Monday, June 8, 2009

Pheaturing Blake Ian


Hi, welcome to another Monday entry of the Phile, proud sponsor of and Today is the Queen of England's Birthday, so Happy Birthday, Little Queenie. Speaking of queen's, there was a lot of them at work yesterday as Sunday was Gay Day at Epcot. In honor of them, Epcot sold Queer Beer. California is officially out of money. One week without Jay Leno and everything goes to hell. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that the day of reckoning is here. That either means he has a new movie out or we're screwed. They've canceled summer school because of the money shortage. It's all part of a program called, "leave no child ahead." No summer school means more pee in the public pools. So there's a silver lining. Obama had his own reality show set in the White House: Twenty-five women and Brian Williams compete for Barack Obama's love. The Obamas gave NBC news unprecedented access to the White House. Wherever Obama went, Brian Williams went. I liked it when we got to see Obama buying hamburgers. Then they showered together a couple of times. Well, the Magic blew their chance at winning the NBA Finals last night, when the Lakers kicked their asses. The Magic could still win, but it'll take some real Magic. President Obama is said to be monitoring the situation... He said he hopes both sides will act with restraint and, of course, work towards peace. He was in Egypt, addressing the Muslim world at Cairo University. Reactions to his speech were mixed: Some said, "Death to America!" others said, "Die, American dogs!" Iranians dismissed his speech as "all talk." Well... it was a speech... Are you kids into Facebook at all? I have a Facebook page, and love it. Searching the other day though I found Bill Gates' actual Facebook. Here, check it out, kids. 

Can you read that? It might be to small. Anyway, I have a cool interview for you today. Musician Blake Ian is today's guest. But first...

Phact 1: "Anhedonia" is an inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences.
Phact 2: For the average man, the typical ejaculation contains more than 80 million sperm.
Phact 3: Ancient Greeks believed wearing amethysts would help keep a person from becoming drunk.
Phact 4: The original Scrabble game didn't have a board. It was played with tiles only.
Phact 5: Alfred Hitchcock had a morbid fear of eggs (ovaphobia).

Dedicated Disney blogger Jim Hill visited this year's Licensing International Expo, and talked to the fine people who were representing Disney and Pixar, and buying up licensing rights.
Reportedly, Pete Docter (fresh off his success with Up) is planning to return to Monstropolis and helm a sequel to his previous Pixar effort, Monsters, Inc. Obviously, story details are shrouded in secrecy, but they've got Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 in the works, it's not much of a stretch to believe they'd revisit Mike and Sully. While it's a delightfully complete film, it's also a wonderful world, and I'd like to go there again. Hill also reports that Disney is really focusing its efforts on The Lone Ranger, and are hoping to have it in theaters by Summer 2011. Mike Newell was hired to direct, and Johnny Depp is set to play Tonto. Intent on launching a Ranger franchise, they've pushed back Jack Sparrow's, and are now planning to release the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment to a tenative date of Summer 2012. Both franchises offer a dose of Depp, so the Pirates fanbase should be pretty happy with that. Frankly, I'm willing to trade tricorns just to know just who they cast as that masked man... 

The prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, dies in Mecca. One can safely assume he is at this very moment reclining on a soft couch somewhere in Paradise, being serviced by a high-bosomed virgin with dark eyes.
34 American servicemen are killed and 171 wounded when the highly-conspicuous U.S.S. Liberty is strafed twice in 75 minutes by Israeli fighters and torpedo boats. The American spy ship happens to be sitting in international waters, 15 miles off the coast of Egypt, monitoring unfolding events of the Six Day War. Israel soon labels the incident a regrettable "error," claiming that they did not realize it was an American ship. For some reason, the United States pretends to accept this laughable explanation as well as a large restitution payment for the damage incurred by the vessel.
Former UN Secretary General and Nazi war criminal Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria. One year later, the U.S. Justice Department places him on a watch list of undesirable aliens, making Waldheim the first foreign head of state legally forbidden from visiting America.
The President of Nigeria, general Sani Abacha, dies of apparent heart failure during a Viagra-driven romp with three Indian whores. Abacha is quickly buried the following day without an autopsy or even a state funeral, fueling speculation that the general may have been poisoned by political rivals. Abacha stole more than $4 billion during his five years as dictator, and his widow Maryam is captured shortly thereafter attempting to flee the country with 30 suitcases full of American currency.
The government of Colombia announces that it will include the estimated value of its illegal drug crops, exceeding half a billion dollars, when calculating its Gross National Product.

Today's guest is a New York singer-songwriter who has three really good albums on iTunes, and who is New York's best kept secret. Please welcome to the Phile... Blake Ian.

Me: Hello, Blake, sir, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Blake: Well.

Me: I heard you are New York's best kept secret. What do you think of that?

Blake: (haha) I read the same thing; it certainly feels like that sometimes... The secret part I mean. I think it was meant as a compliment but I don’t know if a well-kept secret is the goal of an artist. Anyway I guess it’s been leaking a bit right?

Me: Are you originally from New York? I grew up in Port Jefferson, Long Island. Have you ever been there?

Blake: I am from New York, I know Port Jefferson well, a good friend lived there while going to school… Also my folks love this little Spanish Seafood place out there – Casa De Espana.

Me: Your last album "Alchemist" came out a few years ago, right? Are you working on a new album? How many albums have you had out?

