Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pheaturing Amber Nash From Shiny and the Spoon

Hello, welcome back to the Phile. Christmas is almost here. It's time to reduce your alcohol budget to save money for gifts, spend an hour finding a parking space at the mall, wade through the sea of obesity known as a food court and buy some crap for a bunch of ingrates who will get right back to texting after they've tossed that crap in their bedrooms. It's December, people, and Christmas is right around the corner. Let's start with some good news... Contrary to what people seem to believe, Regis Philbin did not retire. He was fired after they caught him stealing. Well, another woman came forward with allegations about Herman Cain. I think she's number 9-9-9 now. Riot police arrested hundreds of people outside city hall in Los Angeles the other day, still less violent than Black Friday at every Walmart in America. Occupy L.A. encampment is over and with it, the world's longest hacky sack game comes to an end. Meanwhile, in New York at the annual lighting of the Christmas tree a dozen protesters are living in the tree. After two months, the LAPD broke up the Occupy protest outside city hall here in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, the police didn't find any drugs on the premises which means that the police are not very good at finding drugs. Its been cold here in Florida... and when I say cold it's been dropping to 50 degrees at night and in the 70's during the day. But in California they have been getting a lot of wind. More than 400,000 homes in southern California lost power from the wind. For the last 24 hours, they have been forced to keep up with the postal service. The number of households that own a television set is down for the first time since they started the survey. This is America! The only excuse for not having a TV in your home is, you're too fat to fit into Best Buy to get one. Speaking of TV, “Sesame Street” went on the air in Afghanistan. How can they have "Sesame Street" in a country that doesn't have streets? Let this be a warning to nations around the world, engage in a war with us and we will invade your country and provide you with quality children's programming. Well, the holiday season is here, and it's my favorite time of the year. One thing I love about the holiday's and Christmas is Christmas lights. For example, take a look...

Have you seen the new Wodka vodka advertisement and billboard? It's been getting a lot of controversy, and what's really weird, it's real, not made up. Check it out.

Me, personally, I don't get it. Alright, now for some sad news...

Patrice O'Neal
December 7, 1969 - November 29, 2011
Elephant has left the room.
Ken Russell
July 3, 1927 - November 27, 2011
His state has been altered.

Well, it's that time of year when everybody is writing out their Christmas lists. When I say everybody I mean people that celebrate Christmas. So, here on the Phile, is a brand new pheature I will call...

Today's list comes from Ash Ketchum. If you don't know who that is, that is the kid from "Pokemon". This is him in case you didn't know.

By the way, Ash is not a very Japanese sounding name. Anyway, here is Ash's Christmas wish list, kids. 
1. To be the very best.
2. Pikachu pajamas.
3. Rare candies.
4. Bill's Macbook Pro.
5. For Gary Oak to die by my hand.
6. Jigglypuff erasers.

There you have it, Ash's Christmas list. That was so stupid. Okay, well, it's Sunday, and every Sunday I invite my friend Jeff to the Phile and we talk football. So, once again, it's time for...

Me: Hi there, Jeff, welcome back. This is week 13 I think. So, what's the big news this week?

Jeff: Welcome to Week 13 of the NFL Season. The biggest news is the Vikings released QB Donovan McNabb. Ever since he left the Eagles two years ago he has bounced from team to team. Not good for someone most people expected to be in the hall of fame at one point. Maybe not so much right now. A lot more injuries are stacking the deck against teams this year too so it's going to be a fight to see who limps into the playoffs.

Me: Before we continue to talk about football, I have to ask you can you believe the NBA season is on? What do you think about it?

Jeff: Yes, the NBA is coming back but I think the damage has been done. They will need to do a lot of work to win back fans. NFL doesn't seem to have lost any fans due to their lockout, NBA has.

Me: I agree. But I will say go Magic! Alright, so, how did we do on our picks last week?

Jeff: Neither one of us did well this week. Maybe Las Vegas should have me make the spread cause the two games I picked was the exact number of the spread. Meanwhile you went 0-2 this week. Steelers won (unimpressively) while the Giants lose.

Me: Great job, Jeff. So, you're still winning? 

Jeff: Yes, I think I am winning by 5 points now.

Me: Aggghhhh. This can't be happening.

Jeff: You still have five weeks to catch up. It ain't over!

Me: True. I will come back yet. Okay, what about the picks this week? I say Kansas City by 11 and San Fran by 6. What do you say?

Jeff: I am going to go with the Denver Tebows over Minnesota by 3 and Ravens over Browns by six. 

Me: Alright, see you next Sunday, Jeff. The Giants better win this week.

Okay, now for some politics talk. There's a lot going on with Mitt Romney that I don't understand. It's like he is two men trapped in one body. So I thought I would invite Patrick Gaspard, the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee to the Phile to get is opinion. So, once again, here is...

Me: Hello, Director, sir. Okay, I said Romney is like two men trapped in one body. What do you think of the "two" men?

Patrick: Well, one man is a Republican politician whose positions on the issues made him palatable even to Massachusetts voters. The other is a Tea Party Republican taking one extreme position after another on the economy, immigration, foreign policy, and more.

