Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pheaturing Preston Hubbard


How why ya? Welcome back to the Phile, I am your host, Myles Standish. I am back from our vacation to Boston, and I put the ass in Massachusetts, I learned a lot when I was there. Navigating Boston with the aid of a speech enabled GPS device is about as useful as navigating Boston with the aid of Stevie Wonder. “TURN LEFT”, the device says. Ok. Would that be the street 30° to the left or the street 60° degrees to the left? This happened more than once. Note to self: write down street names on next trip. I thought Jen was gonna throw that thing out the freakin' window. American chop suey has nothing to do with Chinese food (then again, only in Boston do Chinese restaurants serve French rolls): Macaroni with hamburg, a little tomato sauce and a bit of onion and green pepper. Breakdown lane. Highway shoulder. Which is an oxymoron - the last place you want to break down in greater Boston is in the breakdown lane, especially during rush hour, when it becomes the high-speed lane (in some places, even legally). The state has built a series of emergency turn-outs along Rte. 128 so you can pull out of the breakdown lane if, in fact, your car breaks down. Massachusetts has two capes - Ann and Cod - but only the latter is The Cape. Boston Common is so-called because it was land held in common for residents for uses such as cow grazing; however, one rarely sees cows meandering about Boston Common these days. On Boston Common, the cows have been replaced by WWI naval mines. On the first day we went to Quincy Market, which my wife had no idea what the big deal was. "It's just a food court." She has a point. We went as well to see the Mayflower 2, which is not a boat Christopher Columbus rode on, Plimouth Plantation where we met real
Wampanoag natives. It's not polite to call them indians, or ask them "what makes the red man red?" or "do you pee-pee in your teepee?" We went on the USS Constitution, which I thought was in Washington DC. One day we also went humpback whale watching, which was cool, even though I don't like animals. This is a picture of what I hoped we would see though...

And this is what we really saw...

The high-light of the trip for me was going to Newbury Comics though. Man, I love that store. What else is going on? Happy belated birthday to Hillary Clinton. The president wished her happy birthday and asked her what she wanted, and she said, “Your job.” Bill Clinton planned a romantic dinner... then he went home and saw Hillary. The movie Paranormal Activity is out. It’s movie where a couple puts a camcorder in their bedroom to film the things that go bump in the night... and also to see if anything happens with ghosts. President Obama just declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency. First the swine flu’s a big threat, then it’s not, then it is. Make up your mind. This thing’s like the Brett Favre of infectious diseases. The hotel we stayed at was by Logan Airport, which Logan thought was cool that it was named after him. And I wasn't sure about the security there. It was great, but of there was a fire... Take a look at the lock on the door.

From the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Ten Excuses of the Balloon Boy's Parents
10. Wanted to star in new reality show, "Prison Wife Swap".
9. "Attic Boy" doesn't have the same pizzazz as "Balloon Boy".
8. Couldn't get carry-on bag into the overhead compartment.
7. Teaching my son about getting his 15 minutes of fame.
6. Why should those Macy's parade people have all the fun?
5. Wanted to promote new reality show, "America's Got Balloons!"
4. Insists he went ballooning on the Appalachian Trail.
3. Just trying to see Russia from his house.
2. Thought he could get an interview on the Phile out of this.
And the number one excuse of Balloon Boy's parents...
1. Tired of those Jon and Kate kids getting all the attention.

In a private ceremony, Sonny and Cher marry each other by exchanging rings in a Tijuana motel bathroom. Five years later, with a baby on the way, they get married for real.
Santa Ana winds drive 14 fires across five Southern California counties, which destroy more than 500 homes and cause perhaps $1B in damage within a week's time.
The California Medical Board announces it is investigating Hollywood plastic surgeon Steven Hoefflin, after former employees accused him of "fondling, disrobing, photographing and ridiculing his anesthetized patients." Hoefflin - whose former patients include Liz Taylor, Phyllis Diller, and Joan Rivers - denies all charges. The probe is eventually dropped, but not before Dr. Hoefflin agrees to pay his former workers an undisclosed cash settlement.
Five gunmen storm the Armenian Parliament with machine guns, killing the prime minister, Vazgen Sarkisian, and seven other high officials on live television. The gunmen surrender the following day, after holding a large number of parliament members hostage. The motive behind the attack seems to have been protesting government corruption.

Soupy Sales: He was sort of a poor man's Jerry Lewis, if you can fathom such a thing.

Well you already know that Max sails in a boat to the Wild Things place, subdues them, starts a wild rumpus, threatens to eat them, then leaves and goes home. But that's not much, really. How do you take a book that's got about 10 sentences in it and make it into a movie? Give the kid a backstory, give the monsters names, personalities and complicated emotional issues (there are moments where you think they could have just called it Where The Needy, Passive-Aggressive Things Are), but then detour from the usual formula of turning a kid book into a kid movie and give it to weirdo director Spike Jonze, avoid pandering moves like monsters suddenly doing hip-hop dance moves and making farty gags and sidestep your way around easy emotional catharsis. In other words, you treat your kid audience like they might not be idiots and give them a movie they can love even after they grow up. So, it's kind of astonishing when something this odd slips through the cracks of the Hollywood mainstream. It's perfectly suited for your kids (unless people in big monster costumes freak them out, which probably means they're about five years old; and if you're an attentive parent you should probably already know if your kids are easily scared) but it's also for adults. It takes the original book's open-ended quality and infuses it with a depth that doesn't feel tacked-on. It's rough and raw instead of slick or safe, right down to the art direction. If you're tired of how kid book adaptations usually get it wrong, you can feel safe buying a ticket to this one. It's a beautifully grubby work of art. Max Records as "Max." is great in it. First of all his name sounds made-up, so that's cool. And his performance is the kind of natural, unmannered thing that other cuteness-bingeing child actors would do well to emulate. And James Gandolfini, the voice of the most heartbroken and "Max"-like Wild Thing, brings a built-in, Tony Soprano-like element of menace that shows itself even when the puppeteers and CG tech people are creating the saddest of all monster faces. I wouldn't buy the movie on DVD I don't think, but I loved the soundtrack. From 1 to 10, it gets a 6.

Today's guest is world-renowned bass player, who has played with the likes of Big Joe Turner, , Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Vaughan, The Blues Brothers (Belushi and Ackroyd), Ministry, Etta James, Professor Longhair, and Dr John. From 1984 to 1994 he was the bass player for the popular band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Please welcome to the Phile... El Chignon Prez, Preston Hubbard.

Prez: Thanks for the interview. I was away for 10 days, and am just now catching up on shit. Your blogspot is awesome. I wasn't aware of it before, but will be checking it regularly now.

Me: Hello, Preston, how are you? Welcome to the Phile. Should I call you Prez, or Preston?

Prez: You can call me Prez! Everybody does. A lot of the old crew still call me "Pinky".

Me: I have to say this is a big honor with you being here as I was a big fan of The Fabulous Thunderbirds in the 80's and 90's. When did the band break up?

Prez: We broke up by degrees in the 90s. Jimmie left first, then I did a couple of years later, then Frannie after that. Kim still tours with the name. I prefer to move on, but would do a reunion with the original guys. We're still all friends.

Me: You worked with Dave Edmunds who produced some Fab T-Birds stuff. I am a big Dave Edmunds fan and my dad was a good friend of his. Was he easy to work for? Did you guys record at his studios in Wales?

Prez: Dave was a good friend of ours and a pleasure to work with. He has good ears. "Tuff Enuff" was done in a London studio. Maison Rouge, I think. Then we did one with him in Memphis (Ardent studio), and one track for a movie somewhere in LA. I haven't seen him in years.

Me: You are one of a shit load of bass players I have interviewed, but you are one of my favorites. Is there any bass player you are a fan of and admire?

Prez: All my idols are dead now. But there are a couple of guys who I admire a lot. Tony Garnier (old friend who plays with Dylan). Marty Ballou up in Providence. Ronnie James. Phil Flanagan. There aren't too many that I look up to anymore.

Me: When did you start to play bass, and how did you choose that instrument, Prez?

Prez: I started when I was 14, and went to big bass when I was 18. I just loved the sound of it, and the fact that it is the heartbeat of any band.

Me: You are one of those rare bassists that plays both regular bass and upright bass. What is your favorite to play?

Prez: I love them both. My '51 P is da shit. But if I had to choose, the big girl is my favorite. You can do so much more with an upright, especially for the type of shit I play.

Me: Jim Creeggan from The Barenaked Ladies also plays both. Are you aware of his work?

Prez: I know the band name, but I'm not really familiar with them, or him. Not really in my sphere of music.

Me: Let's talk about your drug use. You're fully recovered, right?

Prez: I have 10 years clean. Drug free! No chipping, pills, nada. I left that life behind. But I still like my vodka! My ex-wife says that I'm clean, but not sober.

Me: On your website you don't hold back on talking about the drugs you were on. What led you to be such a habitual drug taker?

Prez: As I say on my site, I just always loved getting high. No childhood trauma or anything. Also, back in our day, drugs were everywhere and not yet politically incorrect. It was part of the life.

Me: You took everything known to man, right? But heroin was the main drug you took. Am I right?

Prez: Heroin did become my main thing, for 18 years or more. Along with coke and rock.

Me: Did everybody in the Fab T-Birds do as much drugs as you?

Prez: We all did shitloads of coke and drank. The coke was everywhere. I was the only junkie, though. None of them messed with it.

Me: You did jail time as well, Prez. How long were you locked up, and where? I bet you missed playing during that time.

