Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pheaturing Erroll Zastre From Second World

Hello, and welcome to another entry of the Phile, I am your host A-Rod. Man, I wish. That guy rocks, and what a baller. Sitting in a VIP box, watching the Super Bowl as Cameron Diaz feeds him. He is living the American dream. I watched the game in bed, eating cheese and crackers. We'll talk more about the Super Bowl in a minute, but why do fans rip athletes when they use war metaphors, and it is okay to sing a song laden with war imagery before every sporting event? It’s the Year of the Rabbit. I was born in the Year of the Monkey which makes total sense... I think rabbits are adorable. I love how their noses twitch and their feet make little key chains. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said that President Barack Obama doesn’t understand Egyptian culture. Man, get off your high camel. Facebook celebrated its 7th birthday. Honestly, I only remembered its birthday because I saw it on Facebook. Sen. Joe Lieberman is writing a book about the Jewish Sabbath, called “The Gift of Rest.” I hear he’s been working on it 24/6. Mitt Romney said in an interview that Sarah Palin would be great as president. He then added, “...of Egypt.” The Super Bowl was the most watched TV program in history. Take that, soccer. There were no major hiccups during the Super Bowl, except for Christina Aguilera’s singing. People at Fox say they haven’t seen someone mangle words that badly since Paula Abdul was talking. Two hundred million people did not watch the Super Bowl. Who are these people and why are we allowing them to coexist with us? During the half-time show, the Black Eyed Peas changed the lyrics of their song “Where is the Love” to call on President Obama to do better in education and jobs. And Christina Aguilera changed the lyrics of the national anthem — just because. A new study found that coffee and aspirin are the best cures for a hangover. In fact, it’s recommended by 4 out of 5 Sheens. Did you see the interview with Obama before the game? During his interview with President Obama last night, Bill O’Reilly asked him to explain how he deals with so many people hating him. In response, Obama said, “You first.” Mattel is releasing Barbie dolls inspired by characters from the TV show “Dynasty.” So if you like TV shows from the ‘80s and you still like playing with Barbie dolls — I’m Chris Hansen from "Dateline NBC". Okay, did you see the ad Axl Rose put out in magazines and newspapers about the Super Bowl half-time show? Here it is in case you didn't.

Valentine's Day is next Monday which in my house it means Logan is gonan get a bunch of new LEGO sets apparently. Anyway, here's a Valentine's Day...

And now, for a brand new pheature called...

This year we will experience four unusual dates: 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11. N0w go figure this out: Take the last 2 digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year and it will equal 111.

Okay, today's guest is the creator in an ongoing musical project called Second World whose latest CD "Viewpoint" is available on iTunes right now. Please welcome to the Phile... Erroll Zastre.

Me: Hello, Erroll, welcome to the Phile. Should I call you Erroll or Second World?

Erroll: In formal situations I’m usually addressed as Mr. World, and my immediate family call me Second. My friends call me Erroll so why don’t we stick with that. And by the way, thank you so much for having me on the Peverett Phile.

Me: Over the years I interviewed people who are a one man or woman band who gives themselves a band name, which is always odd to me. Why don't you record under your name Erroll Zastre?

Me: I never liked my name, but you know, but a drummer I played with years ago thought “Erroll Zastre” was a great name for a band! I guess the reason for adopting a band name instead of using my own is due to the fact I grew up with the music of the 60’s and 70’s when groups were getting away from names based on the band leader’s name, such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets to the naming conventions we know today, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Oasis and so on. Also, when I first got into jazz I was mainly interested in the jazz-rock groups of the 70’s, and they also borrowed a page from rock and roll by adopting band names such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra as opposed to John McLaughlin and Four Other Guys.

Me: I know there must be a reason you call yourself Second World, right? What is the origin that name?

Erroll: It’s really hard to find a good name for a band, and Jesus Chrysler Supercar was already taken. There isn’t really any deep significance to the name, and if you look up the meaning of Second World on Google, you will see it is part of something called the Three Worlds Theory developed by a former Chinese leader, and actually refers to the communist states controlled by the former Soviet Union. Obviously that is not the meaning that I ascribe to the name Second World. In a broad sense, it could refer to an “alternate musical
universe” that one could inhabit.

Me: I saw you have a song on your new album called "Second World", which is cool. You also have a song called "Indian Paintbrush" which would also be a cool stage name. Did you think about that?

Erroll: I never thought of that. You got some white-out so I can change my business cards?

Me: Erroll, let's talk about your album "Viewpoint" which I downloaded from iTunes by the way. I bet it took you a long time to record, right?

Erroll: First, thanks so much for purchasing the CD. The original tracks were actually recorded a number of years ago, and a CD with the same title was available from CD Baby. When I joined Listening Edge Records, it was decided that we would take two different approaches to re-releasing the material. The first would be to simply take the original tracks and do some remixing and re-mastering to improve the sound which resulted in the release you purchased. Second, we want to actually revisit the tracks and create a “redux” edition with
new parts and sections added, as well as including a new track and new artwork as well. There is some precedence for this, the best example that comes to mind is the group Tangerine Dream who have revisited some of their classic albums of the 70’s and 80’s creating updated versions that go beyond just a simple remix by adding new parts and interpretations. At this point, this process has been completed for about half the tracks. The original album took the better part of a year on and off to record, and the redux is taking about six months.

Me: It's an instrumental album, which after a few songs I didn't realize that. I kept waiting for you to sing. LOL. Do you always write instrumentals, or do you write songs with lyrics once in awhile?

Erroll: All my music is instrumental, and that is where my interests primarily lie. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be open to having somebody write lyrics to my melodies and eventually having somebody sing them. In terms of writing lyrics myself, I’ve never really tried. I think it would end up being like my singing, which is pretty bad. My philosophy is to leave lyrics to those who have a talent in that area. Certainly bands have employed external lyricists, Peter Brown and Cream, and Richard Palmer-James and King Crimson.

Me: How do you sit down and write a song such as yours? Do you start off with a theme and a title?

Erroll: It depends. A lot of the time the writing occurs as a result of listening to another piece of music and wanting to emulate that concept and sound. For example, my tune “Eastern Star” was written after listening to the song “One Night in Space” by Tangerine Dream. “State of Mind’ was inspired originally by the Joe Zawinul composition “Mr. Gone” from the Weather Report album of the same name. Of course, the results usually don’t sound that close to the source material. Or I just dink around on the piano and something comes up. Lately, I have been starting instead with just a title and theme. I was watching “Jeopardy” at my mother’s house one night and one of the questions mentioned the “Anemoi”, which are the Greek wind gods, which I thought would make a cool topic for not just one but a number of tunes.

Me: Erroll, you're from Canada, right? What part?

Erroll: I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is the province immediately north of North Dakota. I moved west about 20 years ago and now live in Edmonton, Alberta, which has the distinction of being one of the northern-most major cities in North America.

Me: One of my favourite bands are from Canada and for some reason every time I interview someone from there I always ask them if they like that band. It's weird, because when I interview someone from England I don't ask them if they like Squeeze, another one of my favourite bands. Anyway, I will ask you. So, do you like the Barenaked Ladies?

Erroll: I neither like nor dislike the Barenaked Ladies owing to the fact I don’t know any of their music.

Me: I read you are a Beatles fan, Erroll. Me as well, but I like the later albums more. Do you like their early stuff or later stuff?

Erroll: The Beatles were the first “rock” band I was significantly influenced by and I listened exclusively to their music for a couple of years when I was in my teens. Although I appreciate all the music they made throughout their career, I agree with you that it would be the albums following their “mop top” phase that I would say I like best, starting with “Revolver” and subsequent albums. What amazes me is that their music does seem to transcend generations. My 16 year old daughter listens to the Beatles quite a bit along with current music, and I honestly never pushed the Beatles’ music on her.

Me: Who is your favourite Beatle?

Erroll: I would say McCartney, for the fact he has a unique ability to compose music in a variety of styles and make them sound organic and not just second-rate imitations.

Me: What other influences do you have?

Erroll: I am influenced by the television of the 60’s, Star Trek and the movies of Stanley Kubrick. Although it’s becoming less of a guilty pleasure, some of the progressive rock of the 70’s is a major influence, particularly King Crimson and Robert Fripp. In the jazz world, Joe Zawinul and Weather Report, Miles Davis and Bill Evans. Bass heroes include Jaco, and John Wetton. More recently, I have been listening to the music of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream.

Me: Have you met or played with any of your influences?

Erroll: I met Robert Fripp at a Frippertronics concert back in 1980. It was at the local art gallery in Winnipeg and as I was leaving I saw him walking across Memorial Boulevard to the car park carrying his guitar case! He was being pursued by a rabid fan that kept calling him “Bob” and seemed to think he was his personal assistant. My interaction with Fripp went well until I made the mistake of asking him for an autograph. Things went downhill after that.

Me: Speaking of playing, do you do a lot of live shows? How do you play what's on the album on stage?

Erroll: I do want to start doing more shows, and I admit to date I haven’t done a lot. I played an outdoor festival a couple of years ago, doing tunes from "Viewpoint" and another CD I had called “Big Weather”. I use a Boss RC-50 Loop Station as the basis for performance. What I would do is start with a drum/bass loop from my Boss BR-880 drum machine, sample it on the Loop Station, and overdub the remaining parts, ending with the melody and then soloing over
the results. I also make use of a Roland GK MIDI pickup on an Ibanez SR405 bass guitar in order to trigger sounds from my Yamaha MO-6.

Me: I was guessing you had a really big band behind you.

Erroll: I haven’t gone that route yet, and I am wrestling with which approach to take, solo performance using technology, or a full band. Each has its pros and cons. Obviously a band would take pressure off me but I agree I would need a fairly large band to realize the music, probably a drummer, percussionist, keyboardist, and another bass player to cover the bass lines while I play the lead lines, and maybe even a guitar player. You know any musicians looking for a low paying gig?

Me: This year you have another CD coming out, right? Does it have a title yet, and is it going to be similar to "Viewpoint"?

Erroll: As I mentioned in a previous question, the first release will actually be this “redux” version of "Viewpoint" that we are tentatively calling “Perspectives – A New Viewpoint”. We hope to have this out by March of this year. Then I want to release a CD of “new” music, possibly built around the theme of the Anemoi I mentioned earlier along with other tunes. I actually have enough music in various forms to fill four or five CD’s. We don’t want to saturate the market but our goal is to build up a significant discography in the next year or two.

Me: Erroll, thanks so much for taking part on the Phile, sir. I wish you a lot of luck. Why don't you go plug your website and anything else you wanna plug?

Erroll: You mean my new line of male enhancement products? Seriously, I encourage those
interested to check out my music at or I do what I do and if there are those out there that find something attractive in my music I would like to connect with them.

Me: Take care, and keep in touch, okay?

Erroll: Thanks again for giving me this opportunity to speak about my music. Peace.

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Peverett Phile. The Phile will be back next Wednesday with new wave music legend Lee Negin. In the meantime, inbetween time, check out to read an interview with me. Thanks to Jen Coffman for asking me to do it. Thanks also to Erroll Zastre for a great interview and to you the reader. Until next week... spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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