Thursday, January 16, 2020

Pheaturing Céline Dion

Hi there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday! How are you? I can imagine the Queen saying, "Joke's on them. Harry and Meghan will never feel financially independent because my face is on Canadian money, too." People around the world have been transfixed by the latest episode in the world's longest-running reality show, the life of the British Royal Family. Last week, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced that they'd rather not live at the mercy of the racist British press, and spend more time with their son in Canada (and on Instagram). Thousands of people applauded Prince Harry for putting his wife and child first and pulling his wife and child away from what he describes as "the same powerful forces" that killed his mum, Princess Diana. Meanwhile, with no sense of irony, the aforementioned racist British press devoted its front pages to calling Meghan a cruel Lady Macbeth who pulled Harry away from his family and country, thus proving their point. After Monday's Sandringham Summit, which forced the Queen into a room with her son and grandsons, Her Majesty released an official statement accepting the Sussexes' resignation. "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family," sounding like a loving Gran. While the summit seems to have gone well, people are wondering why Harry and Meghan wanting to go to Vancouver prompted a more intense reaction, than, say, the fact that Prince Andrew was implicated in an international sex trafficking ring. People are also blaming the Royal Family for not standing up for Meghan before it got to this boiling point. A Member of Parliament running to be leader of the liberal Labour Party has gone as far as calling for a Royal Referendum. Advertising If history is any indication, the U.K. will hold a referendum on abolishing the monarchy, and then still struggle to implement its result four years later.
Of all the New Yorkers and all of the court cases, supermodel Gigi Hadid walked into jury selection for Harvey Weinstein's trial. The New York Daily News reports that Hadid was at Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday as one of the 120 New Yorkers called for jury duty. When asked by Judge James Burke whether she knew anybody on the defense or the prosecution, Hadid said that she had met the defendant. "I have met Salma Hayek and possibly Ryan Beatty," she added. "I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts."
This is Senator Cory Booker.

He was running for president, and now he is not. He is, however, still dating Rosario Dawson, which was a major theme both of his campaign and the responses to him throwing in the towel. The name "Rosario Dawson" was trending higher on Twitter than his own, which is pretty embarrassing. Also embarrassing: Disney was hoping Booker would win so they could reboot "Cory in the House."
The heated debate around vaccinations has showed no signs of slowing in the past few years. Because of the growth of once fringe community of anti-vaxxers has steadily increased in the past decade so much that several U.S. states have implemented personal-belief exemption bans, which means parents can no longer opt out of vaccines due to their belief systems. Sadly, parents are still finding other loopholes, with many of them switching to religious exemptions, while others choose to homeschool their children or pressure doctors to write notes. While the reasons people state for opposing vaccines vary, with some feeling largely anti-medicine, others fearing the side effects, and ableists claiming vaccines cause autism even though it's been scientifically disproven, the biggest driver behind the anti-vaxx community is misinformation. And this is where the issue doesn't lie solely on them, but a fractured education system that doesn't equally empower people with the basics of science. In a recent Twitter thread, someone shared a screenshot of a Facebook post (the Internet is truly a winding road) by someone who empathized with the concerns of anti-vaxxers. In the screenshot, the original poster shared that they themselves aren't anti-vaxx, but they understand why parents don't want "those chemicals" in their children's bodies. As an alternative, they suggested children be given a small piece of the virus so they could build an immunity. People on Twitter were quick to point out the fact that giving kids a "small piece of the virus" is exactly what vaccines are. While it's depressing to see their blatant disconnect, some people found hope in it, and suggested rebranding vaccines to loop anti-vaxxers back into the fray. Still, others think piling onto someone for their ignorance isn't the right way to go, and believe this high level of disconnect reflects far more on our education system than individuals. What do you think... is it better to focus on gently educating those who put our health at risk, or is shaming them into submission a better route?
If I had a vagina and it smelled like "geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed," I'd go see my doctor. But, then again, I'm also no Gwyneth Paltrow. Her shop Goop recently introduced a 75 dollar candle named This Smells Like My Vagina. Described as having a "funny, gorgeous, sexy, and beautifully unexpected scent," the overpriced candle is not meant to actually smell like Paltrow's private parts (thank goodness). The original description, now removed, explains, "This candle started as a joke between perfumer Douglas Little and GP. The two were working on a fragrance, and she blurted out, 'Uhhh... this smells like a vagina'..." The rest is votive history. If you were hoping to get a whiff of (this) vagina (candle), sorry weirdo, it's already sold out.
Tons of memes made us laugh last year, but a select few went crazy viral. I didn't see Joker, but I did see Joker memes dominating my timeline in 2019...

That's not really that funny. If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up on Alcatraz just as everyone is being let go...

As I said on Monday's entry the press cover Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton so differently. Check this out...

See what I mean? Harry meanwhile now has a new job.

He looks so happy there. Ever see those people with the signs asking for money or food, on the side of the road? Some of those people are so clever...

Hahahaha. So, Céline Dion is the guest on the Phile today. Do you know who is a big fan of Céline? I will show you...

That's crazy, right? Ever get a note from your neighbor like this?

Or left a note like that? So, future kids, this is Elon Musk...

Hahaha. It's Thursday, and you know what that means...

Oh, my god! That's fucking disgusting! Ugh!!! Look away!!! Let's move on. It's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

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

Jeff: Hey, Jason, always glad to be back on the Phile talking some phootball. I'm doing all right, how about you?

Me: I'm good. Had to get some blood work done this afternoon but other than that I'm good. Jeff, Patriots players don’t know what to do with themselves in January without having football games to play. New England wide receiver Julian Edelman was arrested Saturday night and charged with vandalism after jumping on the hood of a car in Beverly Hills, California. Edelman was intoxicated at the time of the event. What do you think of this? Are you surprised? I am not. Haha.

Jeff: Yeah, I saw the story about Edelman when the story broke. I honestly don't know what to make of the story. Edelman was one of the few Patriots I didn't mind. He's never had any on the field issues, so it is a bit surprising. Then again Aaron Hernandez never had any on the field issues and we all know how that turned out. I guess it's a story worth watching over the new few days. It's certainly a strange one.

Me: The Packers-Seahawks game Sunday night didn’t end without controversy, as Green Bay was given a critical first down at the end of the game that sealed the win and a trip to the NFC Championship game for the Pack. Pete Carroll, Seahawks players and fans alike where up in arms at the spot of the catch that picked up the first down, with Jimmy Graham appearing to be well short of the first down marker. Only problem? That marker wasn’t displayed correctly on the telecast. I'll show you...

