Arts and Culture

Remembering Doug "Groovey" Newville

Doug “Groovey” Newville making a promo for Horrorhouse Fest.
Doug “Groovey” Newville making a promo for Horrorhouse Fest. Ryan Policky
Doug "Groovey" Newville, who died on October 3 at the age of 54, had dreamed of making it into the Guinness Book of World Records since he was five years old. He finally earned his spot four years ago, for interviewing seventy bands in a 24-hour period during the Underground Music Showcase. The interviews were housed on, the website and YouTube channel started in 2010 by Newville, where he hosted video interviews with more than 450 acts and artists.

While Newville was a fixture on the music scene as part of and as a writer for Hollywood Music magazine, New Noise and Colorado Music Buzz, he was also part of the local horror scene, acting in locally produced shorts directed by Ryan Policky, including "Shovel," which can be streamed on Amazon Prime, and "The Ghost of Christmas Prison" and "Motel London Three," as well as a number of videos on Policky’s Bloodshed Deathbath YouTube channel, among them episode three of Video Game Lady.

Policky, who also heads up Horrorhouse Fest, says Newville would do anything to make something hilarious or fun: "He was by far one of the biggest personalities I've ever known."

Policky has fond memories of Newville dressing up in diapers as the New Year's Baby and screaming and crying as the main scare in The Ghost of Christmas Prison. Newville even pulled off the role live for the Bloodshed Deathbath haunted experience the two organized at 3 Kings Tavern.

“He pushed it always, from drenching his head in fake blood for Colorado Horror Con promo videos to going in full-on drag for Video Game Lady," recalls Policky. "For a dude who'd never really got all made up as a woman, he endured it and was hilarious. But to be honest, I kind of swayed the numbers on the time it would take to pull off ‘perfect eyes.’"

Although he told Newville it would take half an hour to get ready, it actually took three hours. "But what was amazing was how the time overhaul actually pumped him up to an even crazier character," Policky remembers. “He wanted to shoot every possible thing he could do in the get-up rather than trying to speed up the process to get out of the layers of makeup, like most people would. He was just that kind of guy. Not valuing things based on time/money...ever. Always basing everything on fun, and willing to do whatever it took to get there.

"I'm truly sure, without a doubt, that I won't meet anyone quite like Groovey," Policky concludes. "He is a Denver legend, and one of the most collaborative people I've ever known. Never negative.”

Local artist Joe Oliver first met Newville at a rock show, and later ran into him at the Mile High Horror Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse in 2013.

"I went to support the local artists and filmmakers that had set up or were showing movies," Oliver says. "Groovey had a table and immediately remembered me. We talked a bit about horror and who he was going to be interviewing. I was again surprised that he was going to be talking to a few actors and directors. He asked if I had a table set up, and I told him I was just there as a fan. He told me to go home and get my stuff so I could set up at his table. I tried backing out — I'm sure from lack of self-esteem — but he wouldn't have it.

“Throughout the day, I'd learn that Groovey loved people,” Oliver continues. “He was extremely kind and tried helping anyone he could. It didn't matter if you were a no-name or a famous person; he just saw you as people. Over the years, there would be many times he'd help me. Not just with art, but life. He always found time to listen to what was going on, and I always felt better because I knew he cared.

“I later learned how much he helped others in the community by just giving them a chance," Oliver adds. "He built [] based on integrity and support, and I think that's why he holds a special place in so many people's hearts. His friendship and genuine love of creators will always be a part of the community. His influence is felt every time I help another creator or see kindness between others.”

Daniel Crosier, comic-book artist, filmmaker and co-founder of DiNK Comic & Art Expo, first met Newville at Denver Comic Con about seven years ago. He describes Newville as connective tissue between artists, comic-book makers, musicians and the horror scene.

"I didn't realize just how he connected me to the rest of the community as much as he did,” says Crosier, who loved talking to Newville and especially making him laugh.

“I always loved his laugh,” Crosier says. “If you could hear him just chuckling through his tiny little teeth — it's the weirdest whisper of air. But it was great, because it was almost like he was thinking, 'I want to see if I can make you piss your pants.’ He was so funny and so willing to just take all these creative risks.”

click to enlarge Ryan Policky and Doug "Groovey" Newville during the making of "Shovel." - MEL HAYNES
Ryan Policky and Doug "Groovey" Newville during the making of "Shovel."
Mel Haynes

Crosier adds that everyone loved Newville. "Even if they didn't know who they were talking to or what the situation was, he always brought an air of levity and humor about himself, and never took anything serious."

Longtime videographer and director and onetime Newville roommate Deno Apodaca was also immediately drawn to his bubbly personality and morbid sense of humor. The two met about twelve years ago, when Newville interviewed Apodaca's band NDAAZ for a radio station, and they became friends right off the bat.

“When I first started working for him, it was really hilarious, because he would give me missions, and I had to do it all by myself and figure out how to do it," Apodaca says.

But Newville told him that before he could join, he had to interview a band. His first trial by fire came when Japanese metal outfit Girugamesh came to town. Even though Apodaca couldn’t speak Japanese and didn’t have a camera, Newville expected him to pull it off.

“He was like, ‘If you can handle this, then we can work together,’” Apodaca says. “And I did it. I always liked that about him. He always liked you to think for yourself instead of being spoon-fed. That's always something that I greatly appreciate.”

Apodaca also helped Newville get that spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, and the two were in a few films together, including Slaughsages, directed by Mel Haynes Jr. and co-written by Newville. Apodaca says the idea for the film came when he and Newville were barbecuing in front of Apodaca’s house.

“I was cooking brats,” says Apodaca. “We just started flying ideas off of each other: ‘It’s going to be great, you know — killer sausages.' And then it just morphed. We just kept joking. It would be joke off a joke off a joke, and then it was like, ‘Well, actually that's an idea for a movie.’”

While Newville and Apodaca did a lot of interviews with musicians for, they also interviewed actors, voice actors and game programmers. But Apodaca says an encounter with Lisa and Louise Burns, who played the twin Grady daughters in The Shining, was one of the creepier things he’d experienced as part of

“We're waiting for our chance to interview them, and their handler couldn't find them," he says. "Then me and Groovey went into the men's bathroom, and they were cleaning the mirror and cleaning the table, the sink and everything. That's where they were. I don’t care what anybody says — that was creepier than anything I saw in The Shining.”

A celebration of Doug "Groovey" Newville's life will be posted on Facebook as soon as plans are confirmed.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon