus? to be you a punk fan?

KT: As a high college student ns loved punk music a lot. What i liked around punk to be not just the catharsis the jumping around and screaming and also going “I’m angry” — I also liked the joyful anarchy around it, specifically the sense of humor.

The manuscript came in with this punk scene. I felt just close sufficient to Leonard come say “hey, I’d choose to beat the punk,” ‘cause ns was, what, 23 — i was tho in that period range. I simply said to him, “I’d prefer to beat the punk,” and also he claimed “Reeeeeeally,” and I claimed “yeah! i think I’d do a an excellent job. I remained in a punk band. I recognize the music. I’ll acquire a mohawk.”

He said, “All right, allow me think about it.” i hadn’t badgered him about it due to the fact that I knew that would not go well. I functioned with the guy, I had actually to work with the male for one more year, so i wasn’t walking to come to be a pain in the neck. Around a main later, we had our chat to wind under the day, and also I was literally walking out the door, and also he stated “And one an ext thing...You have the right to do it.”

I said “wait, space you serious?” ns knew what that meant; I probably wasn’t that an excellent at covering. The said, “Yeah, yeah, and don’t disappointed me.” and also I claimed “Oh! No! Don’t worry! It’s gonna it is in great!”

I went down to Melrose , the big punk fashion district, and bought the earrings and also the dog collar and also the iron cross earring. And the cheap-ass animal leather jacket. The makeup I simply did through the makeup gals. I had my friend that did my hair when I to be a demi-punk bleach mine hair double to get it virtually white so the orange would certainly really present up, and also then she shaved the political parties the week before we shot, so I had an orange mohawk for about three months.

We shot that on the day on the actual golden Gate Bridge. I think we went up and also down around five come six hours of driving simply to acquire the step — not just me, but also him and Bill talking. We had to wait because we were only driving phibìc to Sausalito, so we might only shoot the two-and-a-half–minute drive and also then rotate around, come back, and start again. My take of the thing, ns think we did that in 2 runs. Mine might have to be the last scene .

All the camera tools was on the back of the bus. We had a joke about “aliens at the ago of the bus,” however that was the easiest place to pull all the seats because we had to pull the dolly and also the camera and also the rod in there. There to be no music on the boom box and also I was simply miming it and keeping a rhythm of “duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh”—some fast beat, learning what punk was like.

You additionally wrote the song that’s play on your boom box.

KT: we were in post-production and also the music department had actually said, “oh, we’ve acquired Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet because that the music,” and I stated “Oh Leonard, that’s not punk! You want the Dead Kennedys or the Sex Pistols.” The music guy said, “They’re walk to desire too much money because that one song, and also it’s not critical song.” So ns looked in ~ Leonard and also said “Dude, I’ll create the song! I understand what punk is!”

He said, “okay, show me what you’ve got,” and I wrote the lyrics out in 15-20 minutes. They involved me yes, really fast. I didn’t know just how to play an tool at the point, for this reason I claimed to mark Mangini, “Do you want to compose the music for this song?” He composed the guitar chords and played them. Three of the sound men were the musicians and I to be the vocalist. We recorded it in the hallway, therefore it sounded horrible.

Leonard came in to to listen to the whale sounds, so us played it because that him and also he was frowning and also looking slightly disgusted. When it was over that said, “Oh, it’s terrible, it’s awful.” I’m trying to figure out exactly how to save it, and he says “So it’s perfect!” that was his feeling of humor.


Where walk the band name Edge that Etiquette come from?

KT: It to be a joke, since my personality is type of garrulous and silly. I would say points in these production meetings come the head the the studio, just making a joke and keeping the light. someone said, “Man, you simply walked the leaf of etiquette.” therefore I placed that in the back of mine head, for this reason that once someone asked me “what do you want to speak to this ersatz band you threw with each other for the song?” ns said, “Oh, the sheet of Etiquette!”

More recently, you narrated an episode of Star Trek: brief Treks.

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KT: i played the Punk ~ above the Street in Spider-Man: far from Home. I’m in that for a rapid bit v the boombox. The was all Kevin Feige. He was a big Star Trek fan. Michael Giacchino, that scored JJ’s Star Trek movies, go the score for my Muppets magician of Oz movie and also we’ve been friends ever before since. He’s a huge Star Trek man with a feeling of humor. That was talking to me about his Star Trek short and was mirroring me the boards, and I was choose “Wow, this is great! It’s a love letter come the pan of The original Series.” and also he stated “Hey, would certainly you favor to execute the narration.” we played around and I went v a brother naturalist documentary voice. I tape-recorded a scrape track, and as the computer animation got finessed, I recorded it 2 or three times together a scratch track and then went in for the final recordings. That was one of the last points they to be doing. The Trek human being is a tiny world!

Kirk Thatcher is right now working ~ above two jobs that have to be released before the finish of the year.

Chelsea Spear (she/her) is a constant contributor come The arts Fuse and Crooked Marquee. She lives in Boston. You can uncover her on Twitter in ~