Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pheaturing Everett Young From Kicklighter

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile, kids, how are you? So, I'm a geek, right? we know that, so let's start off with some marvelous geek news...  After weeks of speculation of who would be playing Marvel's cosmic magician Doctor Strange in an upcoming film adaptation, it now appears as though Disney has settled on obscure British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whom audiences will remember from his recent roles as a slaveowner in 12 Years a Slave and as that one guy from Atonement. At first I didn't like this idea of Cumberbatch getting cast, but then I thought I was getting concerned I would not see Benedict Cumberbatch in any television, movies, books or music on July 8, 2016. Whew!  After six years, and more than a dozen films released and announced, Marvel Studios has finally decided that its audience... which is predominantly made up of people who are not white males (and that's not even considering its international audience) is finally ready to see a movie or two about some characters who are not white males. So, included in its information dump the other day are two upcoming films that aim to shake things up... Black Panther, about a black male superhero, and Captain Marvel, about a white female superhero. Marvel should have trolled everyone for a day and announced the Black Panther was gonna be played by Johnny Depp.  Pope Francis caused some controversy yesterday when he announced to an audience at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that he believes that both the evolutionary and the Big Bang theories are based in fact, saying that God is not “a magician with a magic wand." This is probably the most compelling evidence against those theories that the scientific world has seen thus far. Mad shout outs to the Pope for admitting evolution is real, the Big Bang theory is right, and Biggie and Tupac are still alive. Former partial-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, clearly aware that the world had momentarily turned its gaze away from her as it prepared itself for the impending midterm elections next week... told NBC News that she will "hopefully" be running for office again in the near future, with the ostensible purpose of annoying her "haters." Moments later, haters everywhere unanimously threw up their arms in celebration. She still knows how to give the people what they want. Sarah Palin says she's hoping to run for office again. What for? President of Redneck Reality Shows?  After several decades of bitter antagonism, officials from North Korea are finally agreeing to sit down with counterparts from Japan to discuss the fates of all the Japanese citizens that they always pretended not to have kidnapped back in the 1970s and 1980s. While Japan has accused its neighbor of abducting hundreds of Japanese citizens, North Korea disagrees, admitting to a much more reasonable 13 people. By he way, North Korea has banned foreign tourists because of Ebola. Kim Jong-un wants everyone to stay healthy and alive. So he can execute them. Speaking of Kim Jong-un, have you seen him lately? He looks a little bit different...

Haha. That's scary.  Pop singer Taylor Swift is set to make music history by becoming the first musician to sell one million copies within the first week of her new album's release for three consecutive albums. Her new album, "1989", appears on track to match her previous two, "Speak Now" and "Red" in sales as well as vapidity. Taylor is really popular, and Disney has decided to re-release all it's classic animated movies replacing the princesses with Taylor Swift. I mentioned this last week, well, here is another preview.

She looks happy with Aladdin, doesn't she?  Did you know the Chinese love America, and will do anything to copy you guys. Check this out.

Haha. That cracked me up.  So, with everyone talking about Ebola, some TV networks are about to cash in with Ebola themed TV shows. Here's the latest...

I still have not seen "The Walking Dead", the real show, and this season everybody is telling me I need to start watching. Maybe I will soon...  Halloween is tomorrow and if you need an costume ideas check out these ones...

Oh, yeah. You're welcome, fellas. If I was Jim Henson that's what the Muppets would look like.  Okay, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all through October I have been showing you some
amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. Here's the latest one...

She's beautiful, isn't she?  I just mentioned tomorrow is Halloween and you still might be trying to figure out what you are gonna dress as. Here's a costume I don't recommend...

Every parent's dream is for their little girl to be part of a harem. Okay, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is this week's...

Top Phive Things Overheard At Tuesday's Rocket Explosion
5. Dammit, I TOLD you this would happen if you ran the launch sequence and the hair dryer at the same time!
4. No worries... NASA has also outsourced the cleanup!
3. I hope the adorable puppy that jumped on at the last minute is okay!
2. I'm sure the people on the International Space Station won't become so desperate for food and supplies that they end up eating the weakest among them!
And the number one thing heard at the rocket explosion...
1. Insurance will probably total the thing.

Haha. This is a real easy one. And it's a real screen shot as well. Before we move on I need to mention something... you know I have a music project called Strawberry Blondes Forever, right? Well, we just released our Christmas single called "Christmas On My Mind" and it's available on Bandcamp and iTunes. Check out the awesome artwork I did...

Go to  and check it out. Alright, it's Thursday, kid's. So, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff Trelewicz...

Me: Hello, Jeff, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile. I'm doing okay, hope you are doing well.

Me: I'm doing pretty good. So, tomorrow is Halloween, are you dressing up this year? Jeff, I remember you always had good ideas for costumes. Weren't you John Travolta one year? Do you have a picture of that?

Jeff: No, I don't think there will be any dressing up this year. There is a picture of me however it was late in the night and the wig had come off and placed back on at the wrong angle. I am compiling pictures of all my Halloween costumes though so there is a chance it could be seen again.

Me: Cool. I haven't dressed up since the early 90s when I was Frankenstein Sinatra. Okay, football talk... the only story I can think of is Peyton Manning getting mad at the scorekeeper or somebody. What was that story, Jeff? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Jeff: Peyton Manning felt that the scorekeeper was disrespecting the other team with the images they were showing on the scoreboard. I don't know if I agree with him, but again I didn't see it when it happened.

Me: Neither did I but I saw his press conference and he was pissed. Any other stories that happened this week?

Jeff: Nothing too big happened this week. There was some really good games this week that went down to the last few plays. More injuries to players as well. It has been a bad year for injuries. At least two players have had season ending injuries while celebrating a sack of the opposing quarterback, which I just think is as dumb as you can get.

Me: Alright, so how did we do with the last picks?

Jeff: It was a mixed bag for us last week. You, Jason, went 2-0. I went 1-1 and Lori went 0-2. The Eagles lost a nail biter to Arizona, the Giants were off and the Steelers beat the Colts so I earned a point for that. As it stands I am still in front by a score of 27-23-17.

Me: I'm catching up to you though. Haha. Let's do this week's picks then I have to ask you something about the rest of the season. I say the Bengals will beat the Jags by 7 and the second pick is a toss up... either 49ers by 10 or Seahawks beat the Raiders by 13. Hmmmm. I say 49ers by 10. What do you kid's say?

Jeff: My picks are New Orleans by 3 and Chiefs by 7. Lori picks Chargers by 3, Seahawks by 5

Me: Alright, so, here is the question... starting this Sunday the Phile will move from Thursday and Friday to Sunday and Monday, so what day do you think we should do Phootball Talk?

