Born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the youngest in a nuclear family, Johnny Trevisani is a musician and writer who, over the course of his life, developed a fascination with the dark side of life. For most of his career, Trevisani worked as a software designer and developer. In his free time, he penned articles for several popular political blogs and wrote and performed music. Trevisani’s song “She’s Crying At My Funeral” was included in the 2004 feature film Lost, starring Danny Trejo and Dean Cain.
In July of 2015, Strawberry Books published Trevisani’s Serial Killer Quote of the Day: 365 Days of Serial Killers Uncut and In Their Own Words, a fascinating glimpse into the warped minds of serial killers. Offering a unique quote for each day of the year, the book examines the philosophies, fantasies and dark justifications of some of the most notorious murderers from throughout history.
What were you like as a child?
I was a normal suburban kid. I was always outside and lived in a Philly suburb that enabled me to be within an earshot of my brother’s whistle; which was my call to come home for dinner. I also was a huge fan of monster movies and used my parents video and film equipment to make my own home monster movies with my closest friend who lived two houses down from me.
How did you initially become interested in software development?
I always had an analytical mind and, as adulthood approached, it became apparent that I would need to make a living to support my growing family. Software development, in its early stages, was a creative endeavor and was a way to make a living and still have a creative outlet.
How did the opportunity to have a song included on a film soundtrack come about?
The band that I fronted, Furthur Abuse, produced a CD, Avant Gardian Angel. The CD made it into the hands of a producer for a small indie movie. The producer gave it to the director (Darren Lemke; he was a screenwriter for a couple of the Shrek movies). They loved a track off of the disc (“She’s Crying at My Funeral”) and asked to include it in the movie. I, of course, jumped at the chance and ended up seeing my name go up in credits on a movie screen in NYC. Seeing my name scroll up in credits was a huge highlight of my life.
What inspired you to delve into the world of serial killers and compile the quotes found in Serial Killer Quote of the Day?
I heard a quote from Jeffrey Dahmer that stopped me in my tracks. He said: “My refrigerator broke and the meat spoiled.” It was something that he told the police that came to investigate the strange odor emanating from his apartment. When I heard the quote, I began to think about what other serial killers said and, as I began researching, it became more and more intriguing. Some quotes were very gruesome and detailed but some were nuanced and quietly philosophical.
Based upon your research, what would you say sets serial killers apart from “normal” people? Are there any common personality trends or traits in these individuals?
There are some common characteristics, for example, many are bipolar. Many come from broken homes with abusive authority figures (parents, grandparents). But what makes serial killers unique is that they have a method to their madness. They have goals. They have a plan. They don’t just randomly kill. For example, Ted Bundy murdered many of the women that resembled his first real girlfriend that dumped him. Ed Kemper wanted to kill his mother and perfected the method of killing his mother on others until he was ready. Once he murdered his mother, he stopped.
Do you believe in capital punishment, especially in the case of serial killers who likely cannot be rehabilitated?
I personally do not believe in capital punishment. The U.S. criminal justice system isn’t designed to rehabilitate anyone that is incarcerated. There are some that believe that some serial killers could benefit from the bipolar treatments (medicinal and therapy) to control their brain chemistry and coping mechanisms.
After a long day of researching the murder methods of serial killers for this book, what would you do to unwind and lighten the mood?
During the writing of this book, I would require frequent breaks. I needed to step away and go for a walk or play some music to level-set myself.
What sort of reaction did you get from friends and family when you told them you were publishing a book of serial killer quotes?
It seems like when you mention to someone, anyone, friends, family, coworkers, that you authored a book about serial killers, their first reaction is to recoil and say: “Hmmmm… should I worry about being attacked?” My response to them has been, you don’t have to be a baseball player to write about baseball.
In your opinion, who are some of the most underrated artists or performers in history?
Banksy is my favorite artist these days. I enjoy an artist that evokes a physical response from me and he openly makes me laugh. Jonathan Borofsky is also an artist that evokes a similar reaction.
Music these days are kind of dismal. Yes, there are artists that are cool, but too often today, music is so derivative. I can enjoy listening to old-school NY punk as well as artists like OK Go (who I saw live and absolutely loved).
In your opinion, where does Dean Cain’s portrayal of Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman rank compared to other versions of Superman throughout movie and TV history?
I never watched Lois & Clark, so I can’t compare and contrast. Dean’s performance in Lost was very good however. He was basically in every scene and was crucial for the suspense of the narrative.
Which professional golfers have you most enjoyed watching over the course of your life?
Professional golf is Tiger Woods. As much as sports pundits want to pontificate about new up and comers (I do love Jordan Speith; I followed him before he turned pro), Tiger is the tour and once he retires, the tour will lose a huge draw.
What are you working on next?
I have three main projects that I’m working on. A follow-up to SKQOTD, a fictional book with a serial killer theme and a new musical project with my band The Pontiffs.