Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pheaturing Alumni Graham Parker

Hello, welcome to Alumni Month on the Phile. For the next few weeks all the guests on the Phile have been here before. hence, all are Phile Alumni's. I did this last August and it was so popular I decided to do it again. Well, once again the Phile is being done on my son Logan's computer. It seems the hard drive has crashed on my computer. So, thanks to Logan for stopping looking at YouTube to see how to customize action figures so I can do this blog thing. Continental Airlines is testing a new self-boarding program that lets passengers swipe their boarding passes at the gate. It’s all part of Continental’s plan to fix the one thing that’s not a problem at the airport. A teenager in Nebraska was arrested last week for stealing an ice cream truck. He said he didn’t do it for the ice cream, he just really likes that song. A woman in Colorado gave birth in the bathroom of a Starbucks. The baby was huge — I’m sorry, venti. The man who invented the cheese doodle has died. To celebrate his life, everyone at the funeral left an orange fingerprint on his coffin. It just goes to show, there’s only so long that you can Cheeto death. Snooki from “Jersey Shore” was arrested for disorderly conduct in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. That’s like arresting the sun for rising. Speaking of New Jersey, a shark washed up on a beach there. I guess they’re coming out to promote “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. Towns in New Jersey have started using a device to give people advanced warning of lightning. It’s called “thunder.” England’s Prince William and his girlfriend are 12th cousins, which means they might not be able to get married. We don’t want any of these royals to look like Prince Charles. There’s very big news from the world of dinosaurs. Brett Favre is retiring from football. Mo, seriously, scientists are saying that the triceratops may never have existed. Next will be the brontosaurus and the stegosaurus and the next thing you know, my pajamas are covered in lies. Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have apparently broken up again. Less than a month after announcing their engagement, Bristol called it off faster than you can say, “Mom, put the gun down.” I think that, with the right amount of love, patience, and a 12-episode guarantee from a reality show on VH1, those two can end up engaged again one day. A federal judge struck down California’s gay marriage ban. In West Hollywood, gay men were dancing in the streets with rainbow flags and playing techno music, and then they heard about the ruling and they went crazy. Forty of the world’s richest men have agreed to give away half of their wealth. Newspapers are calling it an unprecedented gesture of goodwill. But it’s not unprecedented, because I’ve given away half of my stuff twice. It’s called divorce. Anyone who says they gave away half their stuff never got divorced. It’s not half your stuff, it’s all your stuff. So, you know I love inspirational posters, right? I saw this one about parenting which I thought was kinda odd.

So, I was looking at coloring books at Target the other day and I noticed they have kinda changed since I was a kid. Take a look at this one.

I should go back and buy it.

Mitch Miller
July 4, 1911 - July 31, 2010
He said, "Rock and roll is musical baby food," and then went on to create Karaoke. An asshole all the way around.
Jack Tatum
November 18, 1948 - July 27, 2010
We'll see how immaculate that reception was now.
Daniel Schorr
August 31, 1916 - July 23, 2010
All things considered, he's not much of a journalist anymore.

Okay, I am so thrilled. Today's Alumni guest first was on the Phile July 13th last year. I was amazed to get my idol on the Phile once, let alone twice. His last CD "Imaginary Television" just came out this year and is available on iTunes and in stores. Please welcome back to the Phile, the one and only Graham Parker.

Me: Hello, Graham, welcome back to the Phile. So, how have you been?

Graham: Hanging in. Same ol' same ol' I guess.

Me: How was your last tour, sir? You were playing with the Figgs again, right?

Graham: Very well attended. Quite a few sell-outs and enthusiast responses. One of the shows, at FTC Stage One, a lovely little theater in Connecticut, was filmed by a professional crew and a DVD will be released, probably this Autumn. This will be the first real concert
film since the 1980 "Another Grey Area" tour show from the dark days of Betamax. The rough cut I've seen of it is very good. The Figgs were rockin'.

Me: Did they play on your last album "Imaginary Television"?

Graham: Mike Gent, the Figgs guitarist played drums, as he did on "Don't Tell Columbus." I played everything else except keyboards which were handled by Professor "Louie" who also engineered and co-produced with me.

Me: I am sorry you didn't get to play in Florida. What is with this stupid state? I nicknamed America's Wang by the way.

Graham: My agent keeps threatening me with solo gigs in Florida but they just don't seem to come together. Not enough interest I guess.

Me: Did you record any of the shows on the tour to be purchased?

Graham: As stated above... (I believe the DVD will also be accompanied by a CD of the show.)

Me: Okay, let's talk about the new record, sir. It is a great album with a great premise. For the Phile readers that don't know, can you tell them what the premise is?

Graham: All the songs are based on TV shows that don't exist. I'd come up with a vague idea for characters and plots, then quickly plunge into writing songs to go with the shows. After I'd written the songs, I fleshed out the show ideas so that I could use them as the liner notes, as it were, instead of actual liner notes or lyrics. I also wrote fake reviews and, apart from the acoustic, used a fake guitar called a Line Six Variax Modeling Guitar on all songs but one. You
turn a knob and get different vintage guitars: various Rickenbacker's like John Lennon might have used, the Gibson Bob Marley preferred, assorted vintage Les Paul's and Fenders, banjo, electric sitar etc. So the entire thing is imaginary. Even the guitars!

Me: I downloaded the CD but wish I would of gotten the actual CD version with the liner notes.

They may be on or, I'm not sure. But here's one of the plots below, just to give you an idea. SEE THINGS MY WAY.
Taiwanese conjoined twins Mickey and Mikey are 16 years old and have just moved from their homeland to a comfortable suburb in Washington, DC after their American diplomat father gets posted there. They have shown prodigious musical talent since they were babies. By the time they get to the States they have begun to concentrate on bass guitar (Mickey) and rhythm and lead guitar (Mikey) and have decided to form a duo named "Double Trouble." Luckily, Mickey is left-handed. They are also both great singers and writers. Within a very short time of their arrival in America and with only a handful of club gigs and a demo under their belts, they attract major label interest and secure a place on tour opening for Graham Parker and the Figgs, who they manage to blow off stage every night with both their brilliant musicianship and extraordinary image. Life becomes increasingly complicated as their careers take off and
lots of really hot chicks pursue them up the ladder of success. It does not help that their fireplug Taiwanese mother insists on managing them and that they both begin to develop symptoms of multiple-personality syndrome. The ever-present thoughts of surgical separation loom throughout each show, and many flashbacks to their weird Taiwanese childhood instill a
surreal and often humorous context to each episode. "Sick" notes the Taipei Times. "Are you kidding me?" begs the Christian News Of Idaho. "Riveting!" insists USA Today. "Let's hope they split up soon" begs the Camberley News.

Me: You also released it on vinyl... was that your idea?

Graham: No, but I did suggest it to Bloodshot for "Columbus" after reading about its imminent come back. They caught up me in time for "Imaginary Television" and the limited edition sold like hotcakes.

Me: Do you watch a lot of TV yourself? If so, what shows do you watch? I imagine you're a big fan of "Doctor Who" for some reason. That's my second favorite show after "Lost" by the way.

Graham: I loved the original "Doctor Who" of course, cos I was a little kid and it was gripping in it's day. I've watched a couple of episodes of the new version but don't really care about it. Have missed "Lost" entirely. At that time of night I'm watching Chris Matthews, Keith
Olbermann and the great Rachel Maddow. I watch mostly news shows (or opinion shows perhaps, in the case of MSNBC), especially BBC News America; cooking shows and nature shows, too, plus the tennis Grand Slam events and a bit of football. Have recently been crushed yet again by the lameness of the English team and annoyed that the yanks didn't go
further in the World Cup. Both teams need new management. The Americans should invest in a foreign coach and the English should enlist Harry Redknapp.

Me: Has Primary Wave been successful putting any of your songs in TV shows? We have been lucky with getting "Slow Ride" out there from a similar company.

Graham: They have indeed. Luckily, the songs have been way in the background and no one has noticed apart from my accountant, which is all that matters. I have been hearing "Slow Ride" lately!

Me: Last time I interviewed you I wanted to ask you about the album "From A Window: Lost Songs of Lennon and McCartney". How did that project come about and how were you approached for it?

Graham: A fellow named Jim Sampas who ran the little record label that put it out has had some connections with me in the past, getting me to perform at various Jack Kerouac readings (he is connected to the Kerouac estate) including a double cassette reading of "Visions Of Cody" that came out in the '90's on Viking/Penguin, with the great David Amram doing the music.
It was Jim's idea and he put the artists together. He thought of me, for some reason.

Me: Okay, Graham, do you have any new projects planned, sir?

Graham: Nothing planned, as usual. Just solo gigging for the most part and I'm working on "Sunglass(es) The Graham Parker Show Ep#2" for Youtube. If you have not seen Episode #1 you should. Here's the link:
Me: Did you hear Squeeze has a new album coming out? You are mates with them, I am sure, right?

Have met a few of them in passing only, like most of the acts I'm supposed to be linked with (!), but Gilson the drummer worked on my "Real Macaw" album. I did read they were doing a gig somewhere.

Me: I sometimes look back at past entries of this blog I write and past interviews and wonder sometimes why did I write that, or ask that? Do you ever do that with your songs or albums?

Graham: In retrospect, all interviews I do look foolish. With songs, I don't have much trouble with the lyrics of melodic structures. They hold up for me. The production values of some are often painful to think about, though. And my singing on my first 4 albums is atrocious in my
view. Really makes me wince.

Graham, I want to thank you for doing this and the last interview. I am a huge fan, and people like you make doing this Phile thing worth the time. It was a dream come true to interview you once, let alone twice. You are welcomed back any time you want, sir.

Graham: Thanks much for your time and thanks to your viewers.

Me: You have a great web site, but you're not on Facebook, right? Take care and keep in touch.

There may be a Facebook page or two dedicated to me, but I don't personally have one and have nothing to do with it, despite many requests to join other pages (with at least one from a musician far more famous than I) and despite being told by a few people that Facebook
does more to promote an artist than their website these days and I'm daft not to have one.
But I find the idea of having "friends" creepy. I've already got friends, and friendship is something that is earned, not signed on to. It just weirds me out. Do I really need "friends"?

That's it for another entry of the Phile. The Phile will be back next Thursday with returning Alumni Jeff Cameron. Jeff will be the first guest to be on the Phile three times. So, Alumni Month and the most phantastic summer continues. Don't know what I am gonna do about my computer situation but I will keep you updated. Until next week, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you, bye.

No comments: