Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pheaturing Ben Ferris From The Van Allen Belt


Hello, welcome to the Peverett Phile, we have a lot to do with a top ten list, history, a movie review, the announcement of the fourth book in the Peverett Phile Book Club, another annoucement on who the Phile is teaming up with and of course the interview with Ben Ferris. So, let's get started. Happy Hanukkah by the way to my Jewish readers. Hanukkah celebrates a lamp that burned for eight days, which is almost as long as the string of Tiger Woods jokes. Okay, did you see me in the new Christmas Gap commercial? Check out this screen shot from it.

I know, that's stupid. I am even wearing a t-shirt from Old Navy, not Gap. A man was arrested at the Mall of America for throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin, or as Palin calls them, “Italian apples.” By the way, if you’re a former Swedish model living in the Orlando area looking to exact some serious revenge on your husband, I want you to know that I’m here. And I’m disgusting. So many cocktail waitresses, no wonder when I go to a bar, I can never get a drink. They’re all with Tiger Woods. I’m not sure what the count is now, seven women, eight, I’ve heard ten. I think I’m just gonna put him down for a nine and move on, there’s no point in putting this one out. Yesterday was the 506th birthday of Nostradamus. Nostradamus was the guy who could see into the future. He was the Miss Cleo of his day. They didn’t have phones in his day, so they used carrier pigeons. They were more patient back then. Back in Nostradamus’ time, they also used carrier pigeons for their sex-chat lines. It was announced that George Stephanopoulos will replace Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America.” He’ll do fine — he’s got the legs for it. Did you see Obama accepted the peace prize. I don’t want to say that Obama love is out of control, but his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize won the Pulitzer Prize. If the Nobel Prize weren’t enough, his overall performance just won an Oscar. In the last few weeks I have been showing you different gift ideas in case you are having problems shopping for your loved ones. If your little boy loves Transformers as much as mine, he'll love this new realistic Transformer that even poops. Take a look.

For months I have been showing you some inspirational posters that are available on the market. This one must of been made in Iraq or somewhere.

Mr. Fox lives a peaceful life with Mrs. Fox, their son Ash and visiting nephew Kristofferson. But he can't control his foxy urges and decides that peace isn't all that exciting; he needs to stalk the henhouse at night, too. And that'd be okay if the henhouses didn't belong to corporate food giants who, in turn, choose to hunt the Fox family and all the other woodland creatures until they're trapped and starving. As a result, the animals have to band together and outwit the cruel, greedy humans. Because it's based on a Roald Dahl book, that intelligence is already kind of a given. How is it that a handmade, seemingly low-tech, stop-motion animated movie like this manages to convey fear, sadness, annoyance, exasperation, humor and love with the bodies and faces (and most importantly, eyes) of its inanimate object models in a way that digital human motion capture didn't in the latest CGI movies? Yeah, I don't know either. But that's how it is. It not only looks scruffishly beautiful, but it's hilariously off-balance, warm-hearted, perfectly composed and detailed (like every other Wes Anderson movie) and casually but meaningfully acted. It's Wes Anderson's coolest, most loveable movie since Rushmore and the best Willem Dafoe movie featuring a talking fox since Antichrist. That it's the only other talking fox movie with Willem Dafoe in it does not diminish the greatness of either. And Jarvis Cocker gets his own character named Petey. And he sings. This would be an incomplete review without my using the word "magical" at least once: Magical. There, that's twice. From 1 to 10, it gets a ten and yes, I would buy it on DVD.

Gene Barry: A longtime cabaret and touring stage performer, Mr. Barry played President Richard M. Nixon in a 1982 Atlanta production of "Watergate: A Musical." Can't believe that wasn't a bigger hit.

En route to Paris, "swing" big band leader Glenn Miller vanishes over the English Channel. Miller, listed as Missing In Action, was serving as a Major in the Army Air Force Band when his plane went down.
Fashion photographer George Jorgenson has a Danish surgeon remove his various naughty bits, in the world's first sex-change operation. George emerges in New York as cabaret actress Christine Jorgenson.
Nazi Adolf Eichmann, former Reichssicherheitshauptamt (that's a real word) bureaucrat, is sentenced to death by a Jerusalem court. Eichmann had been arrested in Argentina and smuggled to Israel the previous year.
Walt Disney dead!
Lori Davis, of Bay Shore NY, files suit against Mike Tyson over an incident in which Tyson played a little grabass with her at a nightclub.
The man that masterminded a campaign of horror against the Colombian people, cartel leader Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, "El Mexicano", is killed by police in a shootout. Gacha had bombed an Avianca plane midflight, killing all 101 passengers, and truckbombed the National Police Headquarters in Bogota. The police were not happy with him.
Thailand begins the mass cremation of some 21,347 dead, all unclaimed from the Poh Tek Tung cemetary in Bangkok. It is a new record.

Okay, now for the announcement of the fourth book in the Peverett Phile Book Club. It's the first novel to be in the Club, and it's...

"Flinx Transcendent" is a science fiction novel by Alan Dean Foster. The book is the fourteenth chronologically in the Pip and Flinx series, and was released in April 2009. The novel is the final volume in the series. I am a huge fan of Alan Dean Foster, and he is one of my idols in the sci-fi book world. I am happy to say Alan will be a guest on the Phile next month.

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

Top Ten Tiger Woods Nicknames
10. Tiger Woops.
9. Cheetah.
8. Putts.
7. Client Number 9 Iron.
6. Lyin' King.
5. The Big Swinger.
4. Mr. Foursome.
3. Deuce Bigalow Golf Gigalow.
2. Tiger Woodie.
And the number one Tiger Woods nickname...
1. The Defendant.

Today's guest is the keyboardist and producer for the very cool band The Van Allen Belt, whose CD "Meal Ticket To Purgatory" is available on CDBaby and iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Ben Ferris.

Me: Hello, Ben, how are you? So, how much radiation is in the band?

Ben: About 55.6 R.

Me: Most readers of the Phile are geeks and would know what the Van Allen Belt is, but for those few that don't, what is it?

Ben: There's actually two of them. They're the radiation belts surrounding the earth named after James Van Allen. His granddaughter actually sent us an email a while back. That was neat.

Me: The Van Allen Belt should go on tour with Van Halen. That would be cool, eh?

Ben: I'd rather do a tour with David Lee Roth where we'd trade songs. I think David Lee could do a gut-wrenching "Way Up."

Me: Okay, let's get serious. I love your music. It's very retro. Are you fans of Duffy who is also retroish?

Ben: I don't know much about Duffy. I've only heard that one where she's like, "Yeah, yeah yeah," which is, of course, a retort to Amy Winehouse's "No, no, no!" I don't what to make of the enertainment industry most of the time. The attitude seems to be, "It sold last time so it will sell this time." I'd like to see more, "This is gonna sell, and we're the first to do it!"

Me: You kids are from Pittsburg, right? How is life in Pittsburgh? Are there a lot of places you can play?

Ben: It's an okay place to live, not quite like any other city on the planet. But it isn't what I'd call a good music city. Several great acts from here have become successful in recent years, but it wasn't by playing Pittsburgh. There are, of course, lots of bands and lots of places to play, but not many that pay well. Pittsburghers often have to drive to Cleveland or Columbus to see certain bands because they skip Pittsburgh.

Me: So, who is in the band, and how do you pull off the amazing sound on your albums live?

Ben: So, who is in the band, and how do you pull off the amazing sound on your albums live?
The current live lineup is Tamar Kamin on vocals, Tom Altes on bass and guitar, Scott Taylor on drums and I created sample collages and play keys. We play completely different versions of the songs, often with themed sets, such as "The 2001 Set" or "The Tom Waits Set." The samples are gathered from the theme source and are then conformed to our own songs. It's fun.

Me: I can't find many pictures of you kids. You have a cute blonde singer through, right?

Ben: She a brunette, but I guess she's blonde sometimes. Eventually pictures will surface, but we haven't made it much of a priority.

Me: Let's talk about the album "Meal Ticket To Purgatory" which has 20 songs on it! That's pretty cool. How many songs were left off?

Ben: I think 6 to 8 songs were left off. "Slanted to the Left" was one of them. We hadn't actually recorded it yet, but it was originally in the plans.

Me: Your song titles have very unique names. Are they fun to come up with?

Ben: Thanks. I do like titling. It's the easiest part of the process.

Me: What is your favorite song title? Any you kids discarded that I can use?

Ben: I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. As for discarded titles, there is a song on the next album the uses the word "really" a lot of times and there was a point when I was thinking about calling it "That Many Reallies." But, you know, I might still use that. It may depend on the mood I'm in when we print it.

Me: You have weird sense of influences. Wanna tell the readers what they are?

Ben: As seen on Myspace: "poverty, drugs, war, sex, hopelessness, forgetfulness, irony, decisions, temperature, fear of God, disappointment, technology, evolution, information." Tamar and I wrote that on the fly when we set up the page. I suppose it still very much explains the philosophy of The Van Allen Belt. We're trying to make "honest pop" and advance human civilization.

Me: Tell me about the album cover. Very original. Who drew it?

Ben: The cover was drawn by my longtime friend, Jess Van Steenburgh. I agree, it's a great cover. I asked for something very cinematic. The album is very cinematic.

Me: Your first album came out in '06 called "Lactater-Tots". How are the two albums different?

Ben: That wasn't us. That's a guy in California.

Me: Are you guys writing for a new album? What about going on tour?

Ben: We are nearing the completion of our second album, "Superpowerfragilis... or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love the Drug." I think people will like it. We've taken our time with it and I think that always helps prevent the "sophomore jinx." We intend to tour before the year's over, but no solid plans as of now. Tamar and Scott are getting married this spring, so we figure we'll wait until after the wedding to do much beyond recording.

Me: Do you know any good jokes?

Ben: Yes, but they're all either racist or sexist and I'm planning a run for office.

Me: Okay, plug your website and anything else you want. Good luck and I love your music.

Ben: To hear cuts from "Meal Ticket To Purgatory" and the upcoming "Superpowerfriagilis", listen at www.myspace.com/thevabelt. Thank you and take care.


Okay, that's about it. I'd like to thank my guest Ben Ferris for a great interview, and I really like The Van Allen's Belt music and when the new CD comes out, I would love to have him back. Also thanks to Wikipedia and my son Logan for taking that picture of me. The Phile is now in partnership with Tshirthell.com so if you go to the link http://tshirthell.com/store/clicks.php?partner=Jaypea68, and buy a shirt I will get five dollars. The Phile will be back next Tuesday with a special Christmas entry and guest Brian Wilson's bass player, Bob Lizik. Until next week, spread the word, not the turd.

No comments: