Give That Man a Cigar: Talking With New Dad and Sleepaway Camp Veteran Jonathan Tiersten by Owen Keehnen

Great news. Racks and Razors is happy to report Jonathan Tiersten (Ricky in 'Sleepaway Camp') became a proud new dad on May 9th. All best wishes to the entire Tiersten family.

'Sleepaway Camp' (1983) is a true classic of the slasher genre and seventeen-year-old Jonathan Tiersten as Ricky made a solid impression as the male heartthrob of the movie.
He followed 'Sleepaway Camp' with several other roles including his work as Jason in the afterschool special 'Seasonal Differences' (1987) as well as a part on the daytime soap opera 'Another World'.
However, soon after that he retired from acting to devote his full time and attention to his first love - music.
It was only recently that (much to the delight of fans) Jonathan came out of film retirement to star in the newest installment of the 'Sleepaway Camp' film series, 'Return to Sleepaway Camp' (2007) with Felissa Rose and Isaac Hayes. In addition - his new band Ten Tiers has a new CD coming June 2nd.

Recently, the new dad was nice enough to give us a few moments of his time.


Hey Jonathan - Let's start off this interview with a visual. Can you give me a description of the room where you're answering these questions?

Well the room I am sitting in is my office in my house in Colorado. I am staring at my one-acre backyard and Horsetooth Mountain. It is pretty nice

Most horror fans will remember you as Ricky from the original 'Sleepaway Camp'. What's the most vivid memory you have of working on that slasher classic?

My most vivid memory of playing Ricky was the first time I walked down those stairs in Aunt Martha's house and realized this was really happening.

And is it true that in the film the killer's hands were your own...and if so why did they use yours?

Because Felissa has hands like a girl. She is the most feminine woman I know. I think that added to the mystique.

Any other secrets or tidbits from the movie you would care to share with the voracious SC fans?

Felissa and I did have an off screen romance. We laugh about it today. Billy is gay. Shocker!

So, I imagine it as a lot of New York teen actors at camp filming a horror what made it very much like real summer camp and what made it not summer camp at all?

It was like summer camp because we ate in the cafeteria. There were lots of kids behaving badly and having a great time. It wasn't like summer camp because we had a job to do and we didn't get treated like shit by the counselors.

And you recently returned to movies in the fourth installment of the series...What was it like to return to the acting fold and to return in a role you did 20 years ago?

So bizarre! Robert Hiltzik (director, writer) and I picked up right where we left off. I was there for five weeks, not because my role was as big, but because Robert felt I helped create the true Sleepaway Camp vibe.

Give me three words to describe Felissa Rose.

Beautiful, funny, honest

I also know you've done a few conventions - Fango Con to name a side note - what is the strangest thing a fan has ever asked you?

I was at a CKY concert and a girl asked me to sign her breast. I did it of course.

However your real love seems to be music and your band Bambi's Apartment. How would you describe your music and where can we get it?

Actually my new band is called Ten Tiers (Tiersten backwards). I work with many different musicians. I am the only constant. The new CD is coming out on June 2. We were just nominated for Westword Music Awards. To vote for us go to Vote for Ten Tiers. You can also check us out at or . My music has been described as a blend of Cat Stevens and David Bowie. I can sing like a Motherf-ker.

What is different about the thrill of music vs. the thrill of acting?

Music kicks ass and you get that immediate gratification. Acting is totally different. The thrill is watching yourself after you have immersed yourself in the character.

Okay, it's movie night at 'Sleepaway Camp' and you're manning the projector -- what three horror films are you going to be showing and what goodies will the kitchen be cooking up?

The Exorcist, The Omen, and Psycho. Spaghetti with meatballs, sausage and lots of garlic.

What makes you go psycho in real life?

Stupid people. You can ask Felissa. I have no patience. I also hate living in the past. It's cool to look back on things you have done, but I am redefining myself everyday.

What scares you in real life?

Becoming a father, which I just did. I guess I am also a little scared of being ignored. I think a lot of actors and musicians have that one. I love Horror movies, but they don't generally scare me.