Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pheaturing Peter Kearns


Hey there, welcome to the Phile, I am your host, Asstro-Boy. So, I know it's Wednesday, or as I like to call it Humpday, but this will be the last week in awhile the Phile will be posted two days a week. With the Christmas holidays coming and everything I will be busy. Tomorrow is my son Logan's 10th birthday. Ten years! That's a decade I have been a dad. This time ten years ago Jen was starting her 26 hours of labor. I have make sure I say 26 hours, and not anything less. There’s a new poll out on the sexiest accent. It’s the Irish accent. I thought, “No way! It’s not even an accent; they’re just drunk.” Yesterday was Japanese Culture Day. I celebrate every year: I put on a kimono and giggle like a Japanese school girl. I’ve never understood Japanese dining. I always thought it was a put-on. “Let’s see if we can get these people to eat raw fish with sticks... and then get them to drink hot wine... and then we’ll make them sit on the floor without shoes... ” Yesterday was also was Election Day. Everyone who voted got an “I Voted” swine flu mask. It looks like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will win a third term. He spent the most on the election in New York history... just barely exceeding the New York Yankees salary cap. So, across the road from our house is a lake, and there is a rumor there's a monster that lives in it, called the Monster of Cherry Lake. I didn't believe it until I saw this thing jump out of the water.

Man, I am running out of ideas. I was looking at a magazine earlier today and I saw an ad for the George Foreman Grill. It must be a new ad as I didn't notice it before. I was kinda puzzled by it as well. See what you think.

Okay, let's try one more, shall we? You know those inspirational posters? I saw this one and I thought it was kinda cool... I think. Anyway, they are getting more and more obscure.

Okay, let's have a little history lesson, shall we?

At a Beatles command performance (present: Queen Elizabeth; the Queen Mother; Princess Margaret), John Lennon utters the remark: "Will the people in the cheaper seats clap their hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry."
The Arno and Po rivers in Italy flood, submerging 2/3 of Florence. Irreplaceable renaissance art treasures and books were destroyed. 113 people died and 30,000 were rendered homeless.
The US Embassy in Tehran is stormed by "students", holding 52 hostages for 444 days. The incident propels Ted Koppel and his magnificent hair onto the national scene with a long series of repetitive Nightline: America Held Hostage specials.
The Iran-Contra Scandal is first reported in "Al Shiraa", an obscure Lebanese magazine. The public would come to learn that millions had been paid for US weapons and equipment for Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon. Profits were illegally channeled to the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
A series of fires rage in Southern California, destroying 300 very expensive homes in Malibu and 700 homes scattered elsewhere. Damage totals $500M to $1B. Half of the large fires were arson.

Today's guest is a very talented singer and piano player from New Zealand whose CD "No Such Thing As Time" is available on iTunes and fine CD shops throughout New Zealand. Please welcome to the Phile... Peter Kearns.

Me: Hello, Peter, welcome to the Phile. I have to say thanks for the CD "No Such Thing As Time". I really enjoyed it. How long ago was it released?

Peter: Thanks Jason. "No Such Thing As Time" has been available digitally since late 2007.

Me: Listening to it I hear smidgens on Ben Folds, a little of Queen, and a little Steely Dan. Are they influences of yours? Who else are your influences?

Peter: It's hard to define influences really. I don't set out to sound like anyone in particular. I used to years ago. That thing where you like someone so much you just want to sound like them. I think you grow out of it. But I did grow up with music from the 60s/70s/80s, so it's bound to sneak in. There are certain familiar production styles I love, which I'm happy to work within. And just for a laugh I do make little homages around the place in the songs, that might evoke an old record I used to like or something, just to entertain myself. I am influenced by great lyricists. Joe Henry would be an example. I like moods and moments in certain songs by anyone: Like the way so-and-so song sounds for three seconds at the end of the third verse. What would it be like to capture that feeling for a whole song? That kind of thing is more interesting than stealing someone's thing outright. There's enough of that going on these days.

Me: There's a whole lot of instruments and playing going on on the album, Peter. Are you playing them all or do you have a band?

Peter: It's all me except for the stick. I might form a small band at some point to play more straight-ahead versions of the songs live.

Me: Didn't you collaborate with a member of King Crimson? Tony Levin?

Peter: Tony was the stick player on "Don't Shoot The Messenger". He played bass on a song on the new album to come too. It wasn't so much a collaboration as I hired him to play bass lines. He was tremendous and seemed to effortlessly know exactly where I was coming from. I told him what I wanted, he improved those ideas and sent them back. Done. Painless.

Me: Piano is the main instrument of choice for you, isn't it? How long have you been playing piano?

Peter: Since the age of 4 so... 38 years.

Me: Are you working on a follow-up?

Peter: Yes, it's nearly done. It will be called "Kitchen Sink Theatre". Both albums were more or less recorded simultaneously over three years. I have reworked some of the songs for the new one though. One was co-produced with a guitarist friend of mine from New York named Vinnie Zummo. He was a Joe Jackson Band member for a number of years. He's one of the most talented guys I've ever come across. He's really off the charts and it was a blast work on the song with him.

Me: I have to ask you about Jeff Cameron, Peter. How and when did you meet him? He's an interesting character, isn't he?

Peter: Jeff's a very talented cat. He answered an email I sent out to some myspace friends. He knows his stuff and has an interesting history. It's great to bump into guys like that. You have to wade through the rest to find them.

Me: He said you are currently helping him on his new music. How is that going?

Peter: I laid some tracks on a couple of songs, but I may be involved more in a post-production sense.

Me: Peter, you're from New Zealand, right? Do you still live there or did you move to the States?

Peter: I live here and travel to the States occasionally. I've mainly spent time in LA.

Me: How is New Zealand? From watching the Lord of the Rings movies and other movies, it looks beautiful. A lot of filming goes on there, doesn't it?

Peter: The movie Heavenly Creatures was made here in Christchurch where I live. They also make a lot of Bollywood stuff here. It's so clean here that every time I come home from another country I'm reminded how I've barely breathed actual oxygen for however long I was away.

Me: Peter, you have your own blogspot I noticed. Hmmmm. How often do you update it? I update mine twice a week. ; )

Peter: It's not a blog really. I just use it as one way for people to follow what I'm doing. If there's nothing to say, I say nothing.

Me: Other side projects you have worked with are Gazpacho and Dee Long, right?

Peter: Yup.

Me: Gazpacho is a Norweigan band, Dee Long is from Canada and you're working with Cameron from America. Anybody from England you are working with, or worked with?

Peter: I've contributed to a couple of things from there. I recently co-wrote a song called "Wise Up" with a brilliant singer/songwriter from London named Judie Tzuke. She has a large discography that really worth checking out. I was very lucky to make that connection. Her work is of such a high calibre. Our song was on her recent album "Songs 2".

Me: How on Earth did you end up working with a band from Norway anyway?

Peter: I was blown away when I first heard them in 2002. I noticed they were happy to collaborate from a distance, so I dropped them a line. I eventually co-produced two songs on their debut "Bravo".

Me: Peter, I have to ask you before you go, how come I cannot find a picture of you on the web? I did found a picture of a photographer named Peter Kearns though.

Peter: There are way more interesting Peter Kearns's out there than us. There's one guy on a wagon thing being pulled by a donkey. It's a kind of village idiot vibe. There's a lesson in there somewhere. There are some pics of me floating around. It's not important to me. Someone said to me a while ago "You're a real mystery man", and a light bulb went off. It makes promo easier. Ha.

Me: Peter, thanks for taking part on the Phile. Tell Jeff I said hello, and go ahead and plug your blogspot, and website and tell the readers of the Phile where they can purchase your CD. Thanks again.

Peter: You're welcome. The album "No Such Thing As Time" can only be purchased digitally, virtually everywhere online. The new album "Kitchen Sink Theatre" will be likewise available within a couple of months. Anyone can keep up at I'm easy to find on Twitter also.


Thanks, Peter, for a really good interview, and thanks to Jeff Cameron for setting it up. That about does it for another week of entries. As I said the Phile will be updated one day a week through the New Year, probably on Monday's. The Phile will be back next Monday with Wil Farr from the band Paper and Sand which I think just broke up. We'll have to find out. Thanks again to Peter, and Wikipedia and to you readers. Spread the word, not the turd. Bye, love you, bye.

No comments: