Pete Stringfellow Talks About His New Music & Movie Career – PART 1

Sue Bonzell:                 He is a country artist and an actor and, in fact, did a music video in one take. He has a new album coming out, and we are going to test his beer knowledge today. My guest today is Pete Stringfellow. Well, welcome, Pete.

Pete Stringfell…:          Thank you. It’s good to see you.

Sue Bonzell:                 It’s good to see you. I’m excited that we are in person.

Pete Stringfell…:          I know. This is awesome. We’ve known each other forever, right?

Sue Bonzell:                 Forever, yeah. We have history.

Pete Stringfell…:          We do.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, not that kind of history, but-

Pete Stringfell…:          No, not that kind of history, but-

Sue Bonzell:                 Not that kind of history.

Pete Stringfell…:          But we do have history.

Sue Bonzell:                 We do.

Pete Stringfell…:          We even did the whole LA thing.

Sue Bonzell:                 We did. We did a road trip. We did a road trip to LA.

Pete Stringfell…:          Road trip with a group of actors, and we went down and we did some workshops in Hollywood.

Sue Bonzell:                 We did. That was fun.

Pete Stringfell…:          That was fun. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah, it was back when I was a terrible actor. Still am.

Pete Stringfell…:          I wouldn’t say that.

Sue Bonzell:                 But no, but you … so you are … he’s a country music artist, also an actor.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 Now, you have done some movies in LA.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes, I have. Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 So tell us about that.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh. Well, I’ve done a few dabbling in different feature films and short films. And it’s not something that is my top … my music has been always my top priority, but acting is just … I love being part of the film … I mean, film and music really are my passion, so … and in the film world, I’ve done the crew stuff, I’ve done music scores and those kinds of things. But I think directing and acting are what I like to do the most.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Now, you talked about the scores. Now, how many movies … probably a lot that we know … movies has your music been featured in?

Pete Stringfell…:          Ooh. The last count that I got from ASCAP is 312.

Sue Bonzell:                 312 different movies?

Pete Stringfell…:          Different movies and TV shows.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, my gosh.

Pete Stringfell…:          Everything from Meet the Parents to South Park to CSI to-

Sue Bonzell:                 Really?

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, yeah. It’s crazy.

Sue Bonzell:                 I did not … okay, I knew about Meet the Parents.

Pete Stringfell…:          Okay. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 I did not know about the other ones, though.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, yeah, there was Cold Case, and there was-

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Pete Stringfell…:          … NCIS and … gosh, there’s all these great-

Sue Bonzell:                 So yes.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yeah, so a lot. There’s a lot.

Sue Bonzell:                 There’s a lot. So this is the thing that … one of the things I love about you, Pete, is that I tell everybody, I’m all, “This is probably the most talented person I’ve ever met-“

Pete Stringfell…:          That’s sweet.

Sue Bonzell:                 For many reasons.

Pete Stringfell…:          Okay. Okay.

Sue Bonzell:                 For many reasons. Not only because of your musical talent. You do the acting, you can do the producing, and you can do video, and you can do all this stuff.

Pete Stringfell…:          ADD.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah, right?

Pete Stringfell…:          I mean, I just … I like … it’s funny because when someone says that, I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s true, but at the end of the day … you can mention all the hats, but at the end of the day, I just love to create entertaining experiences through music and film. It all comes back down to that, so-

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah, of doing the entertaining. Now, how many musical instruments can you play?

Pete Stringfell…:          Gosh. Well, if I can play well, I mean, none. But I play guitar. Drums actually was my first instrument.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Pete Stringfell…:          And then I went to … I played a little guitar when I was young, just took a few lessons, and then I moved to keyboards because I wanted to do songwriting. So when I was in junior high, I would just do it by ear, and I was in bands. And then eventually, back when high school came, I was wanting to get into country music, and that’s when I started playing guitar more serious. So those are my three instruments. I’ve played harmonica in different occasions and different instruments like that, but not on a regular basis.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. But he is very talented. Now, okay, I know there’s a story behind this.

Pete Stringfell…:          Okay.

Sue Bonzell:                 So were you born with these talents? I would say these are probably … you know, this is your God-given talents. Tell me about you growing up as a kid.

Pete Stringfell…:          Well, when I was growing up as a kid, the thing about my history is that my parents that I … I’m actually adopted, so they didn’t have the whole music thing happening in the family. My mom did play some guitar and sing for fun, and the accordion, of all things. But there was no one that was really into music. I was kind of like the only person. But then of course, later in life, I found out about my birth family, which is a whole story in itself, which I don’t know if we want to get into that right now, but-

Sue Bonzell:                 Can you do the mini-version?

Pete Stringfell…:          Right now?

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Pete Stringfell…:          Like right now?

Sue Bonzell:                 It’s a great story.

Pete Stringfell…:          Well, I’m a black-market baby, and I was … the story I was told was my mom was named [Maria], she was 16 years old, and she was from Bogota, Colombia, and she was kind of exiled from … she got a letter from her aunt or someone saying, “Give the baby away or put it in a trash can, because you’re a disgrace.” So she was like, “Okay,” went up to Mexico to have me, and then came back. My adoptive family, who were from Santa Rosa, they had just had a little girl who was two years old who died from a disease, and so they knew they couldn’t have kids. It was a genetic disease, so they were like, we don’t want to try to have kids again, because it could happen. I think it was a one-in-four chance that it was going to happen again, so-

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Pete Stringfell…:          So they had a contact with this mission in Mexico, and that’s how they were able to get me to the States. So that’s really all I knew, so for 46 years, that’s the story I knew. I did a TEDx Talk, actually, about it, because the story is just fascinating. But then, through DNA, I was able to find my birth family, and so now we’re in contact. And that’s where I found out where my musical talent came from. My mom’s side, they were all music … in fact, my first cousin has six Grammy awards … you can look him up, Bacilos … which is kind of wild. Kind of wild.

Sue Bonzell:                 No kidding. That is awesome.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, I know. And so they were all musical, and then on my dad’s side, all the visual art stuff. He was a creative director, marketing, all the things I do.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, you got it all. That’s all-

Pete Stringfell…:          So from the visual stuff, and he was a painter and all these things.

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Pete Stringfell…:          And he was world-famous. It was really wild. He did stuff for Michael Jackson, and sculptures and … oh, man, the story is too much to say in an interview.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right? Exactly.

Pete Stringfell…:          But I had three attempts on my life before I was born, and there’s a story behind all of that-

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Pete Stringfell…:          … and it’s really dramatic. It really is like a Netflix series, honestly. You can’t make this stuff up.

Sue Bonzell:                 Is that going to be your next movie?

Pete Stringfell…:          It’s going to be my next movie, yeah. We’re definitely-

Sue Bonzell:                 It could be.

Pete Stringfell…:          Well, we were definitely looking at doing a screenplay of some sort.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, you are doing … okay, I love that story, and thank you for sharing it.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, yeah, that’s the really quick CliffsNotes-

Sue Bonzell:                 It is the CliffsNotes version.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 But another movie, you did show me a little trailer of a movie-

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes, I did.

Sue Bonzell:                 … which I’m excited about. It’s a horror film.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 I’m excited for you, because I don’t actually like horror films.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh.

Sue Bonzell:                 But I’m excited for you. But what I’m really excited about, and I told you this, Kane Brown wants to get into acting, and his favorite genre-

Pete Stringfell…:          Is horror.

Sue Bonzell:                 … is horror.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 So Kane, if you’re watching, we’d love to cast you in this new movie.

Pete Stringfell…:          There you go. Yeah, give me a call, brother. I’ll open for you on tour, and then we’ll just work out the details.

Sue Bonzell:                 Exactly. It’ll all work out beautifully, beautifully. Yes.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yeah, so this is a new venture. Usually, with the movies I’ve been in, I get cast as an actor, and I go do my thing, and then I’m done with the film, and then I come home, and that’s how it works. But this is an idea that I’ve had for a couple years now, that … I have my own production company, Creative Destiny, and we literally, from the ground up, created this feature film. [Jared Wright] wrote the screenplay, and we already have some investors, and we’re going to probably start that whole process early 2022, which is only a couple months away.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Pete Stringfell…:          But we have the full script. It’s on the trailer.

Sue Bonzell:                 I know.

Pete Stringfell…:          And the trailer is basically just … we just created that to get people to know the concept, which in a nutshell, it’s kind of a throwback to the slasher films that we grew up with in the ’80s, with the Jasons and the Michaels and the Freddys-

Sue Bonzell:                 Right.

Pete Stringfell…:          … but it’s set here, in wine country.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, boy.

Pete Stringfell…:          So not Children of the Corn. There’s going to be something with the vines, and it’s going to be fun. It’s called [Blood Wine], and I’m super excited about it, and I can’t wait to get production started. And I wasn’t going to be … I was going to write it and direct it, and I decided, you know what, I’m going to get some guys who are really great at screenplays and directing and all those things, and so I’m just going to be producer, creator. But I think I’m going to be the killer in this. I think I’m going to be the bad guy.

Sue Bonzell:                 You’re going to be the bad guy?

Pete Stringfell…:          I think, because I never get cast as the bad guy, ever.

Sue Bonzell:                 Because you’re just so nice. You’re so nice.

Pete Stringfell…:          I am too nice. I don’t have the killer face, but that’s what makeup’s for.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right?

Pete Stringfell…:          Right?

Sue Bonzell:                 Exactly.

Pete Stringfell…:          But I think the closest thing was I was on that show, I Almost Got Away With It, and I was the boyfriend of the killer-

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, okay.

Pete Stringfell…:          … because she was a … tried to murder someone, and I was the … and I overdosed on drugs, and that was fun.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, how very exciting.

