Monday, August 31, 2009

Alumni Month Pheaturing Webb Wilder


Hello, welcome to the Peverett Phile, for another Monday. Let's start of with some disturbing news, shall we? Disney has purchased Marvel Entertainment for 4 million dollars. Under the deal, Disney gains control of more than 5,000 Marvel characters, and Marvel gains their massive marketing infrastructure. This is horrible! Marvel is now a Disney brand in all senses of the word. Obviously, this has just been announced, but the big question looms: What will this mean for all those upcoming Marvel movies? We've all marveled at the creative networking Marvel Entertainment has been doing, and the way Kevin Feige has been building little bridges of creative continuity throughout their cinematic universe. So far, they seemed to be doing everything right by fans, and creating movies that could draw in newcomers and hardcore geeks. What is it going to mean for the films when a behemoth like Disney takes control? Family friendly, mythology-be-damned, direct-to-DVD offerings? Or will it just mean a lot more Slurpee cups and action figures? Time will tell, but something tells me the future of the Marvel cinematic universe might have become a little less bright. In other news, Mexico has now legalized drug possession. I’m sure glad the Taco Bell dog didn’t live long enough to see this. Barack Obama and his family are taking a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. One awkward moment: Obama was out on the beach and he ran into John McCain looking for coins with a metal detector. It’s a big deal for the community out there. The people on Martha’s Vineyard are going crazy — they’re buying Obama T-shirts; they’re buying Obama mugs; they’re buying Obama caps... the only thing they’re not buying is his healthcare plan. He has a great money-saving idea for a healthcare plan — if you need an X-ray, just drop by an airport, go right through the scanner. They’ll send you the results. What a way to end the summer: There’s a tropical storm headed toward the East Coast, and the West Coast is on fire. If the country was a pancake, we could just flip it over and be fine. The state of California is having a garage sale . . . which probably not a good sign. The largest state in the union probably shouldn’t have to hold a garage sale to pay its debts. So, in the last few entries I have been showing you some books Logan has in his collection. We've been going through his old kiddie books to see if we can sell some in a garage sale and we've come across some very weird and odd books that we didn't p[ay that much attention to before. So, as a warning, look out for these books at your local Barnes and Nobel. Take a look at this one.

What disturbs me more than the title is who is the idiot who gave my son a Dora the Explorer book? I think some one on the Jackson family has lost their minds. They are trying to cash in on Michael's death with the Jackson 5 gummies. I am not shitting you. Take a look, kids, the Jackson 5 gummies.

Alright, are you ready to play the hottest new game on the internet?

Take a look at this and see if it is porn or not.

Henry V dies of dysentery!
Jack the Ripper kills his first known victim, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols, slitting her throat from ear to ear.
The American Communist Party is established, providing entertainment for Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover for decades.
Lady Diana, and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, killed in car crash inside a Paris tunnel. The driver was drunk and they were going very, very fast.
A video game machine explodes at an underground Moscow arcade, injuring perhaps thirty people and killing several others.

This is the book that is the first in the P.P.B.C. It's very entertaining and is available at as we speak. Look for an interview with the author Victor Langlois coming up in the next few weeks on the Phile.

Okay, our guest today is the last for Alumni Month tis year. He was last on the Phile on December 27th. His latest album "More Like Me" was released on April 21st, and he'll be playing on September 11th, in the Westhaven Concert Series in Franklin, Tn and on October 3rd, he'll be playing at his own Webb Fan Fest IV, taking place at the Capitol Arts Theater in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Please welcome back to the Phile, one of my favorite singers of all time... Webb Wilder.

Me: Hey there, Webb, welcome back to the Phile, my friend. So, how are you?

Webb: Hi, Jason. I'm good. Hope you're well. Good hearing from you!

Me: Last time we spoke you were set to go on a cruise. How was it, sir? Did you get to hang out with John Hiatt?

Webb: The cruise was great. I've known John and his wife, Nancy for many years. Yes, I saw them both and had a nice, warm exchange with both of them. Due to scheduling, I didn't get to see John perform. WW & the Beatnecks all had a good time on the cruise.

Me: I purchased your album "More Like Me" from iTunes and really enjoyed it. I loved your version of Dave Edmunds' "Ju-Ju Man". Have you heard if he liked it?

Webb: Thanks! I have no idea what (if anything!) Dave thinks about that or any of my work! I did personally hand him a vinyl copy of "It Came From Nashville" on his bus donkey years ago. Don't know if he ever heard it. I am a huge fan of his, Nick Lowe and of course Rockpile. I first heard it way back when on Dave's "Get It" album. It was written by Jim Ford and Lolly Vegas (maybe another Vegas, too? Both of whom were in Redbone?). I THINK Nick may have done it years and years ago with his old group, Brinsley Schwartz (formerly Kippington Lodge) but, may be confused on that point. The only version I've ever heard before doing my own, is Dave's. It does seem like someone told me of yet another version. Mickey Jupp? Jim Ford was a singer songwriter who is highly regarded by lots of folks (myself included) although he is unknown to the average person.

