Bigfoot Base recently had the pleasure of speaking with Les Stroud, the Survivorman. New Survivorman Bigoot episodes are underway on a brand new, one-stop, platform called Survivorman TV. Survivorman TV is active now, so whether you’ve been a fan since the Snowshoes and Solitude days or just caught on with his pivotal series Survivorman Bigfoot, head over to the site and sign up today for a heap of Survivorman content. People, this isn’t Chubo the Bigfoot guy who smokes weed with Sasquatch, this is Les Stroud! Check it out on the banner link below. Without further ado, here’s my great interview with the one, the only: Survivorman.
First and foremost Les, thank you and I really appreciate you talking with me. Can you tell me a little about what’s SMTV? It’s really exciting and Survivorman Bigfoot episodes are going to be airing on it?
Les Stroud: Ya, you can just call it Survivorman TV. That’s probably more recognizable. It’s basically me taking command of everything I do creatively in terms of filmmaking and putting it online and making it a membership base. Like a paid membership base sort of network for everything I do. And its been great. You have complete and absolute control. No networks notes to worry about or anything like that. Its going to be up there 24/7. You don’t have to wait to see my show. We started a few months ago and its going strong and I’m loving it. And it gave me a place to put some new Bigfoot stuff as well.
Congratulations. It’s kind of like you’re building your own city almost. Cutting off from all the networks. Does it change the kind of content — at least with Bigfoot stuff — you’re able to put out? Are you going to be doing 45-minute episodes, 60-minute stuff or will it be short clips here and there?
LS: It doesn’t change what I do with that as a creator. I still do things the way I want to do them. But it does what I do in the fact that there’s zero influence from the outside and from the networks. So, if I say something that makes them uncomfortable, then who cares? I could put out a 3 minute clip, or an 18 minute clip, a 54 minute clip, while allowing the creativity of the shoot to dictate the length. In television you’re locked in to 22 minutes with commercial breaks and in-and-outs.
You might have to provide a cliff hanger that doesn’t actually exist kinda thing?
LS: Exactly. Yea. I’m sick of those. The non-cliff hanger, cliff hanger. I’ve never done those anyway, but everybody else does. So, now what I can just do is I’m looking at the new Bigfoot show right now and it’s landing somewhere around 41 minutes, but it’s landing there because that’s what the content dictates. I think that’s the coolest part about this. I’m not restricted by the classic 22 or 43-minute commercial break set-up.
That’s so cool. I love to hear that. And it sounds like you can obviously work with whoever you want to work with.
LS: Yea, I always did anyway, but yea it’s absolute control.
I was listening to an interview you had with Jeff Meldrum and Todd Standing, how your producer was kind of barking at you for including Todd in the production, and you’re like, “leave me alone, he’s fine.”
LS: Ya, that’s actually a story that came from when I had a network up in Canada that really wanted me to do a show and I guess because of the Todd Standing controversy they got on my case about it and I was just like, “are you kidding me? Are we actually having this argument? We’re arguing over Bigfoot experts now? Talking about walking away from him, like oh your guy is more credible than my guy? For Bigfoot, really?
That was one of my favorite quotes from your first Survivorman Bigfoot season. You say, “Todd is a Bigfoot expert… but what does that even mean?”
LS: Ya exactly. People get pretty– I don’t know if it’s self-righteous– they get critical about something they know nothing about. It’s a bizarre world.
Where are you headed for these episodes? Do you have a lot in the can already, or are you still taping them as we speak?
LS: Taping them as we speak, and all over the place. I don’t think the story is confined to the Pacific Northwest, and I love going to all the various places. This particular one is in the Pacific Northwest, that I’m coming out with in a couple days, but I’ll go just about anywhere.
Have you thought about going international with Survivorman Bigfoot? All over the planet we have Yowies in Australia, Almastys in Russia, and obviously the Yeti in the Himilayas. Have you thought about expaning worldwide, or are you going to stay in the U.S. for now?
LS: I’d love to expand worldwide, but that’s based more on my love for adventure and travel. But if I’m seriously detailing the phenomenon, which I am, then it’s kind of hard to beat North America, that’s for sure.
