Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pheaturing Christine Leakey

Hello, kids, and welcome to a Sunday entry of the Phile, coming from bloody cold Florida. It is definitely a jeans day today. So, are you ready?  I don't think I mentioned this on Wednesday's entry, but Jay-Z and Beyonce had a baby named Blue Ivy. She is 7 pounds, reportedly happy, healthy, and already nominated for six Grammys and a People's Choice Award, so congratulations. I was in the hospital once and had a blue I.V.  Kate Gosselin is giving her fans a unique opportunity to join her on a cruise to the Caribbean. Being trapped at sea with Kate Gosselin and her kids doesn't sound like a vacation to me. It sounds like a punishment from a Greek myth. Tickets range from $1,900 to more than $3,000 per person. Or you can just go to Wal-Mart and listen to mothers yell at their children for free.  Wal-Mart is now offering free tax advice at more than 3,000 of its stores. Finally answering the question, “Where can I get tax advice, kitty litter, and a shotgun all in one convenient location?”  The national debt has reached $15 trillion, the size of the entire U.S. economy. Yeah, I don’t wanna say President Obama is out of solutions for the debt, but today he tried handing it off to Tim Tebow. Speaking of Tim Tebow, his game-winning pass was apparently more popular on Twitter than the death of Osama bin Laden. Yeah, even bin Laden was like, “It was a pretty sick pass.” President Obama met with the Dallas Mavericks to congratulate them on their 2011 NBA Championship. While Joe Biden met with the Globetrotters to congratulate them on that episode of “Scooby-Doo” they did. I didn't even know Dallas won the NBA Championship. Maybe Tebow should start playing basketball so people would take interest.  Fidel Castro posted a blog entry this week titled "The Best President." Castro thinks a robot would do a better job than President Obama. And if Mitt Romney wins, that could happen. With all due respect, Castro, we tried the robot thing here in California. And it didn't work out.  Well, after Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is now two-for-two. After his performance last night, Rick Perry’s campaign merchandise is now two-for-one.  I just mentioned Tebow and I was thinking, if God had a sense of humor would he have Tim Tebow lose by 40 or 50 points? Some company did reserach on who likes Tebow and I have the results here. Here they are,

There’s a new version of Monopoly based on Mitt Romney’s run for the Presidency. Here’s an exclusive look at some of the cards from the game.

And this one...

I mentioned last entry that Hostess, the food company has filed for Chapter 11. I was surprised they found money to release an inspirational poster though.

I hate Twinkies, they give me a headache. Actually, I don't think I eat any of the stuff from Hostess. Alright, let's move on.

William Janklow
Sep 13, 1939 - Jan 12, 2012
He was a dubious politician convicted of vehicular manslaughter who had brain cancer. Are we sure he wasn't a Kennedy?

Okay, it's Sunday and like every Sunday I invite my good friend Jeff to the Phile and we talk football. We did our picks before yesterday's games, so to pick all the playoff games, we will not cheat but go with what we picked. Then I will have jeff back here next Wednesday to do it properly. Anyway, please welcome to the Phile, Jeff Trelewicz for...

Me: Hi, Jeff, welcome back to week two of the playoffs. First of, thanks for being on the Phile's panel last Sunday. Was it fun?

Jeff: It's always fun to be on the Phile! You know that! Even though last week wasn't the best weekend for me. I am not a huge fan of New England, but right now I am glad they put an end to Tebowmania! The new rules of OT made no sense to me, but hey, I am only a causal fan who blogs about the sport and has been watching it since the days of Wide Receiver Louis Lipps, an epic name if there ever was one.

Me: Okay, I have ask, what did you think of the Steelers Broncos game. I know your Steelers lost, but that was a pretty impressive last 10 seconds, dontcha think? What's the other big news this week? Oh, yeah, the Giants won. 

Jeff: The biggest news is the shocking firing of Raiders coach Hugh Jackson, who pulled them from a seemingly lame team to a near play off team. But due to the struggles late in the season, ownership decided to live up to former owner Al Davis and just fire people randomly. The other big news is how the New York media and certain players are ripping Jets QB Mark Sanchez for the team not making the playoffs. One man can only do so much! Is he to blame for them losing? Yes. But he isn't the only one. But in the NFL it's so easy to point fingers at one player and that player is usually the quartberback.

Me: Alright, so how did we do, Jeff, with last weeks picks?

Jeff: After the first week of the playoffs you went 3-1 and I went 2-2. Which brings us to an interesting dilemmea. We were earning points for when our teams won in the playoffs, do we continue that? Since the Giants won and the Steelers lost, do you gain an extra point for that? That is for you to decide. As of right now I lead by only two points, possibly one pending your decision.

Me: Yeah, I should get an extra point for that. 

Jeff: We will still let you gain a point for every Giants game they win. So I am up by 1!

Me: Yeah, I am catching up. Let's do this weeks picks. I said the Patriots by 7, Baltimore by 10, New Orleans also by ten and last but not least the Giants by 3... just to be safe. I have forty bucks saved for the Super Bowl Giants baseball cap and t-shirt. What are your picks?

Jeff: I am going to go with the Saints over the 49ers by 3, The Packers over your Giants by three as well. I went with New England over Tebow by 9 points and Ravens over Texans by four.

Jeff: Alright, I will see you back here on Wednesday. Thanks as always.

Okay, today's guest is the 9th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery and is also a musician whose debut album "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure" will be out soon. Please welcome to the Phile... Christine Leakey.

Me: Hello, Christine, welcome to the Phile. How are you? And today is your birthday I believe, so happy birthday! You are the first guest to be on their Phile on their birthday.

Christine: I'm feeling pretty mellow and refreshed, thanks! :)

Me: Did anyone ever pick on you about your last name? I asked Ron Sexsmith the same question. People used to, and some still do, pick on me about my last name Peverett, calling me Pervert.

Christine: Haha! Yes, actually, but not from where you would expect! It was not in school, rather it happened when the Brownie pack I was in travelled south of the border to appear on "The Danny Burgess Show" in Watertown, NY which was a children's cartoon show hosted by the late Danny Burgess who was also the network's weatherman. Each week Danny invited a different Boy Scout, Brownie, Girl Guide and Beaver packs. He would sit them in what I interpreted at the time as a Lawrence Welk Orchestra type big band box with 3 rows for the kiddies to sit upon. He would get each child to pass his Bob Barker looking mic to state their name. Then he would say a few words that would lead into various cartoon episodes which he featured. My sister and brother had already been on the show and were given no special attention. By the time I appeared on the show, the name must have been getting Danny's curiosity. When I got to hold the mic and stated my name, he asked me to step out front and beside him. Once there, he asked me what Leakey meant and my immediate response was, Leakey pants! This instantly sparked lots of Brownie giggles and ear wiggles! I was chuckling too! He frowned awkwardly and responded with some makeshift answer giving alternate definitions for Leakey like Leek onions and whales who leak water from their spouts and realized it was probably best to just cut to Snagglepuss! :) At the end of each episode the children got Tootsie Rolls and what appeared to be McDonalds chocolate milkshakes. Things I never ate so I was excited to get that.. We got no Tootsies that day and banana milkshakes. I got sick from my milkshake and had to lay down for the entire ride home back to Canada!

Me: You have written hundreds of songs, Christine, while I have written hundreds of blog entries. Your writing is much more impressive. How old were you when you first wrote your first song? Do you remember what it was called?

Christine: I was three and the song is called "Pink Pal", other than that, I also would regularly sing made up songs to my dog.

Me: I bet you write a song a day, right?

Christine: For sure, there was a time bracket where I did daily. They were just oozing out of me! That changed when I started to hang with people my age who played in various Orchestras around the city. By going to shows they invited me to, it caused me to subconsciously change the way I write tunes and since then it's been more challenging for me. There is something to be said for not thinking too much and just creating a song with simplistic notes. :)

Me: You said you have appeared on TV. Do you act? What shows have you been on if you don't mind me asking.

Christine: Well now you know the first time I was on TV. Then while singing back-up as a doo-wop girl in Cadillac Bill & the Creeping Bent during the mid 90's, I appeared on "MuchMusic" and "CityTV's Breakfast Television". I was also interviewed on a Cable Network's music show where they came out and filmed my band, The Double Feature Creatures. Then in the late 90's I did a bunch of movie extra work during a slow summer for a bunch of films including, Superstar, Dick, Detroit Rock City, Happy Face Murders, Rocky Marciano... They were all pretty minor and you would have a tough time finding me unless you knew the exact hair do I had or shape of my head!!! Except in Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams scene on the school bus and out front of the White House for Dick. I was also on TV promoting my friends who were the first to ever circumnavigate the globe by only human power.

Me: I also wrote down in my notes... "Award winning documentary", but I don't remember what I was gonna ask you about it. What was the doc about and did you write music for it?

Christine: My friends, Julie and her now husband, Colin Angus won National Geographic Adventurers of Year back in 2006 for becoming the first to ever circumnavigate the globe by only human power. I did various tasks to help them from home while they were doing the portion from Moscow to Portugal on bicycles, then rowing from Lisbon to Limon, Costa Rica in a tiny sea worthy row boat, and then cycling north north west to Vancouver from there. Julie's mother had written a poem and wished for it to become a song and so I adapted it to some music that I wrote and tweaked the lyrics ever so slightly to fit. The outcome was only demo quality because of time constraints and an unexpected foot injury where I had to keep it above my heart for a couple of months and right around the time when I needed to record the tune properly which is entitled, "Row (Your Ondine Boat)". Julie and Colin loved it nonetheless and it became the original score to their documentary, "Beyond the Horizon" which skims the surface in an hour of their great journey from Vancouver to Vancouver. I really want to record it again to the standard and arrangements that I have been hearing in my head.

Me: You have shared the stage with some interesting people, Christine, like Jim Kimbrough. You also shared a stage with Iggy Pop. He liked your performance, right? What did he say to you?

Christine: Haha! Well, it's a funny thing how I wound up opening that particular show. In spring 1996, my friend Annabelle and I were visiting friends in Detroit, The Demolition Doll Rods that I used to gig with in my garage/psych band, The Double Feature Creatures. We were watching old vaudeville silent burlesque films and I explained a funny story where my sister and I would watch old silver screen shows on Sunday afternoons on TV and imitate them. One of our imitations was with our bath robes and doing a tease... So the Doll Rods said, you must do that at our show we're doing in a couple of days with Iggy Pop! That day of the concert, I was visiting my Great Grandma in Ann Arbour, Michigan and just made it back to the Detroit State Theatre in the nick of time after Annabelle got us lost. That's a story in itself for another time. Margaret said to not worry about a costume that she would handle it for me. I was thinking okay, but just keep me covered up! Well, she handed me my costume in a wallet and said here ya' go! Along with some mary-jane extreme spike heals. We were on the third floor of the change room floors. I nervously opened this little wallet to greet a tiger dress from Victoria's Secret that burst from the wallet, hello!! It had slits to the upper hips and a tear drop opening in the front... I was nervous to put it on as I was one to sport being cute, rather than being some sexy vixen! hahaha!!! But I thought, what the hey, no one knows me here, I'm in Detroit! So I put the dress on, styled my hair in a bouffant, applied some lipstick and slipped on some long gloves just on time to hear the backstage manager shout, "you gotta get on stage now!"... I know I'm babbling and you asked me to say what he said so you can edit this out if you want but it's a cool and random story for me... So I stepped on stage in the pitch black after carefully descending the stairs in shoes like none other I had worn before. The crowd cheered, the lights went up, my jaw dropped at the sight, I took a deep breathe and began to scat the classic strip-tease song while doing a little shimmy, a little shake, and a round house karate kick!!! I bit my gloves off and arms grabbed at them while bouncers stood in between and Annabelle used a disposable camera to catch the moment in the special photo-pass section!!! There was also a little girl in a tiger suit and mask dancing behind me rattling some shakers. I guess she was a mini-me?? After the set, the order was Demolition Doll Rods, then Junior Kimbrough from Fat Possum Records and lastly, Iggy Pop. He hung with all of us backstage in a most dapper deep blue velvet suit which was a great contrast from his black patent pants on stage. He missed my set so the Doll Rods convinced me in front of him and our friends backstage to do a reenactment... So I did, he pulled a chair up and got all wide eyed saying "Wow, Wow, Wow! Baby, you can move!!!"... I blushed and everyone was laughing. The Fat Possum label did catch my act on stage and wanted to sign me. They sent me a shipment of everything that they had ever put out at the time.

Me: You were doing pretty good musically when you had an accident that stopped you from playing guitar, am I right? Did you still perform, but without the guitar?

Christine: Yes, and just before this pre-existing injury issue triggered, I had a second offer from my then employer who was ready to front a very substantial sum of money towards recording my debut full length album as well as a video. He had friends at a major label who he was keen to push the music through. Once the injury surfaced, I kept trying to play a few songs on my guitar for awhile with my friends accompanying me. That didn't last long though because the pain and discomfort would amplify and linger for days. Since I am a great fan of old torch songs, I began to focus more on performing live some classic jazz ballads like, "Lush Life", "Masquerade", "Black Coffee", "Autumn Leaves", "I Fall in Love so Easily", "Nature Boy", "Thought About You", "A Train"... and many more. That was under the name, Christine Leakey and her Extra Fancy Band which featured various friends, University of Toronto jazz students and members from various Orchestras. I didn't do too many of those shows though as I felt naked and frustrated without my guitar.

Me: If you don't mind me asking again, what was the accident? How are you doing now?

Christine: Sure and you are the first to ask. I don't like to give too much power to the story, nor do I let it define me, however it is the reason why I am here now sharing my music instead of 14 years ago. In 1990, I was attacked by 9 people. It happened on my way to buying film for my sister's wedding which was on the following day where I still was the Maid of Honour. I'm a survivor. I was also scheduled to go to a karate tournament in Baltimore 3 days after the wedding which I was unable to attend due to the circumstance. I didn't let those 9 troubled and torn bullies break me. Despite the shock of it all, I prayed my face would be presentable and so I rose above it all and held my head high throughout the beating that felt like 10 minutes. It made me a stronger person on the inside and I immediately realized that these troubled people are just that who lack love in their life so I forgave them not to their faces but in my own heart through meditation and prayer. I am also a believer in karma. My guitar playing and the guitar strap triggered and amplified various pre-existing injuries which caused a breakdown on the left side of my body where I endured years of numbing pain to no avail. With my left hand, I couldn't open a car door, or wear a watch. I couldn't raise my left arm fully. It basically caused an entire lifestyle change on so many levels. I was absolutely devastated at first but turned it around quickly after realizing that when I would get frustrated by it, the physical pain would get worse. So spent a great deal of money seeking proper help that wasn't covered by free health services in Canada. I tried several injury management specialists and healing methods. Eventually, the right combination of people helped to stabilize the injuries which range from ribs compressed against my right lung, a damaged upper C spine and base of the C spine at the T spine, 2 parts in my jaw are not where they should be and a problem with my rotator cuff on my shoulder. Our bodies are 3 dimensional jigsaw puzzles that need to be treated with respect like a well oiled machine.

Me: I am glad you are okay, because your new album "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure"... whew! That's a long name. Is that the shortest name you can come up with? LOL. Have you had anybody say to you they had problems remembering the name of the album?

Christine: Thank you, I am happy to feel better too. I don't think the album name has been a problem so far. A radio show host proudly got it right on air last week (Adam Has Issues on Explore Music). If someone only remembered "Tapping Trees" though, I'd understand. :) Sometimes people don't spell my last name correctly. They forget the second "e" in Leakey.

Me: I just checked to see if I got it right. It'll take me a week to remember the name for me. LOL. But it is a clever name, and beats the Peverett Phile name. How did you come up with that name, Christine?

Christine: Haha!! Well, Leakey Peverett is definitely a name combo to cause some chuckles! :) The name started out as just "Tapping Trees". Then I got thinking, I really like album names like "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" or "A Saucer full of Secrets"... I tend to also enjoy making a play on words. The name has so many personal meanings for me as well which pertains directly to elements within the album. For example, tapping trees identifies with me being a sappy romantic at times, plus there are plenty of wooden instruments being tapped on the album, and most importantly, my late Uncle John passed away after visiting a maple sugar bush during tapping season. There is a song which I wrote for him on the album. The trinket box of treasure part triggered from a thought I had pertaining to how long I've been keeping the music tucked away for so many years, steeping arrangements and instrumentations within my mind, my heart, my body. Our bodies (trinket box) are sacred temples filled with so many memories (treasures).

Me: How long did it take you to record the album?

Christine: I recorded "The Marching Song" at home using a tape to tape method on my ghetto blaster in 1999. Then "I Tipsy" in 2006 using Garageband. In mid 2007, I began laying rough bed tracks at a studio in a church entitled, Catherine North. The chemistry with the engineer didn't feel quite right as he was more accustomed to straight up rock n' roll and I needed someone who could help me to implement with a high level of quality the very dynamic and orchestrated ideas that I had brewing in my mind. At the birth of 2009, "Miss Betty Grable". For that tune, I play all the intruments, it's self produced and co-engineered with my friend Danny Z at his studio, Blue Tilt. I spent only two days recording that song. Between 2008 and 2009 I had also been practicing the tunes occasionally with various musicians who played instruments I had in mind for the album. As well, I as scoping out a few quality studios in Hamilton. Then in September 2009 when I was about to book Canterbury in Toronto, I was approached by Chris Gartner whom I knew indirectly through the band, Tasa. After hearing some recordings he had been involved with, I agreed to go with his offer and record my album at his home studio. Into the process of working with Chris, I realized what a very busy musician he is! And rightly so, he happens to be one of Canada's top bassists performing with known acts like Barenaked Ladies member, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle, along with countless other music projects and bands in Toronto. I adopted some patience and voila mid spring 2011 was the final recording session and the mastering was complete by summer. :) Whew! Now I'm more than ready to finally cast out into the cosmos the music to reach appreciative ears which I've steeped for 14 years!

I noticed by the look of it and or the video for the song "Lovely" there's clips from old movies. You must like old black and white movies, Christine. What is your favorite movie of all time?

Christine: That's the toughest question so far!!! I don't have a favourite colour, or song, or film, or band, or vegetarian food. And so tastes tend to be quite eclectic spanning different eras and parts of the globe. I remember my Great Grandpa telling me that he stopped going to the movie theatre when it became colour. He said it just wasn't the same. There is definitely a magic to old film. Everything was made from scratch and done so creatively. I say going to the Drive-In just isn't the same without that heavy clunkish mono speaker that sits on the window.

Me: You even have a song called "Miss Betty Grable" which you just mentioned. Is she your favorite actress? I wonder if anybody from her estate has heard the song. You should send them a copy.

Christine: Perhaps I should! Would they mind? Well, she isn't my favourite actress but I did grow up singing a silly song about her and other golden era actress's with my cousins! I had written the music years before for that and then just started singing the first line to the melody and it made sense.. then I created the rest of the lyrics. I thought when I finished, I wonder what her real story is and there were some abstract parallels.

Me: I interviewed musicians and singers who do 60's type music, 70's and even the 80's, but you are the first I think that does music that could be from the 40's. Am I right?

Christine: I don't purposely do music from any particular era. I just write from what comes from within. I grew up in a family where my mother sang to us daily in English and French... old time songs mostly. She would also rent every old Rodgers and Hammerstein film for us to watch and somehow she had every single song in every single film memorized. I would also make mixed tapes from her collection of music from the 30s to the 80s. I currently own two Victrola's for my collection of old 78s. My turntable, tape deck and CDs all play through my computer set-up to give me the options to listen to my entire music collection that I should not have to buy more than once because technology changes. I do buy music digitally as well now but it's no fun without the packaging and liner notes. My tastes once again are quite varied so if I were to start giving examples, it would take forever, so I'll list a few: The Soft Machine, Spacemen 3, Simon and Garfunkel, Devo, The Ramones, early Pink Floyd, The Clash, Stark Reality, Combustible Edison, United Future Organization, Jobim, Stan Getz... in the past 5 years I've gotten into Leonard Cohen, Linda Perhacs, Aphrodite's Child, Kristian Hoffman, Mark Wirtz and I wonder what took me so long to catch on! I love going to see music from various countries and cultures. Some of it really puts me in a trance like state. There are many more that I love equally but that's a start. And I must give credit to a few of my pre-teen music interests, Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther", "Jesus Christ Superstar" 1970 recording, Kiddie Au Go Go on Happy Time Records, Duane Eddy Whiskey Au Go Go. I would go to jazz gigs and sit at the front during college. The band of mostly American draft dodgers with great stories and musical taste saw my appreciation for jazz music and would make me mixed tapes of torch and blues singers that were not already in my collection.

Me: I was gonna ask you who played on your CD but there's a lot of people. How many musicians played on the album, Christine?

Christine: Myself plus 14 phenomenally talented people accompanying me: Maurizio Guarini from Goblin and former Abbey Road/EMI Composer/Producer, Mark Wirtz, Jon Gilutin, Great Bob Scott, Chris Gartner, Sahra Featherstone, Maryem Tollar, Ernie Tollar, Roy Clarke, Leah Salomaa, Hailey Rutherford, Jay Burr, Abe Deleon, Ravi Naimpally

Me: Where are you from, Christine?

Christine: I grew up in the heart of the 1000 Islands, Gananoque. I have lived in Oakville, Toronto and Hamilton since moving away to college.

Me: I ask every musician from Canada I interview if they are fans of one of my favorite bands from Canada, the Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of that band?

Christine: Hahaha!!! Well, I don't have any of their music but I used to be neighbours with the drummer up until 2004! And as said in an earlier question, Chris who was quite involved with the album is in a band with Kevin Hearn. He went on that Barenaked Ladies cruise last summer to perform in Thin Buckle as all affiliated bands with the members were invited. I have gone to a couple Thin Buckle shows and they're great! Kevin gets his dad on stage to do spoken word versions of tunes like "Monster Mash"! He makes me think of William Burroughs.

Me: Maybe you can get Chris on the Phile. Christine, I have to talk about your artwork, as your work is pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. What came first, your art or music?

Christine: I began to whistle when I was 10 months old. Then I began to draw people with belly buttons when I was 2 years old.. So I guess the music?

Me: When you stopped doing music, is that when you started to paint a lot more?

Christine: When I had to stop doing music, I heavily got back into what I had gone to college for, Graphic Design. I have also been painting and drawing.. I filled about 7 sketchbooks between 1997 and 1998 and would bring a sketchbook anywhere I went. Got into clay and throwing on the wheel too... any art medium that sparks my interest, I like to do and not just dream about. Though, I still haven't taken glass blowing and silver smithing but would like to.

Me: Your artwork is very French looking to me. I have no idea why. Anyway, who is your inspiration art wise?

Christine: Probably my mom the most if we want to think of this from a Montessori philosophical perspective... I would ask her constantly to draw me things, mostly people and I still have sketchbooks of a ton of fashions that she designed during her teen years which are beautiful enough to be made. She's very good with colour too. I inspired her to get into doodling from all of my sketchbooks. She keeps a craft room in her home that is wall to wall art, jewellery, and sewing supplies. I also used to watch those PBS painting shows when I was little so that dude that always said, "Love you!" at the end of the episodes had me... then there are the countless other examples in fine art that I dig... including my cousin-in-law, Peter McGough. (McDermott & McGough)... I am inspired by Peter as a person and I do love what he's been doing in recent years artistically.

Me: Christine, thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please go ahead and plug your website and everything. I wish you lots of luck, and I hope this interview was fun.

Christine: this currently points to my Facebook page but I will make a website once I get a chance and oh, I need a new programmer that is reliable! Any takers? : ) You can download a free preview and order and advance special edition copy here:

Me: Thanks again, and please come back soon when the album comes out.

Christine: :) Thank you to the Peverett Phile!!! (:

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz as always and the wonderful Christine Leakey for an amazing interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Johny Brown from The Band of Holy Joy, the announcement of the next artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery and a brand new Phile character. Then on Wednesday it's Florida musician and singer Kathleen Taylor. And then next Sunday it's blues guitarist Buddy Whittington. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. 

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