Me: The yellow marker visible by the viewers at home is not used by officials on the field as is it not an official marker, especially because in instances like this one, the line is displayed in the incorrect spot. Graham did come up short of the yellow line, right? Is this kinda thing normal, Jeff? Do you understand why Carroll was all upset?

Jeff: We've said it before, the officiating over the past few years has been nothing short of horrible and this is another example. He was clearly short. But we also have to remember it's human error. It happens in every job. But not all of the time with 40,000 people in the stadium and millions watching at home. Still a terrible call. It has happened before. It will happen again. Unfortunately.

Me: Since the end of the Patriots season following a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans on wild card weekend, the talk has been about the future of Tom Brady and whether or not he’ll return to the Patriots. Brady has already announced that he’s not retiring last Thursday. Will he be back with the Patriots, however? The other question is the future of Bill Belichick, who could also leave New England. What do you think will happen, Jeff?

Jeff: Yeah, I think both Brady and Belichek will be back in New England for at least one more year. I think (and I hate to say it) they will play with more vengeance after such an embarrassing season. For most teams they wouldn't mind having a playoff appearance, but New England doesn't play for the playoffs. They play for the championship. I... uh also wouldn't be surprised if they get caught in yet another scandal as they try to win again.

Me: The funniest story of the week I think is with a high-powered offense, Arrowhead Stadium usually keeps a hefty load of celebratory touchdown fireworks on hand, but even the Chiefs weren’t prepared for what they had in store Sunday night. After being down 24-0 in the first quarter, the Chiefs put up a whopping 51 points, scoring 41 unanswered along the way. During the incredible run that featured a postseason record for touchdowns on consecutive drives, the Chiefs ran out of fireworks, having to make an announcement telling fans so in the fourth quarter. This was on the Jumbotron screen...

Me: What do you think of this and do you have a funnier story?

Jeff: When the fact that your home stadium has run out of fireworks is the worst problem you've had all week, you know you're having a good week. I don't think anyone expected the output of the Chiefs especially after falling down 24-0 to nothing. That was a Falconian collapse by the Texans. No, I certainly don't have a funnier story. That's pretty funny. Plus Antonio Clown has been silent this week.

Me: Weeelllll... The former NFL star is back in the news after police were called to his home after a domestic dispute involving him, his baby mama and his children, where Brown claimed she tried to steal his Bentley SUV while picking up the kids. Brown proceeded to verbally assault her as well as the cops as they cleared the scene. So much for being quiet.

Jeff: Oh, yeah. Even worse is the Snapchat video he made while yelling at his ex-wife and the cops with multiple N-words dropped in... like a rational human being.

Me: So, America has taken back another team from Great Britain and changed the name and logo...

Me: What do you think?

Jeff: Interesting logo, but the name just doesn't flow off the tongue too well. LOL.

Me: So, what NFL news do you have?

Jeff: The biggest news is of course coaching. The Browns jumped the moment the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs and took Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their 18,000th coach of the past 15 years. Or so it seems. The Panthers have also hired a new head coach as well in Matt Rhule. The problem is the Panthers owner compared him to Steeler great Chuck Noll who was in the position for over 20 years. That's a lot of pressure for a first time coach. Time will tell on that. The QB position is usually one of flash and sizzle. But the Titans have proven you can win with a running game that is matched by no one. Ryan Tannehill has won two playoff games with less than 100 yards passing in both games while Derrick Henry has rushed for over 180 yards in both.

Me: So, how did we do with last weeks picks, Jeff?

Jeff: You went 2-0 last week when I went 1-1. So you're gaining on me, it's now a six point deficit with three games to go!

Me: Yikes! Okay, let's pick again, the last picks before the Super Bowl picks. I say Chiefs by 11 and Packers by 17. Yes, I'm taking a risk. What do you say?

Jeff: I see you're picking a game that should be sponsored by State Farm insurance, since both Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are both in State Farm commercials! I'm going to agree Kansas City makes it, but I'll play more conservatively with them winning by 7 and 49ers by 10.

Me: Okay, I will see you back here next Thursday, Jeff. Have a good week.

Jeff: See you!

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, there' a friend of the Phile who is so excited about something he wants to share. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Samual: Jason, old chap! Good to see you! Happy New Year!

Me: Samual Phancy! How are you? What's up?

Samual: You have Celine Dion here on the Phile. That's fantastic! I love her!

Me: Actually, Samual, that's Céline Dion. Her people want her named spelt that way.

Samual: That's even fancier! And she's from the French part of Canada... that's fancy as well.

Me: Not really, but we'll go with it. Haha. Anything else?

Samual: Yeah, the main reason I'm here is because I wanted to show your readers the fanciest cookies I discovered...

Samual: They're fantastic! Have you ever had them?

Me: Yeah, I love Brussels. They're delicious.

Samual: I can eat a whole bag of them, Jason.

Me: Can I have a few? I'm hungry.

Samual: A few? Like how many?

Me: Three or four, or five.

Samual: Hmmmmm... okay, if you want. But only a handful. They're hard too find in stores.

Me: Thanks, Samual.

Samual: You're so welcome. Okay, I have to go. Tell Celine... I mean Céline I said hello. See you soon.

Me: See you. Samual Phancy, the fanciest man in town, kids.

A small church had a very attractive big-busted organist named Susan, and her breasts were so large that they bounced and jiggled while she played the organ. Unfortunately, she distracted the male part of the congregation considerably. The very proper church ladies were appalled. They said something had to be done about this or they would have to get another organist. So one of the ladies approached Susan very discreetly about the problem, and told her to mash up some green persimmons and rub them on her nipples and all over her breasts, which should cause them to shrink in size, but warned her not to taste any of the green persimmons, because they are so sour they will make your mouth pucker up and you won't be able to talk properly for a while. The voluptuous organist reluctantly agreed to try it. The following Sunday morning the minister walked up to the pulpit and said, “Dew to thircumsthanthis bewond my contwol, we will not hab a thermon tewday."

The 112th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Joe will be the guest on the Phile a week from today... next Thursday.

Today's pheatured guest is a French-Canadian singer who rose to fame in the 1990s, she achieved worldwide fame after releasing several best-selling English albums, such as "Falling into You," and "Let's Talk About Love," which were both certified diamond in the U.S. Her latest album "Courage" is available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. Please welcome to the Phile... Céline Dion!

Me: Hello, Céline. Welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Céline: I'm doing very well. How about you?

