Monday, November 21, 2011

Pheaturing Eddi Reader

Hi, there and welcome back to the Peverett Phile. How are you? I support gay penguins. There was another Republican debate last Saturday, and listen to this: Ron Paul only got 89 seconds to speak. Seriously? Rick Perry gets more time than that to try to remember something. Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman accused his Republican opponents of coming up with easy sound bites just to get applause. In response, Mitt Romney was like, “That is ridiculous. Clap if you like bacon!" The Republican Presidential candidates have really been fighting for attention this week. In fact, Rick Perry proposed cutting the president’s salary in half. Yeah, Perry was like, “What do I care? It’s not like it’ll affect me!" In a new interview, Herman Cain said that if Rick Perry were an ice cream flavor, he'd be “Rocky Road.” I don’t know, Perry's not really any flavor of ice cream. He's just the brain freeze part. I heard about a new insulin device for diabetics that could test tears instead of blood. That'll be weird when you're like, “Hey, I need to test my blood sugar. Can you put on Marley and Me? Or that movie I rented from Netflix last week... The Trucker. Man, when the dad was dying from cancer and was saying good-bye to his son... I am getting teary eyed just thinking about it. It's up there with Step Mom and Toy Story 3 for movies that are guaranteed to make you cry. There’s legislation on the table in the Netherlands that would ban tourists from visiting coffee shops that sell marijuana. That’s fine, Amsterdam. We’re not letting you into Build-A-Bear. That's so funny, I am wearing my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt my sister got me from Amsterdam. I have no idea why what's actually funny. Just because there was a joke about Amsterdam the same time I am wearing an Amsterdam t-shirt. I am lame. 'People' magazine has named Bradley Cooper the Sexiest Man Alive. All eyes will be on Bradley to see what kind of sexiest man he’ll be. The first few weeks are very important in setting the tone for your term. Vice President Biden was in New York today for the second time in less than a week, just to see if he left his wallet at the M&M’S Store. There’s apparently an upscale club in New York where members eat beaver tail, hard boiled duck eggs, and lamb eyeballs. Or you could go the cheaper route, and just order a McRib. As you read on the Phile yesterday, the government took action and introduced a bill to classify pizza as a vegetable in schools a few days ago. Mark this down: November 17, 2011: The day America gave up. I guess they figure, “Our approval rating is 7 percent. What the heck, let's go down to 2 percent.” The food industry says the new rules give schools the flexibility to increase nutrition. The same way elastic waistbands give us the flexibility to keep in shape. In a world where Kardashians are celebrities, maybe pizzas can be vegetables. And Twizzlers are a fruit. A new survey found that 33 percent of Americans have broken up with someone using Facebook or a text message. While 33 percent of the Kardashian sisters have broken up with someone using TMZ. A new study found that overweight men are more likely to have children with weight problems. Or in other words, if you get your dad’s genes, you’re also going to get his sweatpants. Officials in Sweden say that pigeons have started riding the subway. I doubt that would happen on New York’s subways. I mean, the rats would never stand for it. PETA released a new Thanksgiving ad aimed at children, that compares eating turkeys to eating their pet dogs. Or as kids in China put it, “So?” Well, Thanksgiving is next Thursday and being British it doesn't mean a whole lot to me, but when I think of Thanksgiving I think of that famous Norman Rockwell painting of the family sitting around the table with the grandparents at the end, and the grandfather holding a large gun of some kind. You know the one I mean, right? Here it is if you don't.

I am so glad they released another Thanksgiving inspirational poster. Take a look at it, kids. 

Last Friday Regis Philbin retired from TV, but I am glad Kelly stayed on. Man, she's hot. If you don't believe me, take a look. 

Regis left this?!

And now for some sad news...

Walt Hazzard
April 15, 1942 - November 18, 2011
He changed his name to Mahdi Abdul-Rahman. Good call. So much cooler than Walt Hazzard.

Karl Slover
September 21, 1918 - November 15, 2011
As coroner, I do decree
I've examined him most thoroughly
Not only is he merely dead
He's really most sincerely dead!

Well, with Thanksgiving just around the corner and being mostly an American holiday I was wondering how some people celebrate it and what it means to them. And when I say some people I mean only one person. So, here again, please welcome back to the Phile to talk about Thanksgiving. It's...

Jesus Jason, its a time of tanks, to celebrate our genocide of the Amerindian to get the good real estate, First I rent that movie whatcha callit... Pocohantas... woo hoow! Wowza! Then we check the pigeon traps, this year we got about a dozen so we didn't invite the Morrisons. We roast half on a spit and make a savory pie with the rest, then we get some chips and Dunkin' Donuts with some cranberry soda. Now, remember your history, Mr. Zit, Presidents Ike Newtons warned of the warming of the military industrial complex, and the American turkey is part of the plot, most turkeys are fitted with silicon implants made in China to enhance breast size and cause disease so that the medical wing of this evil troika can keep raking in that medicare greenback. Thats why we live off the land and make pigeon pie... capiche? Now, whats that great movie where the Union soldiers give all the Indians the blankets filled with smallpox? That was Donald Trump's great grandfather in perhaps the sweetest real estate deal of American history, Agent Orange, time shares, asbestos insulation, it all stems from the same secret meeting of the Trilateral commision and the Vatican bank, also the comedian Buddy Hackett and they hatched a plan where they could perpetuate sickness, steal the land and launch the Fox network, all in one grand fell swoop. So, in essence, my red headed pupil, Thanksgiving is about sweet real estate deals getting rid of most of the indians, and silicon implants from China, but over here at the Riot's, we just like to eat some good grub and watch some westerns. Yee Haw, pardner! Yee Haw! That is except for my baby sister Paris, the vegan, we form a tofu turkey drumstick in a Betty Crocker mold and season it with paprika and ancient Indian spices, and the we all go down to Penn State to play some "snap towel" in the team showers. There's nothing wrong with that. Now remember, next time we will talk about the secret colony on Mars,and the true origins of the underground city beneath New Mexico. Happy tanks giving, pal, and don't forget to give a bum a swift kick in the arse!

Thank you, Pat, as always. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's top ten list...
Top Ten Changes Planned for This Year's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
10. Anatomically correct Spiderman balloon.
9. Potholes filled with delicious cranberry sauce.
8. Goodbye N.Y.P.D. marching band, hello, fat guy with an A.M. radio.
7. Popeye balloon now sporting several new obscene tattoos.
6. Times Square shop owners marching with helium-filled inflatable dolls.
5. For the first time, parade will feature guys in turkey suits stuffing each other.
4. Instead of waving and smiling, Santa Claus gives spectators the finger.
3. Local schoolchildren ride down Broadway on backs of giant rats.
2. A neutered Underdog balloon.
And the number one changed for this year's Macy's Thanksgiving parade...
1. Donald Trump's brand new gravy-scented hair.

This is the 16th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C. (and yes, I know they have been more thrown in but I am not gonna go back and count those).

One of the authors, Jack Boulware, will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Dad would be proud of this one, people. Today's guest is a Scottish singer-songwriter, known both for her work with Fairground Attraction and for an enduring solo career. She is the recipient of three BRIT Awards and has topped both the album and singles charts. Her latest album "Love is the Way" is available on iTunes and Amazon. Please welcome the one and only... Eddi Reader.

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

Eddi: Hello, I am well.

Me: Okay, I have to start by saying myself and my father were big fans of yours. My dad was a huge fan, and collected pretty much every recording you made. He first became a fan when the first Fairground Attraction album came out. One of his plans before he passed away was to try and contact you and see if you were interested in doing a duet with him. Have you heard of the band Foghat, Eddi?

Eddi: I have not, but that doesn't mean I would not have heard his music. I'm not too good at remembering names but I NEVER forget a sound.

Me: My dads number one favourite bands of all time was Trashcan Sinatras, and I just discovered that your brother is in that band. I wonder if my dad knew that. I am betting a million he did. Anyway, how is your brother and his band?

Eddi: My brother is fine. I do know the band are writing and planning a new record of songs and music.

Me: One of my favourite albums from the 80's when I lived in England was Fairground Attraction's "The First of a Million Kisses". That was the only Attraction album, right, apart from "Ay Fond Kiss" that was an album of b-sides and live tracks. That is a great album as well. Was that album rushed out after the band broke up?

Eddi: Yes, RCA/BMG contracted us to TWO albums. Those kinds of contracts with record companies were common. We signed up with them and they got a TWO for ONE deal. They get two albums and they advance you enough to feed one drummer. Ha ha... So, we split up just as we began recording the second album which was to contain songs we had all worked on and arranged over two years. Because RCA didnt get that second album they grabbed what scraps they could and tried to sell it to our fans as a real second album. The usual capitalist greed ethic of selling something for full price but it being full of songs most fans already had if they had bought the singles. The music was still quality though.

Me: Yes, it was. You had a number one single with the song "Perfect" which is one of my favourite songs of all times. How did that song change your life, Eddi? Do you still perform that song to this day?

Eddi: I do perform it and I was just thinking about how it has affected my life. Blessings came the moment I found that song. I was very driven to find songs and I found a diamond when Mark Nevin came to my home and played me that one. He wasn't clear about its value. I knew it was a classic. The difference between writing and 'interpreting' someone elses writing is very clear with me. I can hear something that even the writer can not hear. I love the look of shock and pleasant surprise on a writers face when I decide to put their words through the instrument of my voice, mind and heart. It can reveal more than the writer heard. But also can give the writer the realisation of what was HOPED when the song began to form.

Me: Why did Fairground Attraction break up after one album, Eddi, and would the band ever get back together for a project?

Eddi: Because the writer of the majority of the songs on that album, Mark Nevin, wanted to control our decisions and musical choices AFTER he realised how successful the band became.
After busking in France and Europe I returned to London and found work with Annie Lennox and a successful punk band called The Gang of Four. I got a reputation for being a fast learner and a good harmonic singer. I stayed in London from 1980-85, I writing and looking for songs and musicians to play with. Paying my way doing little sessions and tours. The drummer and the bassist who became the members of Fairground Attraction were known to Mark Nevin. I was making demos and asked Mark (amongst other writers and co-writers that I met in London), to try and write me songs. I wasnt too confident about my own writing although I certainly was writing all the time. I explained what I wanted , Waltz time, Piaf /Brel Le belle Epoch, etc. Cole Porter was my favourite writer at that time. I was looking for something romantic and akin to story telling rather than dance music. I had heard 2 songs Mark had written: "The Morning After" and another one, (I haven't the title of it in my head this morning). Both those songs were very romantic and reminiscent of the torch songs of the 40's which I loved. I was convinced Mark could write more for me, so I wrote to him to ask him for more and he returned from the States, (were he had gone to make it big with his singer girlfriend Jane Aire), to London, immediately, to write me songs. Mark came up with all those songs on the Fairground Attraction album in a 18 month period. Visiting with me when I would return from tours and gigs with other bands I gotten involved with. The first song Mark gave me was the song Fairground Attraction. This suited my idea of the direction I wanted to go in exactly. A mix of jazz and folk music, reminicent of the songs Edith Piaf would sing. He was an excellent guitar player and I thought I had found my musical partner. I asked him to be my producer and make a demo with me. He called in Roy Dodds and Simon Edwards. It was the first time I met them. It was 1986 or 7. Once we all came together we made a very beautiful demo with money I managed to attract from Polygram Records. I knew it was special and I was offered a contract but Mark decided he wanted to only continue to work with me if I made it a 'band project'. He worried about being removed from working with me, not having power and his songs being lost to him etc. He didn't want me to present it as a solo project. So, keeping the peace and wanting to maintain my friendship with Mark, I agreed to a band, I named the band Fairground Attraction after the first song, and was happy about that as I got on with starting a family and hoped the three others would take the reins. I had only just met Roy Dodds and Simon Edwards, the other two players who were session players in London. From, signing to RCA and recording the album - to singing on "Top of the Pops" the time period was about six months. 

Me: Wow.

