Friday, April 19, 2019

Pheaturing Elvis Costello

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday. Not just any Friday but Good Friday. I hope you're having a better Friday than Jesus did. And children, behave today, the Easter Bunny is watching you through his magic Easter egg. You have to be really good today if you want candy and presents on Sunday.
The 448-page version Mueller Report finally dropped and folks, it's nice to have all the puzzle pieces that have been appearing over the past two years assembled into one PDF. I hate to be the one to break it to you guys but, despite claiming "complete and total exoneration," and dispatching his Attorney General to spin it like a DJ, the president is not the saintly beacon of virtue he claims to be. The special counsel's report paints a picture of a campaign welcoming assistance from the Russian government with open arms, and scrambling to keep their stupidity under wraps as soon as they won the presidency. Here's what you need to know. Mueller's team didn't look for "collusion," but rather "coordination," as defined by conspiracy law. "In evaluation whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of 'collusion,'" the prosecutors explained. So there was NO COLLUSION after all, but only because it is not a legal concept. Trump was in contact with Russians as early as 2015. That's more contacts with them than with Tiffany. In spring 2016, campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos heard from a London-based professor with connections to Russia that the Russian government had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton "in the form of thousands of emails." Papa blurted out to a foreign government official "that the Trump Campaign received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton." That's... exactly what ended up happening. The FBI opened an investigation into Trump because of Papa's big mouth, not because of "spying," as the president claims. On October 7th, 2016, the day the "Grab Them By The Pussy" tape dropped, WikiLeaks released hacked emails they got from Russian intelligence. WikiLeaks stated that the drop was "intended to interfere with the U.S. election process." Campaign chairman (and now-convicted felon) Paul Manafort briefed a Russian intelligence-linked oligarch on campaign strategy in battleground states, and even discussed a "peace plan" that allowed Russia to control eastern Ukraine. Jared Kushner would later get involved with this "Russian reconciliation plan," including give copies to Steve Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. When then-President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering with the election, incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn called the Russian ambassador and told him not to retaliate. According to Mueller, there was a lot of evidence of "numerous links" between Trump and the Russians, but not enough to bring charges. Throughout the course of the investigation, Trump campaign officials were lying liars who lied... the investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference. That sounds a wee bit obstruction-y. Trump campaign officials shared Russian troll material, including both Donald Trumps. Troll activities included getting someone to walk around New York City as Santa Trump. Russian intelligence transferred stolen material to WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks decided to pretend that they got the emails from a DNC staffer who was murdered in the summer of 2016. The section on the Trump campaign spreading the hacked materials was almost completely blacked out, as is the bit on "Contacts with the Campaign about WikiLeaks." U.S. Department of Justice Deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, however, told prosecutors that Trump "expressed excitement" about hacked DNC emails being released by WikiLeaks in July 2016. Manafort "wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and separately told Gates to keep in touch about future developments," according to the report. An "incident" in which Trump and Michael Cohen discussed WikiLeaks has been conveniently blacked out. Trump asked Michael Flynn to ask Republican operative Peter Smith to find Hillary's emails. Smith committed suicide in May 17th, after telling The Wall Street Journal. According to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Sr. knew about Donald Trump Jr.'s June 9th, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer for Clinton "dirt." Both Don Jr. and Jared Kushner told the Senate Judiciary Committee that that was not the case. Lying to Congress is a crime. Mueller, however, couldn't find evidence either way. Don Jr. allegedly knew that the meeting was a Kremlin hookup. He also DMed with WikiLeaks, and tweeted out links Assange told him to. Mueller almost indicted Don Jr. and Kushner for campaign finance violations at the Trump Tower meeting, but concluded that they were too dumb to know it was illegal. "The Office did not obtain admissible evidence likely to meet the government's burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals acted 'willfully,' i.e., with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct; and, second, the government would likely encounter difficulty in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the promised information exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation." After Trump won, a meeting in the Seychelles sought to establish a "backchannel" between Russia and the Trump administration. This sounds like a James Bond plot, but it's for real, according to the special counsel. The meeting was between a Russian oligarch and Erik Prince, the CEO of Blackwater and Betsy DeVos's brother. As The Washington Post summarizes, "The meeting was arranged by businessman and lobbyist George Nader, who told Prince in January 2017 that 'the Russians were looking to build a link with the incoming Trump administration,' and proposed an encounter with Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Nader then sent documents about Dmitriev to Prince while he was at Trump Tower meeting with Kellyanne Conway and others for three hours." Bannon and Erik Prince gave conflicting accounts... and their text messages on the matter have mysteriously disappeared. On June 17th, 2017, Trump called White House counsel Don McGahn at home and told him to have Mueller fired. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that we would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre. Mueller "obtained evidence" about potential obstruction of justice by Trump as soon as he was appointed. Trump said "I'm fucked" after Mueller was appointed. Sad! According to notes written by a Sessions aide, "when Session told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that has every happened to me." For more than a year, Trump refused to sit for an interview with the special counsel. The team decided not to pursue a subpoena fight. Lame. Sarah Sanders told Mueller the truth for once: that she's completely full of shit. Trump tried to influence the investigation, but he was saved by his aides just straight-up ignoring him. The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn’s prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President’s order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so. With regards to obstruction of justice, the prosecutors concluded that they couldn't reach a conclusion. Mueller and team were working under the Department of Justice tradition that the president can't be indicted, even if he deserved to be. The Trump campaign was are of... and expected to benefit from... the Russian government's illegal activities, but Mueller couldn't prove beyond reasonable doubt that they did more than just milk it. Trump tried to stymie the investigation as much as he could, up until this morning, when he sent the Attorney General to say that everything is just peachy. Mueller says that it's up to Congress whether or not the president who seems guilty and acts guilty, is guilty. Whew. That was a lot.
Donald Turmp Jr. has really upped the ante on how ignorant he presents himself to the general public. On Thursday, special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators revealed they don't plan to prosecute the president's eldest son for collusion because he is "too ignorant to violate election laws." The conclusion expressed in in the Mueller report did not name 41-year-old Don Jr. as innocent, but rather, too dim to knowingly break campaign laws. While most full-grown adults wouldn't feel hot to trot about being officially called too ignorant to commit a crime, Don Jr. took it as a win and immediately posted an all caps rebuttal on his Twitter.

As if to corroborate the Mueller Report's estimation of his intelligence, Don Jr.'s response was exactly what a child would yell after being accused of something by their parents. This did not go unnoticed by the general public. People were quick to point out the irony of him celebrating over being called stupid, while others assumed he didn't fully read the report's estimation of him. Others pointed out how the report in no way makes Don Jr. look innocent, in fact, this will likely not be the last word on his innocence. If anything, Don Jr.'s response to the Mueller Report only supports the conclusion that he is too dim to fully understand campaign laws, but that is still a far cry from lawful innocence.
Ted Cruz, the political embodiment of a "Family Guy" punchline, tried to make a joke about the burning of Notre Dame and got appropriately roasted and flamed by the Internet in response. His attempt at humor came in response to the news that Disney had pledged $5 million dollars to assist in the rebuilding of the cathedral. For Cruz, this presented the perfect entryway to express his unbridled (and likely deeply repressed) love of Disney princesses.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who has been on Twitter longer than fifteen minutes, and likewise anyone familiar with the near universal hatred of Cruz shared by anyone politically left of Trump, including Trump himself, the joke lit the fires of endless roast jokes. Most of the responses to Cruz's tweet are different iterations of people lightly screaming "what the fuck" into the abyss. Suffice it to say, Cruz's attempt at humor wasn't met with much laughter, at least not at the joke itself. But it did temporarily distract people from the despair connected to Cruz's overall existence and influence in the world. In a perfect world, Cruz wouldn't exist, and all the key historical buildings would remain in tact. But alas, we are alive in this bonkers timeline where a senator is attempting to crack mildly creepy jokes about Disney princesses following a massive architectural fire.
ICYMI: Chrissy Teigen was named one of Time Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People of 2019. No doubt, the woman has influence... Teigen has relentlessly called out people in power on Twitter, becoming known for her razor-sharp roasts of the Trump regime, and even getting blocked by the President. Recently, she and her husband John Legend (google him... he makes musics!), attended the Democrats' Issues Conference in Leesburg, Virginia, where they discussed their opinions on current political issues, and Teigen took a brutal swipe at Ivanka. But behind every great woman is a hollow shell of a human with hate, bitterness and ignorance swirling around in the cavernous hole where their soul should be. I am, in this case, talking about talking KKK hood Laura Ingraham. During a segment on her Fox "News" show, "Ingraham Has a Racist"... I mean "Angle," ol' "kids love being in cages" Ingraham tried to take on Teigen by smearing her for the very serious crimes of: 1) liking food, and 2) cursing. "She was chosen according to the profile because, quote: '...all her life, Chrissy Teigen has liked to eat. She's not shy about that... or anything else really.'" said Ingraham in the segment, continuing, "Well that's nice and innovative I guess, eating. But did most Americans like her take on female empowerment during last week's Democrat retreat?" She then criticized Teigen for telling women the two words they should say more often are "fuck you." The clip is making the rounds on Twitter, where it is getting panned. Immediately, people began waiting for Chrissy's response, since dragging dummies on Twitter is kind of her specialty. And let's just say, Teigen did not disappoint. She cooked up the perfect response in no time. Teigen shared the original clip, proving it only makes Ingraham and Fox look bad, along with this caption...

That's what you millennials call a BURN. And, because Chrissy Teigen is a pro at this, she followed up with a second tweet, calling out Ingraham for being the white supremacist that she is. "When time comes out with their 100 most influential white supremacists list, I promise I won't question your worthiness," she wrote. Now that is what you millennials call a SAVAGE burn. The Internet erupted in applause. Sometimes the truth is the greatest burn of all. All hail Chrissy Teigen, our president.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and most overachieving boy scout in the troop, is running for president and teaching the world to pronounce his name (it's "Boot-edge-edge.") Boot-Edge-Edge is speaks seven languages (to put that in perspective, the current president doesn't even speak one), went to Harvard and got a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, served in Afghanistan, and is gay. Yes, he is a real person and not an Aaron Sorkin character. In a scene straught outta "The West Wing," Buttigieg's campaign speech in Des Moines, Iowa was interrupted by a hateful, homophobic heckler shouting, "Sodom and Gomorrah" when the candidate started talking about his marriage to his husband, Chasten. Buttigieg stayed calm, cool, and collected on stage, as the crowd drowned out the hate with chants of "Pete! Pete! Pete!" Mayor Pete then unleashed some smooth lines. "The good news is, the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you," he said, adding, "Everyone here gets the same voice and vote. Feels like the numbers are on our side." That was Tuesday, but the bigots are following him around the state, this time, with a theatrical production in Marshalltown on Wednesday. Imagine being so homophobic you resort to theater.
If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up on a roof in Sweden or somewhere in the 1930s as a women's kickboxing class was going on...

Look at those cute clothes. Hahaha. If you're thinking about cheating on your loved one you might wanna think twice after reading this...

Ever go to a museum and see a painting that looks just like you? Well, this dude did...

Eerie. So a few weeks ago Trump showed a map of how ISIS was defeated. That wasn't the only thing he showed off that day...

Hahahaha. I don't think so, Donny, but thanks. Hey, Fox News' Lawrence Jones III is back at the war zone today...

Glad to see he's protected. Speaking of Fox News... this just in, Laura Ingraham is on the latest cover of Time Magazine.

Hahaha. So, one of the best things about the Internet is you can see porn for free and so easy. But if you're at work or school you can get in trouble, and I want you to stay here reading the Phile. But if you do wanna look at porn then I have a solution...

You are welcome. My son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" when he was little. Well, either that show has shown over the years or I was a bad dad.

Bert and Ernie explain to the little black girl that she doesn't stand a chance in a "white man's world" and that she should always feel resentful towards western society.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Ha. It's really simple, right? Well, something is going on in Laguna Beach with police cars and stuff. I'm not exactly sure but a friend of the Phile does and wants to say something about it. He's a singer, patriot and renaissance man. You know what time it is.

Good afternoon, humans. Laguna Beach, California: a hearing is currently underway to determine if a claim brought by local civil rights activists holds any validity. The claim is that the word POLICE and the American flag are deemed to be “too aggressive and intimidating” and should be removed from all law enforcement vehicles in Laguna Beach. Are you fucking kidding me? Too aggressive and intimidating... to WHO? Criminals? People who detest America? People who hate the police? This is beyond insane, to me. People really need to get a grip on reality. What the hell do you want in an emergency? For a rose colored Prius to pull up with two gender neutral officers getting out and handing soy mocha lattes out to the witnesses of a triple homicide? And to my liberal friends... I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re crowing about. If Mueller had anything, he would’ve brought his A-Game and Trump would be out and gone. He didn’t, Trump’s free and clear, he’s the guy for at least the next two years. What confuses me so, is your hanging on to this and continuing to waste time beating a dead horse when you should be finding, preparing, promoting (and familiarizing the American public with) someone who can actually beat him and win the presidency in 2020. You’re wasting time playing Checkers when you should be playing Chess... and virtually guaranteeing that Trump will win the upcoming election. So, congratulations, you spent so much time trying to get rid of him... you insured that you’ll be stuck with him an additional four years. Well done... superb... out-fucking-standing.

Man down! Man down!

We have over a year until Super Tuesday 2020, but the presidential primary schedules are already taking shape, and with them, people's theories about who the top presidential contenders are. Currently, there are sixteen Democratic candidates who have announced running bids, ten of whom have the pull to become major competitors. Among those are the likes of Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and yes, the problematic uncle Joe Biden. While it's too early in the game for most to make full-on educated guesses, the celebrity star-in-chief already has his bets made, and on Tuesday night he tweeted his predictions with the most ominous word choice possible.

Trump's decision to end this particular word salad with the words "may God rest their soul" stirred up a lot of questions online. Does he intend to murder them both?! Do they share a soul?! Does the loser of the presidential election immediately pass away?! Of course, others were quick to point out that no one is running against the best economy in this country, since we are truly living in an economic slump. Despite all the creepy connotations of the tweet, Sanders, for one, isn't the least bit afraid. If anything, Trump's early prediction means he's eagerly paying attention to the competition out of fear he'll lose his post. Hopefully, when it comes time to hit the polls, that fear is merited.

Charles Van Doren 
February 12th, 1926 — April 9th, 2019
For 11 points: who cheated like a punk on game shows in the 50s while disgracing his family name?

The 97th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Salman Rushdie will be the guest in the Phile in a few weeks. Yes. That Salman Rushdie. Now for some Good Friday...

Phact 1. Due to its aquatic habitat and behavior, the Catholic Church officially categorized the Beaver as a type of fish, making it acceptable to eat on Good Friday and throughout Lent. This ruling was later extended to the Capybara and muskrat as well.

Phact 2. On Good Friday 1930 the BBC reported that there was no news so instead, they played piano music.

Phact 3. During the Great Fire of New Orleans in 1788, priests refused to allow church bells to be rung as fire alarms because it was Good Friday. As a result, 856 buildings burned during the conflagration.

Phact 4. Many parts of Germany ban dancing on Good Friday. “The strictest bans start at 4 a.m. on Thursday and run through Saturday.”

Phact 5. Radio and TV stations in New Zealand aren’t allowed to play any commercial content at all on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day or they get fined.

I'm soooooooooo excited about this. Today's pheatured guest is is an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, author, television presenter, and occasional actor. How latest album "Look Now" is his 30th studio album. Please welcome to the Phile, one of my favorite singers ever... Elvis Costello!

Me: Hey, Elvis, welcome to the Phile. I can't believe you are here on the Phile. How are you?

Elvis: No better place. I'm good, Jason.

Me: I have to say I love the new album "Look Now." I am so glad you are doing pop music again so to speak. Would you call it pop yourself?

Elvis: It's definitely pop music. I don't like labels on things because I think it cuts us off from speaking to one another. I like it better when I get a mixture. Rock and roll is a code word for everything being mixed up. It's a brew and every time we get to make a record there's some kind of story going on. I said to the guys, "We are going to do this." In recent times it's been where we've been. It's a lot to do with we don't have a big piano, we have a little piano. We don't have every guitar sound, we're going to have just this one. That could be the way or we can just use very limited resources and that sort of shapes it. This record is one where we more worked out in advance, I wanted all these sounds. I think it's more like what they did with pop music when I was growing up. There could be a magical sound, it could be some voices, it could be some strings, it could be a horn section, but the most important thing is it's got to have the feeling fro the bass and drums and I got to sing well.

Me: Did you write these songs for the album or did you write them over time? It has even five years since your last album.

Elvis: The songs themselves, I said before some bands go into the studio without songs written so they are playing in a recording environment and they'e building and they get the gem of an idea for a rhythm and the music is added. There's a lot of famous bands who write like that and it's great, great stuff. I've never written like that. The songs are always worked out, so whether we take a simple approach or something more "widescreen" I always got the actual songs, and if I played them on the piano they'll be different. Some qualities of the songs in simple form appeal to some people but they don't speak to a lot of people like that because it's intimate.

Me: The album was recorded in three weeks, right? How was that possible?

Elvis: The reason we could do it in three weeks despite the fact you hear it's quite a detailed picture of musically is just because we prepared really well. The rhythm section went on and ran the songs down and sent me demo tapes because we can do all that with these gadgets. Send me the rough recordings and I'd go, "That's great but there's too many fills. Keep it simpler." That way we knew when we went in and the light went on for the real recording we knew what we wanted to do. Because the guys can play well there was none of that mystery of are we going to get are we playing the right tempo, things are not conflicting, because I had a much bigger picture in my head of what the final sound was going to be. I knew the background voices were coming in this part so we better not put a guitar or keyboard in there because it would all just get muddy. That way we were able to get it done really quickly. It sounds like it wouldn't be joyful to do it like that because it'll be like going to the factory and bolting something onto the machine. I think it's more like if you've ever developed a picture in the chemicals when they put it in they'll start to see a bit of it and it's fuzzy and then bang, there it is. It's closer to that because we'll add each piece and see that it's going to work. There's a thrill to that.

Me: Was that always the case with you writing music?

Elvis: No, that wasn't always the case. When I first started doing that sort of approach I kept on going until I filled up all the space. It doesn't always work, but it did for this one.

Me: Carole King plays on the song "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter" that you both wrote together. How did that happen?

Elvis: That's the other thing, is having the patience to wait for the right occasion to write a song. If I'm writing a song with Carole King I want to get it right. We just happen to be spending time in the same city which was Dublin. It's 25 years ago now and I just invited her over and the producer of that afternoon was that song. Then the next record I made was with Burt Bacharach and it's not like I could turn up and go, "Burt, we are writing a record together so here's a song I wrote with Carole King." Just simple things like that. If you actually go through my catalogue from '98 onwards you couldn't make a case "Burnt Sugar..." could be on any of those records because they all had their own story and the reason of the repertoire of those records was what it was. I just thought one day I'm going to make this record where this kind of song really fits. Then in 2017 we went out on the road playing the songs from "Imperial Bedroom" and it was then I really thought we're not recreating these songs, we're rewriting them in some cases. So why not give the band a group of new songs, these unheard songs and we'll make a record. I hadn't really thought it was urgent to make a record last year. We've been doing pretty well with the live shows, I found a way to find a space for all my songs. One of the problems is if I get a few songs in my bag is how do I make a show out of them that makes sense to me. If it doesn't make sense to me the audience is going to notice it. They might say, "I hope he plays such and such." If I play it like it's a kind of obligation, I'm not going to play it like there's any sense to reality to the emotion of the song I'm going to play it like it's a ritual. I do see bands that do that and that's fine but it's a different thing than I do. I want to find the weight of the song and feel something. So sometimes that's a question of going through a few different songs to get there and that's kind of what I do in concert is I won't say jumble up the pieces randomly but jumble them up in a way a new picture comes out.

Me: Hmmm. What was it like writing with Carole King, who did most of the song writing or was it 50/50?

Elvis: Well, I think all the music in the first part of the song from the beginning from the intro figure on that. The hook line is all hers. I didn't write any of that music but I did come up with the title and it was something about the opening twisted kind of chords made me think of that title "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter." It was one of those magical things where something she was playing in the music kind of was sweet and yet sharp at the same time. There's something about her music that is like that anyway as she's written some of the most beautiful tunes ever but also she's not someone you can mess about with either. She's got a definite outlook. If she's written "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" it's a very assertive sort of song so the story seemed to just tumble out of the music about this woman who is trying to organize her life. She's gone through a divorce... I didn't know when I wrote that one that I was going to write a bunch more songs where I was going to put myself in somebody else's shoes. That's the way this collection of songs ended up. Not so much things that happened to me but things that happened to other people and try to make a story out of it. Then I got the middle of the song and we go back to the happier time of the relationship that she just got out of and I wrote the bit "once there was a time before he turned strange." I wore that part of the melody, and then it was a proper musical collaboration. I'm hearing that, having heard Carole's first statement, and most things in music when we write together like that they are kind of like a dialogue of musical thoughts. With Burt Bacharach as well, he's known entirely as a melodist, people would be surprised to know how much of our songs I wrote musically, but I'm trying to write in a language that is compatible with his so you can't tell where the joins are. In the case of the two songs on this album which he plays piano he wrote all of the music. But the third one he's credited on he only wrote the bridge, I wrote everything else, though it's in a language which is sort of recognizably like is, I won't say is his. Obviously I can't be him. 

Me: What is that song and why did he just write the bridge?

Elvis: "He's Given Me Things." It's a long story and I couldn't figure out how it could go somewhere else. He could hear that how to do that. It's a simple change but it's crucial to the song being successful as a drama. 

Me: Could you ever imagine the Attractions accompanying Burt Bacharach?

Elvis: No, but that's not say the Attractions never played great ballads because they're the band on "Shipbuilding," they're the band on "Almost Blue," but certainly live we were impatient to play the songs and the attitude when we were on stage was everything got sped up and the subtitles in the arrangements got lost. Whereas this band can be just as aggressive and ferocious sounding, they can also play like this and that's the point of this record to take advantage of both things.

Me: How would you compare Steve Nieve's piano playing to Bacharach's?

Elvis: Steve can give me lots of notes is deliberately sort of choosing or I asked him to choose to not play so much because the other things that were going to be in the arrangements. I didn't want us to get into conflict. Live when we're playing these same songs you may hear more from him, albeit it'll be another version and that's good. When it's played live it has another character again.

Me: Steve is a great piano player, isn't he?

Elvis: He is, but I have to say that nobody's ideas playing end on end, sometimes I write words down and I look at it and I think that doesn't make any sense at all, it just looks good at first, and then I'm trying to make emotional sense of it. These songs I think the words are really clear and the music is really clear and when I have someone like Burt who has a very particular touch of the piano, I was fascinated to hear my band meet with that. They were the only two songs I sang live in the studio because the timing was necessary to make me sing with Burt. The rest I wanted the joy of going up to the microphone when everything was in place and sort of having the whole picture so I didn't over sing anything. I wasn't trying to create to much heat. Usually I arrange outwards from the initial vocal performance and then add things later, so if we need a harmony here, or another guitar part, or another keyboard part, or whatever it is, with this record I had the whole arrangement in my head. By everyone preparing in advance and everybody showing their best ideas to each other in advance there was a degree in trust that when we played we were only playing things that we wanted to hear. Then when we added the vocal group or the horn section it made complete sense because we allowed for it. I wasn't trying to fill all the spaces up, I wasn't trying to sing with too much aggression, I knew what I had to do. And more importantly I also knew I could hold it closer to myself and sound more intimate. Something like "Stripping Paper" would make no sense if I was yelling it.

Me: Okay, I mentioned Steve, what about Pete Thomas? What would you say about him?

Elvis: If I send a demo tape to Pete Thomas he'd write back and say, "I know what to do on that." He's talking about drum things logically, that's what he is, he's a drummer. But for some reason in this group of songs a lot of the notes the guys gave me back about the music, what to do with the emotional little things that trigger the feeling in them or the recognition with them, I knew we were on to something because we saw them in the same way, it wasn't like I was telling some mysterious story and they were trying to accompany me. They actually made comments about images like on "Stripping Paper." That was one that Pete particularly noticed, and I thought if he noticed it there was a good chance the audience noticed it as well, so we better make sure we don't cover that up.

Me: Have you learnt something about your writing over the years?

Elvis: I learnt in the last twenty years, I love the songs from "Painted From Memory" but they're all dark. There has to be a little bit of light in the room so we could see the other details, that's really the truth of it.

Me: I love the song "God Gave Me Strength" from "Painted From Memory." That was the first song that you and Burt wrote together, right? What was that like?

Elvis: Yeah, we were just finding our way to work together. Did you know one of the things that Burt gets very little credit, people just assume that he wrote all the music and I wrote all the words, is that whether or not it was a huge presumption on my part to suggest music to Burt Bacharach, you got to give him credit after everything he'd written he was curious to see what would happen when he did write with another composer. Because he hadn't really done that before and I think that's pretty amazing. His words always had the right sounds and the right rhythm and my writing was a little more erratic. Sometimes I'll bend the music to the words, and Burt wouldn't let me do that. It was actually exicting for me to write the words, particularly the ones where he had the dominated part of the composition because he wouldn't let me change one single part in the music. Even if I had a good line that made sense. Those little details is what I learnt with working with him. All of the songs from "Painted From Memory" are huge in range, right to the edge of where I could physically sing. Not everybody likes that sound when I get up there, but I'll tell you what, listen to the cover versions of "God Give Me Strength," and tell me anybody could do it better. Because actually speaking there are technically more capable than me who attempted to sing that song and had no more ease.

Me: That last chorus you go really high, sir, is there anybody else you could think of that could sing that song?

Elvis: There's really only one way to get there and the only other person I could imagine singing that song effortlessly would be Luther Vandross. He wasn't around to sing it, and that's the only voice I could hear in my head that could have possibly gone there without any strain. But when I write a song sometimes I have another singers voice in my head, the thing that comes out is the tatty thing I could do. It's got rough edges but the emotion of it is that matters really. Not the technical expertise. It just worked out while we were writing these particular songs the first group of songs were written with the sense of discovery. We were just writing and the final shape of them were just because Burt and I were just adding to each others ideas. And the songs were developing to scale, quite a lot of them were long as well. A lot of them were over the four minute mark, we were not trying to write two and half minute pop records.

Me: When you wrote "God Give Me Strength" was that for the movie Grace of My Heart?

Elvis: Yeah, that was actually the second song I'd written for Grace of My Heart. It was a movie weirdly enough about a songwriting character that was supposed to remind you of Carole King. What's weirder is I ended up writing with Carole King as well. When Allison Anders made that film, it is very big hearted but flawed, it is a flawed film but ambitious to take details of other people's stories and make a fantasy. It's sort of what we call fan fiction now, isn't it? It was obviously done with a huge amount of respect and love. When I was asked to write the first song for that movie it was like, "we are coming to you because we think you understand how to write a song that's in the style of Holland-Dozidr-Holland social commentary" as they used to call them, things like "Love Child" or "I'm Living in Shame," and I wrote "Unwanted Number" for a girl group, an imaginary like they were supposed to be the Supremes or something. I never thought more about it, even though I knew it was a good song. They sang it really well, this vocal group called For Real sang it, in the movie and done a great job. Then about a month later or more they came back to me and said would I write the big emotional ballad and would I write it with Burt Bacharach. I was so shocked, I only met him once before briefly in the studio. I never dreamed I'd have the chance of working with him so it led from that one song to more and "Painted From Memory." That all led to this record, although it's over twenty years afterwards.

Me: You have written so many songs in different genres, is that hard or easy for you?

Elvis: People that use the word "genre" in reviews are over thinkers, they are using those French words to make themselves look clever, but in reality I don't calculate things nearly as much as they think I do. I look at some of the lyrics I wrote in the 80s when I was throwing words around like people throw around paint, and I go what the hell was that about. And then I think is that bad for a while, it's like I go through three doors to the meaning. Is that and or is that good because it leave it for people's imagination, that's why I was thinking like that.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask you about "The X-Files" album you did with Brian Eno. How did that come about?

Elvis: I said to Brian, "Let's go away and whatever we get that day is the record." We worked for fourteen hours straight and made "My Dark Life," which was a weird record, it was a Warner Bros. commissioned record when "The X-Files" was huge. They commissioned this record of "music inspired by the X-Files." If it had anything mysterious sounding they'd accept it. None of the songs appeared in the show, it was a weird idea but they had the money to let us have fun. Of course that is something that has changed in the twenty years or more since I made that record. Record companies can't afford to do that anymore, there isn't an award for them to say, "Here, have some money, knock yourself out." It just doesn't happen now, the back winners and everybody else... trying to get the money like independent filmmakers. When you go to there pictures to see any interesting film before you ever get to the film there's nineteen producers logos come up because that's how many people it took to make the finances to make the thing at all.

Me: So, do you keep a notebook with titles and lines and ideas when you write?

Elvis: I don't really work like that. I used to carry notebooks all the time and every page wouldn't be full of titles. Some would be. Sometimes it'll just be a least of titles or one line of something that came from the paper or a conversation, a overheard remark. All of those would swirl around and I'd write them out again until they found company in other lines. I also would write the same lyric out over and over again, that was probably realising it editorial. Of course with comers I tend to do that more instantaneously. I think sometimes I've been guilty with just hitting delete and not even keeping the after draft. Thought that maybe a mistake but I can't say there's been a million songs that escaped because of that. I just had lots of opportunities to work with others because I get these other invitations. It's not like I need to have a certain amount of songs at a certain date. I write them when it feels good or the opportunity presents itself to create something.

Me: So, a few months ago I had the honor to interview Sir Paul McCartney here on the Phile. You and he worked together, what was that like and what can you say about him?

Elvis: He has a sort of melodic gift. When we worked together I didn't have time to stop and think about it. I came with some songs prepared, he came with some songs prepared. We wrote a couple to get the rhythm of how we would work together. The first two songs we wrote together was one song of his called "Back On My Feet" and the other was "Veronica." I had maybe more half of it written before he arrived but crucial things about the middle of the song were his. Then we started writing and it was "My Brave Face," "Candy," and "The Day is Done." Then the next five or so songs were so good, they were just coming, they would just appear between us on the table. I got to think although I had experience with songs emerging very quickly when I was working with I was dealing with somebody who just recognises melody really quickly.

Me: I have to say "Spike" is my favorite album of yours. And one of my favorite songs of yours ever is "Every Day I Write the Book." What can you say of that song?

Elvis: "Every Day I Write the Book" is an exercise writing a pop song. That was a rare example of me trying to write to a known formulate. I was making gags on this idea. It's funny, over the years people have found more depth, if that's the right word, and more feeling than I intended. I always thought it was a trifle. We were on the road with a group called the Bluebells out of Scotland and they had a really attractive sort of jangly sort of pop songs before the Smiths. We were on the road and I thought I like these, I'll write one of these. The first version of "Every Day..." sounds like it should have been played by the Merseybeats or the Big Three or something. It had a straight forward straight beat. When Clive Langer heard it he said, "That sort of rhythm's been done. Why don't we try to make it more of an of the moment sound?" which at the time was sort of electric. It had a drum machine in it along with the drums. "Let's make it like an English R&B record." I wasn't sure at all to be honest. And as he introduced the different elements in the studio. He brought in Claudia and Caron, the Afrodiziak singers, then I could get it. It ended up being a lovely record.

Me: I agree. The legendary producer Geoff Emerick produced the album "Imperial Bedroom." What was he like to work with?

Elvis: We came in for the first few days and just went mad. Five go mad at Oxford Circus, or four. And Geoff just sat there and was "Ugh. Not another group that does this." Obviously he'd seen the Beatles do crazier things than that and been given the job of making sense. Can you imagine if you were Geoff Emerick, trained at Abbey Road and someone walks in and says, "I want to make 'Tomorrow Never Knows.'" And describes the sound of it but doesn't know how to do it. Then they did do it and that's what we call copy is that kind of sonic invention.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask you about "Oliver's Army." What is the story behind that song?

Elvis: That's a little bit different. The lyric was written after the first time I went to Belfast. Bear in mind my family is from Northern Ireland. It was shocking for me to go to Belfast for the first time and see lads no older than me, lads I could've gone to school with, they got a machine gun and at best they're supposed to be giving the peace. At worst they're not. All the complexities of that, this is not the first or last time this happened. The whole lyric was written on the plane back. It wasn't about Belfast and explained Belfast, this is what my grandad did, both of my granddad's did. They were put in the Army to do someone else's dirty work. That's what the song is about, it's all about that. That's really all what it's about, the trick if you like is the same one that "Under Lime" plays but "Under Lime" is a much longer song and I know it's not going on the radio. At that point we had something of an audience and I knew if I could make a pop record out of it the ideas of the song across to the audience and they were listening to the tune before they heard the words. And if they heard the words after that then they would have their own thoughts.

Me: So, I have to ask you who were your musical influences, Elvis?

Elvis: Burt Bacharach's music has been echoing down since I was a kid and as I call it Tamla, I've never called it Motown, it's always been Tamla... and the Beatles, the Small Faces, and the Who, Ray Davis, the Band and on and on and on. And of course through the 70s particularly I started to become aware of Allen Toussaint. I knew his songs but didn't know he'd written them. Then I got to work with him and he turned out to be a really lovely gentleman. Then the really terrible things happened during Katrina, he was forced out the city.

Me: How did you get to work with him?

Elvis: A friend of mine who was a business colleague of his, they had a little label that they used to record things on, said, "Allen's up in New York, he's starting to play shows, you should come up and see him." I went to see him play at this little club in New York and he's playing his song book and he's never done this before. He'd never performed like that outside New Orleans, he'd play once a year in New Orleans. Most of the time he was producing records.

Me: You and Allen made the record "The River in Reverse" together. Why didn't he produce that album?

Elvis: That's a strange thing, he didn't want to produce the record we made together, he wanted to be IN the band. We could barely persuade him to sing. we said, "Allen, you've got to sing, people want to hear you. They don't want me singing your songs."

Me: So, cool. Elvis, thanks for being on the Phile. It's so cool to have you here. PLEASE come back again.

Elvis: It's been my pleasure. Thanks for the interesting questions as well. Thank you.

That about it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Elvis Costello. The Phile will be back on Tuesday with Anson Williams, who played Potsie on "Happy Days." Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Have a safe and fun Easter weekend.

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Pheaturing Brian Nash

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Tuesday. How are you? Can you guess what's going on over at every right-winger's favorite fictional "news" station, Fox? If you guessed a big dish of misinformation baked in racism with a side of dragging the dead, then you are correct!!!! On Friday’s episode of "The Ingraham Mangle"... —I mean "Angle"... host Laura Ingraham, known for dragging the Parkland students and comparing child internment camps to "summer camp," did what she does best: lie, slander, be racist, and insult murder victims. In a segment about the memorial service of late rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was fatally shot on March 31st in South Los Angeles, Ingraham mocked the rapper, playing a clip of his song "FDT" (Fuck Donald Trump). “Now that’s a very creative refrain,” Ingraham says, sarcastically. Her guest, Raymond Arroyo, quips back "very catchy." Ingraham adds that the song's hook “goes on and on.” Yes, they are dragging a murder victim because of a song from 2016. Brave! To add insult to idiocy, Ingraham plays a clip that doesn't show Nipsy Hussle but instead Compton rapper YG (Nipsy Hussle is featured on the song but not in the clip). This is not the first time Fox News has confused one famous black person for another. As many are pointing out on Twitter, Nipsy Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, was not only a beloved and prolific rapper, but also an activist committed to helping his community by opening businesses, building community centers and helping kids learn tech and coding. At the time of his death, he was in Los Angeles for a meeting to help stop gang violence. People are, understandably, furious at Fox News for their flagrant disrespect, mixed with their idiotic (and undeniably racist) mistake (the Fox cocktail!). Some are even calling for Ingraham to be fired. But knowing Fox News, they'll probably give her a promotion instead. Fortunately, Ingraham's petty smear campaign is overshadowed by the beloved rapper's legacy. Thousands of people, including Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, and ensens Jhen√© Aiko, gathered at The Staples Center to mourn his death last Thursday. He was buried the next day at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, at Coachella gave the late rapper the tribute he deserves: Laura Ingra-who?
Melania Trump, a woman who came to the United States to make her living as a model and got an "Einstein visa" for doing so, would like you to think that she is above photo shoots and magazine covers. Melisandre's spokeswoman released a statement on the ultimate injustice facing the nation: the fact that the First Lady has never appeared on the cover of Vogue, the favorite magazine of plastic surgery offices. Michelle Obama had the honor thrice, gracing the glossy periodical in 2009, 2013, and 2016. Almost makes you want to buy magazines. In a recent interview with Christiane Amanpour, Vogue editor-in-chief and sunglasses connoisseur Anna Wintour was asked how she chooses which women to feature, which included what many interpret as a subtle dig and Donald Trump's third wife: "You have to stand up for what you believe in and you have to take a point of view. We profile women in the magazine that we believe in the stand that they’re taking on issues we support them, we feel that they are leaders." The lack of a Melania mention was perceived as shade by Fox News and the Office of the First Lady, and spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham issued a retort, "To be on the cover of Vogue doesn't define Mrs. Trump, she's been there, done that long before she was first lady. Her role as first lady of the United States and all that she does is much more important than some superficial photo shoot and cover." Lady Trump should show Vogue she really doesn't care with her "I really don't care, do u?" jacket.
You think sex ed for humans is insufficient? Imagine sex ed for horses. An epidemic of equine herpes has broken out in the Southwest, and is proving to be a party pooper. FOX13 reports that the outbreak has broken out in Arizona, and rodeos all across Utah are being canceled for fear of it spreading to their own horses. "It’s hard, we canceled one the night before it was supposed to start, people that already traveled clear across the state to compete had to turn around and go home," a high schooler told the news channel. In 2012, Utah experienced a horse herpes epidemic which resulted in more than 160 horses being put down, and this time around, they're practicing safe sex and keeping the state's animals quarantined. High school rodeo competitor Fallon Siddoway is bummed that his competition was canceled, but cares for the safety of his equine pals. "I'm glad that my horses weren’t in jeopardy of getting it, I’m glad that they canceled it," Siddoway said. "If it happened to my horses I would be really upset, if they didn’t make it through it I don’t know what I would do." You know what they say.... save a horse, ride a cowboy.
Kim Kardashian walks into a bar exam. Seriously. In a glossy Vogue profile, her first one solo, the influencer of all influencers announced that she's pivoting from makeup to law. Here's how the magazine introduces the big reveal, "Last summer, she made the unlikely decision... one she knew would be met with an eye roll for the ages... to begin a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco, with the goal of taking the bar in 2022." Kardashian was involved in the release of Alice Marie Johnson, a grandmother who had been in an Alabama prison for a nonviolent drug charge since 1996. Kim's Kardashian-ness got her a meeting with her fellow reality star in the White House, and her powerful plea for justice got President Trump to commute the sentence. That was just the beginning. "The White House called me to advise to help change the system of clemency," she told Vogue, and elaborated on what it was like in the Roosevelt Room Where It Happens. "I’m sitting in the Roosevelt Room with, like, a judge who had sentenced criminals and a lot of really powerful people and I just sat there, like, Oh, shit. I need to know more. I would say what I had to say, about the human side and why this is so unfair. But I had attorneys with me who could back that up with all the facts of the case. It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society. I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more." It is an inspiring tale of somebody wanting to use their privilege to learn and do more, and a terrifying indictment of who the President of the United States listens to on issues of criminal justice. But hey, it got Ms. Johnson out of prison, and that's more people than most of us have gotten out of prison in our lifetimes. Kardashian's appetite for criminal justice began the same way many other peoples' did: with the O.J. Simpson trial. Her dad Rob Kardashian was famously a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team, as immortalized by David Schwimmer on FX. "On the weekends they used our home as an office, with Johnnie Cochran and Bob Shapiro," Kim explained. "My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room, with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics." Despite living near Los Angeles, Kardashian's apprenticeship is in San Francisco, and according to Vogue, she traveled there every week since July. She also has a mentorship group with lawyers located closer to home, with whom she logs her "required eighteen hours of weekly supervised study." In California, one does not need to go to law school in order to be a lawyer. They just simply have to pass the bar, and now I've officially run out of excuses. "First year of law school," Kim described, "you have to cover three subjects: criminal law, torts, and contracts. To me, torts is the most confusing, contracts the most boring, and crim law I can do in my sleep. Took my first test, I got a 100. Super easy for me. The reading is what really gets me. It’s so time-consuming. The concepts I grasp in two seconds." Hey, as long as she's willing to put in the work and not Aunt Becky her way to law school, then good for her. Read about the whole intellectual #rebranding over at Vogue.
Listen up, you jaded, cynical people! The universe had something interesting and exciting to offer last week, something previously believed to be unseeable. An international group of astronomers produced the first-ever image of a black hole, a compact area of spacetime with a gravitational pull so overwhelming that nothing can escape it. Albert Einstein, the guy from all those dorm room posters, theorized the existence of black holes, and Wednesday he was proved right. It only took 100 years. The algorithm to produce the image was developed by researcher MIT graduate Katie Bouman, and even if the picture of the massive gap in the galaxy some 6.5 billion times the mass of our (Earth's) sun doesn't move you, Bouman's reaction will. The scientific marvel of this picture of a black hole has the Internet thinking about another b-hole... the butthole. (I am so sorry.)

People like big black holes and they cannot lie. Black holes are within the eye of the beholder. Blackhole is about to get a contributor contract with Fox News. The apocalypse is near, and by near, I mean 55 million light years away. Now that we've seen a picture of a black hole, it can feel free to take us.
If I had a TARDIS I would probably end up in Nevada in 1953 at a nuclear test site just as Nevada, just as the first ever nuclear detonation goes off.

Yeesh. Almost a month ago now Trump showed off some maps of how ISIS was defeated. That wasn't the only thing he showed off.

Really? Can it be true? Haha. Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones III is back at the border in the war zone but not wearing a vest this time. He's wearing something else...

They say you could see some weird sites at Walmart. I didn't believe it until I saw this...

Hey, this just in... another pic of the black hole.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, man. Alright, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York,  here is...

Top Phive Comments From People Who Voted For Trump And Now Need To Pay More Taxes
5. My husband and I work our asses off and just got our taxes done. FEDERAL WE FUCKING OWN $3,341... this is fucking bullshit! All of us are paying for the self centered asshole Trump paying golf trips and going on rallies! I FUCKING hate Trump! You promise us lower taxes!
4. Trump, I voted for you, I support you but I have 2 questions. 1. Where is my middle class tax cut? I paid more this year than last 2 years. Took 3 days to do my taxes, 2. Where is the post card tax return you promised? Please don't make me switch to the dark side.
3. Thanks, Donald Trump, for the tax change. I lost money I depend on every year! I know you don't care and won't see this, but I voted for you, and I regret it. I needed that money, asshole.
2. I spoke with a plumber today who has his own business just got hit with a 17k tax bill thanks to you since he could not write stuff off. He voted for you the first time but won't in 2020.
And the number one comment from people who voted for Trump and now need to pay more taxes...
1. Tax season aka broke bitch flexxin’ on dat azz season.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. So, the other day my son and I were talking about when we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was little. Either I was a bad parent or that show has changed since then.

Big Bird is at a moral impasse. Snap her neck and save the world from decades of lies, murder, and corruption, or maintain his public image.

As accessories go, the kid is cute and all but the pocket square is far lower maintenance.

A teenager takes a seat on a bench next to a middle aged man reading a newspaper. After a few minutes the man looks over and stares intentively on the youth's multicolored mohawk. The teenager looks over at the man and says, "What's the matter old man, never done anything interesting in your life?" The man responded with, "I once got drunk and had sex with a parrot, I was just wondering if you were my son."

Today's guest is a British musician. He was the guitarist for the 1980s synth-pop band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and is the author of Nasher Says Relax – Inside the Band and Beyond the Pleasuredome, the 96th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Brian Nash.

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

Brian: I'm okay.

Me: So, I am sure a lot of people know this, or it's easy to Google, but I have to ask... where did the name Frankie Goes to Hollywood come from?

Brian: When Holly Johnson was in a band rehearsing with a couple of other people and in the rehearsal room was a page from a book. The book was called Rock Dreams by Guy Peellaert who was famous for doing the "Diamond Dogs" sleeve, and in this book there was a mock-up of a Los Angeles newspaper telling about Frank Sinatra going from New York to Hollywood to make movies. The picture was him getting off a plane being surrounded by teenagers and the headline said "Frankie Goes Hollywood."

Me: Ahhh... okay. Your book Nasher Says Relax is the 96th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. What amazed me was you joining Frankie was you being in the right place at the right time. Is that right?

Brian: Yeah, when I think the way these things happen everything in the music industry has been successful. I think it goes right across the board, everything is about being in the right place at the right time. Where you meet your friends the first time you meet when you first go to a job interview and get a job. I have quite an attitude to life where I just walk this road and whatever happens to me is going to happen. I think everything in music is being in the right place at the right time, not so much myself in occasion, but the band itself. Everything is a series of coincidences. When you look at Trevor Horn recording Yes's "90125" album and every Friday they would sit down in the studio and watch "The Tube" and sees us on "The Tube." That's the first thing he sees. Some time later John Peel did a session with us and he was listening to it. He has these two exposers to Frankie. If he's in a different studio doing a different thing and he's on holiday, god knows where, he doesn't see that that doesn't happen. It's the same kind of thing really. It's all circumstance and I think it's all meant to be. 

Me: Your cousin Mark O'Toole was the bass player in Frankie, am I right? Was that how you got to be in the band?

Brian: I was in a band with Ped Gill and Holly and two other people and Ped left and Holly left about three weeks later. In the meantime Ped teams up with Mark O'Toole and it was just the two of them. Then Holly kinda joined them. It kinda flies in the face of Holly's version of that is he was looking around for Liverpool for some great musicians to get involved with. That wasn't really the truth. He decided to sack off the music and go off to art college. Jed joined in with them, then Paul Rutherford joined. They went on tour as a four piece supporting band from Liverpool called Hambi & The Dance. Paul Rutherford was doing backing vocals for Hambi & The Dance. I think I was actually at the gig because I've seen Frankie play about three times before I joined them. Paul jumped up with them and Paul was going all over the music and wanted to join them. Jed wanted basically was in a position where he just had a kid and he was looking for something like a bit of stability going forward between his girlfriend and his son. He left and because I knew everyone who was there apart from Paul really, they asked me to join, That's where it started.

Me: I have to show a picture of Frankie from back then to remind people...

Me: Were you in other bands before?

Brian: Yeah, I've been in bands and obviously I knew Mark because he was me cousin, I've known him since I was a kid. I've been in bands with Holly and Ped before so they knew me. It wasn't like I was someone who didn't know anybody. I was capable doing what they were doing. When bands start like that it's never about ability, it's about who we get along with and if we look the part. I think that still applies today.

Me: A lot of my readers from the states might not know what "The Tube" is. I used to love that show when I lived in England from '84 to '87. Explain what it was. It had a big part for the band, Brian. 

Brian: "The Tube" was a cool program for everyone that was into music. It was kind of like the first new music program in the U.K. They had live music and the people behind the board who did the mixing for that were great so the bands they had on there always sounded good.

Me: So, how your video first get to be on "The Tube"? It was before you guys were really known, right?

Brian: Our manager sent the legendary Hope & Anchor video off to "The Tube" and it's sitting on someone's desk and there's a guy there who says this is a band from Liverpool, and "The Tube" in a couple of months time was going to Liverpool to do a piece about Echo & The Bunnymen and about the Liverpool music scene, post punk scene, the guy who produces the show picks up the video and asked who are these guys? Lets see what these dudes are like. He throws them into the machine and goes we have to have these on. We had two girls wearing next to nothing, so again that was another amazing coincidence. People who knew anything about music would watch "The Tube" on a Friday evening. "The Tube" always taken credit for us and rightly so.

Me: In '83 when "Relax" first was released as a single how did it do?

Brian: When it was first released as a single it came in I think at 55... and "The Tube" put us on and it gone down to 54. Because they had us on before they took us up to the studio in Newcastle and we did a live vocal over the backing track and that was the thing that too it from there to 36, which then we got "Top of the Pops." It went from 36 to 6 on the back of that.

Me: The first song I heard from you guys was "Two Tribes" in April of '84 when we went to England for a few weeks as we were gonna move back there. I missed out when "Relax" first came out. Okay, so I can't believe what you said about Trevor Horn in the book. I believe it, but I can't believe it. Tell the Phile readers what happened.

Brian: When you explain things to people that are not in the music industry when they go down to Woolworth's with a few pounds to buy a record they think it's going into our pockets, but the truth of it we didn't make money until we recoup our investments. Really the first 100,000 we have to pay back out of our 6%, so for every single we sell 6 pence goes against the 100,000. It got to the stage where we were quite fortunate that when we signed the publishing deal the advance we got was something like a 100 pounds each. I think we got like 500 quid between us. I think the record advance was similar, it was absolutely laughable. More so it got out of hand recording the second album. When he rang up like 1.2 million pounds worth of recording costs.

Me: After the "Liverpool" album came out Frankie broke up... what happened?

Brian: It was obvious the band wasn't going any further with this. He took us on like a vanity project and said he's going to do an all orchestral version, we're gonna get some guy to come in and he's gonna charge 40 grand to do the score and then we are gonna get a 120 piece orchestra, so we did a 12 inch mix that costs us 80 to 90 grand. Even if we sold a million we are not gonna get our money back. We didn't make any money from record sales until the greatest hits album came out which was 5 years after the band split up. Even then because it's a greatest hits and it's not classed as new material we went on a quarter of the royalty rate. So our 8% in England, and 6% in the rest of the world clocked to 1 and a half percent and 2%, it was just an appalling bad deal. What's worse is all through the time since the band had split up and we went in and said to them this is a joke, man, we're getting absolutely fleeced. Not once did he sit down in a room with us, he put his family in front of us when we had disputes with them. He even sent his 21-year-old kid to represent him at a layers meeting, The kid came in on a skateboard. He's not a guy nice, that Trevor, one day my path will cross with him. He'll get what he had coming from me for a very long time. I want to call him out for being an absolute shithouse. He's a shithouse and he wouldn't front up. I'll tell him he's an absolute disgrace. Mr. Nice Guy Trevor, Trevor doesn't do business, that's was thrown at us all the time. Trevor is not a business man, of course he's not. If you're not a business man you don't end up running your own label and having your own studio. Don't be hiding behind the label he's an artist and he doesn't want to get involved with business. He knew exactly where all the pennies were going. It could of been so much better, and we deserved to been treated so much better than we were before. 

Me: I love the Grace Jones song "Slave to the Rhythm." That was offered to you guys once, right? 

Brian: This is the thing, they went into the studio to do this single with Grace Jones, Trevor sees a title in his head and they ended up spending so much money and fucking around they have to turn it into an album, they have so many versions of it, they had to get their money back. Regards to everyone who was signed to ZTT, I don't think there was a single band that everybody had disagreements with them.

Me: You guys took ZTT, and Trevor to court. How did that go?

Brian: Yeah, it was first time the artist was able to be released from their contact, and not been given their catalogue. The judge said this contract was enforceable going forward. Being that we can't make any new material under this contact, yet they released a dozen albums. We're still being bound by that same thing. Every time we've gone in and sat down with them they don't want to know, it was unfortunate and an oversight on their part, that they neglected to take the merchandising rights in the contact. When we went in and see them we said what about if we do a 50/50 on the merchandise we think that's fair, I nearly grabbed the guy by the scruff of his neck.

Me: Okay, I have to admit, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought this, but I thought back in the day the whole band was gay, and that was before being gay really meant nothing. It was a whole different world back then. But it was pretty much just Holly and Paul who were gay. What did you think of the band being known as a "gay" band?

Brian: I think whether it was a "gay" band or a heavy metal band with spandex trousers I would of taken any band as a career. The way I was brought up I never had any prejudice against gay people. The thing for us that was quite interesting was the whole S&M thing, when people said it was all S&M gay gear, when really the way we looked at it, when it came to do with S&M and gay bondage it was all to do about Mad Max. Mad Max 2 was just an enormous influence on us, that's what we wanted to dress like. Now maybe Holly and Paul thought a different way but that's what we thought. Maybe that's what they told us to make us feel better and get us dressed like that. Mad Max was just a great influence... when two tribes go to war, that was a line that we lifted from Mad Max. When we did our early gigs our intro music was the theme tune to Mad Max 2. Working for the black gas, I think that was in the narration to Mad Max 2.

Me: Did you play a lot of gay shows though?

Brian: I think like myself and a lot of the younger people that bought our records a lot of the gayness was kinda lost on them. I don't remember playing gigs, when we toured America, I don't remember looking at the audience thinking there's a lot of gay guys here. The people who first came to see us were Anglophiles, people who followed British music from the states. Of course the people we played with on the American tour I guess they were a little bit more enlightened like when we played in places like Kansas or something or Nebraska, or anywhere in the Bible Belt.

Me: Were Paul and Holly a couple? Did they lead separate lives and didn't bother anyone?

Brian: Oh, they were never a couple, they just known each other. They both hung out on the same scene. I don't think they were anybody's type either.

Me: I think Paul had the easiest job ever. Just background singing and dancing. What was his role? 

Brian: I don't want to get into putting Holly down, in case you interview him one day, but you have seen any of his recent performances that are out there he's not the greatest thing to look at on stage. I think Paul's role, and it became more so as the band went on was to be more like a cheerleader, to be someone who was running around. Holly couldn't do that as much as he had to sing as well, but he's just Paul.

Me: What does he do nowadays?

Brian: According to Facebook he's currently in Thailand sitting on a beach.

Me: I want to interview him. Okay, I want to talk about the bands first album, "Welcome to the Pleasuredome." That title track is so crazy, and over produced and has so many things going on. I kinda like it. There's not a lot of guitar on that album, Brian, do you play on that album? Hahaha. 

Brian: When you talk about that album I'm someone who gets lost in the Trevor Horn shadow, the stuff that sounds like real instruments is us.

Me: One of my favorite tracks on the album is Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run." Man, what a great version. Did you like that song? That's a great guitar on that song.

Brian: That was Holly's idea, he said we should do it because it's an American song. None of us had even heard the tune. We said we don't want to listen to it, just give us the sheet music. So, we got the sheet music and we went in there and played how we thought it should be played, which was like 100 miles per hour. I agree, I think it's a great version.

Me: I wonder if Bruce ever heard your version... do you know?

Brian: I'd love to know if Bruce looked at his publishing statements one day and gone who's this Frankie guy? I'd love to know what Bruce thought of it because every Bruce Springsteen fan I met absolutely hates it. A mate of mine is a huge Springsteen fan and I always wind him about it. He always comes back with we all should be ashamed of it. Glad you like it though, Jason.

Me: I do. In the book you said you don't like the song "Maximum Joy" from "Liverpool." I have to agree with you. Haha. What didn't you like about it?

Brian: Basically we were in Ibiza recording and I was up before anyone else and the engineer was in there and I was just messing about with some echo peddle and a bass drum on a drum machine. The most disappointing thing about the "Liverpool" album was we went to Holland to record it, we spent two full weeks or recording, and when we came back the tunes sounded great, it was a bit more rocky and a bit more attitude, but also leant themselves to being played live more. We didn't want to be taken these machines, which basically placed the eight part sequence of "Relax." From time to time it would fuck up and go astray. Anything that took the lines technology out of the live situation was going to be great for us. A lot of stuff that we recorded in Holland, like "Maximum Joy," which we thought was great, quite heavy and quite rocky, I am not sure why Holly didn't like it very much, or whether he didn't like the direction of the music, but a lot of it changed. "Maximum Joy" was one of those tracks that when we came back from Holland just didn't sound anything like what we came out of Holland with.

Me: When I first heard "Warriors of the Wasteland" from the "Liverpool" album you played it live on some show, and another song from that album. It was the first time the song was heard publicly. That song seemed to rock a little more than the other songs. Was that the point? You guys wanted to rock a little more? I love that song by the way.

Brian: You're kinda half there. You look at artists like Coldplay and Ed Sheeran for example, I've got a lot of time for Coldplay, the first three albums had some fantastic tunes on it. These are songs to be played in small clubs or theatres, if they were lucky. The same thing with Ed Sheeran, when he first wrote his songs like "The A Team" and "Lego House," he was playing for fifty people at a couple of clubs. Say Coldplay played "Charlie Brown" in front of 80,000 people and the place goes absolutely nuts they knew those were the kinda gigs that they were going to be doing. It kinda drags the songwriting where we think it's going to sound fucking amazing. The same thing kinda happened with Ed Sheeran as well, he's gone down the hippy-hop don't stop, it's all gone about a bit funky, and I think that was the thing with "Liverpool." We wanted to get out and tour and of course we had all that bullshit saying that we can't play, and of course ZTT never accounted any of that. It fueled them to make them look better than they were actually were. These people can't play, I never recalled anyone saying that about any other album.

Me: Did it bother you people thought you guys didn't play the instruments?

Brian: To be honest it hurts. I never claimed to be the greatest guitar player but I'll tell you what, Mark O'Toole and Peter Gill as the rhythm section... I like someone stand besides Mark when he plays "Two Tribes" and say he can't play. This was a kid who was about 20-years-old when he was doing this. I think it's hugely disrespectful. Here we are now some thirty years later and people are still asking me about it. I'm entitled to be a little bit pissed off about it. It was a long time ago and I know what I'm good as a musician and I know what I'm good at as a songwriter. I've got nothing to prove to anyone.

Me: It's cool you have a cool solo career as Nasher, Brian. I like those albums. You must be proud of those albums, am I right?

Brian: I was very honoured to work with people like Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn who told me and showed me that going into the studio to record my songs is not making a record. This is the thing I try to pass on to kids, I got to pick these people up in the first four bars and by the end of that song I have to leave them in a quivering mess with their knickers around their ankles. That's a different thing than going in and recording my songs.

Me: In the book you say Holly separates from you guys at the end. What happened?

Brian: It was essentially a fall out with what we call Arsegate at Wembley Arena. It was I think when we were recording the "Liverpool" album there was a confrontation where I think his boyfriend Wolfgang wasn't well, his mind wasn't on the job. He'd only do office hours so we start at 11:00 in the morning and he'd go by 5. He wasn't doing the hours that we were doing. We sat down and had a meeting with him and he'd seen it as we were sacking him but really we wanted him back in the gang. This is all de respect to Wolfgang, he is still the man Holly loved all his life. When Wolfgang came into the scene, he took the lead of our gang. That happened very early on, it was like the first American tour. Holly just became a different person. I don't mean that in a critical way. He was just being a selfish git, we wondered why he could't see it from our point of view.

Me: When he left did you know that was gonna be it for the band?

Brian: We thought we'd get another singer, we'd get another deal. We thought we were the Rolling Stones, we thought we were going to do this shit until we were 70. Of course that's not going to happen.

Me: When was the last time you saw Holly?

Brian: I bumped into him a couple of times. I was at a gig, I went to see the Lightning Seeds and we were both backstage I kinda hid out of the way because I didn't want to make him feel awkward. In January last year I went to the National Portrait Gallery and Martyn Ware from Heaven 17 was curating and Peter Coyle from the Lotus Eaters was there, and I haven't seen him in about 30 years. I went to see him and I was leaving against the wall in this gallery Holly walked past me and didn't see me. On the way out I thought I'm not gonna send the rest of me life walking around and avoiding this fellow, so I went up and spoke to him and said happy new year, I hope he is alright, blah blah blah. 

Me: Good job. If Holly would of stayed in the band do you think the band would of stayed together? 

Brian: I don't know. I think when we went and did the tour for the "Liverpool" album I think we all knew this was the end of it. It wasn't like a feeling I couldn't put my finger on. It was becoming harder and harder and I don't think he was really into the sounds of the record. Yet the lyrics he wrote were light years ahead on "Pleasuredome."

Me: I just remembered "Pleasuredome" had another cover... "San Jose." What do you think of that cover?

Brian: If I never heard that fucking song in my life again it'll be fucking too soon. It's absolutely horrible. I hated every single note and bar of it. Why did we do that fucking song? Did I miss a meeting?

Me: Hahahahaha. Do you have a favorite Frankie song?

Brian: I don't know really, it's like asking which one of my kids is a favourite kid? I would have to say "Power of Love" really because it's the one that I think will get played on the day I die. More so than "Relax" and "Two Tribes." I love hearing it in random situations, one that happened to me recently. I was in my local super market at Christmas time of course when they were playing all the Christmas tunes and I'm pushing my trolley one way up the aisle, coming the opposite way is a young woman I guess probably in her late 20s, eaten European, possibly Polish with a baby probably about 2-year-old sitting in the trolley. The "Power of Love" is playing and as I pass her in the aisle she's singing it to her daughter. I'm thinking this woman is not old enough to be born really when the song came out, so that was quite cool.

Me: With you solo shows do you play any Frankie songs?

Brian: Yeah, "Power of Love" and "Maximum Joy." I haven't played any Frankie songs live for years, "Two Tribes" done acoustically is not bringing the house down. If I do "Power of Love" I get to do the Robbie Williams "Angels" minute where everyone sings it and everyone loves it.

Me: "Power of Love" wasn't really known over here apparently. What was it like when you first came to America?

Brian: I don't know if it comes across in the book but the first time we came to the states to that club tour it was just amazing. We had success and people know who we were in our own country. We thought everyone is going to be gunning for us, to be rubbish live, so we have to go and tour where nobody knows us. We took our whole production into these little clubs which was ridiculous. Americans get a lot of bad press. I think a lot of Americans could teach the British people customer service.

Me: So, who is your musical influence?

Brian: Rickie Lee Jones. She is my God. I went to see her half a dozen times. She's just premier league, she's astonishing. Her singing and her unphrasing are unreal. I'd love to do a duet with her, but we'll see. Have you interviewed her?

Me: No, not yet. So, do you live in Liverpool now?

Brian: No, I live in London, but will be moving back to Liverpool in about 18-months.

Me: Ahhh. Okay, I love your solo music. It's so different than the Frankie stuff. The last album "432-1: Open the Vein" is fantastic. What can you tell us about it?

Brian: For all intensive purposes it's a concept album.

Me: Brian, thanks so much for being on the Phile. It was so cool to have you here. Please come back again.

Brian: Jason, it's my pleasure. You're a great interviewer! You are the best, mate! Visit me in England!!!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. I don't know about you but that was one of the best interviews I have done. Thanks to my guest Brian Nash. The Phile will be back this Friday on Good Friday with the one and only... ELVIS COSTELLO! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Happy birthday, dad. Rock on.

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