Pete Stringfell…:          You know what that was? I foamed at the mouth. You know what it was?

Sue Bonzell:                 What?

Pete Stringfell…:          They put Airborne, and they cut it up, and then they put it in my mouth, and it just started foaming out of my mouth.

Sue Bonzell:                 Really?

Pete Stringfell…:          It was really gross, but it was fun. So if you ever watch that episode, you’ll see me-

Sue Bonzell:                 We got stories from behind the scenes right now, right?

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes. So now, if you want that effect, just get some Airborne, throw it in your mouth. Works pretty well.

Sue Bonzell:                 Good to know. Now you can make your own movie at home.

Pete Stringfell…:          There you go.

Sue Bonzell:                 There you go.

Pete Stringfell…:          There you go.

Sue Bonzell:                 Tips from Pete, here.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, let’s talk about music a little bit.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 So you have a couple of songs that I know that you’ve had for a while. One of my favorites is Santa Rosa-

Pete Stringfell…:          Santa Rosa.

Sue Bonzell:                 … singing about our hometown here in Santa Rosa, which is pretty awesome.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 One of the other ones I want to talk about is Baby I’ve Got the Drive.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay, this is the one-take video that you did. It was all one camera, all-

Pete Stringfell…:          No edits.

Sue Bonzell:                 No edits.

Pete Stringfell…:          No. Very challenging.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah. We know, from the background of video production and editing, that is challenging. How many takes?

Pete Stringfell…:          We did a total, I think, of … gosh, it was all day because, see, the thing is, if you’re doing it in one take, if there’s something that messes up, you have to start all over again.

Sue Bonzell:                 All over.

Pete Stringfell…:          And the way that I mapped it out, I basically just drew this map with each scene, and I had to plan it. So there was a lot of planning that was involved, but I had to plan it so that I was in these different areas because there’s different things that happen. There’s a baseball team that I coach that was in the video-

Sue Bonzell:                 [crosstalk] yeah.

Pete Stringfell…:          … and a bunch of people that you would recognize. In fact, there was Rob and Joss, when they were here, they were in the video. One of the guys that was the lead of a feature film that I was in was the guy that I push. So there was a lot of these cool little Easter eggs throughout. But the main thing was that I had to make sure that when we hit Start, that it had to get all the way to the end seamlessly, and that was the challenging.

Sue Bonzell:                 I mean, it’s an incredible video.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, thank you.

Sue Bonzell:                 Seriously. I’ll put the link down in the description, too. My daughter’s actually in the video, too.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, awesome.

Sue Bonzell:                 She was out on the water.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, she was out on the water.

Sue Bonzell:                 She was out on the water, so yeah.

Pete Stringfell…:          Oh, okay. Yeah, that was fun. Yeah, because they timed their jumps perfect.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes, they had to jump … yeah, that was great.

Pete Stringfell…:          It was awesome. No, it was fun, and I had my good friend, [Patrick Van Pelt] add some animation. And he is someone I went to college with, and we nerded out all the time, and he taught me so much. But he is responsible for big, major motion picture stuff, like commercials. In fact, he’s the one who animates the M&M’s.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, really? Oh, cool.

Pete Stringfell…:          So we had that little patty that … and he’s animated, and it’s him that animated it. It’s pretty cool.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, that’s awesome. Okay, all right, so you guys can check that out, too. So you have a new album coming out-

Pete Stringfell…:          I do.

Sue Bonzell:                 … some new music.

Pete Stringfell…:          I am super, super excited about it. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 And would you be willing to play at least a song for us?

Pete Stringfell…:          Yeah, my latest. I just penned this not long ago, so yeah, we’ll-

Sue Bonzell:                 Ooh, okay.

Pete Stringfell…:          I’ll try not to do it without messing it up too much.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Well, we’re going to take a little break, and when we come back, Pete’s going to sing us a song.

Pete Stringfell…:          Yes, sir.

Sue Bonzell:                 It’s going to be a special kind of holiday evening at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts when two of Sonoma County’s biggest stars take the stage for Comedy, Country, Christmas with Oliver Graves and Pete Stringfellow, on Saturday, December 18th. Oliver Graves wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent, even the hard-to-please Simon Cowell, getting all four judges to say yes. Country music artist Pete Stringfellow’s music has been featured in movies and television and played all over the radio nationally, including his hit song, Santa Rosa. Comedy, Country, Christmas, featuring two stars, both born right here in Santa Rosa, comedian Oliver Graves and country music’s Pete Stringfellow, at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Saturday, December 18th. Tickets available in person at the box office, by phone, and online at

Pete Stringfell…:          (singing)

Sue Bonzell:                 Thanks for tuning in to Up N Country, where we have new episodes every Tuesday. And be sure to visit for all of the episodes and information about our VIP club, where you’re going to get exclusive backstage access. And if you’re on Instagram or TikTok, make sure to follow me, Sue Bonzell. I’ll see you next week.