Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pheaturing John Pippus

Hello, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Wednesday. So, the last few days I have been having a lotta computer problems with my AOL account being hacked and everything. I was getting so pissed off and angry and depressed I thought about ending the Phile this week. But then I didn't want to let the folks down who are waiting to be interviewed, and you readers by ending the Phile so quickly. So, I decided to keep it going... for now. But, I am planning on wrapping this thing up soon. I don't know if it will go into the new year, but at least to the end of the year... unless I change my mind. So, for now, the Phile will continue in all its glory. But, my phriends, the end of the Phile is coming sooner then later. Okay, now I started on that miserable note, lets have some fun. A number of passengers recently discovered maggots in a bag of snack mix they were given aboard a flight from Los Angeles to Australia. How unbelievable is that? An airline that still serves snacks? Keith Olbermann is suing his former employer, Current TV, for $70 million. That comes out to $10 million per viewer. Bad news for the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. While celebrating Easter they rushed him to the hospital with an impacted peep. The Masters, the first major golf tournament of the year and probably the most prestigious, came down to a play-off. At one point a guy scored a double eagle. The only thing more rare at the Augusta golf club is a female member. The membership committee at Augusta say they will still not admit women to the club. However, beginning next month they are going to start admitting effeminate men. Over the weekend Mitt Romney went body surfing. He has not body surfed since the '90s when he starred on "Baywatch." Well, have you heard of that ridiculously photogenic guy that ran the marathon, not breaking a sweat. Well, Disney has hired him to be a Marvel super hero. Take a look.

Well, this weekend my son wants to go see the 3 Stooges movie with me. I have no interest in going until I saw this screen shot. And now I wanna go.

My readers are the best. A Phile reader sent me this concert poster thinking I would be interested. And he was right. Check it out.

There's a band called Foghat Leghorn. Slow ride, take it easy... I say, slow ride, take it easy, son. I have to interview this band on the Phile. So, James Cameron released Titanic in 3D with a few changes. Here's another one of them changes.

I don't wanna see it now. I wanna see Kate Winslet topless in 3D, not like this. Okay, it's time now for...

I still don't get it. Okay, so Obama was here in Florida again just recently and a 'friend' of the Phile wanted to come on and give his opinion on it. So, once again, please welcome Chairman of the Republican National Committee... Reince Priebus in a pheature I call...

Me: Hello, Chairman. So, want do you wanna say about Obama being in Florida?

Reince: Obama landed in Florida hot on the campaign trail, which seems to be the only "work" he accomplishes these days.

Me: What do you mean by that?

Reince: Accounting for the time spent since Barack Obama announced his reelection campaign last April, here is a little food for thought: 113 Fundraisers x 2 Hours Per Event = 226 Hours = 5.65 Work Weeks = Obama FAIL!

Me: Reince, I disagree. I think he has been working hard.

Reince: In 2008 candidate Obama told Americans he would be an agent of "hope" and "change" but as you can see from the latest GOP web video, he has turned from "hope" to "hypocrisy." Well, Mr. President you may have fooled the American people once but that won't happen again.

Me: A change has happened since Obama took office, sir.

Reince: But it was not for the better. Thankfully we have a chance to make another change in November by getting Barack Obama out of office! If you agree, then please forward this to your readers.

Me: Thanks, sir. Is that all?

Reince: Yes, Jason. Be sure to join our Grassroots mobile army by simply texting "RNC" to 91919 (MSG and Data Rates May Apply) to receive exclusive news and information or you can click here to get involved locally. Thanks.

Me: Reince Priebusm everyone. Mister Positive as usual. See? I can't end the Phile yet. Not until the election is over anyway.

The 18th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C. is...

The author Jerry Scott will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday.

Okay, today's guest is a singer/songwriter playing out of Vancouver, BC. Canada? I think I mentioned the other day he was from Britain. I am an idiot. Anyway, he has a new album out called "Wrapped Up in the Blues" and a newer single called "Those Five Days". Please welcome to the Phile... John Pippus.

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

John: Thanks for having me. Nice to be here.

Me: You've been compared to John Hiatt and Peter Case, some of my favorite performers. Are you fans of their work, and have you ever met them?

John: I've seen John Hiatt perform twice, here in Vancouver. Excellent both times. And when I was in Nashville on one of my trips there (I've made the trek four times in the past four or five years) I saw Peter Case at The Bluebird Cafe. I didn't meet him, but I was no more than ten feet away while he performed. The Bluebird is so small that pretty much anyone there is sitting that close.

Me: Speaking of fans, I read Jane Wiedlan from The Go-Go's is a fan, which is cool and amazing. I've been trying to get her on the Phile for years. Do you know her, and how does she know you?

John: She and I were both at a week long songwriters' workshop in Wisconsin a couple of years ago. She's pretty intense. Also very funny. There was one night where a small group of us sat up until dawn swapping songs, telling jokes and just carrying on. Good times.

Me: I am a fan as well, John, which is not as cool as Jane being a fan I know. I was introduced to you through Sam and Luke, two very talented kids who were on the Phile awhile ago. Do you know who they are?

John: Yes, Sam and Luke are a talented duo that live around here. They're brothers. I've booked them a few times at the music nights I host at a Vancouver coffee house. And we've played together at a place called The Railway Club. They've got a bright musical future ahead of them. I've met their parents too, Jude and Ken, both very supportive of the boys' career.

Me: I purchased your latest CD "Wrapped Up in the Blues" and your prior releases "Born A Genius" and "This City" from iTunes. How did you decide to name the album after the song "Born A Genius"?

