Dalton Ross
October 19, 2017 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Simon on The Walking Dead is an intriguing dude. Evil, but intriguing. He sure does act like his big bad boss Negan in a lot of ways, and yet we never saw the two together in season 7 after what happened to Glenn and Abraham. So what’s Simon’s deal? And how will he react now that he is no longer able to bully the other kids in the schoolyard anymore? We went to actor Steven Ogg to ask him that and more — and ended up talking about drummers.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe what you’ve seen so far in season 8?
STEVEN OGG: It’s definitely a different tone than 7. I think 7 set up, and 8 executes. It’s a different pace, and there’s definitely more s–t going down. I think it’s more than pee-pee pants city now. It’s increased from peeing. They’ve moved on to other bowel movements.

Where’s Simon’s head as we get into All-Out War here?
Simon is out there. We didn’t see Negan and Simon together last season, and to me, that certainly meant he was certainly a trusted right-hand man. He’s the right-hand man that’s never around, and I think that’s because there’s so much to do. There’s so much s–t out there. So season 8, we get to see what all that s–t is that’s going on. That should be revealed a little more as to what exactly Simon is up to.

We also haven’t really seen Simon interacting with the other leadership folks like Dwight, Gavin, and now Eugene. Will we see some more of that interaction in season 8?
I certainly think that now there’s the opportunity to see a little more of that. We’ve established Negan, and we know he’s the leader, and we know what he can do and the way he likes to operate. And now I think there is more of an exploration of the Saviors and how all of these other leaders work within the group, because obviously if we’re dealing with All-Out War, we’ve got Rick and we’ve got Alexandrians and the Kingdom and the Hilltop — they’re all doing their stuff, so we have seen their community and their leadership styles or their changes of leadership, and now we get to see a little more of the Saviors and how that whole community operates and the different leaderships within that group.

Alan Clarke/AMC

Simon has flashes of Negan in him. He’s a showman. He’s charismatic. He seems a bit unpredictable. Does he really emulate Negan in terms of the way he carries himself?
Well, it’s interesting, because you start to realize sometimes, even just when you’re doing it on set, how you’ll do something and realize, Oh, god, that was very Negan-esque. Just almost like as an actor when you’re doing it, and you realize, well, in that world, with that type of charismatic leader, I think some of that leadership or that showmanship, if you will, would rub off. But Simon’s not a copycat. He has the ability to be a leader.

I’ve been comparing him to like the drummer in a band. He’s not leading because he can’t lead. I think he prefers to be the drummer, get the job done, keep it all together, and just not be front man. But if you look at a Dave Grohl, there he is drumming in Nirvana, didn’t take center stage. You’d have never guessed that years later, he’s one of the great rock and roll front men, and I sort of see Simon as that, you know? There’s a guy, he’s in the background, doing his job. He doesn’t really want to be front, but I certainly think he has the ability to step up to the front of the stage. He just prefers to be the drummer for now.

We’ve seen Simon as one of the big bullies, but what kind of Simon are we going to see now that the kids in the schoolyard are standing up to the bully?
That’s what I think is going to be interesting. I love backstory when they show you what makes this person behave this way. Because I think certainly everyone in the world is duplicitous, right? Everyone’s doing something, behaving a certain way to survive, but there’s also a lot of playing both sides because you don’t know when things are going to switch. So how much of the bully peacocking is an act? How much is it really him?

I was bullied growing up, and you always wonder, like, who are they at home? Is this how they behave all the time? Generally not. It’s peacocking. Bullying comes from an insecure place. You don’t feel good enough, so you have to put other people down to feel better. So I think it will be interesting to see how Simon reacts once someone comes back at him. It will be interesting to see his reaction, how the peacock responds. Could be with fire and brimstone.

The Walking Dead season 8 premieres Sunday, Oct. 22 on AMC. For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And watch Top 10 Gut-Wrenching Walking Dead Moments on the PeopleTV network.  Go to people.com/peopletv/ or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device. 

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