A couple weeks ago, Nickelodeon released what will be one of the final Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles DVDs (shy of complete season releases) as the series comes to a close this year. The Wanted: Bebop & Rocksteady release is four episodes featuring everyone's favorite henchmen duo and a surprise crossover of the original '80s Ninja Turtles as they attempt to stop Shredder, Krang, and more in one of the most epic Turtles adventures yet. Included on the DVD is the exclusive music video for "Ice Cream Kitty", a song written by Greg Cipes (the voice of Mikey). Today we chat with Cipes himself about the series, the music video, the DVD and more!
BC: How has it been for you to work on this series the past few years?
GC: One of the greatest gifts I've ever received in my life. I grew up watching the Ninja Turtles, it was my favorite show as a boy, and Michelangelo was my favorite character. It got me into meditation, martial arts, and probably ten or more Ninja Turtles birthday parties. Every Halloween I'd dress up as Michelangelo. So to bring this most recent Ninja Turtles to the world is a blessing and a big responsibility, so being Nickelodeon's Mikey has just been awesome. Such a good gift and so much fun, and my Mikey will live on forever as the best Mikey.
What do you believe has kept TMNT so popular over the years and across a couple generations now?
There have been other shows and incarnations, but it my eyes, this is the real second-coming of the Turtles. What I mean by that is people who grew up with the Turtles throughout the '80s and '90s had kids, and they love to watch it with their kids now. So our show is kinda for the kids and the parents. That's why I think it's become this big as we have double the audience now from parents and their kids.
What were your particular thoughts on the story for this DVD and the throwback theme throughout?
The DVD is cool because it's Bebop and Rocksteady, and they're fun characters. The fun thing about the DVD is the Ice Cream Kitty music video, which is a song I wrote and produced and sang and produced with my friend DJ Hymm. And it's literally my favorite song I've ever written. Rie Koga took on personally to direct the music video and we had special care taken with the animation of the video. It's next level, they took out all the stops and made it so beautiful. A lot of animators on the team worked on it and it's a really special thing to have been a part of. It's cool the whole DVD's about Rocksteady and Bebop and seeing them on four episodes, they're really special and fun characters. And again Ice Cream Kitty is one of these new and special characters to show up and have fun and be weird. He's Mikey's best friend so it's cool to show some love to the kitty in a big way.
What led to the idea of doing a music video for Ice Cream Kitty?
Well, I write and produce a lot of music for cartoons, so I basically took it upon myself to write songs and produce them and pitch them to the different shows that I'm on. I actually wrote and produced a whole album singing as Mikey with DJ Hymm, we produced a batch of songs and pitched it to Nickelodeon, and they loved it and choose "Ice Cream Kitty" as the first song to be released and have a music video put around it. I got lucky enough to have it put on the DVD. They went way over budget to make the music video but I'm happy they did because I think it looks amazing. It looks nice, a very special way to put the ice cream on the cake for the last season of our show, which is very sad. It was nice to have them honor me as a musician and to feature my song, which was very special.
It has gotta be really awesome to see this thing you create on a whim become such a grand idea.
Yeah! It's also special because we've done some promotion for it. At San Diego Comic-Con, we did an ice cream cart where we went around and played the song and gave away free ice cream and promoted the DVD coming out. We've got a lot more of that planned for the big NASCAR event coming up where we're going to be promoting the DVD there and doing some more ice cream giveaways.
I know you already work with some of the old-school cast, but how was it getting everyone back together in a sense and putting this show together?
It's really cool. I think that's one of the special things about Turtles is that the different incarnations kinda get to coexist together in one big Turtledome. When I first got the role I was lucky enough to hang out and meet with Kevin Eastman, one of the creators of the Ninja Turtles. And he was like "Oh my gosh, you're Mikey, you're the real-life Mikey!" So as much as I like to think I'm the real life Mikey, there have been some other Mikey's who have done a great job, and the cartoon I grew up watching obviously inspired me. So it's always cool to work with the old-school 1980's Turtles, but still in my mind, I'm the only Mikey. Haha!
The show is slowly approaching the end of its fifth season. What are your thoughts on watching it conclude after five years and move onto a new series?
I think it's very sad, only because it's been such a fun and beautiful experience working with my cast. Seth Green is one of the most talented and funny dudes ever, and Sean Astin is a really talented dude, Rob Paulsen is amazing—just the whole cast, Mae Whitman and Josh Peck, the whole family! It's just sad we won't be working together every week on the show ever again. As far as anything new, I don't know about it other than I know I'm going to continue to do my version of Michelangelo in more and more things to come. I'm doing more Mikey stuff like I'm recording new stuff for the taxi services in New York. I'm happy my personal version of Mikey gets to live on and we'll get to do some more stuff with the rest of the cast. And much like the old-school Turtles showed up on our show, I got the feeling that our Turtles are going to show up forever also, and maybe coming back as a series again as our Turtles is the best-looking version that's ever been and the best one. And I'm not saying that because I'm in it, but because it is so.
Are there any plans for you to be involved with the next incarnation or are you looking to move on after this show?
Well, of course, it's a very difficult thing for me to let go of. To consider seeing someone else playing Mikey is very hard for me. So my wishes are to have continued to play Mikey forever in every incarnation. That's not up to me, but that's been my wish. But there's so many incarnations that I don't know if that's possible for me to do them all, but I wanna. But whatever Nickelodeon wants me to do or to be a part of for the voice, of course, I'm down to be a part of it. I'm always going to support the Turtle franchise and I'm always going to be a part of the Turtle family. So that's the best part of it, knowing that my Mikey will always live on regardless. If they want me to do something else, I'm down to do that too.