Blake: I have 3 releases since 2000. The Blake Ian Theory - 2000, The Basement Waves - 2003, Alchemist - 2005. I am working on my next record right now. It can be a long process for me, I begun "Alchemist" before "The Basement Waves" actually and released 3 years after I started it. But then again "The Basement Waves" I recorded and released in 6 months. Anyway yes, new music is coming soon.

Me: Let's talk about your idol... Bob Dylan. Have you ever met him? I did when I was just a kid. He came over to our house to a party in '74 I think it was, or '75.

Blake: Wow, no I have not yet had the pleasure. Though I have seen him perform a ton of times. Dylan to me has always been a combination of unlimited entertainment and a text to study. I have studied a few other songwriters as well, but none as in depth as I have with Dylan’s catalogue. It took me a while to stop wanting to become Bob Dylan and rather learn from him to help figure out Blake Ian.

Me: Have you ever heard of John Wesley Harding, the singer, who was named after the Bob Dylan album?

Blake: Well I hadn't but then I Google cheated. Seems like a pretty interesting songwriter, oddly enough I read he used to do an intimate acoustic cover of Madonna's "Like a Prayer". I used to cover the song in the same way early on in my career and it became a common request at shows. Strange.

Me: Who are your other influences?

Blake: Neil Young - I had "Live Rust" on double vinyl and played it every day when I was 13. Just saw 1 of the best performances ever at MSG... 63 years old and played for 2.5 hours with no break. It was ridiculous! David Bowie - 5 Years was the first song I learned to play on acoustic guitar. "Ziggy Stardust" was the only cassette tape I had in my first car, it just repeated and flipped for about 2 years. R.E.M. - Specifically the album "UP" inspired a lot of my songwriting. Beck - Mostly the songwriter albums, "Mutations" and "One Foot In The Grave".
Elliott Smith - He used to play to very small crowds at a place called Brownies in Manhattan. I had a cassette tape that he would give out copies of when I was in High School. Radiohead - Probably the least apparent influence on my work, I love music with an atmosphere though. I try to consider the vibe of a song I’m writing just as much as lyrics or melody.

Me: You probably played all over New York, right? Ever played down South to Florida? Or planning to?

Blake: Actually one of my favorite spots to play in the country is a club called Eddie’s Attic in Decatur Georgia. They are a pretty well known stop for singer/songwriters traveling the country. I stopped there the first time I toured from NY to San Diego… I returned every summer for the next 4 years. Lately, I have been thinking about a trip to Ireland after seeing a huge online response from folks over there.

Me: Congrats on being Myspace's Rising Star, whatever that is. I was voted Blogspot's Most Annoying Ass. LOL.

Blake: Yeah that was pretty cool, MySpace Celebrity contacted me and said they wanted to send me a camera and have me shoot something for their Rising Star spot. I looked that day to see who was currently up there and it was Leona Lewis who was like the best selling song that week on iTunes. So I decided it was probably a good idea to do it. My friend Jordan and I went all over NY and shot a vi deo about the different stages a songwriter plays in his career. I was really happy with how it came out. You can check it out YouTube or MySpaceTv. “Blake Ian for MySpace Celebrity”

Me: If you could do a duet with anybody, who would it be?

Blake: Dylan.

Me: When did you first start playing and writing?

Blake: When I was 12 or 13 I started writing lyrics. Then I got an old guitar from a friend. I didn’t take lessons or anything. I just sort of banged on the guitar and moved my fingers around til things sounded good. I did buy a chord book too. Picking up the guitar originally was about finding a way to put the words I was writing to something. But it definitely became a balance of both for me eventually.

Me: What do you think of John Mayer? I like him, but think you're a little bit better.

Blake: I mean thanks, I’m glad you enjoy my stuff. I’m not sure there is “better”. Not that I haven’t used the word before referring to music. John Mayer isn’t really my type of thing. He doesn’t really fall in my lineage. Though I have seen him play some guitar and was pretty impressed. He obviously has talent… it’s just a matter of taste. His songs don’t sing to me but they apparently sing to somebody.

Me: You opened for a bunch of bands, Blake. Tell the Phile readers who you opened for and what was your favorite?

Blake: I have gotten to share a stage with Donovan, Christopher Cross, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Leon Russell and Duncan Sheik. The Christopher Cross album played in my dad’s station wagon everyday when I was about 5, so that was really cool. Eric Burdon and the Animals & Leon Russsell were just amazing considering who they are and what they have been a part of. If I had to put 1 on the top of the list tho, it would be Donovan. I mean this guy not only traveled to Inda with The Beatles, but he is a huge part of Don’t Look Back, the D.A. Pennebaker documentary of Bob Dylan’s 65 tour of the UK. It was also my first of all these shows and the night before I left to tour the country for the first time. We sat and had a bunch of beers and he told an amazing story about George Harrison writing a 3rd verse to one of his songs. The extra verse made the song go over 4 minutes and so the label wouldn’t release it like that, fearing it wouldn’t be played on the radio. Brilliant! He then picked up the guitar and played the song with the extra Harrison verse. This was about a year after Harrison has passed. Intense.

Me: Finally, plug your websites and anything else you would like.

Blake: Website Facebook MySpace There is also a lot available on YouTube if you do a search for Blake Ian.

Me: I hope this was fun for you. Good luck with your new CD, Blake.

Blake: Thanks man… appreciate the enthusiasm. Maybe I’m not SUCH a secret after all.


There you have it, phans. Thanks to Blake Ian for a really good interview, Wikipedia and Jim Hill. The Phile will be back on Friday with singer Taylour Chanel. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd.  

No comments: