Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pheaturing Lee Negin

Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile, I am your host Jason Peverett, and I am an IDIOT! Last week I was supposed to reveal what the 14th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club was and I totally forgot. So, let's do this now.

Here is the 14th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C.

In "Running Through Corridors", two "Doctor Who" lovers of old - Robert Shearman and Toby Hadoke - embark on an epic quest of friendship: spend the 'gap year' of 2009 (when "Doctor Who" consisted of a handful of specials rather than a full season) re-watching the whole of Who two episodes a day, every day, from the show's start in 1963 and ending with David Tennant's swan song on New Year's, 2010. This three-volume series contains Shearman and Hadoke's diary of that experience - a grand opus of their wry observations about the show, their desire to see the good in every story, and their chronicle of the real-life changes to Who in that year. With this book, Who fans will feel that they're watching along with Shearman (World Fantasy Award winner, Hugo Award nominee and writer on the new "Doctor Who") and Hadoke (renowned stage performer for his one-man comedy show, "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf") as they make their 'grand journey' through the world's most wonderful and longest-running drama series. You can buy the book through Toby Hadoke will be a guest on the Phile sometime in March.

Okay, that's done. Let's get on with the rest of the Phile, kids. There's a lot to read this week. Have any of you seen the new Justin Bieber movie? Justin Bieber is doing really well right now. Nothing can stop him — except maybe puberty. Justin Bieber is Canadian, and so is Celine Dion and William Shatner. It makes me wonder: Are we guarding the wrong border? The whole world has Bieber fever. It’s what happens whenever a pop frenzy becomes a disease. There was also Beatle Mania, the Miley Cyrus Virus, and the Hasselhoff Cough. It was Egypt’s first week without Mubarak. He finally stepped down because of that sexy picture of him on the Internet.
President Obama unveiled his new budget, including $1 trillion in spending cuts, which Obama called the most painful choice he’s ever made. Then he looked over at Joe Biden and said, “OK, 2nd most painful choice.” So, did you guys have a good Valentine's Day? The first official Valentine’s Day was declared by King Henry VIII, who was married six times. He was the Larry King of his day. Actually, that’s not true. It was the 16th Century, so Larry King was there. Tomorrow would of been my grandmother Nanny Rose's 100th birthday. In England if you reach a 100 years old you get a gold coin and a letter from the Queen. Did you see the new movie Gnomeo and Juliet? It's a kid's movie, but a gnome does something that is rather odd. Take a look at this screenshot.

The other day I was trying to figure out what is going on in Egypt, and then I decided I should ask an expert. So, here's a new pheature I call...

So, I asked Phile phan and a real Egyptian named Omar to answer a few questions for me to clear up everything.

Me: How's your family in Egypt, Omar?

Omar: Surprisingly, my family in Egypt has been very involved with the protests and immersed with the people in tahrir square. When the police disappeared they lived in fear for but a brief moment as the public began to defend itself from violence and bandits taking advantage of egypt's current situation.

Me: What the hell is happened over there? Can you explain it?

Omar: Let's just call it an inevitable revolution. As a 25 year old Egyptian, I have only known Mubarak as the leader of Egypt. I say the Egyptian pound rise from 3 pounds to a dollar to roughly 6 pounds to a dollar. My family warned me not to speak about politics in public when I went to visit Egypt because of the several that were imprisoned by secret police protecting the absolute power of the regime. The people have spoken and are ready to defend Egypt with their lives to give birth to true democracy rather than the image Mubarak tried to display. Reports have been advertised on the news of reporters being held captive and even tortured by government command. What is Mubarak afraid that the world might find out? Educational systems have been deteriorating and the average Egyptian according to statistics makes 2 dollars a day. The rift between the classes as grown far apart so rapidly. This revolution was started mostly by the "Shabab" or youth of Egypt declaring their rights as Egyptians. It has been declared for Islam Christianity or a statement condemning America, but as Egyptians for their rights in their own country. Millions across the country have been protesting as peacefully as possible unless defending themselves from the violent governmental opposition facing them. 30 years of dictatorship has it's numbered days. I am proud of what Egypt has done and is doing on a daily basis now and I would be immersed with my fellow country men portraying the same message that they are chanting on the streets of my country " away with Mubarak and up with Egypt!" Thanks, Jason, I hope that this wasn't too much. I feel so strongly about this subject. Hope all is well with you! High five!

Thanks, Omar. And then there's the news that there'll be no NFL next year. I was confused about this as I don't follow sports, so once again I went to an expert who can explain it to me. So, once again...

Me: Jeff, explain what's happening with the NFL... please.

Jeff: You may have noticed during the Super Bowl that they were talking about it possibly being the last game for a very long time. The reason being the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is expiring in early March. If a new agreement isn't made, there will be no football. Hopefully they will make an agreement soon. Basically if the date passes the owners will lock out the players, as opposed to them going on strike.You may also have noticed that I accurately predicted the Super Bowl, though my scores wasn't that close. LOL.

George Shearing
August 13, 1919 - February 14, 2011
He just barely missed being featured in the "Who Died Last Year?" montage at the other night's Grammy Awards.
Betty Garrett
May 23, 1919 - February 12, 2011
From On The Town to under it.
Chuck Tanner
July 4, 1929 - February 11, 2011
Might as well, now.

This week's guest is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, synthesist, vocalist, producer and recording engineer. He was a pioneer in the international DIY/techno/indie/new wave movement of the 1980s, and his recordings have received (are receiving) airplay around the world. He is listed as an influential artist in "The International Discography of the New Wave." He has a brand new album that came out on February 1st called "Hungry Ghosts". Please welcome to the Phile... Lee Negin.

Me: Hello, Lee, welcome to the Phile. How are you? That's a great name by the way, Lee. I have two middle names and one of them is Lee, named after Johnny Lee Hooker.

Lee: Hello. Thank you for having me. My name has nowhere near the 'coolness' factor as your "Lee." Your parents must have been pretty hip. John Lee Hooker!! Wow!

Me: I have been listening to a lot of your music, Lee, and you come up with some cool sounds and interesting music. when did you first start to write music and become a musician?

Lee: I started studying music formally when I was about 7. Trumpet was my first instrument (formal lessons, bands, orchestras). I started playing in rock and jazz bands when I was 12, first as a vocalist, then as a drummer. I started playing professionally (i.e., making money) at about 15, playing in bars and clubs on weekends. I started to seriously write music when I was about 22. I had the original analog synthesizers (Minimoog, ARP 2600, Linn Drum, Prophet, Yamaha DX-7, Roland TR-808, Roland Vocoder, Serge Modules, Korg PS-3100, etc.), and coupled with my electric and acoustic guitars and basses, trumpet, drums and percussion, I was able to replicate the sounds that I was hearing in my head. The technology caught up with my aural vision.

Me: A lot of your music doesn't have lyrics. Do you prefer just doing instrumentals?

Lee: No preference. However, lyrics (words) tie the music to the composer's vision and cultural milieu. Words are very limiting--they are symbols with connotations, very limited representations--mental constructs. If I say "ice cream,' immediately that conjures up images and memories in your mind. But, the words are not the reality. Better to taste the ice cream; then you 'get it.' Reality is experiential, not verbal. With many of my pieces ("songs"), I want the listener to be able to construct their own vision. A notable exception--i.e., a vocalist trying to get around words' constraints-- to this was Elizabeth Fraser in the "Cocteau Twins,' who sang in made-up languages. However, even when listening to her, most people strain to make out intelligible words. Songs with lyrics and without are like the difference between realistic and abstract, or impressionistic art. I endeavor to create impressionistic music, so I am more influenced by Monet, Van Gogh, and Chinese/Japanese brush painting than music these days (which, incidentally, greatly influenced Monet and Van Gogh, who both had large collections of Japanese prints, which I have seen in Monet's house in Giverny and the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam when I was there. I also lived in Japan for 15 years). In addition, words have cultural connections that are not universally shared. If I sing in English, how can a person in Peru or Iran connect? Music is the universal language.

Me: One of my favorite songs of yours is "The Saga of Cheeze". I am sure it has a deep meaning, but I can't figure it out. What is the meaning?

Lee: Better I hear your take on it. That would be interesting. Cheeze is a recurring character, the protagonist of a narrative I will be expanding in a large-scale work I am currently developing and will hopefully record this summer, in 5.1 surround, and which I want to release on a blu-ray, with a movie and concert tour to follow. No one can fault me for lack of ambition! He appears twice on "Hungry Ghosts." At once he is my alter-ego, but also an everyman and a no-man. He is the Cheeze!

Me: This year you are releasing not one but two albums and a few EP's, right? What made you want to release so much music in one year?

Lee: Narcissism! After my extended hiatus from creating music, there seems to be a lot of stored up concepts and noise that are oozing out. Once again, with current digital technology, the tools have caught up to my vision and allow to me make manifest concepts that before wouldn't have been possible or if possible, financially prohibitive.

Me: You've been recording for a long time, but took a break, right? Where you tired of making music?

Lee: No, never. Creating music/visuals/poetry, etc. has always given me great joy. My history in the music sphere has been cyclical, as history is. In the past, I reached a certain level of "success," then the hideous music business encroached, and I escaped. I could recount horror stories of sitting in offices of music business executives in Los Angeles, while they were snorting cocaine and offering to make me a ''star" if... But, I have told these stories elsewhere, and it's not important. With the Internet, the whole paradigm of the music business has changed, for better and worse (again, the duality).

Me: Where are you from originally, Lee? You currently live in South Korea, is that right?

Lee: Originally, I am not knowing. However, this time I was born in the States, but left for good 21 years ago. I have lived in India, Japan, UK, Poland and now Seoul. I have traveled extensively, spending time in over 40 countries on 5 continents.

Me: You are a Professor at a University? What do you teach?

Lee: I am very fortunate in that I work for the Department of General Studies at a prestigious university, meaning I teach all majors. The common factor is I teach in English. It varies by semester, but I have taught (in my current job) Media, Culture, Presentation Skills, Academic Writing, Literature, Business Skills, etc.. When I first came to Korea, I was hired by the government to train working teachers--how to better teach English and Culture. My graduate work was in Education, so I am primarily a teaching methodologist (I can hear your readers nodding off). For the past few years, I have been teaching undergraduates again. My Korean students are lovely.

Me: Why would you move out there? You sure like to travel. You lived in Japan and Poland? What makes you get around?

Lee: "Hungry Ghosts." "Hungry Ghosts" (the name of my new CD--plug, plug) are desires that can never be fulfilled, keeping us enslaved and miserable. People always change their external circumstances, blaming their unhappiness on things outside of themselves. So, they change partners, or jobs or cities or wardrobes or hairstyles. It is easy to change your shirt, but hard to change your thinking. Being quite thick, I had to learn from personal experience (not just words from a book or a guru) that only by changing my thinking could I attain any contentment, not by changing locations or jobs. "If you don't like the world, change yourself." Wherever I went, there I was! Always looking for an 'ideal' place to live. Silly me! As Lao Tsu said, "The wise person sees the whole universe without ever leaving their front gate." My extensive travels are proof positive that I'm not very wise!

Me: Where was your music recorded? Did you travel for that as well?

Lee: I have a studio in Seoul (I live in it). I recorded the basic tracks for "Hungry Ghosts" in my home studio. I recorded "Wu Wei," my video soundtracks and my new EP 100% in my home studio (meaning, I recorded and mixed it all in Seoul). For "Hungry Ghosts," I mixed it and did more recording of vocals, trumpet, acoustic drums, guitars and processing in the UK, in Yorkshire at a world class studio.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new albums, Lee. "Hungry Ghosts" which just came out, and "Wu Wei" which you just mentioned. How are the two albums different?

Lee: "Hungry Ghosts," which was released February 1, contains shorter, perhaps more accessible pieces which are still quite eclectic, mixing electronica-jazz-world-metal-pop-techno-funk-trance-psychedelic, etc., sometimes in the same song. "Wu Wei," which will be released in the summer, contains longer, ambient/electronica/chill out/dreamscape work.

Me: And what does Wu Wei mean?

Lee: "Wu Wei," which is Chinese, is a Taoist concept that can translate as "no effort." In Christian parlance, it is said "Let go and let god." Or, as Yoda would say, "Feel the Force, Luke. Surrender to the Force." (tm Lucas Films) The "force" is the Tao. To talk about it is not the Tao! Words are the antithesis of the Tao--which goes back to my answer about songs with lyrics. You see, it's all cyclical!

Me: One of your songs "Piercing the Veil" has an India influence which makes me want to eat Indian food when I hear it. It's something George Harrison would like I am sure. Are you influenced by music from all around the world?

Lee: Hmmm... my music goes well with a nice curry, nan bread and mango chutney!? Bot acha! (Hindi for 'very good.' Sorry, I'm a show off). Most people say my music goes well with herbal tea and wild mushrooms. Yes, I have a very catholic (not the vatican voodoo) taste in music. I studied tabla drums in India with a music master from All India Radio as well as jazz drums with Alan Dawson (Dave Brubeck's drummer). I listen to everything from Persian Ghazals to Miles Davis to Bach to AC/DC to The Ramones to ABBA to John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Frank Zappa to Hendrix to Japanese Kabuki Music (koto and shakuhachi) to Korean Pansori to Chinese Opera to Indonesian Gamelan to James Brown to Senegalese drumming to Louis Armstrong to Segovia to Django Reinhardt . I play several instruments and like to mix all of my influences into a cosmic cocktail.

Me: Who are your influences anyway, Lee? When I first heard your music I thought of Howard Jones, who I tried to get on the Phile last year. Are you a fan of his work?

Lee: Howard Jones is a contemporary, not an influence. The above answer gets into some of my influences. My influences are a wide variety of music and musicians from the world over, as well as graphic art and artists, life experiences, nature, literature, entheogens and great mystic/spiritual traditions and teachers.

Me: I was surprised to see you worked with Jon Astley and Simon Humphrey who both have amazing careers as mixers and engineers and worked with so many people. Did you hear of them before you worked with them? I bet both men had cool stories.

Of course I was very familiar with Jon's work. He produced The Who's "Live at Leeds," which is a favorite of mine. The list of people he has produced/engineered and/or mastered reads like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (George Harrison, Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, The Rolling Stones, etc.). I spent a day with Jon in his lovely home on the Thames River in the suburbs of London. The house used to belong to Pete Townshend, his ex-brother-in-law. The room we sat in and drank tea, Jon's studio overlooking the Thames, was the room that was Pete's studio, where he wrote ''Tommy", "Who's Next", etc. He recorded Thunderclap Newman in that very room, "Something in the Air," a classic. As a big Townshend fan, that was cool (you can see pictures on my website of me with Jon, and me holding the original master tapes of "Who's Next" with Pete and Glyn Johns' handwritten notes on the boxes). Yes, it was very enjoyable hanging out with Jon and Simon in August. Simon mixed "Hungry Ghosts," and I was even able to cajole him into making some guitar squeals (feedback) on one song. Simon has worked with Jeff Beck, Hans Zimmer, The Beach Boys, The Clash and Culture Club (he mixed "Karma Chameleon"!). We have since become dear friends, and we communicate often. We are now discussing my new project, which I might record with him again in the UK. I exchanged New Year's greetings with Jon, who I also consider a friend. Lovely gentlemen, with amazing careers. I am fortunate that they want to work with me. Furthermore, my main publicist in Los Angeles is Bobbi Cowan, who has represented Michael Jackson, Prince, Cream, YES, Sonny and Cher, Spinal Tap (she did the movie), etc. And now me! We talk all the time--she's got very cool stories, to say the least. So, since returning to the music business in 2009, at the urging of a German record label in Berlin, I have been fortunate to work with some giants.

Me: Isn't Jon Astley related to Rick Astley? Or am I just an idiot?

Lee: Are you Rick rolling me??!!

Me: What's this with you being a mountain climber? I never understood why anybody would want to mountain climb, Lee. When did you start to do this?

Lee: About 8 years ago. When I took my breaks from making music, I threw myself into other diversions, such as photography, academia, globetrotting, martial arts and mountain climbing. Mountain Climbing is a samurai discipline. It is moving meditation, forcing you into a state of "mushin." Mushin is a Japanese Zen Buddhist term, meaning "No Mind." No thinking... that quiet space between thoughts when you are truly alive, at peace, at one with the cosmic doodah. When you climb, the type I do (mixed alpine = rock, ice, glaciers, etc.) you have to stay absolutely focused, in-the-moment. If your mind wanders off, even for a nano-second, the results could literally be death, which happens all of the time. When climbing frozen waterfalls in Switzerland or Alberta (Canadian Rockies), I experienced moments of absolute clarity and mindfulness; again, the goal of meditation. Samurai sports! Same as when I whitewater rafted in New Zealand and Colorado, or swam underwater with a pod of wild dolphins, etc. Moments of eternity!

Me: What is the highest mountain you climbed?

Lee: The highest Alps mountain, Mt. Blanc near Chamonix, France. " It rises 4,810.45 m (15,782 ft) above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence. It is also sometimes known as "La Dame Blanche" (French for "The White Lady")." (Wikipedia).

Me: Is there a mountain you haven't climbed but want to?

Lee: Everest might be fun.

Me: I watched some videos you made on your YouTube Channel, Lee. Do you like making videos as much as you like to make music?

Lee: Yes! Seeing music and hearing visuals.

Me: You worked a few times with a guy named Red Hawk. Tell the Phile readers who he is.

Lee: Red Hawk, SpecialOpsDarkAngel is a Native American visionary artist, medicine man and shaman who currently lives in the south of France. He is 'legally blind,' so he relies on his third eye to create images. I have an international team of artists which I founded called The League of Interplanetary Neo-Psychedelic Artists (LINPA) (tm). I collaborate with them (members come and go) on some projects, such as the visuals I used on the covers of "Hungry Ghosts" and "Wu Wei," and some of my videos.I am the noise-maker. I currently have a project in progress with a great visual artist in Switzerland, Seelenflug. I already completed the soundtrack, and she is working on the visuals. We plan on a March release to coincide with a major art show she is doing in Zurich. Our video will be the centerpiece of the show. I might pop in for the occasion and do my best Salvador Dali routine (Reporter to Dali: "Mr. Dali, do you use drugs?" Dali Responded: "My dear boy... I am drugs.").

Me: When did you two first meet?

Lee: First? Probably 300 years ago in what is now called Montana (have to check with him for details). This time around, we met online about one year ago. Since that time, we have made 5 videos together.

Me: In your career I am sure you have worked with many known artists, Lee. is there anybody you haven't worked with that you would like to?

Lee: Not living. On second thought, perhaps: L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Faye Wong, Sa Dingding... If you are reading this, contact my peeps!

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Lee. You are a musical legend, sir. Is there anything you want to say before I let you go?

Lee: Thank you so much for this great opportunity. I really appreciate it. I hope my blah blah blah proved somewhat amusing to your readers.

Me: Go ahead and plug your website and anything else you wanna. Thanks again, and when your second album comes out this year, wanna come back? Take care, and be safe if you climb a mountain in the near future.

Check out my new CD, "Hungry Ghosts," available at Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, etc. Check me out at:,,,,,,, I would love to "come back" anytime you'd care to have me. "Wu Wei" will be released this summer, and several EPs and videos will be released in 2011. Let me know! The pleasure is mine. Be happy!

Man, what a deep entry of the Phile. I feel so serious all of a sudden. Thanks to my guests Omar Gharbo, Jeff Trelewicz... check out his own blog at This week he talk about A-Rod and a bunch of other stuff, and of course Lee Negin for one o the most spiritual and deepest interviews on the Phile ever. The Phile will be back on Sunday with a special entry with an interview with Randy Blackwell, founder of Lamplight media, who are creating a Christian based game called Soterion. That's gonna be a deep interview as well. Then after, the next posting will be next Wednesday with hip-hop artist Hum.Ve. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligator's bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Art by Jamie Davis.

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