Jeff: As far as moving Phootball Talk, that's entirely up to you. This is yours. Keep in mind though it does limit us from picking a game a week since there is a Thursday night game (and on Thanksgiving, three games) every week. But that is your call.

Me: Hmmmm. Good point. Okay, for the rest of the season I will post another entry on Thursday's. So, I will see you back here next Thursday. Have a good weekend and a safe Halloween.

Jeff: See you next week.

The 28th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Al Abbazia and this is one of his pieces...

Al will be a guest on the Phile on Sunday.

Today's pheaured guest is a singer-songwriter whose project Kicklighter has a new album called "The Fascinating Thinking Machine" that is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Everett Young.

Me: Hey, Everett, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?

Everett: I’m hanging in there, man. I got two small children... 4 and 7. So I might be a wee bit worn out. But I’m living the musical life, so let me stop complaining right there.

Me: Your first name rhymes with my last name. Crazy. Haha. Everett is an unusual first name, were you named after someone?

Everett: My grandfather’s middle name. Can I tell you that I hate my name? People tell me it’s cool, but my wife is real with me about it. She doesn’t like it either! I wish my name were cooler, but it’s my name, and I don’t think I’m going to change it. When I was a kid, I used to hate it when people would call me Ev, but I like that now. I think it’s snazzier than Everett.

Me: I love it when people call me Pev. Your last name is ironic, because didn't you start playing piano when you were four?

Everett: My mom got me a little batter operated keyboard around that age, yeah. Maybe even a little before then. They realized I had a special ear for harmony within just a few days or weeks, apparently. I still have a memory of coming home from the church we were going to and playing a major third interval, and saying, “Mama, I heard this at church today.” I can still hear it in my head. Probably three years old, and I remember it was a major third.

Me: How old were you when you started songwriting and realized you wanted to be a professional musician, Everett?

Everett: I’ve realized that I want to be a professional musician several times in my life, then pronounced myself a failure and walked away, only to be drawn back and realize it again. The first time was in middle school. I wanted to be a songwriter, and I wrote some silly (and profane) songs. But I got serious about school in high school. Later in high school, however, I realized it again and I had a duo with a friend of mine named Daryl Jones. He was the singer and I was the keyboard player. We had a producer who was going to take us to the top! And we even had some real recording studio experiences. But fame didn’t happen, and then I went to college, and focused on my studies again. But then again in college, I got involved with a terrific band called the Sight-Seers, running sound for them and recording their music. My god, were they great. And then of course I decided that I wanted to be a pop star. I moved to Atlanta with those guys, recorded an album that, today, I’m quite embarrassed about, and eventually moved to L.A. on my own, recorded another album, and gave it a decent try. Spent a lot of money trying to promote my own music, all to little end of course. Eventually I tried opening a mixing studio back in my hometown of Tallahassee, recorded a third album, got married and quickly divorced, and then in my mid-30s decided music was not ever going to work out for me, and just desperate to be successful at something, went back to my intellectual side, to my studies yet again, and earned a Ph.D. in political science, hoping for an academic job. But as you can see, that didn’t work out either, and I’m back at music. I could have made a career of that if I’d wanted it bad enough. I didn’t. So this is the last time. It’s music until death now. I think after all that, I’ve finally learned that commitment is what matters, it’s who you are. Chasing success for the sake of success alone is completely empty. Wait, I didn’t answer your question. I mean, I was many different ages when I decided I wanted to be a professional musician. But how did I realize it? Well, this last time, in my 40s, when I decided to become a guitar player, I just looked at my whole life and I asked myself, “Do I really have an identity? Does anything look like the thing I’m on this planet to do?” And it was pretty clear who I am. I’m music. I think I’d never truly seen myself as an artist until my 40s. Or, I hoped I was an artist, but I didn’t believe it.

Me: Wow. I think that has to be the longest answer in the Phile's history. I am guessing you started out playing classic music, like a lot of musicians I interviewed who started young, am I right?

Everett: I mean, I took classical lessons for a few years, but I was a terrible student and I’m not a technician at the piano. I never practiced well until my 40s... and then it was guitar. I have a nice feel at the piano, but I can’t sightread at speed and I don’t sound technically trained at all.

Me: Who did you grow up listening to? 

Everett: My dad introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel as a 4 or 5 year old, and I love them to this day. "The Monkees" were in re-runs in the 1970s and I loved the Monkees. Not a bad influence at all for a songwriter, since the writers for that band were first rate. But then I also liked Barry Manilow. Can you maybe not print that?

Me: No, it's printed. Haha. I wanted to interview you when I heard your music and read you are compared to Crowded House, Lloyd Cole and Costello. Are you fans of those musicians?

Everett: I love Crowded House. Great 1980s songwriting band. Lloyd Cole just has this one album that’s so beautiful and so honest, called “The Negatives,” came out around the year 2000 or so. I have not been able to connect with Cole’s songwriting on his other albums, just that one, and I love every song on it. Weird, huh? Elvis Costello doesn’t really sound like me, but he’s a pure songwriter, and I love people committed to song craft. That’s my passion. Melody crafting, really.

Me: Who are your main influences? 

Everett: My biggest influence is definitely Tears for Fears. A great 1980s defining band that’s still doing good work today. Earlier than that, I listened to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire, if you can believe it. Maurice White was one of the great, underrated vocalists of all time. In the 1980s, Howard Jones too, great songwriter. Sting and Peter Gabriel, U2, I listened to that intellectual pop in the 1980s over and over. And Scritti Politti. Great melodies, intricate production. I got to meet David Gamson (their keyboardist/programmer) over lunch once, years after Scritti Politti’s pop success. Gamson tried to repudiate their “Provisions” album, the one after “Perfect Way” and say it was overproduced, and I wasn’t having any of it. I told him they were simply brilliant and I loved what he did, no asterisks. I also used to listen to a lot of Al Jarreau as an adolescent. When I was 12 or 13, I was into him a lot. Michael Jackson too, from his "Thriller" and "Off the Wall" albums. Believe it or not, the Sight-Seers are big influences on me. They have this singer, Zollie Maynard, who is a naturally gifted melody writer. Actually one of the greatest I’ve ever heard, famous or not. That band, now defunct, still needs to be discovered by the world. They are the best undiscovered band in the history of rock music. I actually co-produced a beautiful record with them right around the turn of the millennium.

Me: Major pints for mentioning Scritti Politti... I have been trying to get Green on the Phile for years. Also I didn't realize Lloyd Cole was really known over here, Everett. Anyway, what about Graham Parker, are you a fan of his?

Everett: I don’t know who Graham Parker is! Should I go listen?

Me: Yes! You said you are from Tallahassee. Do you still live there?

Everett: Yes, my wife and I have settled back in the home town.

Me: You are not a Seminoles fan, are you?

Everett: Lifelong. As a young boy, used to cry at games in the early 1970s when we were a horrible team, before Bobby Bowden came and changed everything. I love my Seminoles.

Me: This interview is over. Ha. Just kidding. Okay, so, we talked about you playing piano, but you also play guitar... but didn't you have problems playing that instrument?

Everett: Yeah, I tried to learn it a bunch of times in my life. Well, like two or three times anyway. And every time the same result... practice a little for a few weeks, then walk away after realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere fast enough. Finally, in my 40s, I accepted how long this adventure lasts. You don’t become a professional player in six weeks. You have to embrace you playing as it is now, at each moment in the adventure.

Me: I can't say anything as I don't play either... I do play kazoo though. Haha. Anyway, why was guitar so hard to play for you?

Everett: As I indicated above, I’d say it boils down to impatience. Adults are impatient with learning in a way children aren’t. That’s why almost nobody truly learns guitar as an adult. It’s not because we can’t... it’s because we give up too quickly. Kids don’t do that. They don’t know how long it’s taking, or aren’t aware of it.

Me: My dad tried to teach me guitar but I complained it hurt my fingers. I was a big pussy. You never gave up though, and play guitar to this day, am right?

Everett: Yep, play professionally and teach. You should try it again, really. The pain goes away after a few weeks, but as I remember, my previous attempts were thwarted by that, too. I’d complain that I couldn’t practice as long as I needed to in order to improve. So what was the point? Somehow, though, I got to a place were I can play for six hours without pain. You just get there, you do.

Me: And now you teach guitar? To kids or adults and where at?

Everett: I teach in Tallahassee and online. All ages, but of course I have a special place in my heart for older learners like myself.

Me: You also have a Ph.D. in political science, am I right? I know what that is, but I bet a lot of readers don't. So, what is it?

Everett: I do indeed, Political psychology is my specialty. Political science is the field of people who know the least about actual politics. Okay, just kidding, sort of. These days, we learn a lot of statistical analysis in political science. We try to find out what really gets people elected, what voters like, and in my case, what makes people liberal or conservative, psychologically.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "The Fascinating Thinking Machine". I like that title, what does it mean, Everett?

Everett: It’s your brain, I suppose. It is us. We are thinking machines, people are. Of course, it’s meant to be ironic a bit because most of what our brain does is not conscious thought. That’s a big theme in my album... the inability of our conscious minds to account for all the crazy things we do. A person isn’t just “one being” as his conscious mind makes it appear he is by weaving a coherent-looking narrative. We are a bunch of different modules all existing together in one brain... often at odds with each other.

Me: And you released it under a band name Kicklighter. I didn't know what Kicklighter was, but it's named after someone, right?

Everett: Actually, my producer suggested it to me years ago, and I thought it sounded great... after I got over the fact that my high school choral director’s name was Ray Kickliter. He and I did NOT get along. But it does sound great, and I think it fits my music. All my friends thought it was a great name. Then again, I recently found out it’s like German for “chicken farmer” or something. Which isn’t all that cool. No offense to the fine chicken farmers of the world.

Me: Well, Sammy Hager has a band called Chickenfoot. Why didn't you release your first album under your own name?

Everett: I did! This is not my first album. It’s just the first album of mine that I want YOU to hear! So I changed to Kicklighter because I just don’t like the sound of my own name. Actually, I’m starting to make available some of my old stuff on my website and Facebook page.

Me: How long did this album take to record, Everett?

Everett: About a year. That’s what happens when you have small children and a day job.

Me: I love the album, so I am sure you are very proud of it, am I right?

Everett: Yes, finally, I seem to have created an album that, several months on, I’m still very fond of. It’s very close to being the record I wanted it to be. And for you to say you love it... well, that’s amazing to hear, man. That kind of thing really makes my day. 

Me: It's true. Did you write all the songs on it?

Everett: Indeed I did! Well, I discovered, or assembled, them. Everything is borrowed, you know.

Me: It sound alike it could've been released in the 80s. Is that something you were aiming for?

Everett: Yep. Consciously. I thought the textures of 1980s New Wave were beautiful, dramatic, mysterious. I loved that romantic thing that was going on, and I didn’t think the possibilities had yet been exhausted. I hate the idea that music has to sound like a the current decade in order to be any good or for anybody to like it.

Me: I have to ask, who is that woman on the album cover?

Everett: She’s a model that my art director found. Striking looking!

Me: So, you have so much talent, why did it take you soooo long to release an album?

Everett: Because I forgot who the hell I am and went on a success-chasing mission getting a Ph.D. in something. Honestly, I’m glad I have the Ph.D. I love having the knowledge and the experience I got from that. But I promise you it won’t be twelve years again. I plan to lie on my death bed and listen to the many, many albums I spent my life making, at least from age forty-four onward.

Me: My favorite track on the album is "Building a Robot". Do you have a favorite song?

Everett: That’s certainly near the top for me. Nobody seems to notice “Sultan of Brunei” but I think that song is quite an achievement, writing and performance and production all of that.

Me: You have a song called "When Howie Dressed Me Down". Who is Howie? I thought of Howie Mandell for some reason.

Everett: I don’t know if I can reveal this! But this is someone I ran into in graduate school. Near the end of my studies, I was called into his office and essentially told I’d wasted my time in graduate school, had made all the wrong decisions about who to work with, had sabotaged my own career, and that the paper I’d recently submitted to a journal was a piece of crap. He sent me back to my office wondering why I’d ever bothered to spend five years of my life doing what I’d done. I won’t tell you whether his name was actually Howie. I thought Howie sang really well in that spot, though.

Me: Everett, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? Would you rather live by the beach or in the mountains?

Everett: Mountains. North Carolina is one of my favorite places on earth.

Me: Everett, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon. Will you be recording another album or is this it for you?

Everett: I am writing the new album right now. I’m well into it. Thanks so much for having me! I would love to come back, seriously. I love your questions too. These are some of the best questions I’ve answered about my music.

Me: Thank you. Go ahead and mention your website and I wish you continued success. Don't stop now, Everett.

Everett: It’s And there’s always a bunch of new and interesting content there. Check it out. Thanks again!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile, kids. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz and of course Everett Young from Kicklighter. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Poison Ivory, and then next week it gets rather confusing. The Phile is changing it's days from Thursday and Friday to Sunday and Monday. Sunday it's artist Al Abbazia and Monday Phile Alum Anna Coogan. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pheaturing Jess Meuse From "American Idol"

Hey, everybody, welcome to the Phile. How are you? Are you kid's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fans? My wife loves that show. Anyway, "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice will begin serving a fifteen month sentence for federal fraud charges at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut beginning in early January. Interestingly, the correctional facility is the same one at which Piper Kerman, author of the nonfiction book upon which Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black "was based... served her prison time. It is currently unknown when Giudice will begin filming her "Real Prisoners of Danbury" spinoff reality television show, but you'd better believe that somebody at Bravo has already pitched that idea.  The trailer for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was supposed to premiere during next Tuesday's episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. " on ABC, but somehow made it onto the Internet ahead of schedule. In response, Marvel Studios decided to release an official version this week. While the film company blamed its own fictional villains on Twitter ("Dammit, Hydra.") it seems much more likely that the much-anticipated preview... about a Stark Industries artificial intelligence program that gains independence acquired free will and figured out how to upload itself to the throngs of voracious fanboys and fan girls online. Either that, or some dude who works there did it on his lunch break. 
Florida here is apparently so fed up with having to deal with itself that the entire southern half of its peninsula is trying to become its own state. "It's very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean," South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard explained. Stoddard's feelings about the north aside, the resolution to recreate an autonomous South Florida has about as much chance of passing as the northern half of the state has of not hosting a single drunken nude sword fight this weekend. Remember when the main joke about Florida was that elderly people lived there, and not that it was literally an unfolding apocalypse. Speaking of Florida... I was gonna talk about this in the Florida: America's Wang pheature but I have another story to talk about then.  A Florida based mom activist, or moctivist, Susan Schrivjer has started a popular online petition to get nationwide toy store Toys R Us to stop carrying "Breaking Bad" action figures, claiming that the tiny little representations of drug dealers... complete with itsy-bitsy containers of fake crystal meth... is a bad influence on children, despite the fact that the collectables are displayed in an adult section of the store, far away from the more kid-appropriate functioning crossbows.  Music legend Annie Lennox informed younger, more bootylicious, musicians that "twerking is not feminism," during a recent NPR interview, in which she gave her thoughts on the "over-sexualization" of pop music by performers like Beyoncé Knowles. "It's not... it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you." So, take that under advisement, Ms. Fierce. Hello Tilda Swinton, Annie Lennox here… Just checking to see if we are possibly the same person. Call me when you get this. Okay, bye. Haha. I'm so stupid.  In the process of reconstructing the 45,000 year old variant of the human genome, geneticists confirmed that your great great great great etc. grandparents liked to have some kinky inter-species sex with with Neanderthals. Just wanted you to know. Now go about your day and try not to kill any Woolly Mammoths.  For the past six years, the Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, New York has offered a style of lager that it has dubbed Strikes Bock. Get it? Do you get it? Like The Empire Strikes Back. See? That's clever. However, now that Empire is trying to trademark the beer so that they can distribute it, Lucasfilm... which was bought by Disney... the greatest company to work for ever... for all of the money in the world two years ago is filing a lawsuit to stop the microbrewery from calling it that, saying it sounds too similar to the name of the movie that Empire is rather obviously trying to make it sound like. I like to imagine that they filed it via a highly concentrated legal beam from a small artificial moon which is always orbiting the Earth. But they probably just faxed some papers over to some law office somewhere. The microbrewery's owner, David Katleski, is painting himself as a sort of scrappy booze-producing rebel just trying to do his thing on his own little base on Yavin IV. "It’s kind of a ‘big dog against small dog’ thing," he told "We’ve had this beer for seven years, and we did this [trademark attempt] because we don’t want to infringe on any other beers or anyone else’s trademarks." That's all well and good, but his company is the one called Empire, so doesn't that kind of make him the Emperor in this situation?  I want to try this beer.  There's a new movie that came out today I think called Ouija. Anyway, I guess in time for Halloween McDonald's has a movie tie-in for it which is kinda weird.

Haha. That's so funny.  Did you guys ever play with a ouija board? I did it once when I lived in England with my sister and a friend.  A Phile reader sent me a picture that I thought was funny and thought I would share.

But I want to buy stuff.  Taylor Swift has a new CD out and she's everywhere now. Disney has decided to re-release all their animated movies by replacing the princesses with Taylor as well. Here's the first look at the first one...

Hahaha. I really don't know what to say.  You kid's I am sure love Frozen, right? There was a scene in Frozen which I did not really understand.

No wonder she wants to marry that guy so fast.  So, one thing I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain words to see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is Foghat and this is what I recently saw.

God, I wish I knew what ride that was.  Okay, it's October, and it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, this month I am showing you some some amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. So, here is another one...

Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between Oscar Pistorius And Oscar De La Renta
5. Is the pride of South Africa.
4. Isn't making any plans for the foreseeable future.
3. Beloved by fashion models worldwide.
2. Googled "How to make a shiv" in the last two months.
And the number one similarity and difference between the two Oscar's...
1. Has feeling in his feet.

Ben Bradlee
August 26th, 1921 — October 21st, 2014
Deep box.

Oscar De Le Renta 
July 22nd, 1932 — October 20th, 2014
Fashionably late.

Shit! That had to hurt. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. And I thought my accident two years ago was bad. Man! So, a few weeks ago the Maelstrom ride in the Norway pavilion in Epcot closed down to make room for a Frozen themed ride. In that ride was a polar bear who now is unemployed, but all he wants to do is to be a stand-up comedian. So, a few weeks ago I invited him on the Phile to tell some jokes and he was so damn popular I thought I would invite him back. So, here he is once again, the Phile's new character...

Petter: Hei, Jason, er det flott å være tilbake på Phile.

Me: Hi, Petter. I don't speak Norwegian so all I got was Jason and Phile. How are you?

Petter: Fantastisk, takk.

Me: Petter, please stick to English. Okay, do you have any jokes for us?

Petter: Why shouldn't you take polar bears to the zoo?

Me: I don't know. Why?

Petter: Because they'd rather go to the movies.

Me: Petter, that was horrible.

Petter: Sorry. How about this one? What did the polar bear eat after the dentist fixed its tooth?

Me: I'm not sure.

Petter: The dentist.

Me: That's mean. Any others?

Petter: Ja. What do you get when you cross a polar bear with a seal?

Me: I'm not sure. What?

Petter: A polar bear.

Me: Hahaha. Petter, that's funny. Do you have a story to finish your pheature?

Petter: Ja. A man in a movie theater notices what looks like a polar bear sitting next to him. "Are you a polar bear?" asked the man, surprised. "Yes." "What are you doing at the movies?" The polar bear replied, "Well, I liked the book."

Me: That wasn't funny at all, Petter. I'll have you back soon to try again. Keep at it. Petter the Comedic, Norwegian, Unemployed Polar Bear, everybody. And now for a brand new pheature...

U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a printed version of Ben Stein's voice.

The 28th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Al Abbazia and this is one of his pieces...

I love it! Al will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

This is sooooo cool. Today's pheatured guest is an American singer from Slapout, Alabama, who finished in fourth place on the thirteenth season of "American Idol". Please welcome to the Phile... Jess Meuse!

Me: Hello, Jess, welcome to the Phile. It's so cool you are here, how are you?

Jess: I'm great! Happy I can sit down and have time to answer some questions, of course! It's a great day to be alive!

Me: Okay, so, do you like to be called Jessica or Jess?

Jess: I like to be called Jess more. In high school, I had like a thousand Jessica's in my classes, so it got really confusing, and it kinda left a stigma on the full three syllable name! Ha!

Me: Jess, I have to be honest, I originally was planning to have you on the Phile in 2011 when your album "What's So Hard About Bein' A Man" came out. I have photo of that album here...

Me: I thought that was a great album title... was it a pun?

Jess: Haha. You're so punny. It was a collection of many of my early works, including the title track, one of the very first songs I ever wrote. That time in my life was a huge time of learning, and with that, frustration! What better way to release that than through music and lyrics?

Me: That album was all originals, right?

Jess: All of the tracks were original aside from my cover of "Simple Man."

Me: When you do your shows do you still do songs from that album?

Jess: Sometimes. I'm really lenient with my set lists. I usually don't make it until about five minutes before I get on stage, and then about five songs change on it anyway… so sometimes I don't even make one. Every now and then, I'll definitely have a "throwback" to my "What's So Hard About Bein' A Man" days!

Me: When you were on "Idol" I was like... wait a minute. I know that name. Has your life changed a lot since you were on that show?

Jess: Definitely. It was like being picked up in a tornado and not even seeing the clouds rolling in! But it was a great ride and an awesome experience! There are some educations you just can't pay for, and the "Idol" experience is one of those. My life has definitely changed for the better, and I'm ready to keep pushing forward with my solo career and go crazy with my music... in a good way, of course!

Me: Regular readers of the Phile know I am a huge Kelly Clarkson fan and she's my favorite Idol, but last season you were my favorite Idol. Did you have a good time doing that show, Jess?

Jess: It was AWESOME!!

Me: You went pretty far which was so cool, and you had some amazing performances... "Jolene", and "Gunpowder and Lead" were great. You have done local talent shows and auditioned before for other shows, right?

Jess: Thank you so much! I've done a ton of local shows here, there, everywhere. I doubt I could list them all offhand. I'm really rooted in the place I come from, so I was sure to be a part of the community not only as a musician but as a person; it built a lot of character, I think, and helps me stand firm in who I am today.

Me: I have to show this picture of your audition on "Idol"...

Me: How did you choose "American Idol" over say "The Voice" or any other talent show?

Jess: I was on "The Voice" Season 3 in 2012. It just didn't work out, and that's okay. I got to blind auditions, and no one turned around. It was my first real Hollywood experience.

Me: You got to perform your own original song "Blue-Eyed Lie" on the show. That must of been a really big deal for you. And they even paid to have you record it in the studio? Do you wish you got to do any other of your original songs?

Jess: That was a total dream come true! I actually ended up being the first finalist to perform an original on the show, which is hard for me to process even now, months after the season has ended! I just feel very blessed and thankful. I do wish I'd gotten to perform other originals, of course. I was going to sing "The Hell You Put Me Through", ironically, on the round I was eliminated. The theme of the week got switched up last minute, and I had to pick a song on the spot; I ended up with "So What" by P!nk, because it was the only song, lyrically, that I could even remotely relate to on the cleared list.

Me: Do you have a favorite "Idol" moment? Mine would be in the eighth season when Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta did "Slow Ride". You could of done a great version of "Slow Ride" or any Foghat song, Jess. Are you a fan of Foghat?

Jess: I'll have to go check them out! I've heard the name before, at least!

Me: Jess, you're originally from Texas, right, but didn't you live in Florida for awhile?

Jess: Yes! I lived in Zephyrhills, Florida for a couple years!

Me: How did you end up in Slapout, Alabama?

Jess: That's a good question. It just kind of… happened. My family and I moved down to Slapout from Rhode Island, so it was a rather random place to end up in.

Me: You being on "Idol" really put the town on the map. Are you still living there?

Jess: I do still live in Slapout!

Me: Do you get recognized a lot?

Jess: Everyone knows everyone in Slapout, so yes! It's fun, though! I love the tight-knit community. It's like a big happy family!

Me: Jess, how old were you when you started playing guitar and singing?

Jess: I was just finishing up eighth grade at Holtville Middle School, so I was probably 14 or 15. I'm a night owl. I'd sit up all night and teach myself, wake up at 6, go to school, do my homework, repeat.

Me: What was the first song you learnt, Jess?

Jess: It escapes me. I had to learn a lot of covers, especially when I was playing three and four hours worth of shows, multiple times a week. It was definitely something without bar chords, though! Haha! Those came later!

Me: Hey, I just remembered something, you did a show with a Phile Alum Kirk Waldrop who is the lead singer of the band Nine Times Blue. Do you remember that? Was that before "Idol"?

Jess: Wasn't that at The Nick in Birmingham?

Me: I'm not sure... I wasn't there.

Jess: One of the coolest venues to perform at, if you ask me! I remember Nine Times Blue & Roostertruck performed there that night, too! It was an epic night of music. Just how I like it.

Me: Okay, so, now the "Idol" show is over and the tour is done, are you gonna be going into the studio to work on your album?

Jess: I currently am working with a very talented production group based out of Los Angeles. Hopefully, if things work out, I'll be releasing a single and hopefully begin working on an EP.

Me: Have you been writing songs for it, Jess?

Jess: Always writing!!!!

Me: You're going to continue being a singer and performer, right?

Jess: I couldn't be anything else. It's not in my soul.

Me: I have to mention your tattoos as I have four myself, but you have a lot more than four. How many do you have?

Jess: Maybe nine? Once you start to get so many, it becomes less of a number and more of a size thing… I have a huge dragon on the left side of my back, my best friend's spirit animals and mine, a Celtic cross with "Caelitus Mihi Vires" written on it, a phoenix, a double infinity with wings, "Faith," "XIII" (for "Idol" season 13), and a few more.

