Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pheaturing Shirli McAllen From The Leftover Cuties

Hello, welcome to the Phile for another entry, thanks for stopping by, I am your host Jaspe Halon Ttejetta of Excedrin. That's my Star Wars name. A few days ago at Disney the new ride Star Wars: The Adventures Continue opened, and guess who I met? His initials are G.L. No, not Geddy Lee, not George Lopez, and not Green Lantern, even though that would be cool. Speaking of Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, they are trademarking the phrase “SEAL Team 6,” after the team that took down Osama bin Laden. Yeah, cause when they shot bin Laden, captured his wives and found his porn, I was like, “This would make a great Disney movie.” In a new interview, President Obama said that killing Osama bin Laden does not secure his 2012 re-election. Yeah, that’s been taken care of by the current field of Republicans. On their first day in Italy, the cast of “Jersey Shore” got $375 worth of traffic tickets. The cop was like, “Do you know the speed limit?” And they were like, “Yeah, yeah, he’s friends with The Situation.” They just taped the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. It was a day of tears and sadness — and that was just me when I couldn’t get tickets. A police officer in San Francisco was busted for running a brothel. They became suspicious when he would only handcuff people that paid extra. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a lovechild back in 2003. He’s been taking care of the child financially, providing healthcare and education — the same stuff he took from every other child while he was governor of California. Arnold is already coming up with excuses. He said he was just auditioning to be the next head of the IMF. The members of the family that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are suing each other in federal court. There are wild charges and outbursts, and the judge said, “This trial is becoming a three-ring... never mind.” I like Cirque du Soleil better myself. They don't use animals. They exploit a group of creatures even stranger than animals: French Canadians. Officials at the Secret Service had to delete a tweet from their official Twitter account because they made fun of Fox News. Knock it off, Secret Service! That’s my job. What is the Secret Service doing with a Twitter account? Isn’t it their job to keep stuff secret? It’s easy to pick the Secret Service guys out of the crowd. They’re the ones talking into their sleeves. They’re either Secret Service or they’re insane. Have you been watching "American Idol"? 50 Cent performed on “American Idol” and not one person got shot. He’s slipping a little. “American Idols” are idols the same way that American cheese is cheese. Well, the world was supposed to end on yesterday. It would really be bad if we only survived three weeks longer than bin Laden. This just in: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have put their former mansion on the market for $23.5 million. It’s not that clean though, because they had a maid but she was always busy doing other stuff. Dick Cheney is releasing a memoir in August about his personal and political life. I’m not going to say reading it is torture. It’s more of an enhanced interrogation technique. A new study found that long-lasting marriages are on the rise in the U.S. In fact, most marriages last for more than 10 years, or however long it takes to learn about the secret love child with the housekeeper. A $215 million theme park is opening in China, dedicated to Hello Kitty. It’s right next to that famous Chinese restaurant “Goodbye Doggy.” Well, I mentioned Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, the new ride at Disney, right? Anyway, they are selling inspirational Star Wars themed posters and I was so excited, Like this one...

People are still talking about the royal wedding. No, really, they are, and I was thinking the other day the Windsor's must be Disney fans. They copied the movie Cinderella for their wedding. Look what I mean.

Well, I have been really busy at my new job at Disney. I can't tell you where I am working, but let's pretend it's called Start Ours. Anyway, I have not had a day off all week, so I am kinda out of the loop on what's been going on. So, I thought I would once again ask someone who could fill me in. So, once again, it's time to...

Me: Jeff, thanks for being back on the Phile. I hope you are glad to be back.

Jeff: Jason, you know it's always good to be back on the Phile.

Me: So, what's been going on with the NFL? Are we gonna have any football this season?

Jeff: Football did a naughty thing and made it look like they would be coming back. But a judge put the lock out back on so football is still not looking good for right now.

Me: Anything going on with TV? I haven't watched a lot of TV this past week.

Jeff: A lot is happening in TV. "Smallville" ended an up and down ten year run, but it was the longest running Sci-fi show in history with an epic finale last week. Most shows are doing the season finale shows right about now, making it a good time to watch TV as well. "Celebrity Apprentice" is down to the final two people being country star John Rich and Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. The finale airs live tonight. It should be an epic fight. They even got Dee Snider on the show, in full Twisted Sister makeup. The networks are announcing their new shows for next season, hoping for a big hit. For the most part there was no major hits of the season this year, but a lot of new shows will return next season.

Me: And movies?

Jeff: As far as new movies, well it is once again the summer of the Sequel. Starting with Fast Five. There is also Pirates 4 as well as a lot of other sequels that should make this summer an exciting popcorn eating time.

Me: And I have been away from Epcot for almost two months. What's been going on there? Any gossip you can fill me in on?

Jeff: Epcot is the way it always was. Nothing to exciting happening, not like Disney's Hollywood Studios these days.

Me: Thanks, Jeff, for being on the Phile again and helping me out.

Well, it's Sunday, so here's another...

This is the 15th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club...
The author, Christian Cawley, will be a guest on the Phile next week.

Okay, today's guest is the lead singer for one of my new favorite bands out right now. Their debut CD "Places To Go" comes out on May 31st, and will be available on iTunes. They'll also will be playing at Bardot Hollywood in Hollywood, CA on June 2nd. Please welcome to the Phile... Shirli McAllen.

Me: Hello, Shirli, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Shirli: I'm well, thanks.

Me: I have to say, I LOVE your band the Leftover Cuties and your new single "Places To Go". Where are you from, Shirli?

Shirli: Thanks so much. I was born and raised in Israel.

Me: Wow. So, how long have you lived in America? You kids are based in California, right?

Shirli: Yeah, most of us are in Venice California, I moved to the states about ten years ago.

Me: Growing up in Israel did you know you wanted to be a musician?

Shirli: Well, I started singing since I can remember my self, and at 14 when I picked up the guitar, the first thing I did was write a song. So yeah, I always loved making music, but back then I don't think I was thinking of a career just yet.

Me: What kinda music did you listen to growing up? I imagine you listened to a lot of Billie Holiday, right?

Shirli: Actually no, Billie came into my life much much later. I grew up listening to a lot of israeli music, and as a teenager I loved grange rock. When I was a little bit older I got into Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchel, those two have inspired me the most as a songwriter. A few years ago when we first started working on Leftover Cuties material, people started commenting about my singing style, and how it was nostalgic to them in a way. That's when I started digging into music from the 30's and 40's. I loved how pure and simple it was back then, yet with such strong melodies and lyrics that stand the test of time.

Me: When you came to California, that's where you met Austin Nicholson and formed the Leftover Cuties... did you guys strike up a friendship right away?

Shirli: Austin played bass with me when I was still doing my solo thing. He was brought on by the drummer I had at the time. The moment Austin started playing I knew I wanted to make music with him. We became really good friends and one night he showed up at my house with a ukulele. He played a beautiful chord chance and I had written some lyrics that night at the bar I was working at. I started singing and we wrote "Game Called Life" in about 5 minutes. The next day we made a home recording of it and forgot about it for about two years.

Me: Who else is in the band with you, Shirli?

Shirli: Stuart Johnson is our drummer, Ryan Feves plays Bass, Mike Bolger plays horns, accordion and piano, and off course Austin who plays ukulele.

Me: Where did the name come from? I don't know about the leftover part, but you definitely have the cute part down.

Shirli: Thanks, Jason! The name came from the bar I was working at. Some co workers/friends had recently quit their jobs, and so my friend Josh came up to me and another friend and said "you guys are the leftover cuties". I instantly thought it would be the perfect name for the new project I started with Austin.

Me: Your new album "Places To Go" is not your first release, am I right? You had a few other releases as well. Did your music stay consistent the whole time?

Shirli: We released an EP in 2009 titled "Game Called Life". The title track from that EP ended up as a theme song for a show time series called "The Big C". Other then that we released a few covers and a fun Christmas EP. We are so excited for our album release next week! It's been a long time coming. I think performing live so much and working with Tony Berg on this record had made us mature and evolve, and the result is a much bigger sound then where we started.

Me: Your new album was produced by Tony Berg who also produced Bob Dylan. Are you or anybody else in the band a Dylan fan? I am. Did he have any good stories to tell?

Shirli: I'm a huge Dylan fan, he is simply the best. Tony didn't have any crazy stories about him, he just said that it was a treat working with him, and that it's was one of the highlights of his career.

Me: I downloaded a lot of your music from iTunes and one song you have is called "Poker Face". That's not the Lady Gaga song, is it?

Shirli: It is. It's our own spin on it. It's actually a very well written song. It proves itself when you take it somewhere else and it still works. Lady Gaga liked it enough to Tweet about it.

Me: You also did a cover of "You Are My Sunshine", but most of your music is original material, Shirli. Do you and Austin both do the songwriting?

Shirli: Most of the songs are written by Austin and I as a collaboration, yes. We have a great chemistry writing together, though sometimes I write on my own and so does Austin.

Me: Shirli, you have an amazing voice, but do you play any instruments as well?

Shirli: Thanks so much! I do. I play ukulele, guitar, percussion and a little bit of this and that.

Me: You mentioned a show on TV called "The Big C", which I never heard of... what is the big C anyway? Oh, it's on Showtime, which I don't get. No wonder I never heard of it. And for those of you that don't know, it stars Laura Linney. Anyway, you guys did the theme song for it. How did that come about? That is so cool, Shirli. Do you watch the show?

Shirli: Yeah, "The Big C" has been such a great opportunity for us. We were lucky to have our music in the right hands at the right time, and for that song to be such a perfect fit for what the show is about. The C stands for cancer. It's a dark comedy about living life when you've been diagnosed with cancer. It's a great show. I watch it and I look forward to second season starting in July. We get really sweet comments from fans from all over the world on a daily basis, and it's been especially humbling to get e mails from cancer patients who were inspired by the song.

Me: I love the video for the song "Game Called Life", and it looks like you really had a good time making it. Was it a fun video shoot? Do you play pool?

Shirli: It was so fun! It was my first experience doing something like that so there was also a nervous side to it. We did play a little pool and that last shot where the ball turns perfectly to reveal our band name was the lucky moment of the day. We're about to shoot another video for our album's title track "Places To Go", I can't wait!

Me: Shirli, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope you keep making music for a long time, and in the same style as well. You are one of my new favorite bands! Go ahead and plug your website, and please come to Orlando to play.

Shirli: My pleasure, Jason. Thanks so much for having us. Our website is We really hope to visit Florida sometime this year.

Me: Thanks again, and tell the other Cuties I said hello. Thanks again!

Shirli: Will do. Thanks!

There you go, kids. That about does it for another entry. Thanks to Jeff for answering a few questions. Check out his own blog at Also, thanks to Shirli for a great interview. Check out the album when it comes out next Tuesday on iTunes. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Peverett Phile Book Club author Christian Cawley. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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