John: First of all, I decided to go with that because it's somewhat provocative. I mean, only Ray Charles can get away with calling himself a genius right? I WAS going to call the album "Liberation Day" at one point, because that's the name of another song on the album. But it just wasn't grabbing me as an album title. And secondly, I believe that the vast majority of us ARE born geniuses and it's only the existing economic and social structure, and society's need to control the masses that drums it out of us. Thanks for buying the albums, by the way!

Me: Did you write all the songs on the CD's?

John: A few are co-writes. "One Shot" was a song where I had the riff and some words, but then I had Karina Morin help me finish the verses. And "It's Just Music" was started by Adam Bailie, the producer of the album, and I added some semi-adlibbed words. I like co-writing. Particularly when I get stuck! But I also like it when I can finish something on my own, which is usually the case.

Me: Let me ask you then, about the song "Let's Legalize It." Legalize what? Just kidding... I think. Is that something you feel strongly about?

John: Yes, this is not your standard party song about "hey let's all get stoned and whatever dude". The idea for it came to me as I was driving home from the funeral of the 19 year-old son of a friend of mine. He overdosed on an unusually strong dose of heroin. Like the song says, "He was a good kid. but he got killed". It occurred to me that if the drug had been government-regulated, the purity would not have been in question, and he would still be alive. That would have given him one more day to maybe turn his life around. And as the song says, even if it WAS legal, that doesn't mean that we would all become drug addicts. The last thing I would do is a drug that made me passive and unable to be fully functioning and creative. I don't smoke pot for the same reason. But legalize it and take away the criminal aspects? Sure. Makes sense to me.

Me: Okay, John, I have to ask you where are you from? Canada, right?

John: Born in Winnipeg. Raised in Vancouver. And yes, I'm Canadian through and through.

Me: For some reason I ask every Canadian if they are fans of one of my favorite bands, The Barenaked Ladies. So, are you a fan of The Barenaked Ladies?

John: I liked their first big hit, "If I Had a Million Dollars". And I like their version of Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers In A Dangerous Time". But I've never seen them live, or been what you would call a huge fan. I like The Tragically Hip more. Gord Downie's band. For some strange reason, they've never broken through in the USA, but up here, they're huge.

Me: I have to ask you about "Oh, Winnipeg". It's a play or something like that you wrote, is that right?

John: Yes, I wrote a one-man musical memoir called "Oh Winnipeg!" It debuted at the Victoria Fringe Festival in 2009. And it won Pick of the '09 Vancouver Fringe Fest. Much to my delight and surprise because I had never written a play before or done any acting. But it seemed to resonate with people. It's about having a dream, not achieving it, but carrying on regardless. Something we can all identify with. In my case, it was wanting to be a rock star.

Me: What was the inspiration behind it?'

John: I was looking for a new audience for my music. And I figured the fringe festival circuit was one place where there was a built in audience. So really, it was a marketing vehicle to get my songs heard. So I wrote a play about my life, took acting lessons, and asked my acting teacher to direct it. Which she did. And away we went.

Me: You did a song for something called The War Child Project. What exactly is that, and how did you become involved?

John: My song "Blurry Photograph" was included on a compilation album with the proceeds benefiting the Holland branch of The War Child Project. On a networking site where I have some songs posted, one of the people involved with this project heard my music and asked if I would contribute a song. The War Child Project is an international organization that helps children who become victims in various conflicts.

Me: John, I have to ask you about your band. Who do you play with, John?

John: Well, I have the luxury of being able to play solo if the situation calls for it. Or as a duo, trio, or more. There are a group of musicians I can call on to back me up. They are all singer/songwriters that I know from the local scene here, and they double on other instruments. I've got a couple of drummers, a bass player, keyboard player and various back up vocalists I can have join me on occasion. Next weekend, for example, we're doing a triple bill with two other bands. I'll have a four-piece band for that show.

Me: You played with Jackson Browne, is that right? Are there anybody else legendary who shared a stage with?

John: Yes, that was a real highlight. Jackson Browne is a friend of Pat MacDonald.Pat was in the 80s band, Timbuk3, and he organizes the annual Steelbridge Songfest. I met Pat via Myspace back in '06 and he invited me to be part of his event. Jackson Browne headlines each year. And so I got to hang out back stage with him - although I confess to being mostly star struck and tongue tied - and we all got up on stage for the last song of the night. Other performers were Eric MacFadden (the guitarist with George Clinton's P-Funk and Eric Burdon's guitarist too), Kim Manning (also from P-Funk). And the aforementioned Jane Weidlin.

Me: Is there anybody you would love to open for but haven't? Foghat, maybe?

John: I'm of two minds about opening for somebody famous. First of all, they're not there to see me, so it's a tough audience to play for. But on the other hand, it does look good in a bio. My only connection with Foghat is that we were both featured performers on a music networking site for about a week.

Me: You are doing a lot of shows in Canada, but ever been down to Florida to play?

John: I've been to Florida a few times, but always on holiday. I really like it there. The geography is quite varied and I like the history. Fort Augustine for example. I did write a song when I was there. It's called "Florida Moon" and it starts: "The wind from the south blew my breath away / I got wrapped in your past and can't escape for nothing..." Another line talks about "the long black moss". For me, Florida is quite a magical place.

Me: John, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I am a huge fan. Why don't you go and plug your website?

John: Thank YOU. Readers can check out or find me on Facebook.

Me: Thanks again, and come back soon, okay?

John: Maybe seen in Florida one of these days. Bye for now.

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Reince Priebus and John Pippus. The Phile will be back Sunday with Alumni John Bentley from Squeeze and on Monday singer Mollie Marriott. Then next Wednesday it's Eli Chartkoff, the lead singer from the band The Monolators. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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