Friday, July 24, 2009

Pheaturing Helen McCookerybook


Hey there, welcome to the Peverett Phile, proud sponsor of and Austism is reversible. I am your host Jason Peverett, star of the new kids movie G-Spot. It's in 3D. So, you kids like space stuff? This week was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. To celebrate at the International Space Station, they unclogged the toilet.
The toilet is a “zero-gravity” toilet. I don’t know how it could be clogged, but it was. You know, I don’t want to know. The astronauts went on a space walk to change the batteries on the outside of the International Space Station. They hoped the space walk will answer some key questions like, who put the batteries on the outside of the space station? There was a huge fire at a medical marijuana facility in Los Angeles. According to people that live there the smog has been awesome. Tuesday it was Belgian Independence Day. They’ve given the world so much... the Belgian waffle... but it’s great. Belgium is a nice place, though. It’s the place people go to when they’re on their way to another place, a place they’re going to spend more time at. It’s kind of the Jennifer Aniston of countries. Belgium is the Mexico of the Netherlands. In parts of Belgium they still speak Flemish. It’s a language based entirely on flem. God, I hope I don't interview anybody from Belgium soon. Amy Winehouse is going to release a perfume. You put a little behind your ears... in your crack pipe... Who would spend money to smell like Amy Winehouse?!? If you want to smell like Amy Winehouse, go and live in a dumpster for a week. It’s free! The Comic-Con convention is going on in California. It’s not just comics there, though; big movie studios go to preview new movies. It’s not just geeks anymore, it’s nerds, dorks, and dweebs... Being a geek is actually cool now. So you won’t be seeing me make jokes about comics and science fiction and virginity. Without geeks we’d still be playing Pong on the computer. Have you heard the latest news about the swine flu? It's effecting everyone. Even toys. Take a look. That's terrible, isn't it? Last entry I told you that companies are changing their logos and even their names as they are being effected by the economy. Even car companies are changing their names. Look what Ford turned into.

Alright, you know those inspirational posters you can buy at the mall? I showed you some in the past that looked kinda odd to me, but none are as odd as this one. Check it out.

I don't know, I am pretty cool. I think. The interview with Helen McCookerybook is coming up but first...

From the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's top ten list...
Top Ten Signs Americans Are Becoming Overweight
10. Rush Limbaugh lands cover of Men's Fitness Magazine.
9. The Bible Belt has been replaced by Bible Suspenders.
8. New TV movie format of "Even Widerscreen".
7. People are buying a weight loss instruction book from Dr. Phil.
6. New brides are now being rolled over the threshold.
5. Elevators can now only carry one passenger at a time.
4. Kirsty Alley calendar due out in the Fall.
3. 911 calls for missing feet.
2. America's top selling beverage: gravy.
And the number one sign Americans are becoming overweight...
1. Sarah Palin can see most of us from her house.

After a three-day siege, a force of 1,800 English and Dutch troops seizes Gibraltar from Spain. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht officially deeds it to Great Britain, who never gives it back.
Almost 800 Western Electric employees and their family members perish when the chartered steamer Eastland rolls over in Chicago harbor. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.
Comedic actor Peter Sellers dies of a heart attack in the Dorchester Hotel, London.
After a game in Los Angeles, New York Mets outfielder Vince Coleman tosses an M-100 firecracker at a crowd of baseball fans in Dodger Stadium's parking lot. The firework injures three children waiting for autographs, including two-year-old Amanda Santos. Coleman spends 200 hours performing community service and the rest of the year not playing professional baseball.
Russell E. Weston Jr., who believed Navy Seals were hiding in his cornfield, kills two cops and wounds a civilian with a .38 at the U.S. Capitol building. It is later revealed that Weston is a schizophrenic who stopped taking his medication. Two days prior to the Capitol shooting, at his grandmother's insistence, Weston shot and killed his family's 25 cats because they had fleas.
Former Guns N' Roses guitarist "Slash" is arrested in West Hollywood for allegedly beating his girlfriend at the Le Parc Hotel five days prior.
By a vote of 420 to 1, James Traficant is expelled from the House of Representatives for a variety of abuses, chiefly: bribery, tax evasion, and racketeering. Traficant himself could not vote on the matter; the sole vote against expulsion came from embattled Congressman Gary Condit. Primarily he will be remembered for his magnificent toupee. At least we think it's a toupee.

Okay, kids, today's guest was the bass guitar player and lead singer with Brighton-based punk rock band The Chefs during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She later formed Helen And The Horns before continuing her career as a solo artist, writer and lecturer. You can see her next on August 14th at Gosforth Civic Hall Newcastle Upon Tyne in England. So, book your flights now. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely Helen McCookerybook.

Helen: Hi, Jaypea!

Me: Helen, my dear, how are you? Welcome to the Phile. I heard nothing but good stuff from you from Mr. Stephenson. Did you read his interview here?

Helen: I did - he's an interesting man!

Me: I have to ask you first about your name, McCookerybook. I was gonna change my name to Jason McPornorymag, but it just didn't seem right. When did you change your name, and what is your original name? Have you had any other names?

Helen: My original name was McCallum. I was in a band called the Chefs (named after a poem I wrote called "Ken Wood and the Chefs" after the famous food mixer). A journalist phoned me and asked for my name. When I told him he was disappointed and read out a list of names of other artists he's interviewed - Dick Damage, Phil Vandell, that sort of thing. I had a sketchbook I kept on the kitchen shelf with my recipe books that I called the McCookerybook, so I told him that. When the article came out, the headline above a photo of about fifty band members in a street in Brighton was 'Helen McCookerybook is the one in the back row with the hat'. So I kept the name. I have the name Helen Reddington for work and writing.

Me: Do you like to cook?

Helen: I do like to cook, but I can make disgusting food if I have to as well.

Me: Are you a Doctor officially now?

Helen: Yes! I am a doctor of philosophy. Dr McCookerybook!

Me: I interviewed a guy named JoDee Purkeypile and he said that was his real name... what do you think?

Helen: In Germany, they thought McCookerybook was my real name. People there are called things like 'Table-leg'. So possibly, it was his real name.

Me: I wish your music was available over here on iTunes, but you do have some Christmas songs. I read some really good reviews about "Poetry and Rhyme". When did that get released?

Helen: It was released in October, and I was delighted with the reviews. I took a break to raise my kids for 20 years and it was strange starting up again after so long. I kept wondering if it was a mistake, but after those reviews I am very happy!

Me: You are working on a new album for this year, right? Who plays on it with you, and what can you you tell the readers of the Phile about it? Is it gonna be released over here?

Helen: The new album is called "Hamilton Square" and is a co-write with Martin Stephenson. We met each other for the first time about three years ago, although we had always known about each other. We became friends and then more than friends and we have found it very easy to write together, and also to encourage each other to write. He is a brilliant guitarist and song writer. I think we might try to find a small US label to release it.

Me: How was it doing the John Peel sessions? I know what and who John was, as I listened to his show in the late 80's when I lived in Oxford, but for people that do not know who he was, wanna tell them?

Helen: John Peel was an independent-spirited DJ who had a late evening show on national BBC Radio 1. He played an eclectic mixture of music - he was the first person in the UK to play Bob Marley, and he discovered and encouraged countless numbers of bands and artists, often with very unusual music. I loved doing the sessions because you got to go into a proper studio with experienced engineers and producers who loved their jobs and tried to get the best out of you.

Me: He would be a great guy to interview, but I just found out he passed away. When was the last time you saw him?

Helen: I sometimes used to bump into him in the backs streets of central London, which I last did about seven years ago. But he'd just sent me a postcard about his book about a month before he died (I'd interviewed him for my book "The Lost Women of Rock Music") and I felt certain we'd meet up again as I'd just started recording again. I was totally shocked when he died, as were a lot of other people.

Me: Tell me about your band Helen & The Horns. Last year the band did a reunion show or two, right? How was that? What made you want to do a reunion?

Helen: The reunion was to celebrate the sax player Paul's 50th Birthday. We all loved it - it was amazing how the dynamic just came back straight aeway. I think we will do some more gigs this year.

Me: Tell me about your artwork and your doodling, Helen. I love to doodle as well, but you actually drew comics, right? Is that something you still love to do, as well as perform?

Helen: I do still love to draw and I do poster and illustrations. I did a t-shirt design for The Daintees last year and I plan to do a lot more drawing this year. I'm not sure about comics - I'll wait and see if anyone asks me to!

Me: I browsed through your blog, Helen. Is it through blogspot like the Phile is? Maybe one day you can interview me... I said with a smile. Anyway, where can somebody who wants to read your blog? What do you normally write about?

Helen: My blog is with blogger and I don't do interviews but I do review gigs and occasionally CDs. I will put a mention of this in it! It's at I set it up to write about my upcoming shows but it has become more like a diary sometimes and I really like writing it especially when I think up awful jokes!

Me: Looking at your pictures, you look kinda like a Sunday school teacher, but back in the day you were a punk. What do you think of the so-called punk comeback about ten years ago with bands like the Offspring and Green Day?

Helen: I don't think of that as being punk. Punk was a way of living, not just a style of music; it was something in the blood and it never leaves you.

Me: Did you do a lot of punkish things, like pin a safety pin to your nose, or dye your hair? You don't smoke, do you, or swear, right?

Helen: I dyed my hair blue or sometimes blonde and cropped. I swore, drank, smoked and more. I lived in a squat with drug dealer and no bath, no hot water and no phone, and we stole electricity because we didn't have any money to pay for it. There was a stabbing one night. It was rough.

Me: Okay, Helen, what is your favorite beer?

Helen: I don't drink but if I did it would be Cerveza.

Me: "The Last Woman Of Rock". When was that published, and who did you interview for it? What made you write it, and how long did it take?

Helen: It was published on 2007 and it was based on my PHD. I got annoyed because the women punk players (Guitarists, drummers, bass players and keyboards) who played in the 1970s punk bands had never been written about. So I did it! It took almost ten years and I spoke to Gaye Balck (the Adverts), members of Dolly Mixture and the MoDettes, Gina Birch (Raincoats), Vi Subversa (Poison Girls), Lora Logic, J ohn Peel and lots more.

Me: When was the last time you've been to the States? I wish you would come over here and perform someday... especially Florida. Do you like coming to America? Do people know who you are here?

Helen: I loved coming to North Carolina two years ago. In the 1980s a friend went to New York and found The Chefs single "24 Hours" in their record collection. I hope to come back in the summer - my studio engineer mover to New York last year and I want to do some recording with him. Might pop down to Florida at the same time!

Me: As well as being a writer, and performer, you also hold lectures. What do you do lectures on?

Helen: All sorts of audio subjects as well as songwriting

Me: You are one of many bass players I have interviewed, Helen, but bass is not your main instrument, is it?

Helen: I play guitar now but I am very conscious of the bass noted so I think I am still a bass player at heart!

Me: What brand of guitars and bass's do you play? I am guessing Gretch.

Helen: I have two Gretsches - old and new, and I have a Martin acoustic, a telecaster and an Epiphone acoustic.

Me: Helen, is there anything you would like to plug, any websites you want to mention?

Helen: My blog and of course my Myspace

Me: Thanks for doing this interview, Helen, I hope it was fun for you. Can you give the readers of the Phile a word of wisdom before you go? Take care, and good luck with your new album.

Helen: Thanks, Jaypea. My word of wisdom is to start each day with a fresh mind and always expect and accept the unexpected! :)


Thanks to Helen for a wonderful interview, and for Martin Stephenson for referring her to me. Maybe next time I can interview them both together. Thanks also to Wikipedia. The Phile will be back on Monday with singer Patty LeMay from Spiritual Family Reunion. In the meantime check out my sister Leila's site So, until Monday, have a good weekend. Spread the word, not the turd.

1 comment:

martin stephenson said...

Sorry Im a bit late for this, but its a brill interview xxm