Me: I'm doing okay.

Céline: How long have you been writing this website?

Me: Since 2006, and started doing interviews in 2008.

Céline: It took you a long time to interview me then.

Me: Yeah, I never thought I would. So, when you did your last show in Las Vegas and you walked out on that stage for the last time how did you feel?

Céline: Well, I think if I recall correctly, people thought that it was going to be very emotional for me, and that it was going to be really hard for me, but I knew what I was getting myself into probably the next day or a couple of days after that. Of course, don't get me wrong, before I turn the page, for me I stayed so long in Vegas... actually, I still live in Vegas and I raised my kids in Vegas... it will always be a home for me because that is where I still live. To make a long story short, I felt very strong. When I did the live show, even though there were a lot of butterflies going on I did not want to cry. It's easy for me to cry because I'm very emotional and passionate and I care and love what I do. And when I get embraced by the audience, I get taken by the emotions. So I said to myself, I want to have a good time, like every night, especially tonight, because it's my last show, so let's make it like a party. I have to say, I don't remember if I cried, I don't think I did. If I did not cry, I'm very proud of myself. Everything that I've done for so long there with my team, we have accomplished so much and I'm proud of that. I didn't want to just cry, I wanted to say hey, last show, I'm so happy, so many people came and I still hit the road.

Me: Your songs mean so much to your fans, do you take time during a show and look out at the audience to see what their reactions are?

Céline: That is what I do actually. Year after year, pretty much for about 20 something years, some less some more I've been singing a lot of those songs night after night. Many times in interviews they ask me aren't I'm tired singing the same songs over and over again. Sometimes. I have to admit to you it's hard.

Me: Why is that?

Céline: It's hard because I have to make this song tonight. I have to sing it like I'm singing it for the first time. Why? Because those people that are in the audience might be their favourite, I want people to sing all of their favourite songs. I can't sing all of my favourite songs most of the time my favourite songs don't make it into the charts. My favourite songs are the B-sides at the time of the records that we were selling.

Me: So, when you first start to sing on stage what do you do?

Céline: When the curtain opens, just for a fraction of a second just before I think about not "Power of Love" again I always look at the audience. That's the difference between recording in the studio and that I face engineers. Don't get me wrong, I love them, I work with them and I chose them but there's an audience. They come, they're excited, the show has not even started. They're on the edge of their seat, they cry, they laugh, they hold hands, they're standing up, they're dancing, they're getting married and I don't know when to start the show. There's a show before the show. So they're a part of our show. So when I start the show and I think I don't want to sing it I change automatically and it's like the first time every time, believe it or not. They make it happen.

Me: That's cool. Your songs are played at so many weddings, do you realize that?

Céline: It's true. My songs are played at weddings, they're lose people, they're having a hard time. 

Me: Do you ever get people tell you you've changed their life?

Céline: Yes, they tell me I helped them go through tough times.

Me: I heard people propose at your shows, ever see that?

Céline: People propose at my show with long nails and my face on their nails and I think are they getting married to me. Do they know what they're about to do right now? LOL.

Me: I'm sure "My Heart Will Go On" is a big song for you to sing every night. Is it?

Céline: I realised more today than ever before that for example "Beauty and the Beast" and "My Heart Will Go On" win Oscars, and be part of classics. It was amazing then and today it's an honour. This is something that will stay, even when I'm not there anymore for my kids and people to remember that wow, mum was part of two classics in her life. I think about this now more than ever before.

Me: What made you leave the Vegas show?

Céline: I thought I was supposed to when I started to live in Las Vegas my R.C., René-Charles my first child was a year old and we started a new day. I thought I was going to be there for a little while but a little while I thought was a couple of months or a couple of weeks.

Me: Did you think playing Vegas was cool?

Céline: Yes. What was not cool was starting that is most of people, I would say the industry mainly because they're here, they're always supportive, I needed them and still do. We work as partnership. They didn't believe in it, they said the Titanic was going to sink again and Céline Dion was going to finish her career there. At one point we said listen, we're not going to please everyone, it might be a bad idea but people believe in that, they built a coliseum for that show which is called "A New Day." Do we believe in it? Let's do it and let's not listen to every individual that are thinking this is a bad idea. If it's a bad idea, we're going to stand up again, people make mistakes in life but if we don't take a chance we'll never know. We took a chance, people believed, we focused on "A New Day" and not only did we stay a few weeks or a few months or year and a half, I stayed there for five years then I did not stop overlapping a world tour on top of that and lasted about year and a half. To make a long story short they kind of wanted me again and I said, "Oh, hi. Home so soon?" I came back home so soon and I did another five years.

Me: How long all together did you play in Vegas and how many shows? Do you know?

Céline: Don't get me to do the math because I'm very, very bad. I had to stop going to school because I was on stage. That's not my job, I've been there a long, long time.

Me: I suck at math as well. Okay, let's talk about your new record called "Courage." What can you tell us about it?

Céline: That I'm very proud of it. Very excited about it. I've been part of it, before I've been part of my career and choosing my songs of course but from A to Z since René is not there I'm with my team more than ever part of their creativity whether it's for the record, some ideas, good ones, stupid ones, whatever. I'm not supposed to say "stupid" in case my kids see that, it's not a good word. So good ideas and bad ideas. So for putting this show together to sit at a table and being ideas whether they're bad or they're out there and I think I'm Rhianna or I want to dance like Britney Spears or I want to have the glow like Jennifer Lopez or whatever. All of them, or I want to have a duet with Sam Smith or Labrinth or Bruno Mars. I can go on and on and on, I'm a big fan of many artists. Being part of this creation now I'm addictive, they cannot get rid of me.

Me: That's good for everybody, right? 

Céline: Good for me, bad for them. Maybe you'll ask them.

Me: So, your new album is called "Courage," the tour is called "Courage" and the single I think is called "Courage." What does the word "courage" mean to you?

Céline: Well, it means that everybody is going through things in life. I would say when something bad happens to you in life, you have to find a way to overcome these obstacles and find a way to find inner strength. To say, that's part of life, this is not something that you choose. This is something that is imposed on you by life. It's up to you to go through these obstacles, and you have the options, if you're going to need help or not, or how you're going to go through this. We all do have good moments and bad moments. And we all lose people. Saying that, losing the father of my children, my husband, my manager, the person that I loved the most in the world and the person that I can rely upon and not questioning anything since I was 12-years-old. Losing that person was a big deal for me. It reflected on a lot of people that I've been surrounded by for 20 years and more. We are still missing him tremendously, believe it or not. Through the eyes of my children, in fact that when one song came amongst many that was called "Courage" it struck pretty hard emotionally but it could've been a song that didn't mean anything. It's a good title. But it's not enough. Not only is it a good title but I don't think a song could have bene written more appropriately than this one at this time of my life, tasing charge of my inner strength, of my divisions that I have, my creativity, being spontaneous, crazy.

Me: It takes courage, right?

Céline: It takes courage because I'm a single mom and I don't want to me first my kids, my entourage and the people that I love to feel that because I have lost the man of my life that I'm going to lose the essence of what I love, my passion.

Me: So, after René passed away did you feel the you wanted to quit singing and making music? 

Céline: I really believe that through all the years with René, who gave me so much, who taught me so much, who gave me so much luggage, that when he left for his new chapter, his new life, he gave me the rest of his luggage. I feel him through the eyes of my kids and inside of me. I felt very, very, very strong, probably stronger than ever before.

Me: Why is that?

Céline: Because I make decisions and I'm not scared. Before I was not part of the meeting. René was really, I don't want to say over protecting, but he was protecting me a lot. He wanted me to sing the best I can, he wanted me to just enjoy.

Me: Did you have to learn how to do that? The business side of stuff?

Céline: I'm still learning. It's a learning process.

Me: What's the hardest part of all this?

Céline: To sit and let the people talk. I feel like I have to talk for René, on behalf of René, I have to talk for me. And I talk a lot. I can't even answer my own questions and answer my questions. LOL. It's like learning the best is yet to come. And that you know what, I don't want that to sound pretentious. I am courageous.

Me: Okay. Do you think that you being courageous will help other people when they hear the song?

Céline: Not only that is what I need to do is to go on stage and sing that song to help people I will do this for the rest of my life.

Me: Okay, enough with this sad shit, my dear. are you familiar with this "Celineassance" I think they call it?

Céline: "Celineassance"? No, what is that?

Me: The younger generation getting into your music different then the older generation wasn't doing. Do you know what I mean?

Céline: Blame it on the fashion, whether there's music or clothes. Yeah, I think I'm aware of it.

Me: Céline, you're a meme, you're an Internet icon right now, do you know that? Look at this...

Céline: I don't know. Don't make me blush. I see it and I don't know if it's because, don't get me wrong I make say it sound kind of harsh, but it's weird to say that but I can not please everybody. But I don't care because I've done everything that needed to be done to have an international career. Because this is what I wanted.

Me: What made you sacrifice being in school and going on stage instead, Céline? Were you forced to, or were you trying to prove something?

Céline: I was not trying to prove to my family, my friends, the industry, myself anymore. I did that. Okay, they gave me a spot, I took it and I never wanted to have a hit, I wanted to have a career. I went to school, learnt English, tried things, and right now am I scared to fail. I don't consider failure of failing is that somethings will not work as much as other things. Some people will comment on more clothing, this is my favourite, I didn't like that, I prefer this one, I don't like that one. Like I said before I cannot please everybody. I have to assume myself.

Me: So, where are you living now?

Céline: I'm back in Canada, in Quebec.

Me: How is it living back there?

Céline: It's amazing. My kids brush their teeth so fast because I have to stop them from going outside. They have to dress and sometimes they're still in pajamas. To see my kids enjoy where I grew up, where they don't come enough, and to see their uncles and my mom, and to play outside in their bare feet and they don't burn their feet. It's not talk to what Vegas has given us all these years, but when you go outside in bare feet in Vegas, you might come back with melted toenails. Flip flips outside all night, they're melted. So in Quebec it's like the greens and the weather, and the nature, and to pick tomatoes from our little gardens. For the kids to just play badminton, and ball, and bicycle, it's like I said, these are the moments that they will never forget. Me as a mom, this is a heritage that I give them and I'm so lucky that I was born here. This is the blood that's going through my veins mixed with some maple syrup. So that's why I'm a sweet girl.

Me: Céline, thanks so much for being on the PhIle. This was a best thrill. So, in a few weeks on the Phile David Foster  will be here, who you worked with on "All My Myself." What can you say about that?

Céline: David and I had taken a whole day with the piano on a speakerphone to choose the key. I arrived in L.A. and he says, "You're gonna freak out. I'm so happy about my production. I'm going to play you the track. Let's do this. It's going to be amazing. It's going to be big." I mean, with David, everything's going to be big, you know? He never does anything small obviously So it was amazing, but then I said, "David, is that the final key?" I think it was like a key and a half higher, and I'm like, okay, why did we spend a whole day on the key that works and now I'm over here? I think everything exploded, my pants, my bra, my shirt. When I hit that note, what you hear in the back is not the drums, it's my clothes that exploded. People stop breathing when I hit that note.

Me: Hahaha. Céline, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again. Take care.

Céline: Thank you so much, love you. Bye.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Céline Dion. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with musicians Reese Wyans and Tommy Shannon. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Man, these Brussels are delicious.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon

Monday, January 13, 2020

Pheaturing Dennis Drew From 10,000 Maniacs

Hey there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Meghan Markle and Prince Harry haven't explained exactly why they're hoping to move out of the U.K. part-time and cut down on their roles within the British Royal Family. But that hasn't stopped the entire world from speculating. Is it the cranky in-laws? The drafty old castles? Nobody knows for sure. But one of the biggest talking points has been the press's treatment of Meghan Markle since she and Harry first started dating. While Meghan and Harry have enjoyed cheerful fluff pieces and applause from the press, they've also been the subjects of plenty of negative spin. And it becomes even more obvious when you compare some of Meghan's press coverage with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton's. Yes, Kate had a rough time with the press and critics for years, from her own embarrassing family members to deal with to the Queen reportedly putting her in her place once or twice. She was even subjected to a topless photo scandal. But these days negative stories about Kate are rare. And even compared to when Kate was getting it bad, negative coverage of Meghan has a distinctly harsher and often racist tone. Twitter user Eve Cornwell posted screenshots of two headlines about the duchesses' love of avocados (yes, even this is controversial) proving the different tenor of their coverage.

In the story about Kate, the headline gushes over Prince William giving her avocados to deal with morning sickness. But in the story about Meghan, her love of the snack is affiliated with "human rights abuses, drought and murder" and, perhaps most damning of all, "millennials." So, yeah. Pretty different.
Soccer player Kealia Ohai, who was traded to the Chicago Red Stars from the Houston Dash, recently received the crappy headline treatment when ABC13 Houston called her “J.J. Watt’s fiancée” instead of, you know, her own name. I know a little about sports, but I do know that when you write a story about a person, you name that person. Social media reacted quickly to the bad headline, including Watt, who plays for the Houston Texans. “This headline is trash,” Watt tweeted. “Kealia Ohai (which is her name by the way, since you didn’t even bother to mention it) is incredible entirely on her own merit and deserves to be treated as such. Be better than this.” Folks agreed, wondering why women are still treated like possessions and appendages of their male partners instead of being identified as whole individuals. ABC 13 Houston eventually apologized, tweeting to Watt...

A fine apology, but a savvy Twitter user pointed out that ABC13 Houston was essentially apologizing to Watt instead of to Ohai... again, like he is the authority who speaks for them both. Keep trying, I guess?
Abortion is always going to be one of those topics that people will passionately ague about. They’ll argue about whether it should be done, talked about, normalized, whether religion takes precedent over medical expertise, etc. Apparently they’ll also argue about whether or not there should be abortion themed party favors. Nope. You didn’t mis-read that. I'm about to talk about abortion themed party favors. The story starts with a Texas-based nonprofit and their annual holiday party. Texas Equal Access (TEA) throws a party every holiday season to honor the hard work volunteers do in helping low-income people in north Texas access safe abortions. Whether or not you agree with what they do, I'm sure we can all agree that having your hard work recognized and being given time to unwind is pretty great. So having a holiday party wasn’t the problem. The problem was these...

The organization decided to hand out white pillar candles emblazoned with a unicorn silhouette and the phrase “Abortions are magical!” as party favors. This rubbed some people the wrong way... and not just on one level. Firstly, let’s talk about the item itself. White pillar candles of this type are sometimes called prayer candles... and many traditions specifically use them as memorial candles. To some people, the idea of using memorial candles to “celebrate” abortions is distasteful, to put it lightly. Then there’s the wording itself. Abortion is a medical procedure that requires extensive skill and training to perform safely. There are no magic wands involved and some feel that equating it to a fictional magic spell could end up doing more harm than good because it de-legitimizes the medical procedure. It also trivializes the decision process. Getting an abortion is not a whim or a bit of whimsy for the women and children who find themselves needing an abortion for a wide variety of reasons including crimes committed against them. There is nothing fun and magical about these situations. On Twitter things got “intense.” Twitter may have gone off about abortions for young people (without questioning the situations that saw children that young getting pregnant in the first place), human sacrifice and black magic... but the post found an entirely different reception on Facebook. TEA saw lots of support on Facebook, if not for the party favors then at least for the work that they do. Users hit the comments section to thank them for helping people access safe abortion, to discuss abortions as healthcare, and even to share stories of how their abortions improved their lives. Some even asked where they could get candles. As far as responding to the backlash, TEA kept it simple by releasing the following, “Abortions are magical for most people who have them and refuting that just increases stigma around abortion. They are health care, self-care, and community care.”
Okay, this is something I'm sooo excited for... One of the highly-anticipated films for Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 is The Eternals. Set for release in November this year, production is well underway. Fans already got their first look at Gemma Chan’s Sersi months ago, but new set photos offers fans a first look at Kit Harington’s Black Knight filming with the actress. The set photos were recently shared by Evening Standard which shows Harington and Chan taking a stroll around Hampstead Heath. Why am I excited? When I was a kid in England I lived right by, Hampstead Heath!! The two aren’t in their costumes yet and were seen wearing some modern clothing. The next set photos then reveal Chan’s Sersi performing a stunt where she was suspended in midair while wind machines are blowing leaves around her. Here's one of the pics...

In addition, a video was also shared from the set which gives a better look at the said scene. The people around Sersi were sent flying whilst she gets hoisted up. There’s no telling of what’s actually happening in this scene or what Black Knight is doing while Sersi is in mid-air, but this could possibly be the biggest reveal from the set photos and clips yet.
Instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...

Maybe not. So, journalists sometimes make mistakes and then editorial mistakes are undeniably hilarious. Like this one...

What? I hope you never have to leave a not like this for your neighbors...

Or receive one like that. Girls, did you ever read the Fabulous 5 books? I never heard of them myself but I they sure had an odd title on one of them...

If you're thinking on cheating on your loved one you might wanna think twice after seeing this...

Wow! If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up in Chicago in 1948 and come across a mother who hides her face in shame after putting her children up for sale.

Breaking news... Houston Texans unveiled a new logo after blowing a 24-0 lead.

Hahahaha. I mentioned at the top of the Phile how the press handle Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton differently. Here's another example...

Remember how people freaked out every time Meghan Markle touched her baby bump on camera? Well, when Kate did the same thing, it was considered cute. That's crazy, right? Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard About The Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Drama 
5. Excuse me, did Meghan Markle just direct gender-swapped Hallmark movie where the prince gives up his crown for love?
4. I'm seeing a lot of #Megxit but no #Harryverderci.
3. Meghan and Harry to the Royal family: night imma head out.
2. Do you know what we are, babe? Fucking crown destroyers.
And the number one thing overheard about the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drama was...
1. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are willingly about to move out of a Royal fucking palace and I'm still here hoping my parents don't kick me off the family phone plan.

Ummm... if you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, there's this girl who still thinks it's the 90s. She wanted to come on and give some advice or tell us something. I really don't know. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Jessica? Where's Emily? Who are you?

Jessica: I'm Emily's sister. Emily went off to college or something. I'm so excited that someone from 10,000 Maniacs are here. Natalie Merchant is such a great singer. I love the song "These Are the Days."

Me: Ummmm... okay. So, what do you have to tell us?

Jessica: Don't get this game...

Me: Why not?

Jessica: It set me up thinking I'd be going on shopping sprees everyday and I can't even afford a hair tie.

Me: Awe. Haha.

Jessica: Yeah, I'm being played. Well, gotta go back to school. Bye.

Me: Ummm... bye. Jessica Enistink, the girl who still thinks it's the 90s, kids.

Hahahaha. We often hear tales about bridesmaids struggling to find the right dress for the wedding, or brides who demand concessions from their friends when it comes to hair or outfits. But the monstrous and invasive wedding demands aren't limited to bridesmaids, there are groomsmen who also face surprising dress code requirements and power struggles ahead of the ceremony. In a recent email to the Phile, a groomsman asked if he's wrong for not wanting to shave his beard or wear glasses at the wedding. He kicked off the email by sharing that his sister is getting married soon, and he's been asked to grow his beard long, shave it, or wear glasses to the wedding.

"So, a close family member is getting married soon. I have been told to either grow my beard out a lot, or shave it completely for the wedding. Or the option of wearing glasses that I only use while looking at classroom boards from far away, while sitting. The moment before I stand to walk around, I remove my glasses. I only use them in the classroom while sitting." He went on to share that the reason behind this request is that he apparently resembles the groom, so slightly altering his appearance would count as a "wedding present" to the couple. "I have been told to do this as their 'wedding present.' Also because a very old family member recently mistook the groom for myself. I have not seen this family member for a long time. I live several hours away from most of the family anyway. I don't see them too often, but will during the wedding. I am a member of the groomsmen. I don't feel it is okay to strongly request this, to the point of being overly upset if I choose to not follow their request." However, to him, the request feels selfish and strange. Why should he change his appearance so the groom can shine, when they are completely different men? "A request can be denied, and I am choosing to have a cleanly shaped beard, and not wear glasses that will make me nearly blind while walking around. I don't think I look too similar to the soon to be married groom. We look similar, but its quite easy to tell us apart. I don't feel it's my issue to change my appearance for the wedding just because of a similarity. I find it upsetting that I am told to change my appearance because of their choice to marry a person that may look similar and not my choice that we do have a slight resemblance." One of his parents thinks he's being selfish, and should just do his sister and her fiancé this solid, while the other parents agrees that it's a weird request. "Edit: The close family member is my sister by the way. Also one parent seems quite upset that I am not going to follow their request, saying its a simple thing to do for them. Which yea, it is simple to do, yet I may be stubborn in my decision, but feels wrong to change my looks and fake on my part. And the other parent seems to completely agree with my decision. What should I do? Am I wrong?" I think you should get petty and dye your beard an ostentatious color. You should also ask her what's up with your sister marrying a man who can be easily confused with you. There are other ways to address this issue. For instance, they could have the groomsmen wear different suits than the groom, a different boutonnière, a different tie, etc. Asking you to change your entire look is absurd. If it’s something they’re truly concerned about they can address it themselves and find a way to set you apart from the groom. It's pretty clear that this is a bonkers request, particularly since it was only one elderly family member who has confused the two men. Hopefully, his sister and future brother-in-law are able to relax enough to realize this isn't a pressing issue. If you have a problem and you want me to help email me at

The 112th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Joe will be on the Phile in a few weeks.

Phact 1. The patent for fire hydrant was destroyed when the patent office in Washington D.C. caught on fire in 1836.

Phact 2. There is a service in Las Vegas that will come to you and cure a hangover with IV fluids and IV vitamins.

Phact 3. In 1991, a 5.5 ft. tall “super-slasher” Raptor skeleton was discovered in Utah.

Phact 4. In the debut of Hulk, Stan Lee chose gray for the Hulk because he wanted a color that did not suggest any particular ethnic group. Colorist Stan Goldberg, however, had problems with the gray coloring, resulting in different shades of grey, and even green, in the issue. After seeing the first published issue, Lee chose to change the skin color to green.

Phact 5. The Russians defending Osowiec Fortress in WWI, were attacked by Germans using poisoned gases. The Russians that survived, counter-attacked (covered in blood)... shocking the Germans, and making them flee. This was later dubbed “the attack of the dead men."

Neil Peart 
September 12th, 1952 — January 7th, 2020
In no rush. At all.

Today's guest is the keyboardist for the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs, whose latest album "Playing Favorites" is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Please welcome to the Phile... Dennis Drew.

Me: Hey, Dennis, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir? 

Dennis: I'm good, Jason, how are you?

Me: I'm good. So, I have a funny story to tell you before we start. I saw you guys play in Orlando at the Bob Carr Auditorium on the "Our Time In Eden" tour and after the show I met Natalie Merchant backstage and got my t-shirt signed. I told her if I had a daughter I'd name her "Natalie" and I asked her out for drinks, which she kindly declined. I had the biggest crush on her back then. Anyway, now that I said that... when you guys formed you were all young musicians from all different bands, right?

Dennis: Well, sort of. We actually started around college radio, Steve Gustafson and I. Steve's our bass player and we met in high school which would be 1972, which is kind of a long time ago. We were in homeroom together and there was no A, B, C, D for Drew, I guess there was not E, F's because he was right behind me. We met there and just became friends and then we did different things and bummed around and then we ended up at a local community college then started a radio station there. Then when Jimmy Carter opened up the air waves. It was really the heyday of college radio in the late 70s and stuff. So we started a college radio station which attracted all the young hipsters and all the fun people. We were playing the Gang of Four, the Talking Heads, and all kinds of new wave and punk rock music, whatever you want to call it mixed with Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. Through that we met Rob Buck, who had a band. His drummer went to jail so he was looking for other people in a band to join a band. Then there was a young lady, a 16-year-old who was enrolled in college because she graduated early and she came down with an armful of David Bowie and Roxy Music records, and that was Natalie. We met her at the college radio station. It happened all around college radio where a bunch of people liked cool music. We started the band Still Life in 1981.

Me: Who was in the first band?

Dennis: Me, Steve, Rob and Natalie where in Still Life. We had another drummer then.

Me: What was Still Life like?

Dennis: Still Life was a messy hippy band. We'd be all messed up until we met John Lombardo who was in a new wave cover band and really did songs. John was the guy who helped us form songs and become songwriters. He was really Natalie's biggest editor and collaborator.

Me: When you first met Natalie what did you guys think?

Dennis: Well, it was kind of like holy cow. This is a little power house and a brilliant person. Natalie was in this indecipherable poet.

Me: When you first met Rob Buck what did you think?

Dennis: When I was in a room with Rob I was like "what are you playing?" He was a combination of Robert Fripp and Robert Klein and all these weird new wave guitar players. Steve and I who were regular guys, but kid of the business guys in the group said, "Holy cow, we can't eat this go, this is something great here. These two are unbelievable. We have to figure out how to make this work." I don't mean to be mercenary about it but it didn't take a genius to figure out these geniuses. We just tried to keep it together with them.

Me: You and Natalie wrote together as well. Didn't you both write "Planned Obsolescence"?

Dennis: Yeah, I wrote the music and Natalie wrote the words. But John would actually work with her on lyrics. He was about nine years older than Natalie and he had a masters degree in art from the University of Buffalo by the time he joined the band. He was a mentor quite a bit for all if us, especially lyrically for Natalie and working on the lyric part of it. For us forming the songs to have more parts to them.