Me: There's a bunch of covers and I think five original tunes on it, right? What made you pick the covers to do?

Webb: Yes, I wrote five of the songs and the other seven are covers. I really believed in those five but, thought they needed some counterpoint musically and lyrically. In choosing those I knew they had to be songs I really wanted to do that somehow fit in with my songs. Focusing the eclecticism can be challenging but, rewarding! When I was young, it seemed to me that good albums by great artists had quite a bit of diversity on them. That notion has mostly stuck with me. The Beatles, Stones, The Who, Elvis, Jerry Lee. I could go on forever but, those artists (just to name a few) tackled everything at one time or another and often (usually) on the same album: Rock and Roll, country, Rhythm and Blues, slow songs, fast songs, etc. "More Like Me" took a long time to make because of funding and scheduling problems but, I pretty much knew which songs I wanted to do early on. I chose "Don't Slander Me" by Roky Erricson because my drummer, Jimmy Lester, really wanted me to try it. He and I had both heard it and loved it years ago. I knew my co-producer, Joe V. McMahan liked the "crazy" side of my bag of tricks so I just kinda WENT for it on that one. I chose "Changing Colors" because it haunted me in a way that I thought would fit thematically with some of my own songs. Very bittersweet. "She Said, Yeah" was one I originally wanted to do on my (now out of print) cover album, "Town and Country" back in 1995 but, we never got around to it. I knew we neded some rockers for "More Like Me," so that one and "Ju Ju" were easy choices. We had fooled around with "Ju Ju Man" at sound checks sporadically for years and it always sounded good. I had done it with a band I was in in Mississippi in the late '70s called The Viewmasters. "Sudden Stop" is simply one of the very best songs I've ever heard. I first heard it by Lou Ann Barton and her version is great. It was originally recorded by the great Percy Sledge. Interestingly enough, it was written by Bobby Russell who wrote "Honey" and "Little Green Apples," both giant hits in the '60s. My aunt and uncle, Lillian and Willard McMurry, owned and operated a record label called Trumpet Records in the early 1950s. Among others, they recorded Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James! They also recorded and released records by "Hillbilly" artists. One of these was a fella named Jimmy Swan. "Honky Tonkin' (In Mississippi)" is one of his songs, although from a post-Trumpet period. I stumbled into my approach/arrangement to that song pretty organically while we were touring in France in support of a live album release there a few years ago. Once again, I had done it before all those years ago in The Viewmasters.

Me: I have to ask about the song "She's Not Romantic" from the new album. If I heard that without knowing it was you, I would not know it was you. Is that something you thought of when you recorded it?

Webb: Well, that song came pretty fast and kinda wrote itself. I love a lot of different kinds of songs. I'm sure you could point to NRBQ (particularly Joey Spampinato's beautiful love songs) The Beatles, Bacharach, Nick Lowe and others I've heard who influenced me to write a Bossa Nova song about someone who is NOT romantic! After it was written, I realized it was a long way from anything I had ever done but, thought it might be the most well written of the bunch of originals I had. this made me determined to figure out a way to do it. It proved challenging to sing because I wanted to sing it in a softer/genre appropriate way in which I had no real experience.

Me: There's also a video for the song as well. Where was it filmed, who is the hot chick and who directed it?

Webb: It was filmed at historic Comer House in Savannah, Georgia and on the beach nearby on Tybee Island by Steve Mims. I don't remember the name of the girl but, I really appreciate her doing it!

Me: Do you have a new band on the new album or your usual band, and who produced it?

Webb: This is my usual band, pretty much. Joe V. McMahan and I co-produced it. He engineered all of it and had wonderful ideas. He also played a lot of guitar and some other instruments as well. Joe played in my band for years. Bob Williams has been playing guitar with me for a coupla years. He's on three of the songs. George Bradfute has played with me on and off for years. He's on two songs. I played guitar on every song except "More Like Me" which is kinda funny 'cause it's all about being your own best advocate and participating in your own life, destiny, etc. It just worked out that way. We did bring in some other guests: David Eagan, Michael Webb, Ann and Regina McCrary, Melissa Mathes, Bryan Owings.

Me: I have to ask you about the cover. I was surprised there's not a picture of you on it, but a skull. Was that your idea or someone else's? It's very Warren Zevonish, isn't it?

Webb: I hadn't thought of that but, I suppose you could see it in a Zevon-esque light. Ooh! Zevonescense! Well, my picture has been on the front of every album prior to this one except "About Time." I like the artwork kinda covers. I had a specific pre-existing painting in mind but, at the last minute found out that I couldn't use it (long story). Tom Comet has played bass and sung harmony in my band since 1996. He plays bass on every song on the album as well as providing background vocals here and there throughout. He and I collaborated on the cover. The skull is actually what's left of a goofy clock that my late cousin, Roland Bradley brought to my mother from somewhere in Europe when he was in the navy. This was when I was a little kid. The circular object behind it is the painted/enameled lid of an old ornamental cannister I've had for a long, long time. I made suggestions to Tom who put in hours and HOURS of work to maximize the images and make it all into what you now see. He did a super job.

Me: Webb, I read on the web... LOL... there's two novels out that you didn't write but the main character is you. Did I get that right? How did that come about and who wrote them, and are they still available?

Webb: They were "Mole Men" and "The Doll." These were contained in a "2 in 1" paperback book, very clever packaging. Written by Steve Boyle and Shane Caldwell, it was an outgrowth of a desire on their and my part to create a film, TV show, radio play or something with me as the central character. The "two'fer" pulp novel wound up being the most tangible evidence of this. It has been long out of print.

Me: I forgot to ask you in the last interview about some movies you were in. You were in a movie with River Phoenix and Sandra Bullock I believe. Do you enjoy acting? Was that a fun movie to be in? You played a guy named Ned if I remember right.

Webb: I do enjoy acting although I never do it long enough to get good at it. The projects are usually years apart. That was fun. It's a Paramount film called The Thing Called Love, now available on DVD. I worked with Samantha Mathis and Sandra Bullock. Met River briefly one day but, never worked with him.

Me: Webb, one of our new projects is called Webb-TV. Tell the readers what it is, and where can they check it out?

Webb: We have created our own Youtube channel. There's a TON of stuff on me out there on Youtube but, some of it is of an inferior quality. Webb TV not only gives us a way to pick and choose what's there (on Webb TV) but, also provides a quick and easy link for fans, promoters, etc. to go right to what we feel to be the latest or best video stuff easily and quickly. It is linked to as well as the Myspace page (webbwildernow).

Me: When I checked out your discography which I totally fucked up before in the last interview I read you recorded with Ben Folds. How cool is that? Are you a fan of his and is he a fan of yours? What is the name of the song you did with him?

Webb: Ben Folds is brilliant. I have a lot of respect for him. I have no idea whether he's a fan of mine or has ever heard any of my music, really. His bass player is a friend of mine and Ben is a nearby neighbor. Jared Reynolds (said bassist) told Ben about me. The main point was that I could sing real low. This is how I came to be on the Ben Folds produced William Shatner album. More recently I sang bass on a song called "Boxing" on Ben's new acapella/chorale sort of record which is pretty amazing. The man knows what he is doing!

Me: And what the hell, you worked with William Shatner on something? Did you get to meet him? What was that project?

Webb: Didn't meet Shatner. The album was in the overdubs stage when I worked on it.

Me: You also did something with Disney, I believe. Something from the movie Cars? What was that?

Webb: The Cars brand and demographic became so huge that Disney could see the potential to exploit it beyond the original soundtrack. There's a producer here (Nashville) named Fred Mollin who works with Disney from time to time. He called me to do a version of the classic Hank Snow song," I've Been Everywhere." Johnny Cash did it, too. That was for a sort of sequel album to the Cars soundtrack called "Lightning McQueen's Fast Tracks." It was an album of travelling songs. Apparently, it sold pretty well.

Me: Webb, would you ever do a full acoustic album with acoustic versions of your songs? Do you like playing acoustic?

Webb: I like playing acoustic and will embark on an acoustic duo kind of Texas mini-tour in October. I'm hoping Bob Williams will be able to go as the other guitarist. Don't know if I'd ever do an entire acoustic album or not. Hadn't thought about it, really. we've done a few shows where the band and I play one set acoustically and the other electric. It's fun... and challenging!

Me: Thanks again for coming back to the Phile, my friend. You are always welcome. I hope to see you soon. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you wanna and leave us with the Webb Wilder credo.

Webb: Thanks, Jason. Be sure to check in at or Myspace (webbwildernow) from time to time and remember the Webb Wilder Credo: Work hard, Rock hard, Eat hard, Sleep hard, Grow Big... wear glasses if ya need 'em!


That's it for this entry, folks. Thanks to Webb for another great interview, Wikipedia and David Letterman. Okay, the Phile will be back on Friday with singer Michael Chagnon and then a week from today is the 100th interview with someone special. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Thanks for reading, bye, love you, bye.

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