Me: That's better then what I could of said. LAst time you were here I think we talked about how he flip-flips. Do you think there's anything "they" they agree on?

Patrick: The only thing they agree on is they both want to be president, and there's not much they wouldn't do or say to get there.

Me: So, the body they're fighting over is Mitt Romney's. Do you think a lot of undecided voters are asking who is this guy?

Patrick: Yes, I do, Jason. They are also asking themselves where does he really stand?

Me: Experts are predicting kind of a tough fight between Romney and his biggest ideological opponent: Mitt Romney from four years ago. Those guys don't agree on anything. Conan O'Brien said that as well, sir. 

Patrick: There might be something behind that. The Mitt who was governor of Massachusetts had to appeal to a pretty progressive crowd to get elected, and the Mitt who's running for president needs the Republican base to clinch the GOP nomination.

Me: So, what do we know for sure about Mitt?

Patrick: All we know is Mitt wants to get to the White House. And you know what that means: The battle of Mitt v. Mitt rumbles on. The results so far have already been pretty frightening, so that's why we need your help, Jason, spreading the word on every flip-flop, backtrack, and refusal to take a clear stance.

Me: Yes. Americans deserve to know what they'd get from a President Romney. Thank you, sir, once again.

Patrick: Thank you, Jason.

This is the 16th book in the Peverett Phile Book Club, kids.

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

Today's guest is one half of the band Shiny and the Spoon whose new album "Ferris Wheel" is now available on iTunes, and they just released their Christmas EP "Sing the Season" on bandcamp. They'll be next appearing at Green Lantern in Lexington, Kentucky on December 9th. Please welcome to the Phile... Amber Nash.

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

Amber: I'm phine, thanks for askin'! :)

Me: Okay, I have to ask, and I am sure you got this question so many times. Who is Shiny and who is the Spoon?

Amber: Ha! We do get that question a lot... which only means it's a good one. We have lots of answers to this question. It's a pretty nonsensical name and to be completely honest, we didn't even really assign "shiny" or "the spoon" to either one of us. But there are definitely fights over who gets to be "the spoon." Jordan will tell you that he is "the spoon" but I'm pretty sure I get to make the call. You know, since I'm the one wielding the ukulele.

Me: Where did that name come from, Amber?

Amber: To be honest, we put little to no thought into that name. Part of that has to do with the fact that I was just coming out of a very short-lived band, more of a project, really, that spent, what I felt to be, an insanely long time coming up with the "perfect" band name. We had rehearsed once, and weren't even really sure what sound we were going for, or who was doing what or anything... and all the sudden there are like, 40 emails going back and forth about the stupid band name. And a logo. And our t-shirts. When Jordan and I decided to formally become a "band" we just threw out names that we liked and those two stuck. We wanted to be "_______ and the ________," but any detail other than that was kind of up in the air at that point. And that name stuck.

Me: You and Jordan have known each other for a few years, right? Where did you two meet?

Amber: We met in September of 2008 at my co-worker/his sister-in-law's Oktoberfest party in Cincinnati. He was playing an accordian in the living room. It was quite charming.

Me: You've been compared to June and Johnny Cash... are you two a couple? You definitely have some chemistry.

Amber: Yes, we are a couple. We became a band shortly after we became a couple, actually, and music is how we made plans to get together for our first date. I was playing solo for a few months and I gave him my project's CD, and he gave me his Myspace info, and we decided to get together and jam.

Me: Where are you two from, Amber?
I'm originally from Shelbyville, Indiana, and Jordan is from Mansfield, Ohio. Shelbyville is where the former tallest woman on Earth made her home and Mansfield is home to the prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed. When you're from a small town you have to hold on to those types of things.

Me: Do you get to travel and tour out of Ohio often? Ever been down to Florida?

Amber: With our most recent release, we're planning some weekend tours now. It's a bit tricky during the school year because I teach and the other band members have day jobs, but I think we'll really try and hit it a bit harder during the summer. Right now we have a tour booked for early this month that goes through Lexington, KY and Knoxville, TN. In February we're hitting Indianapolis, Louisville, and Dayton. And in April we're going to hit a few of those places again. So yeah, we're starting to spread our wings a bit. I have been to Florida, and not just for that one time my high school marching band went to Disney World. An old friend moved down there and I used to go visit and we'd play music. That's where the project, ukebucket, happened. It was great. He lived in Melbourne Beach so I was within walking distance of the ocean. And there were lots of green lizards everywhere. It was kind of a shady situation. He was kind of squatting and kind of not... his family members knew he was there, but I think they were too old and senile to really know what was going on. And he was too poor at the time to really pay for utilities, so there wasn't really much running water, and there were a few holes in the ceiling. His roommate worked at Subway so he swiped food for us all the time. I ate Spicy Italian Subs for like, a whole week. We were bums, pretty much.

Me: Who does most of the song writing?

Amber: We actually both do an equal amount. We've gotten to the point now where we can write songs together pretty easily.

Me: You have other people in the band, right? Who else plays with you?

Amber: After playing as a duo for about 2 years, we added Pete Brown on upright bass last summer, and Matt Frazer on drums.

Me: There'll be a Pete Brown on the Phile tomorrow, but not the same one. I don't think. Nope, different one. LOL. Anyway, I downloaded your new album "Ferris Wheel" off from iTunes and your self-titled EP, and really enjoyed them both. How has your music evolved do you think the last couple of years?

Amber: We started out as very minimal... very quiet instrumentation, soft sounds, and really used space to our advantage, I guess kind of like what an artist or photographer would do with negative space. Our recent release was recorded in a professional studio with more musicians. This allowed us to keep that simplicity but surround it with an overall fuller sound. And with the addition of Pete and Matt, now we can play in bars and people will know we're there. :)

Me: I love your artwork on both releases, especially the EP. I have a copy of it right here.

It looks like artwork from a children's book. Who did the artwork?

Amber: The artwork for the EP was done by Mark Utley, front man for a really great Americana outfit here in Cincinnati called Magnolia Mountain. He has a design company called Novena that he works out of. The recent release cover, "Ferris Wheel", was designed by myself and John Oaks (also in a fabulous band here in Cincy called Rubber Knife Gang). He shot the photo and I did the writing. He placed and pulled everything together and there you have it.

Me: On the "Ferris Wheel" album cover, is that a drawing or a photo? And what on Earth is it?

Amber: Isn't that the coolest thing ever? It's a photo. And it's actually a replica of a vintage tin toy of a double Ferris wheel. One more reason why I love Ebay.

Me: As I was just saying, I love your music and really enjoyed "Ferris Wheel". You did a video for the song "Bread and Butter", was that your first music video?

Amber: Well, we did a lot of "homemade" videos on Youtube, which is where we draw a lot of internet support. The video for "Bread and Butter" was produced by Pinata Productions and I guess you could say it is most definitely our first "official" video.

Me: Where was it filmed and was it fun making it?

Amber: It was filmed at a few state fairs around Ohio. And oh my gosh, are you kidding? It was LOADS of fun to make. Basically, all Jordan and I had to do was walk around, play games, and eat delicious fair food. It was really hot that night, but so worth it. There was a part, though, in the fun house, where we were going through... and I didn't realize that there would be a blast of air coming up from the floor. I was wearing a skirt. Luckily they kept this out of the video, but I definitely flashed the 8 year old behind me.

Me: I noticed, Amber, that you have a few tattoo's. What are they? I have four myself. Does Jordan have any tat's?

Amber: I do have tattoos! I have eight. The ones I'm most proud of are the penny on the inside of my ankle, a dandelion on my upper arm, and I have a picture frame with a tree on my back. Jordan does have a tattoo, actually, of a penny, on his shoulder blade. Yes, we totally got matching tattoos. And no, we weren't drunk.

Me: On the album you guys do a great version of a-ha's "Take On Me". I was never fond of the original version (their video for it was kinda cool though) but I love your version. How did you two decide to record that song?

Amber: I've been playing that song, in a style similar to the recorded version, for about 7 years. I was in this project called ukebucket and we recorded it a while back. I just love the song. It's the perfect pop song. Catchy melody, lyrics that don't really make any sense, and a hook chorus. It makes folks smile when we perform it and they realize what it is. I love that.

Me: My favorite song from A-ha is "The Living Daylights".

Amber: Never heard of it. Sadly, my only a-ha experience is "Take On Me."

Me: Is that the only cover you do? I bet you could do a really cool version of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf". Are you a fan of 80's music?

Amber: Now I DO know that song. I love 80's music, mostly because I grew up with it. We do some covers but most of our shows are only about an hour or so so we hit the originals pretty hard. For longer sets, though, we do bring out "Ring of Fire," "No Hole In My Head," and I really have been wanting to do "Don't Stop Believing" but Jordan won't let me. I'm currently coming up with a plan with the rest of the band members to just do it anyway. I'm sure he'll love that.

Me: Did you ever hear Madonna's version of "Take On Me"? 

Amber: Ooo, no I didn't. Didn't she write a children's book a while back? I remember reading it and thinking it was the worst thing ever. I've been kind of turned off since then.

Me: Okay, enough about a-ha... Amber, what is next for you guys? Are you already planning a second album, or another EP? I want more music from you guys.

Amber: We're always planning something! We're really trying to play out and promote. BUT, we are writing more new songs. AND we released a 5-song Christmas EP. We covered "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," "Silent Night" and "O Christmas Tree." We're included an original Christmas song called "Candy Cane" and a re-recording of "Buried" off of our EP, which we wrote together on a snow day, so we thought it was pretty appropriate:) For now, it will just be a digital release, and it will be free for this year, and $5 for years after that.

Me: Amber, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Go ahead and plug your website, Facebook, Twitter and everything. Take care, and please come back onto the Phile. All the best, Amber.

Amber: Thank YOU!,,

There, that about does it for this entry, kids. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Patrick Gaspard and of course Amber Nash. The Phile will be back tomorrow with blues legend Pete Brown, and then again on Wednesday it's the great Ron Sexsmith. Then next weekend on Sunday it's local musician Burt Wilson and on Monday it's Shanna Delaney, the lead singer for the band Bethesda. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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