Friday, September 4, 2009

Pheaturing Michael Chagnon


Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile, brought to you by Mucinex. And no, that's not a character from the X-Men. I can't believe it's September aleady, or as I like to call it Sleptember. So, have you heard about that new movie 9? You know what it's called in Germany? No. Also, have you heard about the new movie White Out? In England the movie is called Tippex. Thanks for laughing if you're English. Historic week for gay couples. As of Monday, same-sex couples may now legally get married in Vermont. Now Ben and Jerry can officially become a couple. Have you heard about their new ice cream? It has more nuts.
In Russia, a man is suing the newspaper for printing bad things about his grandfather, a man named Joseph Stalin. What cheap rag would print bad things about beloved ol’ Uncle Joe Stalin? He was sort of a “bad dude,” Stalin was. He signed a non-aggression pact with the Nazis; he wiped out millions of his own people; and he had a very unpleasant mustache. You have to be wary of men with mustaches. Stalin had a mustache; Hitler had a mustache; Saddam Hussein had a mustache... Tom Selleck had a mustache... His grandson says he wants to restore Stalin’s good name. He says Stalin “presided over an era of good arts.” Which is like saying Hannibal lector presided over an area of fine cuisine. So, are you following this Disney take-over of Marvel? I am and I found out more news about it. So, if you're a geek like me and are interested, this is what I found out: The Avengers will no longer be called The Avengers. This name suggests vengeance or revenge, which does not represent a healthy Disney attitude. The new name will be "The Befrienders." Wolverine will no longer be allowed to drink beer or smoke cigars. Likewise, Iron Man will no longer drink martinis. Juice boxes are acceptable.
Kitty Pryde will now be played by Miley Cyrus. Bruce Banner will no longer turn into the Hulk when angry. Now he will turn into the Hulk whenever he hears a certain tune. "It's a small world after all..." Captain America will become Captain World, because it is a small one, after all. Sub-Mariner will be incorporated into any eventual Finding Nemo sequels. The Silver Surfer will now ride a silver skateboard. Likewise, he will wear a backward baseball cap and baggy jeans with a flop of silver hair hanging over one eye. He must always be grinning, and he will make wisecracks. Thor's excessively violent hammer will be replaced by a large, delicious Popsicle. The Fantastic Four will be disbanded to gently distract from how closely they actually resemble The Incredibles. And, let's face it. The Incredibles was a much better movie than either of the Fantastic Four movies. Spider-Man now required to clean up all used webbing from rooftops and subway cars. If you've been following the Phile, you'd know that I have been showing you some odd books that Logan had in his collection. When he was younger my wife Jen and I would go and buy him book after book, not paying attention to what it was about or called. Some have been rather odd, and some have obviously been released to keep up with the times like this Curious George book Logan had in his collection.

Interesting, eh? So, are you kids video fans out there? I am not as much, but occasionally when we go to a store I like to see what games are out there. I was surprised to see this new game on the shelf.

I should buy that for my wife. LOL. You know where it would end up, right?

Here is a picture of the book for the book club. I recommend you buy it from right after you this entry... you won't be disappointed.

George W Bush is arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine for driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent. He pays the $150 fine and has his driving privileges suspended for a month. Years later, during Bush's 2000 campaign for President, a WPXT-TV reporter from Portland, Maine uncovers the arrest record just one week prior to election day. It is also revealed that Bush's V.P. candidate, Dick Cheney, had arrests for drunken driving in 1962 and 1963.
25 workers are killed when a fire breaks out at the Imperial Foods food processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Most of the victims -- predominantly single mothers -- die of smoke inhalation. The facility's rear exit had been padlocked by management to deter employee pilferage. The Imperial plant had never once in its 11-year history been inspected by the state. The owner, Emmet Roe, later receives 19 years in prison for the 25 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
3'11" actor Herve Villechaize puts a pistol to his chest and commits suicide in his North Hollywood, California home.
During a campaign stop in Naperville, Illinois, Presidential candidate George W Bush turns to running mate Dick Cheney and says, "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times." Cheney responds, "Oh yeah, he is, big-time." Unbeknownst to the men, their comments are transmitted clearly to the television news feed. Rather than offer a mea culpa to Clymer, Bush later issues this non-apology: "I regret that a private comment I made to the vice-presidential candidate made it onto the public airwaves. I regret everybody heard what I said."

Okay, let's get down to it. A few years ago today's guest was an intern at Epcot and now he's a musician working his way to the top. On October 3rd you'd be able to see him in concert at The White Hart in Lynchburg, Virginia. Please welcome to the Phile... Michael Chagnon.

Me: Hey, Michael, welcome to the Phile, my friend. So, how have you been?

Michael: Thanks! I'm doing well - I've been busier than ever.

Me: So, describe your music to the Phile readers. It's very Beatlesque, right?

Michael: There is definitely a major Beatles influence. A lot of my friends have said my voice sounds like Rufus Wainwright's, but I grew up listening to bands like Weezer so I definitely like to have a harder edge to my music - I love distorted guitars and feedback. Even though I try to rock out, I usually I end up writing very melodic pop songs.

Me: You were in a band called Escape Velocity... do you like performing solo as Michael Chagnon better?

Michael: Escape Velocity was essentially just two of my close friends supporting whatever I wanted to do musically at the time and likewise I would support whatever projects they engaged themselves in - whether it was film or music or something entirely different - it was a very creative time. In a way, performing solo is the same as performing with Escape Velocity except the line up of musicians backing me up has changed. I pretty much do the same thing I did with Escape Velocity - I write the songs, record them, book shows, and promote.

Me: You're a good guitar player, Michael. When did you first start playing guitar and do you play any other instruments?

Michael: Thanks! I first began playing guitar the summer before I began high school. Before that I had five years of formal training on the violin so it wasn't too difficult to teach myself how to play guitar. I also play the mandolin and occasionally a bass guitar during live performances. I can bang out a few chords on a piano too. :)

Me: How is life in Virginia? You're still in college, right? I bet you get a lot of girls following you around campus.

Michael: Virginia is great, there is so much history here and it's true what they say, Virginia is for lovers. I will have a degree in May and I can't wait! As much as I enjoy learning, I can't wait to get out on the road.

Me: You're a huge Beatles fan, Michael, but what other bands are you influenced by?

Michael: The now defunct band Beulah has definitely influenced my arrangements, but they have also influenced my vocal style (along with Sufjan Stevens). Rather than project my voice during an upbeat rock song I have experimented with keeping it softer and focusing on the lyrics. Speaking of lyrics, Bright Eyes has had a major impact on my writing - before I used to focus on the melody, but now I take the time to think about and analyze the words I'm writing in depth. Recently I've been listening to Band of Horses, Cold War Kids, The Format, and of Montreal, but I will always love The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Queen.

Me: What is your favorite Beatles song of all time?

Michael: This is tough. It changes a lot - I've really been getting into the "With The Beatles" and "Hard Days Night" records again. I really love "Imagine", which is technically not a Beatles song, but it was written by a Beatle. Does that count?

Me: You made a video for the song "Love You." Who directed it and is that your girlfriend in it? Any other videos planned?

Michael: My friend Dustin West (who also happened to be my bassist in Escape Velocity) directed it. He's extremely creative and talented. The girl in the video is Sarah - she is a friend from way back and thankfully she agreed to help out. We had a short time frame in which to shoot the video and she came to the rescue! I would love to make videos for every song I record.

Me: You had lots of songs played on MTV over the years. When you hear your voice on MTV, what do you think?

Michael: I just got an email from MTV telling me they lost my last CD and asked if I could send another! You know, I don't know if I've actually heard my voice. They usually edit the music and use the instrumental bits for their shows. Still, it was pretty overwhelming the first time I heard one of my guitar riffs. I'm always surprised and extremely appreciative.

Me: Okay, I have to ask, at Disney, who was your favorite coordinator? LOL

Michael: You! And the cute blonde...

Me: You are playing a lot of shows on the road, Michael... do you like to tour? Do you have a band?

Michael: I love to tour. For me, performing live is what it's all about. For this next tour I will be performing mostly acoustic-based material with another multi-instrumentalist. I think I'll get a full band to back me up after I finish my next album.

Me: Alright, my friend, go ahead and plug your website and anything else you would like to plug.

Michael: My website address is From there everyone can find me on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and all that cool stuff. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list because everyone that does gets access to more free music.

Me: When is your new album coming out?

Michael: I'm going to release a compilation album featuring the best of my previously released material plus a few new recordings this summer. I'm going to tour and then begin recording a new album of completely fresh material.

Me: Thanks for taking time away from your groupies, and I hope to see you soon.

Michael: Thank you. I will be down in Florida touring during the summer, you should come to one of the shows.


Okay, that about does it. Thanks to Michael for a great interview and Wikipedia for their history facts. The Phile will be back on Monday with the 100th interview. I wanted to get Kelly Clarkson but as she was unavailable it'll be my own sister Leila talking about her website Then next Friday it's singer Alexis Babini. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Bye, love you, bye.

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