Monday, August 1, 2011

Pheaturing Alumni Marc Savoie From Infinite-Lane Highway

Rabbit. Welcome to the Phile, and it's August already. I am our host, Grumpy Smurf. I have a lot to get to before I go to the doctor's for my appointment so let's get going, kids. The American Airlines terminal at JFK was evacuated yesterday because of a suspicious bag. Although with American Airlines, any bag that ends up in the right place qualifies as “suspicious.” On CNN, Tim Pawlenty accused President Obama of “hiding in the basement” during debt ceiling talks. While Joe Biden accused President Obama of “locking him in the basement” during debt ceiling talks. A man in Iowa was arrested at his own wedding after he hit another guy who was dancing with his new wife. Yeah, the worst part is, it completely ruined the father-daughter first dance. orange. Sarah Palin said that if a deal isn’t reached by Aug. 2, nothing will happen. Do you hear that, award-winning economists? This debt crisis still isn’t solved, but the White House said it’s working on a “plan B.” Unfortunately, the B stands for “bake sale.” Speaking of the debt crisis, I read that if the U.S. debt were stacked in $100 bills, it would be as long as two football fields and as high as the statue of liberty. You know, just in case $14 trillion didn’t seem like a lot to you. NASA held a career fair this week to help former employees find new jobs now that the shuttle program is over. Which explains that guy at the drive-thru that was like, “One small fry for man, one giant Coke for his Big Mac.” Rumor has it that Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are friends again. There you have it. Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton are now more mature than President Obama and John Boehner. An Australian forklift driver spilled a million dollars of wine. To soak it up, they used special tools, called “Australian people.” Apparently, Kim Kardashian will be a special guest judge on “Project Runway,” so one of the challenges must include designing clothes for someone with a huge butt. When I was younger, style was all about punk. Fortunately, the music lasted longer than the fashion. A woman in San Francisco was arrested last week for stealing cash from Alex Trebek’s hotel room. Trebek could tell something was up when the burglar said, “I’ll take your wallet and personal belongings for free, Alex.” Alex Trebek actually hurt his leg while chasing the robber. When 911 asked for his location, he was like, “Erected in 1989, this San Francisco hotel became famous for its distinctive ‘jukebox’ appearance.” A man from the Netherlands plans to take a picture of all 194 world capitals over the next five years. Then when that’s over, his friends will tell him about Google Earth. Hey, kids, did you see the new debt ceiling inspirational poster that was released? Here it is in case you didn't.

And I like the new pissed off Obama poster.

Speaking of the debt ceiling still, yesterday I had RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on the Phile and asked him a few questions but didn't get anywhere. So, I would invite someone else to the Phile that's on the other side to see what is going on. So, please welcome back to the Phile, Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee in a pheature I like to call...

Me: Hello, Director, welcome to the Phile. Last Monday President Obama did a speech on TV. For those that can't remember, can you tell us what it was about again?

Patrick: President Obama addressed the nation because it's time for Congress to come together and vote to ensure that America can meet its financial obligations.

Me: Do President's do this kinda thing often?

Patrick: This is something that every President has asked lawmakers to do when necessary, and up until now, Congress has always acted.

Me: Did you think it was necessary?

Patrick: It is necessary because lawmakers have already voted for this spending, but haven't yet authorized the President to pay those bills. And if we can't reach a solution, the United States may default on its debts. That outcome is unacceptable.

Me: Now, there's been a lot of disagreements, Director Gaspard, with the Republican party. Why do you that is?

Patrick: There is a disagreement for one reason: The President has proposed a balanced approach that pairs an increase in the debt ceiling with responsible steps to reduce our country's long-term deficit, but a core group of Republicans is refusing to accept any form of compromise that might force millionaires and billionaires and oil companies and corporate jet owners to pay their fair share.

Me: And time is running out. We have until August 2nd, and that is tomorrow, right?

Patrick: Time is running out. We have less than one day to prevent our nation's first default on its obligations in history, and that's why President Obama ended his speech by asking all of us to get involved. Speaker Boehner has heard from the President on this issue, but he hasn't heard from you.

Me: Heard from me? What am I supposed to do?

Patrick: Call him now at 202-225-0600, then take a moment to let us know how your call went. Right now, there are lawmakers from both parties who understand what's at stake if we fail to reach an agreement. But there are some who are more interested in petty partisanship than genuine solutions to our nation's problems -- and they have brought us to the edge of disaster. As the President spoke, he said this: "The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn't vote for a dysfunctional government. So I'm asking you all to make your voice heard... If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message."

Me: Has this worked, have people been calling the Boehner?

Patrick: We've been hearing reports about a flood of calls to the Capitol, that have at times overwhelmed the Congressional phone and email systems. You should be a part of this effort. Call Speaker Boehner now and keep trying until you speak to his office: 202-225-0600.

Me: And when a Phile reader or myself do, what shall we say?

Patrick: When you get through to the Speaker, tell him to put politics aside and make a deal to raise the debt ceiling before August 2nd.

Me: And you said once we call we should let you know. How would we do that?

Patrick: Once you've spoken to Speaker Boehner's office, let us know what you hear:

Me: Thank you, Director, for your time.

Neil Patrick Harris is an ad executive and Jayma Mays his pregnant wife. Neil works for Sofia Vergara, a Devil Wears Prada-like ladyboss whose managerial style involves threatening to fire him every time she's on screen. Tim Gunn is in it, too. He's playing what is either the Halloween costume version of himself or else he's playing Sofia Vergara's extreme-gay-makeover assistant, it's hard to tell. And he says "Make it work!" at one point but I forget to whom. Neil has to please Sofia with an ad campaign and come to terms with his inner anxiety over the prospect of impending fatherhood. This story will captivate children everywhere. No amount of putting "smurf" into normal words could make this movie more interesting or cute. As per usual, I kept an ear out for what the children in the theater found funny, and the biggest laughs were Gargamel falling into a pile of garbage bags and Clumsy falling into the toilet. Those were the two big moments, and I'm convinced that the small giggles I heard during the other 84 minutes of the film were brought on by kids fooling with their parent's cell phones. For me, who grew up watching "The Smurfs" on Saturday Morning (I have Season 1 on DVD), I loved it. Neil Patrick Harris had a John Lee Hooker poster hanging up in his apartment office, and they even mentioned Peyo, the who created The Smurfs. I also really enjoyed Narrator Smurf. The Smurfs are really cute and their eyes are creepily lifelike as well. And not since that amazing "Guitar Hero" sequence in Couples Retreat there has never, maybe in the history of cinema, outside of Mac and Me and the recent Morgan Spurlock documentary Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, been a film this inundated with product placement. Not only is there an extended "Guitar Hero" sequence that hip-hop-izes the "la la la" Smurf song, but every sort of toy, food, restaurant and Sony product that exists in the world is lovingly placed in or behind the action. There's even a shot of children stampeding the Smurfs in the hope that they are, in fact, toys to be bought. After a while it's like the air you breathe but can't see. I hope someone out there makes a project of counting up all the logos and brand names. It won't be me. But someone. There's a real cat credited in the film, but that animal has been clearly used as a template for animation because Gargamel (Azaria) does nothing but hurl the creature into space and against walls, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote-style. If you're the parent of a toddler and you also share your home with any kind of small animal you might consider emphasizing that this is a cartoon and that we should never treat the kitty this way in real life. Otherwise your pets are doomed. From 1 to 10, it gets a 9, and yep, I am sad to say, I will be buying it when it comes out on Blu-ray. By the way, they explain why Smurfette is the only girl Smurf.

Okay, let's introduce the fourth artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. It is Gunnar Gaylord, and this is one of his paintings.

Gunnar will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest was last on the Phile on February 15th, 2009, and he took part in the Phifth Anniversary entry of the Phile. He has a new CD out which is available on iTunes called "The Long Dark Road". He is a one man band who records under the name Infinite-Lane Highway and is French Canadian. Please welcome back to the Phile... Marc Savoie.

Me: Bonjour, Marc. Welcome back to the Phile. So, how are you?

Marc: Hi, Jason! I’m fine, thank you. Glad to be back for another interview!

Me: Congrats on your new album, Marc. I purchased "The Long Dark Road" off from iTunes and love it. And I am glad you did put "Freak From Mars" on the CD. You must be proud of the album. How long did it take to record it?

Marc: I’m very proud of this album. It sounds like me! I mean, on the first one, some of my influences were pretty obvious, but on "The Long Dark Road", everything seems more organic and personal (to my ears anyway). It took forever to record (two years) because I was really busy trying to promote the first one on the internet and because there was a lot going on in my personal and professional life as well.

Me: Did you play all the instruments on the new album like you did on the first? You must have a band by now.

Marc: Yes, I played all the instruments on this album, apart from the drums, which are programmed. Unfortunately, I don’t have a band yet, mostly because I just can’t picture myself dealing with all the problems that come with it while having a fulltime job. So I made the decision to concentrate on writing and recording and trying to place some of my songs on TV shows and movies. I’ve always been a studio freak anyway, so it’s not a big compromise on my part. If I can make a name for myself without going on the road, it’ll be OK. If not, well, so be it! I’ll still enjoy writing songs and recording them for myself and for the people who care to listen. It’s not that I don’t like to play and sing on stage or that I don’t miss it at all, on the contrary, but at 44, I’m just not ready to make the same sacrifices I was willing to make at 25.

Me: What made you call the album "The Long Dark Road"?

That’s a funny one. Believe it or not, I was trying to write a song that the "Supernatural" characters could listen to on the radio of their 1967 Impala!!! I’m a big fan of that TV show and I was having a blast watching all the episodes again, so that became my goal: to write a song that Sam and Dean would maybe care to listen to on the way to some vampire nest or something! That’s when I had the idea for "The Long Dark Road", which also became a song about something more personal, as you can guess if you pay attention to the lyrics. From there, I just thought that it would be a nice song to open the album and that, my ‘band’ name being Infinite-Lane Highway, it would also make a great album title.

Me: My favorite song apart from "Freak from Mars" is "Rockin' In the Stroller", even though you should of said Foghat instead of Led Zeppelin. Anyway, tell the readers of the Phile those lyrics.

Marc: Daddy is a huge Led Zeppelin fan / Mama loves the Heartbreakers and Pearl Jam / He was born on April 5th, 1994 / To the sound of "Enter Sandman" playing in the van / He's a rock child, punk child...

Me: Who is that song about?

Marc: Oops! Sorry about Foghat! I should have known better! LOL. I was trying to write a song about a guy who loves rock and roll in the age of internet, R&B and Hip-Hop. But I didn’t want to sound like an old fart complaining about the fact that rock isn’t that cool anymore, so I tried to imagine what a teenager would feel about it and how it could isolate him instead of making him popular. I had a lot of fun writing those lyrics because it gave me the opportunity to write about someone else and to name drop a few of my idols in the process as well.

Me: Hey, how is your Ibanez guitar doing?

Marc: My old Ibanez is doing great, thanks! Since I’ve upgraded all the electronics and put some Gibson Burstbuckers instead of the original pickups it has become my main axe. You can hear it on almost every song of the album. I had quite an epiphany when I plugged it on my new Rivera amp for the first time! Perfect combination!

Me: I have to ask you about the cover of your new album. It's so different from the first album cover. Did you do the drawing?

Marc: Yes, I did the drawing and I had a hard time keeping it simple. I tend to add a lot of details when I draw, but this time I really wanted something simple, almost childlike, if you will. Just a couple of lines. And I wanted the cover to be mostly white, not only to make it different than the first one, but also because I didn’t want to go for the obvious (a dark cover for an album titled "The Long Dark Road").

Me: Have you been playing live a lot? You haven't come to the States yet, right?

Marc: Well, like I said before, no, I haven’t been playing live at all, in fact. I did some videotaped performances that I've put on YouTube, but I don’t have any plans about forming a band or going on tour. Some days I miss it, other days I just think I’m more like a writer… you know, as soon as the book is written, you start a new one. I’ve always been like that. I like to play live a lot, but I don’t know if I’d like to do it all year long, being so in love with the writing and recording process.

Me: Are you planning your third album yet?

Marc: Slowly but surely, yes. I was planning on doing an acoustic and bluesy album like "Led Zeppelin III", one of my favorites, but I would also like to go for a kind of prog rock or Pink Floydish approach, longer pieces, a little less pop sounding, more experimental. We’ll see…

Me: Marc, you are a big Beatles fan, right? I have to ask, who is your favorite Beatle?

Marc: My favorite Beatle is John McCartney… or Paul Lennon!!! Seriously, I love most of the McCartney albums and Lennon’s "Walls and Bridges" is a personal favorite, but I still think they were at their best when they were writing together or competing with one another.

Me: Marc, thanks for doing this interview, sir. I wish you all the luck in the world. You finally have a website up, right? Tell the readers what it is. And is there anything else you wanna plug?

Marc: Thank you for the opportunity, Jason! I really appreciate it! Yeah, I have an official website at that I designed myself two years ago. I plan on using it in the near future to document the creation of my third album. That will be new and exciting for me! You can also visit my Facebook page listen to my songs on Jango Airplay, as well as on MySpace Music and ReverbNation.

Me: Take care, and keep in touch. Au Revoir.

Marc: À bientôt! Thanks again, to you and to your readers!

I did it. I finished before I have to get ready and go to my doctor's appointment, and then I am gonna go see Cowboys and Aliens. Thanks to my guests Director of the DNC Patrick Gaspard and of course Marc Savoie. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Alumni David Melbye from Heavy Water Experiments, and then next Monday it's not an Alumni, but Travis Johnson from the cool band Grooms. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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