Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pheaturing Jayen Varma

Hello, everybody, happy leap year day, or whatever you say on a day like this. Welcome to the Peverett Phile.  So, today Disney is keeping the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland open for twenty-fours for their One More Disney Day promotion. One more Disney Day? I had one more Disney day for the last 24 years.  President Obama talked about rising gas prices. He focused on the positive things his administration has done when it comes to energy prices. So, in other words, it was the shortest speech he's ever given. President Obama is starting to get a little overconfident. In an interview with Univision radio, he said, "My presidency isn't over yet, and I've still got five more years." Even his predictions are over budget.  British parliament says it is very likely a terrorist could explode a nuclear pulse bomb in outer space, and it could take out our entire electronic grid. No emails. No texts. No cell phones. How relaxing would that be? No Peverett Phile... what?! No Peverett Phile?!  The acting unions, SAG and AFTRA, now plan to merge. Their goal? To have the world's largest group of unemployed people under one roof.  So, Mitt Romney has been the front-runner from day one but nobody likes Mitt Romney because he's not kooky enough. They're looking for somebody kookier so Rick Santorum is a pretty good choice. He does not believe in birth control. Does not believe in global warming. Does not believe in long-sleeve sweaters. The latest polls show Romney and Rick Santorum neck and neck. Not to be confused with Newt Gingrich, who is shown in the polls as chin to chin.  Speaking about Santorum, he now says he's against separation of church and state. But he's not against separation of sweaters and sleeves.  A crazy billionaire is going to give Newt Gingrich $100 million. Gingrich is so excited. He said, "Wow, now I can come pretty close to settling up my bill at Tiffany's."  People are still talking about Angelina Jolie's dress at the Oscars, which showed off none of one leg and all of the other leg. She's very thin. Uggie the dog from the The Artist was behind her on the red carpet. He didn't know whether to hump her leg or bury it. They had to put an Oscar in each of Angelina's hands to keep her from flying away.
Speaking of the Oscars, get this, the ratings were up four percent from last year. Or as Angelina Jolie’s leg put it, "You’re welcome.”  Happy belated Birthday to Justin Bieber, who turns 18 years old this week. You can tell he’s growing up because today he took down all his Justin Bieber posters.  Bill Nye the Science Guy is suing his ex-girlfriend for more than $50,000 in legal bills. Legal experts were shocked... they were like, "Bill Nye the Science Guy had a girlfriend?”  There was apparently an electrical fire at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It was weird... instead of calling 911, Boston fans just heckled the fire until it left.  Well, The Artist won best picture and like I showed you on Monday's entry, I got my hands on some just-leaked, eminently quotable outtakes. Take a look, kids.

Okay, today is not only leap year day, but it's the last day of Black History Month. I was surprised that they rushed another inspirational poster out to celebrate it.

So, this is real, someone at work asked if leap year means that it skips a year. Yeah, this is now 2013.  You know, there's a lot of exclusive One More Disney Day merchandise available just fior today. I'm not interested in any of it, except maybe this poster.

I don't know what Snow White or having a hangover has to do with One More Disney Day, but there you have it. And now for some sad news, especially for you Monkee fans...

Davy Jones
Dec 30, 1945 - Feb 29, 2012
Actually, he IS our stepping stone now.

Well, the Oscars have been over for a few days, and before the Oscars I invited my friend Jeff to the Phile to do some Oscar picks. It's time to see who won, so once again, please welcome my good friend Jeff Trelewicz back to the Phile for a pheature I called...

Me: Okay, Jeff, welcome back, let's talk about the Oscars. Whatcha think? Did you think Billy Crystal did a good job? I like him hosting the show.

Jeff: Hey, Phile. Great to be back on once again. I thought Billy Crystal did a great job. I was quite surprised that they didn't mention the Brett Ratner-Eddie Murphy fiasco. Like I said before, he is a very safe bet as a host. I think he will definitely be back next year if he wants to do it.

Me: What was your favorite part? I liked the Muppets being there... And Jennifer Lopez's areola. Wish it was Reese's though. And Logan thought Penelope Cruz looked hot.

Jeff: I thought the best moment was Christopher Plummer's acceptance speech. He is the oldest Oscar winner of all time. His line of, "You are only two years older then me, where have you been all my life?" I thought was pretty classic. Your son thought Penelope Cruz was hot? Oh, Logan is definitely your son!

Me: Yep, I don't think she's that hot though. Anyway, we both did Oscar picks, so how did we do?

Jeff: As far as our picks, we did ok. We both had Artist to win, and we were both right. For Best actor, I said Clooney. You said Pitt. We were both wrong. For best actress we both got it right with Meryl Streep. For best director you were right with the director of The Artist. So for the second straight challenge you have beat me! 

Me: Alright!! Whoo-hoo. Jeff, thanks again, and if there's anything you wanna come onto the Phile and talk about let me know.

Jeff: I will definitely be back in time for Wrestlemania! But definitely before that. In the mean time check out Nothing like a cheap plug! The Guru is back!

Me: Good job as always, Jeff. 

Well, I thought I would invite my other friend back to the Phile for another comic review. So, please welcome Jim Mello in a pheature we call...

This Half A Review Will Make You Stronger: "Ronin" by Frank Miller, with art by shitty Frank Miller. Lynn Varley did stuff too.

It may be unprofessional to review a book that you only read half of. It's a good thing I am no professional. Frank Miller's "Ronin" is the worst kind of Frank Miller... high-concept 80's techno future Frank Miller.  The story follows a Ronin whose vowed revenge against a Demon who killed his master. He fails, trapping both the demon and himself into some magic sword. Enter Miller's atypical dystopic future where people have too many goddamn lines on their faces, and buildings look like squares set in a fog of color with no actual cityscape to speak of. The Ronin is reincarnated through some dude, and he has to go find the reincarnated demon and then I don't know what the fuck happened because I stopped reading it because Miller's art became so damn ugly it was like someone tracked mud all over the original pencils. This is after he completely loses his sense of storytelling.  The other day, I posted what is possibly my favorite comic page of all time. It shows a mastery of storytelling in terms of layout, color use, clean pencils, and writing that may be terse, but it impacts like a wayward asteroid on the lunar surface. How the fuck does he do that, and then do this after? Art wise, it's just like "Dark Knight Return's" sequel, "The Dark Knight Strikes Back", which is a really tough read with equally ugly pencils. I've always thought the guy sways easily from beautiful, to ugly... but this is too much. I will retry this at some unknown future date. Until then, I'd steer clear of this argh-inducing piece of bleh.

The 13th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Scott Quick, and this is one of his pieces.

Scott will be a guest on the Phile this Sunday. 

Alright, today's guest is an Indian electric bass player. He is known for developing tabla and mridangam style finger technique on bass guitar to play slap bass. Whatever that means, we'll find out in a minute. Please welcome to the Phile... Jayen Varma.

Me: Hello, Jayen, welcome to the Phile. How are you? I wish I knew how to say hello in Indian.

Jayen: Hello, I'm fine. Hope you are also doing well. Thanks to be kind enough.

Me: Over the years I interviewed quite a few bass players, but I have to admit, you are the mother of bass players, Jayen. When did you first started to play bass?

Jayen: Thanks. I don’t think I am such a great bass player, because there are hundreds of great bassists in the world both known and unknown with lots of talent. I started playing bass in 1986 in a cover band playing metal music.

Me: I take it bass is the only instrument you play?

Jayen: My main instrument is bass. I have been a drummer before I took bass. I also have undergone training in the Indian Percussion instrument Mridangam. So I play a little bit of Mridangam and Kanjira.

Me: You are based and from India, right? Do you ever travel and play in the States?

Jayen: Yes, I am in India. I hope to do Indian slap bass clinics soon in the States.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Indian Slap Bass playing. You are the king of it, Jayen, but tell the Phile readers exactly what it is.

Jayen: Indian Slap Bass is playing the bass guitar just like the Indian classical percussion instruments Tabla, Mridangam or Kanjira. This is a very simple method because strings are hit like two drum sticks. Here the index finger acts like one stick and the middle and ring fingers held close together form the other stick.

Me: And explain what tabla/mridangam is. You should nick name yourself Mr. Idangam and really confuse people.

Jayen: Tabla is North Indian Classical percussion instrument, while mridangam is south Indian classical percussion instrument. Yes, you can call me so.

Me: How long ago did you come up with this technique?

Jayen: I started applying this technique even when I started playing the bass in 1986. It came naturally and not intentionally because that was easier for me.

Me: You are the fastest slap bass player in the world, says the Registry of Official World Records. Is that the same as Guinness World Records?

Jayen: Yes, I have a record. But I don’t believe that I am the fastest because there are many fast bass players in the world. And many of them are the fastest in certain styles and techniques. I am fast in my particular style. It is connected with the Record Holders Republic and not directly connected with Guinness.

Me: How did they time you?

Jayen: They evaluated that there are 36 percussive strikes in a second in my bass playing.

Me: Was breaking the record something you set out to do?

Jayen: I don’t wish to go ahead with the speed record or anything. I am still trying to make some good music. It may be easy to play fast, but it’s difficult to make a slow melody.

Me: What would you do if someone came along and beat your record?

Jayen: That will be awesome. I know it will happen, and it should happen. All the best to the person who goes for it.

Me: Are their any bass players you look up to? I imagine quite a few look up to you.

Jayen: I look up to many bass players. The list is so big because I like all those who hold a bass guitar and play some good bassline, whether he is famous or unknown.

Me: What kinda music do you listen to, Jayen?

Jayen: I listen to most of the music genres especially jazz and Indian classical. And of course, funk, rock, metal, blues.

Me: Have you heard of the band Foghat?

Jayen: Yes, a blues-rock band. They are great.

Me: Jayen, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Do you do a lot of interviews?

Jayen: Thanks to you as well. Yes, I attend interviews at times.

Me: But this is the best one, right? LOL. Go ahead and plug your website, sir, and anything else you wanna.

Jayen: Thank you so much...

Me: You seem like a very wise man, so do you have any words of wisdom for the readers of the Phile?

Jayen: There something unique in each and everyone. Any method is difficult in the beginning and the result is also not apparent immediately. But those who practice persistently will succeed in the application of any difficult technique. It does not matter how an instrument is played, it only matters how it sounds.

Me: Thanks again, and I wish you continued success, and I hope no one beats your record.

Jayen: Thanks for the wishes. I believe I am one of the fastest bassists. All the best to you and Phile readers.

Well, kids, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Jim Mello and of course Jayen. By the way, check out Jim's Facebook page Comics Will Make You Stronger. The Phile will be back on Sunday with artist Scott Quick, then on Monday it's musician Pete Donnelly, and next Wednesday Jason Ziebart from the band Honeyloaf. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.


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