You’re obviously a really passionate guy. Adventure and music are two huge passions of yours. Is Bigoot research a passion of yours now?
LS: That’s an interesting question. When I’m in it, it’s very easy to be passionate about it because it becomes very intriguing. It’s full of mystery. It’s full of “who-dunnits”. And I do love that. But, when I’m not in it, do I crave it like say how I would crave doing my music? Maybe not. But also, it’s such a mystical, curious, full of a-million questions type of phenomenon that still creeps into my life pretty much any time I’m out in nature. It’s going to creep into my psyche one way or the other.
I’m a fan of the Missing 411 stuff that you were involved with as well. Great clip in that. Any more when you do go out, whether recreationally, or when you are filming a regular Survivorman episode, how often are you thinking about Bigfoot while you’re out there?
LS: Probably 100% of the time when I’m out there I will have the thought. It will come up in my mind. Whether or not I dwell on it and take it longer than 30 seconds will depend on what I’m doing and how much fun I’m having. Sometimes I might go a little deeper into it. Sometimes it’s a passing thought. I would suggest that no matter what, when I get out into the woods, at the very least there’s always a passing thought about it, for sure.
Safe to say a little more at night time?
LS: Ya absolutely, yep.
Can you tell me a little about how you got involved in the Missing 411 documentary? I’m fascinated by the separate phenomenon that’s going on. Can you tell me how Survivorman Bigfoot and Missing 411 came together?
Well that’s the question isn’t it? Is it separate?
Haha, yea, you’re talking to a Bigfoot guy right now and I’m bringing up Missing 411 and, you know, Dave Paulides has been VERY careful about NOT saying that Sasquatch is actually a culprit.
LS: David’s MO is to throw it out there and let you guys take it. He will never give you his opinion on what he thinks happened in a certain Missing 411 case. But he will certainly in a teasingly way imply… that’s just the magic of David. Because he knows what you’re thinkin’. “Well, I’m not saying what it is”… but OK come on! So, you know, when I have a beer with him that’s another story sort of thing.
David was working with me when I was doing Survivorman Bigfoot, so that would be the initial connection. When his son went on to produce the film based on the books they asked if I would be involved, bring a little bit of the Survivorman name to what they were doing and it also involved some boots on the ground stuff. How to investigate that sort of situation really had to be boots on the ground. So that’s how that all started, the friendship we struck up through there, him working with me on Survivorman Bigfoot.
Is there any piece of evidence that the public hasn’t seen that has influenced you? Is there a video or maybe some audio that isn’t available that you have come across– maybe something from Todd outside of the Survivorman Bigfoot production– that kind of keeps you going on this topic? That kind of keeps the bait fresh, so-to-speak?
LS: Ya, it would be the real-life stories from close friends who tell me of an experience, who want no notoriety, and they’re just sharing their story. I had a guy here this morning actually– it’s those. Because nobody has anything to gain or lose at that point. And they’re not being interviewed for a TV show. They’re not in to the subject matter. And they come along and they, out of the blue, they share with you, “Well as a matter of fact, ya know, I was comin’ home from school one time and la da da…” It’s those things. Because again, these are people who are friends with me regardless of anything. They’re not like new acquaintances who are hanging out with me because I’m Survivorman. These are friends. And so, when they tell me these stories, y’know, it leads me something that I’ve been kind of harping on lately.
It’s a great question that leads to that, because I love this little thought of mine here. And that is that when you have somebody say to you, “I saw a Bigfoot”. Let’s establish that this is somebody that you trust. Someone that you respect. We’re going to go right there. You trust them. You respect them. And they say to you, “Last weekend from 15 feet away I saw a Bigfoot. Now you only have four places you can go with that. Number one is they’re delusional… suffering from a delusion. Number two is mistaken identity. It was a bear. But again, this is someone who’s very experienced in the bush, knows animals, and they’re saying they were 15 feet away from a Bigfoot. Number three is they’re lying. And number four, the final one, is they’re giving you an accurate representation of what they saw.