Me: You designed them yourself, am I right?

Jess: Yes, I designed all of them except the buckmark on my hip. The big dragon I told you about was originally my concept, and I had a drawing, but the artist I use is freehand, so he ran with my concept with his own interpretation!

Me: Are you gonna be getting any more?

Jess: Maybe… probably...

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What's the hardest thing you've ever done? And no, that's not a pun.

Jess: Remained true to myself... and continuing to do so... while being pushed and pulled from every angle. There are a lot of people in this world and not one of them has the same idea of perfection. I think it's imperative to stay honest, be real, and be true to yourself and others in spite of the parts of this world that will try to weigh you down and make you feel heavy. You just have to do what you love and treat people the way you want to be treated. That's my goal every day.

Me: Good for you. Jess, you are fantastic. Continued success and when your album comes out will you come back on the Phile?

Jess: Thank you so much! I enjoyed it. I'll definitely talk with you again sometime!

Me: Go ahead and mention your websites and stuff.

Jess:, Twitter: @jessmeuse, IG: jessmeuse.

Me: Take care, all the best.

Jess: You too!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jess Meuse for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Thursday with singer Everett Young from Kicklighter and on Friday with singer Poison Ivory. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pheaturing Dr. Demento

Hello, welcome to the Phile, kids. How are you? I am back in Florida again. I had such a good time on Long Island. I wish I can go to a diner today. Speaking of today, today is my 17th wedding anniversary. If you are not married I have to tell you marriage is finding the person who puts up with your shit, admires your weird little ways and still says they love you at the end of the day. Good times... Anyway, enough about me, kids. Let's talk about more important stuff.  When you think of New York, what's the first delicious treat that pops into your head? Okay, what's the second? The third? How about the 19th? That's right! Yogurt! That's why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill into law making the sour dairy product the "Official New York State Snack."
I ate a lot of different foods hen I was in New York... pizza, a dirty water hot dog, bagels, diner food... but one thing I didn't eat was yogurt. Next time I'll try some of that New York yogurt.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it has chosen Neil Patrick Harris to be the next dishearteningly disappointing host of the Oscars. The actor/singer/comedian/author joins a long and very prestigious list of performers who have utterly failed to live up to people's expectations for the difficult and thankless job. You know they picked Neil Patrick Harris to host the Oscars since he's the same cummerbund size as Ellen.  Despite the relatively low number of actual Ebola cases in the United States, the virus has been garnering sufficient enough headlines to force President Obama to appoint former Chief of Staff to the Vice President Ron Klain as the nation's first Ebola czar. Hopefully, he'll be a little more successful than the drug czar and the Guantanamo closure czar. I'm worried an Ebola Czar might conflict with the Swine Flu Kaiser and the Premier of Colds, then it will be years of trench foot warfare.  Hey, Harry Potter fans, Warner Bros. has announced that it is somehow adapting J.K. Rowling's 42-page, mostly narrative-free "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" into at least three blockbuster fantasy films based in the Harry Potter universe. On the plus side, Rowling will be writing the screenplays herself, so even if they're bad, they'll at least be canon. Has anyone already come up with a "2 Legit 2 Quidditch" t-shirt for people who don't like magic, Harry Potter, or fun but do like shirts?  Warner Bros. and DC Comics also announced its full slate of scheduled superhero movies that it will be releasing through 2020, including two Justice League movies and stand-alone films for such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Combined with Marvel Studios and Sony Entertainment's full lists, it is now appearing as though moviegoers will hardly ever be lacking for a new comic book movie on which to spend their money. If current trends persist, it is expected that a superhero movie will be released to theaters every 7.3 hours by 2026.  Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison today for "gross negligence" in shooting his fiancée multiple times last Valentine's Day. Speaking of "gross negligence," the South African legal system is expected to spit him back out onto the street within a year.  Character actor Frank Sivero (The Godfather Part II, Goodfellas, Cop and ½) is suing Fox Television Studios for the very reasonable sum of $250,000,000 on the claim that the Simpsons character Louie was modeled after him. "Louie's appearance and mannerisms are strongly evocative of character actor Frank Sivero," according to the lawsuit, which, to be fair, is funnier than anything the character Louie has done in about twelve years. The character of Lenny is clearly based on me but you don't see me suing the Simpsons.  I just mentioned that they are gonna make some more Harry Potter spin-off movies. Well, they are also coming out with a new Harry Potter book and I have the exclusive cover right here.

When I flew to Long Island and back I flew on Southwest, but when I was at the airport I couldn't help but notice Delta's new ad...

Yesterday I went to McDonald's and their new ad blew me away.

Crazy, right?  Okay, with all this Ebola talk, TV networks are cashing in by coming out with new Ebola themed TV shows. Here's a new one coming out soon.

One thing I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up different words to see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is Foghat and this is what I recently found...

Yes! Very cool, Matt.  It's October, and before I went to Long Island I was showing you
some amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. Well, here's a new one.

Designed by tattoo artist Pat Fish, this double knot tattoo serves a dual purpose. Breast cancer survivor Mary asked for a round Celtic knot to mitigate the appearance of the scars on her chest left from the surgery. "We consulted about art choices, and then she had the second breast removed also, so we had to wait for her immune system to be ready for this project. Over a period of several months we did the two Celtic circles."

Films set during World War II are a repository for every wish we have about the moral validity of war. They’re perennial, of course, produced regularly whether or not the country is in a good mood. But they exist, in anxious times, as an emotional site, a place where war can be won and made “good.”  Fury isn’t exactly like that. It's not at all like that, in fact. It’s a strange animal, from director David Ayer (End of Watch), who takes his ongoing concerns with men involved in violence for a living... criminals, cops and brings them to the last battlefield in American history that most people still view with fondness. Then he turns it into a gory horror film about the way war turns human beings into monsters. “Ideals are peaceful; history is violent,” says Sgt. Don Collier (Brad Pitt) to young, terrified soldier Norman (Logan Lerman), and he ain’t kidding.  Set in the final months of the war, a tank crew (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal) led by Collier, rolls slowly through Germany, outgunned every creeping inch of the way, killing as many enemy troops as they can. Added to the mix is inexperienced Norman, trained as a clerk, possibly wrongly routed to tank duty. No matter. Replacing a recently killed soldier, Norman's first assignment from Collier is cleaning his predecessor's shredded body from the inside of the tank. We witness a human face separated from the rest of its original head. And the violent imagery doesn’t get any softer or nicer after that.  Bookended by long sequences of intense battles, Fury takes a detour, mid-film, into a strange, tense lull, as Collier and Norman take temporary rest in a German home where two young women are living. The soldiers eat, clean up, and, in Norman’s case, find unexpected sexual pleasure there. Trying to fit into an approximation of domestic life... if only for a couple hours... is difficult, and then impossible, as the rest of the crew, still high on killing and drunk on alcohol, invade the space and ruin the almost peaceful moment. Back to the tank.  As Lerman’s perpetually shocked, anxiety-wracked Norman assimilates and finds his inner fuck-you, Fury makes its point... to be successful in war requires a displacement of humanity and mercy. To survive allows for nothing else. Norman becomes as brutal as his band of brothers, and his final ironic moments on screen, binding together terror and mercy, distill his cognitive and spiritual dissonance. Ayer's immediate, gut-level filmmaking, less about indelible images than about power and blunt force, is an anguished, down and dirty experience of ugly reflection. More tonally informed by Iraq and Afghanistan than by Nazi Germany’s clear-cut moral imperative, it simultaneously questions and reinforces ideas about martyrdom and heroism, and ultimately makes the case for the idea that there never have been any good wars, not even the ones we liked. I give Fury an 8.

Do you spot the Mindphuck? Email me if you want to if you spot it. Well, it's Thursday and on Thursday's I like talk football with my good friends Jeff and Lori.

Me: Hey, Jeff, Lori, welcome back to Phile. How are you both?

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile regardless if it's out of Florida or Long Island. I hope you enjoyed your trip there and based off the pictures you posted, you did. That's good!

Me: Yes, I had a great time. Before we talk about football, Jeff, I have to mention something called Two Dudes, Brews and Books. What is that exactly?

Jeff: Two Dudes, Brews and Books is an independent book company that will publish books through Amazon. It was started by pheatured Phile guest Jeremy Croston and I. Jeremy's books are now published under that company and mine will be too. We also started a Facebook Group where we can discuss books and beers and anything else that we feel like.

Me: Jeremy Croston who we used to work with years ago was on the Phile a month or so back talking about his book "Power Play" like you said. Was that the start of all this? Should my ego take the credit? Haha.

Jeff: Yes, you pheaturing Jeremy on the Phile is sort of what got it started so feel free to let your ego take credit. Anyone interested in joining the group is more than welcome to. It's an open group.

Me: So, you are writing a book as well, right, Jeff?

Jeff: I am indeed working on my first novel as well. It is an adaption from a screenplay I wrote years ago, with a lot of changes going on to it.

Me: I used to write short stories when I was a kid and I wrote a few books that never got published. One is a novel called "Success" and the other is a biography on my dad and Foghat called "Sneakers and Guitars". I think that was the name. Your book you are writing, is it a novel?

Jeff: You should talk to Jeremy about getting your old novels published as well. And that way you can conquer another medium. Blog? Check. Music? Check. Books? Go for it!

Me: We'll see. Okay, Jeff, when your book comes out I will have you on the Phile as a pheatured guest. Would that be cool?

Jeff: Of course I will gladly be a pheatured guest on the Phile when my book comes out. I will keep you posted and you can fit me into your star studded schedule.

Me: Okay, football... any news this week I should know about? It's been a quiet football week, hasn't it?

Jeff: I don't know that I would call it a quiet week. There has been more season ending injuries this week, and you never want to see that. Bears WR Brandon Marshall threw a fit in the locker room after his team loss, blaming his QB. And there was a rare trade when the Jets sent a conditional draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks for WR Percy Harvin. Oh, and Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's record of most touchdowns thrown in a career. And he is still going.

Me: You're right, it wasn't a quite week. Okay, so, how did we do with last weeks picks? Am I still in second place?

Jeff: I had my worst week of the season failing to pick a victory. I went 0-2. You and Lori both went 1-1. However the Steelers won, the Eagles on a bye week and Dallas beating the Giants I was the only one to pick a point in team play. So as it stands I am still in first place with 24 points, Jason is in second with 19 points and Lori has 17 points.

Me: Let's do this weeks picks... I say Broncos will win by 8 and the Seattle will win by 4. What do you kids say?

Jeff: This week I pick New England by 3 over the Bears, further frustrating Marshall and Dallas (ugh) over Washington by 7.

Lori: I'll say the Ravens by 3 and the Raiders with the upset by 1. If Jacksonville can get their first win against the Browns, then maybe Oakland can too!

Me: Good job, kids, see you next Thursday.

A few weeks ago I interviewed a singer named Molly Roth who has a single out called "Pin Me Up" and did a whole pin-up shoot. We talked about how much I like the pin-up look, and then I found an artist who does that mina work as his specialty so he is now the 28th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery. His name is Al Abbazia and this is one of his pieces...

Al will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's pheatured guest is an American radio broadcaster and record collector specializing in novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings dating from the early days of phonograph records to the present. This is so cool, kids. Please welcome to the Phile... Dr. Demento.

Me: Hello, sir, welcome to the Phile. It's such an honor to have a legend like you here. How are you?

Dr. Demento: Fine. And you?

Me: I'm good. So, should I call you Doctor, sir?

Dr. Demento: If there’s a mic or cameras running, yes. Otherwise Barry is fine.

Me: Doctor, you live in Los Angeles now, but where are you originally from?

Dr. Demento: Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Me: How long have you been a doctor?

Dr. Demento: Since the Dr. Demento Show began, in October 1970.

Me: When I told a few friends I was gonna be interviewing you they couldn't believe it. My dad was a fan and I first heard about you when I was a kid. You have been in the business a long time. How did you first get into radio? Was it a fluke or did you wanna be on radio growing up?

Dr. Demento: Yes, I wanted to be on the radio growing up. As soon as I arrived at Reed College in 1959, I volunteered for the campus FM station.

Me: I used to want to be a radio DJ, but I think I have an annoying voice. So, I'll stick to blogging. Was it challenging at first?

Dr. Demento: When I was a kid I did not enjoy hearing my voice played back. After I got into commercial radio, and realized that people enjoyed hearing me talk, and would pay me for talking, I got used to it.

Me: No one would pay to hear me talk. They would pay to shut me up. Haha. Did you ever meet my dad, Doctor, or see him perform?

Dr. Demento: Saw Foghat perform a couple times in the 1970s. I also saw Savoy Brown once when he was with them. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting Lonesome Dave, though.

Me: Radio has changed a lot since the 70s, hasn't it? What do you think has been the biggest change?

Dr. Demento: Probably the consolidation of radio ownership in a few large companies. There used to be strict limits on how many stations a company could own; those were phased out in the 1970s and 80s. Also very important: the rise of “narrowcasting,” when station owners began seeking to appeal to a certain demographic target (such as females 15 to 25, males 18 to 30, and/or various cultural or racial groups) rather than seeking to attract as many overall listeners as possible as they had earlier. 

Me: Back then morning radio shows or morning zoos didn't really exist. Do you think you changed radio and people have mimicked you?

Dr. Demento: I can’t take credit for the morning zoo concept, but many morning zoo shows use song parodies and other elements that were most likely inspired by the Dr. Demento Show.

Me: Because of you a lot of novelty songs and acts wouldn't get any kind of play. I interviewed Bermuda Schwartz from Weird Al's band and you pretty much put Weird Al on the map, am I right?

Dr. Demento: Yes.

Me: I have an early picture of Al and you here that I found.

Me: Weird Al is pretty big, bigger than ever, with his last album going to number one. When you found out about that, what did you think?

Dr. Demento: I am very happy for him... though it’s not entirely accurate to say he’s bigger than ever, since several of his earlier albums sold more copies than “Mandatory Fun” is likely to.

Me: Good point. Did you think he'd ever last as long as he has?

Dr. Demento: Throughout his career he’s continued to amaze me and lots of other people by being so resourceful, developing new talents, new ways of reaching and amusing people. I learned long ago not to sell him short, not to expect him to fail. There have been peaks and valleys in his career as with any artist, of course, but he’s always come roaring back.

Me: So, I have to ask, what is your favorite novelty song, and favorite act ever?

Dr. Demento: Novelty is all about newness, so I will perk up at hearing something new and wonderful. Over time, I’ll just go by what the public says...Weird Al is way ahead of everyone else working today as an artist. “Fish Heads” and “Dead Puppies” are neck and neck as the all time most requested songs.

Me: There's so many classic songs that are known because of you... did anybody ever give you grief, say, for making a song like Elmo and Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" a success?

Dr. Demento: Not to my face, though there are certainly people who curse me for inflicting that upon them.

Me: People don't write novelty songs much anymore, do they?

Dr. Demento: There may not be many of those on the pop charts aside from Weird Al, but lots of new novelty songs are still showing up on morning radio shows, and on websites like the Funny Music Project ( and of course TV shows like "Saturday Night Live", and most of all on YouTube and iTunes (which maintains a comedy singles Top 30 which is updated frequently).

Me: What do you think of the music business now?

Dr. Demento: I’m kinda glad I’m not depending on it for a livelihood.

Me: I have a 'band' called Strawberry Blondes Forever and someone told me that our album is a novelty album but it wasn't meant to be. Doctor, what makes a good novelty song?

Dr. Demento: If it makes people laugh and makes them want to play it for their friends, I’d say it’s good.

Me: Okay, back to your career... another Doctor, the Doctor from "Doctor Who" said bow ties are cool. I disgree, but you make the bow tie look stylish. When did you first dress the way you do, and how did you one up with that look?

Dr. Demento: My first manager suggested I wear a tux. I bought one, and for awhile would mix it up, putting the tux coat on over a t-shirt, etc. but when I had to wear a respectable tux to go to the Grammys, I had to agree that I looked good in that, especially with the top hat.

Me: I always loved your hat, you pull it off pretty good. How many hats do you have?

Dr. Demento: Thanks. I have two that are in good shape that I wear to gigs, and a couple more older ones I keep for spares or for when they might get rough treatment. I’ve probably owned about eight over time. I’ve given a few old ones away for charity.

Me: You, like my dad did, have a large record collection, right? Do you prefer albums or singles?

Dr. Demento: Having gone through high school when rock & roll mostly came on singles, I’m still partial to those. I don’t often listen to an album all the way through, though I did quite a bit of that in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Me: And what about iTunes and mp3's? Do you like that format?

Dr. Demento: I like iTunes for bringing back the single. I applaud an artist who can make a whole album worth listening to, but I got real tired of spending $16.95 for a CD with only one good song on it... mp3’s can’t match CD’s for sound, but they’re real convenient, especially for sending a sound file to someone else.

Me: I have to ask you about this, you have a degree in Ethnomusicology. What is that and where did you get the degree from? I have a degree in Epcotology... don't ask what that is. Haha.

Dr. Demento: I have a master’s degree in Folk Music Studies from UCLA. I got the degree in 1967. They no longer offer that degree.

Me: I also have to ask about the documentary "Under the Smogberry Trees". What does the name mean, Doctor?

Dr. Demento: I used to say that at the start of every show. In the 1970s smog was still a huge problem in L.A., and one of the things L.A. was best known for.

Me: This documentary is about you, right? I am very surprised it took this long for one to be made.

Dr. Demento: Me too. Yes, it is about me.

Me: It was funded through Kickstarter... which is cool. When you were approached by the filmmakers, what did you think?

Dr. Demento: I was impressed that they got it funded, and didn’t come to me for money as some other filmmakers had. Of course the Kickstarter funding was just enough to get started, we will need more funding to complete it.

Me: In the past you have put out tons of compilation CD's of music and bits from your show. Are those CDs still available? I checked iTunes and they only have one of the CD's up there.

Dr. Demento: Rhino is no longer manufacturing my CD’s; they do have some stock on a couple of them. Regarding iTunes, my CD’s are compilations, and the individual tracks still belong to their original owners... so iTunes has to go to them for licensing.

Me: That's a good point. Doctor, you have lived an amazing career. What has been the biggest highlight so far?

Dr. Demento: Impossible to pick just one, sorry.

Me: Was being on "The Simpson's" fun? That has to be a high honor. I read somewhere they are gonna release a Simpson's action figure of you, have you heard that?

Dr. Demento: Yes, it was. I have heard that rumor about an action figure, but have no confirmation about that.

Me: Man, I can ask you millions of questions, but I know you are busy. On the Phile though I like to ask random questions thanks to table topics. This one sucks. Do you possess any of he qualities of your astrological sign?

Dr. Demento: I’m an Aries. My wife, who believes in astrology more than I do, thinks I fit right in. 

Me: Doctor, tell my readers where they can listen the Dr. Demento Show. Please come back on the Phile again soon, sir. All the best.

Dr. Demento: They can hear it anytime at We upload a new show every Saturday morning, but people can hear that, and all the other over 1,000 shows we have available, anytime they like. There is a small charge for the streaming, so we can pay royalties to composers and artists.

Me: That is brilliant, Doctor. Thanks again and please come back on the Phile soon.

There. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz, Lori Sedlacek and of course Dr. Demento. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Jess Meuse who was on the last season of "American Idol". So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker