Dieter Zimmerman doesn’t want to go as far as calling it type-casting, but he does admit there are advantages to playing the Drunk half of Drunk & Sailor, a singing and festivities leading duo on the Ren Faire circuit. “It’s not out of character for me to take naps and drink beer,” he admits.
As for how he came to be paid to do it, there are two things you need to understand about Dieter.
- He has a knack for getting paid to do all sorts of geeky things. He has worked as a computer repair guy, he’s worked in a book store, he’s been paid to write RPGs. He’s even been paid to play RPGs and other games. So, it makes sense that he is now paid to have fun at Renaissance Festivals while dressing up as a drunk pirate and singing old-timey songs. That’s a geek hat trick, friends. The only gap in his street-cred as a “semi-professional geek”? Writing a comic book. He’s got that on his bucket list.
- Dieter moves. He moves a lot. After a brief stint performing in cast at Renaissance Festivals in Iowa City, he moved to Wisconsin, then Indianapolis. There, he began to feel the itch…the itch to perform. He noticed an online ad for a Faire in Kentucky. The distance made him skeptical at first. It took a pep talk from his mom to spur him into action. “Well,” she said warmly, “It’s not like you’re doing anything with your weekends anyway.” (As you may be able to tell, the Zimmermans are German. They have a way of being supportive that may look foreign to some).
It was in Kentucky that Dieter met Bob Watters. Dieter was playing the town drunk and Bob the pirate captain. From there, assisted by some connections Dieter had to Phoenix Swords in Massachusetts and a random impulse to pick up a guitar a start playing on empty stage, Dieter and Bob became Phillip McGuinness and Capt Amos, otherwise known as Drunk & Sailor.
I asked if they have any plans to make a cd and discovered their second one was just released a few days back.* If you are interested in seeing what they are all about, visit their hugely successful Facebook page.
Our interview was heavily interrupted by general catching up and off topic conversations, one of which helped me understand why D & S are so popular. While discussing writers and actors who seem genuinely to be fans of the type of work they do, whether it is their actual work or not, Dieter said, “That’s how we feel too. We don’t want to entertain the party. We want to be part of the party.” When entertainers are happy to be there, you can tell. These two are happy to be there.
When asked, “What are you geeking out about right now? What are you so excited to tell people about you just want to burst?”
Dieter replied, with no hesitation: “Oh, Game of Thrones. The books, the TV show, the card game. All things Game of Thrones.” Apparently this card game is a “living card game”…I’m not sure what that means, but Dieter can probably explain it in the comments. He did liken it to Magic the Gathering, but said you buy decks knowing exactly what is in them rather than getting random cards.**
He also is test-playing Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, for all you super geeks out there and says it is the most exciting thing for him right now in that realm. It is due for release in November.
When asked, “Have you noticed that women at Ren Faires have really giant boobs,” Dieter corrected me. “Actually, they tend to fall on either end of the spectrum. They are really giant or really small.” When I then speculated about my ability to get work at a Faire (my boobs fall pretty squarely in the middle…sorry, Mom, if you’re reading this), Dieter assured me that for the most part, Faire guys just like boobs. We ended up agreeing that the same could be said for most men. He then assured me it was OK by him if I put that in here.***
I didn’t ask Dieter about his recent Geek world disappointments, but sometime during our conversations, it came up. “Battlestar Galactica and LOST”, he said. After I badgered him quite a bit, he was willing to admit LOST was…less disappointing (I tried to get him all the way to awesome, but it wasn’t happening), but he’s got some anger about BSG. So much so, he sold his DVDs the day after the finale aired. Pretty intense.
As I wrap what is hopefully only the first of what will be many Geek of the Week tributes, let me say for the sake of full disclosure that Dieter and I go way back. We were good friends in college and he still holds some real estate in my heart. Actually, thanks to a summer Bex spent rooming with me at the end of my senior year, it’s more accurate to say that Dieter goes way back with both of us. I couldn’t find a picture of all three of us, but the picture below has always been my favorite of Dieter and I.
When we started GGGG, Dieter was among the first of our friends to actively try to recruit followers for us. He advertised on the aforementioned Drunk & Sailor Facebook page and got us our first “stranger” likes. There’s a good chance if you are not here because of Neil Gaiman, you are here because of Dieter. That’s why we’re especially glad to be able to pay him tribute here, as our first Geek of the Week.
We love him to bits. You should click on all his links and all the links he recommended. He’s a professional, folks.
*Yes, not knowing this already does make me a bad friend. Mea Culpa, old friend.
** Having just started the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, I can say I whole-heartedly agree with this recommendation. I almost never read this particular genre, but this book is fantastic.
***For the record, this was not a question I had written down when we began. I just kind of came out.
****Keep your eye out for the last name Zimmerman. His sister, Ali, is likely to make an appearance in our GOTW tributes eventually.
- A Little Something for the Fellas
- A Little Something for the Ladies
- Avengers Boot Camp
- Before the Movie – Trailers
- Books and Comics
- Editorials and Reviews
- Geek of the Week
- Miscellaneous Geekery
- Preacher Project
- Sandman Re-Read
- Three Favorite Things
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