Eddi: Unfortunately after the success of the album and single Mark became increasingly more demanding, he disregarded what chemistry was created by me having freedom to describe what I needed and heard in my head and began to force his complete control over what I sung, not respecting the very thing that brought me to finding his songs in the first place. My intuition is paramount when I choose what to sing and invest energy in. Sadly, Mark didn't understand that nor nurture our original arrangement. The chemistry was completely destroyed as I lost all confidence in being able to talk to him and what I wanted was disregarded. I found myself in a contract with someone who had no interest in friendship or mutual concern. Only money and hits. A cautionary tale for people signing contracts without knowing the people they are getting into bed with in business. I had to pick myself up and start again. You see the song was always the most important thing to me. A bunch of monkeys could be standing beside me on stage playing. All I cared and still care about when I am singing is the song. I can't imagine ever putting myself through that again. But I would sing, and HAVE sung, songs written by Mark since our split. "Kiteflyers Hill' on "Angels and Electricity" was the last one. He tried to stop it coming out after giving it to me to sing because I sung "upto" instead of "upon'" costing me thousands of pounds in re-recording the session. Most others would have seen that word as an interpretation thing. But I nearly lost it because of two letters in a word. I wouldn't risk losing songs again like that. They are too precious to me. I guess I learned about not giving my power away ever again.

Me: You did a great duet with Jools Holland called "The Waiting Game". Was he fun to work with? 

Eddi: Jools is a brilliant lover of music. Like me he knows a good tune when he hears it.

Me: Eddi, you're originally from Glasgow, right? Do you still live there?

Eddi: Sometimes.

Me: I was born in London, but for the past twenty plus years have lived in Florida, near Orlando. Have you ever been to Orlando?

Eddi: Yes, I have family in Oviedo.

Me: Do you get here to the States much?

Eddi: No, But now my children are grown I hope to play more over there.

Me: Eddi, when did you first start to play and learn guitar?

Eddi: I begged my father and mother for a guitar when I was 11. They had Seven of us, I was the eldest. My dad loved Rock and Roll and Elvis Presley especially. My mother was a stay at home mum and had a BEAUTIFUL singing voice. Like Doris Day. We all lived in a two roomed flat and I would lock everyone out of the small bathroom we shared, for HOURS, while I practiced with this guitar. Pretty soon I was playing Elvis songs and three chord songs at every party my family had. I used to scour the local news paper adverts for musicians wanted. I was going somewhere fast while holding babies and writing words down and cooking potatoes. My sister Jean reminded me that she can never sing the melody to songs because I forced her to learn the harmony parts only. She makes me laugh when I hear her sing "Bye Bye Love" and only the harmony part comes out. I must have been a good teacher though.

Me: You said you used to be a busker. I interviewed a singer named Natalie Gelman who was a busker in New York City. I imagine that could be scary. Has anything scary ever happened to you while you were busking?

Eddi: To be honest, people were AMAZINGLY kind to me. I think I was very waif like... tall thin and with a sweet voice that carried for miles. I was always given offers of food, shelter... I found that people enjoyed listening and loved to stand around. Once I stopped all the pedestrians in Sauchiehall Street and the police had to come to move the people listening but got so badly jeered that one of them put a five pound note in my guitar case and left me alone to jeers and applause. I was oblivious to why people liked my sounds. I only knew I enjoyed singing and playing guitar. 

Me: How old were you?

Eddi: I was 17.

Me: Did you perform original songs or covers then, Eddi?

Eddi: "Your Cheating Heart". "Brown Eyed Girl". "House of the Rising Sun". "New York Girls". "Lord Franklin". "Lowlands of Holland". "Buckets of Rain". "Dont Think Twice". "Bye Bye Love". Songs sung at family parties. Some I had learned in the folk clubs and from other 'too late to be' hippies and buskers. I had a few of my own but I didn't dare sing them. I was surprisingly shy behind the front of singing in the street.

Me: Eddi, let's talk about your latest album "Love Is The Way". That album came out a few years ago, right?

Eddi: Yup.

Me: Are you currently working on a new album?

Eddi: Yup, driving myself crazy, trying to write, as usual.

Me: I love the album, Eddi. How did the song "Love Is The Way" get to be picked to be the album title?

Eddi: Declan O'Rourke was a writer I met when I prayed for songs. I met him in Dublin and his first album has this song on it. But his version is much more upbeat and jolly. I kind of heard something softer and more gentle in it. He told me he stopped playing his version because he thought it a bit throw away, but since hearing my version he told me I have given it new life for him. He plays it live with a ukelele now. I LOVE it when that happens.

Me: On the album there's a song called "New York City". Were you in New York when you wrote that song? What was the inspiration behind it?

Eddi: That is my partner, John Douglas' song. It was intended for the Trashcan Sinatras but they decided they didnt want to record it. (John plays in the TCS). I fell in love with it. Yes, it totally gets me back to my days in New York when I ran around it falling in love with everything.

Me: Who plays on the album with you, Eddi?

Eddi: Boo Hewerdine who is a great writer and singer in his own right. He came to write with me and for me after the disaster of Fairground Attraction. We have worked together (when he is available) ever since. Roy Dodds, the drummer from Fairground Attraction. We made my first solo record "Mirmama" together. He and I a refugees of Fairground Attraction. Kevin McGuire a fantastic bassist who I met when after recording my Scottish album "The Songs Of Robert Burns". Alan Kelly top traditional Irish accordionist from Roscommon and Galway. One of my very best friends. Jack Maher who wrote a couple of songs on the session and plays guitar with Sharon Shannon. He is one of the best players I've ever worked with. John Douglas from the Trashcan Sinatras. I handed him my ukelele on the first day of recording and told him to play it all over the record. None of us would have sounded good without Mark Freegard who engineered the session. The recording desk and the musicians were all in the same room. We recorded everything as we all sat or stood four feet from each other.

Me: I have to ask you about the album "Eddi Reader Sings The Songs of Robert Burns" which you just mentioned. Tell the readers and myself because I am not quite sure who Robert Burns was. You must be a big fan of his to record that album.

He wrote "Auld Lang Syne", you may have heard of that. "Should auld acquaintance be forgot...." The whole world sings it! I was looking to make an album of traditional songs. As I selected from the ones I knew, I discovered he had written nearly ALL of the ones I wanted to try. So I investigated him and his story. I became fascinated and I felt a real affinity for his life. He is a fantastic poet and songwriter. I began to feel haunted by him so I recorded an album as tribute to him and the spirit of poetry that is very much alive in the part of the country that Robert Burns and I came from: the west of Scotland and Ayrshire. (he died at the age of 37, poor and the father of 13 in 1796), I felt an affinity. I added a song that was written about me, written by my brothers band: Wild Mountainside. I used that bunch of songs and Wild Mountainside in particular to come home to live in Scotland from London, I left when I was 18. It felt cyclic and right to come home.

Me: What other music do you listen to? Is there a new band or singer out right now that you're into?

Eddi: Oh, I don't seek out stuff to hear the way I did but I still fall for sounds and then if it catches my attention I will investigate. I love all the stuff I've loved for years, songs by Ella , Louis, Elvis, Patsy Cline... etc

Me: Your last album my dad got to hear of yours was "Angels & Electricity". There's a song on the album called "On A Whim" that was written by Ron Sexsmith who is gonna be on the Phile in a few weeks. Did he approach you or did you approach him about that song?

Eddi: I met him just after "Secret Heart" started making a little noise amongst us musos here. I went to write with Boo Hewerdine and we noticed Ron was playing Boo's local pub in Cambridge. So we hung out with him there and when he came to Scotland to play in Glasgow and Sweden when we bumped into each other on the road and asked him for a song. He delivered and it suited.

Me: Another musician that you have worked with that I am trying to get on the Phile is Boo Hewerdine. Have you and Boo been friends for a long time?

Eddi: Yes, I am sure Jane can introduce you to him. He would love to talk to ya.

Me: Eddi, thanks a million for being on the Phile. It was a huge honor to have you here, and I wish I could call my dad and say guess who I just interviewed. He probably would have a million questions for you as well. Please come back to the Phile when your next album comes out. Take care, Eddi, and I hope this was fun. Do you wanna mention your website?

Eddi: Thank you. My website is and I am on Twitter, Facebook and Myspace.  

Me: Thanks again, and take care.

Eddi: I shall raise a glass to your dad for introducing you to my work. God bless you and him. Ask him to get us on the guest list in heaven xxx.

Well, that was a long entry. Thanks to Jeff Cameron and of course Eddi Reader and Jane from for hooking it up. Okay, the Phile will be back on Friday with a special Black Friday entry with Josh Caterer, lead guitarist for the band Smoking Popes. Then next Sunday it's musician Reid Paley, one half of the duo Paley & Francis and then next Monday it's Australian singer-songwriter Bromni. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Have a save and happy Thanksgiving. Bye, love you, bye.

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