Monday, July 6, 2009

Pheaturing Mark Trojanowski From Sister Hazel


Hey, there, welcome to the Phile for a Monday, proud sponsor of and So, how's everybody feeling? I feel like a monorail that got hit by another monorail. Did you hear about that? On July 4th a Monorail rammed into another monorail, killing the driver. My heart goes out to him and his family, but I am waiting for Disney to release the monorail crash pin. The Obama figure at Disney's Hall of President's is doing great, except for the Michelle Obama figure keeps trying to knock him out of the way. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and his wife spent July 4th in Florida. That guy is slick. At Disney it's South America Tourist Season so he can have a wide choice of pickings. It's like a candy shop for him. Hey, I have a question for you? What's a Fro Gleg? Many of you sent me e-mail asking what do I do at Disney. Okay, only a handful of you asked, but that doesn't matter. I work my butt off everyday, eight hours a day, five days a week. It's a very stressful job, and I come home aching and in pain everyday. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of me at work so you can see for yourself.

See what I mean? LOL. Thanks to Lamonte for taking that picture without me knowing. Alright, I have a really cool guest for you today... Mark Trojanowski from Sister Hazel. Yes, I am doing this blog 'all for you'. But phirst, some other stuff and a special Monorail version of...

Phact 1: There are two monorails systems at WDW. The first (and obvious one) is the concrete-beam Bombadier transporation system around the property. The second is the pirate ships of Peter Pan's Flight.
Phact 2: When the driver comes into the station with his arms folded in a "X" against his chest. The passengers in the front car will not be getting off so no one else can sit up front.
Phact 3: Throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's the voice heard on all Disney monorails, as well as most all the voiceover work for all the parks was the legendary "Voice of Disney", Jack Wagner. One interesting side note is that Jack's home in Southern California was one of the first uses for a direct audio link from a remote recording studio. It was put in by Disney in the 70's and connected a voiceover booth in his home to Studio D at Disneyland in Anaheim. He frequently would receive last minute calls for special events and was able to just walk over to the booth and "beam" it directly to the park. Anyhow, with the amount of work that Florida was generating after Epcot and the Studios opened, plus the fact that Jack wanted to head towards retiring sometime, other voice talent was sought out locally in Florida. There have been several people used in voiceover work since then, one of them being Kevin Miles, who is one of the original members of the Voices of Liberty at Epcot, and can still be heard there daily. Kevin recorded the monorail voiceovers after the Grand Floridian was built, and his voice was still there until the 25th Anniversary rolled around, when it was updated by one of the new voiceover talents. The amount of voiceover work at the parks now is astronomical, and it is shared by a couple of people who have "the voice", including Kevin. Interestingly enough, though, Jack's voice can still be heard welcoming everyone to Orlando on the monorails at the airport terminals.
Phact 4: The monorail is kept at 45mph in regular service because of wear and tear (anyway the rides already bumpy imagine it faster).
Phact 5: How do the Monorails keep from crashing into each other? On the beamway at certain points there are transmitters. These MAPO transmitters send an electrical signal through the track. When a train is on the track, it blocks that signal. These transmitters correspond to locations on the beam called Holdpoints. The holdpoints are located at certain numbers, which must all be committed to memory (your memory, not the train's). Each train has a receiver that can tell how many of these signals it is receiveing. Say Monorail Red is driving behind Monorail Blue. If there are four transmitters between the trains, Red will only get four signals, because all the signalls ahead of Blue are blocked by that train's presense. If Red gets within two holdpoints of Blue, the train's MAPO receiver will say "Hey, you're gettin' close buddy!" and turn on an amber light on the console with a beeping alarm. At that point the driver consults his super-keen monorail-intellect and figures out where the next holdpoint is. He then stops there and tells all the passesngers that the train is "waiting for further traffic clearance." If Red doesn't stop at that holdpoint? When he passes over the transmitter at that holdpoint, and his MAPO is then only receiving ONE signal, the train will automatically assume the driver is insane: "Hey this idiot is tryin' ta dent my nose!" The train puts on 85-90 psi air brakes and stops on a dime, then you get canned. Well actually you're allowed three "overruns" (the term for crossing the line). If however you do something that is really dangerous, Good Bye. Three overruns is the limit for your entire career. They never go away. MAPO, by the way, is a subsidiary of WED (Walter Elias Disney) Transportation. The name is short for Mary Poppins.

Jan Hus is burned at the stake for various heresies by the Council of Constance. Among other things, Hus had incited the citizens of Prague to protest against antipope John XXIII and his policy of granting indulgences.
Sir Thomas More, an English politician, is sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. King Henry VIII takes pity on him and changes the sentence to beheading. Said head is hung on display from London Bridge before being rescued by his daughter a month later.
Fire breaks out at a matinee performance of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Baily Circus burning 168 people to death, and injuring an additional 250. The main tent had been waterproofed with wax thinned by gasoline. Said one of the Flying Wallendas, "I can never look down at a crowd again without smelling the flames and the burning flesh."
The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation OVERCAST, intended to "exploit... chosen rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use." The directive authorizes the immigration of up to 350 German and Austrian specialists, primarily experts in rocketry. Operation OVERCAST is later renamed Project PAPERCLIP.
The Piper Alpha oil platform catches fire, explodes killing 167 men. The workers were faced with the choice of choking on smoke, being burned to death or leaping 150 feet into 57-degree water.

Okay, today's guest is the drummer for an alternative rock band from Gainesville, Florida, whose style also blends elements of folk rock, pop and southern rock who will be performing at Galena & Broadway in Aurora, Illinois on July 10th. Please welcome from Sister Hazel... Mark Trojanowski.

Me: Hello, Mark, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you? And how is your new baby doing? Is it a he or she? It must be over a year old now, right?

Mark: I am doing quite well. My son Miles is great. He just turned 14 months and he is just amazing to be with. He was named after the famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. We have the jazz family at our house. We had a 6 year old Golden retriever who passed away suddenly last year after Miles was born and his name was Coltrane (after saxophonist John Coltrane). We just adopted another golden puppy 3 weeks ago and his name is Monk (after pianist Thelonious Monk).

Me: The band as most people know are from Gainesville, Florida. Do you still live there?

Mark: No I do not live there anymore. Right after the “somewhere more familiar” tour ended in 1999 myself, Ryan, and Jett moved out of Gainesville, and Ken and Drew stayed in town because they each have all their families living there. I moved to Nashville for a couple of years and then moved to Atlanta where I have been living since 2001.

Me: Ever ate at Leonardo's?

Mark: Yes I have eaten at Leonardo's the pizza place and Leonardo's 706. Both are very good restaurants. Growing up in New York certainly spoiled me from having so many great places to eat as well as having the world’s best pizza.

Me: The band formed in '93, and had their first album out in '94. When did you join the band, Mark? After the second album I believe.

Mark: I joined the band in the summer of 1995. I drummer friend of mine had grown up with Ken and Drew and he told me that they were looking for a new drummer. The white album was recorded in 1994 as a cassette and I did not play on that album. It was released as a CD in the summer of 1995. Ryan joined the band in January of 1996 and we went in to record “Somewhere More Familiar” in May of 1996 independently.

Me: Over the years Sister Hazel became good friends with Hootie, right? How did the two bands become good pals? A lot of touring, I am guessing. Do you still hear from those guys?

Mark: Yes we are very good friends with all of the Hootie and The Blowfish guys as well as other southeastern artists who we toured with like Edwin McCain. We were all touring the same cities same clubs and playing festivals together. Hootie runs a charity golf tournament (Monday After The Masters) and we have been doing that event for many years and enjoying hanging out with those guys.

Me: Most readers of the Phile probably will know the story of the band name. The band is named after a nun, right? Does she know and is she still alive?

Mark: A female Minister from Gainesville Florida. Yes she knows of the band and we have done a few charity shows for her cause and she is still alive.

Me: I have to ask about "All For You". Is that the "Slow Ride" of Sister Hazel? The song everyone knows from you guys. How did that song change your lives?

Mark: I definitely think it is one of our songs that many people know because it was all over the radio in 1996 and 1997. I also think that "Happy", "Your Winter", "Change Your Mind" and "Champagne High" are songs that also really connected with people. "Your Winter" was in that movie Ten Things I Hate About You and without ever being a radio song we have just as many people singing every lyric to it. I think “All For You" opened doors for us to get exposure nationally and to establish ourselves.

Me: Do you get sick of playing it?

Mark: It is hard to get sick playing a song that gets such an overwhelming crowd response.

Me: Have you heard J.D. Meredith's blues version of it? What do you think?

Mark: I have not heard it. I tried to Google it today but could not find a copy of it. You will have to send me a link to where I can find it.

Me: I read somewhere there's a live CD and DVD out from you guys. When did it come out, where was it recorded?

Mark: It came out in March of 2003. The concert portion was recorded in Orlando at The House Of Blues. The DVD was broken down into 2 parts (the concert and then about a 1 1/2 hours of us on tour and what goes on). It is really funny and we had a blast making it.

Me: Fans of the bands are called Hazelnuts. Who coined that? Describe your typical 'Nut. Phile fans are called Phile Phans. Original, eh?

Mark: I am not really sure where the name came from. I know it wasn't the band. I think in the summer of 2001 there were a group of fans that went to 14 straight shows and it was their summer vacation. I think they might have been the ones who coined the phrase.

Me: Okay, Mark, what is Rock the Boat, and when is it? At the Peverett household Rock the Boat is what I call it when I piss off my wife.

Mark: It is a big festival at sea on a Carnival Cruise Ship. It started 10 years ago as a fan appreciation trip to celebrate the end of our tour. It has grown into an amazing music festival at sea with about 20 artists and bands. It is January 7-11 in 2010.

Me: You guys are in the studio now working on your new album I was told. When will it be out and does it have a name yet?

Mark: Yes it is actually finished and it will be out on August 18. The title of the record is called “Release” and it is the first song on the record. We are currently working on another record and it should be out early next year.

Me: When did the Hazel's last CD come out? That was an acoustic album I think.

Mark: June 2008 – “Before The Amplifiers - Live Acoustic”

Me: Last year you guys played Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. Was that fun, playing a theme park? By the way, I work at Epcot. Will you be playing there this year?

Mark: We had a great time playing the food and wine festival last year. We are playing it again this year on October 9, 10, and 11. Over the years we have played many of the Orlando theme parks. We have always played the House Of Blues in Orlando and it is like home for us. We have played Halloween Horror nights at Universal, Grad Night at Disney with Britney Spears, and several other New Years shows at Disney Parks.

Me: We gotta get a beer together. My treat, okay?

Mark: That's cool. I am more of exotic drink guy. I like Mojitos, Margaritas and Caipirinha's

Me: Okay, Mark, thanks for taking time out to do this interview. Tell the other Sister's I said hello, and go plug your website.


Me: I hope this was fun, Mark. Is there anything else you wanna mention?

Mark: See you at Epcot.


There you go, another great interview and blog. Thanks to Wikipedia, Mark Trojanowski, and Krista Mettler for setting up the interview with Mark. The Phile will be back this Friday with musician Dalmacio Von Diamond. Yep, I think that's his real name. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd.

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