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October 6, 2015

'General Hospital's' Steve Burton Hits the Road with 'Port Chuck'

by Michael Maloney, posted Sep 7th 2010 3:30PM
Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo and Steve BurtonSteve Burton's mob character, Jason Morgan, on 'General Hospital' is turning in his gun for a microphone. The actor has formed a cover band called 'Port Chuck' with castmates Scott Reeves (who plays Steven Lars), Brandon Barash (Johnny) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) and they're going on tour starting Wed., Sept. 8 in Nashville. (Check www.portchuck.com for dates and cities.)

Jason's on the move, too. The week of Sept. 13 he'll travel to Rome to track down ex-wife Brenda Barrett, played by returning fan favorite Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo. While Brenda's one-true love is Sonny and Jason's heart belongs to Sam (and Elizabeth, too), there's no denying that Jason and Brenda share a surprising 'Moonlighting'-style banter that 'GH' plans to tap into.

Burton talked to TV Squad about the origins of his cover band, revisiting Brenda and which dearly departed Quartermaine family member he'd like to see return to the show.

How did 'Port Chuck' come about?
I like to do something extra at appearances with fans. I'm a big fan of Scott Reeves. I love Brandon and Bradford and they sing, too. I got this idea to start up a cover band. They were all for it. It's turned into a show. Everyone, including my wife, thought I was putting together a garage band. People were surprised it was pretty good and it's turned into a five-day tour. I'm afraid for myself, but the other guys are awesome.

What's the number one thing that a fan wants when they come to an event?
They want a good experience. They want a personal connection. We've been in their lives for a long time. Fans are usually generational. Since we're doing cover tunes people will have a connection to the songs already.

'Port Chuck' sounds very similar to 'Port Charles,' the defunct 'GH' spin-off. Did you have to get permission from ABC to use that name for your band?
[Laughs] No, it's just a nickname. But I trademarked the name so 'Mickey [Mouse]' can come after me. So here we are, 'Port Chuck.' We're starting in Nashville, then going to Chicago, Connecticut, Long Island and Staten Island. We're dark at 'GH' the week [we're on tour] so it totally worked out for us.

What's it like having Vanessa back?
It's fun. We're picking right up where we left off with our characters. Jason goes to Rome to protect her. Brenda put Jason as her emergency contact [from when they were married.] She did that because she knew that Jason wouldn't care if she died or not, but of course he would. Jason and Brenda have this bantering dislike for each other. It's been a lot of fun to revisit that.

How would you describe Brenda/Jason's dynamic?
Spontaneous. I won't say we improvise, but they give us a little freedom. We stay within the confines of the story and the script, but it kind of works. We run it right before we tape and then whatever happens happens. The moments that people like are when we're yelling at each other and then we find that moment to connect. It makes viewers ask, "Wait. Do these people really like each other or not?"

And you went on location to Rome, right?
[Laughs] Yeah, right.

The days of expensive location shoots may be gone, but do audiences care about that?
I don't think so. Viewers don't care if a scene takes place in an elevator or in a stairwell as long as a relationship is there and a story is being told. That's what it's about.

Are you in touch with any actors who've left the show over the years?
I talked to Sean Kanan [ex-A.J.] about a year ago. I've been meaning to call Billy Warlock [ex-A.J.] I think about those guys a lot. They're definitely a big part of my life here. I miss Stuart Damon [ex-Alan] tremendously.

It'd be great if they could bring Alan back.

I agree with you 100 percent. If they made him a ghost they could bring him back. I would have loved him to have stayed on the show because Jason just became a dad [when Alan was killed off.] He's a dad to Michael. It'd be nice to get some advice [from his father.] I love Stu. He's awesome.

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I love Gh. and I am going on Fri. to see Port Chuck when they come to Ct. Can't wait

September 08 2010 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yeah yeah who cares... General Hospital sucks.... out the azz....its gone down hill and i see no way of coming back from pits of crapville

September 08 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Steve Burton on General Hospital and being reminded that Jason and Elizabeth are in love and share a son were wonderful to see. I wish the show would reunite them when the actress returns from having her baby. Jason and Elizabeth were always about the connection and the story and the relationship.

September 07 2010 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

excellent interview

September 07 2010 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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