Prez: I did two bits in county jail (Del Valle, TX), then did a flat year in TDC (Texas penitentiary). GP (general pop... no protective custody or any of that). I was on paper for a year after that.

Me: You also were on Bonnie Raitt's big hit album "Nick of Time". How was she to work with? I heard she was cool.

Prez: Bonnie is an old, dear friend... back to the Roomful of Blues days. We met in '76. She is, and always has been, a sweetheart. A class act! It was thrilling to do "Nick" with her. Warner Bros had dropped her b/c she was "too old". We were all furious! Then Capitol picked her up and the rest is history!

Me: You were also in the Blues Brothers, Prez. Was that after John passed away when Ackroyd went out with Jim Belushi? I bet that was fun playing all those Stax soul songs.

Prez: Roomful of Blues was their original backup band. They patterned their band after us. It fell apart when Duke (Robillard) and John got in a squabble. We only did two live gigs with them in NYC, but they were fun.

Me: And to top it off you got to play with Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan (who also was in the Fab T-Birds). Did they get along as brothers?

Prez: Stevie was family. The sweetest guy in the world. I miss him to this day. The T-Birds and he did epic tours all over the world. There were always rumors about the Vaughan brothers hating each other, but it was all bullshit. They loved each other and got along great! I was lucky enough to play on his final record, "Family Style", which he did with Jimmie. I have the platinum record (along with all my others) hanging in my hallway now.

Me: Where were you when you found out Stevie died?

Prez: I was in bed sleeping. Around 9 AM, a mutual friend from Dallas called me with the news. I was stunned. It took days for it to really sink in.

Me: Let's talk about the band Los Camales. Is that your current band? Who is in it with you, Prez?

Prez: That's my band in St Louis. We mostly work locally, because I still take tours and road work. I'm also doing some producing. I am the only original. As with a lot of bands, the players change often. Right now, we have great KC blues singer Elmo Bailey, Alec James on guitar, and Joe Meyer on drums. I just produced Cherry Black's new CD (she's from NY), and LC backed her.

Me: What does Los Camales mean?

Prez: It's Chicano slang for "brothers". From other mothers. From the heart. Homeboyz.
Siblings would be "hermanos".

Me: Prez, where do you live now, and where were you born? Do you still tour a lot?

Prez: I live in Da Lou (St Louis). I was born in Providence, ended up in Atlanta for a couple of years, and Austin for 20. Yeah, I still take tours and road work.

Me: I have to ask you about your opinion on the war on drugs. You think it's bullshit... why is that?

Prez: It's a huge waste of money and keeps the gangs and cartels in business. It creates incredible violence. Our prison population is the largest in the world now... and mostly drug offenders. People will always get high. Let them do it. It's just prohibition all over again. We could make billions in taxes and help the economy. But the prison/industrial complex is doing fine... and we all pay for it.

Me: Okay, let's have some fun. The Beatles or the Stones? Foghat or Aerosmith?

Prez: STONES!!!! Since I was a kid. And now, ironically, they're all friends of mine. I get all access at all their shows. And Aerosmith. My Boston homies. Never liked Foghat. But I do love the Beatles too. Their music helped change the world.

Me: Prez, what's your favorite gig you have ever played, man?

Prez: The T-Bird Riverfests (which we put on in Austin) were always my favorites. It was us and all our friends (Stevie, Bonnie, Los Lobos, Chili Peppers, Nick Lowe, Santana, etc etc etc). Two sold out nights in Madison Square Garden (with Seger) wasn't bad, either. And playing to a quarter of a million people in the Soviet Union wasn't too shabby. Roomful of Blues with Count Basie at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. There are too many to choose from.

Me: Your websi te is pretty informative, Prez. Go ahead and tell the readers what the address is.

Prez: prestonhubbard.com.

Me: Are you working on any new music? You should write a book, Prez.

Prez: My book is an ongoing thing, since I started writing in notebooks in prison. I have discs and shit on my hard drive and all that. Music (my real love) takes precedence... and I'm a lazy fuck. An advance would go a long way to making me get serious with my writing. I still write in dribs and drabs, though. The stuff on my web site is broad strokes... a mere percentage of my life. That was written and edited back in 2001. I'm a lazy fuck!!!

Me: I hope this interview was fun and you are welcomed back anytime you want, my friend. Is there anything you want to tell the readers of the Phile? Take care and be safe.

Prez: This was definitely fun... and your blog spot is great! It was a pleasure to do this. Orale, pues! Te watcho, carnal!!!! Much Love, Prez.


What a nice guy and great interview, even though he doesn't like Foghat. This just goes to prove I don't name drop who my dad was. Anyway, I would love to interview Prez again sometime. Okay, the Phile will be back on Friday with Kyle Chamber from the band Zelazowa. Once again thanks to Preston Hubbard, Wikipedia and you for reading. Have a good few days and spread the word, not the turd. Bye, love you, bye.

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