So that’s a neat little compartmentalized way to react to somebody telling you I saw a Bigfoot. If you see it on YouTube, or you hear it on the radio or whatever. Ok but let me dig just a little bit deeper for a second, a friend of mine said that to me– a young guy that I know– he said oh yea this woman that I know she’s seen them twice and– here’s the catch — after he told me that he really adored this woman, she’s a really nice lady, she told me she saw them twice, he closes it off with– and this is probably going to be familiar to you– he closes it off with “ehh y’know eh I don’t know if they exist.” And when he does that I stop him immediately and go:
“Hang on, hang on a second here. You’re not sure they exist?”
“Yeaaaa, I don’t know, y’now?”
“Ok, so then your friend… well, she’s a liar.”
“Whoa, whoa no, she’s my friend.”
“Oh no. She’s a liar, isn’t she? If you’re saying after the fact that you trust her, and she’s telling you from 15 feet away with her experienced woods eyes that she saw a Bigfoot, and you’re saying you still don’t know if they exist, is you’re saying that she’s a liar. I want you to tell me.” And I’ll do this, I will literally say, “I want you to say Nancy is a liar. You can’t say it? Then what are you saying?” You see where I’m going with this? Too often it’s easy for people to hear something, say it comes from their uncle who they love, who’s like a conservation officer, who’s like really intelligent and he says, “I’m telling you, I stood there and I watched it for a half an hour…” You will still go, “Ehhh I don’t knowwww. I don’t know if they exist.” I’m like, well ok go call up your uncle right now and I want you to tell him that he’s a liar. Because after that we’re left with either they’re delusional, we’ve already ruled out that they’ve made a mistake because of their experienced eyes, so you’re left with– and the delusional thing as far as I’m concerned is a cop-out. That’s not fair. You’re saying everybody’s delusional. Or it’s a mass conspiracy theory to hoax. That’s not fair. You’re left with only two things: they’re lying or they’re telling the truth. And if they’re telling you the truth, guess what that means: Bigfoot is there. You see what I’m saying?
It’s a cultural denial, yea?
LS: Ya, and I think my response that I gave you is the way to bring people down and say we’re sitting here, and one of these things is your good friend: delusional, mistaken, liar, or telling the truth, you tell me.
Les, when you’re out there, as Survivorman Bigfoot continues beyond a great first season– something that was fantastic that was a huge breath of fresh air for the Bigfoot world– moving forward, what is your ultimate goal here not only with Survivorman TV, but with the Bigfoot aspect of it? Are you collecting evidence little by little to produce for the public, to throw on the table one day to say “Hey, this is all I have. You need to recognize that there’s something going on here.” Or are you going out and just kind of answering a few user questions, or doing visitor requests. What does that look like for you in the future?
LS: If I have a mission involved, it’s not to prove anything. I think that’s a great mistake. And I think that a lot of people get a bit fanciful thinking where they see a Bigfoot and all of a sudden, they’re like, “I think it’s my mission in life to prove to the world that these beautiful creatures exist!” Ehhh, I’m out. I don’t need to go down that metaphysical road either, like you know, they “speak to me.” And you know what, as far as I am concerned it’s an INCREDIBLE — and this is why I use the word — “phenomenon.” And it’s worthy of checking out regardless of anything because it’s existed for hundreds of years in hundreds of cultural examples and it’s all identical. I mean, right there you have to go, hang on a second. When it’s included in aboriginal cultural stories, it’s not lumped in with the Thunderbird or the Raven gods. It’s lumped in with the beaver and the wolf, like it’s best friends.
You talked about that a lot in the first season of Survivorman Bigfoot.
LS: Yep, although its considered to be human and not animal, so to speak. So, If I have a mission, it’s based on the fact that the phenomenon is culturally fascinating. I’ve had enough examples to settle in my mind what’s going on out there. And I guess my mission would be to continue to bring honest credible realtime examples TO the public, so they can also be interested in the phenomenon. I’m not attempting to prove anything.
All this stuff about I want to shoot one to prove it or get ultimate film work. We already have ultimate film work out there. There are lots of hoaxes. But there is credible film footage on YouTube. I mean, what else is going to convince anybody? We have DNA. We have footprints. We have thousands of anecdotal references.
So, I want to approach as like, ok everybody knows me as this guy who is no nonsense. So, I will maintain that when it comes to the phenomenon of Bigfoot. And give the no nonsense approach. Telepathy? That’s interesting. Let’s look into that. DNA studies? Cool. And on and on. That’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to bring credible, no-nonsense, non-cynical, open-minded skepticism to the subject matter.
You have such a huge explorer’s spirit. Survivorman Bigfoot obviously proves that in a new way. You wouldn’t want to be the guy to provide the King-Kong style unveiling of Sasquatch up on stage anytime soon?
LS: Absolutely not! Whoever convinces the world at large, his or her life is over at that point. I got enough on the go with my cat and playing music. I have enough in my personal life.
You should get a fall guy.
LS: Yea, I gotta get a fall guy. Todd Standing can wear that banner. Or Jeff Meldrum or somebody. I don’t wanna be that guy to prove to the world Bigfoot exists. I want to be more like the David Attenborough of Bigfoot. I want to present so much incredible information, even in piece-meal, so the world goes, oh ok! I don’t want the big discovery. I don’t want to be that guy.
I think Todd would be more than happy to take that torch for you.
Todd and a few others would be more than happy to wear that badge. They can wear it. It sounds horribly vain, but I’ve had more than my 15 minutes and I’m still enjoying it. I don’t need that to add on to it. I’d rather have somebody buy my new record.
Speaking-of that. You said you’re going to have a lot of performances on Survivorman TV moving forward, other than just Survivorman Bigfoot material of course. What are you thinking with that kind of production? Is it something like Daryl’s House? Daryl Hall? Are you going to jam with some big musicians anytime soon?
LS: Absolutely, as a matter of fact, when Daryl launched Daryl’s House he actually cited Survivorman! He said, if Survivorman can do it, so can I! No kidding. And I thought, oh hey you need to get me on the show! Maybe one day.
After 40 years of my life I finally just signed my first-ever record deal. And you’re actually kinda getting the scoop on this. I haven’t told this publicly yet, but we’ll be launching it in the new year. I signed a record deal with MRI out of New York, distributed by Sony. We’ll be launching a new album!
And here’s the thing. Nobody wants to hear some 56 year-old guy singing his love songs. What I do is all about celebrating nature. I don’t do just folk. We do epic, progressive rock. It’s like Tool meats Dave Matthews– it’s a whole ‘nother thing. Everything lyrically as well is all about celebrating nature and connecting people to the Earth. I love to perform and I love to write and that’s what I’m focused on. I want to get to that point of doing a Daryl’s house for sure. And I want to go on Daryl’s House!
Ya, looks like a real slick place. That’s awesome. Congratulations on everything. Clearly, it’s a huge passion of yours so it’s really amazing you’ve been able to put all this together. Just to close here, I’m super pumped for all of your Survivorman Bigfoot episodes and everything you’re doing. Maybe in the next year or two, how much content will be coming out on the website for Survivorman Bigfoot, episodes-wise?
Because I have love for the phenomenon and all of the mystique surrounding it, I’ll continue to do more. I couldn’t ballpark how many I will do, but it will be lots more for sure. And the networks are still talking to me about more series as well. I still love it and I think– I didn’t really finish the story. I could finish the story, other than full-on discovery, but I’d love to tell MORE of the story. There’s a lot more in me for that particular film-making. Short answer: as much as I can do, for sure.I just did a fun one outside of Portland Oregon. I’m starting to open the doors a little bit on the various realities that exist out there. I’m taking more of a pragmatic look at DNA catching, trail cams and all of that. It’s getting very interesting.
Survivorman Bigfoot: New Episodes Coming!
Thanks again to Les Stroud and the Survivorman team for a great chat. Good to hear Les is still wearing his practical pants out in the bush when documenting Sasquatch behavior. I can’t wait for his new Survivorman Bigfoot episodes and honestly to check out some of his musical performances (here’s a little clip of him jamming with Journey). He’s a passionate and the perfect middle-of-the-road voice that the world of Bigfoot critically needs.