Me: When you guys first got together and were touring were you proactive of Natalie being she was so young? Were you guys like big brothers to her?

Dennis: Yeah, there was a lot of that big brotherness to her because first of all she's about 5'2 and she was a bit younger than us, but she's a tough girl and smart girl. I don't know, we might've protected her and been afraid of her. Ha ha ha.

Me: I totally forgot you guys covered "Peace Train," by Phile Alum Cat Stevens. How did you decide what cover songs you were going to do?

Dennis: You know decisions are made some time in the moment. What happened with the story with "Peace Train" is we were going down to Ithaca to play a bar called the Haunt. In the fall of '86 we go down there to play and we were just looking at some fun things to do and I don't know how it came up, we all liked Cat Stevens and "Peace Train" came up and we all thought it was like a reggae song. We thought it'll be fun to play because we loved the message of the song. This was the age of Reagan, and we all hated Ronald Reagan and we hated what was going on with Reagansim and the whole thing and anything that sounded like a protest was good for us. We thought "Peace Train" was a protest song. It's not really hard of a song except there's 35 verses to it so that made it tough. We played it once at the Haunt and it was really messy and more of a reggae jam and groove thing that we did. We maybe did three or four verses and it was terrible. In classic record company fashion we made the album "In My Tribe" with Peter Asher and we give it to the record company and... guess what they said? They said we don't hear a hit. You probably heard this from every fucking band that's been around. They said come up with a cover and Peter Asher goes, "Have you done any covers lately?" We said, "Well, about three months ago we did 'Peace Train' at the Haunt." He goes, "'Peace Train'! That's it!" So we did it and that's basically what happened.

Me: I have that CD, and I looked up "In My Tribe" on iTunes and that song isn't there. What happened?

Dennis: It was a Salman Rushdie thing. And the fact that we weren't that married to that song. That song was kind of forced upon us. So it wasn't like it was a staple of our repertoire. And the fact this guy was out there and the whole situation with Salman Rushdie and all this censorcism and Jihad and fatwa. Let's stop fatwa, let's all stop this. Done.

Me: I got to interview Salman on the Phile but we didn't talk about any of this. Do you know what Cat Stevens thought of the song?

Dennis: He wrote us a letter through his manager. They called us and stuff and he said he really wasn't advocating for anybody's murder, he was just trying to be faithful to his people he respected tor the faith and stuff. He gave us an explanation. We said whatever man, you're a great artist but we're taking the record off, we are done with this song. He was cool with us, as long he wasn't calling for anybody's murder, we believed it when he said that and that's cool. Anyway, it was a weird situation.

Me: Yeesh. I didn't realize any of that. I love the song "Trouble Me." That song is about her father who was ill at the time, am I right?

Dennis: Yeah, I believe so. She never said that but he had some heart issues very recently before we wrote that song.

Me: What I love about 10,000 Maniacs is that every song and album sounds different. It's hard to put the band in a genre. What would you say?

Dennis: Yeah, we fall into certain channels.

Me: So, how did you guys write the songs? What came first? Music or lyrics?

Dennis: We just played. Every song we ever did we just played completely instrumentality, the complete arrangement and we would record it on a boom box and she would take it home and write lyrics to it. Then we would never hear it until we went into the studio. A lot of the songs we would do live before we ever recorded them. We would do the songs live without real lyrics. We did "These Are the Days" two months before we had any lyrics to it. She would babble over it as we did different arrangements. She never really sang in rehearsal. She sat in the corner, listened to the music and wrote lyrics that way.

Me: Did you think that was strange?

Dennis: I didn't know anything else. One of the things that were our demise was was the fact that we were a bunch of guys with wives, drinking whiskey and beers and were sitting around playing and she sat in the corner writing lyrics. That's basically the way it was. It worked out. She would say, "Do that again, do the chorus again." Or "we need a better bridge." So we'd sit around and think of a better bridge. But mostly the music was the music and she put the lyrics on later. Then we would massage it often when we were touring.

Me: Did she ever give you an resistance when you were "massaging" the songs?

Dennis: No. I mean we are not stupid. When we got to a point where it's basally the song then it's the singers song and it has to be comfortable for the singer to sing. We learned a long time ago drummers drum, singers sing, guitar players play the guitar and we never tell the other players what to do. In the beginning we could say, "Do this beat." or "kind of go this way with the rhythm or something." As it happens it takes on a life of its own. From that point for us we gave to Natalie, we gave it to the singer, we give it to Mary and they'll take it. If they say to double this then we better fucking double that. If they say cut it in half then we cut it in half. Maybe we'll try it and we'll try it live and it just doesn't work and they know it too. Everybody knows it really. As long as we're honest with each other it's not that hard.

Me: When Natalie announced she was leaving the band did that catch you guys by surprise?

Dennis: No, She told us long before that. It wasn't a surprise but I think it was always, always, always her plan on going her own way because that's who she is and that's how she is and that's how she's been ever since then. She produces her own records, she fires managers, she does everything. She's a very strong person and a very smart person. She knows exactly what she wants to do and she does it.

Me: Was there any tension in the band, Dennis?

Dennis: Well, there was always tension. We never knew when she was going to leave. She always said basically she was going to leave. Every big wig in the record company and every manager type person wanted her to be a solo artist. We knew that so we knew it was going to happen. She basically left when she was 30 and that seemed pretty much what her plan was. We knew that before "Our Time In Eden," so hence the title. And "These Are the Days," if you listen to that record that's what that record is about.

Me: "These Are the Days" is one of my favorite songs ever. When she was leaving or after she left how did that affect the band?

Dennis: Artistically we were a cohesive piece of unit but as I said we were different personalities. We were four men that partied a lot more than Natalie did and she got pretty tired of that. We were on the road a lot and we partied a lot harder than Natalie ever partied. We'd be up in front of the bus smoking joints and she'd be in the back teaching herself German. She's different breed and the tension was there. Not artistically when we worked on records but more so when it did with the touring and stuff. Being around each other all the time and being such different personalities. When our wives were going to come out on tour with us we had to tell Natalie and Natalie would fly to the next gig and not be on the bus and hang out. So she just kind of drifted away from us and our lifestyle and the way we were. I get that. We did drink too much, we did party too much.

Me: Do you talk to her now?

Dennis: We have a great business relationship. She's very good to us as far as our businesses for all these years ever since then. There's no complaints, she's been very generous too. But she did what she always wanted to do and doesn't look back. Never. 

Me: What's the last time you talked to her?

Dennis: I haven't had a personal conversation with her since 1993. We do business together but we don't do the other stuff. I sent her some notes on things and we did business and she's very good about that. It's weird, but that's the way she is. We're regular guys but she's a genius.

Me: How did you guys get involved with doing the "Unplugged" show?

Dennis: Well, our management told them we were going to break up and that was it. That was the end of the Maniacs and they said oh fuck, we better do "Unplugged." We did the first "Unplugged," we did one of the first ones ever. They went to them and said we have this new record coming out and it's going to be big and they should have us do "Unplugged." They could put out "Our Time In Eden" and they could put out "Unplugged." It'll be our swan song, blah blah blah.

Me: What was it like doing that show then?

Dennis: It was a big project, we bought a lot of other musicians in. We had a lot of fun, I met David Byrne and hung out with him. He's on the "Unplugged" thing and we did a bunch of songs. It was funny, he came in and wanted to do a Graham Parsons song. Natalie said no, we're going to "Dallas" by Jimmy Dale Gilmore which was another country song. Dave was into country music at the time so we did that and we did Dolly Parton. I remember her saying no to "Las Vegas" or something and she was not in the room at the time and we said, "Sorry, David, but she's in charge." And he goes, "Yeah, I know how that is." Hahahahahahahaha.

Me: That's funny. David Byrne is going to be on the Phile in a few weeks. I love the version of "Because the Night" on that record. Was that Natalie's idea?

Dennis: Yeah. She was a Patti Smith fan for sure, not sure if she was a Springsteen fan. What rock and roll girl doesn't want to be Patti Smith?

Me: Was it a fun song to do?

Dennis: It was a good fucking song so it wasn't hard ruining that one. We tried but we couldn't do it. It's a little out of tune but Natalie was very passionate about it. The trouble was we didn't get to rock it, we didn't get to play electric guitar on it which is why we did it again on "Playing Favorites." I wish we had chance of Rob doing electric. We picked some good covers in our lives.

Me: I heard the cover of "More Than This" a number of times but didn't know it was you guys with Mary singing it. After Rob passed you guys took a break, right?

Dennis: Yeah, we had to, it was devastating stuff. It was a difficult period of time leading up to that. When that happened we made some mistakes after that but with survivors guilt we had young families. Rob dies and my daughters 8 and my son's 5, it wasn't hard to say fuck, let's take three years and be a family man and spend a lot of time writing in the basement with Jeff and Steve and stuff but mostly staying home which is something I hadn't done for a very, very long time. So it was good. It wasn't good that Rob dies but good I got to be hime for a while. I tried to sing about it and write about it. I did. I got to write lyrics for the first time and to me "Music from the Motion Picture" was the "motion picture" of my life and our lives. That's why I wanted to call it that and the songs about what we experienced from Natalie leaving and Rob dying through our own fights with alcohol and food. I went up to 340 pounds. Now I weigh 220 but life happens and it's not always good things that happen. "Music from the Motion Picture" talks about a lot of that stuff. I'm proud of that record more than any record we've ever done because it was very special for me because I wrote most of the lyrics on that record. It means a lot to me because of that. 

Me: On that about what song is about Rob?

Dennis: "Gold." We wrote that almost immediately after he died and before he died. Jeff and I went down to the hospital to see him and we went back to my basement and basically wrote that song in two days. It's as honest and pure and emotional the way we felt.

Me: How did Mary Ramsey get to be the new singer replacing Natalie? Was that hard?

Dennis: Yeah, sure it was. It's a family so our older "brother" gets pissed at us and quits the band and he goes off and finds Mary and starts his own duo. We invite them back and they open for us and went on tour with us to England and toured around the country with us. Mary is on "Unplugged," she's the violin player and is the back up singer on "Trouble Me" on "Unplugged." So they just came in and it was family stuff. John got pissed and so he left but he wasn't that pissed so he came back to play. It was very natural for Mary to come in and play.

Me: I think she's great. Was there any nerves for Mary?

Dennis: Oh, yeah. It was really hard on Mary. People still, STILL yell "I love you, Natalie." People after the show still say, "I love you, Natalie." She laughs it off. Also it was harder at the beginning that pressure was really intense, very intense for all of us. The record "Love Among the Ruins" killed Rob and "Earth Pressed Flat," and trying to overcome the legacy of Natalie and nobody giving us any fucking credit. It was really tough on Rob and tough on Mary and John. Me and Steve mainly drank it off and survived. Rob drank it off and didn't survive. That's some great music there but a dark chapter at the same time.

Me: Foghat went through the same thing the Charlie Huhn after my dad passed away. Okay, so, how would you compare the record industry now to what it was back in the day?

Dennis: The record industry is a nightmare. People in it are nightmares. It's a better thing now how many people have better control over what they do and there's a direct liaison to the fans. We went through a lot of shit with those people. It pays a lot less. It is better, especially if we can get over the hump. Let's face it in the end record companies were marketing companies who tried to tell us what to do artistically which always almost backfired. They didn't tell us to do "Because the Night," we figured out to do "Because the Night" and then, etc, etc. They told us to do "Peace Train" which we had taken off the record anyway. The only trouble is I want to be an artist, not a business man. I don't do it, Steve does it for us. I don't want to be a Facebook master, or a Twitter master or an Instagram master. We were our own record label in 1982 when we put out our first record and in 1983. It's hard fucking work. It's not the same thing as being an artist. it's not what I want to do but it's a better link and we are allowed to do the music we want. We don't just make as much money. It's nice to have a billion dollar record to help us sell records.

Me: You guys still do a lot of touring, Do you enjoy it as much as you did before?

Dennis: More. We're playing really, really well, playing the best we played in a couple of decades. We're a lot more sober, we've grown up. We've got in ear monitors, we could hear better, which was amazing when we got in ear monitors. It was getting rough, there's a physical reality to what we do. It's been a lot of fun because it's a luxury. We're not trying to be the next big thing. We're not trying to squeeze every dime out of it that we can. If we can take a tour bus for the weekend to be more comfortable then that's what we do.

Me: Dennis, it's so good to have you here on the Phile. I wonder if I'll ever get Natalie on the Phile. I doubt it. Haha. I hope this was fun, sir.

Dennis: Thank you, Jason.

That about does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Dennis Drew for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Thursday with Céline Dion! Yep. Her. Crazy, right? Is it a big deal she's on the Phile? Some say yes, others say no. Hahaha. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon