Monday, November 28, 2011

Pheaturing Broni

Hello, and welcome to Cyber Monday here on the Phile, where everything is 75% off. Everything is normally off here anyway, if you know what I mean. A Fox News reporter asked Herman Cain what he thought of President Obama's easing of travel restrictions to Cuba, and Cain accused him of asking a “gotcha” question. That's when you know things are bad: When you're attacking Fox News for being part of the liberal media. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu testified before Congress the other day that he thought it was a good idea to lend $535 million of our tax dollars to the solar panel company Solyndra right before they went bankrupt. If he'd taken all of that money, put it in a big pile and set it on fire, it would have produced more energy than Solyndra. There are 249 millionaires in Congress. Remember a couple of years ago when this new Congress told us they had the solution to the recession? Apparently, they didn't share it with the rest of us. The latest fashion trend in Hong Kong is eyeglasses without any lenses in them. People just wear the frames. The feeling is that they make you intelligent, even though they're totally useless. Kind of like the congressional supercommittee. Speaking of the it looks like the supercommittee chosen by President Obama to come up with a plan to solve the deficit has failed. The best idea they came up with? A bake sale. Don't worry, President Obama has announced a new plan. Next week, he's appointing a super duper committee. Officials in New York City have arrested an al-Qaida sympathizer for allegedly planning a terrorist attack. You know, I hope al-Qaida gets the message. If we want to be terrorized over Thanksgiving, we have our relatives come visit us. Police say the suspect is a citizen who was originally from the Dominican Republic. Apparently, officials became suspicious when they found someone from the Dominican Republic living in New York and not playing for the Yankees. Herman Cain is the first Republican presidential candidate to get secret service protection. The level of protection a candidate gets depends on how well-known they are. For example, Jon Huntsman gets a 10-minute judo lesson and a plastic whistle. Did you hear this, Bernie Fine was fired Sunday by Syracuse University after a third man accused the assistant basketball coach of molesting him nine years ago? Guess he wasn't so Fine after all. Well, yesterday we wen to see The Muppets and I am glad to say it didn't make me cry like Toy Story 3 did. I am glad to say that there's a Kermit inspirational poster available. Take a look...

People keep telling me I should see the show "The Walking Dead". I haven't but when I saw this poster I might start watching it.

Today's guest is from Australia and that makes me think, if you look at the concave side of spoon in Australia will everything be normal? 

There is a plot. And it's an old one. A new character comes along and joins an established team, everybody learns to appreciate the new character and, in a moment of crisis, he helps save the day. The new character is Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan who also happens to be a Muppet even if he hasn't yet learned to see himself the way he sees his heroes. Walter's brother Gary (Jason Segel, not adopted by the way, they're just brothers, because Muppets aren't puppets, they're real, got it?) and Gary's girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) leave their home of Smalltown, after an elaborate, buoyant, bar-setting musical number involving the entire town, for a vacation in Los Angeles. They're on a Muppet pilgrimage, but what they don't understand is that the Muppets aren't exactly living as a happy, unified gang anymore. For unknown reasons, the most entertaining group in the world has gone their separate ways. Kermit is holed up in his mansion, Fozzy works at a casino in a sketchy Muppet tribute band, Gonzo sells plumbing fixtures, Rowlf lies around in a hammock and Piggy is, naturellement, the editor of 'Paris Vogue'. Walter's job? Get everybody in the same room again, preferably telling jokes and singing "Rainbow Connection." The dissolution of the clan is a nod to a lot of factors that have plagued the off-screen Muppets over the past decade: the death of Jim Henson, a diminished overall presence in popular culture and, when projects do come along, a worried sense that they aren't firing on all cylinders, that their glory days are behind them. By the way, at the end of the movie when they are all dancing in the street outside the Muppet theater there's a banner with a picture of Jim Henson on it. But that's over. They're back in excellent form, honoring the legacy built by Henson, and moviegoers and longtime Muppet nerds owe a debt of gratitude to Muppet superfan Segel for having the nerve to keep asking for a shot at making a film with them. Because all old-timer grumbling aside (Frank Oz is, from all accounts, not pleased) this is not only the perfect Muppet reunion, it feels like a shot of happiness vitamins.
The Muppets job is a tricky one. They have to make you laugh, whether you're an adult or a child, and they have to do it with gags that operate on a level of kid innocence and adult sophistication without pandering, inappropriate innuendo or double-entendre. And the creative team behind the felt and fake fur, both the veterans and the newcomers, feel perfectly in tune with each other, not only effectively rebooting these characters but also re-earning all the love that fans feel for them. They work clean, they work smart and they do it all with a crazy enthusiasm that, instead of wearing you down or grating on your nerves, leaves you feeling energized. Putting it plainly, it's the best family film and one of the best mainstream American films of this year. It's genuinely witty, funny and moving, a reminder that flying solo is fine but that friends are the ones who love you, teach you about yourself and help you find your way. It's also a lesson in how a big "event" movie can deliver real joy, something they often forget to do in the rush to "brand" and sell whatever tie-in products the studio has lined up in its ancillary revenue campaign. So no worries. Old Muppet fans will do cartwheels, new kid fans will learn the magic of that felt and fake fur, and they'll all want to see it again. I know I do. From 1 to 10 it gets a 10, and I will be buying it on Blu-ray. I already got the soundtrack.

This is the 16th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C....

Jack Boulware will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks. 

Okay, today's guest is a singer-songwriter from Australia whose new CD "To Get Her Together Now" is now available from iTunes. He'll be next appearing tomorrow at Open Mic at The Wesley Anne Melbourne, Australia. So, if you're in town. Shit, why can't it be Melbourne, Florida? Anyway, please welcome to the Phile... Broni.

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

Broni: Hello. thank you for having me... and I'm okay. The chocolate milk I just consumed may have had too much chocolate in it... which I didn't think was possible.

Me: You're from Melbourne, Australia, right? Have you heard of the bands from there called The On Fires or Little Red? The On Fires were on the Phile before and I am trying to get Little Red here.

Broni: I know Little Red, yeah. A bunch of my friends are super in love with them... claim to have "known them before they were successful". Haha. But The On Fires unfortunately no...

Me: I have to ask, is Broni your first name or last name?

Broni: Well... It's my first name. Well, my only name really if I had it my way I'd be like Madonna and Cher... why don't they get questioned?

Me: They would if they were here. Alright, let's talk about your music, which I love. Your first album was called "Every Thought I've Had Since I Was 10". Wow, what a long album name. That must of been a lot of thoughts, Broni. How old were you when that album came out?

Broni: Oh thank you. Super glad you like it. I was 24 when that album was released. I started making it at 23, but the oldest song on it I wrote when I was 14. It has that name because it certainly felt like I was finally exhaling from my teens. All that pent up adolescence and the tiny life moments that meant the world to me. The title comes from the first line of the last song which was referring to the whole album "I've thrown this together to try and retrace every thought i've had since I was 10". I wanted to tip my hat to the period of life that made me want to write songs.

Me: Your new album is called "To Get Her Together Now" which I love. Great album! So, is that title about anyone in particular?

Broni: The most common question I get is "did you get her?" Hehe... which for those who have seen me live would know that the title track of the album was actually about my girlfriend in grade 6... when I was 12. Because I wrote her a letter to win her back but like a silly pre teen I forgot to stamp it, and consequently never got a response. I only realised it was because i didn't stamp it when I was stamping my 18th Birthday invitations, obviously 6 years later. If you wanna hear me tell the story theres a video here:

Me: How did that song get to be the album title, Broni?

Broni: Oh, in terms of the album It's actually supposed to convey a story of a guy who finally feels like he's getting his life together. So 'her' is referring to life... and I just need to get it together. Which I think is demonstrated in the songs. It just happened to be a perfect fit for the song. At least I think so.

Me: Where was that album recorded and how do you compare it to the first album?

Broni: That's an awesome question. The first album to me was a huge leap forward from everything I'd done before, but it's still very immature... Though I love the songs and their sentiments I feel I've outgrown the performances. So it was my mission to perform the second album much better and I think I achieved that. I'm really proud of both for different reasons. Though gun to my head, 'to get her together' is a better, more cohesive record. I'm looking forward to stepping up again though. We recorded the drums at Sing Sing studios in Melbourne, My drummer amazingly nailed them all in about 6 hours. Which was lucky because he left for Europe the very next day. And the rest of the album we completed on a farm about an hour out of the city. It was a splendid experience. Except for the spiderwebs in the kettle.

Me: You are a brilliant songwriter. How long does it take for you to write one song?

Broni: Oh wow, thank you. I'm constantly learning so that means a lot to hear that. Um, I think my 'best' songs or at least the ones I am most proud of tend to fall together pretty quickly. I mean, less than half an hour, which is why I sometimes reference and firmly believe that often the universe is writing it for me. It was a song that needed to exist and I'm just the conduit for that particular tune. Others I've slaved over for hours and days... but you know what happens? People don't tend to hear those ones... The ones you hear came out pretty naturally.

Me: What was the name of the first song you have ever written and ow old were you when you wrote it?

Broni: Haha. It was called "Ugly Face". I was 10 years old in a band with my 8 year old neighbour called TOILET WATER. We sent our tracks on cassette to Triple J because we thought they were hilarious. All they were good for was playing them at my neighbours 21st birthday as he was the winy baby singer. I'll give you a sample. "No offence but I just don't like you, it's not your ugly face, it's the way you talk. actually... I'm just joking... it's your ugly face" (and that's the chorus). I still played it till I was about 20, it got the laughs in high school.

Me: I know you play guitar, but what other instruments do you play?

Broni: Right. I 'dabble' on piano. The piano on the album is me but I'm not very good. I was the bass player in a rock band for about 5 years... so I play bass too. I have a violin, I can play the G major scale on it. I also play Omnichord... if you don't know what that is, you need to look it up... best instrument ever.

Me: Do you have a regular band that backs you up?

Broni: I do yeah. I have my brother Speds perpetually by my side on bass guitar and singing harmonies. And My drummer/percussionist/best friend Easy... and my newest friend Boops on guitar and cello. I've had a rotating roster at times of people filling in... and I'm super grateful for people who are happy to get involved, but that's my crew at the moment, keeping at small for the time being, I used to have a keys player and a trumpet player... but it got a little crazy.
Right now I kinda judge the size of the show before I bring the band along.

Me: Have you been to the States yet to play?

Broni: Yes, 3 times. My second home is San Diego, California. I love doing the coffee house circuit and playing house shows over there.

Me: I have to ask you about this... I read that you do personal singing telegrams. Do you show up to people's houses?

Broni: Haha, Yes I do that. Most of the times it's purchased as a gift for people, I'm rarely doing it for the person who requested it. But basically it is hand delivery of my album. I play a song for them and who ever is home on their doorstep then I hand them whatever merchandise item or CD is being delivered and I leave. It's funny. I love it.

Me: What songs do you perform?

Broni: At their door? 

Me: Yeah.

Broni: Usually whatever is requested, often the person who books me knows that persons favourite and I play that.

Me: Do people enjoy it when you do that?

Broni: Haha I think so. I kinda keep it short and I don't stick around to chat. I just think it's a fun quirky thing to offer. When has a band or artist ever hand delivered that album to you? Haha. I hope they like it. I'm sure it's sometimes awkward.

Me: How far have you traveled to do that?

Broni: Not very far. About 75km. I've only done a handful.

Me: I bet you'll charge a lot, especially if I wanted you to come here to Clermont, Florida to do a personal singing telegram. Have you ever been to Florida?

Broni: Haha... yes, well generally it's only my wallet that stops me... I'd be there to do it for you in a second if I could be, but I've been asked before and unfortunately I have to charge the price of the plane ticket plus more obviously... at which point obviously it never happens because people aren't crazy. I've never been to Florida, no... but find me an audience and we'll do a house show.

Me: I wish Kelly Clarkson would personal singing telegrams. I would order a CD from her every weekend. Broni, who are your influences music wise? Rolf Harris?

Broni: Rolf Harris? Hahaha. I get that a lot in the U.S. His use of the wobble board in particular really shaped my career. My biggest influence is Life... It's crazy! Haha. But seriously, at the moment, Brett Dennen and Ray Lamontagne are blowing my mind. Yet I'm most influenced by those around me who are making incredible music in tiny nooks of the world and no one knows about it... they influence and inspire me the most.

Me: You have a podcast I have to mention. Is that available on iTunes? What is it called?

Broni: It certainly is available on iTunes. It's called "Broni Bothers". It's only just started, and it's basically me talking to other creative and driven folk who are just trying to get by with their art. It's sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always pretty informative I suppose. A great place for young musicians seeking some real stories to draw their ideas from in terms of how to approach getting themselves out there.

Me: Do you sing on it, or just talk? What kinda stuff do you talk about?

Broni: We just talk, and it's mostly about promoting the guest, you won't hear my music on there. I usually do a little update about whats going on in my life and then we get straight into the chat with the guest, we talk about the entertainment industry, and writing songs and all the ebbs and flows that come with our chosen path.

Me: So, what's next for you, Broni? When your next project comes out I hope you'll come back onto the Phile.

Broni: I certainly will, it's been a great in depth interview, I appreciate the effort you went to.... For me I have 2 things in the pipeline besides three small tours I'm doing between now and the end of the year. Firstly, early next year I'll be making a live record and DVD which I'm super excited about. And secondly, we are already rehearsing for the 3rd Studio album and I'm really excited about the songs. 

Me: I hope this was fun, and I am a big fan, sir. Go ahead and plug all your sites like Facebook, Twitter and everything. And please come back again soon. All the best, and continued success.

Broni: Thanks so much, i'm really glad I was interviewed by a fan. And you can find me on Jango radio and Last FM and iTunes and all that nonsense.... Google me it's all there, I'm finally ranked number 1 on Google... beating out the province in Italy named Broni... finally. Haha. Thanks so much, dude!! Keep on smiling!

Well, that about does it. Thanks to Broni for a great interview. I hope he comes back on the Phile soon. Okay, the Phile will be back next Sunday with Amber Nash from the duo Shiny and the Spoon and then on Monday it's Blues legend Pete Brown. Then starting that week the Phile will start to be updated three times a week. Wednesday's, Sunday's and Monday's, and on that Wednesday it's Ron Sexsmith, people. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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